We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)
Stephen talking to the media
  • Article: Oct 26, 2018

    I and many others were appalled by the viciousness of some Tory MPs toward their own PM in media reports last weekend.

    Phrases such as "sticking the knife in and twisting" and "she should bring her own noose" was an excessively brutal use of language toward anyone let alone your own party leader.

    So there was a certain irony in that the pushback to such grotesque language is Theresa May appears to have acquired a bit of a breathing space the last few days. You reap what you sow.

  • Article: Oct 19, 2018

    I was contacted during the summer by a constituent who is a retired police officer, Bob Diplock, to tell me of a campaign that one of his former Sussex Police colleagues, Kevin Moore, had launched.

    They are petitioning the government to commit to a Royal Commission into today's policing.

    Their rationale was that so much smoke and mirrors information has been put out by government, the media, and various pressure groups as to how well or badly our police services across the UK are resourced, it had become impossible for the public to get a clear understanding of what resources the police need to do their job properly. They also pointed out the last Royal Commission into policing was in 1960, so the idea of an updated and independent review, with recommendations, seems pretty apt to me.

  • Article: Oct 12, 2018

    There's been a media flurry this week with the idea of Lewes and Eastbourne becoming a unitary authority; something I have been advocating for a while now. My rationale is quite simple, the political leadership from East Sussex County Council has been lamentable. This can be seen by their abject failure to develop income-generating programmes to compensate for the cuts in their funding from central government. Which has, as we all know, led to appalling cuts across the board in front-line services. ESCC has even been publicly named as one of the county councils who are at risk of failing. Not a good look frankly. Meanwhile our own council, Eastbourne, which faced the same cuts proportionally as County Hall, saw it coming and began to develop alternative income streams six or seven years ago. Meaning that tough as it is, there have been no cuts locally to front-line services. And I am not making a party-political point here as Eastbourne is now working successfully in partnership with Lewes District, showing them how to match our own expertise with income programmes, and of course Lewes is a Conservative-lead council. Furthermore, when you have a Labour MP, Tory MP and me as the Liberal, all broadly agreeing about Eastbourne and Lewes becoming a unitary authority, perhaps it's time for County Hall to pay attention?

  • Article: Sep 21, 2018

    I was at the Lib Dem conference in Brighton this week.

    A lot going on both inside and outside the Hall, not least that as the Party's spokesman on all matters related to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), I spoke at a number of Fringe events and had meetings with various leading organisations over concerns they had with the government's performance at the DWP. One of which was the upcoming national rollout of Universal Credit (UC). This is something you've probably read and heard about in the media but unless some drastic changes are made soon, you will read a lot more about next year and not for the right reasons. From June 2019 the DWP will begin "managed migration" of up to three million benefit claimants onto UC, a system which in my and others opinion (including the Archbishop of Canterbury) still retains too many flaws. According to their own figures, a third of these are identified as being either disabled or having long-term medical conditions, as all have been through the Work Capability Assessment. This "managed migration" process will see individuals start receiving letters next year telling them that they must register online. The beginning of a convoluted process which claimants have only one month to complete. On receipt of the letter they are asked to go into the local Job Centre to prove their identity. Having done this they must go online to register, and once completed then required to pay a second visit to the Job Centre to validate registration. Following this, it is expected that there will be one further visit to the Job Centre within the month to clear up any outstanding problems. To you or I, this may not sound too arduous but imagine if you have learning disabilities or mental health issues, or you may have mobility problems affecting your ability to actually get to a Job Centre three times within the month?