Saturday, September 14, 2019

Lib Dems call for UK wide marriage equality

The Liberal Democrats have today backed proposals to demand better for all LGBT+ people across the UK and deliver equal marriage.
The proposal, passed today at Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference in Bournemouth, include calls to introduce equal marriage in Northern Ireland, extending existing legislation in England and Wales to remove the spousal veto and to enable the Church of England and Church in Wales and their celebrants to conduct same-sex marriages, and extend recognition of humanist marriages to all of the UK.
Speaking after the debate, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who backed the amendment in Parliament to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland said:
“Despite the amendment that was passed in Parliament in July, same-sex marriage has not yet been delivered in Northern Ireland.
“With the Conservatives shutting down Parliament, and their resistance in the recent past to extending same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland, it is more important than ever that we keep demanding better for LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland and fighting to deliver same-sex marriage. 
“Couples across Northern Ireland want to get married, at home and surrounded by family and friends. The Liberal Democrats will tackle the unfairness that exists and deliver on the change that people in Northern Ireland demand.
“The spousal veto allows the spouse of someone who is trans to block them from legally changing their gender, meaning they have to go through the years-long process of getting a divorce before they are able to do so. By removing this veto, the Liberal Democrats will ensure that you are the only person with a say over who you are.”

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Johnson and Raab must condemn Netanyahu's pledge to breach international law


The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to unambiguously condemn the statement of Israeli PM Netanyahu, in which he pledges to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan valley and northern Dead Sea if elected next week.

Commenting on this worrying assertion from Netanyahu, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

"Such a move would be a clear breach of international law, as set out in UN security resolutions, and would kill any hope, however fragile, for meaningful peace talks based on the two state solution.

"It could also result in yet more instability in the region and give succour to extremists everywhere.

"If ever there was a time for the UK Government to send a strong message of solidarity by recognising the State of Palestine, it is now."

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Davey slams Spending Round as “fantasy figures”

Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Ed Davey, has slammed the Conservative Government’s Spending Round as “fantasy figures” because of the ​economic threat to the UK posed by Brexit.
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, Ed Davey said:
 “Mr Speaker, Liberal Democrats have fought for more cash for our schools, police and NHS.
“But isn’t it the case that headteachers, chief constables and hospital managers simply cannot rely on the Chancellor’s fantasy figures, if Britain crashes out of the EU?
“Mr Speaker, 2 months ago, the independent watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, warned a No Deal Brexit would cost the public purse thirty billion pounds, every year, for the next four years.
“What insurance has the Chancellor taken for this massive risk to his spending plans?
“Today was supposed to be a serious statement, but the Chancellor is more like Del Trotter at Peckham market, trying to sell the public dodgy goods, with no guarantee.
“This isn’t luverly jubbly – it’s a con!”

We have a duty to stand with the people of Hong Kong

Responding to chief executive Carrie Lam’s withdrawal of the Hong Kong Extradition Bill, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael MP said:
“It is welcome news that this dangerous Bill has finally been withdrawn, but long overdue. Carrie Lam should have done this six weeks ago. The Bill was a threat to human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong and a direct contravention of the Sino-British joint declaration.
“The Conservative government must help to ensure that there is a full, independent investigation into police violence during the protests. We have a duty to stand with the people of Hong Kong.”

Kicking the can down the road will not prevent Windrush-style scandal for EU citizens


Responding to reports the Government is planning to announce a 3-year temporary leave to remain for EU citizens, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Christine Jardine said:

“The Liberal Democrats have long been warning that Brexit will create another Windrush-style scandal for EU citizens. Kicking the can three years down the road will not prevent it.
“Instead of taking away the rights of the 3.6 million EU citizens in the UK at the end of 2020, the Conservatives now want to take away their rights at the end of 2023. That’s hardly much better.
“This plan will only cause huge confusion and uncertainty. How will employers – or even the Home Office – be able to tell who was here before the end of 2020 and who moved here afterwards? That’s why EU citizens are so worried.
“If Boris Johnson really cared about keeping his promise to EU citizens in the UK, he would pass the legislation the Liberal Democrats have put forward to guarantee their rights permanently in law.”

Monday, September 02, 2019

Withdrawal preparedness: Public deserve better than a watered-down dodgy dossier

The Liberal Democrats have written to Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary, to demand clarity over whether the Operation Yellowhammer document would be a “watered-down dodgy dossier that has reportedly been drafted to suit political agendas”.

According to reports in The Sunday Times, sources familiar with the document describe the version being prepared for release to the public as “soft soap” and “neutralised”.

The Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary, Tom Brake MP, has requested confirmation that any ministerial demand that civil servants ‘adapt the truth’ would be against the ministerial code.

Mr Brake has also asked that civil servants asked to draft this document be protected and brought before Parliament to give evidence.

Writing in his letter, Mr Brake said: 

"Given the serious threat of medicine and food shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it is only right that the government is fully open and transparent about the detail of Operation Yellowhammer.

“I am therefore writing to ask that you confirm that any ministerial demand that civil servants water down or ‘adapt the truth’ in this document would be tantamount to ministers breaking the ministerial code?

"Please confirm also that civil servants do not risk being disciplined if they refuse to comply with such an unreasonable request and that they will be protected by whistle-blower legislation should a 'sanitised' document be released.

"I am also writing to request that you provide me with the details of the senior civil servants asked to draft this document, so that they can be invited urgently to give evidence to Parliament."

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Gove has sold his soul to the devil

Responding to Michael Gove's refusal to rule out ignoring any law passed by Parliament to stop a no-deal, Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said: 

"We are in real threat of our democracy being silenced. This authoritarian power grab must be stopped.

"From shutting down Parliament to ignoring expert warnings today from the British Retail Consortium on the danger of food shortages, it appears Michael Gove has sold his soul to the devil. 

"Liberal Democrats demand better. We will do everything we can to stand up for people and give them the final say on Brexit, with the option to remain in the EU."

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Swinson: PM is trying to remove the voice of the people

Responding to the report that the Queen has acceded to the government request to suspend Parliament from mid-September, Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said:

"Shutting down Parliament would be an act of cowardice from Boris Johnson. He knows the people would not choose a No Deal and that elected representatives wouldn’t allow it. He is trying to stifle their voices.

"By suspending Parliament to force through a No Deal, Boris Johnson and the Government would remove the voice of the people at the most important time. It is a dangerous and unacceptable course of action which the Liberal Democrats will strongly oppose.  

"Yesterday, MPs from all parties united to avert a disastrous No Deal Brexit and to prevent an anti-democratic shut down of Parliament. 

"We did this because a No Deal Brexit would be a catastrophe for our country. The Government itself has admitted that this will cause food and medicine shortages.

"The Liberal Democrats will continue both our cross-party efforts to prevent No Deal, and our fight to stop Brexit altogether."

Sajid Javid setting himself up as the riskiest Chancellor in history

Responding to the reports that the Treasury has confirmed the government’s fast-tracked Spending Round will take place on 4th September, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Ed Davey said:

“This won’t be a spending review, it’ll be Johnson’s election rehearsal. This is nothing more than a transparent move to butter up the British public for a snap General Election before the Tories unleash the catastrophic consequences of a no-deal Brexit. 

“However, they cannot hide the damage Brexit has already done to our economy and we have not even left the EU. Brexit is damaging our businesses, costing us jobs and tanking our economy. Not to mention this can’t be a serious spending review - the new Government haven’t had time to review anything except their Brexit and election strategies.

“This is just another example of how much money the Conservatives are wasting as they continue to put Party before country. Sajid Javid could be setting himself up as the riskiest Chancellor in history.”

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Reprehensible that Tories attack BBC for cuts they made

Responding to the Prime Minister calling for the BBC to "cough up" and pay for TV licences for all over-75s, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Layla Moran said: 

“Boris Johnson has a habit of making lavish spending promises without any intention of actually paying for them; free TV licences for over-75s are the latest in a long list.

“If he wants to honour his pledge to keep TV licences free for over-75s, Johnson will have to reverse the cuts his own Conservative Government has inflicted on the BBC or fund them via his own spending pledge.

“It’s reprehensible that the Tories are now attacking the BBC for a decision they forced it to make and that Johnson lays the blame at any door but his own.

“The Liberal Democrats demand better. The Government must stop undermining the BBC and instead seek a long-term agreement to guarantee the future of the fair, free and accurate broadcasting that we all benefit from.”

Home Office advert just another example of mistreatment of EU citizens

Responding to the reports that the Advertising Standards Authority have ruled that Home Office radio adverts for the EU Settled Status scheme were “misleading”, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Christine Jardine said:
“It’s appalling the way EU citizens have been treated by the Tories since the referendum.
“We’ve already heard far too many cases of people not receiving the Settled Status they are entitled to. The Home Office putting out misleading adverts about how to apply only makes it worse.
“Under the Government’s plans, anyone left without Settled Status by the end of 2020 will be exposed to the Tories’ Hostile Environment, at risk of being evicted, detained and even deported. That cannot be allowed to happen.
“This is about people’s lives and the Liberal Democrats demand better. That’s why we are fighting to stop Brexit, save free movement and safeguard the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU.”

Friday, August 23, 2019

Welsh Liberal Democrats respond to Corbyn visit to Swansea

We appreciate Jeremy Corbyn praising Kirsty Williams' great work transforming education in Wales. Thanks to Kirsty, Jeremy is right that the Welsh Government are helping disadvantaged children get a flying start in life.
Kirsty has given more money to the most disadvantaged pupils, reduced infant class sizes and delivered the most generous and progressive student finance system in the UK.
These important reforms are delivering an education system that is a source of national pride and confidence.
If people in England want their government to follow the example of the Welsh Government and take radical action to unlock the potential of every child; it is the Liberal Democrats they need to vote for, not Labour.
About This Website
He wants to talk about education

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Jane Dodds in Jo's Shadow Cabinet

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has stated it is an honour to be named Shadow Cabinet Member for Wales and for Food and Rural Affairs in Jo Swinson’s first Shadow Cabinet.
In announcing her Shadow Cabinet, Jo Swinson declared she has built a team that will provide “the real alternative our country needs”.
The Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet is 50/50 gender balanced and has a membership of 15% BAME.
Kirsty Williams is also in the Shadow Cabinet as a Spokesperson for Wales.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented:
It is an honour to be given two vital roles in my party’s Shadow Cabinet. I look forward to highlighting Alun Cairns’ consistent failure to deliver for Wales and standing up for rural communities across Wales and the UK.
I join an exceptionally strong Liberal Democrat team that is ready to continue leading the campaign to stop Brexit and create a fairer, freer and more liberal Britain.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:
I am proud to announce my new Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet to stop Brexit.
Given the threats from nationalism and populism, more than ever before, people are crying out for a new vision for our country.
This new team will take the fight to this right wing Conservative Government and provide, where Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party have been absent, the real alternative our country needs.
This is also a team ready to offer the solutions to the big issues people face, to lead the Liberal Democrats as the strongest remain party into a General Election, and to win a People’s Vote.

The full list of the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet can be found here.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Corbyn must prove promise to stop no-deal is not just empty words

Responding to Jeremy Corbyn's speech this morning, in which he said he would do “everything necessary to stop a disastrous no-deal Brexit”, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

"Jeremy Corbyn must now deliver and prove this is not just an empty promise. If he truly wants to stop a no-deal, he must accept that he must not be prescriptive about how we ensure that happens.

"This is not about party leaders, but about stopping Boris Johnson from dragging us off the cliff-edge.

"It is clear Jeremy Corbyn cannot command a majority in the House. He must do the right thing and confirm that if he cannot, he will support someone who can."

Friday, August 16, 2019

Cable: If Corbyn cannot command a majority, he must support someone who can

Responding to Jeremy Corbyn's comments this afternoon, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

"It would be up to the House of Commons to decide who a caretaker prime minister put in place to stop a no-deal Brexit would be.
"This is not about party leaders, but getting a group together to stop no-deal.
"It is clear Jeremy Corbyn cannot command that majority in the House. I urge him to do the right thing and confirm that if he cannot, he will support someone who can."

Tories must stop ignoring consequences of their failed war on drugs

Responding to the release from the Office for National Statistics that in 2018 the UK had the highest ever recorded number of people dying through drug related deaths, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

"We are witnessing the highest numbers of people dying through drug-related deaths and still the Conservatives are failing to respond to these ever increasing figures.
"Instead of trying to fix the problem, the Conservatives cling to their failing policies on drugs. Policies that have seen massive cuts to adult drug misuse services, policies that criminalise instead of help people, policies that are directly contributing to this rise in deaths.
"The Liberal Democrats demand better for people with drug misuse problems and their families that are left devastated from the consequences of addiction and drug-related deaths.

"Liberal Democrats, with a penny on income tax, would return the money to drug misuse services and other public health services that the Tories have cut. We would also deliver greater investment in mental health across the healthcare system to ensure that when people need help, help is there."

Monday, August 12, 2019

Prison security funding yet another "hollow move" by PM

Responding to Boris Johnson's announcement on investing in prison security, Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

“This is yet another hollow move by Boris Johnson to seem tough on crime, but yet again fails to tackle the causes of crime.

“The further funding announced is still not being used to rehabilitate people to stop them committing crimes in the first place.

“Boris Johnson can lock people up for longer or search people on their way in and out of prison, but none of this bravado will actually make our streets safer.

“Instead of just talking tough, it’s time Boris Johnson looked at the evidence in front of him. The Liberal Democrats in government would invest in rehabilitation and reverse Tory cuts to community police officers and youth services to actually cut crime right across the UK.”

Jo Swinson calls on Boris Johnson to visit Irish border

Today, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson has challenged Boris Johnson to visit the Irish border following her own visit there this morning. Johnson failed to go to the border on a recent visit to Northern Ireland and also failed to visit during his time as Foreign Secretary.

Speaking after her visit, Jo Swinson said: 

“Boris Johnson never visited the Irish border as Foreign Secretary, and he hasn’t visited as Prime Minister. If he had, he’d have heard first hand what a disaster his Brexit plans are for peace and prosperity.

"The people of Ireland and Northern Ireland know what a disaster his Brexit deal is, but by refusing to visit the border communities the Prime Minister is simply burying his head in the sand to those realities.

"The only real way out of this mess is to stop Brexit through a people’s vote, with the option to stay in the EU.”

Rebuttal unit no more than a spin machine masking dangers of no-deal

Responding to the confirmation by the Government that a rapid rebuttal unit has been set up by the Cabinet Office to monitor reports regarding Britain's departure from the EU, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

"The British public deserve the truth about the realities of what a no-deal Brexit will entail, but this is not what Gove's rebuttal unit will provide.

"It will be nothing more than a spin machine trying to mask the danger and chaos a no-deal Brexit will cause, with the cost coming out of the public purse. 

"Rebuttal units in the past have been nothing more than a colossal waste of time and money. It is another shameful amount of money the Conservatives can add to their Brexit tab. 

"Boris Johnson's government are determined to drag us off the cliff edge in October and now are actively attempting to hide how this will affect our jobs, our businesses and our economy. It is time the British people were given the truth and a way out of this mess with a people's vote, with the option to stay in the EU."

Outrageous Home Office profiteering must stop

Responding to the reports that the Home Office has had a £500 million surplus last year from charges levied for British residency and citizenship, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

“It is unacceptable for the Home Office to be profiteering from outrageously high application fees, which are far higher than the actual costs of administration.

“No one should be prevented from exercising their rights simply because they can’t afford these fees – especially children who have lived here all their lives and members of the Armed Forces who have served this country for years.

“People who are unable to pay the fees are left vulnerable to the Tories’ Hostile Environment and all the misery it causes.

“The Liberal Democrats demand better. We are calling on the Home Secretary to reduce the fees for children to the cost of administration, and to waive them altogether for members of the Armed Forces.”

Boris Johnson won't make our streets safer

Responding to Boris Johnson's announcement of an extension of stop and search powers and the creation of new prison places, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

“Boris Johnson isn’t tough on crime – or tough on the causes of crime.

“Far too many young lives are being destroyed by an epidemic of serious violence, and Johnson doesn’t have any answers. He just wants to repeat the failed policies of the past.

“This announcement today will not make our streets safer.

“He tried a big increase in suspicion-less Stop & Search when he was Mayor of London, but his own Government’s analysis shows it didn’t work to cut crime. All it does is disproportionately affect BAME communities and undermine the very community policing we need to stop young people carrying knives.

“The Tories already tried introducing tougher prison sentences for knife crime, and knife crime has soared. The UK already imprisons more people than any other country in Western Europe. Instead of wasting money locking more people up, the Government should be investing in the things that prevent crime, like community policing and youth services."

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Pulling out of InterRail threatens tourism and environment

Following the announcement that British rail companies will be pulling out of InterRail at the end of the year, Lib Dem Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson said:

“The UK rail companies pulling out of Interrail will have a huge impact on both tourism and the environment. But the blame really lies at the feet of the Conservative Government, who have failed to step in and stop the cancellation of this important scheme. Liberal Democrats demand better.

“Interrail is a vital scheme, not just for tourism, but also for building bridges between different cultures across Europe. We must encourage more people to travel to the UK and they must travel in an environmentally friendly way. If we don’t, then the demand for flights will continue to increase and we will fail to reach our net-zero emissions target by 2050 as the Government has promised.”

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Home Office provides inadequate and evasive answers over controversial Rough Sleeping Support Service

The Home Office has refused to give detailed responses to repeated parliamentary questions from Lib Dem Layla Moran on the Rough Sleeping Support Service, despite the MP tabling multiple follow-up questions in an effort to receive clarification. 
The Rough Sleeping Support Service has recently received national attention for its use of data from homelessness and refugee charities to run immigration checks on rough sleepers. Layla has consistently campaigned for a more compassionate approach to be taken to rough sleeping and homelessness in Oxfordshire and nationwide, having led calls for the Vagrancy Act to be scrapped, and opposing Oxford City Council’s homelessness fines.
Layla has asked 11 parliamentary questions so far on the issue, with the Government still refusing to provide exact numbers for how many charities and local authorities it has worked with on the scheme.
Despite saying in an answer to one of Moran’s questions that “[t]he service is not an enforcement approach”, the five staff members who operate the RSSS were reassigned “from within Immigration Enforcement” at the Home Office.
Furthermore, the Home Office did not reveal how many cases were referred to and prioritised by the RSSS from elsewhere, nor how many status checks the scheme has conducted, because they “do not form part of the body of published official immigration statistics”.
The department also said that it could not show how many deportations had resulted from information supplied under the RSSS from charities and councils.
Commenting, Layla Moran said:
“These answers from Caroline Nokes were inadequate and evasive.
“The Rough Sleeping Support Service is a continuation of the Government’s hostile environment policy, and I think it says it all that it is being run from within Immigration Enforcement at the Home Office.
“The Home Office argues that this cannot be done with their statistics, but then what is the point of having a scheme where you can’t accurately measure its performance?
“I and the Liberal Democrats demand better. We need to end the hostile environment and take a compassionate approach to rough sleeping and homelessness in our society. That must include scrapping the cruel Vagrancy Act.”