Wednesday, December 02, 2020
Sunday, November 29, 2020
Sunday, November 22, 2020
The Liberal Democrats are calling on PM to negotiate an “Adjustment Period” as part of the deal with the EU, to ensure British businesses have enough time to prepare for the new trading relationship with Europe.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Liberal Democrats warn of a potentially "existential" threat to businesses if they are not given time to adjust and argue that - by phasing-in new rules, regulations and procedures - businesses would have the "breathing space" they need to prepare and adapt.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
"Businesses cannot afford to be hit with the double whammy of Covid and disrupted trade with Europe, our biggest trading partner. With job losses already mounting, the danger is unemployment will rise still further in the new year, unless urgent action is taken.
"Despite months of negotiations, businesses are still in the dark about the details of their future trading relationship with Europe. With just weeks to go and our economy on its knees, this is inexcusable.
"The Prime Minister must urgently recognise what's in the best interests of British businesses, and secure a time-bound adjustment period to allow firms to adapt to new trade arrangements and save jobs.”
Friday, November 20, 2020
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Responding to the Government's "Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution", Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:
"This plan fails to undo the damage the Conservatives have done to the UK's progress on climate change over the past five years. It pledges to continue selling fossil fuel powered hybrid cars past 2030 and promises to extend the Green Homes Grant by just one year.
Sunday, November 15, 2020
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Monday, November 02, 2020
Responding to news that the four Governments of the UK have met to develop a UK-wide approach to restrictions for the festive period, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
"People across our family of nations will be reassured to hear that efforts are at last underway to ensure everyone is subject to the same guidance as they plan for the festive period, as first called for by the Liberal Democrats.
"But today's meeting can only be a first step. We need to see results, not just platitudes. That means comprehensive, uniform guidance for family gatherings across the UK, as well as a common approach to transport, student return and asymptomatic testing. This must happen urgently.
"If we are to both keep people safe and ensure families have any chance of spending holidays such as Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas together, then Ministers across these isles must now get a grip on the failing test, trace and isolate trace system."
Friday, October 23, 2020
A Liberal Democrat Bill to grant all Hong Kong Citizens a pathway to UK citizenship and “strengthen the UK’s historic bond with the people of Hong Kong” is scheduled to have its Second Reading debate in the House of Commons today.
The Bill, tabled by Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, Chair of the APPG on Hong Kong and Patron of Hong Kong Watch, would create a route to UK citizenship for all Hong Kongers.
By expanding British National Overseas (BNO) status to all Hong Kongers, the Bill goes well beyond the Conservative Government’s current citizenship commitments, which extend only to specific groups currently eligible to claim BNO status.
The Liberal Democrats have condemned the Home Office’s “deceptive” claim that the cost of a five-year visa for Hong Kongers will be just £250, as the true figure will be well over £3000 once the Immigration Health Surcharge is taken into account.
Ahead of the Bill’s scheduled calling, Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat MP, Chair of the APPG on Hong Kong and Patron of Hong Kong Watch said:
“Many Hong Kongers have suffered grave persecution at the hands of the Chinese Regime. We have a moral duty to act.
“By providing a clear route to citizenship for all Hong Kongers, my Bill will strengthen the UK’s historic bond with the people of Hong Kong and show our continued commitment to the Joint Declaration, something that the Chinese regime has utterly betrayed.
“We also need to make sure that the citizenship offer is affordable. The Home Office’s claim that it will only cost £250 is deceptive given the upfront costs of the Immigration Health Surcharge.
“I urge the Conservatives to do the right thing for all of the people of Hong Kong and back this Bill today. In addition, we need to see measures to put in place an international lifeboat system as a matter of urgency, should the situation deteriorate further.”
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Today, Liberal Democrat Peer Paul Scriven has secured a commitment from Health Minister Lord Bethell to publish the agreement between the Government and police chiefs over the decision to share test and trace data.
Responding to the vote on Lord Judge's motion to the Internal Market Bill in the House of Lords, with the Government being defeated by 395 votes to 169 votes, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords Dick Newby said:
"For a long time now we have known that Boris Johnson and his Ministers have little regard for the rule of law, but this Bill goes far beyond what any Prime Minister should even contemplate – let alone pursue.
"How can this Government seriously expect to condemn other countries, like Russia and China, for failing to respect international law if they plan to flout it themselves when it comes to the Withdrawal Agreement?
"However, there is still time to ditch the Bill and prevent it from becoming law. The Government must row back and do what it can to salvage the UK’s international reputation.
"Breaking the law has consequences – and this resounding loss in the House of Lords is one of them. Liberal Democrats will always stand up for the rule of law – and plan to continue to stand up to those who think they’re above it."
The Liberal Democrats have warned that the Conservatives are risking a new Windrush-style scandal, as the Government overturned the Party's amendments to end indefinite immigration detention and protect the rights of British nationals living in the EU and EU citizens in the UK.
Yesterday evening, Conservative MPs rejected all 10 cross-party amendments to the Government’s Immigration Bill, passed by the House of Lords earlier this month, including three from the Liberal Democrats.
Amendment 5 – tabled by Liberal Democrat Lord Oates – would force the Government to provide EU citizens in the UK who are granted Settled or Pre-Settled Status with physical proof of their migration status, instead of the digital-only proof under the Government’s current system. It was rejected by 331 votes to 260.
The 28-day time limit on immigration detention (Amendment 6) – introduced by Baroness Hamwee in the House of Lords – was defeated by 328 votes to 264.
The Bill will now return to the Lords to continue “ping-pong” tomorrow.
Following the votes, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:
“The Conservatives’ decision to overturn these Liberal Democrat amendments shows how empty their promises to guarantee citizens’ rights after Brexit and to fix the broken immigration system really are. Their Hostile Environment is, sadly, alive and well.
“Indefinite detention is inhumane, expensive and unnecessary. The Tories may have blocked a time limit today, but Liberal Democrats will continue the fight to save money and prevent misery.
“Meanwhile, the Windrush Scandal showed the devastating impact of the Hostile Environment on people who cannot easily prove their rights. By denying EU citizens physical proof of Settled Status, the Government risks making them the victims of a new Windrush-style Scandal.”
Responding to the Victims Commissioner’s report on rape survivors and the criminal justice system, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:
“Survivors deserve justice. They must be properly supported to come forward and be listened to when they do.
“However, as this report shows, far too many survivors are put off reporting the crime for fear of being disbelieved, and far too many who do come forward find the whole process traumatic. Government inaction is failing survivors of sexual violence and allowing too many criminals to walk free.
“It is incomprehensible that the Government’s review of rape cases is doing so little to engage with survivors – especially given the clear evidence that the system simply isn’t working for them.
“Ministers must listen to survivors, complete the review as soon as possible, and urgently make improvements across the whole justice system. Survivors mustn’t be left waiting any longer for the justice they need.”
Friday, October 16, 2020
The Liberal Democrats yesterday led cross-party opposition to the Government’s Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, calling a vote against the legislation in the House of Commons.
The Bill, which would create a legal basis for certain government bodies to authorise undercover agents to commit crimes in the UK, has given rise to major concerns among MPs and human rights organisations for its breadth and the lack of sufficient limits, safeguards and oversight.
The Liberal Democrats voted against Third Reading this afternoon, but most Conservative MPs backed it and Labour abstained, so the Bill passed by 313 votes to 98.
A Liberal Democrat amendment (Amendment 16) would have restricted the powers in the Bill to the police, the intelligence services, the National Crime Agency and the Serious Fraud Office – in contrast to the Government’s plans to extend them to a much longer list of public bodies including the Environment Agency, the Food Standards Agency, the Gambling Commission and three government departments.
The amendment received cross-party backing from Labour, SNP, Green and Alliance MPs, as well as the Conservatives’ David Davis. However, most Conservative MPs voted against, defeating it 65-311 as Labour abstained.
Following the vote, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:
"This is a dangerous Bill from a Conservative Government that is careless with our rights and freedoms.
"We all understand the need for MI5 and the police to authorise undercover agents to do things that would, in normal circumstances, be illegal. If the Government had restricted itself to that, it would have resounding cross-party support.
“Instead, the Tories are using their majority to ram through things that no responsible Government should do. They are trying to award far too broad powers to far too many parts of government, with virtually no safeguards.
"That’s why the Liberal Democrats worked cross-party to try and fix this law. With the Government blocking our amendments, we had no choice but to vote against the Bill."
Responding to reports that the Prime Minister has said it's time to 'get ready' for no deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
"Boris Johnson’s handling of Brexit has been disastrous and these reckless comments are just further evidence of the Prime Minister's incompetence. It has been more than four years since the referendum and yet here we are with a potential no deal and less than three months until the transition period ends.
"At a time when the UK is already facing the biggest crisis in generations as a result of coronavirus, we cannot afford to crash out of the EU without a deal in place or to accept a rushed, bad deal. The Government cannot allow people's livelihoods to be put further at risk, when so many are already struggling to get by.
"The Liberal Democrats will continue to hold the Conservative Government to account as Ministers fail to deliver what they promised, and try and ensure we get the best deal available."
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Responding to reports that Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, which incorporates the Cardiff-based Peacocks, is at risk of collapsing after it filed a notice to appoint administrators, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
"The fact that thousands of jobs are at risk as Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group faces collapse clearly underlines the extent of the challenge to businesses across the UK and to all of those struggling to get by.
"Rishi Sunak cannot simply dismiss those struggling as not viable, and pretend that somehow the economy is on anything like a path to reopening.
"The Chancellor must announce today a guarantee of more support for those who desperately need it, including extending furlough until next June and broadening it to support everyone. If the Government doesn't roll out more support these job losses will just be the beginning of what's yet to come."
Friday, October 09, 2020
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to extend furlough as new figures (GDP monthly estimate, UK: August 2020) reveal growth in August was slower than the expansion seen in both June and July. Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to grant EU citizens the automatic right to stay in the UK, with the physical proof they need, as new Home Office figures reveal thousands are being refused and 1.8 million have not been granted the right to stay permanently.
Tuesday, October 06, 2020
The Liberal Democrats are calling for an investment of £150 billion over the next three years to drive a green economic recovery. The call comes as the Prime Minister is set to unveil plans to invest just £160 million in wind turbines in a speech at the Conservative Party Conference.
Ed Davey, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:
"People across the UK are worried about the planet and for their children's futures. We need a Government that leads from the front when it comes to tackling the climate emergency. But just a few years ago Boris Johnson claimed a wind turbine "couldn't blow the skin off a rice pudding".
"He is now late to the table and, regrettably, still not ambitious enough. If the Prime Minister really wants to deliver a groundbreaking Green Recovery, he would be talking about investing billions, not millions, in offshore wind and other renewables. £160 million is a tiny fraction of the investment needed.
"Thanks to Liberal Democrat policies, the UK has become the world leader in offshore wind. Now we want to see £150 billion invested over the next three years in a green economic recovery plan. From real ambition in renewable energy to restoring vital habitats, this is about securing sustainable growth to benefit future generations."
The Government has been defeated on the Immigration Bill, including amendments from the Liberal Democrats to protect the rights of British nationals living in the EU and EU citizens in the UK.
An amendment from Baroness Hamwee to preserve the right of UK nationals living in the EU to bring non-British family members with them if they return to the UK was passed yesterday afternoon.
Another amendment passed last night, tabled by Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates, to force the Government to provide EU citizens in the UK who are granted Settled or Pre-Settled Status with physical proof of their migration status – instead of the digital-only proof under the Government’s current system.
Following the votes, Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Sally Hamwee said:
"The UK’s immigration system is broken, and it is hurting everyone. By making it harder for employers to recruit the workers they need and exposing more people to the discriminatory Hostile Environment, the Conservatives’ plans to end free movement will make things much worse.
"Liberal Democrats are also standing up for Brits in Europe and EU citizens in the UK. The Prime Minister promised that their rights would not be diminished by Brexit, and our amendments are crucial to upholding that promise.
"I hope the Government will now accept the common sense amendments that we have passed today, and not seek to overturn them in the Commons. These changes are badly needed to help restore public confidence in our immigration system."