Saturday, January 12, 2019

UC needs investment, not just reform

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has warned that the Conservatives must commit to “major investment” to remedy the problems with Universal Credit. Ms Jardine said:
"The Conservative's botched roll-out of Universal Credit continues to cause real pain and misery that must be stopped. Liberal Democrats demand better than the Conservatives’ cruel policy of balancing the books on the backs of the poor.

“Instead of putting the most vulnerable in society through another 12 months of misery, Rudd should end the benefits freeze immediately and fully restore the billions the Tories cut from Universal Credit’s Work Allowance. That is the major investment we need. Failure to do so will see this crisis go on and on.

"Meantime, Liberal Democrats know child benefit can make the difference between families with young children making ends meet or not. Rudd simply has not gone far enough. Nothing short of fully reversing the two-child cap on child benefit will be acceptable."

Grayling has lost the plot

Responding to claims from Chris Grayling that blocking Brexit could lead to a rise in neo-Nazi extremist groups, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

"Chris Grayling has lost the plot. This kind of scaremongering is not only dangerous, but it is embarrassing.

“Politicians should be focused on healing the divisions in our country, not shamefully stoking the fire in order to secure support for Theresa May's botched deal.

“This Conservative Government has lost all moral authority. It is time to take back control of this Brexit process and give the people a final say on the deal, including the option to remain in the EU.”

Short-term sentences of 12 months or less must be scrapped now

Responding to the Prisons Minister's comments that jail sentences of six months or less should be scrapped, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said: 

"Short-term sentences perpetuate the crisis in our overcrowded prisons, cost millions and don’t work to prevent crime. Robust community-based sentences are far more successful in reducing re-offending and the chance of more people becoming victims of crime.

"Indications from the Prison Minister that he agrees is testament to the campaigners who have long made this case. However, the Prison Minister does not go far enough. Liberal Democrats demand better.

"Our goal must be to transform prisons into places of rehabilitation and recovery, to cut re-offending and make our communities safer. That means urgent action now to scrap prison sentences of 12 months or less, not just six months or less."

Friday, January 11, 2019

Lib Dems secure vital change to tackle 'Sex for Rent' crimes

Following a campaign by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, started back in October, the Crown Prosecution Service has published new guidance on the prosecution of 'Sex for Rent' crimes.

Responding to the victory, Wera Hobhouse said:

"This is a huge step forward in protecting vulnerable people. The new guidelines should give police and prosecutors the tools they need to bring to justice these predatory landlords taking advantage of the housing crisis.

"Sex for rent is a vile crime which has risen as more and more people struggle to afford to put a roof over their heads. The perpetrators are preying on incredibly vulnerable individuals and I am glad Ministers have listened and worked with me to ensure more is done to put an end to it.

"Updating these guidelines is important not only to make clear that asking for sex in place of rent is illegal, but also to ensure police are more aware of this exploitation. I hope now to see more prosecutions of this crime, so that justice is done and we stamp out this vile practice once and for all."

Blackwood appointment shows Tories ignoring demands for House of Lords reform

Responding to the reports that Nicola Blackwood has been given a peerage in the House of Lords, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords Dick Newby said:

“With the announcement of another Tory peerage for life, the Prime Minister continues to move away from the proposals set out in the Burns Report which would ensure a fair reduction of numbers in the House of Lords.

“The proposed reforms are completely undermined by this appointment.  If we are to make serious progress with reform of the House of Lords we need cross-party agreement and, crucially, cross-party commitment.

“Our outdated electoral system means that many feel politics does not work for them. It is long overdue that the Conservative Government stopped ignoring demands for reform.”

[Note: Nicola Blackwood is the Conservative who gained the parliamentary seat of Oxford West and Abingdon from Evan Harris in 2010, but lost to Layla Moran, now our party's speaker on education in England, in 2017.]

We will use “any means possible” to secure proper Brexit debate

Responding to reports that Downing Street believes that if May’s deal is voted down, as expected, the Plan B debate outlined under the Grieve amendment will only be 90min long with one amendment, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said: 
“This is yet another shameful attempt from Theresa May and her cronies to shut down the right of MPs to debate the unraveling consequences of this Brexit mess.
“Clearly the Conservatives have learnt nothing from the last two defeats if they believe Parliament will accept a measly 90 minute debate with only one amendment.
“Liberal Democrats demand better. We will use all parliamentary means possible to secure proper debate, including debating a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the EU.”

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Manufacturing companies let down by blundering Conservative Government

Responding to the news that 72% of manufacturers have said Brexit was their biggest source of uncertainty, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:
 “We have already heard today about how car sales have fallen by the biggest amount since the days of the financial crisis, and now we can see the damage Brexit is doing to the manufacturing sector.

"The uncertainty surrounding Brexit is doing untold damage to our economy. With businesses up and down the country left in the dark by this blundering Conservative Government, Theresa May must stop playing political games with people's jobs.

"The Tories have lost the right to call themselves the party of business. The only way out of this mess is to end the deadlock with a People’s Vote."

Cable: Bumbling Government taking 'Dad's Army' approach to Brexit

Three times as many lorries using Portsmouth International Port as a result of a no-deal Brexit would result in gridlock and potential closure to parts of the motorway, Leader of the Liberal Democrats was told today. 
The warning from Mike Sellars, Manager of Portsmouth International Port, came during Vince Cable's visit to the port alongside the Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson.
Following the visit, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said: 
“This shows the bumbling incompetence of the Government taking a 'Dad’s Army' approach to no deal Brexit preparations.

“Motorway closures are unacceptable; throwing the Portsmouth port into chaos shows the disregard Conservative Ministers have for the people of a city who voted for Brexit.

"Now the people of Portsmouth must pay for the Conservative Government's incompetence.”

Government defeat shows NO DEAL not an option

Responding to the Government’s defeat on Amendment 7 to the Finance Bill, which limits their ability to raise tax if there is a no deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

“The Conservative Government’s defeat this evening shows Parliament’s rejection of a no deal. This amendment goes some way to taking no deal off the table, but it is crucial it is removed as an option entirely.

“Theresa May must stop gambling with our future. It is entirely within her power to take no deal off the table, however she is recklessly keeping it there as a scare tactic due to the lack of support for her deal.

“The only real alternative to get us out of this mess is to legislate for a people's vote, with the option to remain in the EU.”

Friday, January 04, 2019

Government must follow airports and invest in drone protection

Responding to reports that both Heathrow and Gatwick airport have spent millions of pounds in anti-drone technology, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson said:

"It appears that, rather belatedly, airports are now investing in the technology needed so that in the future they can manage any misuse of drones much more effectively. The Conservative Government must follow suit immediately to ensure that both police and armed forces are also better prepared to deal with any future disruption caused.

"The chaos over Christmas could have been avoided. Chris Grayling must stop sitting on his hands and reverse his decision to abandon legislation which would regulate the drone market. 

"This whole fiasco has not only demonstrated how much of a distraction Brexit is becoming in stalling vital legislation in Parliament, but that the extent of this Government's ineptitude knows no bounds."

Tories must end brinkmanship over security in Northern Ireland

Responding to the reports that nearly 1,000 police officers are to begin training for deployment in Northern Ireland in case of disorder from a no-deal Brexit, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

“The Brexiters' claims that the security of Northern Ireland is not at risk as a result of Brexit have been further dismantled by these reports. In the interest of public safety the Government must take 'no deal' off the table.
"The Conservative Government's policy has been driven by the DUP who do not represent the majority in Northern Ireland who voted to remain.
"The people of Northern Ireland demand much better than this. The Prime Minister must act responsibly, end this brinkmanship, and give the people the chance to get out of this mess once and for all with a people's vote."

Thursday, January 03, 2019

All that Gove is offering farmers is uncertainty

Responding to Michael Gove’s speech to the Oxford Farming Conference, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said: 

“Mr Gove is still not listening to any experts while it is clear he has forgotten the assurances he and his cronies gave the farming community during the referendum. Farmers have certainly not forgotten. 
“To plan for their business properly, farmers need to know how much money they’ll get, what standards they need to meet and what tariffs they need to pay. All Gove and co. are offering is yet further uncertainty. 
“This is a national embarrassment, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. The people must have the final say on Brexit, with the option to restore certainty and security for farmers by remaining in the EU.”