Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Conservative Campaign HQ's Twitter factchecking ploy is straight of Putin's playbook

Responding to Conservatives rebranding their Twitter account as "factcheckUK" during tonight's ITV leaders' debate, Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said:

"This is straight out of Donald Trump or Putin’s playbook. Not content with excluding the voice of Remain from this debate, the Tories are now resorting to deliberately misleading the public.

"People know they can't trust a word that Boris Johnson or the Conservatives say. The country deserves better. Only the Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit on day one and build a brighter future."

Lib Dems respond to Farage comments on local Tory and Brexit Party deals

Responding to Nigel Farage’s comments that deals are being done at a local level between Brexit Party and Conservative candidates, Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said:

“The Conservative party is no longer recognisable to millions of moderate voters across the country. They have gone from the party of Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine to the party of Nigel Farage and Donald Trump.

“With so little to separate the Brexit Party and Tories, it’s little wonder their candidates no longer see each other as competition.

“The Liberal Democrats are the only party that will end this nightmare by stopping Brexit and building a brighter future for our country.”

Johnson offers failed knife crime policies

Responding to Boris Johnson's announcement on knife crime, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Ed Davey said: 

“The UK is in the grip of an epidemic of serious violence, and we urgently need real solutions. Instead, all the Tories can offer are the same old failed policies.

“These Conservative policies are all about seeming tough on crime, but they won’t actually do anything to make our communities safer.

“Boris Johnson tried a massive expansion of suspicion-less Stop and Search when he was Mayor. His own Government’s analysis shows it didn’t work to stop knife crime then, and it won’t work now.

“All it will do is see more young BAME people disproportionately targeted and undermine the trust and confidence police officers need to gather intelligence and prevent crime.

“Only the Liberal Democrats will invest in the things that actually work to build safer communities: more community policing, more youth services and a proper public health approach to serious violence.”

Monday, November 18, 2019

Arcuri interview suggests Johnson abused his position as Mayor

Responding to Jennifer Arcuri's interview on ITV last night, Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture Secretary Layla Moran said:

"The evidence is mounting that the Prime Minister, the then mayor of London, abused his position to forward the business interests of his friend Jennifer Arcuri. This flouts the very rules he was meant to uphold and is further evidence that Boris Johnson is both wholly incompetent and not to be trusted.

"The move to postpone the decision of whether there should be an investigation into the Prime Minister until after election cannot stand. Voters must have the full facts on who they are voting for before they go the polls on December the 12th.

"Only the Liberal Democrats can take seats from the Conservatives this election and offer the British public the chance to stop Brexit and build a brighter future."

Swinson: The Liberal Democrats are the party of business

Today Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson will be making a speech to business leaders at the CBI annual conference. She will be making the case that the Liberal Democrats are the natural party of business.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Tory nurse tax ballooning due to immigration health surcharge rise

Today the Liberal Democrats have slammed reports that Boris Johnson's Conservatives have pledged to make all those permanently relocating to the UK pay an increased surcharge of £625, further increasing what was dubbed by the Liberal Democrats the 'nurse tax'.

The 'nurse tax' was the policy outlined just last week by the Tory Party that the Immigration health surcharge and immigration visa fee were being extended to EU health professionals, coming to the UK to work in the NHS.

Following these announcements, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Christine Jardine said:

“The Tory nurse tax is ballooning due to the immigration health surcharge rise announced today and is an insult to the thousands of people who dedicate their lives coming to work for our health service from the EU.

“The NHS relies on 20,000 EU nurses, 10,000 EU doctors, and we’ve already lost more than 5,000 EU nurses in the last 2 years. Without EU doctors and nurses our NHS would not be able to function and our loved ones would not receive the care they need. 

“Equally, Matt Hancock’s comments today are heartless. He should know better than anyone how important international workers are to our NHS. 

“For Matt Hancock to say that these doctors and nurses are not making a fair contribution towards our NHS is appalling. And for the Conservatives to charge people even more money to work in our NHS – when we are already struggling with severe staff shortages – is irresponsible and absurd. 

“The Liberal Democrats have the solution to the NHS staff crisis: stop Brexit so that we can build a brighter future for our NHS".

Frank Little, local Liberal Democrat officer, added:
"Yet another penalty imposed on the Welsh NHS which the Senedd can do nothing about."

Bolton fire shows further action must be taken to ensure building safety

Responding to news that cladding may have been a factor in a fire at a student accommodation block in Bolton, Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government said: 

“My thoughts are with all those affected by this incident and our emergency services teams who tackled the blaze last night.   

“In the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, it is absolutely shocking to witness another high-rise fire in which cladding may have been a factor in allowing the fire to spread.  

“Lives are in danger. The government must act immediately to make sure that all high-rise buildings are safe to live in, whether they are owned by councils, housing associations or the private sector. The priority must be people’s safety. There is no excuse for inaction.

“It’s also essential that we review building safety regulations to ensure that building materials are fit for purpose and do not pose a fire risk. We cannot allow buildings to be built that endanger people’s live.” 

Lib Dems commit £6 billion per year to strengthen welfare system

The Liberal Democrats will announce bold proposals to invest £6 billion per year to strengthen the welfare system over the next Parliament. This forms part of the party's ambitious plans to build a brighter future.

Tory austerity has left a fifth of UK citizens in poverty, unable to afford even the most basic essentials. The Liberal Democrats will tackle this crisis by committing £6 billion per year to strengthen the welfare system over the next Parliament. Liberal Democrat proposals will prioritise tackling child poverty by abolishing the cruel two-child limit for Universal Credit and ending the unfair benefits cap. 

A Liberal Democrat government will make work pay and tackle in-work poverty, by using part of the Remain bonus - the £50 billion of extra funding that would be generated by stopping Brexit - to restore Work Allowances and introduce a second-earner Work Allowance. A Liberal Democrat government will also invest in boosting the Local Housing Allowance by linking it to average rents in each area.

Liberal Democrat plans to strengthen the UK's welfare system will protect the most vulnerable and help to build a brighter future. 

Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions Tim Farron said:

“For too many people in the UK today, working hard and playing by the rules is no longer enough to secure a decent life. Millions of people’s lives have worsened under the Conservatives. Since 2015 they have bungled the roll-out of Universal Credit, made brutal cuts to benefits and introduced their senseless two-child limit that is fuelling child poverty.
“The Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and invest billions of pounds from the Remain bonus in building a brighter future for those struggling in our society. We will fix our broken welfare system to ensure that everyone has the same opportunities regardless of where they come from.”

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Lib Dems announce proposals to fix broken immigration system

The Liberal Democrats today unveiled their Plan for Immigration and Asylum. The plan sets out the party’s ambitious proposals for a fair, effective immigration system – part of the Liberal Democrats' broader plan to build a brighter future.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto will outline plans to reform and strengthen our immigration system by:
  • Saving EU free movement and safeguarding the rights of UK and EU citizens. 
  • Scrapping the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment.
  • Investing in officers, training and technology to prevent illegal entry at Britain’s borders, assist seekers of sanctuary and combat human trafficking and the smuggling of people, weapons, drugs and wildlife.
  • Making detention an absolute last resort, with a 28-day time limit.
  • Resettling 10,000 vulnerable refugees each year, and a further 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children from elsewhere in Europe over the next ten years.
Announcing the plan, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Christine Jardine said:

“The UK’s immigration system is broken and it is hurting everyone. Employers can’t recruit the workers they need. People are wrongly denied access to healthcare and housing, detained and even deported. Public confidence in the system has been shattered.

“Decades of hostile policies and rhetoric from Labour and Conservative governments have created a system that no one trusts, and that fails to respect people’s dignity. Now both Labour and the Conservatives want to make it all much worse by delivering Brexit and ending free movement.

“Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future, with a fair, effective immigration system that treats everyone with dignity and respect. We will scrap the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment, restore dignity and common sense, and stop Brexit to save free movement.”

Lib Dems announce plans to plant 60 million trees a year


Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson will plant a tree in Hampstead today (Saturday 16 November), as the party announces ambitious proposals to undertake the largest tree-planting programme in UK history. A Liberal Democrat government will plant 60 million trees every year, increasing UK forest cover by 1 million hectares by 2045.

Just 13% of the UK is currently covered by woodland, far below the European Union average of 35%. The Conservatives have woefully failed to meet their own targets for planting trees in the past year. Only 1,420 hectares of trees were planted in England in the year to March 2019, 71% short of the Conservative government’s target of 5,000 hectares for the same period.

Planting trees is one of the most viable ways of removing carbon from the atmosphere and is vital for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The initiative will be a key part of the Liberal Democrat party's plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and to halve emissions by 2030 compared to today.

Reforesting will have other benefits such as helping reverse our declining biodiversity, reducing air pollution and improving public spaces. It will also increase use of timber products in construction, which capture carbon and reduce construction emissions. 

Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat Leader said:

“The climate emergency is destroying our natural environment and threatening our children’s futures. We will tackle the climate emergency by taking bold action to rapidly reduce carbon emissions as quickly as possible, and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. 

“Our plan includes the largest tree-planting programme in UK history, which will green our towns and countryside to absorb damaging emissions. This will help us reach net-zero emissions, and will nurture biodiversity, combat air pollution and improve public spaces.

“It’s clear that the Conservative Party doesn’t take climate change seriously. Only the Liberal Democrats have a radical plan to make a real impact in the fight against climate change and build a brighter future for our planet.”

Liberal Democrats have a Green pedigree

Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats president Ron McConville traces the history of the Green movement in Britain.

In 1975 the Ecology Group was started. Not many months later, 1977 saw the formation of the Liberal Ecology Group. (Only in 1985 did Ecology become the Green Party.)

Ron adds: "For the following decades we saw the constant jibes of Labour and Tory whenever our MPs spoke on environmental issues. Year after year we saw Press banging on about those sandaled, bearded Liberals. Constantly our activists were derided, quite often again on ecological issues."

He presses the leadership: "how can we convince a majority of those who now believe, and protest - vote Liberal Democrat?"

Throughout the years, the sentiment that “Each generation shall be responsible for the fate of the earth and the balance of nature” remained at the heart of Liberal constitutions and persists to this day in the Preamble to the Liberal Democrat Constitution. Part of the second paragraph reads: "We believe that each generation is responsible for the fate of our planet and, by safeguarding the balance of nature and the environment, for the long term continuity of life in all its forms."

And if our leaders ever back-slide, a very vigorous party group is there to bring them back into line: the Green Liberal Democrats.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Our general election candidates

Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats are pleased to confirm that our candidate for the Neath constituency in the December general election is Adrian Kingston-Jones.

Ex-RAF technician and local Security Officer, Adrian is a member of the GMB Union and a reading member of the RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) and Gorwel (independent non-party Welsh) Think Tanks. Living in the constituency, he enjoys hill walking, reading, writing, listening to music and target rifle shooting.

Adrian moved into Neath in 2012 and is actively and passionately interested in Welsh affairs, multi-culturalism and reducing xenophobia, increasing fairness and equality and reducing social disenfranchisement, and matters relating to defence and preserving the Military Covenant. He is, of course, passionate too about remaining in the EU.

He said, “The EU has given us decades of peace, unusual in Europe, and places us in an economic block that counters the weight of Russia, China and the United States – all of whom would love us to become an easier to pick off island."

Another unaffordable item on Labour's wish list

Responding to Labour's plans to part-nationalise BT, Sam Gyimah, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: 

"It might be a Christmas election, but this is getting silly. Another day, another unaffordable item on the wish list. 

"Wasting billions of taxpayer funds to nationalise BT, won’t solve the connectivity issues faced by so many of our rural communities. The Labour plan is less open-reach, more overreach. 

"Liberal Democrat’s recognise the need for every community to have high quality internet access. We will take bold steps to ensure local communities can channel investment into priority digital infrastructure projects. We will ensure companies are held to account in delivering on universal service obligations, and that regulation is fit for purpose as technology evolves.  

"This is part of the Liberal Democrats bold plan for a brighter, better-connected future."

A Lib Dem government would spend £100bn on tackling climate emergency

Today Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor and Deputy Leader Ed Davey will be making his General Election keynote speech in Leeds.
The former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change will announce that a Liberal Democrat government would spend and invest an extra £100 billion of public finance on tackling the climate emergency and environmental preservation. 
Ed Davey will also use his speech to attack the Government's fantasy plans for the economy and further outline how the Remain bonus will be invested.
Ed Davey is expected to say:

On the Government's fantasy economics

"The Conservatives have made our economy weak – much weaker than people realise. Too many people can’t live a secure, happy and fulfilling life. And too many businesses face crippling uncertainty over their future. 
"Yet so far, the economy debate in this election has been a debate between fantasies. Fantasies born of nostalgia for a British Imperial past. Competing with fantasies from a failed 1970s ideology."
On the £100 billion for climate and the environment
"A Liberal Democrat Government will jump-start an economy-wide programme to tackle the climate emergency: I can announce today that across a 5 year Parliament, Liberal Democrats would spend and invest an extra £100 billion of public finance on climate action and environmental preservation. 
"This includes a new £10 billion Renewable Power Fund to leverage in over £100 billion of extra private climate investment. This will fast-track deployment of clean energy, to make Britain not just the world leader in offshore wind, but also the global number one in tidal power too.  And we will invest £15 billion more to make every building in the country greener, with an emergency ten-year programme to save energy, end fuel poverty and cut heating bills."
On the Remain bonus
"Brexit is already costing the economy £1 billion a week. And the future cost to Britain in lower economic growth could be even higher, if Brexit were actually to happen.

"That’s why the election debate on the economy and public spending has Brexit at its heart. For the plain fact is, no party’s economic plan is remotely credible unless it starts with stopping Brexit.  With stopping Brexit as our number one economic policy, Liberal Democrats won’t just grow the economy faster, but we’ll generate a £50 billion Remain Bonus – to pay for our huge extra investment in schools and our policies to tackle inequality."

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Tesla announcement demolishes Johnson's Brexit fantasy

Responding to the announcement that Tesla will be investing in a new factory in Germany and not the UK due to Brexit uncertainty, Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake:

"On Boris Johnson's first day in Downing Street, Dominic Cummings was pictured wearing a T- shirt picturing a company founded by Elon Musk. Now the very entrepreneur Cummings idolises has chosen not to invest in the UK because of the extreme Brexit being pursued by this government.

"Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is giving a speech at an electric car factory the very same day that we find out this industry is being damaged by his Brexit plans.

"You really couldn't make it up. This completely demolishes the Johnson and Cummings Brexit fantasy and shows their deluded plans are already costing the country vital investment and making us all poorer.

"The best way to stop this Brexit nightmare, kick Johnson and Cummings out of Number 10 and build a brighter future is to vote Liberal Democrat on December 12."

Tories pushing 'Trumpian agenda' on immigration

Responding to Priti Patel’s comments regarding cutting overall levels of immigration, Liberal Democrats Shadow Home Affairs spokesperson, Christine Jardine said:
“This country needs people to come here to keep our NHS and so many sectors properly skilled and staffed. The Conservatives' approach to immigration is an insult to the millions who have come to the UK and made it their home. Immigration brings so much to our communities, culture and economy.
“Patel’s comments this morning show that the Tories only care about arbitrarily reducing immigration numbers with no regard for the consequences. Our public services, including our NHS, rely on the contribution that immigrants make. But the Tories are willing to put this at risk just to pursue a nationalist Trumpian agenda.  
“It is only the Liberal Democrats who will restore public confidence in the immigration system by preserving freedom of movement, stopping Brexit and building a brighter future.”

Reforming Gender Recognition Act can't wait

The Liberal Democrats have announced that they will implement reform of the Gender Recognition Act as a priority, after the Conservative Government failed to bring forward measures despite promises to do so.

Under the plans, to be included in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, the Act will be amended to make the gender recognition process simpler and fairer, by:
  • Removing the requirement for medical reports.
  • Scrapping the fee.
  • Recognising non-binary gender identities.
The Conservative Government promised in 2017 to reform the Gender Recognition Act and held a public consultation on the proposals in 2018. The consultation closed more than a year ago – on 22nd October 2018 – but Conservative Ministers have not published their response to the consultation or brought forward the reforms.

Last month it was reported that the Conservatives had “shelved the plans” and intended them to be “kicked into the long grass”. In response to a question from Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine urging her to implement the reforms, Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss told the House of Commons “I will not be rushed into it”.

Speaking during Transgender Awareness Week, Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Christine Jardine said:
“This government has, by its own admission, kicked these vital changes to the Gender Recognition Act into the long grass. This is prolonging uncertainty and creating unnecessary anxiety for trans people at a time when transphobic hate crime is at a record high.

“The Conservatives’ inaction on this shows a fundamental lack of empathy. They are treating trans people as second-class citizens.

“The Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future where every person’s rights are respected, including expression of their gender identity.”

Lib Dems unveil plan for Equalities and Human Rights

The Liberal Democrats will today (Thursday 14 November) unveil the party’s Plan for Equalities and Human Rights. The plan is at the heart of the party’s vision to build a brighter future for everyone.

The ambitious policies being revealed at a press conference today by Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna include:
  • tackling the rise in hate crimes by making them all aggravated offences
  • providing funding for protective security measures to places of worship, schools and community centres that are vulnerable to hate crime and terror attacks
  • complete the introduction of equal marriage
  • reduce the overrepresentation of people from BAME backgrounds throughout the criminal justice system
Liberal Democrats believe that we should all have the same opportunities regardless of where we come from or our circumstances.

Whilst both Labour and the Conservatives have failed to tackle harmful rhetoric and root out bigotry in their own parties, the Liberal Democrats have a vision for the UK where everyone’s rights and liberties are protected, and our diversity celebrated.

Ahead of the launch of the Plan for Equalities and Human Rights,
Luciana Berger, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Health, Social Care and Wellbeing, said:
"Discrimination has no place in 21st century Britain. Unfortunately this is not the reality for too many in the UK.

"Jeremy Corbyn has inexcusably failed to root out antisemitism in the Labour Party and has betrayed the values of equality and anti-racism against all. The Tories are encouraging ugly nationalism.

"This is simply not acceptable. The British public deserve better. The Liberal Democrats offer a real alternative. We are setting out our vision of how to build a brighter future where everyone’s rights and liberties are protected.

"We want to make all hate crimes aggravated offences. We want to end the overrepresentation of people from BAME backgrounds throughout our criminal justice system. We want to protect our places of worship. We are clear that to ensure a society which is more equal, fair, and where discrimination is punished, government must step up.

"A vote for the Liberal Democrats in this election is a vote for a government with equality for all at the heart of its agenda."
Also speaking ahead of the launch, Chuka Umunna, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary said:

"You can take on the nasty, ugly nationalism we are seeing around the world and in our country, or you can turn a blind eye to it like Labour and the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats are clear - we will take it on because it is the patriotic and the right thing to do.

"We will give no quarter in our defence of the liberal, progressive values of Britain. All those who want to build an open, progressive and inclusive society must vote for the Liberal Democrats in this election to stop Brexit and build a brighter future."

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wollaston: Farage voting Tory shows Johnson has drifted to extremes

Responding to the news* that Nigel Farage is considering voting Tory at the general election, Liberal Democrat candidate for Totnes and ex-Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston said:

“Boris Johnson has drifted so far to the extremes that even Nigel Farage is now considering voting for him.
“The Conservative Party is now indistinguishable from the Brexit Party.
“Both want to pursue a damaging Brexit, cosy up to Trump and plunge the country back into the past.
“As Farage has admitted, the only way to stop this Brexit nightmare becoming a reality is to vote Liberal Democrat, so we can beat Boris Johnson and stop Brexit.”

*Nigel Farage's comments were made in an interview today with PA Media.

Food bank rise the result of brutal Tory cuts to universal credit

Responding to data from the Trussell Trust which shows April to September 2019 to be the busiest half-year period for food banks in their network since the charity opened, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for the Department for Work and Pensions, Tim Farron said:

“The UK remains one of the world’s richest countries, yet for six months of this year 823,145 emergency food parcels were given to people in crisis.
“With financial vulnerability the leading cause of food insecurity, the Conservative’s brutal cuts to Universal Credit since 2015 and their senseless two-child limit, the lives of millions have worsened under the Conservatives.
“Liberal Democrats will bring in a new legal right to food, tackle poverty and build a brighter future by creating the circumstances in which food banks are no longer required.”

Lib Dems: Selection of Chris Davies shows Tories' contempt for voters

Responding to the the news that shamed Brecon former MP Chris Davies has been selected as the Welsh Conservative candidate for Ynys Môn, Deputy Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Christine Humphreys said:
"Over 10,000 people signed the recall petition and decisively rejected Chris Davies at the ballot box in August because they had enough of an MP who put their constituency on the map for all the wrong reasons.
"By selecting Chris Davies to contest Ynys Môn, the Conservatives have demonstrated their utter contempt for the voters of Ynys Môn. This shows they can offer nothing more than an MP who has admitted to providing false information about his expenses claims.
"People deserve better, better than an MP who was rejected by his constituents and has fled his former constituency to seek election somewhere else. Voters should decisively reject Chris Davies at the ballot box on December 12th.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Refusal to publish Russian interference shows Johnson morphing into Trump

Following the reports that Hillary Clinton has said it is "inexplicable and shameful" that the UK government has not yet published a report on alleged Russian interference in British politics, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Chuka Umunna said:
"No-one knows the extent to which Russian interference can have on an election quite like Hillary Clinton. 

"The decision by Boris Johnson to suppress the publication of this intelligence report until after the election undermines our democracy. Boris Johnson is morphing into Donald Trump more and more, day by day.

"Failing to publish the report in advance of people going to the polls implies there is something to hide and leaves voters not knowing whether they can trust the Conservatives.

"Liberal Democrats will continue to demand the release of the report. We are committed to building a brighter future in which our democracy is fair, transparent, and protected."

Lib Dems set out plans to strengthen support for survivors of violence and abuse


Today, the Liberal Democrats have set out how a Liberal Democrat government will strengthen support for survivors of violence against women and girls and domestic abuse.

A Liberal Democrat government will expand the number of refuges and rape crisis centres and ensure sustainable funding for specialist support services, having passed the policy in a motion at Autumn Conference.

The Liberal Democrats will also provide local authorities with the necessary funding to provide accommodation for survivors of abuse, making it a duty for councils to do so. These are vital measures to strengthen support available to survivors of violence and domestic abuse.

Christine Jardine, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Women and Equalities, said: 

“For far too long support services for survivors of domestic abuse have been patchy and inadequate. Unfortunately, under the Tory government, this crisis has continued unchecked.  The Tories promised a Domestic Abuse Bill two years ago. Their failure to bring this into law is an insult to survivors. 

“A Liberal Democrat government will expand the number of refuges and rape crisis centres to ensure that every survivor can access support services. It is vital to invest in preventing and combating violence against women and girls, as well as doing all that we can to support survivors."

Clintons' closures shows Tories ignoring our high streets

Responding to reports that Clintons is considering shop closures and rent cuts as part of survival talks, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Sam Gyimah, said:

“With Clintons shutting stores across the UK as part of its restructuring talks, it’s clearer than ever the inaction by the Conservatives is leaving our high streets in the lurch whilst the odds are stacked against them. The Tories have dragged us into this Brexit mess whilst the biggest issues facing businesses and local communities are being ignored, if not made worse.

“Of course we cannot halt the march of technological progress, but the out of date business rates system is exacerbating the crisis on our high streets.

“We must ensure online retailers pay their fair share of corporation tax, but also Liberal Democrat proposals to replace the business rates system would offer a lifeline to struggling stores.

“As we witness yet another company shutting its stores simply to survive, the need for reform is urgent. This election is a once in a generation opportunity to 

ERG and Brexit Party talks show Farage is now pulling the strings


Responding to the reports that Jacob Rees-Mogg's so-called European Research Group has been in talks with the Brexit Party over Nigel Farage's decision to stand down candidates in Conservative-held seats, Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said:

"These talks show that Nigel Farage is pulling the strings behind the scenes. He is the puppet master in Boris Johnson's Brexit horror show.

"Every vote for the Conservatives is a vote for an extreme Brexit agenda backed by Nigel Farage.

"The Liberal Democrats are the only party this election that can defeat Boris Johnson, stop Brexit and build a brighter future."

Monday, November 11, 2019

Davey: Conservatives and Brexit party are now one and the same

Responding to confirmation that the Brexit party will not contest seats held by Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
“Nigel Farage standing down shows the Conservatives and the Brexit party are now one and the same. Johnson's hard right Brexit takeover of the Tory party has now been endorsed by both Trump and Farage.
“As Nigel Farage has admitted, the Liberal Democrats are the only party at this election that can take seats from the Conservative, stop Brexit and build a brighter future."

Brexit to blame for 'anaemic' economic growth


Responding to the UK's GDP growth figures, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor and Deputy Leader, Ed Davey said:

"Today’s growth figures are anything but a cause for celebration. Over the last year, Britain's growth has slowed to its lowest rate in almost a decade - a disastrous performance by the Conservatives, whose main economic policy of Brexit is a promise of yet more slow growth.

"The economy under the Tories is anaemic.

"Brexit has already cost us at least £55 billion in lost growth and will keep us under-performing for years. Just last week the credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded the UK’s economic outlook. And the Bank of England said growth will be a whole 1% lower in the coming years.

"On the other hand, the extra growth from remaining in the EU would generate a Remain Bonus of over £50 billion. The Liberal Democrats will use that money for a huge cash boost to our schools and to tackle inequality, building a brighter future for the UK."

Gwynne's comments reveal Labour's hand on Brexit

Responding to comments by Labour’s Campaign Coordinator, Andrew Gwynne, that Labour would seek to create “reciprocal agreements with the EU27 that allow British citizens to enjoy some of the freedoms that they will lose as a result of Brexit”, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
"This shows yet again that Corbyn’s Labour party view Brexit as an inevitability. The claims from some Labour MPs that Labour will help stop Brexit are simply a pretence.
"It is not good enough for Labour’s Campaign Coordinator, Andrew Gwynne, to say that Labour would only keep some elements of the freedoms we currently enjoy as members of the EU.
"Liberal Democrats know that freedom of movement is overwhelmingly positive. It allows us to live, love, work, or study in 27 other EU countries.
"We are the strongest Remain party. We will continue to lead the fight to stop Brexit and build a brighter future."

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Lib Dems to waive exorbitant fees for veterans


Today the Liberal Democrats announce that the party will waive the exorbitant "leave to remain" application fees for members of the Armed Forces who were born outside of the UK. The fees cost a family of four almost £10k.
In recent years the fees for these applications have been increased to exorbitant levels: they now stand at £2,389 per person, despite the unit cost to the Home Office of processing an application being just £243. This means that the cost of applying for a family of four is £9,556. 
These excessive fees have prevented many brave veterans from taking up their right to settle in the UK with their families. Some have been forced to leave the country they have served for and lived in for years; others have remained in the UK without immigration status, unable to work in the country they sought to defend.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Defence Secretary Jamie Stone said:
“Foreign and Commonwealth citizens have a proud legacy of serving our country in the Armed Forces. These excessive fees have prevented many brave veterans and their families from living in the UK and forced many to a life of destitution.
“These men and women risk their lives in the service of our country, and the fact they are treated this way by the Conservative party is yet another horrible example of the hostile environment.
“A Liberal Democrat government will waive the outrageous application fees for members of the Armed Forces on discharge and their families.”

Jo Swinson's statement on Remembrance Sunday

Speaking to mark Remembrance Sunday, Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said:

“Today we remember all those who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom. We also give our heartfelt thanks to those members of our armed forces, to veterans and their families, for all they do and the sacrifices they make to keep us safe.

“We know it is so hard for people to be away from their loved ones and we owe them a debt of gratitude. We should also pause to reflect and remember today how fragile peace can be and how important it is that we all continue to stand up alongside our allies to preserve it.”

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Tories and Labour writing promises on cheques that will bounce

Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Ed Davey has warned the Tories and Labour are “writing promises on cheques that will bounce” following speeches by Sajid Javid and John McDonnell today. He said:

“Any form of Brexit, whether red or blue, will make Britain’s economy weaker and people poorer. It means much less tax revenue for the Treasury.
“Neither Labour or the Tories can square their spending promises today with the cost of Brexit. They are writing promises on cheques that will bounce.
“In contrast, every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit, build a brighter future and invest the £50bn Remain bonus in our vital public services and tackle inequality.”

UK growth prospects suffer as a result of Tory Brexit chaos

Responding to news that the Bank of England has revised down the UK’s growth prospects, Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor said:

“The Conservatives have been desperate to hide how economically damaging their Brexit deal would be, but this Bank of England report spills the beans. 

“Boris Johnson’s Brexit would mean lower growth, less investment and less tax revenue to the Treasury. It is yet more proof that Boris Johnson puts party interest ahead of national interest and is happy to make us all worse off.

"A Liberal Democrat government will stop Brexit and boost growth, generating a £50 billion Remain Bonus. Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future, investing in our children’s education and boosting our public services for the future.”

Boris Johnson should call Cobra meeting over flooding emergency


Responding to Boris Johnson's comments that the significant flooding across the UK is not a national emergency, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Communities and Local Government and the Northern Powerhouse Tim Farron said:
“For Boris Johnson to say that he does not consider this a national emergency is insulting to those in the midst of a crisis.

“This shows he doesn’t care about families across the North of England and the Midlands, many of whom are in urgent need of rehousing, have lost their businesses and whose mental health is being impacted.
“There is a human cost to the Prime Minister’s self-interested drive to remain on an election footing. Instead he should put the individuals affected first, call a COBRA meeting, and provide support to those that urgently need it.”

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Environment, said:
“My thoughts are with all of those affected by the floods and I would like to thank the emergency services for their efforts to keep people safe.
“We are facing a climate emergency and severe weather episodes are likely to become more common. It is up to government to introduce policies to mitigate against flood risk and the Tories have not done enough to protect at-risk communities.
“A Liberal Democrat government will establish a flood-prevention fund focused on providing support for small community and council-led schemes. We will invest to reduce upstream flooding and the knock-on effects in downstream and coastal areas, in addition to improving flood defences, and introducing high standards for flood resilience for buildings and infrastructure in flood-risk areas."

Friday, November 08, 2019

BBC now complicit in establishment stitch-up to exclude Remain voice

Responding to news that the BBC will run a head-to-head debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on 6 December 2019, Jo Swinson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats said:
"The BBC are now complicit in another establishment stitch up to shut down debate on the most important issue for generations: Brexit.
"Millions of people voted to Remain in 2016. After three years of chaos, it is shocking that the Liberal Democrats - the strongest party of Remain - are being denied the opportunity to challenge Johnson and Corbyn on Brexit.
"Once again, the leaders of the Tories and Labour are running scared of debating the most important issue for generations.
"The Liberal Democrats are fighting to stop Brexit. We will pursue all options, including legal action, to ensure that our voice is heard in televised leaders' debates.
“It should not be in the gift of any political party to decide whether the public deserve the opportunity to scrutinise those who seek to lead this country. That is why TV debates should be mandatory, and the format should be decided by an independent commission.
“A Liberal Democrat government will ensure that an independent commission is tasked with creating the format for future mandatory debates.”
"The Liberal Democrats are offering hope with our plan to Stop Brexit and generate a £50 billion Remain Bonus for our UK family of nations. This is about building a brighter future. I will keep fighting to ensure our voice is heard."

The Tories' visa plan is a tax on nurses

Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Christine Jardine has slammed the Tories for creating a “Nurse Tax” on EU citizens who come to the UK to work for the NHS.

The new Tory policy extends the Immigration health surcharge of £400 to EU health professionals, coming to the UK to work in our NHS.

The fee, which is £400 per person per year, under Conservative plans could be payable directly out of doctor and nurse salaries.

This would mean an NHS worker from the EU with a family of four, would be expected to pay £8000 over five years. This is on top of the upfront visa application cost of £464 per person or £1856 for a family of four.

Commenting Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Christine Jardine said:

“The Conservatives have effectively created a new Nurse Tax. It is an insult to the thousands of people who dedicate their lives coming to work for our health service from the EU. 

“The NHS currently relies on 10,000 doctors and 20,000 nurses from elsewhere in the EU, and we’ve already lost more than 5,000 EU nurses in the last 2 years.

“Brexit is making the nursing crisis worse, and the only cure the Tories can offer is a new Nurse Tax.

“The Liberal Democrats have the solution to the nursing crisis, Stop Brexit so that we can build a brighter future for our precious NHS."
Frank Little, Neath Liberal Democrat, added:
"The Conservatives lose no opportunity to criticise the devolved NHS in Wales, but they share responsibility for the loss of personnel. The Westminster government has total control over who can come and go. Mrs May created the hostile environment for people whose origins are outside the UK, and the present Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has, if anything, made the atmosphere worse.. Brexit has added to the uncertainty which has caused so many of our NHS staff to leave Wales where they have been happy to reside and serve us."

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Javid has more in common with the Labour party than he thinks

Liberal Democrat shadow Chancellor and Deputy Leader, Ed Davey commented on the outgoing Tory chancellor's presentation today:
“The most significant economic policy divide in this election is between Brexit economics and Remain economics. The uncomfortable truth for Javid is that the Conservatives and Corbyn actually agree on Brexit.
“Brexit, whether red or blue, will be disastrous for Britain, threatening businesses and livelihoods right across the country.
“And the Conservatives and Labour also both want significant shifts in the direction of Britain’s economic policy - one to the hard right and one to the far left. 
“In contrast, the Liberal Democrats are committed to stopping Brexit, to boost growth and generate a Remain Bonus of £50 billion for our public services. This election is a once in a generation opportunity for voters to stop Brexit and build a brighter future.”

Lib Dems are the party of real change, not Labour

Ahead of Labour's unveiling of the slogan ‘it’s time for real change’ on their campaign bus, Chuka Umunna, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Foreign Affairs, said: 

"Jeremy Corbyn’s claim to be ‘real change' stretches credulity, as does his promise that he will be a 'different kind' of Prime Minister. If anything, Corbyn represents the worst aspects of the tired, old politics he pretends to fight against.

"Corbyn has copied Boris Johnson with his promise to 'Get Brexit sorted'. He blocked attempts by his members this year for his party to back remaining in the EU. He has been all-too-happy to see other Party Leaders excluded from ITV's leaders' debate, and he has failed to root out anti Jewish racism in his own party. This is hardly a leader equipped to bring about real change. 

“It's the Liberal Democrats who have a plan to build a brighter future. This starts with stopping Brexit and generating a £50bn Remain Bonus, which will benefit every part of the UK. This means more money to invest in our children's education, tackling the climate emergency and properly funding our mental health services.

"The next generation deserve a new kind of politics. The Liberal Democrats have a next generation leader with a plan to build a brighter future behind which the whole party is united. The Tories and Labour are offering two competing visions of the past, led by leaders who divide their parties and our country.”

OBR pulling public finances forecast "smacks of political interference"

Responding to the news that the Office of Budgetary Responsibility will no longer be publishing updated forecasts of the public finances, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Ed Davey commented:

“It is outrageous that the Conservative Government is suppressing independent forecasts of the damage that Brexit would do to the UK economy and our public services.

“This smacks of political interference. Boris Johnson and the Conservatives only care about their own electoral prospects, and they know that being honest with the public would destroy them.

“The Government should publish the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecasts immediately, so everyone can see the stark difference between a damaging Brexit and the brighter future the Liberal Democrats will build by stopping Brexit and investing the £50 billion Remain Bonus.”