Saturday, August 01, 2020

Record high of self harm in prisons

Responding to the statistics showing that self-harm incidents in custody have risen again, reaching a record high, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

"Our prisons are in crisis. The number of self-harm incidents, especially in women’s prisons, is shockingly high and rising.

"Because of overcrowding and under-staffing, prisoners spend far too much time locked in their cells, with a lack of support or purposeful activity. To make matters worse, the Conservative Government has introduced new laws that its own assessment says could well lead to more violence and self-harm in prisons.

"Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to end overcrowding, including by scrapping pointless short sentences that cause overcrowding and actually increase re-offending.

"Women should only be sent to prison where absolutely necessary: for the most serious crimes, or where they pose a threat to the public. Effective community-based sentences would be far better for preventing re-offending, and far less damaging for the people involved."

Government must legalise humanist marriages without further delay

The Liberal Democrats have called for the Government to introduce legal recognition of humanist marriages without further delay, after the High Court ruled yesterday that the current law causes discrimination.

Responding to the judgment, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

"Couples should have the right to get married the way they choose. Legalising humanist marriages is a simple but important change, and the Government must do it now, without further delay.

“It’s hard to understand why the Government has chosen to waste taxpayers’ money fighting in the courts to keep this discriminatory ban in place. The Conservatives have got their priorities badly wrong yet again.

"The Liberal Democrats are proud of our record championing equal rights for all people. That is why we have long called for legal recognition of humanist marriages, and now the Government must listen."

Johnson and Cummings acting like despots with plans to restrict judicial review

Responding to the Government’s announcement yesterday of an Independent Review of Administrative Law to consider restrictions to judicial review powers, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

"From failings in universal credit, disability rights and safeguarding, British citizens have used judicial review as a powerful tool to take the Government to court over its failings. 

"Threatening to weaken people’s ability to challenge the Government because the courts sometimes rule against you is the act of dictators and despots, not democrats.

"With these plans, Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings are trying to enable the Government to ride roughshod over people’s rights and allow Ministers to break the law with impunity.

"Liberal Democrats will always defend individuals’ abilities to challenge the Government and uphold their rights. We will not stand by and allow Johnson and Cummings to undermine the rule of law, which is so fundamental to our society."

PM's decision to give his cronies peerages further bloats House of Lords

Responding to the announcement of the new peerages appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords Dick Newby said:

"Theresa May agreed to limit the number of new Conservative Peers she appointed, but Boris Johnson has ripped up this policy. By giving a large number of his cronies peerages, he has shown that the Tories have abandoned any pretence of reducing the size of the bloated House of Lords.

"The Liberal Democrats have long fought to try and get an accountable House of Lords - we must have a properly elected second chamber where individuals are paid a salary, removing any need for outside work to supplement their income.

"Even without such fundamental reform, we could reduce the House to a sensible size by implementing the Burns Review. These appointments show that we are still as far away from that as ever."