Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Bill introduced to restore scrutiny of international aid


The Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support for a Bill being introduced today [16/09/2020] which would create a new select committee to scrutinise Overseas Development Assistance expenditure by the Government. 
The move, supported by former International Development Committee Sarah Champion and former DfID Minister Harriett Baldwin, follows the Prime Minister's decision to abolish the Department for International Aid and rumours the Chancellor now intends to scrap foreign aid.
Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain, who is bringing in the Bill, has stressed the need to ensure “that where UK aid is delivered, it delivers”.
In recent weeks, the Government has confirmed plans to axe a £12.5m project to cut teen pregnancy and sexual violence in Rwanda while £4.8m of the aid budget was shifted “to strengthen global supply chains” of supermarket giants including Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Morrisons.
Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain said:
“For nearly twenty-five years, our aid spending has been scrutinised by the watchful eyes of the International Development select committee. They help ensure that taxpayers get value for money for the 0.7% GNI of aid spending – but also that where UK aid is delivered, it delivers for those who need it most.
“DFID was always highly rated for the way it spent UK Aid, but the Foreign Office has had problems. Now more than ever, we need to ensure oversight and scrutiny of the aid budget.
“I therefore urge Ministers to do the right thing and recognise that there is support from all parties for a cross-party select committee to ensure that UK Aid continues helping the world’s poorest.”

Friday, September 11, 2020

Economic contribution of UK-Japan trade deal will be "drop in the ocean"



Responding to news that the UK has signed a new trade deal with Japan, Liberal Democrat Trade Spokesperson Christine Jardine said: 

“The Government’s deal with Japan appears to be little more than a less ambitious version of the trade agreement between Japan and the EU. The Conservatives cannot be allowed to present it as a Brexit victory.

“The agreement’s economic contribution will be a drop in the ocean. Government has failed to leverage any meaningful benefit from its independent trade policy, whilst a deal protecting our EU trade is nowhere in sight. There couldn’t be a more reckless approach to international trade. 

“Boris Johnson must immediately get his priorities right and stop posturing, to ensure a close relationship with our most critical economic partner – Europe – or we risk a second economic crisis on top of corona virus.”

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

We condemn Johnson for destroying UK reputation on the world stage

 Responding to news that Sir Jonathan Jones, head of the UK Government’s legal department, has resigned following the Government's decision to introduce legislation which would undermine key aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Christine Jardine said: 

"The head of the Government’s legal department quitting over Boris Johnson’s approach to Brexit should signal how serious a situation this is.

"For Johnson to think it is acceptable to row back on international agreements and assurances made to Northern Ireland shows he has no respect for international law or the UK's obligations.

"How can the UK expect other countries, like China, to respect the international treaties we hold with them if we don’t do the same when it comes to the Withdrawal Agreement?

"Any Government figure of any integrity would be appalled at these plans. It is therefore unsurprising that Sir Jonathan has felt the need to leave his position.”

Responding to comments from the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis that the proposed Northern Ireland customs rules legislation will “break international law”, Liberal Democrat Northern Ireland Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: 

“The UK Government should focus on making laws, not breaking laws. But the Northern Ireland Secretary's admission that the Conservative Government stands ready to break international law shows just how far we have fallen under Boris Johnson.

“His Government are tearing up the UK's proud history of promoting the rule of law and in the process destroying our reputation on the world stage. It is unforgivable.

"The Liberal Democrats unequivocally condemn this reckless approach."

Monday, August 31, 2020

Scrapping foreign aid shows Johnson and Cummings abandoning world stage


Responding to reports that the Chancellor is set to scrap Foreign Aid, Liberal Democrat International Development spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said:

“For too many vulnerable people in need around the world, UK foreign aid has made the difference between life and death. 
“Despite previous assurances, the mask has now slipped and we can see the callous Tories for who they really are.

“By scrapping foreign aid, the Government is abandoning the world stage and turning a blind eye to the crippling poverty children face around the world.
“Now more than ever we need oversight and scrutiny by retaining the ICAI, the International Development Committee and a Development Minister in Cabinet."

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Boris Johnson put saving his advisor above the national interest


New survey data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the Dominic Cummings scandal eroded people’s belief that the UK would emerge more united from the corona virus crisis.

The proportion of people believing that Britain would emerge from the pandemic “very or somewhat united” fell from 49% the week before the Cummings scandal broke, to 43% the week after, and has fallen further since to 28%. Meanwhile, the proportion saying we will be “very or somewhat divided” jumped from 31% to 38% when the scandal broke, and now stands at 55%.

Responding to the figures, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

“Despite the enormous toll that the corona virus crisis is taking, the British people have shown a powerful desire to pull together as a country. We have seen it in countless extraordinary acts of kindness and sacrifice to keep others safe.

“At times like this, the Government should be fostering that sense of unity, but Boris Johnson has sadly undermined it with his alarming lack of leadership, confusing messages and poor judgement.

“It is clear that, when Boris Johnson chose to put saving Dominic Cummings above the national interest, he did enormous damage not only to public trust in the Government but also people’s hopes of a more united country.

“The British people are amazingly resilient and optimistic, but we are being let down by the weakness and incompetence of our current Prime Minister.”

Ed Davey elected Lib Dem Leader


Ed Davey has today been elected as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Ed Davey, the MP for Kingston and Surbiton, won the leadership election this morning, receiving 42,756 votes. 

In his acceptance speech he announced his plans to begin rebuilding the party to national relevance and launched a national listening project, stating that for the Party "it is time to start listening".

Speaking at the declaration today, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said: 

"I’m determined our Party backs a Britain that works with other countries across the world for peace and prosperity. But it is my love of our party that makes me recognise that we have to change.

"We have to wake up and smell the coffee. Nationally, our party has lost touch with too many voters.

"Yes, we are powerful advocates locally. Our campaigners listen to local people, work hard for communities and deliver results.

"But at the national level, we have to face the facts of three disappointing general election results.

"Nationally, voters have been sending us a message. But we have not been listening.

"It is time for us to start listening. As leader I am telling you: I have got that message. I am listening now."

The voting figures:

Ed Davey 42,756 votes
Layla Moran 24,564 votes

The number of abstentions has not been reported

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Brexit reality falls short of rhetoric again as "no deal" threat looms


Responding to news that the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU "seems unlikely", Liberal Democrat Brexit and Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: 

“We were told that this would be the easiest negotiation ever but, yet again, the Brexit reality is very different from the rhetoric. 

"Millions of people are looking to the future with dread. With no end in sight to the COVID crisis and the worst economic forecasts for a century or more, the disruption of a no deal Brexit threatens to push the UK into total meltdown. 

"This is not about party politics. It's about making sure families can put food on the table and access life saving medicines. 

"The Prime Minister's childish refusal to extend negotiations in the face of the COVID-crisis shows he would rather flatter his ego than confront reality. If he can't face putting the national interest first then he is not fit to lead this country."

Cost of tackling food crime soars more than 1000%


The Liberal Democrats have revealed the cost of the National Food Crime Unit, vital in making sure food sold in the UK is safe, has seen costs soar by more than 1000% in the past five years as a direct result of Brexit.

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron warned the cost of Brexit is "increasingly clear" and urged Ministers to uphold high food safety standards and prevent the UK being "flooded with cheap imports that put our health at risk."
Figures uncovered by a Liberal Democrat freedom of information request have revealed the NFCU budget has gone from a budget of just £420,739 since it's creation in 2015 to more than £5.7m in 2020/21.
The extra funding comes via the expanded Food Standards Agency budget, in order to facilitate NFCU readiness for “any risks or opportunities presented by the UK’s exit from the EU.”
Liberal Democrat Food and Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron:
"We all want to know what's in every product we consume, and have faith that it's correctly labelled.
"While it is right the Government provides essential funding to tackle food crime, we cannot ignore the fact that the costs have gone up more than 1000% as a result of Brexit.
"The true cost of falling out of the EU is increasingly clear. As Ministers struggle to cut trade deals, we are set to lose access to many protections that will cost millions to replicate here in the UK.
"To end the uncertainty and prevent soaring costs, the Government must commit to upholding our high food safety standards, supporting British producers and ensuring our markets are not flooded with cheap imports that put our health at risk in the future."

Friday, August 21, 2020

The Chancellor needs an ambitious plan to save the economy


Responding to reports that debt has increased to over 100% of GDP for the first time since 1961, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

“This news must not be used as a reason for the Government to make cuts or return the country to austerity.

“We know that borrowing is historically incredibly cheap, so it is absolutely clear that borrowing money to boost the economy is the best way to get public finances back on track.

“The Chancellor must be far more ambitious in his plans to rescue the economy. The Liberal Democrats have called for a £150bn Green recovery plan to boost the economy and create thousands of new jobs.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Lib Dems call for a rail fare freeze

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a freeze on rail fares following the announcement that the Retail Price Index rose by 1.6% in July, which will be used to calculate the increase in fares at the end of the year.

The Liberal Democrats suggest that any increase in fares would be “a slap in the face” for consumers. Given the significant drop in passenger numbers due to COVID-19, the Party is calling for fare freezes to help restore confidence in the railways.

The Party want to see additional funding to increase capacity and build a network “fit for the future”, vital if the UK Government are serious about cutting emissions and reducing air pollution. 

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

“Any plans to go ahead with a fare increase this year will be a slap in the face for consumers. 

“Our railways are a key part of a sustainable transport network, vital in the fight to tackle the climate emergency and cut air pollution. Rather than putting off commuters with yet another price hike, the Government must help the industry recover from the COVID-19 crisis. This means freezing fares and investing to increase capacity to make sure we have a rail network that is fit for the future.
“Liberal Democrats want to see a freeze on fares until the next election. We also want to see the Conservative Government publish and implement the Rail Review, reform our broken ticket system and stop micromanaging the railways. These changes will help restore confidence in UK railways.” 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Millions of EU citizens living with uncertainty must be given right to stay


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 millions are still awaiting a final decision.

The latest EU Settlement Scheme statistics reveal 4,600 people have been refused Settled Status, while 1,475,500 have only been granted temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’ and 212,400 are still waiting for a decision.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

“For far too long, millions of EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty. Boris Johnson cannot be allowed to continue to break his promise to them. 

“With so many people being refused Settled Status, granted only temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’ or still waiting for a decision, it's clear that this Conservative Government’s scheme is anything but automatic.

“And without physical proof of their rights, EU citizens will be at the mercy of the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment. They must not become the victims of a new Windrush-style scandal.

“That is why Liberal Democrats have called for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, with the physical proof they need.”

Rise in discrimination towards BAME people since lockdown must be tackled


Responding to a University College London study that found BAME groups were most likely to report facing discrimination since lockdown began, Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

“Everyone should be free to live their lives without fear of discrimination, abuse or violence. Reports that Black, Asian and minority ethnic people have been most likely to experience discrimination since lockdown began is deeply alarming.

“All of us with a public platform must stand up to those whose language and actions spread hate – whether based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or anything else.

"The Home Secretary must step up and tackle this appalling trend head-on. That work must be part of a wider effort to tackle systemic racial inequality, which is why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to implement a Race Equality Strategy.”

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."

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Johnson and Cummings must stop posturing and secure a good deal

Responding to Michel Barnier’s comments that there has been no progress on key Brexit issues including fisheries and state aid, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

"With just weeks to go and our country already facing the biggest economic crisis in generations, it is unthinkable that the UK would crash out of the transition period without a deal in place or with a bad deal.

"Boris Johnson must start putting the nation first, rather than sacrificing everything and anything in his ideological pursuit of Brexit. Our NHS, jobs, and the economy are already suffering as a result of coronavirus. The Government must ensure that they are not brought to their knees as a result of the double whammy of a bad Brexit deal and the pandemic.

"The Government must redouble their efforts to reach a deal with the EU. The time for posturing is long over."

Lack of economic planning for a pandemic highlights government failures

Responding to a Public Accounts Committee report published today that finds an “astonishing” failure on the part of the Government to prepare for the economic impact of a pandemic, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

“Everyone agrees that COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge, but the Government’s failure to ensure there was a contingency plan at the ready has left thousands of families with no help whatsoever, and thousands of businesses making redundancies or closing down. 

“Considering that pandemics are one of the key risks any Government plans for, if there had have been a proper plan in place implemented quickly, we could have saved thousands more livelihoods.

“This makes an independent inquiry into this Government’s handling of the pandemic more urgent than ever. The Liberal Democrats were the first to demand this and will continue to push for it until the Government has explained its lack of preparedness."

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Tories' plan to "take back control" proves to be empty words when it comes to trade


Following news that the Trade Bill has passed in the House of Commons, without any amendments which would ensure that Parliament can vote on future trade deals, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for International Trade Sarah Olney said:

"By refusing to give Parliament a say over future trade deals - going against the wishes of many of their own MPs - it is clear that this Conservative Government's motto of "taking back control" was just empty words in their ideological pursuit of Brexit.

"As the Liberal Democrats warned, we now have less scrutiny over trade deals than when we were part of the EU. Instead the Government is clearing the way to push through a quick deal with Trump's America, no matter what the cost to the UK.  

"The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to hold Boris Johnson's Government to account to deliver the closest possible relationship with the EU and to safeguard high environmental, labour and food standards post-Brexit."

All Hong Kongers must be given right to live in the UK

Responding to the Home Secretary's writen statement on the Government's BNO passport policy for Hong Kongers, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson and Chair of the APPG on Hong Kong Alistair Carmichael said:

“The Government must put these measures in place as soon as possible to protect Hong Kongers. We have already seen how the Chinese Communist Party are using the new laws to crack down on people’s rights and freedoms.

“Liberal Democrats have been calling for these protections since the time of Paddy Ashdown. We are pleased that the government is finally listening.

“Now, we are urging Boris Johnson to ensure no one is left behind. The offer must be expanded to ensure all Hong Kongers have the right to live in the UK, regardless of whether they have BNO status.”

£2.9 billion aid cut shows Johnson's government abandoning world stage

Responding to reports the Government is to cut its global aid budget by £2.9 billion this year, Liberal Democrat International Development spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said:

“For so many vulnerable people in need around the world, UK international aid has made the difference between life and death. 
“Despite previous assurances that clearly weren’t worth the paper they were written on, we now see the callous Tories for who they really are.

“This devastating cut to international aid is a clear sign that the UK is abandoning the world stage. Because of this government more children will have their life chances blighted by poverty.
“Now more than ever we need oversight and scrutiny by retaining the ICAI, the International Development Committee and a Development Minister in Cabinet."

Sunday, July 19, 2020

We need a proper Green Recovery Plan to protect jobs

Responding to ONS unemployment figures showing that the number of workers on payrolls has fallen by 649,000 between March and June, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

“Every single person losing their job reminds us that coronavirus is a tragedy that cuts across every aspect of people’s lives. Managing this health and economic crisis demands the best possible leadership at the top of our country.

“The Conservative Government’s shambolic handling of the pandemic has made the economic challenge we are facing far worse than it need have been. We need much better political leaders than Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings if we are going to help those losing their jobs. 

“With this sharp rise in job losses, the Chancellor must urgently look at additional support, otherwise there will be an unemployment tsunami in October.

“And we need a real vision for creating new jobs and the jobs of the future. The Chancellor’s summer statement offered little more than a sticking plaster. The Liberal Democrats are instead calling for a major £150bn Green Recovery Plan that will create millions of good quality jobs, safeguarding the UK’s future.”

Johnson must come before MPs after think tank's Brexit warning

Responding to a report by the Institute for Government which warns coronavirus has left UK firms unprepared for a no-deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

“Boris Johnson is arrogantly setting the country down a path that threatens jobs and livelihoods, and this report confirms it. People deserve better.

“Now is not the time to be playing politics. Our focus must be preventing a no-deal Brexit and ensuring business has all the help it needs to protect jobs.

“The Prime Minister must come before MPs before the summer recess to answer how he will address the calls for preparation support, sector specific investment and more.”

Lib Dems bid to block corporate lawsuits watering down protections post-Brexit

The Liberal Democrats have launched an attempt in Parliament to block corporations from using secretive tribunals to water down environmental or worker protections, and safeguard human rights and transparency in post-Brexit trade deals.

Liberal Democrat MPs have tabled an amendment to the Trade Bill – which is due to be debated in the House of Commons on Monday – to require the Government to assess each new trade agreement’s impact on citizens’ rights with regard to gender, age, race, class and economic well-being.

With separate amendments, the Party’s MPs will attempt to stop the Government from introducing controversial “investor-state dispute settlements” – better known as ISDS. Through such mechanisms, large overseas corporations can sue the UK if they believe that certain laws, such as environmental or worker protections, harm their interests.

Unlike normal legal disputes, ISDS cases are litigated in opaque private arbitration courts outside the main legal system. The Liberal Democrat amendment would replace such arrangements with either standard UK court proceedings or a transparent multi-lateral tribunal, safeguarding fair treatment for the UK and investors.

Speaking ahead of the debate in the House of Commons on Monday, Liberal Democrat International Trade Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

“As the UK pursues a new trade policy we must not abandon the values we benefited from as members of the EU: human rights, justice and transparency must be safeguarded despite the Government’s Brexit plans.

 “The Government’s approach to trade has woefully neglected these principles. Not only have they offered next to no guarantees on environmental and worker protections, but they even seem intent on giving large multinationals a say over our own rules.

 “There’s no hiding from the fact that this is the opposite of ‘taking back control’. That is why Liberal Democrats are fighting for a fair trade policy, that commits us and our partners to the highest standards, and that stands against secretive courts that let foreign companies abuse their power.”

David Lawrence, Senior Political Adviser at the Trade Justice Movement added:

"Human rights and high standards must be at the heart of our future trade policy. The Trade Bill offers an opportunity to enshrine these principles in law.

“MPs should support amendments which require the Government to undertake human rights impact assessments of all trade deals before and after implementation. The bill also offers an opportunity for the UK to free itself from harmful investor court provisions in trade deals.

 “These secretive courts have been used by companies to challenge important environmental and social regulations, including minimum wage rises and pollution controls. Removing ISDS clauses from trade deals is essential for ensuring that our new trade policy is good for people and the planet."

Chinese treatment of Uyghurs amounts to genocide

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Foreign Secretary to acknowledge that the Chinese government is "engineering a genocide of the Uyghur people" and to come before Parliament before the recess to set out the Government's response.

In a letter to the Foreign Secretary, the Party's Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael urged the Government to use the next round of targeted sanctions on individuals responsible for human rights abuses in China. 

The intervention follows the Chinese Ambassador to the UK denying on The Andrew Marr Show that the Uyghur people are being transported across China for forced labour in factories.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

“The images we have seen in recent days are harrowing and inhuman. The Government has a duty to take a lead and do all we can to save the Uyghur people.

"We must be clear what is happening here. The Chinese government is engineering a genocide.

"The Foreign Secretary must come before MPs before the recess and set out what urgent actions the Government will take, both on an international level and unilaterally."

Johnson would ride roughshod over our rights by restricting judicial review

Responding to reports that the Government is planning to restrict judicial review, following a Court of Appeal decision against the Home Secretary, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

“Threatening to weaken the courts because of a judgment you disagree with is the act of dictators and despots, not democrats.

“With these plans, Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings are trying to enable the Government to run 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.”

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Raab and Johnson's half-baked merger plan is threat to international aid

Responding to the International Development Committee’s final report into the 'Effectiveness of UK aid’, which warns the 'impulsive' decision to abolish the Department for International Development (DfID) is likely to have dire consequences, Liberal Democrat International Development Spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said:

“For countless vulnerable people in need around the globe, UK international aid has made a vital difference. We should be proud of that.

“All the experts warn that Dominic Raab’s half-baked plan is threatening international aid. The Tories should be ashamed for looking at reducing global poverty as nothing more than a political choice.

“We need oversight now more than ever. Ministers must commit to retaining the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, the International Development Committee and a Development Minister in Cabinet or public faith will be washed away."

Tories must not use commission as an excuse to stall on tackling racism

Responding to the Government's publication of the membership of its Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

“As Black Lives Matter has shown, the Conservative Government urgently needs to redress institutional racism in the criminal justice system and many other parts of our society.

“I wish the commission well, and commit the Liberal Democrats to playing a constructive role. But, to guarantee this commission has real teeth, the Prime Minister should commit now to ensuring the recommendations to come don’t just sit and gather dust. 

“Conservative Ministers must not use the commission as an excuse to stall on tackling racism. We need a Race Equality Strategy now, starting with scrapping the Hostile Environment policies and suspicion-less Stop and Search.”