Sunday, June 28, 2015

Liberal Democrats in Europe want to give Greece three more months

Not for the government, but for the Greek People

ALDE's Guy Verhofstadt identifies clientelism as a hurdle which must be removed. He calls on the Eurozone leaders to give the negotiations with Greece three more months to work out a programme to fundamentally change the Greek political and economic system in combination with a structural debt solution arrangement.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Peter Black criticises Labour's local government stitch-up

But process of reorganisation offers chance of fair votes at local level

Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that the job of reorganising councils is a job for the independent Boundary Commission. They should be tasked to come up with a fresh map based on natural communities that actually works for local people.

Peter Black AM characterises minister Leighton Andrews' proposals for reduction in the number of local councils as a party-political stitch-up in Labour's quest to hoard power in Cardiff Bay.

However, he goes on, "this is so much more important than just lines on a map. This re-organisation process should be about devolving powers from the Cardiff Bay to the new councils. It should empower councils and local people, giving them greater ownership of services.

"Who knows where this journey will lead us, but I have made absolutely clear that our party will not support any reorganisation plans unless they involve changing the voting system. The status quo isn’t fit for purpose, and I can assure you that Welsh Liberal Democrat AMs will never give up the fight for a truly proportional and fairer system."

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Peter Black's advice session

Assembly Member Peter Black will be holding an advice surgery in Neath Library next Friday.

Details are at

Friday, June 12, 2015

Liberal Democrat AM backs call for OP investigation

A new Labour MP has renewed the campaign for an inquiry into the effects of organophosphate sheep dip on susceptible farm-workers.

Ceredigion Lib Dem MP Mark Williams said: “Although the links between organophosphates and illness of those who have used it has been studied over the past 20 years, the symptoms are all too real for many farmers, including constituents of mine, who are now unable to work because of their illness. It is for this reason that I echo calls for an independent inquiry into this issue.
“What concerns me with the response we had in the debate from the minister is the inconsistency between the many cases from constituents, some of which we heard in the debate, and the outcome of the committee of toxicity reports. That surely should necessitate a fresh investigation.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Welsh LibDems press health agenda

Betsi Cadwalaldr health board

Responding to the suggestion that board members should be suspended over the Tawel Fan scandal, Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said it was only right people were “held to account” at all levels.

“I think the chair of Betsi (Peter Higson) and indeed everybody involved in the situation needs to think about what role they have played in the situation to date.”

Need for an independent watchdog

Leader Kirsty Williams said: "The latest round of shocking reports on care within our NHS reveals a complete failure of all the systems that should be in place to protect our most vulnerable people."

They show that the current watchdog, Health Inspectorate Wales, is "not fit for purpose". "The current system for inspecting hospitals in Wales should be scrapped and replaced by a new organisation which is independent from government."

Peter Black AM and party leader Kirsty Williams oppose E-cig ban

Welsh Lib Dem AM Kirsty Williams AM said: “The evidence for this decision is wafer thin. Banning things just for the sake of it isn’t a position any Government should take.

“There is very little evidence to date that e-cigs emit anything more harmful than water vapour. Therefore any ban on e-cigs is completely unjustifiable.”

South Wales West AM Peter Black has added:

"Ministers argue they do not want to take the risk of seeing smoking 'normalised' again after the success of the smoking ban.

"So by their own admission they are seeking to regulate a perfectly legal activity so as to change people's behaviour. The precedent that this sets is quite concerning and heralds the beginning of a nanny state or worse.

"The anti-smoking campaign group ASH Wales, Cancer Research UK and Tenovus are among those opposed to this ban whilst the British Heart Foundation, British Lung Foundation and the Royal College of Physicians want more evidence. Furthermore in a public consultation on the proposals last year, 79% of responses were opposed. So it is not as if there is a public clamour for this measure either. Why does the Government bother consulting when it has already made up its mind?

"Some people who vape are concerned that they will now be cast outside to join the smokers and that this will lead to them returning to smoking. Indeed there is some evidence in other countries that this is what has happened. There is strong evidence that e-cigarettes have enabled a large number of people to give up smoking, something that decades of lectures by government has failed to do."

Welsh Lib Dems Call For End To Gay Blood Ban

Marking National Blood Week, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to end the ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) giving blood.

Peter Black AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Equalities Minister, said: “National Blood Week has brought to our attention that the blood service needs 204,000 extra donors to meet demand. Given this huge demand for blood donors, I completely fail to understand why the ban on men who have sex with men giving blood is still in place.

“This ban not only turns away thousands of willing and healthy potential donors, but it also serves to reinforce negative stereotypes about gay and bisexual men. Straight people get HIV too, and all donated blood is tested for HIV and other diseases before being transfused for precisely that reason.

“The sooner this unfair and discriminatory ban is lifted, the sooner our blood services can benefit from a greater supply of donated blood and more lives can be saved.”

Monday, June 01, 2015

Reminder: join now and vote for Nick Clegg's replacement

If you are not already a member, you have until 16:00 on Wednesday 3rd June to join the party if you wish to influence the decision on a new leader to replace Nick Clegg.
The simplest way to do this is to go to

Alternatively, you may wish to speak to someone in person. See Huw's widget on the right-hand side of this blog or contact any local Liberal Democrat you may know.

People who join after the 3rd June will be just as welcome and will be able to help form policy, but will not be able to participate in the election of the leader of the party at Westminster.

Liberal Democrat law on zero-hours contracts is now in force

Liberal Democrats may no longer be in government but laws we made are still being implemented, reports Caron Lindsay. Last week, Vince Cable’s ban on exclusivity contracts in zero hours contracts came into force.

It was a punitive anomaly that a company could both have no obligation to provide work and to require that their employees did not work for anyone else. The CIPD, the organisation for HR professionals, wrote about the change on their blog:

Employers who do not guarantee staff any hours of work, but prevent them from working for another employer, could face legal ramifications from today under a provision in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act.
The ban on the use of exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts, which was first proposed by the outgoing coalition government, comes into force after a lengthy public consultation.
Before today employers were not prohibited from seeking exclusivity from an individual as this was considered a contractual matter between the employer and individual.
However, after 83 per cent of respondents to the government’s consultation voted in favour of a ban on exclusivity clauses, it is now a legal offence to prevent staff on zero-hour contracts from seeking other employment.