Thursday, November 30, 2017

May must cancel Trump meeting now - Cable

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has demanded that Theresa May cancels the expected government to government summit with the "evil racist" Donald Trump.

Vince Cable said:

“Many of us warned when Theresa May walked hand in hand with Donald Trump that any relationship with such a racist was bound to end badly.

“But the prime minister, desperate for a trade deal, ignored the advice from across the political spectrum.

“Britain is now paying the price for her bad misjudgement. Theresa May’s extreme Brexit has alienated our European allies and now she has lost her last remaining friend on the world stage, leaving Britain isolated and alone.

“The solution is clear: an exit from Brexit and a divorce from Trump.”

Immigration down because May has crashed economy

We Liberal Democrats agree that the Conservatives are finally on course to meet their pledge to cut immigration - but only because they have crashed the economy.

Former cabinet minister and now Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson Ed Davey MP said:

“The Brexiteers were right that Brexit would reduce immigration. What they forgot to mention was that immigration would go down even before Brexit, due to the widely forecast catastrophic consequences of the government taking Britain out of the world’s largest single market. The Conservative pursuit of an extreme Brexit is crashing the economy and making the country a less attractive place to be.

“Britain was attracting some of the most talented and hard-working people in the international labour market but now we are seeing clear signs of a Brexodus as Theresa May stalls on guaranteeing the right to remain of EU citizens, leaving many feeling unwelcome.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Social mobility report warns of 'spiral of ever growing division'

Britain is in a “spiral of ever-growing division” with a stark postcode lottery in social mobility, according to a damning report by the Social Mobility Commission today.

The report uncovers a striking geographical divide with London and its surrounding areas pulling away from the rest of the country, while many other parts of the country are being left behind.

Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable commented:

“This report talks of the UK ‘being in the grip of a self-reinforcing spiral of ever growing division.'

“The government urgently needs to improve social mobility for young people in rural areas, coastal towns and former industrial heartlands.

“Ministers must reverse welfare cuts that are set to push millions more families into poverty, and boost school funding for disadvantaged children through the pupil premium.

“Reducing regional inequality is crucial if we are to address the underlying alienation that led to the Brexit vote, and build a stronger economy.”

Brexit impact assessments farce straight out of "Yes, Prime Minister"

The Liberal Democrats have said the government's refusal to publish its Brexit impact assessment is "completely untenable," after Speaker John Bercow said he will respond promptly to any allegations of contempt of Parliament.

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake commented:

"This whole farce has descended into a scene straight out of Yes Minister.

"After David Davis repeatedly stated there were 57 detailed impact assessments, ministers now claim these reports never even existed in this form.

"Editing these reports is a breach of the agreement reached with MPs, meaning action over contempt of Parliament now looms.

"If the government really believes in its own Brexit plans, why are they so scared of publishing these reports in full?

“The public deserve to know what Brexit means for their jobs, incomes and communities. They must then be offered a vote on the deal with a chance to exit from Brexit."

Army numbers down 2,000 since Conservative 82,000 manifesto pledge

Army numbers have fallen by over 2,000 since the Conservative 2015 Manifesto pledge to keep troop levels above 82,000, analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The most recent figures show the number of full-time trained troops now stands at 77,440, down from 79,540 in April 2015 when the Conservative manifesto was published.

It comes as the Government comes under increasing pressure over planned defence cuts, with dozens of Conservative MPs writing to the Chancellor and Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood reportedly prepared to resign.

Alistair Carmichael MP, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, commented:

"The Tory promise to keep our army above 82,000 lies in tatters.

"There are now 2,000 fewer regular troops than when this manifesto pledge was made in 2015.

"But instead of boosting morale and recruitment by giving our troops a pay rise, the government is planning even more cuts.

"Ministers need to clarify now whether they still intend to meet the 82,000 target, and if so by what date.

"Otherwise they will fuel concerns that the Conservatives simply cannot be trusted with maintaining Britain's defence capabilities."

Monday, November 27, 2017

Brexit analyses must not be redacted

Commenting on reports that the government has given the DEXEU Select Committee Brexit sectoral analyses, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:
“It is right that the government has given these Brexit studies to MPs, but I am deeply concerned by reports they may not be complete and leave out key information on the damage Brexit will do to our economy and services. Not giving the full facts could be contempt of parliament.
“The Liberal Democrats want people to be given the facts, so they can decide what they think of the Conservatives’ Brexit deal, with the public having the right to exit from Brexit if it is a bad deal. The government shouldn’t be allowed to keep secret the damage their plans may do.”   

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Vince Cable: Hammond stealth tax on savers is "indefensible"

Around ten million small savers will be hit by a stealth tax worth £500m buried in the small print of the Budget, it emerged yesterday.

Previously small savers were only taxed on increases above inflation, but under the new plans the whole of the increase will be taxed.

Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable commented:

"This is an indefensible raid on small savers.

“With inflation running at 3% a year, many people will see their savings shrink in real terms because of this unfair policy.

"At a time when incomes are being squeezed and household debt is approaching pre-crisis levels, the last thing the Government should be doing is punishing those doing the right thing by saving for the future.

“It is particularly hypocritical of the Chancellor to raise money targeting savers, while wasting £3 billion on Brexit to pay for lawyers and lorry parks that will probably never be used."

When will government listen to defence cuts warnings?

Responding to reports that defence minister Tobias Ellwood has threatened to resign if military cuts bring the army below 70,000 soldiers, Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson Menzies Campbell said: 

"When  will the government listen and learn? Former members of all three armed services, informed commentators, members of both Houses of Parliament and now a defence minister have all voiced their deepening anxieties about possible heavy cuts in the defence budget.

"Reducing the army even further, cutting the Royal Marines, and selling surface ships will fracture our defence capability."

Friday, November 24, 2017

IFS analysis shows Tories balancing books on backs of the poorest

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservative government of "balancing the books on the backs of the poorest," after analysis of the Budget by the Institute for Fiscal Studies revealed there are another £12 billion of planned welfare cuts.

The analysis found that the four-year freeze in welfare is now set to lead to 11 million households losing an average of £400 each by 2019, with the poorest 20% of families hit hardest.

The analysis also found average earnings in 2021 look set to plunge to £1,400 lower than forecast in March 2016 - which is lower in real terms than at the time of the financial crash in 2008.

Stephen Lloyd MP, Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesperson, commented:

“This analysis lays bare the utter inadequacy of the funding announced for Universal Credit in yesterday’s budget.

“The Tories are balancing the books on the backs of the poorest, at a time when inflation and personal debt are rising instead of incomes.

“£12 billion worth of cuts aimed at the most vulnerable are still to come, dwarfing the extra £300 million a year promised by the Chancellor.

“A Liberal Democrat budget would have helped the poorest in society by reversing Conservative tax cuts for the super-rich.”

Thursday, November 23, 2017

UK faces longest squeeze on living standards in 60 years

Britain is on course for the longest period of falling living standards since records began in the 1950s, according to a report by the Resolution Foundation.

The think tank found that under plans set out by Philip Hammond in the Budget yesterday, the poorest third of households are set for an average loss of £715 a year by the end of the Parliament, while the richest third will gain an average of £185.

Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable commented:

“This analysis exposes the reality of Britain’s economic future under this Conservative government.

“The squeeze on pay and living standards is set to carry on until 2025, made worse by higher inflation since the Brexit vote.

“Meanwhile the Conservatives’ poor management of the economy means the budget will not be balanced until at least the 2030s.

“This was a truly regressive budget that maintained the deepest of the Conservatives’ welfare cuts, hitting the poorest third of households hardest.

“A Liberal Democrat budget would provide the large-scale investment in infrastructure, housing and research needed to boost living standards and productivity.

“We would reverse the Conservatives’ cruel welfare cuts, and bring economic certainty by staying in the Single Market and Customs Union.”

Investment growth down to 0.2% - Cable responds

The government has announced today that growth in business investment is down again to 0.2% in Q3It was 0.8% in Q1, 0.5% in Q2, and now 0.2%.

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said:

“This is a further blow to our hopes of lifting Britain’s flagging productivity. One of the major reasons British productivity is stagnating is because of lack of investment. It is particularly worrying that there has been a fall in investment in IT equipment and machinery.

“While growth and productivity are improving across most of the EU27, Britain has fallen to the bottom of the growth league of major economies. This is in significant part due to the Conservative government’s determination to pursue a hard Brexit, taking us out of the single market and customs union.”

Cable: Shadow Chancellor needs to get his sums right

Responding to John McDonnell's refusal to state how much Labour's borrowing plans would cost on the Today programme this morning, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said: 

"It's worrying that the Shadow Chancellor hasn't done his sums. Or perhaps he has done his sums and he realises they're so horrendous that he's unwilling to acknowledge that his version of a Labour government would put the country into financial difficulties.

"We start from a bad position. The Budget warned of increased borrowing, dependent on the 'kindness of strangers'. A Labour government focused on massive nationalisation would make things even worse."

The Government must pause Universal Credit rather than just tinker with it

Responding to the Budget announcement on Universal Credit yesterday, Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesperson Stephen Lloyd said:

"The government’s U-turns are welcome but beg the question: why have they taken this long?

"The overall system is still not fit for purpose. It must be paused before even more of our most vulnerable citizens are made to suffer on the ideological anvil of this Conservative government.

“Why is it that this government insists on rolling out Universal Credit, instead of just stopping and fixing it?"

"The Chancellor ignored the £3 billion cut that was taken out of UC by George Osborne in 2015, which  effectively destroyed its aim of making work pay.

"The self-employed and single parents are still being shockingly treated, and many people will still face the risk of eviction because of the government making it difficult for UC recipients having their rent paid direct to landlords.”

Cable: budget sunk by growth bombshell

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has seized on the Chancellor's admission that the UK economy will be smaller by a huge £45 billion than was estimated as recently as March.

Vince Cable said:

“The economy will be £45 billion smaller in 2021 than predicted as recently as March. And that is the least worst case scenario.

“Philip Hammond might as well have sat down and stopped talking once he announced this slump in growth figures.

“Britain has gone from top of the growth league to deep into the relegation zone, with each person set to be £687 worse off per year.

"The OBR has revised down future earnings, productivity and household consumption.

“The worst part is much of this damage is self-inflicted, with the hard Brexit this government is pursuing."

Hammond to look into plastic waste charge in victory for Lib Dems

Philip Hammond has announced he will consider charges on single-use plastic items to reduce waste.

It comes following a Liberal Democrat campaign to introduce a charge on disposable coffee cups, to reduce the billions of cups thrown away in the UK each year.

Tim Farron MP, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson, said:

“This is a major victory for the Liberal Democrats, who have long been demanding action to tackle plastic waste.
“We now need to make sure this consultation leads to real action and isn’t just kicking the cup down the road.
“Our environment and wildlife cannot wait any longer for tough measures to reduce plastic debris polluting our rivers, seas and countryside.
“Introducing a charge on disposable cups, like the plastic bag charge, could change people’s behaviour and help protect the planet.“

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Budget: no extra money for police in Wales

Today's budget statement by the Chancellor included no additional funding for the police in England and Wales. 

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said: 

“Crime is rising and police numbers are falling but you wouldn’t think the Government cared looking at today’s budget. The police barely got a mention in the Chancellor’s speech despite forces up and down the country being desperate for a cash-injection.
It is clear where the money is going - £3.7bn to help the Conservatives drive through a hard Brexit. Just a fraction of this money would have been transformative for the police but as usual we see the Tories putting politics above everything else.” 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Gove's Department using 1,400 disposable coffee cups a day

Over 2.5 million disposable coffee cups have been purchased by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the past five years, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed. This is equivalent to almost 1,400 a day.

The Liberal Democrats said the figures showed Michael Gove "needs to get his own house in order," after he vowed yesterday to tackle plastic pollution.

516,000 disposable coffee cups have been purchased by DEFRA's catering and facilities providers in the last year alone, for use in restaurants and caf├ęs across the Department's offices.

The catering contractors did not previously provide any reusable cups, but purchased 200 reusable cups on the 31st October 2017, after the Department received a Freedom of Information request from the Liberal Democrats.

Figures uncovered by the party have revealed the House of Commons is also failing to get to grips with coffee cup waste, having got through almost four million disposable cups in the past five years.

657,000 disposable cups have been purchased by the Commons’ catering service in the last year alone, equivalent to 1,000 per MP. 500 reusable “Keep cups” were purchased in 2013, but only four of these have been sold in the last three years.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the introduction of a charge on disposable coffee cups in the Budget, following the success of the party's plastic bag charge which has reduced usage in England by 85% since it was introduced.

Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron commented:

"It's astounding that the department which is supposed to be protecting our environment is responsible for such a colossal amount of waste.

"Millions of plastic cups have been thrown away by the government, some of which will now be polluting our seas, rivers and countryside.

"Michael Gove needs to get his own house in order.

"A coffee cup charge should be introduced in the Budget to tackle waste and encourage the use of reusable cups, including in the civil service and Parliament.

"Just like the plastic bag charge, this would reduce unnecessary waste while raising millions for charity."

Jane Dodds highlights the three Es

In an inspiring speech in Caewern boosting Sheila Kingston-Jones' by-election campaign in Bryncoch South [polling on Thursday 23rd November], the newly-elected Welsh Liberal Democrat party leader spoke movingly about her Welshness and the other passions in her life.

She highlighted the environment, Europe and equality as key concerns. More had to be done to combat climate change and she singled out the Trump administration for its retreat from Obama’s pro-environment policies. She felt that Wales could show the way.

She criticised the Conservative government, with the support of the Labour opposition, for embarking on the Article 50 process on the basis of what was, at bottom, a protest vote. Something had to be done about those people who felt they had no future. There had been a failure to inform them about what the European Union had done and could do for them, and the party had a duty to fill that gap.

As a social worker, she daily saw the effects of Conservative government policies, in particular the way that Universal Credit had been applied. There was an increase in what she thought we had once seen the back of, the “working poor” - people stuck in poorly-paid dead end jobs - which, thanks to zero-hours contracts, may not be permanent anyway. We should not be afraid to talk of the use of tax to foster equality – to take more people out of tax at the lower end and increase it on the wealthiest. We should be ashamed that the gap between rich and poor was widening again for the first time since the Thatcher era.

Jane also spoke feelingly about her dedication to Wales, regretting the failure to provide the infrastructure to enable the whole of the nation to fulfil its potential. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Hammond so out of touch on unemployment - Cable

Following claims on Marr by the Chancellor that "there are no unemployed people", Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said it showed the Conservative government was hopelessly out of touch with huge numbers of people in Britain today.
Vince Cable said:
"As Chancellor, Philip Hammond needs to be on top of the numbers, and as he should know very well, there are actually 1.425m people unemployed. Worse, a large number of them are second or third generation out of work, suggesting that all that a large number of people are inheriting in Britain today is poverty.
"It underlines just how out of touch the Conservatives are with millions of Britons who are living on the breadline.
"Philip Hammond is right that we should embrace automation, but we should also be mindful that it can also put people out of work in the short term. This underlines why we need greater investment in infrastructure, training and education to help a large number of people who miss out even when the economy is growing far more strongly than it is today."

Home Office to recruit Eastern Europeans to register EU citizens

The Liberal Democrats have responded with incredulity to reports that the Home Office will have to recruit staff from Eastern Europe to administer Brexit. According to The Guardian, the Home Office cannot recruit enough staff to process newly required registration papers for as many as 3m European citizens.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

"Oh the irony! The Home Office having to recruit Eastern European workers to manage Brexit which was billed by the Brexiteers as the way to reduce immigration.

"And what a monumental waste of time and money it will be to register all these EU citizens. They are clearly vital to Britain's workforce, reflected in the fact that the Home Office will now have to recruit many of them to process registration forms from their countrymen.

"This is an utter farce presided over by a government that doesn't have a clue what it is even trying to do.

"The government should simply guarantee the right to remain of all EU citizens already here and protect free movement."

Friday, November 17, 2017

McDonnell budget asks don't add up

Labour's Budget ask has been attacked by Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, who said:

“Labour’s spending plans were pulled apart by the Institute for Fiscal Studies during the general election and it appears the shadow chancellor is still not properly costing his ideas. Over-assumptions of tax take are a feature of Corbyn and McDonnell’s Labour and would pile debt on future generations.”

New Universal Credit claimants will go hungry this Christmas

Children will go hungry and be made homeless this Christmas due to the government imposed time-lag before Universal Credit claimants receive their first payment, the Liberal Democrats have said. This follows a report by the Peabody Trust into Universal Credit that says 60,000 families will not receive payment this side of the Festive season.

Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions spokesperson Stephen Lloyd MP said:

“If the government doesn’t step in there will be families facing hunger and homelessness this Christmas, it is that simple. This will hit 40,000 children living in many of our most vulnerable households.

“The government must reduce the cruel 42 day waiting time urgently, and use next week’s budget to lift the benefits freeze that is expected to push hundreds of thousands into poverty. If not, it will be painfully clear that the spirit of Scrooge is alive and well.”

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Brake wins support for debate on Russian interference

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake has accused Theresa May of “extraordinary naivety” over Russian interference in the EU referendum. He today submitted a bid to the Backbench Business Committee supported by all political parties for a debate on Russian Interference in UK Politics and Society. He has the backing of over 25 MPs.

Tom Brake said:

“I was the first to call for Russian interference in the EU referendum to be referred to an urgently reconstituted Intelligence and Security Committee and now the evidence of Russian involvement is overwhelming, this must be done immediately.

“Theresa May has shown extraordinary naivety in saying that Russia has interfered in the elections of other countries but not elections in this country.

“But then on Brexit, Theresa May and Vladimir Putin are in a fairly similar place – both seem to support an extreme and damaging Brexit.”

Falling retail sales - Cable responds

Following news that annual retail sales have fallen for the first time since 2013, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said:

“High inflation is hitting people’s pockets. With food prices soaring, the weekly shop has become a source of trepidation for families across the country. The uncertainty caused by Brexit is hurting the economy and British businesses.

“Strained finances mean the Chancellor has little room for manoeuvre in next week’s Budget, but he can ease the burden on the most vulnerable through implementing our plans, such as reversing cuts to Universal Credit and ending the public sector pay cap, so wages increase in line with inflation.”

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

General Barrons warns cuts could tip armed forces into "institutional failure"

General Sir Richard Barrons has warned that the government will be "responsible for tipping the armed forces into institutional failure" unless it reverses cuts to defence spending.

In evidence given to the House of Commons Defence Committee today, the ex-Defence Chief also warned that Britain's armed forces are "20 years out of date," and described proposals to cut the number of Royal Marines as "folly."

Sir Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson, commented:

“This scathing criticism from a top former general emphasises the increasingly fragile nature of Britain’s defence capabilities.

“The government must listen to this stark warning.

“If ministers aren’t willing to properly fund our armed forces, Britain’s ability to contribute to NATO and other joint operations will be severely diminished.”

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: a way forward

Following the response of Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, to an Urgent Question on the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Jo Swinson MP said:

“Johnson should agree to Richard Ratcliffe’s offer to travel to Iran together and visit Nazanin in prison, as this seems one of the best hopes to get her out by Christmas.

“No family should have to go through what the Ratcliffe’s have, and the Foreign Secretary must make up for his mistakes and do what it takes to end their plight.”

Liberal Democrat defence spokesperson Menzies Campbell, Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, said: 

"The Foreign Secretary is clearly not up to his responsibilities, and the Prime Minister knew this when she appointed him.  

"The Prime Minister must now take personal responsibility for Nazanin’s case and ensure that she returns home safely to her family." 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Mordaunt must immediately distance herself from her predecessor

Commenting on the appointment of Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt to the Department for International Development, Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, said:

“Development aid is vital to saving lives, removing people from abject poverty, and improving the lives of others across the globe. The UK should be proud of the role we play.

“Having an International Development Secretary who does not dismiss the entire concept of international aid must be the first qualification for the job.

“Penny Mordaunt must immediately distance herself from her predecessor in this regard.”

Prevent's flaws have been revealed; it must be replaced

Commenting on new data which reveals the numbers of individuals referred to the Prevent Programme, Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson, said:

“Prevent is being dangerously overused. This data reveals exactly why Prevent has become so toxic.

“The Liberal Democrats believe that Prevent has too many flaws and should be scrapped and replaced with a new system that fixes its shortcomings and has community engagement at its heart. In the meantime we need to ensure there is proper training for those who have a statutory duty to refer to ensure it is used properly.

“Because of its many weaknesses Prevent is damaging community cohesion and fostering distrust. These figures lay bare Prevent’s flaws, it is time for it to end.”

Lord Kerr confirms exit from Brexit still possible

Commenting on reports that Lord Kerr, the author of Article 50, will reveal in a speech later today that the Brexit process is reversible, Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

“The author of article 50 revealing that the process can be revoked is a significant development.

“There is no longer any refuge for brexiteers who argue that this whole process can’t be revoked.

“The possibility of an exit from Brexit is still very much on the cards."

Thursday, November 09, 2017

May right to send Patel packing


Commenting following the firing of Priti Patel as International Development Secretary, Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson said:

“Priti Patel has rightly been forced to step down  for her cover up of meetings with foreign officials and the inappropriate requests for aid to be sent to the Israeli military in the Golan Heights.

“This was an appalling error of judgement and is nothing short of a major failure by the British government.

“Number 10 must answer questions about their complicity in this scandal. Someone has been deceived, either the British people or the Prime Minister’s office. Whichever it is someone must be held to account.

“It is right that Patel has gone but Theresa May’s office now needs to reveal honestly what they knew and when.”

Shas Sheehan, Liberal Democrat International Development Spokesperson added:

"The Secretary of State clearly and comprehensively broke the ministerial code multiple times.

"In normal circumstances the Prime Minister would have sacked her days ago.

“One thing is clear, whoever replaces her, unlike their predecessor, should have an understanding that development aid is a force for good in the world.”

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Vote of confidence in local officers

At last night's AGM of the Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats, all the major office-holders were re-elected. They are: Chair, Cen Phillips; Vice-chair, Helen Ceri Clarke; Secretary, Frank Little; Treasurer, Marilyn Harris.

Adrian Kingston-Jones was added to the Media team.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Cabinet cancellation reveals government gone beyond meltdown - Carmichael

Commenting following reports that Theresa May has cancelled this morning's Cabinet meeting, Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, said:

“When the Prime Minister lacks the authority to bring her ministers together  for ninety minutes on a Tuesday morning then you have a government that has gone beyond meltdown.

“It is time she used whatever clout she has left to get her house in order and fire those Ministers bogged by scandal.

“Unfortunately we have a Prime Minister unable and unwilling to take action. This is no way to run a country.”

Monday, November 06, 2017

Lib Dem leaders report back on Pestminster talks

Vince Cable and Jo Swinson have attended a joint meeting with the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and other party leaders to address sexual harassment in Westminster. 

The Liberal Democrats have agreed to cross party proposals which will see an independent grievance process, improved HR support, and the establishment of a cross party working group to implement these changes.
Following the meeting Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

"These are the right first cross party steps to address harassment and abuse in Westminster. There needs to be a robust, independent complaints system across Parliament that offers victims a safe, non-partisan procedure.”

Jo Swinson, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, added:

“Sexual harassment has sadly been a problem for far too long. We must now make sure these initial proposals are a positive catalyst for change.
“The cross-party talks today will hopefully mark the start of that change in Westminster.”

Patel must resign, or be fired

Commenting on reports that Priti Patel has been forced to apologise by Theresa May for holding undisclosed meetings in Israel, Shas Sheehan, Liberal Democrat International Development Spokesperson, said:

“It is now apparent that Patel knowingly ignored ministerial rules, and that makes her position untenable.

“Just because May’s government is in meltdown doesn’t give the Prime Minister an excuse to ignore this serious infraction.

“Patel must resign, or be fired. Either way, she cannot remain Secretary of State for International Development.”

"Paradise Papers": investigation needed into Cameron decision

Liberal Democrat leader and former Business Secretary Vince Cable has revealed that then prime minister David Cameron went back on a plan to clamp down on off-shore tax havens. It comes as international controversy grows over the publication of the so-called "Paradise Papers".

Vince Cable said:

“Tax should not be an optional extra for the global elite. Citizens who dutifully pay their taxes need confidence that the system is fair. But the Paradise Papers suggest that a small number of wealthy individuals have been able, entirely legally, to put their money beyond the reach of the Exchequer.

“In the coalition government I introduced the Register of Beneficial Ownership, which established who owns British companies, and sought to extend that to British Overseas Territories. This was to clamp down on tax havens operating under the British flag. David Cameron was initially attracted to the idea, but when the Overseas Territories said on a visit to London that they were against it, he backed down.

“Given these revelations, including news that Conservative donors benefited from these arrangements, we need a parliamentary select committee to investigate fully who decided what and why. In particular, we need the release of all government papers dealing with the decision not to clamp down on off-shore tax havens. Only in this way can we ensure there is full public confidence in the tax system.”

Sunday, November 05, 2017

It's rich for Brown to blame America for Iraq, says Ming

Former Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell - who along with Charles Kennedy led opposition to the Iraq war - has responded to fresh claims by Gordon Brown that the rush to war was in large part the fault of America for not sharing enough intelligence with the UK.

Liberal Democrat defence spokesperson Menzies Campbell said: 

"None of this should come as a revelation.

"It was abundantly clear that the Bush administration was hell bent on regime change, and that Tony Blair was equally determined to support this regardless of the evidence.

"If members of the Blair cabinet had not been so supine and had fulfilled their responsibilities by properly questioning Tony Blair's decision then the tragedy of Iraq might have been averted."

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Tory cunning immigration plan - crash the economy

Responding to reports that the government has quietly shelved plans to reduce the rights of fresh EU arrivals because so few are now coming to the UK, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake MP said:
"The government did say their priority was to curb immigration. What they didn't tell the public was that their cunning plan to reduce the number of EU nationals coming to the UK was to crash the economy.
"Ministers have quietly conceded they don't need to reduce the rights of fresh arrivals from the EU27 because so few are now coming anyway. Ministers have already managed to decrease the attractiveness of Britain as a place for the brightest and the best to work - by their catastrophic economic mismanagement in pursuit of an extreme Brexit which has seen the pound and growth fall and inflation and interest rates rise.
"Nobody voted to become poorer - but making every British citizen more hard up turns out to be the government's immigration strategy. If it weren't so sadly serious, this would be quite some joke."