Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Javid’s Home Office record should disqualify him for PM

Responding to Sajid Javid’s announcement that he is running to become leader of the Conservative Party, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has argued that “Javid’s record as Home Secretary should disqualify him from entering Number 10”.

In just over a year at the Home Office, Javid has:
  • Ignored calls to boost police funding to tackle the rise in serious violence, following £1 billion of police cuts since 2015.
  • Refused to scrap the hostile environment ‘Right to Rent’ law, even though the High Court ruled that it is discriminatory and incompatible with the Human Rights Act.
  • Undermined the UK’s opposition to the death penalty by offering assistance with prosecutions in the United States without seeking the usual assurances that the death penalty would not be used.
  • Introduced a government bill to end EU free movement, despite not having a clear plan for an immigration system to replace it. His White Paper merely describes itself as a “platform for discussion”.
  • Pressed ahead with plans to require EU citizens in the UK to apply for Settled Status by an arbitrary 2021 deadline, despite warnings that this will lead to a repeat of the Windrush Scandal.
  • Legislated for controversial, counterproductive and costly ‘Knife Crime Prevention Orders’ with no evidence to support them and minimal debate in the House of Commons.
  • Unlawfully pre-judged the asylum claims of people coming across the Channel by suggesting that they are not “genuine” asylum seekers and saying that the Government needs “to send a very strong message” that their claims “won’t succeed”.
  • Introduced unnecessary, authoritarian new laws, including new offences of “entering or remaining in” designated areas outside the UK and viewing terrorism-related material online.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey commented:
“Sajid Javid’s been running for Tory leader ever since he set foot in the Home Office. Scaremongering about refugees, eroding civil liberties and undermining human rights – it’s all straight out of Theresa May’s playbook.
“Javid’s record as Home Secretary should disqualify him from entering Number 10. We’ve just seen what happens when a terrible Home Secretary becomes a disastrous Prime Minister. We don’t need a repeat.”

Monday, May 27, 2019

We are the strongest Remain force in British politics

The Liberal Democrats have secured the best ever European Election result in the party's history, expecting to return 16 MEPs and take second place in vote share. 

Having run an unambiguous campaign to stop Brexit the party has made huge gains across the country, which follow the party's best ever gains in English local election results at the start of May. 

Responding to the result Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said: 

"Our clear, honest, unambiguous message has won us our best ever European election result, and pushed Corbyn's Labour into third place. 
“We have shown ourselves to be the strongest Remain force in British politics.
“We will always stand up for the people who have put their faith in us, taking this mandate forward to campaign harder than ever to stop Brexit.
“There is a clear lesson for Labour in tonight’s results: get off the fence. In trying to please everybody they have pleased nobody.
“With a Tory leadership contest increasing the risk of a “No Deal” Brexit, Britain can no longer tolerate an Opposition which ducks and dives on the biggest issue of the day.
“If you want to see an outward looking Britain, standing tall in the world with our European partners, and offering opportunity to everyone at home, there is no better moment to shape the future of our party and our politics, by joining the Liberal Democrats.”

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Vince Cable on May reaching end of her road

Responding to the Prime Minister's resignation yesterday, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

“The Prime Minister is right to recognise that her administration has reached the end of the road.
“Sadly her compromises through the last three years have too often been with the right-wing of her own party, rather than about bringing the country together.
Conservative Party interest has always trumped national interest, and yet Conservative MPs continue to demand an ever more extreme Brexit policy.
“The best and only option remains to take Brexit back to the people.  I believe the public would now choose to Stop Brexit, and stop the immeasurable damage the process has done to the United Kingdom”.

Swinson demands Electoral Commission investigate EU election débâcle


Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson has written to the Electoral Commission demanding an investigation after countless EU citizens were unable to vote in the Euro elections this week.
In a letter to Sir John Holmes, Chair of the Electoral Commission, the Liberal Democrat MP said: “it is an outrage that so many people were denied the right to vote in yesterday’s European elections.”
She added: “Not only were European citizens turned away at polling stations, but many UK citizens abroad were also disenfranchised due to breakdowns in the postal ballot system.”
The Liberal Democrats have also confirmed that on polling day significant numbers of people called and emailed Liberal Democrat HQ saying they had been unable to vote despite having registered in time.
In demanding an urgent investigation by the Electoral Commission, Jo Swinson said: “There must be an immediate inquiry to understand what went wrong and a review of the current process to ensure it never happens again. In the UK, in 2019, no one should be denied their right to vote.”

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

With no guarantee of a People's Vote the PM will get no support from the Lib Dems


Responding to the PM's Brexit statement, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

"The Prime Minister’s last ditch attempt to get her withdrawal agreement through the Commons without a confirmatory referendum attached is doomed to failure.  Her authority is draining away.
“Unless and until the Government concedes that a People’s Vote must be in the legislation, she will not win our support.
“In the elections on Thursday, people have a clear opportunity to signal that they want to Stop Brexit in its tracks by backing the Liberal Democrats.”

Layla Moran: hopes that more universities follow Oxford’s diversity drive

Responding to the news that Oxford University is set to overhaul its recruitment processes, and will commit that at least 25% of students will be from disadvantaged backgrounds by 2023, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson and MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, Layla Moran said:

“This is welcome news from Oxford as setting clear ambitious targets will drive innovative solutions. But it begs the question, what about other top universities?

”I’d like to see the Office for Students do more to promote a drive to the top where Universities compete to ramp up diversity. Only then will we start to see real society wide social mobility.”

Monday, May 20, 2019

Conservative government is failing in its duty to protect the public

Responding to Sajid Javid's speech on terrorism, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said: 

“The first duty of government is to protect its citizens, but Sajid Javid has essentially confessed that his own Government is failing in that duty.
“In the same speech where he said how important Europol, the European Arrest Warrant and the Schengen Information System are for keeping us safe, he also admitted that there is no agreement on keeping those crucial crime-fighting tools after Brexit.
“By pursuing Brexit and throwing away these tools, the Government is playing into the hands of terrorists, murderers and drug traffickers. Saying that a new security partnership is still the Government’s preferred option is simply not good enough, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.
“That’s why we are fighting to stop Brexit and preserve the EU cooperation on which our police and security services rely.”

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Brexit threatens UK’s ability to monitor climate change

The UK is at risk of losing the ability to monitor climate change if a Brexit deal is not agreed the Liberal Democrats have warned today.

If the UK leaves the EU then we will no longer be able to participate in the Copernicus* programme as a member state and will have no role in how it is run. This is the most ambitious Earth Observation programme to date and provides accurate information to improve the management of the environment in order to tackle the effects of climate change.

The Copernicus programme is not the only satellite programme the UK could lose access to. The Prime Minister has already made clear the UK will not use the Galileo** satellite for defence or critical national infrastructure once the UK leaves the EU.

The UK currently has no existing way to launch satellites into space, with the last one being launched in 1971, when Black Arrow carried a satellite called Prospero into low Earth orbit, albeit from a launchpad in Australia.

The Conservative Government are rumoured to be proposing new measures to safeguard space infrastructure as part of their first defence space strategy. However, experts have widely critiqued the strategy as completely unfeasible due to the amount it would cost.

Ahead of the EU elections, Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson Jamie Stone warned:

“Not only would the UK lose access to vital programmes which the Conservative Government will spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer’s money trying to replace, but the European Union will continue to advance and progress with technology in space whilst we lag behind. As threats on the global stage increase, this is not the time to be leaving satellite programs which help keep us safe.

“The EU’s satellite programmes are also vital if we are to effectively counteract the damage we are doing to the planet. The Conservatives have not only remained unambitious in tackling climate change, but they have doggedly undone the hard work Liberal Democrats did in coalition to help protect our environment. They are clearly showing no signs of stopping.

“By threatening the UK’s access to Copernicus with no replacement the Tories have once again revealed their disdain for saving our planet.

“The Liberal Democrats are clear if we want to tackle climate change and keep our country safe, we need to remain members of the European Union. Every vote for the Liberal Democrats in the European Elections on 23rd May is a vote to stop Brexit.”

*Copernicus is the most ambitious Earth Observation programme to date providing accurate and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.

Currently the UK participates as a member state and contributes financially. UK industry and academia are involved in the delivery and operation of the programme. The MoD has no planned replacement for losing access to key Copernicus contracts or data sourced by Copernicus from Contributing Missions as of yet.

**Galileo is the Global Navigation Satellite System created by the EU through the European Space Agency. Just the assessment to replace it cost £92 million. An independent satellite is seen as unaffordable, with expected costs estimated as high as £8.5 billion. The current UK space budget is only £370 million per year with the majority of that going to the European Space Agency.

Last year a Spanish company won a 250 million Euro contract to develop the ground control system for Galileo. This was historically run by UK-based Airbus and was just one of several contracts lost.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Lib Dems have a manifesto for Europe

 - unlike some other political parties.

Vince Cable writes: "Today we launch our manifesto for the European elections. The Liberal Democrats are fighting to stop Brexit. There is a significant possibility that we will succeed, and the MEPs we elect on May 23rd will be in place for five years. They will represent the UK when we make important decisions about trade, security and the climate emergency.

"Our MEP candidates were chosen by our members, and they will stand on a platform of policies voted for by our members. Our manifesto is liberal, positive and forward-looking. We hope you will read it, and share our vision for the UK and Europe with your friends."

The manifesto can be viewed on the party's main website by clicking on the button below. Scroll down to view our aims in eleven policy areas including freedom of movement, education, health, tackling the climate emergency, fighting crime, upholding liberties across borders, innovation, agriculture and regional development.
Read our manifesto

You can watch tonight's launch party live here. Please do tune in. 

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Membership surge ahead of Euro elections

The Liberal Democrats have confirmed over two thousand people joined the party in the days after the party’s best ever gains of Councillors in local elections.
Alongside securing a national equivalent vote share of 19% - the best since 2010 – Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said the surge in members was a clear sign the Liberal Democrats are “the strongest party for remain going into the European Elections.”
"With these astonishing local election results, it is fantastic news that over two thousand people have flocked to the Liberal Democrat banner in aid of our campaign to stop Brexit.
“This surge in membership shows that more and more people have had enough of the national embarrassment Brexit has become. They deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.
“The Liberal Democrats, with over 100,000 members and nearly three thousand councillors across the country, are clearly the strongest party for remain going into the European Elections. Every Liberal Democrat vote is a vote to stop Brexit.”

Monday, May 06, 2019

Climate crisis demands European Action


The Climate crisis can only be stopped by Europe-wide action, the Liberal Democrats said today, as they called for Europe to adopt a "net zero greenhouse gas emissions target" by 2050. 
Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat former Climate Change Secretary, led the successful Europe-wide negotiations on the current 2030 target, and said "anyone who wants to stop our climate crisis should vote to stop Brexit".
The Liberal Democrats are calling for a UK target of net zero emissions by 2045 - and believe the EU must adopt a target of at least net zero by 2050, a key policy in their forthcoming manifesto for the European elections to be unveiled this Thursday.
Ed Davey commented:

"Everyone but the Conservatives and Nigel Farage's Brexit Party accepts there is a climate crisis - so the key question is, how do we solve the crisis? Stopping Brexit would be a big step forward.
"The record shows it has been the EU leading climate action internationally. However before this current Brexit Government, it was Britain leading Europe to be more ambitious and it was Liberal Democrat Ministers in coalition who were leading Britain to be more ambitious at the European Union.
"If Britain leaves the EU, we leave Europe's key climate talks. We cannot influence 27 other countries on climate change without a seat at the table and therefore we will witness the influence we have on the world through the EU dramatically reduced. 
"So anyone who wants to stop our climate crisis should vote to stop Brexit. It's now clear after the local election results last Thursday that to stop Brexit people need to vote Liberal Democrat."

Tory and Labour stitching up Brexit deal behind closed doors

Responding to John McDonnell's comments on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

“It is clear the Conservatives and Labour have more in common than just some disastrous local elections results, they are also happy to stitch up a damaging Brexit deal behind closed doors.

“John McDonnell’s comments on Andrew Marr today clearly show that Labour are willing to compromise with the Prime Minister to ensure they force a Brexit deal through parliament.

"If they do not ensure that a people’s vote is attached to any deal, they have not only disregarded their own party members, but they will have ignored the British public. We must have a final say.

“As we head towards the polls for the European elections, the Liberal Democrats are clear that a vote for us is a vote to stop Brexit.”

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Lib Dems call for a compulsory levy on gambling firms

The Liberal Democrats have renewed calls for a compulsory levy on gambling firms following GambleAware’s announcement that the 2018/2019 voluntary levy has raised less than the minimum £10 million asked for.

The Liberal Democrats have long argued a compulsory levy should pay towards the cost of research, education and treatment for people with gambling problems.

Liberal Democrat Peer, Lord Foster of Bath, said:

“I’m pleased that GambleAware has listed all the donations they have received so we can see, for example, that SkyBet, 888 and BetFred are notable by their absence. Bet365 has also given less than the recommended 0.1% of the Gross Gambling Yield.

"These companies make huge profits and must surely be forced to pay towards dealing with the misery their operations can cause for some people.

“The compulsory Horse Race Betting Levy raises almost 7 times more money to support horse-racing than the voluntary betting levy raises to help people.

“The time has now come to force ALL gambling companies to pay up. Or does the government believe “four legs good, two legs bad."

English Lib Dems land best ever gains

Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, has hailed the best ever gains of councillors in local elections in the party’s history.

Alongside over 700 gains the party landed serious blows to the Conservatives with stunning victories to gain councils including Chelmsford, Hinckley and Bosworth and the Vale of the White Horse – as well as holding the Mayoralty in Bedford.
With the party on track to secure a national equivalent vote share of 19% - the best since 2010 – Cable hailed the result as a clear sign that the Liberal Democrats are the strongest party for Remain going into the European Elections.
Vince Cable said:

“These are spectacularly good results, stemming from the hard work and the commitment of our campaigners all around the country.

“This is a springboard to the European elections in three weeks’ time, when we hope to do well again.
“Ours is the strongest Remain voice in British politics. Every Liberal Democrat vote is a vote to stop Brexit.”
The final total of Liberal Democrat council seats gained is 703.
The results saw Liberal Democrats secure power of 18 councils
Notable gains include defeating the leaders of Bath and North East Somerset Council, and St Albans Council and in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s own ward.
Liberal Democrat councils returned yesterday: 

Bath and North East Somerset
Hinckley and Bosworth
Mole Valley
North Devon
North Norfolk
Oadby and Wigston
Somerset and West Taunton
South Lakeland
South Somerset
Three Rivers
Vale of the White Horse
Northern Ireland
At the time of writing, our comrades in the Alliance Party had seen 42 councillors returned, a significant increase over the last time local councils were contested in the province, also seeing a breakthrough outside the party's stronghold in Belfast.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Cable: Heathrow expansion one of the Tories' worst mistakes

Responding to the judgement on the legal challenges to the Conservative government’s decision to permit Heathrow to apply for expansion of its airport with a new third runway, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

“It is a pity that the judicial review process has ended in this way, but the fundamental environmental and economic issues remain. Expanding Heathrow is the wrong decision for the country and for South West London, where air pollution, air traffic noise, and congestion are already a blight.
“With climate change looming large in the public mind, I still believe that the expansion will be revisited before a single brick is laid.
“The economics of the project look increasingly questionable. This company pays little tax and ships out its profits to its overseas owner. They expect to raise unrealistically large sums for the runway and the infrastructure around the airport.
“Deciding to proceed with the scheme is one of the Conservative government’s worst mistakes.”

Collapse of Four Seasons shows social care crisis unfolding on Tory watch

Responding to the news that one of Britain's largest care home groups, Four Seasons Health Care, is on the brink of administration, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

“For the many thousands of residents and staff at the Four Seasons Health Care, the news that the group is set to go into administration will be deeply worrying.

“Another social care crisis in unfolding on the Tories watch as they repeatedly delay confronting the funding and structural problems in social care.

"Questions must now be answered by the Conservative Government as to how such a major care home group could have gone into administration, potentially putting at risk thousands of people’s care and thousands of jobs.

“Liberal Democrats are ready to challenge the problems in social care. We would ensure an effective and efficient NHS and care system which will be there for our loved ones when they need it with a penny on income tax to directly invest funds in social care.”
(Four Seasons runs two care homes in Wales, including Rookery Residential Home in Ebbw Vale, and one in Cheshire. The Welsh Government is responsible for the regulation of care homes in Wales, but is dependent on an allocation from central government under the Barnett Formula for funding for residential care.)