Friday, May 20, 2022

Lib Dems announce former Army Major as Tiverton and Honiton by-election candidate

  • Ed Davey declares by-election a two-horse race between "Boris Johnson’s Conservatives and hard-working Liberal Democrat local champion"
  • Lib Dem candidate will campaign on the need to slash taxes, cut GP waiting times and secure a fairer deal for Devon farmers

The Liberal Democrats have announced that Richard Foord will be their candidate for the upcoming Tiverton & Honiton by-election. 

Richard lives in Uffculme with his wife and family. He grew up in the West Country and served for ten years in the Army after Commissioning from Sandhurst, reaching the rank of Major and receiving three campaign medals for service in Iraq and the Balkans.

Living locally, Richard is active across the community. He volunteers at two scout groups in the area and has raised thousands of pounds for charities, including running the London Marathon for the Royal British Legion.

Richard has pledged to be a strong local voice for Devon if elected, by fighting for urgent action on the cost of living, cutting ambulance and GP waiting times, and getting a fairer deal for Devon farmers. 

In April, the Liberal Democrats won the Cullompton South by-election against the Conservatives. They have also been winning across the UK, gaining neighbouring Somerset Council at the local elections and winning two successful parliamentary by-elections against the Conservatives, including the rural constituency of North Shropshire.

Announcing his candidacy, Richard said:

“Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are taking rural communities in Devon for granted. Towns and villages across the constituency are being hit hard by unfair tax hikes and receiving no help with spiralling energy bills and rising prices at the fuel pump. 

“This Conservative Government has run our local health services into the ground. Ambulance waiting times across Devon are soaring, and thousands are left waiting for weeks in pain, for a GP or dentist appointment.

“I was proud to serve my country in the Armed Forces for ten years and now want to serve my community in Westminster. We need politicians who listen to the needs of local people and work tirelessly to deliver for our area.“This by-election is a chance to send a message that it's time for a change. Towns and villages in our areas have been ignored for far too long. If elected, I pledge to take no-one for granted and stand up for our local communities in Parliament.”

Commenting on the announcement Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“Richard is an incredible candidate, whose dedication to others has shone not only through his career, but also in his voluntary roles in the community. 

“This by-election will be a two-horse race between Boris Johnson’s Conservatives and hard-working Liberal Democrat local champion, Richard Foord. This Conservative government has taken Devon for granted with local health services being neglected and botched and with trade deals undercutting farmers at every turn. 

“The Liberal Democrats are the clear challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton & Honiton.  On 23rd June, you can elect a strong local champion who will stand up for our communities and help kick Boris Johnson out of Number 10.”

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Sunak CBI speech: Tax cuts for businesses, tax hikes for families

Responding Rishi Sunak's promises of tax cuts for businesses in his speech to a CBI dinner last night, while not offering additional help for families, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:

"Rishi Sunak is promising tax cuts for businesses, while hiking taxes for families. It shows he's completely out of touch with those struggling with soaring bills and fuel prices.

"Every day that goes without any extra support, more people are being plunged into debt and poverty. If the Chancellor was serious about helping people cope, he'd announce an emergency tax cut now."

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Inflation: Emergency VAT cut needed now to slash prices

Responding to inflation reaching 9%, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

"Families and pensioners on the brink need saving from soaring inflation but this Conservative government is nowhere to be found.

"We need an emergency VAT cut now to slash prices at the till and fuel pump today. The warning lights are all flashing red and Boris Johnson hasn't a second to lose."

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Wages fall confirms we are facing "cost of living nightmare"

Responding to the latest ONS figures showing regular pay fell by 1.2% in January to March 2022, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said: 

"These figures confirm families are facing a cost of living nightmare, with wages failing to keep up with soaring energy bills and food prices.

"It is the worst possible time to be raising taxes on struggling families, yet still the Chancellor is ploughing ahead.

"Rishi Sunak has cashed in billions of pounds in extra VAT receipts this year as prices go through the roof. He needs to put some of this money back into people's pockets through an emergency tax cut, instead of cashing in on their misery.

"Slashing VAT would cut prices, reduce inflation and boost spending, it should be a no brainer."

Petrol profiteers: Haul bosses into Downing Street

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called on Boris Johnson to haul petrol firm bosses into Downing Street, after research by the RAC found they have failed to pass on nearly half of the fuel duty cut to consumers.

The Liberal Democrats are also calling for an emergency VAT cut that would save the average family £600 a year.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“This Conservative government is sitting on its hands and allowing petrol firms to rake in eye-watering profits at the expense of hard-pressed families.

“This government’s failure to tackle soaring prices of petrol and diesel is hitting our rural communities hardest. They need help now, instead we have a government in chaos that is raising taxes again and again.

“It’s high time Boris Johnson hauled petrol retailers into Downing Street to grill them on why the fuel duty cut hasn’t been passed on. 

“Ministers need to act now to tackle this petrol profiteering and slash taxes to put money back into people’s pockets”.

The Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton and Honiton

Responding to the announcement that the Tiverton & Honiton by-election will take place on Thursday 23rd June, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey MP said:

"People in rural communities like Devon have had enough of being neglected by this Conservative government.

“The Conservatives' failure to tackle the cost of living crisis has left millions struggling to pay their bills, while people wait hours for an ambulance and weeks for a GP or dentist appointment.

“The Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton and Honiton. On the 23rd June voters can send Boris Johnson’s government a message they cannot ignore - and elect a strong local champion who will stand up for them.”

Northern Ireland Protocol: Changes risk starting a trade war with our largest trading partner

Responding to Liz Truss's statement on changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

“Any responsible Government would today be announcing an emergency VAT cut to combat soaring bills and food costs. Instead Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are putting forward plans that will make it even harder for the millions of families who are struggling to make ends meet. 

“If the Conservatives go ahead with these plans, they risk starting a trade war with our largest trading partner which will turn a cost of living crisis into a catastrophe. 

“At a time when we should be working with our allies in the face of Russian aggression, these measures, which breach international law, will ignite a diplomatic firestorm. This public posturing undermines our standing on the world stage and only makes matters worse. The implementation of the Protocol will only be solved by the UK and EU calmly working together pragmatically to find solutions, such as negotiating a veterinary agreement. ”

Monday, May 16, 2022

Conservatives trashing Britain's reputation as a development superpower

Responding to the release of the International Development Strategy, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said: 

“The Conservative Government is trying to run and hide from the devastating impact of their aid cuts. The callous decision to slash aid spending is so scarcely mentioned in the Strategy it’s like they’re pretending it doesn’t exist. 

“The Foreign Secretary won’t even appear before Parliament to announce this new Strategy - because she knows that she will face difficult questions on how this broken Conservative promise is harming the most vulnerable around the world.”

“The Conservatives’ true strategy on international development is demonstrated by their actions, not their words. Development has been relegated from the Cabinet table, the aid budget has been slashed, and the UK’s proud reputation as a development superpower has been comprehensively trashed. The Government’s misguided new focus on ‘aid for trade’ is yet another blow for the world’s poorest. The UK Government should restore the 0.7% of GNI target for international development spending immediately.”

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Windfall tax "flip flopping" is a sign of a government in chaos

Responding to Boris Johnson's latest comments on introducing a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

"The mixed signals from Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak over a windfall tax are a sign of a government in chaos that is failing to act on the cost of living emergency.

"People want to see decisive action now to help them with soaring energy bills. Instead we have day after day of contradictory statements, while energy companies rake in record profits and families can't afford to put food on the table.

"It is a clear sign that Boris Johnson is simply not fit to lead us through this time of national crisis. We need strong leadership, not endless flip flopping."

A ton of partygate fines shows "shocking scale" of law-breaking in Johnson's Number 10

Responding to the news that the Met Police have now issued 100 fines over partygate, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said: 

"Boris Johnson stood up in Parliament and said Covid rules were followed in Number 10 at all times.

"Now 100 fines have been issued by the police over partygate. It shows the shocking scale of the law-breaking in Johnson's Downing Street and the extent of his lies."

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Emergency budget: £38m tax bill for every day of inaction



  • Every day without an emergency budget costs the squeezed-middle £38 million extra in taxes

  • Households pay extra £1.6 million in tax for every hour Parliament debates Queen’s Speech

  • Lib Dem MP calls the debate “the most expensive waste of time by Parliament I have ever known”

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found the additional tax hikes introduced by this Conservative Government is costing households £38 million a day.  

The figures come as Michael Gove denied the Government would be introducing an Emergency Budget this week despite hints from the Prime Minister in Parliament yesterday. 

Today, Parliament will be debating the Queen’s Speech, yet hard-pressed families will be forking out an extra £1.6 million per hour in tax hikes. These tax increases include the hit from National Insurance Contributions increasing and the Government freezing the income tax thresholds, which impacts the squeezed-middle. 

The Liberal Democrats are calling for an Emergency Budget to slash VAT which would save the average family £600 a year. 

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said: 

"The squeezed-middle are drowning in tax hikes and spiralling energy bills yet Rishi Sunak is nowhere to be found.

“Imagine watching the news today and seeing MPs talk for hours on end about a bunch of new laws that will not save you a single penny. This is the most expensive waste of Parliament's time I have ever known. Every second that ticks by ratchets up the tax bills for hard-pressed families. 

"Now is the time for an emergency budget to slash taxes and save hard-pressed families on the brink. Dark clouds are looming over our economy and every day of inaction from this Chancellor will force more people to make the heartbreaking decision between heating and eating.”

ENDS

  • Every day without an emergency budget costs the squeezed-middle £38 million extra in taxes

  • Households pay extra £1.6 million in tax for every hour Parliament debates Queen’s Speech

  • Lib Dem MP calls the debate “the most expensive waste of time by Parliament I have ever known”

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found the additional tax hikes introduced by this Conservative Government is costing households £38 million a day.  

The figures come as Michael Gove denied the Government would be introducing an Emergency Budget this week despite hints from the Prime Minister in Parliament yesterday. 

Today, Parliament will be debating the Queen’s Speech, yet hard-pressed families will be forking out an extra £1.6 million per hour in tax hikes. These tax increases include the hit from National Insurance Contributions increasing and the Government freezing the income tax thresholds, which impacts the squeezed-middle. 

The Liberal Democrats are calling for an Emergency Budget to slash VAT which would save the average family £600 a year. 

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said: 

"The squeezed-middle are drowning in tax hikes and spiralling energy bills yet Rishi Sunak is nowhere to be found.

“Imagine watching the news today and seeing MPs talk for hours on end about a bunch of new laws that will not save you a single penny. This is the most expensive waste of Parliament's time I have ever known. Every second that ticks by ratchets up the tax bills for hard-pressed families. 

"Now is the time for an emergency budget to slash taxes and save hard-pressed families on the brink. Dark clouds are looming over our economy and every day of inaction from this Chancellor will force more people to make the heartbreaking decision between heating and eating.”


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Neath Port Talbot council impasse

 Local Liberal Democrats are in discussions about the best way to make progress following the result of last Thursday's elections.


Ed Davey: Queen's Speech shows Conservatives are neglecting rural communities

Responding to the Queen’s Speech, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“This Queen’s Speech does nothing to help the millions of families and pensioners facing soaring bills and eye watering inflation. The Conservatives have failed to deliver a cut to VAT that would have saved families an average of £600, failed to help pensioners and failed to help the most vulnerable in our society.

“The Conservatives are continuing to neglect rural communities. There was nothing in these plans to support farmers on the brink, to tackle soaring ambulance waiting times and GP shortages, or to stop the dumping of filthy sewage into our river and seas.

“It shows a Prime Minister refusing to listen to the clear message sent by voters at last week’s local elections who are fed up of being taken for granted by this Conservative Government.”

Public Order Bill: Johnson and Patel recycling discredited plans


Responding to the Government announcement that they will try to revive some proposals that were rejected from the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill in a new 'Public Order Bill', Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP:
 
"These dangerous and draconian plans aren’t about stopping guerilla protestors - the police already have the powers to stop them. Instead, this is yet another desperate attempt to distract from a failing Government that is running out of steam."Last week, millions of people across the country sent a signal to the Conservatives that they were fed up with being taken for granted. Yet now we see they have nothing new to offer."So rather than wasting time recycling discredited plans, which have already been rejected by Parliament, Ministers should be taking real action to tackle the cost of living crisis which is hurting families across the country."

Friday, May 06, 2022

Two successes, one failure in county borough elections

 Congratulations to Helen Clarke for retaining - and increasing her majority over Labour - in Coedffranc West, and to Cen Phillips for joining her in the expanded council ward. He was also well clear of the nearest opposition. 

Frank Little was squeezed in a bitter battle between Labour and the Green Party in Coedffranc Central and finished bottom of the poll. The councillors for this expanded ward will be Angharad Aubrey for Welsh Labour and Nathan Goldup-John for the Greens. Frank will, however, serve as community councillor for the ward.

Full results will be on the council's website.


Thursday, May 05, 2022

Let them eat value: Conservatives living in a parallel universe

Responding to George Eustice saying people could swap to value brands to weather the cost of living crisis, Liberal Democrat Work & Pensions spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

"These comments show George Eustice and the Conservatives are living in a parallel universe. Families and pensioners who can't afford their weekly shop need more help, not patronising advice from a clueless minister.

"This is the stark reality of Boris Johnson’s Britain. Oil and gas giants are raking in billions, while families are told to buy value food and pensioners are riding around on buses to keep warm."

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Voting in person tomorrow

 




Vehicle crime epidemic: 140,000 car and bike thefts unsolved last year

  • New figures reveal 77,300 car thefts and 63,500 bike thefts went unsolved last year

  • Only 3.9% of car thefts lead to someone being charged, down from 6.8% five years ago

  • Conservatives accused of allowing criminals to steal vehicles on “an industrial scale”

Shocking new figures have revealed a “vehicle crime epidemic,” with over 140,000 car and bike thefts going unsolved by police last year.

More than three quarters of car theft cases (77,318) and nine in ten bike thefts (63,481) were closed without a suspect being identified.

The Liberal Democrats said the figures showed the Conservatives were soft on crime and are letting criminals get away with stealing vehicles on an “industrial scale.” The party is calling for more investment in community policing, ahead of the local elections on Thursday.

The figures also show a dramatic fall in the proportion of vehicle theft cases resulting in criminals being charged. Only 1.8% of bicycle thefts in 2021 led to someone being charged, down from 2.5% in 2017. Meanwhile just 3.9% of car thefts led to someone being charged, down from 6.8% five years ago.

The analysis of new Home Office statistics by the Liberal Democrats finds that over the past five years, a total of 806,288 vehicle theft cases have been closed by the police without a suspect being identified.

West Midlands Police and the Metropolitan Police were the worst forces for solving car thefts, with 89% of cases unsolved last year. The two forces were joined by Sussex Police for the highest rate of unsolved bike thefts, at 95%.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

“These shocking figures show criminals are getting away with stealing cars and bikes on an industrial scale. It is a vehicle theft epidemic that is blighting communities around the country.

“It shows the Conservatives are soft on crime and soft on criminals.

“The Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and focused on cutting crime. The Government should give forces the resources they need to make sure that every crime is investigated.

“We must reverse years of Conservative neglect that have made our communities less safe and let far too many criminals get away with it.”

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

BP profits: Lack of windfall tax “impossible to justify”

Responding to the announcement BP made profits of over $6 billion in the first quarter of 2022, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

 

“The Conservative government’s refusal to introduce a windfall tax on the super profits of oil companies is becoming impossible to justify. 

“BP is raking in eye-watering profits while millions of people struggle to pay the bills. It is an unforgivable lack of leadership from Boris Johnson at a time of national crisis.

“Oil companies are handing out huge dividends and buying back shares, they could easily afford to pay a little more to help the most vulnerable.”

Monday, May 02, 2022

Average family facing £5,500 tax hike over next decade under Conservatives


The average family is facing a £5,550 tax hike over the next decade as a result of Conservative tax rises, new research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on Boris Johnson to scrap the tax hikes and bring in an emergency tax cut in the Queen’s Speech, to help families struggling with the cost of  living crisis. 

The research by the House of Commons Library finds that even after Rishi Sunak’s promised cut to income tax in 2024, families will still be left poorer by around £600 a year.

The analysis is based on a typical household with two earners on a median salary of £33,790. It looks at the total impact of the tax changes announced by the Conservatives since 2021, including the freezing of income tax thresholds and the National Insurance rise.

The research finds that this average household would face a £3,250 tax hike from the freezing of income tax thresholds, and another £2,300 from the National Insurance rise. The additional taxes paid per year would peak at £630 in 2024, then fall to £480 in 2025 when Rishi Sunak's promised tax cut comes in. The additional tax burden will then increase again to £610 a year by 2030 as the freeze to income tax thresholds continues to bite.

The Liberal Democrats are demanding an emergency tax cut through slashing VAT from 20% to 17.5% for one year – a move that would save families an average of £600 this year. It has prepared legislation to implement this tax cut, which it says the Chancellor could bring into force “at the stroke of a pen.”

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“Even after Rishi Sunak’s promised tax cut, the average family faces a staggering £5,500 tax hike over the next decade. It shows there is no light at the end of the tunnel under this Conservative government, just years of painful tax rises.

“This country is faced with a law-breaking Prime Minister and a tax-hiking Chancellor. We desperately need a change of leadership at the top and the local elections this week are a chance to say so.

“Now is not the time to be hiking people’s taxes, just as energy bills and inflation go through the roof. People are facing a cost-of-living crisis, and they need an emergency tax cut now.”


Saturday, April 30, 2022

PM must tell Neil Parish to resign

Responding to the news that [Tiverton MP] Neil Parish has had the Conservative whip withdrawn after two female MPs said he had watched pornography in the Commons, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

"If Boris Johnson had any shred of decency left, he would tell Neil Parish to resign immediately.

“In any other workplace this would count as gross misconduct and the person responsible would lose their job. Parliament should be no different.

“We don't need to insult the women MPs who witnessed this with a lengthy investigation. All his bosses need to do is ask for his devices and look at his viewing history, this isn’t rocket science.”  

Thursday, April 28, 2022

New stats show 1.8 million crimes went unsolved in 2021

Four in ten crimes went unsolved by the police in 2021, new official figures show, with an average of 5,000 unsolved crimes every day.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show that overall crime was 18% higher in 2021 compared with 2019, driven by a 54% increase in fraud and computer misuse.

Liberal Democrat analysis of new Home Office figures show that 1.8 million cases were closed by the police in 2021 without a suspect even being identified – 39% of all cases closed.

Responding to the statistics, Liberal Democrats Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said: 

“Crime is soaring on the Conservatives’ watch. They are failing our communities, making people less safe, and letting far too many criminals get away with it.

“Boris Johnson and Priti Patel love to talk tough on crime, but they’re failing to deliver the extra police officers they promised, or even to get the basics right. As a result, too many people’s lives are being ruined by burglaries, anti-social behaviour, fraud and scams.

“Liberal Democrats are calling for proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and focused on cutting crime. These local elections are a chance to send the Conservatives a message and elect Liberal Democrat councillors who will work hard to prevent crime and make sure people can truly feel safe in their communities.”

Energy Bills: Chancellor's comments are tone deaf

Responding to Chancellor Rishi Sunak claiming it would be "silly" to give more support on energy bills, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:

"These comments are totally tone deaf in the middle of a cost of living emergency. 

“Families being hit by soaring energy bills need support right now, instead Rishi Sunak is clobbering them with unfair taxes.

"The Chancellor should offer an emergency tax cut to help families now, not make more vague promises about the future."

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Calls for Wales-wide investigation of children's services

Following the conviction of a couple in Bridgend for the murder of a child who had been taken off the "at risk" register, there have been calls for an independent review of social work as it affects children. Welsh Liberal Democrats support Prof. Donald Forrester and the British Association of Social Workers Cymru in their identification of a need for such a review, which has never been carried out in Wales, alone among the home countries.


Figures reveal Conservatives breaking police pledge as recruitment stalls

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservatives for being soft on crime, as new official figures show they are failing on their manifesto pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers.

A total of 4,814 extra officers were recruited in the second year of the uplift, well short of the Government’s 6,000 target. It means the recruitment rate would have to increase by a third, to 6,424 extra officers in the final year of the policy to meet the target of 20,000 by March 2023.

Senior police chiefs are starting to warn that the target won’t be met. Acting Met Commissioner Stephen House told MPs last week that “We are experiencing issues in the Met and I think other large forces are starting to experience recruiting challenges.”

Responding to the figures, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

 

“The record is clear: the Conservatives are soft on crime. On their watch, too many communities are plagued by crime and anti-social behaviour, and too many criminals are getting away with it.

 

“This is turning into yet another of Boris Johnson’s broken promises. By failing to recruit the police officers we need, the Conservatives are letting down victims of crime and communities across the country.

 

“Liberal Democrats are fighting for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and focused on cutting crime. By voting Liberal Democrat at these elections, you can send a message to the Conservatives that they can't take people for granted anymore.”

 

Ed Davey demands rural cost of living rescue package including heating oil price cap

  • Lib Dems call for rescue package for struggling families in rural areas

  • Conservatives accused of leaving rural communities “out in the cold” after refusing to cap price of heating oil

  • Top 25 areas most reliant on heating oil revealed

The Liberal Democrats have demanded a rural cost of living rescue package, including a cap on heating oil prices to help struggling families off the gas grid. The party warned that the Conservatives are leaving rural communities “out in the cold” by refusing to help with soaring bills.

Rural communities are bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis with soaring heating bills, petrol prices and food costs all hitting struggling families.

The rural cost of living rescue package would include a cap on heating oil costs to support the estimated 1.5 million homes off the gas grid, and bringing in an emergency tax cut slashing VAT from 20% to 17.5%, saving families an average of £600 each. The VAT cut would save a motorist £48 a year on filling up their car.

The Conservative government has refused to cap prices for heating oil, leaving consumers vulnerable to soaring prices. In response to a recent parliamentary question, a Conservative minister said: “A price cap is not necessary as consumers can shop around and switch suppliers more easily than for gas and electricity.”

Prices of heating oil have more than doubled to around 95p a litre, compared to 45p in August 2021. It means the cost of heating oil for the average household is expected to soar by between £700 to £1,700 this year.

Former Energy Secretary and Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey is calling for an energy price cap for heating oil to help families in rural areas struggling to get by. Under the party’s proposals, the government would step in to cover the cost if oil goes above the set price, protecting families from soaring prices and preventing small business suppliers from going bust. 

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed the top 25 areas most reliant on heating oil. Mid Suffolk has the highest proportion, where just under 30% of homes use heating oil, followed by Eden in Cumbria (25%) and North Norfolk (24%). Other hard hit areas include Shropshire (15%), South Cambridgeshire (13%) and South Somerset (12%).

It comes as the outgoing Deputy President of the National Farmers Union (NFU) and ex-Conservative Stuart Roberts announced he has joined the Liberal Democrats, warning that the Conservatives are letting down farmers and rural communities.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“This Conservative government is leaving rural communities out in the cold through their stubborn refusal to help those facing soaring heating bills.

“People are being plunged into fuel poverty but instead of helping, the Conservatives are raising unfair taxes again and again.

“The Liberal Democrats are demanding a rescue package for rural areas, through a cap on heating oil prices and an emergency tax cut to save struggling families six hundred pounds. 

“Next week’s local elections are a chance to send Boris Johnson a message that people in rural areas are fed up of being taken for granted. Every vote for the Liberal Democrats will help elect a strong local champion who will fight for a fair deal for their community.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Shocking figures reveal one police station closed every two weeks since 2015

217 police stations and counters across England have closed since 2015, shocking new figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

It's the equivalent of over one police station closing every two weeks in the past seven years under the Conservatives.

The figures were obtained by the Liberal Democrats through FOI requests to every police force in England and Wales, with responses

London and the South East, in particular, have seen a staggering fall in the number of police stations. Thames Valley Police, responsible for policing in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, has closed the most locations, with 23 stations and 44 counters closed since 2015. This includes 41 closures in 2016 alone. 

The Metropolitan Police is second in the country on stations closed, with 36 since 2015 – 31 of them in 2017. 

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will tomorrow (Tuesday 26 April) visit the site of a closed police station in Oxfordshire to demand more investment in community policing. 

Across England and Wales a total of 217 police stations and counters have been closed in the last seven years, with an average of 31 closures a year since 2015 – more than one per fortnight.

Ahead of the local elections this May, the Liberal Democrats are urging a return to community policing, with a three-point plan to crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour and reverse years of Conservative neglect:

  • Restore proper community policing, where officers are more visible, trusted and known personally to local people.

  • Reverse Conservative cuts to youth services by investing an extra £500 million a year via a ring-fenced fund to Local Authorities

  • Scrap Police and Crime Commissioners and use the £50 million savings to invest in frontline policing and solving crimes.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said

“Shuttered police stations have become a symbol of the Conservatives’ failure on crime. Too many people feel unsafe on their own streets, and too many criminals are getting away with it.

“The Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and focused on cutting crime. 

“This May people will have a chance to send Boris Johnson’s Conservatives a message. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for more investment in our police and youth services to help make our communities safer.”

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Johnson desperate for bargain basement trade deal

Responding to the Prime Minister's press conference in New Delhi, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

“At this dark moment, we must make clear to all our allies that you cannot be neutral in the face of the war crimes being meted out against Ukrainians by Putin’s forces. This must be a matter of principle for the UK - sadly, Johnson seems so desperate for a bargain basement trade deal that he is keeping quiet. 

“We should be standing tall on the world stage and stating that the UK expects any country which seeks increased access to our market not to bypass sanctions placed on Russia.
“Johnson won’t tell the truth abroad and he won’t tell the truth at home. He is a national embarrassment and an international one too."

Friday, April 22, 2022

Ed Davey: Conservative MPs too ashamed to defend Johnson but too weak to sack him

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has warned that Conservative MPs who are keeping Boris Johnson in his job are “guilty by association,” adding they are “too ashamed to defend him but too weak to sack him.”

Ed Davey is calling on Conservative MPs to sack Boris Johnson so the government can focus on helping families facing a cost of living emergency. 

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, he singled out Conservative MPs from Winchester to Wimbledon whose constituents are furious about Boris Johnson breaking the rules and lying about it. 

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“The country deserves a Government that is focused on tackling the cost-of-living emergency, and a Prime Minister it can trust.

“That’s why Boris Johnson’s behaviour is so profoundly damaging.  It shows he can’t be trusted, after breaking the very laws he himself introduced and told everyone else to follow.

“By keeping the Prime Minister in his job, Conservative MPs have made themselves guilty by association. They are now too ashamed to defend him, but too weak to sack him.

“If Conservative MPs don’t hold the Prime Minister to account for his law-breaking and lies, 

they should know that their constituents will hold them to account at the ballot box.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Owen Paterson's successor writes to Tory MPs ahead of crunch vote

Winner of the North Shropshire by-election, Helen Morgan MP, has written to Tory MPs warning them to learn their lessons from previous sleaze scandals.

MPs will vote tomorrow on whether to refer the Prime Minister for investigation by the Committee of Privileges following his repeated lies on partygate. Helen Morgan MP has written to 50 Blue Wall Tory MPs with slim majorities over the Liberal Democrats who are most vulnerable to a public backlash over their support for Boris Johnson. 

Helen gained Owen Paterson's constituency by overturning a massive Conservative majority with a 34% swing amid news headlines of Conservative sleaze and scandal. 

In a letter to Blue Wall Tory MPs, Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire Helen Morgan says:

"This week marks five months since I won the North Shropshire by-election in the wake of a Conservative party drowning in sleaze and scandal. 

"It is sad to see your party has learnt nothing since then.

"The power is in your hands. You have the numbers to stop this stitch-up.  So what will it be: sleaze and scandal? Or decency and integrity?  

"The writing is on the wall for the Conservative party - your constituents will not be taken for granted. 

"The public expects MPs to carry out their patriotic duty tomorrow. British democracy is being dragged through the mud. You cannot prop up this sham of a Prime Minister any longer.  

"Our country desperately needs leadership right now, instead we have a law-breaking and lying Prime Minister. Now is the time to act."

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Partygate vote: Tory MPs must do their patriotic duty

Responding to the news that Boris Johnson will face a vote by MPs on Thursday over lying to Parliament about partygate, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said: 

“The British public have declared Boris Johnson a liar. Now it’s time for Parliament to do the same.

“The country cannot afford a Prime Minister who breaks the law and lies about it, especially when families are facing a cost-of-living crisis.

“Johnson has taken the British people for fools for far too long, and it’s time for Conservative MPs to show where they stand. They must do their patriotic duty and kick Boris Johnson out of Downing Street once and for all.”

Brandon Lewis parking fine comments an "insult to bereaved families"

Responding to Minister of State for Security Brandon Lewis' comments this morning comparing Boris Johnson breaking his own lockdown rules with previous ministers receiving parking tickets or speeding fines, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

"The excuses of Conservative ministers are getting more pathetic by the day. There is a massive difference between getting a parking fine and Boris Johnson breaking his own lockdown rules.

"It is an insult to bereaved families and all those who made huge sacrifices while Johnson partied in Number 10. Conservative MPs need to discover their moral backbone and sack Johnson instead of defending the indefensible."

Friday, April 15, 2022

Rwanda: Total dysfunction at the Home Office

Responding to Boris Johnson's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, after Refugee Minister Lord Harrington ruled out such a move just last week, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

"The Prime Minister and Home Secretary announcing a refugees policy that the Refugees Minister doesn't even know about shows the total dysfunction at the heart of the Home Office.

"If the Home Office can't even manage a press release properly, how on earth will they manage this new offshoring system?"

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Cladding: People still trapped in unsafe homes

Responding to the announcement of an agreement between developers and the Government regarding cladding on high rise buildings, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

“It’s right that developers pay to remove dangerous cladding from buildings, but while Ministers continue to design convoluted schemes people are facing a fifth miserable year stuck in homes which are not safe.
“As campaigners have called for again and again, we need an unequivocal commitment that innocent leaseholders won’t have to shoulder the cost of remediation - whether that’s external cladding or internal fixes. 
“Liberal Democrats continue to call for the government to stump up the cash so we can make homes safe, and then go after those responsible.”

Shared Prosperity Fund: Smoke and mirrors from a government in chaos

Responding to the Government launching the allocation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:
“This announcement is yet another attempt at smoke and mirrors from a government in chaos. There's no new money for local communities and it does nothing to support the millions of families who are struggling with soaring energy bills right now.“This shallow effort to shore up the sinking ship by re-heating announcements from months ago will not help get Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak off the hook.“Ministers should be giving families real help – by holding an emergency budget that will help people with their energy bills and slash VAT to put £600 back in people's pockets."

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

We now have a criminal Prime Minister