Liberal Democrat MPs will today vote against the Government’s attempts to reintroduce draconian laws cracking down on the right to protest.
Two key laws were removed from the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill through Liberal Democrat amendments in the House of Lords last month.
They would create new powers to impose restrictions on public assemblies and one-person protests. Liberal Democrats also supported cross-party amendments to remove the power to ban protests that are “too noisy”.
The Government has tabled motions to overturn those Lords amendments, which the House of Commons will debate today.
Ahead of the votes, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:
“Priti Patel’s Protest Crackdown Laws are dangerous and draconian. The fundamental right to peaceful assembly and protest has always been a crucial part of our democratic society.
“These new laws are part of the Conservative Government’s anti-democratic attempts to silence any opposition to its policies. Liberal Democrats are fiercely resisting them.
“I am proud of the work Liberal Democrats and others have done in the House of Lords to take out the worst parts of this Bill. Today we will fight to prevent the Government adding them back in, and I hope MPs from all parties will join us.”
Monday, February 28, 2022
Responding to the confirmation that the Government will be bringing forward the long-awaited Economic Crime Bill on Tuesday, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:
"This announcement is long overdue. It shouldn't have taken a war in Ukraine for action to prevent dirty Russian money flooding into our country and corrupting our politics.
"These new measures must be fast tracked though parliament and used in full, to crack down on Putin's cronies by seizing and freezing their assets.
"The cash collected through this oligarchs tax should then be used to help people cope with their soaring energy bills.
"We also need the review of everyone who came here on Golden Visas published in full, with individuals linked to Putin's regime being shown the door."
Sunday, February 27, 2022
The Liberal Democrats have welcomed the decision of BP to offload their almost 20% stake in Russian state-owned oil firm Rosneft in the wake of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Reacting to the news Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey, who called for this to happen in Parliament on Thursday, said:
“I welcome BP’s decision to pull out of Rosneft because of Putin’s horrifying war in Ukraine. We now need all other British companies to follow suit, with immediate effect, and the Government to step up with stronger sanctions.
“The world must isolate Russia like the rogue state it is, and the UK must stand firm in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. The only way sanctions work is if every organisations and all governments are willing to shoulder responsibility and take tough decisions.”
Responding to Home Office Minister Kevin Foster tweeting that Ukrainians seeking to flee the ongoing conflict should apply for the seasonal worker visa, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:
“Ukrainians are queuing for miles to escape Putin’s war machine. For the Home Office to tell them to apply for visas as if they are looking for work or going on a gap year is completely wrong.
"We should stand with all Ukrainians, not only those prepared to pick kale and cabbage.
“The UK must help lead a coordinated humanitarian response, including a simple, fast scheme to resettle Ukrainian refugees in the UK.
“Our country has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those fleeing war and persecution. We must not turn our backs on Ukrainians in their hour of need.”
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson and MP for Orkney and Shetland Alistair Carmichael has written to Boris Johnson urging him to sanction and deny Russian-owned vessels access to UK ports following Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine.
In his letter, Mr Carmichael highlighted his previous exchange with Mr Johnson in Parliament in which the Prime Minister indicated that new measures meant the government could sanction Russian-owned companies like Sovcomflot, one of the largest petroleum shipping companies in the world.
One Sovcomflot vessel (NS Challenger) has already departed from Sullom Voe terminal in Shetland with a second, the NS Champion, due to arrive at Flotta terminal in Orkney on Tuesday. Currently such vessels operate freely and cannot legally be denied access to ports by local authorities.
Mr Carmichael also highlighted that during the Second World War the Royal Navy flagship, the Royal Oak, was sunk in the Scapa Flow by a German U-boat with 835 crew members losing their lives. He warned that allowing open access to Sovcomflot would “dishonour the memory of the sacrifice that the crew of the Royal Oak made in their fight against fascism” and called for action immediately.
Commenting Alistair Carmichael MP said:
"With the conflict in Ukraine still raging, it's vital that all countries step up their sanctions against Putin and his cronies.
“Companies like Sovcomflot are owned by the Russian Government, so the money they make goes straight back to the Kremlin and helps fund Vladimir Putin’s war machine.
“It’s unthinkable that our sanctions do not extend to companies operating in our ports, allowing money to still make its way back to Moscow. Boris Johnson says he has the power to stop this, so now he has to use it.
"We must stand with the Ukrainian people, who are bravely resisting the invasion of their homeland, and ensure no Russian ships cannot use UK ports to fund Putin’s war.”
Friday, February 25, 2022
The Liberal Democrats are calling for the UK to lead a coordinated humanitarian response to Putin’s war in Ukraine, with safe passage and support for Ukrainian refugees fleeing violence and persecution at the hands of Russian forces.
The party’s MPs have written to the Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary, urging them to work with humanitarian agencies and Ukraine’s neighbours to provide accommodation and support to the people now fleeing Russian troops, who are now advancing on the capital of Kyiv.
It comes in the wake of the news that visa applications from those Ukrainian nationals without close British relatives and who are stuck in the country are suspended, meaning no legal route exists for them to enter the UK and claim asylum.
The letter calls for “an ambitious commitment to resettle Ukrainian refugees in the UK”, and urges the Government to withdraw its Nationality and Borders Bill – currently going through Parliament – because it would criminalise Ukrainians and other refugees who come to the UK seeking asylum. This is a sentiment shared by a number of leading charities such as Amnesty International and Save The Children in a letter to The Times today.
The Liberal Democrats are warning Ministers not to repeat the mistakes of the Government’s scheme for Afghan refugees, which still sees many families trapped in small hotel rooms, waiting to be properly resettled and without the settled immigration status the Government promised. The letter calls for “a full five-year funding package for each and every person a council resettles”.
Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, said:
“A terrible human tragedy is unfolding before our eyes, as a result of Putin’s maniacal aggression.
“We are already seeing queues of people desperate to get out before it is too late, especially LGBT+ people, journalists and activists who fear persecution at the hands of Russian forces.
“As well as the strongest possible sanctions on Putin and his cronies, this crisis demands a coordinated humanitarian response. Anything less would play right into Putin’s hands by destabilising our continent even further.
“The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those forced to flee war and persecution. We must not turn our backs on the people of Ukraine in their hour of need.”
Thursday, February 24, 2022
Responding to the additional sanctions on Russian companies and individuals announced today by Boris Johnson, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Energy Secretary Ed Davey said:
"The absence of Gazprom and Rosneft, part-owned by BP, in today’s sanctions list is the elephant in the room. The UK must do everything we can to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
"Russia’s state-owned oil and gas giants stand to profit from this war and soaring prices. We must start treating Putin’s Russia like the rogue state it is and immediately cut off UK investment in these firms."
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Responding to the President of the National Farmers' Union Minette Batters criticising the UK Government’s farming policy as "completely contradictory" at their national conference, Liberal Democrat Food & Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:
"The comments from the NFU today prove what we already know - the Conservatives don't understand our farmers' needs and they're failing the farming industry.
"On one hand they're signing trade deals that are deeply damaging, undermining British food standards and undercutting British farmers, while on the other hand they're cutting the vital support they need by phasing out Basic Payments before the new payments scheme is ready.
"Farmers are key allies in the fight against climate change, but the Conservatives risk losing hundreds of farmers who will simply go bust if they continue along this path. Liberal Democrats back British farmers and would provide much needed support to the sector."
In reaction to the news that the Vagrancy Act will be repealed, long time campaigner against the Act, Layla Moran MP said:
Friday, February 18, 2022
Thursday, February 17, 2022
Responding to the Government's announcement of plans to create 4,000 more prison spaces, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:
“This is the cost of the Conservatives’ failure on crime. The UK already has more people in prison than any other country in Western Europe, and now the Government is spending an extra £4 billion because crime is rising.
“These new places won’t even do anything to reduce the huge overcrowding in prisons, because of the rising prison population. Only by ending overcrowding can we rehabilitate prisoners properly and break the cycle of reoffending.
“Just building more prison cells won’t do anything to make our communities safer. Instead of trying to sound tough, Ministers should focus on restoring effective community policing where officers are visible, trusted and focused on cutting crime.”
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Responding to research by the British Chambers of Commerce which shows that firms are unhappy with the EU trade deal and the difficulties it has imposed upon trade, Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Responding to new Office for National Statistics figures that show real term (adjusted for inflation) pay has fallen, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:
“People up and down the country are facing one of the biggest squeezes on their incomes in a generation.
“This will only get worse as the Conservatives plough on with their unfair National Insurance tax hike that will clobber families.
“If Boris Johnson had any compassion he’d scrap the tax hike and support those set to be hit hard as the cost of living crisis worsens.”
Sunday, February 13, 2022
Responding to Brandon Lewis' comments this morning, in which he defended the remarks made by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace that there is a "whiff of Munich in the air from some in the West", Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:
“There’s a whiff of something else coming from this Conservative Government, who have time and again turned a blind eye to Russian interference in this country.
The Liberal Democrats have said Boris Johnson should be barred from handing out knighthoods, peerages and other honours when he steps down as Prime Minister.
The party’s Chief Whip, Wendy Chamberlain, has written to the chairs of the House of Lords Appointments Commission and the Cabinet Office Honours Committee urging them to reject Johnson’s resignation honours list if he puts one forward.
It comes after recent reports Boris Johnson has promised knighthoods and peerages to Conservative MPs to persuade them not to hand in their letters of no confidence to the 1922 committee.
Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:
“Boris Johnson should have already left Number 10. Instead he’s promising people knighthoods and honours in a desperate attempt to cling on to power.
“A Prime Minister forced from office by his own lies and law-breaking shouldn’t be allowed to hand out honours to his friends on the way out. Allowing him to get away with this would make a mockery of Parliament and continue to sow distrust in our political system.
“There should be no resignation honours list for Johnson and he should be barred from ever getting a seat in the House of Lords. Anything less is an insult to all those who followed the rules whilst Number 10 partied.”