Responding to new statistics on the Homes for Ukraine scheme which show that less than 10% of applicants have had a visa granted, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:
“More than 150,000 families are offering to welcome refugees into their homes, but the Conservatives are offering only red tape and delays. Their response has been appallingly slow and chaotic, leaving thousands of Ukrainians in limbo trying to get a visa.
"Ministers need to work harder and faster to match the compassion shown by the British public.
"Ukrainian refugees should be allowed to come to the UK now, without first having to apply for a visa. And the Government should set up a fast, ambitious resettlement scheme, working with refugee agencies to bring Ukrainians directly to the UK.”
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
Responding to Dominic Raab’s claim on BBC Breakfast this morning that Boris Johnson told the truth “to the best of his ability”, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:
“This pathetic excuse is an insult to the British people who made huge sacrifices during lockdown while those in Downing Street partied.
“Boris Johnson broke the rules then repeatedly lied because he thought he could get away with it. Now he has been found out as a serial liar.
“Attempts by Conservative ministers to rewrite history simply won’t wash. Johnson has lost the trust of the British people and it’s time for him to go.”
House of Commons Library Research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed that 28% of all murder cases since 2016 are women murdered by men.
Since the brutal murder of Sarah Everard last year in March, the data show that 109 women have been murdered where men were the main suspect. This is out of 414 murder victims overall, equalling 26% of all murder cases.
Liberal Democrat Women and Equalities Spokesperson, Wera Hobhouse MP has slammed the Government for turning a blind eye to anti-women hatred and refusing to take violence against women and girls seriously.
Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of ‘turning a blind-eye’ to violence against women and girls, choosing to bury their head in the sand.
Wera Hobhouse MP commented:
“These figures are nothing short of a national scandal showing the epidemic of violence against women, perpetrated by men.
“It is shameful that the Conservatives have turned a blind eye to anti-women hatred and show a disgraceful lack of understanding of the issue. Make no mistake - these murders are a result of misogyny and sexist attitudes throughout the UK.
“We need a dramatic culture change with bold changes led by the Government. We must send a clear message by making misogyny a hate crime. If the Conservatives do not act fast to tackle the root cause of this violence, more women and girls will suffer at the hands of men."
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
Conservatives in the House of Lords have voted down a Liberal Democrat amendment to the Building Safety Bill that would have penalised developers who do not remove unsafe cladding from their buildings.
In a series of votes this evening, the Government voted down Lib Dem proposals that would have forced developers to undertake vital fire remediation work, including removing unsafe cladding, within five years.
However, the Government was defeated on proposals to protect leaseholders from the cost of remediation work. As a result of tonight's votes, the proposed £100,000 cap on bills that leaseholders can face has been reduced to £0 - nullifying the cost entirely.
Commenting after the vote, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:
“Tonight, Conservative peers had a chance to stand up for the thousands of leaseholders who, almost five years on from the tragedy at Grenfell, are still trapped in unsafe buildings.
“But they bottled it. Instead, they’ve chosen to let those responsible off the hook for not removing dangerous cladding and fixing dangerous fire safety defects. This is unacceptable and shows how little the Government cares.
“We must end the building safety scandal for good by ensuring those responsible undertake this vital remediation work quickly and cannot shift these costs onto residents.”
Monday, March 28, 2022
The Liberal Democrats have called for the scrapping of the regional differences in electricity and gas bills, which is seeing some households paying £124 more for their gas and electricity just because of where they live.
The UK is broken up into fourteen different pricing regions where it costs different amounts to get electricity and gas to people’s homes. This leads to people in the North of Scotland, Wales and South West England paying more for their gas and electricity bills than other parts of the country.
Analysis by the Liberal Democrats shows that households in North Wales and Merseyside pay the most for their bills, paying £126 more for the same amount of energy as households in the North East who pay the least. Households in the South West pay almost £109 more, with those in London paying an extra £97.59.
Party leader Ed Davey said Boris Johnson's failure to scrap the differences showed he isn’t serious about “levelling up the country” and called for the electricity and gas companies, who made £5 billion in profits last year, to divert a proportion of this windfall to ensure households pay the cheapest possible price for gas and electricity.
Liberal Democrats are also calling for a Windfall Tax on the super profits of gas and oil producers and traders to fund support for the most vulnerable households. Their calls come as households are facing an unprecedented cost of living crisis, with Ofgem announcing that average energy bills will rise to £1,971 in April.
Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:
“It is grossly unfair that at a time millions are facing eye-watering increases to their energy bills, some people are paying more based simply on where they live.
“If the Conservatives were serious about levelling up, they’d work with energy companies to use some of the huge windfall profits they’ve seen to end this energy postcode lottery right now - which would help ease the squeeze on hard-pressed families.
“The deadly cocktail of rising inflation and soaring energy bills is pushing people to breaking point. Ministers must do more to address this growing crisis before it’s too late.”
Responding to the Government's long-awaited energy strategy being delayed, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Energy & Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey MP said:
“Millions of families are facing sky-rocketing energy bills and eye-watering inflation but the government still refuses to take any action to help.
“Last week Rishi Sunak’s statement failed to support families and now Boris Johnson clearly has no real strategy to deal with the cost of the energy emergency. People deserve a government that will rise to the occasion and take action needed to help.”
Friday, March 25, 2022
Responding to the Government choosing Conservative peer Michael Grade as the chair of Ofcom, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for DCMS Jamie Stone MP said:
"This process has been rigged from the start. Michael Grade’s obvious dislike of his former workplaces BBC and Channel 4 should have ruled him out from the get go.
"In the midst of the Ukraine crisis and the past years of pandemic, the chair of Ofcom should be a strong independent voice defending the integrity of our iconic public broadcasters - not a card carrying Conservative critic hurling abuse from the sidelines.”
Responding to news that the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps met with DP World in Dubai in November 2021 and that he was warned that P&O would be needing to make changes to their business, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Business, Trade and Transport, Sarah Olney MP said:
"Grant Shapps has serious questions to answer about what he knew and when about P&O's plans to shamefully sack its workers.
"The Transport Secretary must come before Parliament to provide the urgent answers that P&O workers and their families deserve.
"It's looks increasingly like Grant Shapps was asleep at the wheel, and missed vital opportunities to intervene and protect people's livelihoods. If that is the case, he would surely have no choice but to resign."
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Responding to the Chancellor's Spring Statement, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:
“Families were looking to the Chancellor to offer them hope, instead he is adding to their pain by refusing to scrap his unfair tax rises.
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Responding to reports that Russian* oligarch Alisher Usmanov was able to offload his UK properties before UK sanctions came into effect, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:
“The Conservative Government’s dither and delay on sanctions has meant that Putin’s cronies have once again gotten away with it. It took Ministers weeks to put the proper sanctions into place - meanwhile, it looks like oligarchs were fire-selling their assets all that time.
“Where oligarchs have transferred their holdings to their families, those relatives must be immediately sanctioned. Putin’s cronies’ properties and assets in the UK should now be seized - funding an oligarch tax to help people with spiralling energy bills.”
*Usmanov is an Uzbek by birth and upbringing, but his interests and those of his wife are closely bound up with Putin's Kremlin
Following votes in the House of Commons on the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill, where Conservative MPs voted to overturn cross-party amendments passed in the Lords, Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said:
“Priti Patel’s Anti-Refugee Bill is a traffickers’ charter. By voting for it, Conservative MPs have voted for deaths in the Channel.
“Taking away any safe and legal route for refugees to reach the UK will only force them to take dangerous ones.
“The real problem is entirely a structural one of incompetence in the Home Office, and this Bill will do nothing to fix it. It will only make it worse.
“The UK has a glorious, centuries-old reputation as a place of sanctuary. We will not let that be sullied by this puny little Government.”
Following votes in the House of Lords to restore amendments protecting the right to protest, that were overturned by the Government in the Commons last month, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:
“Today the Liberal Democrats have struck another blow against the Conservatives’ anti-democratic attempts to silence any opposition and trample people’s fundamental rights.
“Now that Peers from all parties have defeated Priti Patel’s draconian proposals for a second time, surely Conservative MPs must now think again. The Government should listen to police officers and the public, and stop their assault on British rights and freedoms.
“The right to peaceful assembly and protest is a crucial part of the UK’s democratic society. Liberal Democrats will always fiercely defend it.”
Monday, March 21, 2022
The Liberal Democrats are calling on Priti Patel to withdraw the Nationality and Borders Bill in light of the war in Ukraine and ensuing refugee crisis.
MPs are set to debate some of the Bill’s most controversial aspects in the House of Commons tomorrow, including Government plans to:
The Liberal Democrats worked with others in the House of Lords to pass amendments that would remove these laws from the Bill, highlighting that they would criminalise people fleeing Ukraine who come to the UK seeking asylum.
So far, 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Vladimir Putin unleashed his war, according to the UNHCR. More than 150,000 people across the UK have offered to host Ukrainian refugees through the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ programme, but so far the Government has only issued 10,200 visas under the Ukraine Family Scheme.
Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called on the Government to begin airlifts to bring refugees from Poland directly to the UK.
Ahead of the debate, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:
“The Conservatives’ Anti-Refugee Bill is dangerous and cruel. It flies in the face of the enormous compassion and generosity that people across the UK have shown in response to people fleeing Putin’s war in Ukraine.
“It beggars belief that Priti Patel is still trying to push this Bill through at a time when protecting refugees has never been so important. She should listen to the British people and ditch it now.
“The UK has a great history of providing sanctuary to desperate people fleeing war and persecution. This Anti-Refugee Bill undermines that proud British tradition and Liberal Democrats will continue to fiercely oppose it.”
Responding to the Metropolitan Police update on their investigation into lockdown parties in Number 10, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:
“At a time of war in Europe and a cost-of-living crisis, Conservative MPs are keeping a criminal in Number 10. They can try and call it ‘fluff’, but everyone is seeing through Boris Johnson’s lies.
“Johnson must come clean: is he being interviewed by the police and will he resign if found to have broken the law? No more fluff, just the facts for all those who suffered during lockdown while he partied.”
Sunday, March 20, 2022
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Responding to the government's new expanded sanctions list of Russian individuals, coming almost three weeks since Putin's invasion of Ukraine, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:
“This is shutting the door after the private jet has bolted. The Government has finally got their act together - but we should have been in this position weeks ago. This delay has given Putin’s cronies a priceless window to firesale their assets.
“Now we need to go further. There are still too many associates of Putin getting away with it as we speak.
“The fix to sanctions legislation is good news - but it means we can merely copy what our allies do. Liz Truss should bring proposals to Parliament to strengthen the legislation even further, so we can truly lead the way in clamping down on Kremlin-linked oligarchs.”
Tuesday, March 15, 2022
Speaking following his visit today to the border between Ukraine and Poland, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:
“Over 100,000 people have signed up and said that they will offer sanctuary to Ukrainian people in the UK. That is something we should all be proud of.
Responding to the Government launching the “Homes for Ukraine” website for people to sponsor Ukrainian refugees, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:
“Families and communities across the UK have been crying out for the chance to sponsor refugees for years. It shouldn’t have taken weeks of appalling humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine for the Government to finally listen.
“Even after the Government’s welcome U-turn and side-lining of Priti Patel from this scheme, the vast majority of Ukrainian refugees trying to get to the UK are still trapped in bureaucratic limbo, unable to come here. Michael Gove couldn’t even say when people will start to arrive under his new scheme.
“Ministers should do what the British people are urging them to do now: allow Ukrainian refugees to come to the UK today, without first having to apply.”
The Liberal Democrats have closed a major "oligarch loophole" in the Economic Crime Bill after the Government accepted their crucial amendment.
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran and Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Chris Fox both tabled an amendment to the legislation which sought to close a backdoor route for oligarchs to avoid meeting crucial anti-money laundering requirements contained within the Bill.
The Bill establishes a register of beneficial ownership for overseas entities. However, as originally drafted, it gives the Government the power to grant individuals - which could include Kremlin-linked oligarchs - an exemption from its registration requirements on the broad basis of “the interests of the economic wellbeing of the United Kingdom”.
The Liberal Democrats warned that this loophole could give ‘carte blanche’ to oligarchs and their enablers to aggressively lobby the Government for exemptions - with the risk that Kremlin-linked individuals continue to operate in the shadows, with no transparency around the ownership of their assets and no disruption to their operations in this country.
Last evening, as the bill was fast-tracked through the House of Lords, the Government confirmed they will accept the Liberal Democrat amendment and drop the loophole from the bill altogether.
Commenting on the news Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, said:
“This is a good day for all those who have argued that we should be clamping down on Putin’s cronies.
"I am pleased that the Government has seen sense on this vital measure and backed Liberal Democrat proposals. It simply would have been unsustainable to pass this crucial legislation without closing this oligarch loophole.
“We must be in no doubt, Putin’s cronies and their enablers will be poring over this new legislation looking for ways to get around it. We might have shut this backdoor route - but we should be in no illusions about what they will do next.
“So there is still much more to do - starting with using these new powers to catch-up with our allies. We are lagging behind in terms of sanctions when we should be leading the way. It’s time to end the era of Russian interference in the UK, once and for all.”
Sunday, March 13, 2022
Responding to Michael Gove saying the Government is considering the seizure of oligarch's mansions to house Ukrainian refugees, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:
“This is the right move but once again the Government is moving so slowly that they risk letting Kremlin-linked oligarchs off the hook.
Saturday, March 12, 2022
The Liberal Democrats have blasted the Government for its slowness in taking action on air pollution, the cause of thousands of premature deaths each year in the UK.
The Party passed a motion at its Spring Conference yesterday which called for a greater empowering of local authorities and the introduction of stricter, legally-binding national limits for particulate matter and other pollutants.
In 2019, fine particulate matter was responsible for more than 33,000 deaths while nitrogen dioxide was responsible for a further 5,750. In spite of this, UK limits for both are set at four times the level of the World Health Organisation guidelines.
Under the proposals, local authorities would receive greater funding to tackle air pollution in their area. This would allow them to install more pollution sensors near major roads and at every urban school, as well as publicising local air quality issues such as live data from those sensors.
The Liberal Democrats are also calling for funding to be introduced to support a shift to clean fuels for public transport.
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Climate Emergency, Wera Hobhouse MP, said:
“Air pollution is a killer. Thousands of people lose their lives each year, with many others suffering from ill health because of it. This is no legacy to leave to our children, who are in particular danger. It is heartbreaking and a damning indictment on the Conservatives, who have looked the other way.
“It is high time we put the power into the hands of local people and those who have directly suffered from the Government’s failure to act more quickly and urgently,
“The Liberal Democrats believe that everyone has the right to clean air. It is incumbent on this Conservative Government to do all they can to uphold that right, by tackling the air pollution crisis head on and cleaning up their act.”
Friday, March 11, 2022
In response to Priti Patel's announcement that Ukrainians will be able to apply for their visas online and then complete their biometric documents upon arrival in the UK, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:
“It is shameful that the Home Secretary has to be dragged inch by inch towards a compassionate response to Ukrainian refugees fleeing Putin’s bombs.
“Even after all the appalling images we have seen, Priti Patel is still limiting the scheme to those with close family in the UK, and forcing them to apply for a visa before they come here. That has to change.
“The Government must listen to what people across the UK are saying: let Ukrainian refugees come here without having to apply for a visa beforehand, and welcome them with compassion when they arrive.”
Thursday, March 10, 2022
Tuesday, March 08, 2022
Responding to the news that the Home Office's visa centre for Ukrainian refugees in Calais will be in Lille, 70 miles away, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:
"This is yet more chaos and incompetence from the dysfunctional Home Office.
“Ukrainian families fleeing Putin's terror shouldn't be forced to wait for an appointment at a Home Office visa centre that doesn't even exist yet.
“People across the UK want to welcome Ukrainian refugees with compassion, but instead Priti Patel is trapping them in limbo.
"Our country has a proud history of providing sanctuary for people fleeing war and persecution. The Government must live up to that now, with a simple, fast and safe route for refugees to come to the UK."
Responding to the news that the Government is to phase out Russian oil by the end of 2022, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:
Responding to Home Office figures which show that just 300 visas have been issued to Ukrainian refugees under the Family Scheme, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:
“Ukrainians fleeing for their lives deserve far better than being stuck in a queue for a Home Office visa appointment.