For obvious reasons, I’m leaving out today’s big story, but otherwise…
Failed Tory policies lead to nine-year knife crime high
Responding to the Ministry of Justice’s latest knife and offensive weapon sentencing statistics, published today, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:
The UK is facing an epidemic of knife crime, but the Conservative’s cack-handed response is to repeat policies that have completely failed in the past.
Branding young people as criminals – whether by locking them up on destructive short prison sentences or giving them one of Sajid Javid’s gimmicky new knife ASBOs – traps them in a cycle of crime, creating more victims and making our streets less safe.
To make matters worse, we now have Boris Johnson running for Prime Minister boasting about the supposed success of his Stop & Search policies in London – even though his own Government’s analysis shows they didn’t cut knife crime and were a total waste of police time.
The Liberal Democrats demand better. We demand a public health approach that understands why young people carry knives in the first place and addresses those causes. That means more community policing to make people feel safer and more youth services to provide a positive alternative to gangs.
Every child deserves to go to a great, local school
The Liberal Democrats have called for local councils to be given back control of the school admissions process following new data released today by the Department for Education which reveals that the proportion of pupils getting their first choice of secondary school has fallen for the sixth year in a row.
Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:
Rising pupil numbers and a fragmented schools system means that more and more children are missing out on their first choice of secondary school.
Local councils have a duty to ensure that every child has a school place, but are powerless to deliver it. Academies control their own admissions policies while Conservative Ministers have banned councils from sponsoring new schools.
The Tory party’s obsession with academies has created chaos in the education system yet has brought few educational benefits.
Liberal Democrats would hand back control of the admissions process and school places planning to elected local councils, so that every child can go to a great, local school.
Lib Dems: Time for Govt to back rights for cohabiting couples
Responding to the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill in Parliament today, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson in the Lords Jonathan Marks QC said:
The Liberal Democrats welcome these changes to divorce laws, for which we have been pressing the Government for some time. No-one should have to prove fault to get a divorce and no-one should be trapped in a marriage against their will after it has broken down.
Far too often the existing law turns what should be a collaborative process into a damaging blame game, which helps no-one and is frequently damaging for their children.
However, we also recognise that marriage and civil partnerships aren’t for everyone. The law needs to catch up with modern society, in which millions of couples choose to live together without making a formal commitment. They need rights too, to protect them if their relationship breaks down or if one partner dies.
That’s why I am trying to bring in my Cohabitation Rights Bill, which would give essential legal rights to couples who have lived together for at least three years. I hope the Government will stop dragging its feet on this issue and support my Bill, so that we can make another change that is long overdue.