Courage Calls…

A few weeks ago I was invited by Christine Jardine MP to visit Westminster as her #AskHerToStand delegate. The event was to commemorate the centenary of the Qualification of Women Act, a defining moment in British politics when women were allowed to stand for parliament for the first time. As Christine’s delegate, I think I […]

A few weeks ago I was invited by Christine Jardine MP to visit Westminster as her #AskHerToStand delegate. The event was to commemorate the centenary of the Qualification of Women Act, a defining moment in British politics when women were allowed to stand for parliament for the first time.

As Christine’s delegate, I think I won the Golden Ticket. Where some guests were only able to spend five minutes with their MP, I was welcomed for the entire day. Christine and her assistant, David Evans, were generous with their time and insight despite having to navigate an ever-changing diary. Filing copy for the Corstorphine Grapevine was sandwiched between an emergency debate on Yemen and PMQ’s. Christine joined me in the audience at an #AskHerToStand event, but quickly realised that there wasn’t a Lib Dem MP on the panel. She nipped out to get us a drink and when I looked up she’d joined the stage! She never misses a beat in representing her constituents or the Lib Dems.

My trip to London was exactly one year after I made the decision to join the party. It was something that I had wanted to do for a very long time, but for many people joining a political party is a scary thing and I was one of them. 

In 2016, Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP had asked me to consider standing as a parliamentarian during a meeting in his office. I declined, but went home and wrote a list of the things I would want to change if I ever did run. I thought about it every day for a year, and when I finally did join, I realised that I had no idea what I should do as a new member.

Logging onto the members’ section of the website, I found a list of ten things to do in my first year. A selfie with Vince didn’t quite cut it so I asked Alex what I should do. He told me to take my first year at my own pace. So I did.

I’ve spoken at conference three times, attended Future Women MP training and joined my local Executive Committee. I opened Scottish conference in Autumn and wrote the motion on investing in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis which secured our place as the first political party in the world to have a policy on M.E. I’m the prospective council candidate for Drumbrae Gyle and I am pursuing my ambitions to run for parliament. I’m working up plans for my #AskThemToJoin campaign and have recruited new members to the party. And then there’s my happy place. The doors. Canvassing has been a revelation for me. I value the privilege that is knocking on a stranger’s door and having a chat about politics, and I am so grateful that I get to do it every week.

I confess that I cringed when members told me that the party was like a big family. I now take back my cynical eye-rolls. None of my achievements this year would have been possible without the support of other members. There are some who remind me to take a breath and others who nudge me along when I need it. Having been involved in two cross-party support groups for women who want to run for parliament, I can tell you that other parties are not offering this level of support to new members. Some of my closest friendships are with members that I’ve met this year. Some of my oldest friends are now the newest members of the Lib Dems.

Since I got back from London, lots of women have told me that being a female in politics takes a lot of courage, and that they would be too scared to pursue it. With just a third of our politicians being female in both Westminster and Holyrood we must continue to dispel this myth, to reach out to women and share our stories at every level of politics. Ask them to help, ask them to join, ask them to stand.

* Emma Walker lives in Edinburgh and joined the party at the end of 2017.

Bottle it Day: Lib Dems react

Rather than face certain defeat now, Theresa May shelves plans for a Commons vote on her Brexit deal in order to try to stave of likely defeat in a few weeks’ time. Lib Dems have been reacting to developments. Vince Cable confirmed that we would support Labour in the unlikely event that our so-called opposition […]

Rather than face certain defeat now, Theresa May shelves plans for a Commons vote on her Brexit deal in order to try to stave of likely defeat in a few weeks’ time.

Lib Dems have been reacting to developments.

Vince Cable confirmed that we would support Labour in the unlikely event that our so-called opposition actually decided to move a motion of no-confidence in the Government.

The Prime Minister’s authority has drained away. It is the duty of Jeremy Corbyn to call a vote of no confidence in the Government, which Liberal Democrats would support.

After that Liberal Democrats will continue to press for a People’s Vote. MPs from all parties should join us in giving the people a final say, with the option to remain in the EU.

Welsh leaderJane Dodds said that the only way to resolve the Brexit embarrassment was a People’s Vote:

Brexit has become a national embarrassment. Negotiations with the EU have been chaotic since day one, but this is a new low. The fact Theresa May has postponed the vote on her deal to avoid defeat shows there is no support for her Brexit deal in Parliament.

Delaying the vote on her Brexit deal is an unprecedented blow to Theresa May’s authority, but it solves nothing. There is no majority for any Brexit deal in Parliament and now no majority for Brexit at all amongst the public. Whilst this remains the case, no Brexit deal will get through Parliament.

The only solution to the ongoing Brexit crisis is going back to the people. We must give the people the final say and the opportunity to choose an Exit from Brexit. This is the only solution and the Prime Minister should immediately back it.

Christine Jardine asked the PM why, if she could change her mind over the backstop, the people couldn’t be given the chance to vote again:

Wera Hobhouse asked how many of the people who voted to leave in 2016 voted for her deal:

Tim Farron was unimpressed with the Labour Party:

And on a lighter note, the Lib Dem Press Office has been on form today:

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

29 November 2018 – today’s press releases (the 500 miles edition)

Later than usual this evening, as I’ve spent the evening at a Proclaimers concert, courtesy of my lovely wife… it wasn’t 500 miles away… PM leaving us in the dark on immigration Cable: May “running scared” of real opposition Lib Dems warn BBC that ‘Brexit debate’ may breach Ofcom code Government has let down victims […]

Later than usual this evening, as I’ve spent the evening at a Proclaimers concert, courtesy of my lovely wife… it wasn’t 500 miles away…

  • PM leaving us in the dark on immigration
  • Cable: May “running scared” of real opposition
  • Lib Dems warn BBC that ‘Brexit debate’ may breach Ofcom code
  • Government has let down victims over second Leveson Inquiry

PM leaving us in the dark on immigration

Theresa May has today refused to confirm when the immigration white paper will be published. She was asked by Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb after Ministers originally promised to publish the white paper last year, but that deadline has been repeatedly postponed.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s failure to answer his question, Norman Lamb said:

It is unacceptable that Theresa May is still refusing to answer this question. She has spent years talking of ending free movement, but today has once again refused to tell us when we will find out what this means.

The continual delays arising from cabinet splits are clearly because they know her proposals are dangerous for our public services and for business. There is already a shortage of workers in the NHS and social care and her proposals would only exacerbate them.

This failure to produce the white paper is leaving everyone in the dark. It is vital the Conservative Government either publishes the paper or comes clean and admits their plans are simply unworkable.

Cable: May “running scared” of real opposition

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has called out Theresa May for “running scared” of debating the real opposition. He said:

May is running scared of the real opposition. A debate shouldn’t take place between two cosy Brexiters.

“The public demand the full facts and figures on the cost of Brexit. They also deserve to hear all the options. A People’s Vote, including the option to remain, is the only real alternative. I will make that case anytime, anywhere.

Lib Dems warn BBC that ‘Brexit debate’ may breach Ofcom code

Liberal Democrat President Sal Brinton and Party Chief Executive Nick Harvey have written to the Director General of the BBC, Lord Hall, questioning the legality of excluding the Liberal Democrats from the proposed Brexit debate.

A letter has been sent outlining that the Party will seek legal advice on the decision of the BBC to exclude the Liberal Democrats. This was following on from a letter sent earlier this week, in which the Party expressed disbelief at the format which would see two party leader’s with strikingly similar views engage in an entirely superficial ‘debate’.

Without the Liberal Democrats, who are the only national party to consistently oppose Brexit, there would be a complete imbalance of the political narrative which exists within the UK.

If this format is found to be in breach of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, the Party will seek a judicial review.

Government has let down victims over second Leveson Inquiry

Responding to the announcement that the second Leveson Inquiry will not go ahead after victims lost a High Court fight against the Government, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said:

The Conservative Government has let down those families who had their privacy invaded and their lives turned upside down by some of the press who behaved appallingly.

A commitment was made during the coalition that the Leveson Inquiry would be completed and that justice would be sought.

It’s not acceptable that this issue has been kicked into the long grass for so long, in an attempt to get us to forget it. But for the families that were affected by this intrusion, it will never be forgotten. They deserve better and the Liberal Democrats demand better for them.

26 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Just two press releases today, as the timetable for the Parliamentary debate (at least, the one in the Commons) is scheduled… Hedges case should never have happened PM ducks Cable challenge to debate Brexit Hedges case should never have happened Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine has welcomed news that Matthew Hedges, who was […]

Just two press releases today, as the timetable for the Parliamentary debate (at least, the one in the Commons) is scheduled…

  • Hedges case should never have happened
  • PM ducks Cable challenge to debate Brexit

Hedges case should never have happened

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine has welcomed news that Matthew Hedges, who was given a life sentence in the UAE for spying, has received a presidential pardon.

Following this morning’s announcement Ms Jardine said;

It is a great relief to see that Matthew will be returning to his family in the UK.

However, this should never have happened in the first place and the Conservative Government must be absolutely clear that we will not tolerate the abuse either of human rights or of the rule of law.

It is vital the UK Government continues its efforts to secure the release of all those unjustly detained abroad.

PM ducks Cable challenge to debate Brexit

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has labelled Theresa May as “weak” for refusing to debate the “real opposition” to her Brexit deal.

Addressing the Prime Minister in the House of Commons today, Vince Cable said: “Now that the Prime Minister has decided to launch a public debate on her deal, should she not move beyond the comfort zone of debating with Brexit fellow travellers like the Leader of the Labour Party and engage with the much larger cross-party in favour of a People’s Vote, with the option of remaining in the European Union?”

The Liberal Democrat Leader added: “Will she not debate with the real opposition?” In response, the Prime Minister ducked the opportunity to accept the debate invitation.

Following the exchange, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The public demand the full facts and figures on the cost of Brexit. They also deserve to hear all the options. A People’s Vote, including the option to remain, is the only real alternative. I will make that case anytime, anywhere.

Theresa May is weak for ducking my challenge today. TV debates should not be the gift of select politicians, not least two Brexiters who essentially agree with one another like May and Corbyn.

23 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Today’s releases are brought to you from ALDC’s Kickstart event, taking place this weekend in the heart of Staffordshire. There are three hundred Liberal Democrat campaigners and activists here, learning the skills required to run effective, and hopefully, successful campaigns in the months and years ahead. Tories must take back control of smart meters Women […]

Today’s releases are brought to you from ALDC’s Kickstart event, taking place this weekend in the heart of Staffordshire. There are three hundred Liberal Democrat campaigners and activists here, learning the skills required to run effective, and hopefully, successful campaigns in the months and years ahead.

  • Tories must take back control of smart meters
  • Women must have equal heart attack care to men
  • Davey to PM: Come clean on European Convention on Human Rights
  • PM must back People’s Vote on Brexit
  • Government must not be complacent on Hedges case

Tories must take back control of smart meters

Responding to the NAO Report on rolling out smart meters, Ed Davey, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said:

The smart meter programme’s aims are positive and making the energy system smarter is essential if we want to move to a low carbon economy.

However, the Tories have bungled this rollout badly. When I left Government we were expecting 2nd generation meters and a central database within a year; we currently have neither. Instead, because of Conservative failings, suppliers are still rolling out 1st generation meters that go ‘dumb’ when you switch. What’s the point of a smart meter that stops working if you switch? Liberal Democrats demand better.

The Government needs to take back control of smart meters. First, they need to accept some hard truths: they have completely botched this, it’s going to come in vastly over budget, and they are responsible. Only then can the public trust that smart meters will work for them, otherwise they’ll think it’s nothing more than a white elephant.

Women must have equal heart attack care to men

Responding as a British Heart Foundation report shows that over 8000 women die as a result of unequal heart attack care, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

Sadly this is not new information. For years we have known that women are not receiving the same care for heart attacks as men, now we know to what extent.

There needs to be more understanding that heart attacks present differently in women then in men.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. The Government must launch a campaign to ensure people understand the heart attack risk both men and women face. Also those who use defibrillators must be trained to recognise the symptoms that are unique to women.

Davey to PM: Come clean on European Convention on Human Rights

Following the publication of the political declaration on the UK’s future relationship with the EU, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has written to the Prime Minister, urging her to commit to retaining the European Convention on Human Rights in UK law.

In the letter, Davey raises concerns over new language in paragraph 7 of the political declaration, which states that “The future relationship should incorporate the United Kingdom’s continued commitment to respect the framework of the European Convention on Human Rights”. He argues that this is not sufficient, and asks the Prime Minister to clarify whether this could mean the UK leaving the ECHR.

Ed Davey commented:

If Theresa May is once again threatening to withdraw the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights, she must come clean with Parliament and the people.

She has no mandate to allow people’s individual freedoms to be curbed, yet her political declaration appears to suggest she might withdraw us from the ECHR after Brexit, even though it is totally separate from the EU.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will continue to lead the fight against attempts to withdraw the UK from the ECHR, and to fight to give the people the final say on Theresa May’s deal, with the option of an Exit from Brexit.

PM must back People’s Vote on Brexit

Responding to the Prime Minister’s radio question and answer session, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Once again, Theresa May has admitted that an exit from Brexit is on the table. With both leavers and remainers let down by the deal she has negotiated, the case for a People’s Vote has never been stronger.

When asked whether we will be better off outside the EU, the Prime Minister was unable to give a straight answer to the question. The political declaration is vague at best and completely lacking in any real detail.

The deal the Prime Minister has negotiated leaves us swallowing swathes of EU rules, without any input into how they are made. Nobody voted for this. It is time the Prime Minister backed a People’s Vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

Government must not be complacent on Hedges case

Responding to a recent statement from HE Sulaiman Almazroui UAE Ambassador to the UK on Matthew Hedges, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

I am heartened by this latest statement from the UAE which suggests substantial progress is being made towards bringing Matthew Hedges home.

But we cannot be complacent, the Foreign Secretary must maintain the dialogue with his UAE counterparts to guarantee Matthew’s return home.

I am hopeful, but we must keep all options on the table until his release is secured.

21 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Having completed another meeting of the Federal International Relations Committee, featuring an exploration of the distant reaches of Article 7 of the Federal Constitution of the Party, your editor’s mind turns to press releases… Moran: Gov must recognise state of Palestine Cable: Prokopchuk’s Interpol position is still ‘an insult to the victims of the Salisbury […]

Having completed another meeting of the Federal International Relations Committee, featuring an exploration of the distant reaches of Article 7 of the Federal Constitution of the Party, your editor’s mind turns to press releases…

  • Moran: Gov must recognise state of Palestine
  • Cable: Prokopchuk’s Interpol position is still ‘an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack’
  • Sanctions needed to get Matthew Hedges home
  • Davey: PM must publish immigration white paper now
  • Lib Dems announce Siobhan Benita as London Mayoral candidate
  • (covered separately here)

  • Lib Dems lead fight to protect vulnerable people in care
  • Davey: Something going very wrong in energy market

Moran: Gov must recognise state of Palestine

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran will introduce a Bill to the House of Commons today calling on the Government to give recognition to the state of Palestine.

The Palestinian Statehood (Recognition) Bill would require the Government to recognise the State of Palestine within 3 months of the Bill being passed. It has support from Lib Dem, Labour, SNP, Plaid and Green MPs.

Commenting ahead of the Bill’s presentation, Layla Moran said:

Since I was elected I have been dismayed at the progress the Conservative Government has made towards recognising the state of Palestine.

I am in favour of a two-state solution, but until the state of Palestine is recognised, the two actors can’t come to the table as equal partners.

Given the UK’s role in the Balfour declaration it is vital that Britain recognises the role it has played and the role is has to play in re-igniting the peace talks.

Whilst I acknowledge that the UK recognising the state of Palestine alone won’t be a solution, doing it would go some way to reigniting the spark of hope that has gone out in the hearts of Palestinians across the world.

Cable: Prokopchuk’s Interpol position is still ‘an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack’

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has today warned Prokopchuk’s position in Interpol is still “an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack”.

Vince Cable used an Urgent Question in the House of Commons yesterday to urge the Conservative Government to block the election of Alexander Prokopchuk to the position of President of Interpol.

Mr Prokopchuk has been accused of abusing the international police body’s arrest warrant system. He lost his bid to be President of Interpol to South Korean Kim Jong-yang.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Following a Liberal Democrat-led intervention in Parliament yesterday, it is a relief to see Government lobbying has meant Interpol have not elected Prokopchuk as their President.

Prokopchuk is still, however, the Vice President and able to exercise considerable influence. Given his direct role in the Putin regime’s abuse of Interpol’s red notices, his presence in office represents a disregard for the rule of law and is an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack.

With the Conservative Government turning its back on Europe, it is absolutely essential that the UK remains firmly part of Europol.

Sanctions needed to get Matthew Hedges home

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine has demanded the Government use sanctions on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in response to the imprisonment of Matthew Hedges.

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said:

It is evidently clear that Matthew Hedges has not been given anything like a fair hearing. People will be shocked and horrified by this miscarriage of justice.

The Government must take action now, including sanctions on the United Arab Emirates, in order to secure Matthew Hedges’ full release and reunite him with his family.

He and his family deserve better, and this Government must take every step necessary to return him to the UK.

Davey: PM must publish immigration white paper now

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey has written to the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, demanding that they publish the Government’s immigration white paper without any further delay.

In the letters, Davey writes that MPs “should be given plenty of time” to scrutinise the Government’s proposals for post-Brexit immigration before the meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal. He says it would be “unacceptable to ask MPs to vote on that agreement without sufficient time to scrutinise those plans” and urges May and Sajid Javid to publish the white paper “without delay”.

In the House of Commons on Thursday, Davey asked the Prime Minister to “guarantee today that her immigration white paper will be published and debated before the meaningful vote on the deal”. May refused to give that guarantee, saying only that “We will publish the immigration white paper in due course.”

Ed Davey commented:

Ministers promised to publish their immigration proposals more than a year ago, but we’ve had nothing but meaningless slogans.

The Prime Minister is telling MPs to vote for her Brexit deal to end free movement, but refuses to spell out what that means. The answer is a lot more red tape for British businesses and a national shortage of NHS workers, carers and builders.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. Theresa May must finally come clean and publish her immigration white paper now, so MPs can scrutinise the proposals before voting on her Brexit deal.

Lib Dems lead fight to protect vulnerable people in care

The House of Lords has passed an amendment to the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, which would ensure that depriving someone of their liberty, for example in a care home, must be necessary to prevent them from harm.

The Lib Dem led amendment was supported by Labour and Crossbench Peers, who defeated the Government 202 votes to 188.

Liberal Democrat Peer Liz Barker, who tabled the amendment, said:

This is an important victory in ensuring that vulnerable people in care are sufficiently protected when they are deprived of their liberty. This is not something that should be done lightly, and so it is vital to ensure that a strong test for necessity is in place.

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill is by and large an unsatisfactory mechanism for reforming the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, and any opportunity we get to ask the Government to think again must be taken.

Davey: Something going very wrong in energy market

Responding to the news that energy supplier Extra Energy have ceased trading and Ofgem have appointed First Utility as the supplier of last resort, taking on Extra Energy’s customers, Ed Davey, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said:

I am deeply concerned by the news about the collapse of Extra Energy and the impact it could have on jobs. Clearly something has gone very wrong for this to have happened.

However, they are not the first supplier to go bust this year and most likely won’t be the last. The Conservative’s obsession with meddling with their price cap certainly hasn’t helped, and has distracted them from fixing the real issues in the energy market. Liberal Democrats demand better.

We desperately need proper stress tests for new suppliers, to ensure they can financially support themselves and also continue to provide customers with a good level of service. Otherwise the hard work of the Liberal Democrats will be squandered by the Tories.

19 November 2018 – today’s press releases

No music today, I’m afraid, for we have another clutch of press releases, including one which some of our readers might vaguely recognise as an overdue recycling of an old theme… PM must come clean on immigration plans Lib Dems: Only alternative to Brexit is a ‘People’s Vote’ FOBT change finally ending cruel grip of […]

No music today, I’m afraid, for we have another clutch of press releases, including one which some of our readers might vaguely recognise as an overdue recycling of an old theme…

  • PM must come clean on immigration plans
  • Lib Dems: Only alternative to Brexit is a ‘People’s Vote’
  • FOBT change finally ending cruel grip of industry on vulnerable people
  • It’s time Fox was given his P45
  • Tories can no longer bury Brexit truth

PM must come clean on immigration plans

Responding to Theresa May’s speech to the CBI conference this morning, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Theresa May is desperately trying to win over the Brexit hardliners on the Tory benches by promising tough new immigration controls. But she still refuses to publish any details of her plans, more than a year after the white paper was originally due.

The PM is trying to hide the truth: that her plans would either fail to end free movement as she claims, or place a huge new bureaucratic burden on employers while damaging our economy and undermining public services. Either way, that’s hardly ‘taking back control’.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. Theresa May must finally come clean and publish her immigration white paper now, so MPs can scrutinise the proposals before voting on her Brexit deal.

Lib Dems: Only alternative to Brexit is a ‘People’s Vote’

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has today warned the “only alternative to Brexit is a People’s Vote” ahead of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the CBI on his alternative Brexit plan.

Mr Brake said:

Any Brexit will hit the pockets of hard-working people right across the UK. The public deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

It is beyond time Jeremy Corbyn got his head out of the clouds. If he truly stood up for the many, he would listen to people’s worries and stand against this Brexit mess.

The only alternative to Brexit is a People’s Vote, with the option to remain in the EU. Labour should join the Liberal Democrats in that campaign. It’s what their members voted for, so what’s stopping them?

FOBT change finally ending cruel grip of industry on vulnerable people

Ahead of this afternoon’s amendment to the Finance Bill which will see the Government accept that the £2 maximum stake for Fixed-Odds-Betting-Terminals must be introduced within six months, rather than the year initially planned, Liberal Democrat Culture Spokesperson in the Commons Christine Jardine said:

This day should have come far earlier, but it is better late than never. I am glad that the Government have curbed to pressure to reduce the stakes on FOBT’s to £2.

People across the country, from all walks of life, have found themselves in the cruel grip of an industry relentlessly extorting money from vulnerable individuals.

This change in law should have taken place many years ago, and the Liberal Democrats pushed for it whilst in Government, but it took one of their own to walk out of DCMS, for the Tories to sit up and listen.

It’s time Fox was given his P45

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake has tabled a Presentation Bill in the House of Commons to disband the Department for International Trade with immediate effect.

The Prime Minister has negotiated a deal with the EU that leaves the department with no powers to create its own trade agreements.

Axing the DIT would provide the Government with an estimated saving of £258.6m and relieve the ineffective Secretary of State Liam Fox, of his ‘responsibilities’.

Commenting ahead of the Bill’s reading, Tom Brake said:

The only good thing to come out of the PM’s Brexit deal is the constructive dismissal of Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

That is why I am calling for the department to be disbanded – and the Civil Servants re-deployed to departments where their work might actually be implemented.

The DIT have not produced any new trade deals since their inception and May’s deal means they won’t in future – it’s time Fox was given his P45.

Tories can no longer bury Brexit truth

Speaking after the House of Commons tonight forced the Government to accept an amendment to the Finance Bill which means Ministers must publish assessments comparing the UK’s economic prospects between Theresa May’s deal and remaining in the EU, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The public deserve no less than the full facts and figures on the cost of Brexit. The Tories have been all too keen to bury the truth, but thankfully Parliament has now forced their hand.

The Conservatives can now no longer hide from the mess they have made of Brexit. The simple reality is that no form of Brexit is better than what we have in the EU.

When published, MPs from across the chamber must look at these economic assessments and ask themselves if their constituents deserve better. There is still time to escape this mess and back the Liberal Democrat campaign for a People’s Vote, including the option to remain in the EU.

Vince: People’s Vote is now probable

Well, it’s been quite a day. I don’t work Thursdays, so under normal circumstances, I would have been glued to the telly and social media bringing you a blow by blow account of everything as it happened. As luck would have it, I was at a housing conference. It was excellent, I learned loads, I […]

Well, it’s been quite a day.

I don’t work Thursdays, so under normal circumstances, I would have been glued to the telly and social media bringing you a blow by blow account of everything as it happened.

As luck would have it, I was at a housing conference. It was excellent, I learned loads, I met lovely people and I wouldn’t have missed it for any political drama, even without the excellent scones, jam and cream at the afternoon tea break.

I will admit to the occasional glance at Twitter to see the drama unfold. Looks like my crystal ball was a bit wonky the other day when I said that ministers wouldn’t create a fuss to cling on to power. However, the way that Amber Rudd and Nicky Morgan have been shoring Theresa May up today makes me worry that some Tory Remainers are folding as they have done fairly regularly for the last 30 years or so. Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston are still flying the People’s Vote flag, though.

I was on a cold station platform when May held her press conference. I spent the journey home glued to Twitter. No, she wasn’t resigning, she was just spouting the same Brexity rubbish and clinging to her deal that only she really loves.

There is no way her deal is in anything like the national interest. David Lidington couldn’t say it would make us better off. We would end up abiding by rules we had no way in making. I think those rules are generally ok to be honest, but it’s better if we have some deal of ownership of them.

Not only that but a Sky News poll became the second major tv poll in a week to show a majority of support for remaining in the EU. 54% would choose Remain, while 55% want a People’s Vote.

The party hastily organised a rally for an exit from Brexit in Parliament Square tonight. Vince told the assembled crowd that a People’s Vote had moved from possible to probable. Here he is:

Earlier in the day, Christine Jardine talked about how the Liberal Democrats had led the way on campaigning for the People’s Vote and how it was now the only way out of this mess.

And we do have to get out of this mess. I was struck by a tweet today. If we allow Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to botch this up, it really could be a matter of life and death for some:

That was in response to a friend of mine who needs insulin to survive. Every day.

Nobody should be put in a position where they have to worry about whether they are going to be able to get their life sustaining drugs.

We really need to demand better than a Brexit secretary who resigns over a deal he negotiated and a Prime Minister who knows that she doesn’t have the votes in the Commons to carry it through but comes out with the same old rubbish regardless.

The next few weeks are critical for a People’s Vote. There’s a big anti Brexit Lib Dem action day in Scotland on Saturday, which is quite handy in the circumstances.

I shall leave you for the moment with our Press Office being on point again:

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

14 November 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s been a long day today, with the last press release issued after 10 p.m…. Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages Number Ten bows to pressure on FOBT stakes Failures on women’s health becoming the norm DUP “punishment beating” comments unacceptable and dangerous ‘No Brexit’ still a very real possibility Country still […]

It’s been a long day today, with the last press release issued after 10 p.m….

  • Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages
  • Number Ten bows to pressure on FOBT stakes
  • Failures on women’s health becoming the norm
  • DUP “punishment beating” comments unacceptable and dangerous
  • ‘No Brexit’ still a very real possibility
  • Country still none the wiser on PM’s blindfold Brexit
  • Brexit will rob UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools

Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has warned the Tories are being “unacceptably risky” as a House of Commons committee finds that failures in preparing for Brexit mean food shortages are a real possibility.

The Public Accounts Committee has today [14th November] published its report into the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ preparations for Brexit.

The committee concluded that:

  • The Department is too complacent about potential disruption or interruption to trade
  • Fundamental issues for food, chemical and animal importers and exporters remain
  • Inadequate engagement with businesses means small businesses in particular are ill-prepared

The Public Accounts Committee is now calling on the Conservative Government to be clear about the impact of not being able to make the necessary legal changes in time.

Liberal Democrat MP and Public Accounts Committee member, Layla Moran said:

Following extensive evidence, there can be no confidence that food imports, food standards and food safety can be guaranteed if Brexit happens.

Muddling through in the hope of goodwill is unacceptably risky. We cannot have unsafe food, or worse no food at all, on the shelves after Brexit. This is not a price worth paying.

Liberal Democrats demand better. This mess can be avoided by giving the people a final say on Brexit, including the option to remain in the EU.

Number Ten bows to pressure on FOBT stakes

Responding to the news that the minimum stake for Fixed-Odds-Betting-Terminals will be reduced to £2 in April of next year, Liberal Democrat Culture spokesperson in the Commons, Christine Jardine said:

Tracey Crouch’s resignation sent shock waves through Number Ten and I am glad that the stake change will take effect from April.

There was no justifiable reason for the delay and it just showed how in the pocket of the gambling industry the Tories have been.

This is a victory for those like the Liberal Democrats who have been campaigning for this crackdown for a decade, and putting the interests of vulnerable people ahead of profits.

Failures on women’s health becoming the norm

Responding to the reports that more than 40,000 women in England have not received information regarding cervical cancer screening after a failure to send out letters by the NHS, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said:

It is outrageous that women’s health has again been compromised with the failure to send out cervical cancer screening letters.

Only six months ago, the former Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, stood up in the Commons to apologise to women for failures to send invitations for breast cancer screening.

It is unacceptable that these failures seem to be becoming the norm. The Liberal Democrats demand better for women’s health, much better.

DUP “punishment beating” comments unacceptable and dangerous

Responding to comments from the DUP’s Brexit Spokesperson, Sammy Wilson, in which he compared the EU’s Brexit deal to a “punishment beating for the UK because they dared to vote to leave the EU”, Liberal Democrat Northern Ireland spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Over the past few months there has been cross party agreement that the use of violent imagery and language has no place in our politics.

Sammy Wilson’s analogy is completely unacceptable and potentially dangerous. Many will read his words as being a clear reference to paramilitary violence and intimidation used during the Troubles in Northern Ireland by terrorist groups.

Politicians set the tone. In this time of division and rancour we must debate with respect and care.

‘No Brexit’ still a very real possibility

Responding to this evenings statement by the Prime Minister on the steps of Downing Street, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The crucial change is that the Prime Minister and the Government have admitted for the first time that the choice for the country is not just between this bad deal or ‘no deal’. Instead, ‘No Brexit’ is a very real possibility.

It is time to return this issue to the country, and give people the option to Remain.

Country still none the wiser on PM’s blindfold Brexit

Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement on the draft Brexit deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

After five hours in a safe room, the PM and the Cabinet emerged to provide little detail on the divorce and nothing on our future relationship. She leaves the country none the wiser.

But at least she has accepted Parliament and the people have another choice: the option the Liberal Democrats have been pushing for two years, a People’s Vote.

The PM claims she owes it to the country to take decisions in the national interest. This deal, which leaves the UK a rule taker not a rule maker, is bad for Britain, bad for the NHS and bad for British jobs. It is a deal nobody voted for and nobody wants.

Brexit will rob UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has warned that Theresa May’s Brexit deal “will rob the UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools that help to keep us safe”.

Article 8 of the withdrawal agreement, published by the Government this evening, states that the UK “shall cease to be entitled to access any network, any information system and any database established on the basis of Union law”.

Article 63 states that we will only be able to access the Schengen Information System for a maximum of 3 months after the end of the transition period, and Europol’s SIENA platform for a maximum of 1 year.

Meanwhile, Article 62 makes clear that the European Arrest Warrant will only apply to people arrested before the end of the transition period.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Theresa May’s deal finally spells out in black and white what the Liberal Democrats have been warning about for the last two years: Brexit will rob the UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools that help to keep us safe.

After the transition period, we’ll lose the European Arrest Warrant and access to vital data-sharing systems, making it harder for the police to put serious criminals behind bars and keep us all safe.

The Government says it hopes to strike a ‘comprehensive’ deal on security co-operation, but euphemistically admits negotiations have been ‘particularly challenging’. Essentially, Theresa May is asking us to trust her to sort all this out within the next two years, while admitting that she’s failed to make any progress over the last two years.

Britain’s not buying it, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. That’s why we are fighting to give the British people a say on Theresa May’s deal, including the option of an Exit from Brexit.

Brexit deal open thread….Lib Dems react

I predicted on Facebook this morning that there would be few if any resignations in the wake of the Brexit deal and it looks like, thus far at least, I’ve been proven right. The thing is, Tories love power. They feel entitled to power. When they have it, even if they are trashing the place, […]

I predicted on Facebook this morning that there would be few if any resignations in the wake of the Brexit deal and it looks like, thus far at least, I’ve been proven right. The thing is, Tories love power. They feel entitled to power. When they have it, even if they are trashing the place, they are not going to give it up. So they grit their teeth and put up with a deal we know that they hate.

The deal is by its very nature worse than the deal we have at the moment. For sure, the EU needs its backside kicking in many ways, but then so does our own governance. Let’s face it, we have a whole house full of unelected people, with special places reserved for the leaders of one denomination of one religion.  We allow governments elected on barely a third of the vote virtually unchecked power.

We have been leaders in the EU. We have helped form the rules. We’re giving up all that to take what we’re given. In what universe is that taking back control? It’s like we’ve gone into a restaurant and ordered a roast beef with all the trimmings and been given a heap of tripe.

Lib Dems have been reacting to the news tonight. Vince picked up on two little words in the PM’s statement – no Brexit, which she said was a possibility.

The crucial change is that the Prime Minister and the Government have admitted for the first time that the choice for the country is not just between this bad deal or ‘no deal’.  Instead, ‘No Brexit’ is a very real possibility.

“It is time to return this issue to the country, and give people the option to Remain.

 

Willie Rennie pointed out the chaos in the Tory Party:

This Conservative Government is in total chaos. The veneer of unity in the cabinet will not secure unity in the country, parliament or even their own party.

This deal will not satisfy anyone regardless of whether they voted leave or remain. Instead Brexit will hurt the pockets of ordinary people and leave the UK weakened.

Theresa May has a chance to steer the UK away from the cliff edge. She should call a People’s Vote and give the public the power to choose what happens next.

Earlier, Christine Jardine made the case for a People’s Vote on the BBC News Channel. If you bought a house, she said, and found out it had all sorts of structural problems, you would back out of the deal, she said.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings