19 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

‘Govt treating EU citizens appallingly’ with Settled Status call charges Responding to reports that thousands of EU citizens are being forced to pay for calls to the Home Office’s Settlement Resolution Centre for help with their Settled Status applications, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said: EU citizens in the UK are our neighbours […]

‘Govt treating EU citizens appallingly’ with Settled Status call charges

Responding to reports that thousands of EU citizens are being forced to pay for calls to the Home Office’s Settlement Resolution Centre for help with their Settled Status applications, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

EU citizens in the UK are our neighbours and our colleagues, our families and our friends. But ever since the Brexit referendum, they have been treated appallingly by this Conservative Government.

Making them pay up to 40p per minute to get help navigating the complex Home Office system for applying for Settled Status is just the latest shameful example.

This shows that, despite the shocking revelations of the Windrush Scandal, the Home Office’s hostile culture hasn’t changed a bit – and that means we are heading for another scandal when thousands of EU citizens lose their rights after Brexit.

The only way to stop that happening is to stop Brexit. That’s why the Liberal Democrats are demanding a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the EU.

Davey: Tory policies “playing into the hands of slavers”

Responding to new statistics on victims of trafficking and modern slavery, published by the National Crime Agency today [Weds 20th March], Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The appalling scale of slavery in 21st century Britain shames our country.

These figures are shocking, but even worse are the thousands more victims who remain hidden – because they are unable or unwilling to come forward, and because the authorities do not have the resources they need to proactively go after trafficking and exploitation.

Theresa May once rightly called modern slavery ‘the great human rights issue of our time’, yet her hostile environment makes it harder for victims to come forward. Her refusal to fund enforcement properly is playing into the hands of slavers.

Liberal Democrats demand better for the victims of modern slavery. We will end the hostile environment and give the police, the Border Force and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority the resources they need to stop traffickers, free victims and bring those who exploit them to justice.

Joint statement from Vince Cable, Liz Saville Roberts, Ian Blackford and Caroline Lucas

Today the leaders of the opposition parties met with Jeremy Corbyn to urge him and his party to join them in bringing about a People’s Vote. Commenting on the meeting Vince Cable, Liz Saville Roberts, Ian Blackford and Caroline Lucas said:

We welcome that today we have sat down with Jeremy Corbyn for the first time. In the meeting our message was clear, Labour must move to back a public vote, which includes the option to remain, before the window of opportunity closes.

There is no such thing as a good Brexit – whether it is a Labour or Conservative version of it – jobs, public services and the environment will suffer. Remaining in the EU is the best deal on offer and, with time running out, Labour must now deliver on their promises so that we can avoid a catastrophic Brexit.

We hope that we can now work collaboratively and move swiftly to ensure the best possible chance for a fresh referendum to take place.

9-10 March 2019 – the weekend’s press releases (part 2)

And, as promised… Lib Dems: Labour must stop making excuses on a People’s Vote PM must back independent investigation into Qatar World Cup bid Home Counties knife crime rise shows crime epidemic is sweeping the UK Lib Dems: Labour must stop making excuses on a People’s Vote Responding to Keir Starmer’s announcement that Labour will […]

And, as promised…

  • Lib Dems: Labour must stop making excuses on a People’s Vote
  • PM must back independent investigation into Qatar World Cup bid
  • Home Counties knife crime rise shows crime epidemic is sweeping the UK

Lib Dems: Labour must stop making excuses on a People’s Vote

Responding to Keir Starmer’s announcement that Labour will not force a vote in favour of a People’s Vote on Tuesday, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Labour’s apparent belated support for a People’s Vote needs to be put to the test very soon. If not Tuesday, when? And their commitment must go hand in hand with a three line whip.

No one will be taken in by luke warm expressions of support for a People’s Vote while Jeremy Corbyn continues to allow Brexit-backing Labour MPs to help May deliver her devastating deal.

The Liberal Democrats have led the campaign for a People’s Vote for over two years. It is the only real escape route from a divisive and damaging Brexit. The Labour frontbench must stop making excuses and join us in this fight.

PM must back independent investigation into Qatar World Cup bid

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron MP has today demanded the UK Government lobby FIFA for an independent investigation into Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid.

It comes after The Sunday Times reported from leaked documents that Qatar secretly offered $400m to Fifa just 21 days before world football’s governing body awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said:

Revelations of bribery and foul play have yet again brought world football into disrepute. They must be shown the red card.

While FIFA point to an earlier investigation into the Qatar bid, the organisation has so far failed to restore public confidence following years of corruption.

An independent investigation is therefore the only proper action the public will accept. History, however, tells us this will not happen without pressure.

The Prime Minister must therefore instruct government ministers to urgently meet with FIFA in a bid to secure their agreement for an independent investigation.

Home Counties knife crime rise shows crime epidemic is sweeping the UK

Responding to the reports that knife crime is rising at a much steeper rate in the Home Counties and rural provinces than in London, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

England’s knife crime epidemic has infected communities far and wide outside London.

The Prime Minister’s failure to grip this herself now shames her office. In reality she should be apologising for the mistakes she made as Britain’s longest serving Home Secretary, especially her brutal cuts to police budgets.

And given some of this horrific violence has been fuelled by the county lines used by drug networks, Ministers must also reverse Mrs May’s cuts to our Border Force so we crack down on the criminal gangs behind this.

The Liberal Democrats demand better for the victims of knife crime and their families.

We need more police, significant investment in youth services and a reduction in the use of school exclusions – as part of a comprehensive public health approach to tackle the rise in violent crime.

7 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases (part 2)

And now, as promised, the rest of the press releases… Figures highlight extremely difficult time for high streets Swinson: Employers must be held to account over gender pay gap Chancellor must end the freeze on benefits and tax credits Davey: Strip Home Office of immigration powers Figures highlight extremely difficult time for high streets Responding […]

And now, as promised, the rest of the press releases…

  • Figures highlight extremely difficult time for high streets
  • Swinson: Employers must be held to account over gender pay gap
  • Chancellor must end the freeze on benefits and tax credits
  • Davey: Strip Home Office of immigration powers

Figures highlight extremely difficult time for high streets

Responding as the BDO High Streets Tracker reveals that sales declined by 3.7%, the worst February for lifestyle in-store sales since November 2008, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Our high streets are clearly going through an extremely difficult time, thanks to a combination of long-term structural challenges and the damaging effects of Brexit uncertainty.

But with the right action from government, councils, businesses and local communities, they can prosper once again. Instead of trying to recreate the high streets of the past, Britain’s towns and cities need to refresh their offer at a time of growing demand for online shopping.

Liberal Democrats believe we should enable towns to thrive in the 21st century. We would replace business rates with a tax on land value, reform restrictive planning rules, and provide additional support for local entrepreneurs.

Swinson: Employers must be held to account over gender pay gap

Responding to a new YouGov survey for Young Women’s Trust that 30% of employers have not tried to reduce their gender pay gap, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Jo Swinson said:

It is disappointing that one in three organisations have not tried to improve their gender pay gap.

Gender pay gap reporting has injected transparency in the debate on pay and equality in the workplace. But publishing numbers is not enough.

We must require employers to also report what they will do to reduce the gap in their organisations, so that employees and consumers can hold them to account when they fail to improve.

The Government must also provide better guidance and support to employers on how they can close their gender pay gap.

Chancellor must end the freeze on benefits and tax credits

Liberal Democrat DWP Spokesperson Christine Jardine has called for the Chancellor to use his Spring Statement to end the freeze on working-age benefits, including Universal Credit and tax credits.

It comes as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation publishes new statistics [08 March 2019 00:01] revealing that, should the final year of the freeze go ahead, the benefits freeze will end up pushing 400,000 more people into poverty since 2015.

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said:

The Conservative freeze on working-age benefits is causing real pain and misery that must be stopped. Liberal Democrats demand better than the Tories’ cruel policy of balancing the books on the backs of the poorest.

Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for an urgent end to the benefits freeze and a full restoration of the billions the Tories’ cut from Universal Credit. Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s report proves all families and children would benefit, particularly the most vulnerable.

The Spring Statement is the last chance to scrap the benefits freeze before the final year of the freeze kicks in. The Chancellor must end the misery. If he doesn’t, he should be in no doubt that every life made harder and every child pushed into poverty will be on his watch.

Davey: Strip Home Office of immigration powers

Responding to an Institute for Government report highlighting “flaws in the immigration system”, published today (Friday 8th March), Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The Institute for Government is right. The Windrush scandal and countless other failings show that the immigration system is not fit for purpose.

Now Brexit risks another scandal on an even bigger scale, as millions of EU citizens are exposed to the poisonous combination of Home Office incompetence and Theresa May’s hostile environment.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will scrap the hostile environment and strip the Home Office of responsibility for immigration.

Policymaking on work visas, student visas and asylum should be given to the Departments for Business, Education and International Development respectively – parts of Whitehall that aren’t infected by the Home Office’s toxic culture, and that understand far better the needs of our economy, our universities and refugees.

7 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases (part 1)

A busy day yesterday and overnight, so today’s press releases will come in two sections… Home Secretary ‘open-minded’ on right to work Permanent Secretary exit only ‘managed departure’ from DExEU Liberal Democrats demand better for women on International Women’s Day Revealed: Home Office report rubbishes Boris Johnson’s Stop and Search claim Home Secretary ‘open-minded’ on […]

A busy day yesterday and overnight, so today’s press releases will come in two sections…

  • Home Secretary ‘open-minded’ on right to work
  • Permanent Secretary exit only ‘managed departure’ from DExEU
  • Liberal Democrats demand better for women on International Women’s Day
  • Revealed: Home Office report rubbishes Boris Johnson’s Stop and Search claim

Home Secretary ‘open-minded’ on right to work

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has secured assurances from the Home Secretary that he is ‘open-minded’ about her Bill which would loosen rules around asylum seekers’ right to work.

The Edinburgh West MP raised her campaign with Sajid Javid in a joint meeting organised by cross-party group, More United.

Currently, asylum seekers can only work if they have been waiting more than 12 months for their claim to be processed, and only then if they can fill a role on the Government’s very narrow ‘shortage occupation list’.

Ms Jardine’s Bill would change the law to allow them to work after just 3 months, which would vastly improve integration, help people rebuild their lives, and save the taxpayer millions in support payments*.

After the meeting, Ms Jardine said:

Being denied the right to work, and to put food on the table for you and your family, is cruel and undignified. People deserve better.

I was therefore very encouraged to hear that the Home Secretary is open-minded about backing my campaign and changing the rules to allow asylum seekers the right to work.

He told me that he and his officials are looking in to the issue, but that more evidence is needed to clear up some reservations.

I will now work with colleagues across the House to provide him with that evidence, so that we can finally get the law changed and help people who have risked so much to rebuild their lives.

Permanent Secretary exit only ‘managed departure’ from DExEU

Responding to news that the Department for Exiting the European Union’s most senior civil servant Philip Rycroft is expected to retire at the end of the month, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

So the only managed departure the Department for Exiting the European Union has been able to strike is for their own Permanent Secretary.

I wish Philip Rycroft well in his retirement, albeit I am sure the public, like me, would prefer to see the whole Brexit shambles retired instead.

With a change in personnel at this key stage in the Brexit process, questions will be raised. The best assurance Ministers could give is to back the Liberal Democrat campaign to give the people the final say, including the option to stay in the EU.

Liberal Democrats demand better for women on International Women’s Day

Today, International Women’s Day, Liberal Democrats are demanding that the Conservative Government do more to improve the lives of women and girls across the UK and address the gendered inequalities that persist throughout society.

In a joint statement Liberal Democrat MPs Christine Jardine, Jo Swinson, Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse said:

It is frustrating and unacceptable that in the UK in 2019, women and girls continue to face so many everyday barriers.

The Conservative Government have passed the role of Minister for Women and Equalities around like a hot potato, whilst many of the issues that still disproportionately impact women and girls are failing to be addressed.

Liberal Democrats demand better for women and girls. Last year Liberal Democrats introduced legislation to make upskirting a specific offence and now it’s illegal. For International Women’s Day 2019 we’re fighting to improve the lives of women and girls in other ways: by banning the pink tax so that women do not pay more for the same products, introducing gender neutral school uniforms, and improving mental health care for postnatal women.

International Women’s Day is not only about celebrating the achievements of women, but about taking action, and that is exactly what the Liberal Democrats are doing.

Revealed: Home Office report rubbishes Boris Johnson’s Stop and Search claim

Today Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey reveals that a stop and search programme recently lauded by Boris Johnson had “no statistically significant crime-reducing effect” according to a Home Office report.

Yesterday the former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson defended the stop and search project Operation Blunt 2 stating that it had taken “10,000 knives off the streets”.

However this statement from Johnson undermines the report of the Home Office which concluded “Overall, analysis shows that there was no discernible crime-reducing effects from a large surge in stop and search activity at the borough level during the operation.”

Responding Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Is there no depth of deception to which Boris Johnson will not stoop?

Citing his massive increase in Stop and Searches in London as he argues for the same policy now, when the Home Office’s own analysis shows that it had ‘no discernible crime-reducing effects’.

His gall would be impressive if it weren’t so destructive. Instead of reducing crime, expanding Stop and Search will only increase discrimination and undermine the community relations police officers need to prevent knife crime.

We know what is needed to tackle this knife crime epidemic: more police, more youth services and a proper public health approach. We mustn’t let Boris’s dishonest arguments distract us.

6 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

PM fails to stand up for rural communities over bank closures Cable: Catastrophic no-deal would push economy into recession Davey: Britain must be far more ambitious on offshore wind Lib Dems: Yet another embarrassing rejection of May’s Brexit PM fails to stand up for rural communities over bank closures Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron today […]

  • PM fails to stand up for rural communities over bank closures
  • Cable: Catastrophic no-deal would push economy into recession
  • Davey: Britain must be far more ambitious on offshore wind
  • Lib Dems: Yet another embarrassing rejection of May’s Brexit

PM fails to stand up for rural communities over bank closures

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron today used Prime Minister’s Questions to urge the Prime Minister to properly compensate communities that have been abandoned by the banks and forced to use online banking instead.

According to the consumer group Which? around 3,000 bank branches have closed over the past three years.

Meanwhile over the same time period, innocent customers have lost an extra £2billion in online and financial fraud.

Speaking during Prime Ministers Questions, Tim Farron asked:

Will she agree that the banks have taken without giving for too long?

Will she meet with me to force the banks to compensate victims of fraud, to compensate the communities they have abandoned and to prevent banks closing the last branch in town?

In response, the Prime Minister refused to help abandoned communities and victims of financial fraud, instead saying that banks are “commercial organisations and those are decisions that they take.”

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said:

It’s absolutely staggering and hugely disappointing that the Prime Minister has decided to turn her back on communities like Grange in my constituency that have been abandoned by the banks.

People who have been victims of financial fraud and those who have been let down by the banks deserve better than the Prime Minister shrugging her shoulders.

Cable: Catastrophic no-deal would push economy into recession

Commenting on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s report into the implications for economic growth as a consequence of Brexit, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The economy has been bumping along the bottom in the wake of Brexit uncertainty. This analysis by the OECD, while focused on a slowing global economy, picks out the UK as one of the worst performers among developed countries due to our weakening economic growth and falling business investment.

Not only have our growth forecasts for 2019 and 2020 been severely downgraded, but the OECD expects our economy to suffer even if the Conservative Government gets its Brexit deal through, undermining claims of a so-called “deal dividend”. A catastrophic no-deal would push our economy into recession, inflicting great damage on jobs and living standards.

Davey: Britain must be far more ambitious on offshore wind

Commenting on the Government’s announcement of a new Offshore Wind Sector deal, Ed Davey, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:

Britain must be far more ambitious on offshore wind, and build on the huge breakthroughs Liberal Democrats achieved on renewable power.

The UK is now the world leader in offshore wind, and the green power auctions Liberal Democrats pioneered have seen the cost of offshore wind tumble.

With renewable power costs now way below nuclear, it must be right to capitalise on this fabulous British success story – so we can tackle climate change faster and see more green jobs created.

Lib Dems: Yet another embarrassing rejection of May’s Brexit

Following further Brexit-related defeats for the Government in the House of Lords this evening, on parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals and membership of a customs union, Liberal Democrat Leader in the Lords, Dick Newby said:

The Conservative Government’s defeats this evening are yet another embarrassing rejection of Theresa May’s Brexit. The Lords has insisted on parliamentary scrutiny on future trade deals rather than letting Liam Fox decide what’s in our national interest.

We have also insisted on remaining in a customs union because we will not accept a Tory Brexit deal that wrecks supply chains, causes chaos at UK borders and leads to massive jobs losses.

Being inside a customs union but outside the EU would however still leave the UK poorer and deprive us of any say over the rules that govern the way we trade.

Both Theresa May’s and Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit plans have now been resoundingly defeated. The only real alternative and way out of this chaos is a people’s vote, with the option to stay in the EU.

5 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

We’re running a bit late today, mainly because a number of these releases were embargoed until after midnight… Tory cuts are forcing schools to beg and borrow from communities – Moran Lib Dems: Tories failing to fund adult social care Tory cuts driving down quality of care homes Govt must act to prevent another Windrush […]

We’re running a bit late today, mainly because a number of these releases were embargoed until after midnight…

  • Tory cuts are forcing schools to beg and borrow from communities – Moran
  • Lib Dems: Tories failing to fund adult social care
  • Tory cuts driving down quality of care homes
  • Govt must act to prevent another Windrush
  • Make school uniforms gender neutral – Lib Dems
  • Davey: End ‘right to rent’ checks and Hostile Environment
  • Swinson: PM’s guarantees to protect workers’ rights not worth the paper they’re written on

Tory cuts are forcing schools to beg and borrow from communities – Moran

Responding to reports that parents are being asked to pay for staff wages and books by schools, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

These stories are becoming all to common.

Schools are having to beg and borrow from their communities to make ends meet. But some schools especially in poorer areas don’t have a parent body who can afford to help plug the gaps.

This is the raw reality of this Government’s failure to engage on the school funding issues. It’s time we funded our schools properly.

Lib Dems: Tories failing to fund adult social care

Responding to the reports from the LGA that council tax rises in 2019/20 will not bring in enough money to prevent the need for further cutbacks to adult social care, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

The current way the Tories are running the care system is unsustainable. As it becomes more and more difficult for people in the UK to get the help they need, it becomes clear something needs to change, and it needs to happen now.

For months the Liberal Democrats have been calling on the Conservative Government to publish the Social Care Green Paper so that we can begin to address this crisis. But instead the Tories have delayed and delayed this since the summer of 2017 as they fail to address the ballooning funding gap for adult social care.

The Liberal Democrats are ready and willing to challenge the problem in social care. We will transform the care older people receive and reduce the inequality in provision. We will put a penny in the pound on income tax to directly invest in social care as a first step to address the funding problems.

Tory cuts driving down quality of care homes

Responding to the report from Independent Age stating that the quality of care homes has worsened in the last year in more than a third of local authorities (37%), Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

We are now seeing the serious consequences the Tories’ cuts are having on the care older people receive. It is unacceptable that older people and families are having to choose between one poorly-performing care home and another poorly-performing care home.

The Tories’ sustained cuts to local government funding is contributing to the fall in standards of care, as is their failure to publish the Social Care Green Paper.

The Liberal Democrats are ready and willing to challenge the problems in social care. We will transform the care older people receive and reduce the inequality in provision. We will put a penny in the pound on income tax to directly invest in social care to reverse the deterioration in care.

Govt must act to prevent another Windrush

Responding to the Public Accounts Committee’s Report on the Windrush Generation and the Home Office, Liberal Democrat MP and member of the Public Accounts Committee, Layla Moran said:

The Windrush Scandal demonstrated the extent of the Home Office’s indifference to the human impact of its hostile environment policies. The Conservative Government’s continued failure to put things right for the victims of this scandal is shameful.

The Government must meet the urgent housing requirements of members of the Windrush Generation, as well as providing them with proper compensation.

We must ensure that this scandal never happens again, but the Settled Status scheme for EU citizens risks leaving many thousands of them facing the same problems as the Windrush Generation after Brexit. The only way to prevent it is to end the hostile environment completely and take responsibility for immigration away from the Home Office and its toxic culture.

Make school uniforms gender neutral – Lib Dems

Today (6th March), Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran will introduce a Bill on gender neutral school uniforms to mark International Women’s Day.

Commenting on her Presentation Bill, Ms Moran said:

The Conservative Government must take a step into the twenty-first century. It is harmful that in some cases schools are still dictating what children can and cannot wear just because of their gender.

This is not about forcing girls to wear trousers or boys to wear skirts. We must support all children to feel happy in what they wear to school. It is also important that transgender and non-binary pupils feel they can dress comfortably.

Liberal Democrats demand better. It’s high time that all children were given the option of which school uniform they want to wear. We must create a culture of acceptance in our schools where all students are confident and comfortable no matter what they choose to wear.

Davey: End ‘right to rent’ checks and Hostile Environment

Responding to the Immigration Minister’s written statement on the Right to Rent Scheme, published today, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

What will it take for the Tories to reverse their nasty, discriminatory Hostile Environment policies?

The Windrush Scandal should have been enough. Last week’s High Court judgement that the ‘right to rent’ checks breach human rights should have been more than enough.

But still Tory Ministers refuse to budge. Worse, they are now wasting taxpayers’ money on a legal appeal to keep their pointless, discriminatory ‘right to rent’ checks.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We demand an end to the Hostile Environment and an effective, compassionate fix to the immigration system.

Swinson: PM’s guarantees to protect workers’ rights not worth the paper they’re written on

Responding to the Government’s announcement that Parliament will be given a vote on adopting future EU rules on workers’ rights, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats and former Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said:

This is yet another desperate attempt by the Prime Minister to save her deal by bribing Labour MPs.

Her so-called guarantees to protect workers’ rights are not worth the paper they are written on. There is nothing stopping a future Conservative government from ripping them to shreds.

The PM claims credit for shared parental leave but I was the one fighting Conservative Minister after Conservative Minister so we could make shared parental leave a reality for families.

Trusting the Conservatives to protect workers’ rights would be like trusting a fox to guard the hen house. The only way to protect the millions of workers in the UK is to stay in the European Union.

4 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Tory Govt must take responsibility for knife crime epidemic Today Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has called on the Conservative Government to take responsibility for the knife crime epidemic and invest in more police and youth services. Ed Davey said: Far too many innocent young lives are being taken by the epidemic of […]

Tory Govt must take responsibility for knife crime epidemic

Today Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has called on the Conservative Government to take responsibility for the knife crime epidemic and invest in more police and youth services.

Ed Davey said:

Far too many innocent young lives are being taken by the epidemic of violence that is consuming our cities. Instead of just lamenting these tragedies and talking tough, Ministers need to accept their share of responsibility for this crisis.

When children are excluded from school and see their youth centres closed, it’s hardly surprising that so many of them fall into the grip of gangs. When they see fewer and fewer police officers on the streets, it’s hardly surprising that young people start carrying knives for protection.

There can be no doubt that unnecessary Tory cuts have made our communities less safe.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We demand more community police officers, urgent investment in youth services and a dramatic reduction in the use of school exclusions – all part of a proper public health approach to tackle the shocking rise in knife crime.

Lib Dems to introduce legislation to scrap the gender price gap

Today (5th March) Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has introduced a Bill to to end the so called ‘Pink Tax’.

Christine Jardine is launching her campaign to remove the gender price gap with a Bill to be presented to Parliament to mark International Women’s Day.

Commenting on her Private Member’s Bill, Ms Jardine said:

It is entirely unacceptable that in 2019 women and girls are still paying more than men for basic products, such as razors and deodorant. Whilst women are often still being paid less too, women really are being hit by a double whammy.

Products marketed at women are on average considerably more expensive than those marketed at men. Often the only difference is the colour, yet this unfair price gap will have a significant financial impact on a woman over the course of her life.

Liberal Democrats demand better. It’s time to get rid of this price gap. My Bill would remove this outdated and sexist tax on women once and for all.

1 March 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: Govt reforms failing to reduce reoffending Today the National Audit Office have released a report stating that reforms to probation services have failed to meet the Ministry of Justice’s targets to reduce reoffending. Responding to the report, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said: The rehabilitation of offenders and their re-integration into the […]

Lib Dems: Govt reforms failing to reduce reoffending

Today the National Audit Office have released a report stating that reforms to probation services have failed to meet the Ministry of Justice’s targets to reduce reoffending.

Responding to the report, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

The rehabilitation of offenders and their re-integration into the community is central to who we are as a society and vital for cutting crime. It must be done with a sense of responsibility.

Good public services cannot be expected to be run on a shoe string. The Tory party’s obsession with saving money has actually cost millions and increased crime.

Liberal Democrats demand better. The Government must properly fund rehabilitative services, create clear lines of accountability and take its responsibility to all citizens seriously.

Lib Dems: ‘National Gallery 27’ ruling shows employment law must be rewritten

Following today’s landmark judgement by the Employment Tribunal on the National Gallery 27, declaring that its team of educators were workers entitled to basic employment rights, Liberal Democrat DWP Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

This is a great victory for employment rights but a huge embarrassment for the Government. They sat by whilst a public body funded by taxpayers used the worst kind of employment practices. These 27 brave individuals who worked for the National Gallery should never have had to take this legal case on and today’s decision should shame the Government.

For too long, businesses have been able to get away with depriving workers of their rights through dodgy self-employment schemes, facilitated by confusing and outdated employment laws.

Employment rights must be strengthened by requiring businesses, rather than individuals, to prove someone’s employment status at a tribunal when there’s a dispute. The Liberal Democrats would also create a new ‘dependent contractor’ status to enshrine the pay and rights of workers in the gig economy.

I hope today’s decision encourages the Government to act, so that other workers do not suffer as the National Gallery 27 have.

PM’s ‘right to rent’ checks found guilty of breaching human rights

Today, the High Court has ruled that the Conservative Government’s ‘right to rent’ scheme breaches human rights laws. These rules, aimed at preventing illegal immigrants from renting properties, were blocked by the Liberal Democrats back in 2013.

Responding to the ruling, Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The Windrush Scandal should’ve been the end of Theresa May’s hostile environment, and today’s judgement must be the final nail in the coffin.

The Liberal Democrats blocked the Theresa May’s ‘right to rent’ checks in Coalition precisely because we were concerned about racial discrimination, but the Tories didn’t listen and rolled them out after 2015.

The hostile environment has seen thousands of people deprived of their rights, and now the High Court has ruled that a key part of it is discriminatory. The Government must now scrap it without delay.

Cable: Incomprehensible Grayling still in his role

Responding to the news that the Conservative Government have been forced to pay Eurotunnel £33 million, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

This news compounds the Conservative Government’s embarrassment over their botched ferry contract.

Now Ministers have poured another £30 million down the drain because they didn’t take even the most elementary precautions at the beginning of the process.

In any normal world Chris Grayling would have been fired long ago. It is incomprehensible that he is still in his role.

28 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dem policy for 9pm junk food marketing watershed has public support Responding to a survey by Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) which shows the widespread support for the Liberal Democrat policy to create a 9pm watershed for junk food marketing, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said: With obesity as one of the leading causes […]

Lib Dem policy for 9pm junk food marketing watershed has public support

Responding to a survey by Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) which shows the widespread support for the Liberal Democrat policy to create a 9pm watershed for junk food marketing, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

With obesity as one of the leading causes of cancer, there is increasingly concern about the childhood obesity epidemic throughout the UK.

The Conservative Government have failed to take these concerns seriously. So far all we have seen from the Tories is an unambitious strategy on Childhood Obesity that will do little to solve the problem.

Children deserve better and Liberal Democrats demand better. We believe it is time to end junk food marketing on TV before 9pm as well as measures to stop junk food marketing online.

Tory Brexit chaos to blame for sharp fall in EU migrants

The Liberal Democrats have blamed the sharp fall in EU migrants revealed today on the “chaos created by Tory Ministers and the nasty rhetoric of Brexiters”.

The latest migration statistics, published today by the Office for National Statistics, reveal that net migration from the EU has dramatically fallen from 106,000 last year to 57,000 now. EU net migration is at the lowest point since 2008.

However, net migration from outside the EU is at the highest since 2004. It has risen to 261,000, up from 222,000 a year ago.

On EU migration, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Hospitals, schools and social care providers are already struggling to hire the staff they need, and Brexit is making that problem so much worse.

Even before we’ve left the EU, the chaos created by Tory Ministers and the nasty rhetoric of Brexiters is putting off the EU workers that our public services badly need.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. That’s why we’re leading the fight for a People’s Vote and an Exit from Brexit.

On the Conservatives’ net migration target, Ed Davey added:

Today’s figures also show that the Tories’ promise that Brexit will bring net migration down to their ‘tens of thousands’ target is a complete fiction. Immigration from outside the EU is rising well above that target and rising – driven not by our membership of the EU, but the demands of our economy.

Lamb: We could see rapid deterioration of A&E waiting times

Responding to reports in The Times that Accident and Emergency departments will no longer have to treat patients within four hours, former Health Minister Norman Lamb said:

There has been a widely held view that the 4 hour standard transformed hospital care and ended dire delays when patients arrived in an emergency. It forced hospitals to focus on the whole system through to discharge, to ensure that beds were available to admit seriously ill patients. But, it has also been accepted that the standard can distort clinical priorities.

A review of the standard with a view to introducing a more sophisticated approach is reasonable. But if, in reality, it was effectively abandoned, then we could see a very rapid deterioration of waiting times for patients arriving in A&E.

They have got to get this right. The principle that people should be entitled to assessment and treatment within a reasonable time in our NHS is really important and should not be abandoned – and certainly not because of cost pressures.

27 February 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

I’m a day behind, so time to catch up, I think… Brexit: Govt approach to citizens’ rights “fundamentally flawed” Responding to Sajid Javid’s comments that the Government will support Alberto Costa’s amendment on citizens’ rights, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said: After being forced into one U-turn on the £65 fee for settled […]

I’m a day behind, so time to catch up, I think…

Brexit: Govt approach to citizens’ rights “fundamentally flawed”

Responding to Sajid Javid’s comments that the Government will support Alberto Costa’s amendment on citizens’ rights, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

After being forced into one U-turn on the £65 fee for settled status last month and another on ring-fencing citizens’ rights in case of no-deal today, the Government should finally just admit that their whole approach is fundamentally flawed.

These U-turns are welcome, but the spectacle of the Prime Minister saying one thing yesterday and the Home Secretary saying the opposite today shows just how much of a mess the Tories are making of Brexit.

British citizens in Europe and EU citizens in the UK deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. That’s why we are leading the fight for a People’s Vote and an exit from Brexit.

Moran: Govt must support campaign to scrap Vagrancy Act

Following a PMQ this afternoon, in which Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran asked the Prime Minister to back her campaign to scrap the Vagrancy Act from 1824, a meeting with the relevant Minister has been secured to press the issue.

Responding to the commitment from the Prime Minister, Layla Moran said:

I’m glad that the Prime Minister has recognised the seriousness of the plight of those living on our streets.

When I meet with the Minister, I will be asking for the Government to support my campaign to scrap the Vagrancy Act, an indefensible and outdated law.

Criminalising homeless people is a national disgrace and shames our society, which should aspire to have more compassion for its most vulnerable.

Cable: The battle to stop no deal Brexit is yet to be won

Responding to the Government Brexit motion votes this evening, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

This evening was a damp squib. Parliament could have come to a resolution and taken a chaotic no deal off the table. Instead it seems those Conservatives who oppose no deal Brexit have sold themselves too cheaply.

The battle to stop no deal Brexit is yet to be won.