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.

13 November 2018 – today’s press releases

We’ve had a deluge of press releases today, perhaps unsurprisingly, given events… Moran: Isolation booths are a symbol of a broken education system Davey: Brexodus already damaging NHS and social care Lib Dems back move to defeat ‘craven’ Govt over FOBT delay Brexit will derail the gravy train Davey: Tory cuts make our borders less […]

We’ve had a deluge of press releases today, perhaps unsurprisingly, given events…

  • Moran: Isolation booths are a symbol of a broken education system
  • Davey: Brexodus already damaging NHS and social care
  • Lib Dems back move to defeat ‘craven’ Govt over FOBT delay
  • Brexit will derail the gravy train
  • Davey: Tory cuts make our borders less secure
  • Both Tories and Labour must be transparent about Brexit mess
  • Layla Moran: Botched Brexit can be stopped
  • Cable: Deal will be torn apart before ink is dry
  • MPs must now let people have final say on Brexit

Moran: Isolation booths are a symbol of a broken education system

Responding to a report by the BBC into the use of isolation booths in schools, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Isolation booths are barbaric, counterproductive and symbolic of a broken education system.

More and more schools are picking up the pieces of local government cuts with increasingly stretched resources.

People do not go into education to isolate pupils and dole out punishments reminiscent of custodial sentences. Government must make more funds available for schools so that behavioural issues can be managed in a proper way.

Davey: Brexodus already damaging NHS and social care

Responding to new official figures showing an unprecedented fall in the number of EU workers in the UK, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Even before we’ve left the EU, we’re seeing a Brexodus that is bad for British businesses and especially bad for our public services.

The NHS is already struggling to hire the doctors and nurses it needs. The social care system is desperately short of workers. And it will only get worse if the Tories take us out of the EU – deal or no deal.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. That’s why we’re fighting to keep the UK in the EU, by giving the people a final say on the deal with the option of an Exit from Brexit.

That will ensure we retain the supply of EU workers that strengthens our public services and our economy, while also retaining the rights of British people to live, work and study elsewhere in the EU.

Lib Dems back move to defeat ‘craven’ Govt over FOBT delay

The Liberal Democrats have today announced they will back a cross-party amendment to the Finance Bill to ensure the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals are introduced within six months.

Speaking ahead of the vote next week, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:

A few months ago I was approached by a mother who was distraught after her son had committed suicide as a result of distress caused by debts that had accrued from compulsive gambling.

There is now a network of grieving relatives who have been brought together by the same dreadful experience. Like them, I want the NHS to recognise gambling addiction as a serious mental health condition. Preventive action is also needed including urgent steps to curb some of the more exploitative practices like high stake fixed-odds betting terminals.

I and the Liberal Democrats will therefore work with others to stop these abusive practices and introduce a crackdown as promised. The Government has been utterly craven in giving in to lobbying from the industry and must now back the cross-party amendment or face defeat.

Liberal Democrat Culture, Media & Sport Spokesperson in the House of Commons, Christine Jardine, added:

Further delays are causing more and more vulnerable people to face financial stress, mental health problems and worse.

It doesn’t need to be this way. Liberal Democrats demand better, which is why we have been calling for the maximum stake to be reduced to £2 for nearly a decade.

The Tories have already taken too long to act, now they are kicking it into the long grass. It simply isn’t good enough.

Brexit will derail the gravy train

Responding to the reports that Premier Foods, who own Bisto, Oxo and Mr Kipling, have said it intends to stockpile raw materials in the run-up to Brexit as fears grow over gridlock at UK ports, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Last week we heard how dangerously close the UK is to not having a secure supply of the critical drugs or medical devices our NHS needs. This week, it is a major British food company which is being forced to make plans to stockpile ingredients to ensure they are ready for any Brexit scenario.

Premier Foods, which own the ‘nation’s favourite’ gravy, are expecting to spend up to £10m on Brexit preparations. This is simply further evidence of how Brexit will harm British businesses.

When the Brexiters spoke of “ending the gravy train”, the public did not expect a dry Sunday lunch. Nobody voted for this chaotic Brexit, people are entitled to a final say on Brexit in a People’s Vote to put a stop to this unnecessary, draining mess.

Davey: Tory cuts make our borders less secure

After an inspection report revealed Border Force staff shortages at British seaports, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has called on the Government to recruit more officers to secure our borders.

The report by David Bolt, the Government’s Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, details concerns among Border Force officers that the agency is “resourced to fail” and that, due to staff shortages, “the border is not secured by any stretch of the imagination”.

Home Office accounts show that funding for the Border Force has been cut by 8% in real terms since 2015 and the number of officers has been reduced by 7%, from 8,332 to 7,734.

Responding to the report, Ed Davey said:

The Border Force doesn’t have the officers it needs to cope with the pressures it faces now, let alone the extra pressures it will face if we leave the EU.

Despite all their tough talk on immigration, Tory cuts have left our borders less secure, allowing organised criminals to traffic people, weapons and illegal drugs into the UK.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will recruit more officers to an accountable, intelligence-led Border Force. That will help to secure our borders, rebuild trust in the immigration system and make our communities safer.

Both Tories and Labour must be transparent about Brexit mess

Following the passing of a motion in the House of Commons today calling on the Conservative Government to publish the legal advice it has received on Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Tory Ministers must now be honest and upfront with the public and make available the final legal advice they have received on Brexit and the Northern Ireland backstop.

But frankly, Labour too have a problem with legal advice. Does their legal advice confirm whether Brexit is stoppable or whether their six tests are legally compatible? The public are entitled to know.

Both parties need to be transparent with the public on what Brexit will actually mean. It will be up to backbench MPs as to whether they blindly follow their shambolic leaderships or support a People’s Vote, including the option to remain in the EU.

Layla Moran: Botched Brexit can be stopped

Today, at the Best For Britain & People’s Vote joint rally, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran will declare that Brexit can be stopped but only through a People’s Vote, with an option for remain.

Full speech – **check against delivery**

Cast your minds back to that summer in 2016. I don’t just mean the vote I mean you. Where were you in your life?

Now think how much has changed? For me the single biggest change is that I was a teacher then, now I’m a member of Parliament.

And what made that happen? We had an election. An election where the country took away Theresa May’s majority and gave her a hung Parliament. The people said: work together, across Parliament, across all parties and deliver something we can all get behind.

But instead what did she do? She reached out to the hardliners in her Party and the DUP. And she’s botched it!

Turns out those hardliner demands weren’t deliverable.So now we face a deal that literally no one really wants.

Ok I admit I never wanted any deal other than the deal we have already. But this deal is a world apart from was promised by the Leave campaign.

This deal leaves us as a vassal state. It strips us of our voice and our seat at the table. If the Leave vote was about taking back control, this deal does the exact opposite.

And now the Government’s panicking. They want us to think that the only two options are no deal or bad deal.

But that’s not true. There is another way.

May’s deal will pale in comparison to what we’ve already got.

This botched Brexit can be stopped. This government has messed this up and they can’t deliver.

But we can stop this mess. Through a people’s vote on the deal with a choice that actually make sense. The bad deal – or the deal we’ve already got.

So this is a call to all those MPs who have yet to speak out. We are on the brink of one of the biggest, most pivotal moments in British history. Join us!

This is a call to all their constituents. If you haven’t written, email them tonight. Tell them what you think. Demand to be heard.

Demand that they do what is right by you and your family and the country and that they must do everything in their power to help avoid this catastrophic deal.

Demand for the people not politicians to be given the final say.

Cable: Deal will be torn apart before ink is dry

Responding to reports that the EU and UK negotiators have agreed the text of the EU withdrawal agreement, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Any Brexit deal will leave the UK weakened and the public poorer.

And before the ink is dry, the Conservative Party will tear into what little Theresa May has been able to agree.

The Prime Minister now faces a defeat in Parliament, as a majority will be hard or impossible to secure for what she has come up with.

A People’s Vote is now the only way to escape from this mess.

MPs must now let people have final say on Brexit

Responding to reports that the EU and UK negotiators have agreed the text of the EU withdrawal agreement, Liberal Democrats Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

No matter the deal, Brexit will hurt the pockets of ordinary people and leave the UK weakened. No one voted for this. No one deserves to be punished because of this Tory Brexit mess.

The Brexiters are now circling around the Prime Minister as the country edges towards chaos. The country deserves better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party committed to a People’s Vote. We have campaigned for it, we have marched for it and we will vote for it. It is time MPs do the right thing and let the people decide.

12 November 2018 – today’s press releases

This feature is now back on UK time, and so, here’s what we’ve got for you this evening… Welsh Lib Dems Investing in Teachers Brexit can be stopped but Corbyn must get out of the way Ed Davey: Hostile environment must be completely scrapped Brake: Corbyn must listen to Brown Welsh Lib Dems Investing in […]

This feature is now back on UK time, and so, here’s what we’ve got for you this evening…

  • Welsh Lib Dems Investing in Teachers
  • Brexit can be stopped but Corbyn must get out of the way
  • Ed Davey: Hostile environment must be completely scrapped
  • Brake: Corbyn must listen to Brown

Welsh Lib Dems Investing in Teachers

Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced the single biggest investment in support for Wales’ teachers since devolution through a groundbreaking £24m package to help teachers deliver Wales’ new curriculum.

The National Approach to Professional Learning (NAPL), announced today by the Education Secretary, will focus on professional learning and flexible ways of learning that don’t disrupt the school day.

One of the most striking features of the NAPL will be an entirely new approach to how teachers learn. A much more accessible blend of learning will be available through Wales’ regions and universities. This will encompass learning outside the classroom, online learning, classroom learning and coaching.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented:

This announcement is yet another example of the transformational reforms the Welsh Lib Dems are implementing in our national mission to raise standards, reduce the attainment gap and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and public confidence.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to creating a Wales where every child has the opportunity to achieve their potential and determine their own destiny. This funding will help us realise this vision.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said:

This major investment shows how highly we value teachers’ professional learning. It is an investment in excellence and we are aiming for nothing less than a wholesale reform of how teachers learn; a process that starts from the moment they begin initial teacher education and goes right the way through their career.

Brexit can be stopped but Corbyn must get out of the way

Responding to comments made by Keir Starmer that Brexit could be stopped Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

It is disappointing that the Labour leader simply cannot bring himself to join the majority of his party and voters in opposing the Conservative Government on Brexit.

Brexit can still be stopped. But at the moment, disagreement at the top of the Labour party could lead to the UK stumbling into a catastrophic Brexit.

Corbyn must listen to the growing majority that the Conservatives are making a terrible mess of Brexit and only a People’s Vote, with an option for remain, can get us out of this shambles.

Ed Davey: Hostile environment must be completely scrapped

Responding to the news that NHS Digital has withdrawn from its immigration data-sharing arrangement with the Home Office, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The Home Office should never have been forcing NHS staff to supply patients’ data in the first place. Doctors and nurses’ time should be spent providing healthcare to those who need it, not acting as border guards in Theresa May’s hostile environment.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will completely scrap the Tories’ hostile environment and instead invest in an accountable, intelligence-led Border Force to prevent people entering the country illegally and quickly identify those who overstay their visas.

That way we can secure our borders and rebuild trust in the immigration system, while leaving NHS workers to focus on their jobs.

Brake: Corbyn must listen to Brown

Responding to Gordon Brown’s comments that the people should have the final say on the Brexit deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake MP said:

Yet another key Labour figure has come out in favour of a People’s Vote. When will Corbyn wake up and smell the coffee? It’s time for Labour to provide an opposition, grow a backbone and support a People’s Vote.

Brown is right, the situation is vastly different than that of 2016. May’s deal will leave us in a weakened position. The UK is better off inside the EU.

It is now essential that people are given the final say on the deal with the option to remain. Liberal Democrats urge the Labour leadership to join us in fighting for a People’s Vote.

9 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Today’s press releases are running on Spanish time today, which perhaps explains why I’ve missed my usual pre-midnight slot. Regardless, do enjoy today’s press releases… Another Johnson joins the campaign for a People’s Vote Responding as Jo Johnson resigns from the Government to campaign for a People’s Vote Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, said: We […]

Today’s press releases are running on Spanish time today, which perhaps explains why I’ve missed my usual pre-midnight slot. Regardless, do enjoy today’s press releases…

Another Johnson joins the campaign for a People’s Vote

Responding as Jo Johnson resigns from the Government to campaign for a People’s Vote Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, said:

We warmly welcome Jo Johnson’s support of the campaign to give the people the final say on the deal and a chance to exit from Brexit.

This is a fascinating situation in which Jo and his sister are united in opposing their brother Boris and his Brexit plans.

Meanwhile today the DUP have aired their concerns over the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans. Theresa May is caught between a rock and a hard place.

Davey: Detention should be a last resort

Responding as the Government announces that it will close Campsfield House immigration detention centre, Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Locking vulnerable people up – often for months on end – without giving them any idea when they’ll be released is clearly inhumane. It’s also expensive and unnecessary.

It’s good to see that the Government is slowly recognising the need to detain fewer vulnerable people, but closing down one detention centre while keeping thousands of people locked up isn’t nearly enough.

Liberal Democrats demand better. We are calling on the Government to close eight detention centres rather than just one, and make much greater use community-based alternatives to detention. That would save around £100 million that could be re-invested in an accountable Border Force and fixing the broken immigration system.

Cable: ‘Brexit can be reversed’

This afternoon, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable delivered a keynote speech to the ALDE conference in Madrid, telling the delegates ‘Brexit can be reversed’.

Speaking to ALDE delegates, Cable described the ‘large majority – about 80% – who believe that the Conservative government has handled the negotiations badly’ and the 700,000 who marched for a People’s Vote, as evidence that ‘Brexit can be reversed’.

He also urged liberals and democrats from across Europe to continue calling for citizens’ rights to be protected and ‘to work with the Lib Dems in that fight’.

Vince Cable said:

At this critical point not just in our history but in that of Europe, what I ask is that you keep faith with liberalism in Britain. That you keep faith with the strong forces in the UK which continue to see our future as a European country. And that, with us, you stand with the millions of British people who say democracies can change their minds, and that Brexit must be stopped.

8 November 2018 – today’s press releases

High Court rules Government must reverse cuts to modern slavery victims Responding to today’s High Court ruling that the Government acted unlawfully when it cut payments to modern slavery victims, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said: Theresa May once rightly called modern slavery the great human rights issue of our time, but her […]

High Court rules Government must reverse cuts to modern slavery victims

Responding to today’s High Court ruling that the Government acted unlawfully when it cut payments to modern slavery victims, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Theresa May once rightly called modern slavery the great human rights issue of our time, but her Government cut support for victims by 40%, leaving them vulnerable to further exploitation.

Now that the court has ruled those cuts unlawful, the Government must reverse them and ensure that victims receive the help they need to escape the terrible bonds of slavery.

You can’t fight the great human rights issue of our time on the cheap. Liberal Democrats demand better.

Government failing to meet promises made after Grenfell

Responding to the reports that more than 400 high-rise residential buildings still have the same type of external cladding blamed for the Grenfell Tower fire, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Housing Wera Hobhouse said:

Grenfell should never have happened. The fact that thousands of families are still living in unsafe high-rise buildings is a disgrace.

The Government is failing to meet the promises it made after the fire. The Secretary of State committed to fully fund the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding by councils and housing associations, but there are still over 150 publicly owned buildings that are unsafe.

Furthermore, those in private residential buildings cannot be ignored. The Government must not only meet its basic promises, but must go further and fund the same for the private sector. Money can be recovered at a later date but when it is about people’s homes, safety must come first.

6 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Tory Minister slammed for accusing police of exaggerating pressures Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has today slammed Policing Minister Nick Hurd for accusing police chiefs of routinely exaggerating the pressures they face. Speaking in Parliament today, Ed Davey warned “Police chiefs say the pension deficit, if it’s filled, could cost up to 10,000 […]

Tory Minister slammed for accusing police of exaggerating pressures

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has today slammed Policing Minister Nick Hurd for accusing police chiefs of routinely exaggerating the pressures they face.

Speaking in Parliament today, Ed Davey warned “Police chiefs say the pension deficit, if it’s filled, could cost up to 10,000 police officers.” He asked the Minister “Does he agree with them?”

Responding to Ed Davey, the Minister said: “No I don’t. I think the number is exaggerated, which is not unusual for the police.”

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Police chiefs are warning of huge further cuts to police numbers, and the Conservatives’ response is simply to accuse them of exaggerating. It’s deeply alarming.

Unnecessary Tory cuts have already taken almost 5,000 officers off the streets since 2015. With serious violent crime on the rise, the last thing we need is even more cuts.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. Instead of cutting police budgets further and disparaging senior officers, we would stop the Tory cuts and give forces an extra £300 million a year to recruit more officers and make communities safer.

Brexit Already Destroying Welsh Jobs – Welsh Lib Dems

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have cited the recent announcement of the closure of the Schaeffler plant in Llanelli as proof that Brexit uncertainty is already hurting the Welsh Economy.

The Schaeffler company employs more than 1,000 people across UK, with 220 of those being based in their Llanelli facility. The Company’s European CEO has stated that the “need to plan for various complex scenarios” has brought about the reorganisation which is endangering the Llanelli plant.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have long warned of the danger Brexit will pose to the Welsh economy and are consistently campaigning to give the people the final say on the Brexit deal.

Responding to news Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Vince Cable said:

This is deeply distressing news for the families and communities of both Llanelli and Plymouth who will be hit by these closures.

There have long been warnings that this would be the effect of Brexit, but here we have a concrete example of a firm voting with its feet in light of the economic certainty which has been caused.

For those whose jobs are at risk, there is certainly no “Brexit dividend”. The UK and Welsh authorities must work together now to mitigate the damage and help those affected.

Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

The closure of this factory is going to see over 200 people out of work. This is a direct consequence of the Theresa May’s blind commitment to Brexit at any cost.

How many more peoples livelihoods are going to have to be destroyed before politicians at Westminster finally take a stand?

If the politicans at Westminster are not going to then we need to let the people do it by giving them the final say on Brexit.

Chris Passmore, Chair of Carmarthenshire for Europe said:

This closure is merely the tip of the iceberg. The business community has been waiting desperately. like the rest of us. for clarity on what Brexit will look like and unfortunately the Government still doesn’t know.

This uncertainty means businesses are having to make tough choices about their future in Wales and the closure of the Schaeffler Plant is a prime example of that. Sadly we’re all having to pay the price for this Government’s bad handling of Brexit.

2 November 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s a sign of how much is going on ‘under the radar’ whilst Brexit unfolds that, of today’s press releases, only one is obviously Brexit-related… Cost of Brexit spiralling out of control Responding to the Government’s admission that Operation Brock will now cost £30 million, £10 million more than was previously stated, Liberal Democrat spokesperson […]

It’s a sign of how much is going on ‘under the radar’ whilst Brexit unfolds that, of today’s press releases, only one is obviously Brexit-related…

Cost of Brexit spiralling out of control

Responding to the Government’s admission that Operation Brock will now cost £30 million, £10 million more than was previously stated, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Brexit, Tom Brake MP said:

The cost of Brexit is continuing to spiral out of control. The Conservative Government’s plan to turn Kent into a car park, Operation Brock, is now costing the tax payer an additional ten million more than the figure they gave in the summer.

The Government must be honest about the cost of Brexit. During the referendum campaign, people were told Brexit would mean more money for the NHS, not that they would be paying to churn up our motorway in a desperate bid to avoid grid-lock and a mega-traffic jam on the M20.

This is why it’s essential that the people have the final say on Brexit, including the option to remain in the EU.

Lib Dems call for Women’s Equality Day

Liberal Democrat MPs Layla Moran and Stephen Lloyd are calling on the Government to create a ‘Women’s Equality Day’ to fall on the Spring Bank Holiday.

2018 marks the centenary of the extension of suffrage to some women and the 90th anniversary of universal suffrage. To mark this, Stephen Lloyd challenged female pupils from Willingdon School in his constituency to come up with a campaign which he could deliver in Westminster on their behalf.

The winning idea, to create a Women’s Equality Day, has been taken forward by Education spokesperson Layla Moran and an Early Day Motion has already received cross-party support from MPs.

Next week (6th November) Layla and Stephen will host an event in parliament for MP and Peers in which they will call on supporters to commemorate these anniversaries of women’s suffrage. Marking the day will be a yearly recognition of the full and equal participation that we aspire for women to have in both society and public life.

Commenting on the campaign, Layla Moran MP said:

A decade ago great strides were made in the battle to acknowledge the importance of giving women a voice and the independence to vote for their representatives. But perhaps, a century later, we would have expected more progress.

Across the country we see women routinely paid less than men, stifled from progressing in their organisations, and experiencing sexual harassment. This is not the message we want to send to future generations.

The message that we want to send and that the girls of Willingdon school felt was the most important for Stephen to raise, was that of equality and in 2018, that should alarm us. There is a long way to go, and I hope that this day will be enshrined and will act as an annual recognition of gender equality.

Emily Beer, Headteacher at Willingdon School said:

We are delighted that our students have had a real taste of democracy. They chose their ideas, they discussed and debated and subsequently selected the best one.

For our students to be involved in possibly making a national change to a bank holiday name is monumental and demonstrates to them how anything is possible. We are so proud that in the year of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, our own girls have been so empowered through this and demonstrated such personal excellence.

Lib Dems demand more police to tackle violence epidemic

Responding to the claims from a senior police officer that children as young as nine are being caught carrying knives, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

It is heart-breaking that the epidemic of violent crime is claiming the lives of so many children.

We urgently need more police officers on our streets to restore the community policing that helps to prevent violent crime. That’s why the Liberal Democrats are demanding an extra £300 million a year for the police.

But we also need to tackle the root causes of this epidemic to stop it spreading in our communities. That requires a public health approach involving not only the police, but also health professionals, social workers and teachers.

Davey: Home Office not fit for purpose

Responding to Sir Alex Allan’s review of Amber Rudd’s appearance before the Home Affairs Select Committee in April, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

From the Windrush scandal to illegal demands for DNA to this week’s total mess over the rights of EU citizens, the message of the last year is clear: the Home Office is not fit for purpose.

Changing a few faces at the top isn’t enough. The Liberal Democrats demand better. We are calling for the Home Office to be stripped of its powers over immigration altogether.

Policy over visas should be given to the Departments for Business and Education, and a new, non-political organisation should take over processing applications. Only by taking immigration away from the discredited Home Office can we restore people’s confidence in the system.

Lib Dems: Govt must close second homes loophole

Responding to the Government’s consultation on second homes, which was announced in the budget, Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb said:

It is encouraging that the Government has listened to concerns raised about this unfair loophole, but this must be followed by action. They cannot simply kick this problem into the long grass with the promise of a review. Liberal Democrats demand better.

Communities are facing higher council tax bills to fund vital local services, while some owners of second homes are allowed to exploit the system by registering them incorrectly as holiday lets, getting away with paying no tax at all on that property.

The Government must act urgently to close this outrageous loophole that results in already struggling councils losing out on huge sums of money that could be spent on critical services.

1 November 2018 – today’s press releases

We’ve got a veritable torrent of press releases today, starting with an example of the Party being rather more radical than Labour… Cable: £1.3 billion for higher-rate payers should be used to reverse welfare cuts The Liberal Democrats have announced they will be voting against the Government’s plans to raise the higher-rate tax threshold to […]

We’ve got a veritable torrent of press releases today, starting with an example of the Party being rather more radical than Labour…

Cable: £1.3 billion for higher-rate payers should be used to reverse welfare cuts

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will be voting against the Government’s plans to raise the higher-rate tax threshold to £50,000.

The policy – announced in Monday’s budget – will cost an estimated £1.3 billion pounds next year, money which could instead be used to reverse cuts to Universal Credit or end the benefits freeze a year early.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Government is about priorities. With public services desperate for investment, now is not the time to reduce taxes for high earners. Instead Philip Hammond should use the money to further reverse cuts to Universal Credit or end the benefits freeze a year early.

In Government Liberal Democrats focused tax cuts on lower earning families, and we support continued efforts to do so.

We encourage Labour MPs who disagree with both front benches about the raising of the higher rate threshold to vote with us against it and put pressure on the Treasury to change course.

Police ‘shouldn’t be forced to choose between burglaries and hate crimes’

Responding to comments from Sara Thornton, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, that forces are ‘over stretched’, Liberal Democrats Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The police shouldn’t be forced to choose between investigating burglaries and investigating hate crimes. The Government must give them the resources to do both.

Unnecessary Conservative cuts have taken thousands of police officers off the streets, and put enormous pressure on those who remain.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will end the Conservative cuts and invest an extra £300 million to give forces the resources they need to keep communities safe.

Davey: Govt must take action on organised crime

Responding to reports from the National Crime Agency that show the extend of organised crime in the UK, Liberal Democrats Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The true cost of organised crime extends well beyond the financial impact. It includes the children exploited by gangs, the vulnerable people held in modern slavery and the lives taken by trafficked weapons.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats are demanding an extra £300 million a year for the police, to rebuild the community policing that helps to prevent gangs from operating, and greater investment in the Border Force to stop the trafficking of people, weapons and illegal drugs.

But the biggest threat to the fight against organised crime is Brexit, which risks robbing us of crucial cross-border tools like the European Arrest Warrant and information-sharing systems. That’s why we are fighting to keep those tools, by giving the people the final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to remain.

Welsh Lib Dems Protecting Rural Schools

A new code introduced today by Welsh Liberal Democrat Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams is another example of the transformational impact Welsh Lib Dems are having on rural schools and rural Wales.

The new, strengthened code includes a presumption against the closure of rural schools and is part of a wider Rural Education Plan that also includes a Small and Rural Schools Grant.

The School Organisation Code has been revised to include a more detailed set of procedures and requirements that local authorities and other proposers must follow when putting together proposals to close a rural school. This includes a description of a rural school and the schools that fall under this definition.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams said:

Rural schools are at the heart of community life and key to our National Mission for Education. I want to make sure that we’re supporting pupils and teachers in rural areas and that all our young people, no matter where they live, receive the very best education.

That’s why we have acted to strengthen the School Organisation Code, ensuring that councils and other proposers do everything they can to keep a rural school open before deciding to consult on closure.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

Welsh Liberal Democrats have always uniquely understood and stood up for our rural communities and today is yet another example. Kirsty is transforming rural education to make our schools the best they can be. This shows once again the difference Welsh Lib Dems can make in government.

Brexiter ranks filled with dodgy demagogues

Commenting on news that Arron Banks has been referred to the National Crime Agency Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

This is an extremely concerning development. People have known for a long time that the Brexiter ranks were filled with dodgy demagogues, today’s news will be little surprise.

Brexit will cause great damage to this country and it cannot happen on the back of a Leave campaign littered with lies, deceit and allegations of much worse. That is why the people must have a final say on Brexit.

Government inaction on fixed-odds betting terminals ruining lives

Liberal Democrat MP, Christine Jardine, has criticised the Conservative Government’s response to the delay in implementing a planned and much needed reduction in the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals.

This delay is completely unacceptable. The Government’s inaction is ruining lives and they must not be allowed to continue make these excuses that only benefit bookmakers.

The £2 maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals must come into force immediately. The damage that is being done to individuals by these machines will persist with hundreds of pounds being lost in seconds, day after day.

Perhaps they can compensate by also extending the maximum stake reduction to online games such as blackjack, where you can also bet and lose some thousands in just one hand.

PM must end FOBT delay

Responding to the announcement that DCMS Minister, Tracey Crouch, has resigned from the Government over their handling of fixed-odds betting terminals, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said:

When the Minister responsible for a policy steps down, you know the Government is moving in the wrong direction.

These machines are a blight on our society and undeniably damaging to vulnerable people.

Tracey Crouch knows this, so why doesn’t the Prime Minister? Theresa May should come to the floor of the House and explain why this will not be implemented for another year.

Lib Dems lead rebellion against Tory tax cuts for higher earners

Commenting as 21 Labour MPs voted with the Liberal Democrats against raising the higher rate tax threshold, Lib Dem Leader, Vince Cable said:

Despite the best efforts of their whips, 21 Labour MPs put principle above party and voted with the Liberal Democrats against the Government’s indefensible tax cuts for higher earners.

It is beyond belief that a party which claims to stand ‘for the many, not the few’, decided not to oppose the Government on this. Using the money to fund Universal Credit or end the benefits freeze would have been a far more progressive way of using the money.

On Brexit, Universal Credit and now the Budget, the Liberal Democrats have shown that we are the real opposition.

30 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems fight expansion of Snoopers Charter Liberal Democrat peer Brian Paddick will today lead the opposition to new government regulations that he describes as “yet another erosion of people’s civil liberties”. Lord Paddick has tabled a motion to regret the Data Retention and Acquisition Regulations 2018 after Ministers failed to answer privacy concerns he […]

Lib Dems fight expansion of Snoopers Charter

Liberal Democrat peer Brian Paddick will today lead the opposition to new government regulations that he describes as “yet another erosion of people’s civil liberties”.

Lord Paddick has tabled a motion to regret the Data Retention and Acquisition Regulations 2018 after Ministers failed to answer privacy concerns he raised in a Grand Committee debate last week.

The regulations would amend the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, also known as the “Snoopers’ Charter”, to give police the power to access communications data when investigating any crime “which involves, as an integral part of it, the sending of a communication or a breach of a person’s privacy”.

This follows a judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union in December 2016, which ruled that that such data must only be used “for the purpose of fighting serious crime”.

Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson on Home Affairs, said:

The courts have ruled the police should only have your itemised phone bill, a record of where you’ve been with your mobile phone or which websites you’ve been looking at on the internet if they’re investigating serious crime. The Government are trying to get around the judgement by re-defining ‘serious crime’ as any offence involving communication, whether it’s serious or not.

This is yet another erosion of people’s civil liberties, giving the police draconian powers instead of the resources they desperately need to do their job properly and responsibly.

At the last election Liberal Democrats pledged more money for the police than any other political party. Only the Liberal Democrats are standing up to protect our freedoms and properly fund the police service.

Brexit risks a repeat of the Windrush scandal for EU citizens

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has warned Brexit “risks a repeat of the Windrush scandal for EU citizens” following the appearance of Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes before the Home Affairs Select Committee this afternoon.

Under questioning, the Immigration Minister was unable to answer how employers would be able to tell the difference between EU citizens who have been living in the UK for five years or more – and are therefore entitled to settled status – and those who haven’t, and would therefore be subject to new controls.

The Home Office is currently trialling the scheme for applying for settled status, but it isn’t due to be fully open until March 2019. The Government has said that EU citizens have until 30th June 2021 to apply. However, the Minister said today that, in the event of ‘no deal’, new immigration controls – including employer checks of immigration status – will apply to EU citizens as of next year.

Following the exchanges, Ed Davey said:

Millions of EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for more than two years. Far from clearing up that uncertainty today, the Immigration Minister made it worse.

We’ve already seen in the Windrush scandal how the Conservatives’ hostile environment checks can destroy the lives of people who have every right to be in the UK. The Government’s chaotic approach to Brexit risks a repeat of that scandal for EU citizens.

Liberal Democrats demand better. Conservative Ministers must end this uncertainty and offer a way out of this mess entirely by giving the people a final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to remain in the EU.

CPS guidelines must be reformed to tackle ‘sex for rent’

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Housing, today met the Ministry of Justice to call for the guidelines on prostitution to be updated to include digital platforms to help tackle ‘sex for rent’ crimes.

Following the meeting, Wera Hobhouse said:

The housing crisis is leaving many vulnerable individuals unable to afford their rent and at risk of exploitation. ‘Sex for rent’ crimes are not only vile, but completely illegal and the Government must do more to ensure those committing this crime are being brought to justice.

The current Crown Prosecution Service guidelines for prostitution cover advertising in telephone boxes and newspapers, but not digital platforms. It is vital these guidelines are fit for purpose and police are given the tools they need to stamp out this crime.

Updating these guidelines is long overdue and further inaction will leave some of the most vulnerable in our society with a choice of homelessness or exploitation.

29 October 2018 – today’s press releases (part two)

As promised, part two of today’s output from the Party’s Press Team… Fiscal Phil’s sticking plaster Budget Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Business Secretary Vince Cable said: This was all very modest stuff, with more in it for potholes than schools and the police. A standstill non-event. With growth remaining […]

As promised, part two of today’s output from the Party’s Press Team…

Fiscal Phil’s sticking plaster Budget

Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

This was all very modest stuff, with more in it for potholes than schools and the police. A standstill non-event.

With growth remaining stubbornly low and Brexit weighing down our economy, it is clear the big problems are still to be tackled. It was a sticking plaster Budget, when major surgery lies ahead.

If we are to see an end to austerity, then we need a proper injection of cash – at least £19bn according to the IFS – in our public services. The Chancellor said he could end austerity without raising taxes, but that is highly unlikely in practice.

The Chancellor dined out on the borrowing improvements the OBR has given him, but these are overshadowed by the damaging impact Brexit will have on the UK’s public finances. These costs, which could reach £80bn a year in the event of ‘no deal’, risk turning today’s Budget into a sideshow.

Conservative Government throwing in the towel on halting climate change

Responding to the the Chancellor’s Budget, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said:

This budget is grossly disappointing for those, like me, who care about fighting climate change and protecting the environment. The Chancellor has simply thrown in the towel.

The Tories have frozen fuel duty, slashed electric car subsides, committed £30bn to new road building and promise to continue at the same level subsidises to the oil and gas industry, while offering a measly £60 million to planting new trees, as if that will negate the damage they’re doing.

Liberal Democrats demand better. We would deliver a green budget, which promises more investment in renewable energy, not fossil fuels, borrowing to invest in infrastructure like rail, buses and electric vehicle charging points.

Budget clouded by Brexit disarray and uncertainty

Responding to the Budget this afternoon, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

May and Hammond can’t agree what a no-deal Brexit will mean for the Budget. Hammond thinks it will require a whole new, emergency budget while May has attempted to save face and insist the Budget will stand regardless. What a mess.

This fingers-crossed Budget is predicated on the Tories’ hopes that despite the mess they are making of Brexit the economy won’t suffer too severely. In reality, the Tories’ infighting has them gambling with the UK’s finances.

Liberal Democrats demand better. Brexit must not be allowed to make the UK poorer, that is why we need a final vote on the Brexit deal with an option to remain in the EU.

Lib Dems: Gamblers face another year of being held captive to FOBTs

Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement today that the £2 maximum stake for Fixed-Odds-Betting-Terminals will not be implemented until October 2019, former Liberal Democrat Communities Minister Lord Foster said:

We know with absolute certainty that this delay will see yet more lives ruined by these highly addictive machines.

Communities up and down the country see the damage that can be done when hundreds of pounds can be lost in minutes if not seconds, day after day.

Families will be despairing tonight that a problem gambler that they care about faces another full year of living captive to these machines until the Government step-in and do the right thing.

‘Hot air’ Tories abandon commitment to latte levy

Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement that the Government will dump their commitment to a latte levy, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said:

It is bitterly disappointing that the Chancellor has abandoned the Government’s commitment to introduce a levy on plastic cups.

It proves the Tories are full of hot air and no credible action. It also proves what I have said all along, that headlines are more important to them than the environment.

Our Environment deserves better. Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for a ban all single-use plastic within three years, the introduction of a levy on all producers and retailers that produce or use single-use plastics and the introduction of a latte levy.

Chancellor’s Universal Credit spending barely recovers half the cuts of his predecessor

Responding to the Chancellor’s Universal Credit plans from the Budget, Liberal Democrat DWP spokesperson Stephen Lloyd said:

After stubbornly resisting for far too long, the Government has finally responded to pressure from the Liberal Democrats and put back some of the money into the Universal Credit Work Allowance, which they stupidly cut the moment we were no longer around to stop them.

However, the £1.7 billion per year the Chancellor committed to still does not make up for the £3 billion pa his predecessor George Osborne slashed from the benefit in 2015. We also heard nothing on ending the gratuitous benefits freeze early, or on making UC fairer for the self-employed.

UC’s serious design flaws were also not addressed, from long waiting times that are pushing people into indebtedness, to problems in how landlords are paid housing benefit. The pain caused by the roll-out of UC is not over yet.

In addition, there were Budget-related releases from Scotland and Wales, which Caron has covered here. I won’t repeat them…