11 February 2019 – today’s press releases (part 2)

And here’s the rest… Lib Dems: Defence Secretary showboating with ‘hard power’ rhetoric Lib Dems: Tory Govt prepared to sacrifice people to the electric chair Govt Universal Credit admission is too late for tens of thousands Lib Dems: Govt must ensure dinosaur MPs can’t obstruct legislation Lib Dems: Defence Secretary showboating with ‘hard power’ rhetoric […]

And here’s the rest…

  • Lib Dems: Defence Secretary showboating with ‘hard power’ rhetoric
  • Lib Dems: Tory Govt prepared to sacrifice people to the electric chair
  • Govt Universal Credit admission is too late for tens of thousands
  • Lib Dems: Govt must ensure dinosaur MPs can’t obstruct legislation

Lib Dems: Defence Secretary showboating with ‘hard power’ rhetoric

In his speech “Transforming UK Defence to Meet the Global Threats of Tomorrow”, Gavin Williamson today confirmed that aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is to be deployed to the Pacific region.

Commenting on this move Liberal Defence Spokesperson Jamie Stone said:

Gavin Williamson is heating up UK defence rhetoric, something which may well be seen as provocation by Beijing. This comes following years of hollowing-out of Britain’s military capabilities, with the British Army now at the smallest it has been in decades.

Do we really have the capacity at the moment to send this ship over to showboat? Rather than flaunting the HMS Queen Elizabeth in the pacific, the Conservatives should instead be focusing on the pressing issues facing the British armed forces at the moment, including the £15bn shortfall in the MoD’s equipment plan over the next decade.

Lib Dems: Tory Govt prepared to sacrifice people to the electric chair

A Liberal Democrat amendment which would have prohibited UK authorities sharing data with overseas agencies where the death penalty could be imposed was rejected by the Conservatives today.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson in the Lords Brian Paddick accused the Conservative Government of being “prepared to sacrifice people to the electric chair in America if that is what it takes to secure the kind of agreement this Bill covers.”

The amendment to the Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill was defeated in the House of Lords by just 19 votes.

Speaking after the vote, Lord Paddick added:

The UK has long been committed to eradicating the death penalty wherever it exists in the world. An important part of that commitment is that we only help other countries to prosecute criminals if we have assurances that the death penalty will not be used.

It is disappointing to see less than half of Labour peers join us in opposing the Government on an issue which could see people being executed as a result of the UK sharing data. The Liberal Democrats are clear that we will continue to fight to keep the UK’s commitment to fundamental human rights.

Govt Universal Credit admission is too late for tens of thousands

Responding to comments from Amber Rudd about the link between the rise of food bank usage and the roll out of Universal Credit, Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

This belated admission of responsibility comes far too late for the tens of thousands of people forced to rely on food banks because of the Conservatives’ stubborn refusal to fix Universal Credit.

In 21st century Britain no one should be dependent on charitable handouts for their survival, yet that is precisely the situation that Government policy has created.

While some tinkering around the edges has happened, the Conservative Government must go all the way and give UC claimants full flexibility over when and how they are paid, while completely reversing the swingeing cuts made to the programme in 2015.

Lib Dems: Govt must ensure dinosaur MPs can’t obstruct legislation

The Liberal Democrats have today secured assurances that a Bill on female genital mutilation (FGM) will be introduced in Government time, but have called for the way in which Private Members Bills’ are debated to be reassessed.

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse secured the assurance during her Urgent Question today. The Bath MP pressed the issue after a Private Member’s Bill on FGM was dismissed on Friday after Conservative MP Christopher Chope objected.

Following the Urgent Question, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said:

It is severely disappointing that I have had to ask the Minister to bring this issue back to the Chamber today. The Conservatives should be ashamed to have Members on their benches with such outdated views about women and who fail to recognise the urgent need to protect vulnerable girls.

We need far greater protection for children who are at risk of female genital mutilation, with clear evidence that it is on the rise. We cannot be in a situation where action is only ever taken after the crime has been committed, and after these girls have undergone unsafe, life-changing, and potentially life-threatening surgery.

It is a relief to to see that the Government have taken it upon themselves to introduce this legislation, after one of their own backbenches blocked it. It is time to reassess the way in which Private Members Bills’ are debated to ensure that one aged dinosaur MP cannot obstruct the progress of vital legislation out of spite in future.

9-10 February 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

It may be that Parliament is at a bit of a loose end whilst the Government argue amongst themselves over Brexit, but that isn’t to say that there is much for Liberal Democrats to be stirred by… Government ferry plan hits the rocks UK citizens to be left without medical cover in event of no-deal […]

It may be that Parliament is at a bit of a loose end whilst the Government argue amongst themselves over Brexit, but that isn’t to say that there is much for Liberal Democrats to be stirred by…

  • Government ferry plan hits the rocks
  • UK citizens to be left without medical cover in event of no-deal Brexit
  • No specific funding for NHS in no deal scenario
  • Stone: Immigration rules for Commonwealth soldiers are outrageous
  • Cable: PM’s meaningful vote timeline irresponsible and insulting to parliament
  • UK must support Turkey’s stand on Uyghur crisis – Carmichael

Government ferry plan hits the rocks

Responding to news that the Government has scrapped its contract with Seaborne Freight Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The Government did not need a siren’s call to get into chaos over a contract with a ferry company, all they needed was to put Chris Grayling in charge.

This Government has now had to fire their ferry company with no ferries, as we drift closer and closer to no deal.

The Conservatives have failed to plan for Brexit and are steering this country to disaster. They must take no deal off the table and then offer the country a people’s vote so we can get out of this mess once and for all.

UK citizens to be left without medical cover in event of no-deal Brexit

The Liberal Democrats have pushed the Conservative Government to admit that Ministers have not secured any bilateral health agreements with EU member states in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In a response to a parliamentary question from Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, Health Minister Stephen Hammond MP could not confirm any agreements have been made to ensure British citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK would have the same access to medical cover.

Mr Hammond could only confirm that the UK and Irish Governments have “firm intentions to maintain the Common Travel Area and to protect the associated reciprocal rights”.

The revelation will add further woes to UK citizens intending to travel across the EU this summer after a a Liberal Democrat mystery shopper exercise recently uncovered several leading travel agents were unable to guarantee cover in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

In a no-deal scenario, it is now disturbingly likely that UK citizens will have no medical cover in most, if not all, of the EU countries.

With many people already having booked travel to the EU for after 29th March, we need urgent clarification from the Government of what action UK travellers need to take, including whether they should be taking out expensive travel insurance.

This is particularly worrying as most of the large travel insurance firms are not able to confirm whether their insurance will be valid in the case of no-deal.

Conservative Ministers do not need to hold British travellers at ransom. They can instead take no-deal off the table and give the public the final say with a People’s Vote so that we can get out of this mess once and for all.

No specific funding for NHS in no deal scenario

The Conservative Government has refused to reveal how much funding it is allocating to keep the National Health Service running in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Although the Department of Health and Social Care has been allocated £71 million by the Treasury to prepare for Brexit, in an answer to a written PQ it said it was “unable to provide a breakdown of the amount of funding allocated to ‘no deal’ preparations specifically”.

Of the 18 Government departments questioned on their no-deal spending in written PQs tabled by Vince Cable, just one – the Department for Transport – provided a specific figure.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Matt Hancock has been boasting about being the world’s biggest buyer of fridges, yet his department doesn’t even appear to know how much it is spending on preparing for a no-deal Brexit. The Government needs to come clear with taxpayers on which particular Brexit blackholes it is pouring their money down.

Shockingly, only one department is actually aware of what it is spending to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. This suggests the government is either trying to scare the public and MPs about the dangers of a no-deal it doesn’t expect to happen, or it is totally incompetent.

Stone: Immigration rules for Commonwealth soldiers are outrageous

Hundreds of troops who joined the British Army after a targeted Commonwealth recruitment drive in 2016 are having to work second jobs in order to meet the Home Office threshold necessary to relocate their families.

Commenting Jamie Stone, Lib Dem Defence Spokesperson said:

This is yet another example of the Tory’s botched immigration policies. These soldiers were asked specifically to come and defend our nation and the government repays them with a hostile environment. It has all the hallmarks of the policies which caused the Windrush crisis.

These people have responded to a call to serve the country and it is outrageous that immigration thresholds mean they must work second jobs just to bring their spouses and children with them.

The Liberal Democrats demand better, Commonwealth soldiers who have been asked to come and serve must be welcomed into UK society.

Cable: PM’s meaningful vote timeline irresponsible and insulting to parliament

Responding to the news that the PM will seek to wait until the end of the month for a second attempt at winning the meaningful vote, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

This is worse than irresponsible.

It is deeply insulting to the country and to Parliament. It goes against what she has been mandated to achieve. I would not be surprised if she faces a massive rebellion by Conservative MPs.

UK must support Turkey’s stand on Uyghur crisis – Carmichael

Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, has today called on the Foreign Secretary to support Turkey’s stance on the Chinese Human Rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Mr Carmichael responded to comments made by the Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy, that it is for the international community “to take effective steps to end the human tragedy in Xinjiang region.”

Commenting, Mr. Carmichael said:

Turkey is right to stand up to the barbaric practices China is using to oppress the Uyghur people of Xinjiang. The Foreign Secretary must support them, and use our position as permanent members of the Security Council and prominent defenders of human rights to support Turkey’s calls, and deliver meaningful action.

Many nations have been scared into refusing to engage with this crisis because of Chinese economic pressure, so it is quite brave of Turkey to stand up and do the right thing. The UK must not silently acquiesce to these rampant human rights abuses either.

WATCH: Lib Dem MPs challenge May on Brexit

Lib Dem MPs tackled the Prime Minister this afternoon as she made her Groundhog May “nothing has changed” statement. Christine Jardine, Jo Swinson, Vince Cable, Jamie Stone and Tom Brake challenged her on various aspects of her intransigence. Christine Jardine asked the Prime Minister to consider asking to extend the Article 50 period. The PM […]

Lib Dem MPs tackled the Prime Minister this afternoon as she made her Groundhog May “nothing has changed” statement. Christine Jardine, Jo Swinson, Vince Cable, Jamie Stone and Tom Brake challenged her on various aspects of her intransigence.

Christine Jardine asked the Prime Minister to consider asking to extend the Article 50 period.

The PM isn’t even willing to ask the EU the question – and we all know that if we don’t ask, we definitely don’t get.

Vince mentioned the troops put on standby over the Brexit period and asked how they would be carrying out their duties.

I, too, welcome the fee waiver and the Prime Minister’s willingness to engage in serious conversations, including about the merits and practicalities of a people’s vote. May I ask a specific question? At the end of last week, the Secretary of State for Defence put 3,500 troops on Brexit standby. Will she clarify what their rules of engagement would be in the event that they face angry and violent demonstrators, and would they be armed?

She wasn’t so clear in her response. Had she even thought about it?

Jo Swinson tackled her on the “massive game of chicken in the Tory Party” and expressed her incredulity at the prospect of the PM allowing a disastrous no deal Brexit:

I cannot believe in good conscience, knowing what the Prime Minister does about the devastating impact of no deal on our economy and on our security, that she is willing to let us leave the EU on that basis, yet she seems wedded to her red lines and still against a people’s vote, which would have majority support if she backed it. With 67 days to go, the country deserves better than a massive game of chicken in the Tory party. When will the Prime Minister recognise she needs to move?

Jamie asked what would replace the European Structural Funds which had benefitted the Highlands in recent years:

I am sure my views on this matter are well known to the House, so I choose my words with care. A week ago, I asked the Prime Minister what, in the event of the UK leaving the EU, Government fund would replace the European structural funds that have been such a benefit to the highlands for many years. In her answer, she said “the shared prosperity fund”. Will the Prime Minister give me an assurance today that the shared prosperity fund will find its way to the needy highlands and islands and not be—how shall I put it?—creamed off for cherished projects in the south of Scotland or near Edinburgh or Glasgow?

Tom Brake tackled her on why she wouldn’t go for a People’s Vote:

Why does the Prime Minister continue to claim that the only way to rule out no deal is either to vote for her deal or to revoke article 50? She know that that is not the case. A third way is to put her deal to the people in a people’s vote and let them choose between her deal and staying in the European Union. Why will she not admit that?

17 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Davey: UK facing energy crunch Cable: Corbyn determined to play party political games Lib Dems: Outrageous that army reserves are on standby due to Tory Brexit mess Lib Dems: Only way forward is through a People’s Vote Govt back-payment for modern slavery victims is too little too late Cable: Government wrong on People’s Vote timetable […]

  • Davey: UK facing energy crunch
  • Cable: Corbyn determined to play party political games
  • Lib Dems: Outrageous that army reserves are on standby due to Tory Brexit mess
  • Lib Dems: Only way forward is through a People’s Vote
  • Govt back-payment for modern slavery victims is too little too late
  • Cable: Government wrong on People’s Vote timetable

Davey: UK facing energy crunch

Responding to the news that Hitachi have stopped work on the Wylfa plant, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy Ed Davey said:

Japanese businesses have warned about Brexit’s economic consequences since the 2016 referendum, so this latest set back to the Conservatives’ energy policy is not a surprise.

The UK will face an energy crunch in the next decade and fall behind on climate change targets if the Government just continues to sit on its hands.

Liberal Democrats demand better. The much cheaper opportunity of renewable power backed up by cutting edge technologies like new-generation batteries, interconnectors and tidal lagoons must now take priority over nuclear.

Cable: Corbyn determined to play party political games

Responding to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech in Hastings, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Since he appears to be determined to play party political games rather than acting on the wishes of his own members and MPs, he will no longer be able to rely on our support for further no confidence motions.

I believe other parties are taking the same view. It’s time Mr Corbyn got off the fence and made his position plain.

Lib Dems: Outrageous that army reserves are on standby due to Tory Brexit mess

Responding to the news the Government has put the army reserves on standby due to a no-deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Armed Forces Spokesperson Jamie Stone said:

The Conservatives have made such a mess of Brexit that now even soldiers are being put on standby. It is outrageous. What kind of message to the country is this? It does nothing to alleviate the worry and uncertainty people feel.

All this nonsense can be stopped by the Prime Minister ruling out a chaotic ‘no deal’ scenario. But better yet, Liberal Democrats would give the power back to the people through a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the EU.

Lib Dems: Only way forward is through a People’s Vote

Following talks between Liberal Democrat MPs and representatives of Theresa May’s government, a Liberal Democrat spokesperson said:

The Liberal Democrats are happy to talk and happy to listen in order to achieve a people’s vote.

In today’s meeting, we made our position clear that the only way forward is through a people’s vote with an option to remain.

The government now needs to get serious about making significant changes to their own position. The ball is ultimately in their court.

Govt back-payment for modern slavery victims is too little too late

Responding to the Home Office’s announcement of a back-payment scheme for modern slavery victims, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

For a Prime Minister who said modern slavery is ‘the great human rights issue of our time’, it is humiliating to have to be forced by the courts to treat these vulnerable victims properly.

Leaving victims without enough money to support themselves always risked pushing them back into the hands of traffickers, but the Government didn’t care.

The Home Office should never have cut this support, and must now do everything it can to make sure every victim gets the money they are owed.

Hoping past victims will read a press release and fill in an online form isn’t good enough, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

Cable: Government wrong on People’s Vote timetable

According to incorrect reports that planning for a People’s Vote will take a year, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

This is completely wrong. One of the useful outcomes from the first round of the discussions with the Government was around the practicalities of a People’s Vote. These discussions brought to the surface the complete misunderstanding in government circles about the timeline to bring it about.

As Lord Tyler demonstrated today, it would be perfectly possible to organise a People’s Vote to take place as early as May without trampling on constitutional and practical requirements.

Jamie Stone teases DUP over confidence and supply arrangement

Our Jamie Stone is known for his inimitable comic timing and sense of humour. Last night he earned himself a telling off from Speaker John Bercow after he waved a credit card at DUP leader Nigel Dodds who was extolling the virtues of the confidence and supply arrangement which saved Theresa May’s Government. The agreement […]

Our Jamie Stone is known for his inimitable comic timing and sense of humour.

Last night he earned himself a telling off from Speaker John Bercow after he waved a credit card at DUP leader Nigel Dodds who was extolling the virtues of the confidence and supply arrangement which saved Theresa May’s Government. The agreement famously bought the party off with an extra billion quid over five years for Northern Ireland.

It seemed that even Dodds was trying hard not to laugh at Jamie’s gesture:

Speaker John Bercow may have been amused too, but he intervened:

Mr Stone, that is very unseemly behaviour. Normally you behave with great dignity in this place; calm yourself, man—get a grip.

Joking aside, every time the Prime Minister mentions “our confidence and supply partners, the DUP” it makes me feel very uncomfortable. Keeping her majority and pandering to them will be foremost in her mind. They are not going to want the Remain voting Northern Ireland or anyone else to have another say through a People’s Vote. However, Parliament may well force the Prime Minister’s hand on that.

 

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

18 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Brexit is coming, the hedge fund’s growing fat, who will put a billion in Phil Hammond’s hat? If you haven’t got a billion, 3,000 troops will do, if you haven’t got 3,000 troops, then God bless you… But at least we’re giving some opposition to this wastrel administration… Lib Dem peers defeat Government to force […]

Brexit is coming, the hedge fund’s growing fat, who will put a billion in Phil Hammond’s hat? If you haven’t got a billion, 3,000 troops will do, if you haven’t got 3,000 troops, then God bless you…

But at least we’re giving some opposition to this wastrel administration…

  • Lib Dem peers defeat Government to force Prevent review (this one arrived late last night)
  • Cable: Decision to ramp up no-deal is psychological warfare
  • Dropping migration target an admission Brexit won’t control immigration
  • Lib Dems: Putting troops on standby is simply scaremongering
  • Lib Dems table no confidence motion in Government

We’ve also received a press release from Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats and, whilst I wouldn’t want to commit to publishing local press releases too, this one caught my eye…

  • Lib Dems launch Friends of Bangladesh at Victory Day event in Tower Hamlets

Lib Dem peers defeat Government to force Prevent review

Liberal Democrat peers have defeated the Government for a second time on its Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill.

Amendment 32, tabled by a cross-party group of peers including Liberal Democrat Andrew Stunell, requires the Government to carry out an independent review of its Prevent strategy and publish a report within 18 months.

The Amendment was passed on Monday evening by 214 votes to 196.

Following the vote, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Home Affairs Brian Paddick said:

Liberal Democrats have been calling for an independent review of Prevent for years because many in the communities most affected believe Prevent unfairly singles them out.

We have always argued that a completely independent review could reassure everyone that Prevent is effective, and properly targeted on those who could potentially be a danger to society. It is essential that everyone has confidence in Prevent and that we all work together to keep us safe.

We’re pleased Labour have now accepted our arguments and together we have voted to insist such a review takes place.

The Liberal Democrats have also secured further concessions from the Government on new powers to stop, detain and question people at ports and the border.

Originally, the Bill would have granted these powers in connection with acts that “threaten the economic well-being of the United Kingdom”, but in response to arguments made by Liberal Democrat peer Brian Paddick, Ministers tabled amendments to limit these powers to cases involving national security.

This follows a previous defeat for the Government on Amendment 15, which sets out exemptions to the new offence of “entering or remaining in a designated area”.

Cable: Decision to ramp up no-deal is psychological warfare

Responding to the Cabinet decision to increase preparations for a no-deal, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said;

The decision to ramp up the no deal pressure is psychological warfare. The Conservative Government are attempting to scare MPs, businesses and the public with the threat of a no-deal.

Theresa May is irresponsibly trying to run down the clock so that the only option is to support her discredited deal.

It is time to stop playing political games with our future and take the issues at hand seriously. The only real way out of this deadlock is to hold a People’s Vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

Dropping migration target an admission Brexit won’t control immigration

Responding to reports the Government’s migration target has been left out of draft proposals for a new immigration system, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

If the Conservatives really are dropping their manifesto commitment of a net migration target, that is good news.

It’s an admission that Brexit won’t control immigration as Mrs May promised – otherwise the target would surely be kept.

This was yet another deception of the people by the right-wing nationalist Brexiteers. The truth is that it’s the needs of our economy and the NHS that drive recruitment from overseas, not membership of the EU.

But dropping the target isn’t enough to repair our broken immigration system. The Liberal Democrats demand an end to the hostile environment and investment in an accountable Border Force to secure our borders and rebuild public confidence.

Lib Dems: Putting troops on standby is simply scaremongering

Responding to the reports that there are preparations for up to 3,500 soldiers to step in if Brexit causes disruption, Liberal Democrat Armed Forces Spokesperson Jamie Stone said:

The Tory Government wholeheartedly accept that a no-deal Brexit will create chaos and mayhem. This announcement is simply an attempt to scaremonger MPs, businesses, and the British public into supporting the Prime Minister’s deal.

The Government must stop playing games with our future and diverting public resources to solve an outcome they are able to prevent.

The Prime Minister’s deal does not have support in Parliament and this talk of no deal preparations to scare people is a tactic which has severe consequences. The only real way out of this deadlock is to hold a People’s Vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

Lib Dems table no confidence motion in Government

The Liberal Democrats, alongside the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green party, have tabled a motion of no confidence in the Conservative Government.

Commenting on this, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The Government has challenged the Labour Party to table a real ‘no confidence’ motion. We have now done that for them.

Jeremy Corbyn need only add his name, and the debate and vote would happen before Christmas.

If he fails, it will be yet more evidence that his recalcitrance is really a rouse to avoid supporting a People’s Vote.

The British people now want the final say on Brexit – and millions of Labour supporters will be frustrated that it is Corbyn and his acolytes who are standing in the way.

Lib Dems launch Friends of Bangladesh at Victory Day event in Tower Hamlets

Liberal Democrat London Mayoral Candidate Siobhan Benita has hailed the launch of Liberal Democrat Friends of Bangladesh at an event to commemorate Bangladeshi Victory Day on Sunday 16th December in Tower Hamlets. The new organisation, launched at the event, will foster understanding and support between the Liberal Democrats and Britain’s Bangladeshi communities, many of whom live in the borough.

Guests at the event were introduced by Chair of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Bangladesh, Abdul Asad (also Vice Chair, Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats and a former councillor). As well as Siobhan Benita (Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London) they included Councillor Rabina Khan (Liberal Democrat Councillor for Shadwell) and Elaine Bagshaw (Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse), plus Bengali academic and educationalist Dr Hasnat Hussain who gave a keynote speech reflecting on the Bangladesh British diaspora and the history of the liberation war.

Abdul Asad reminded attendees of the origins of Victory Day in the ending of the Bangladesh Liberation War and the 1971 Bangladeshi Genocide. As Tower Hamlets is home to one of the largest Bangladeshi communities in the world it was fitting that the area celebrated the birth of one of the youngest countries in the world. The loss of life of so many people created a great passion for democracy, a fundamental belief of the Liberal Democrats.

Siobhan Benita, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, said:

We remember the many people who lost their lives in this brutal conflict, and the impact this has on communities and on a nation’s identity. It is important to build policies that nurture wellbeing, so we can lead free and prosperous lives. London is the greatest city in the world, because it is so diverse.

Councillor Rabina Khan said:

It is important to remember the systematic murder and abuses by Operation Searchlight, and the liberation war each year. Bangladeshis and Pakistanis lived together in harmony and this was ripped apart by the war. Now we are looking to a brighter future. The door was opened by those who lost their lives in the war, and we must remember them. Today is a very poignant moment for us as a Bangladeshi community to remember our past but also look to a greater, prosperous future.

Elaine Bagshaw, Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats Parliamentary Spokesperson said:

2018 has been amazing for the Liberal Democrats in Tower Hamlets, with Rabina and so many people joining to help ensure that the party truly represents the local community. I am very proud to have the opportunity to launch the Liberal Democrat Friends of Bangladesh. The Lib Dems are forward facing, we are open, we are tolerant, and we are very welcoming of diverse communities.