Vince: This is the beginning of the end of Brexit

Well, that was quite something. I had thought the estimates of a 200+ majority against were expectation management, so a defeat of less than 100 looked great. But, no. The vote was lost by 230 votes. The biggest defeat in living memory. A Government with a competent main opposition party would be in serious trouble. […]

Well, that was quite something. I had thought the estimates of a 200+ majority against were expectation management, so a defeat of less than 100 looked great.

But, no. The vote was lost by 230 votes. The biggest defeat in living memory.

A Government with a competent main opposition party would be in serious trouble.

But what was Theresa May’s instinctive reaction? She started talking about how this put EU citizens at risk. I mean, really. She turned them back into bargaining chips. I, for one, am not having that.

Jeremy Corbyn has finally won a motion of no confidence but when that is lost tomorrow, he will have to make up his mind whether to back a People’s Vote or not. We can only hope that he will listen to the almost 80% of his members who want Labour to back that.

Jo Swinson was the first Lib Dem to say anything after the  vote – she raised a Point of Order to  how Parliament could assert its authority to bring about a People’s Vote. In his response, Speaker John Bercow seemed to indicate on his reply that he would allow amendments to that effect.

Vince confirmed that he had signed Corbyn’s motion of no confidence and would support it and challenged the Labour leader to get behind a People’s Vote.

Brexit is becoming a national humiliation.

Liberal Democrats have campaigned since the referendum to give people the final say on Brexit. Theresa May has failed to persuade her party, failed to persuade Parliament and failed in her attempts to scaremonger MPs to back her.

The Prime Minister now needs to pull her head out of the sand and start acting responsibly by taking the ludicrous threat of a no-deal Brexit off the table. The only way forward for the country is through a People’s Vote where people have the right to choose to stay in the EU.

It is also time for Jeremy Corbyn to find his backbone, drop his plans for a Labour-led Brexit, and back our calls for a People’s Vote.

Willie Rennie also called for a People’s Vote to ensure that the Prime Minister couldn’t just look to her party to sort it out:

This is a historic and devastating defeat for the Prime Minister. Her deal is in tatters. So is her credibility.

With public services at risk, what happens next is too important to be left to an utterly divided Conservative party.

When she returns to Parliament, the Prime Minister should announce plans for a People’s Vote, giving power back to the British public to decide how they want to proceed.

And Jane Dodds for Wales made it a hat-trick of calls for a People’s Vote:

Brexit has become a national embarrassment, and this heavy and humiliating defeat for the Prime Minister is just the latest example of a very sorry saga. Theresa May’s deal is dead, she cannot attempt to have another vote on her deal.

Only decisive action will end this chaos, only a People’s Vote will solve this crisis. There is no Brexit deal that could be better than our current relationship or that could pass Parliament.

If Theresa May won’t support a People’s Vote, Jeremy Corbyn must immediately lend his full-throated support to a People’s Vote and throw the full weight of Labour behind the campaign.

The only solution to this Brexit impasse is to give the people the final say and the opportunity to choose an Exit from Brexit.

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

20 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Today is topped and tailed by Brexit, hardly unusual, but there is also some good stuff responding to today’s events… Rival Brexit plans reveal Govt without a course Govt must act to prevent deaths on our streets Govt must end ‘wild west’ drone market Lib Dems: Public health cuts demonstrate Tories’ duplicity Alun Cairns Must […]

Today is topped and tailed by Brexit, hardly unusual, but there is also some good stuff responding to today’s events…

  • Rival Brexit plans reveal Govt without a course
  • Govt must act to prevent deaths on our streets
  • Govt must end ‘wild west’ drone market
  • Lib Dems: Public health cuts demonstrate Tories’ duplicity
  • Alun Cairns Must Resign if UK Government Back No Deal – Welsh Lib Dems

Rival Brexit plans reveal Govt without a course

Responding to rival Brexit plans set out by Amber Rudd and Andrea Leadsom, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has said:

While people at home over Christmas will be worried about Brexit uncertainty, these rival plans reveal a Conservative Government without a course.

Theresa May is looking more and more like Captain Bligh. Her mutinous crew have lost faith in her. We even have Andrea Leadsom so lost at sea that she is speaking irresponsible gibberish about an impossible ‘managed no deal’.

Amber Rudd has land in sight by accepting a People’s Vote is ‘plausible’. Not only that, Liberal Democrats know it is the only way to break the parliamentary deadlock. It is time all parties got on board.

Govt must act to prevent deaths on our streets

Responding to Government figures that nearly 600 homeless people died on the streets last year, Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

These deaths are absolutely tragic. As a wealthy country, we simply cannot accept people dying on our streets.

The Conservative Government’s failure to look after these individuals is a shameful dereliction of duty. Conservative Ministers must recognise the urgent need to build more social homes. The Liberal Democrats want to see 50,000 social houses to be built every year, rising to 100,000 as soon as possible.

These figures also bring into sharp focus how homelessness services for mental health and substance abuse desperately need more funding.

The housing crisis is a human crisis. It is depriving people of a roof over their head with devastating consequences. The time for warm words and little action has long gone.

Govt must end ‘wild west’ drone market

The Liberal Democrats have demanded the Conservative Government end the ‘wild west’ drone market and tighten up laws on who can own drones following the disruption caused at Gatwick today.

Speaking after securing an urgent question in the House of Lords, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson said the incident at Gatwick “illustrated the frightening ease with which drone vessels can inflict massive damage to our safety, our security and our economy”.

The Liberal Democrat peer urged the Government to set out plans for “proper controls on drones early in 2019”. In response, the Minister accepted the Government must “absolutely introduce new laws” but failed to set out in detail what that would mean and when.

Following the exchange, Jenny Randerson said:

The failure of Conservative Ministers, despite ample opportunity, to implement tighter regulation on drones has allowed an irresponsible act this morning to cause disruption to thousands of people trying to get home for Christmas.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of drones will be bought as Christmas presents. There is a greater risk to aircraft and public safety than ever before. The rules are ultimately too lax.

Liberal Democrats demand better. Conservative Ministers must end wild west drone market, not least by starting with a compulsory registration of drones and compulsory training for all users.

Lib Dems: Public health cuts demonstrate Tories’ duplicity

Responding to the Government’s statement that confirms the reduction of money for public health by £85 million for the year 2019-20, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

It is outrageous that after months of the Conservatives claiming they care about health and the NHS, they have today have confirmed a further reduction in funding for public health.

This just goes to demonstrate the Tories duplicity, promising one thing and doing another. The Conservatives must stop following warm words and policies with insufficient funding.

Liberal Democrats are clear about the critical importance of public health. It is time the Government listened and prioritised public health by halting these cuts to funding and reinvest the money previously cut.

Alun Cairns Must Resign if UK Government Back No Deal – Welsh Lib Dems

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has written to Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns urging him to resign from the Cabinet and resign the Conservative Party whip if a no deal Brexit becomes UK Government policy.

The letter was sent after Justice Secretary David Gauke claimed “that several Cabinet members could resign if no deal became the government’s policy” and Conservative MPs Nick Boles, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston said they would resign the Conservative Party whip if a no deal Brexit became party policy.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

Everyone but the most extreme Brexiteers knows a no deal Brexit would be a disaster. The Bank of England and the Government’s own figures show that a no deal Brexit would cause the Welsh economy to shrink by 9.5%. It’s deeply concerning the UK Government still appears to be treating a no deal Brexit as a serious option.

I was reassured to hear David Gauke claim that Cabinet Members will resign if a no deal Brexit becomes UK Government policy. I’ve written to Alun Cairns to ask if he will be one of them and whether he will join MPs Nick Boles, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston in resigning the Conservative Party whip.

I urge the Secretary of State to resign from the Cabinet and the Conservative Party if a no deal Brexit does become UK Government policy. This is the only way to show he opposes a no deal Brexit, that Wales opposes a no deal Brexit and to avoid facilitating this disastrous outcome.

13 December 2018 – (not just) today’s press releases

You’d think that putting the day’s piece to bed after 11.30 p.m. should cover everything. But no, the Press Teams both in London and Cardiff had one last shot in the dying moments of yesterday, so I’m including them with today’s batch. Enjoy… Theresa May Must Give the People the Final Say – Welsh Lib […]

You’d think that putting the day’s piece to bed after 11.30 p.m. should cover everything. But no, the Press Teams both in London and Cardiff had one last shot in the dying moments of yesterday, so I’m including them with today’s batch. Enjoy…

  • Theresa May Must Give the People the Final Say – Welsh Lib Dems
  • PM must now change course and offer people the final say
  • Soaring numbers of children trapped in temporary accommodation is shameful
  • Welsh Lib Dems Welcome Prostate Cancer MRI Scans
  • Govt must set out plans to avoid NHS winter crisis
  • Lib Dems demand MPs holidays are cancelled to vote on Brexit
  • Cable: May running scared of meaningful vote
  • Local government finance hits poorer communities the hardest

Theresa May Must Give the People the Final Say – Welsh Lib Dems

Following Theresa May’s victory in the confidence vote in her leadership, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Prime Minister to give the people the final say and the opportunity to choose an Exit from Brexit.

Conservative Party rules mean that once a leader has survived a no confidence vote, they cannot face another vote for at least another 12 months.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

Theresa May has survived the no confidence vote, but this is hardly a glorious moment for her and her Premiership. The fact Theresa May even had to face this vote speaks volumes about how even her own MPs feel she has mismanaged Brexit.

However, this victory also presents an opportunity for Theresa May. Now she cannot face another confidence vote for at least 12 months, Theresa May should use this opportunity to do what is in the national interest and call a People’s Vote. In doing so, she would have the support of MPs from across the House.

The Prime Minister may have survived this confidence vote, but this doesn’t change the fact there is no majority for her deal in Parliament and the EU is unwilling to renegotiate. The only solution to this Brexit crisis is to give the people the final say and the opportunity to choose an Exit from Brexit.

PM must now change course and offer people the final say

Responding to the 1922 confidence vote on Theresa May, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Having seen the Conservative backbenches will not support her deal the Prime Minister must change course.

Her deal is doomed to defeat in the Commons, so she should show real leadership by putting this question back to the public in a People’s Vote.

The EU is clear that there is no more negotiating to do, so it’s this deal or No Brexit. That is the choice on which every voter should now have a final say – and Liberal Democrats will campaign vigorously for the UK to remain a full member of the EU.

Soaring numbers of children trapped in temporary accommodation is shameful

Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse has accused the Conservative Government of a “shameful dereliction of duty” as office figures show the number of children in temporary accommodation reaches an 11-year high.

Wera Hobhouse said:

It is an absolute disgrace that hundreds of thousands of children are trapped in temporary accommodation. The Conservative Government’s failure to look after these vulnerable families is a shameful dereliction of duty.

It doesn’t need to be this way. Every child deserves the best possible start in life. Conservative Ministers cannot stand by and ignore this tragedy.

Liberal Democrats would build 100,000 new social homes every year, ensure that housing benefits are sufficient for covering rent and bring the thousands of vacant properties across the country into use.

Welsh Lib Dems Welcome Prostate Cancer MRI Scans

The Welsh Lib Dems have welcomed the decision of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to approve the use of non-invasive MRI scans to detect prostate cancer.

The scans have been piloted in three areas of Wales, but their approval paves the way for their use by health boards across Wales.

The decision follows a policy motion on Improving the Detection Rate of Prostate Cancer in Wales, passed by Welsh Lib Dem Autumn Conference this year.

Chair of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire Liberal Democrats and prostate cancer survivor Andrew Lye said:

I have spent most of 2018 dealing with my own diagnosis of prostate cancer and got the all clear in October, but I am still on treatment. We must remember 1 in 8 men will catch prostate cancer and every year 550 men will die of it in Wales. We now see more men dying of prostate cancer than women dying of breast cancer.

It is a sad indictment that Wales currently has fewer multi-parametric (mpMRI) facilities than available to men in England. This has to be rectified urgently. We have to improve the diagnosis of prostate cancer and reduce the large numbers that die from it.

It was a pleasure for me to bring this matter to the Welsh Liberal Democrats Autumn Conference in October, at Aberystwyth. We supported this petition to the Welsh Assembly. I am proud the Welsh Liberal Democrats gave their full backing at Conference to the motion I proposed from the Carmarthenshire & Pembrokeshire Local Party. We need better facilities in West Wales as well as in North Wales.

Govt must set out plans to avoid NHS winter crisis

Responding to NHS England’s first weekly report of the winter which shows hospitals are so overcrowded care is being put at risk, former Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb said:

It is intolerable to think that patients are being turned away at their hour of need. These reports bear all the hallmarks of yet another Conservative NHS winter crisis. People deserve better.

It’s essential that Ministers urgently set out plans for tackling the challenges facing our NHS and social care. That starts with ensuring hardworking NHS staff have sufficient resources to provide the care people need.

The Liberal Democrats would deliver a dedicated NHS and Care Tax to guarantee that the system has sustainable funding for the future.

Lib Dems demand MPs holidays are cancelled to vote on Brexit

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has written to the Leader of the House demanding Parliament doesn’t rise for Christmas unless MPs get a vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

The call follows the publication today of the business in the House of Commons for next week. The business confirms the Conservative Government has no intention of moving a vote on the Brexit deal before Christmas.

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said:

At a time of so much uncertainty caused by this Brexit mess, it is an insult to the British people that Theresa May is happy for MPs to go on holiday without voting on the biggest issue in generations. People deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

Liberal Democrats do not believe Parliament should rise for the Christmas recess until Theresa May does what the people expect and give MPs a vote on her deal. Now more than ever MPs should be working to help their constituents, not least by giving them a final say on Brexit with the option to remain in the EU.

Cable: May running scared of meaningful vote

In Brussels today, Vince Cable met with leaders from other liberal parties across Europe, including prime ministers, where he led a briefing on Brexit.

Updating them on the changing political mood in the UK, the growing support for a people’s vote, and the Government’s failure to bring forward a meaningful vote in parliament on her deal.

Commenting on the meeting in Brussels, leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

From meeting with liberal leaders and prime ministers today it is clear Theresa May needs to change course.

Substantial changes are not going to be on the table and she is running scared of giving parliament a meaningful vote.

The only way forward is to offer the public a people’s vote with the option to remain.

Local government finance hits poorer communities the hardest

Responding to the Local Government Finance Settlement, Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

This settlement does nothing to address the growing inequalities across our country. The highly regressive council tax system means that, as the Conservative Government continue to underfund local government, subsequent council tax rises hit poorer communities the hardest.

There must be a reform of council tax to prevent the places with the highest demand for services for vulnerable people, struggling the most to fund it.

Liberal Democrats demand better than the sticking plaster that has been presented today. The Tories are once again kicking the can down the road, instead of setting out a long term financial package that provides security for our local services.

Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson for the House of Lords, Baroness Pinnock added:

The local government funding settlement that was released today is a drop in the ocean. The offer of £650 million for social care in 2019-20 falls drastically short when the funding gap is expected to reach £3.5 billion by 2025.

Social care should not be a post code lottery.

12 December 2018 – today’s press releases

So, another day when much has happened, but little has obviously changed. It’s a bit like ‘Waiting for Godot’, in that Brexit is supposedly coming, but never actually seems to turn up… Cable: Conservative spat won’t resolve deepening divisions Agreement Reached Between new First Minister and Kirsty Williams Lamb: Labour’s abstention on cannabis vote ‘deeply […]

So, another day when much has happened, but little has obviously changed. It’s a bit like ‘Waiting for Godot’, in that Brexit is supposedly coming, but never actually seems to turn up…

  • Cable: Conservative spat won’t resolve deepening divisions
  • Agreement Reached Between new First Minister and Kirsty Williams
  • Lamb: Labour’s abstention on cannabis vote ‘deeply depressing’

Cable: Conservative spat won’t resolve deepening divisions

Responding to the reports that the Prime Minister will face a vote of confidence in her leadership, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Theresa May’s deal is a total mess and is the latest backdrop for yet another Conservative meltdown over Europe.

The Leave campaign’s promises clearly cannot and will not be delivered, and the Conservatives are now engaging in a self-indulgent internal spat which won’t resolve their deepening divisions.

Theresa May should now show real leadership in calling a People’s Vote, to break the deadlock, with an option to remain in the EU. It is the way forward out of this mess.

Agreement Reached Between new First Minister and Kirsty Williams

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced that an agreement has been reached between Education Secretary Kirsty Williams and new First Minister Mark Drakeford.

The agreement affirms both parties’ commitment to the 2016 Progressive Agreement and its shared priorities. Alongside noting the significant progress made since Kirsty Williams became Education Secretary, the agreement also unveils new education policies and reforms that will be implemented over the coming years.

The agreement recognises the distinct identities and policies of each party, while allowing each party to on occasion express different positions on reserved matters. This has previously happened on certain occasions regarding UK/EU relations.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

The Welsh Liberal Democrats and I are proud of the work Kirsty is doing within the Welsh Government to implement Welsh Lib Dem policies and improve the lives of people across Wales.

Kirsty has already delivered many of the transformational policies contained in the first progressive agreement, including increasing funding for disadvantaged pupils, increasing the supply of affordable housing and delivering the most generous and progressive student finance system in the UK.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have a proud tradition of delivering for our communities and this agreement does just that.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Secretary Kirsty Williams commented:

I am pleased to reach this agreement with the new First Minister today. This agreement allows us to build on our achievements over the last two years and to continue on our national mission of raising standards, reducing the attainment gap, and delivering an education system that is a source of national pride and public confidence.

Lamb: Labour’s abstention on cannabis vote ‘deeply depressing’

Responding to the narrow defeat of his Cannabis (Legalisation and Regulation) Bill yesterday, in which Labour MPs were whipped against supporting the legislation, former Health Minister Norman Lamb said:

While it was sadly predictable that the Conservatives would block reform of our harmful and outdated drugs laws, it was deeply depressing to see the vast majority of Labour MPs sit on their hands and abstain.

It underlines the hypocrisy of Labour’s claim to offer a radical, progressive alternative to the Conservatives. The truth is that Labour remains a deeply small-c conservative party in many respects, driven by tough rhetoric and a tendency to ban what it doesn’t like rather than following the evidence. I applaud those MPs who voted in support of the Bill and strongly encourage others to reconsider.

The war on drugs has been an unmitigated failure, leaving young people vulnerable to dangerous strains of cannabis sold by dealers who have absolutely no interest in their welfare.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party calling for a pragmatic, evidence-based approach to cannabis which focuses on protecting public health. Only by legalising and regulating cannabis can we minimise the harms of this drug and protect the well-being of our children and young people.

10 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Well, that was the day that was, wasn’t it? Or was it? Theresa May has managed to get away again, somewhat in the style of a squid, squirting ink at its attacker and making for cover in the confusion. By avoiding a vote she seemed certain to lose, she keeps her plan alive and, perhaps, […]

Well, that was the day that was, wasn’t it? Or was it? Theresa May has managed to get away again, somewhat in the style of a squid, squirting ink at its attacker and making for cover in the confusion.

By avoiding a vote she seemed certain to lose, she keeps her plan alive and, perhaps, if she can keep doing that long enough, she may reason that she can eliminate other options so that, as Sherlock Holmes famously surmised, if all other options are ruled out, what remains, regardless of how unlikely it might otherwise seem, is the solution.

It needs someone to grab a hammer and a stake and put her Agreement to death. It’s a pity that Jeremy Corbyn prefers a non-violent solution…

So, what did today inspire our Press Team to put out?

  • ECJ ruling means no-deal can be ruled out and Brexit halted
  • Davey: Tories have a lot to answer for over failure of energy market
  • Cable: PM has lost her nerve
  • Corbyn must call for a vote of no confidence in the Govt
  • Brexit Vote Delay Solves Nothing – Welsh Lib Dems

ECJ ruling means no-deal can be ruled out and Brexit halted

Responding to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling the UK can halt Brexit by unilaterally revoking Article 50, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson and one of the MPs who brought the case Tom Brake said:

Liberal Democrats have fought tooth and nail to give the people the final say on Brexit. We are now closer than ever before.

The ECJ has made clear that the UK can stop Brexit unilaterally. The Government can therefore prevent a chaotic no-deal. For the sake of people’s livelihoods, the Prime Minister must end the uncertainlty and rule out a no-deal.

It is clear any Brexit will make people poorer and reduce the UK’s standing in the world. MPs should not only vote down Theresa May’s deal, but back a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the EU.

Davey: Tories have a lot to answer for over failure of energy market

Responding to the news that OneSelect have gone bust, the seventh household energy supplier of the year to do so, leaving 36,000 customers without a supplier, Ed Davey, former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:

This is a deeply worrying trend for consumers, four energy supplier have gone in just a month. Not only does this create major uncertainty for customers, but also undermines competition in the market. People will not switch if they think their new supplier will go under.

The Tories have a lot to answer for, rather than trying to sure up competition in the market they’ve pursed their price cap folly, which clearly has had a negative affect on the small suppliers as the costs rise. Liberal Democrats demand better.

We would scrap the Tories price cap and instead bring in measures to effectively boost competition, while strengthening the rules to ensure smaller suppliers can stand on their own two feet and provided a decent service to customers, while offering cheaper deals.

Cable: PM has lost her nerve

Responding to reports that the Government is due to postpone the House of Commons voting on their Brexit deal, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Theresa May appears to have marched her depleted troops to the top of the hill only to lose her nerve. She is hopelessly weakened.

There is little point postponing the vote when nothing concerning the deal will change. The Conservatives are wilfully prolonging Brexit uncertainty because they can’t get their deal through Parliament.

This deadlock must be broken by giving the people the final say, including the opportunity to remain in the EU.

Corbyn must call for a vote of no confidence in the Govt

Responding ahead of the Prime Minister’s statement in the House, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

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

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

Brexit Vote Delay Solves Nothing – Welsh Lib Dems

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised Theresa May’s decision to call off tomorrow’s planned vote on her Brexit deal; claiming only an Exit from Brexit can stop this crisis.

The UK Government choose to postpone the planned vote on the Brexit Deal after admitting they would have lost the vote by a significant margin.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said;

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

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

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

Bottle it Day: Lib Dems react

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

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

Lib Dems have been reacting to developments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Farron was unimpressed with the Labour Party:

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

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

6 December 2018 – today’s press releases

You begin to sense the uncertainty emanating from Whitehall, but there’s plenty going on elsewhere in the governance jungle… Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal Mental Health Review must lead to more investment Universal Credit Causing Housing Crisis – Welsh Lib Dems Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal Responding to the […]

You begin to sense the uncertainty emanating from Whitehall, but there’s plenty going on elsewhere in the governance jungle…

  • Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal
  • Mental Health Review must lead to more investment
  • Universal Credit Causing Housing Crisis – Welsh Lib Dems

Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal

Responding to the Department for Exiting the EU’s policy paper on Citizens’ Rights, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs Ed Davey said:

The Government has finally admitted that free movement of labour won’t end this March.

The fact they tried to sneak this out shows yet again that people can’t trust anything this Government says on Brexit and immigration – they are still refusing to publish their Immigration White Paper, which is supposed to tell us how immigration policy will work after Brexit.

The reality is this Government knows immigration benefits the UK and is needed – but they dare not tell people the truth. So instead the Prime Minister panders to prejudice and calls EU citizens aren’t ‘queue jumpers’, – when in reality they are our neighbours and our friends, our NHS workers and our farm labourers.

And even today’s statement is misleading. Everyone knows that many eligible EU citizens won’t get their settled status papers from this incompetent Government and Home Office by the end of the application period. There’s now a danger of a European Windrush.

Mental Health Review must lead to more investment

Responding to the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act, former Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb said:

I am grateful to Simon Wessely for the work he has done on the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act.

While I welcome the outcome of the review, I believe this must be a first step towards more radical reforms.

In the Government’s response to the Review, there must be a commitment to invest more money to support those at crisis point and help people before they reach crisis point. The Conservatives to date have failed to adequately invest in Mental Health. Without strong goals and commitments from the Government, rising detention rates will not be adequately challenged.

Liberal Democrats demand better for patients. Where the Conservatives have failed, the Liberal Democrats would invest money and deliver the reforms necessary.

Universal Credit Causing Housing Crisis – Welsh Lib Dems

The Welsh Lib Dems have condemned the housing and homelessness crisis being caused by the rollout of Universal Credit after evidence from Cardiff emerged showing far higher levels of rent arrears amongst Universal Credit claimants compared to housing benefit claimants.

Unfortunately, the number of Universal Credit claimants falling into rent arrears has led to many landlords across the UK refusing to accept any tenants in receipt of Universal Credit.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson Cllr Joe Carter said;

It’s deeply disappointing but not at all surprising that Universal Credit is pushing more and more people into rent arrears. We’ve consistently warned this would be the result of Universal Credit, only for our warnings to fall on deaf ears.

The UK Government must listen now and allow the housing benefit section of Universal Credit to be paid directly to the landlord. Doing nothing will only lead to more Universal Credit claimants being pushed into rent arrears and made homeless. That is not an option.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, this will also mean a loss of rent for councils and housing associations, restricting their ability to build more social housing and provide other vital services. Meaning Universal Credit is already damaging future generations as well.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds added:

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have consistently called for the UK Government to pause and fix Universal Credit, and this is one of the many reasons why. Universal Credit is causing increased poverty, increased homelessness and untold misery. It must not be allowed to continue in its current form.

27 November 2018 – today’s press releases

There’s a decidedly Welsh flavour to today’s press releases, as Theresa May hits the road in an attempt to sell a dead parrot to the masses… Police acting as first responders to people with mental ill health Welsh Lib Dems Welcome Aled Roberts as New Welsh Language Commissioner Theresa May Must Give Wales a People’s […]

There’s a decidedly Welsh flavour to today’s press releases, as Theresa May hits the road in an attempt to sell a dead parrot to the masses…

  • Police acting as first responders to people with mental ill health
  • Welsh Lib Dems Welcome Aled Roberts as New Welsh Language Commissioner
  • Theresa May Must Give Wales a People’s Vote – Welsh Lib Dems
  • Stars Oppose Brexit at Hay Festival – Welsh Lib Dems
  • Davey: Govt’s failure to publish immigration plans “unacceptable”

Police acting as first responders to people with mental ill health

Responding to today’s report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services on Policing and Mental Health, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Leaving police as first responders to treat people with mental ill health is no good for anyone.

I’ve seen the brilliant job officers do, but they’re the first to admit that they don’t have the specialist training to provide the level of care required. And police time spent providing mental health care is time not spent catching criminals or doing the vital community policing that prevents crime.

The Tories’ failure to continue the Liberal Democrat focus on improving mental health services has placed a huge extra demand on the police, at a time when they’re also coping with big budget cuts and rising serious violence.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. The Government must halt its police cuts and give forces the funding they need, but it must also ensure that extra money for mental health services is spent in a way that relieves pressure on the police.

Welsh Lib Dems Welcome Aled Roberts as New Welsh Language Commissioner

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have warmly welcomed the announcement of former Welsh Lib Dem AM Aled Roberts as the new Welsh Language Commissioner.

Aled Roberts was a Welsh Lib Dem AM between 2011 and 2016 and has advised the Welsh Government on Welsh Language education since the election.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented:

I’d like to offer Aled the warmest welcome from myself and the entire Welsh Liberal Democrats as the new Welsh Language Commissioner. Whilst we’re of course biased, we have every confidence Aled will be an effective Commissioner.

Aled is a committed advocate of the Welsh Language and is extremely experienced within Welsh politics. As a fellow Welsh speaker from North Wales I have every faith Aled will be a successful champion for the Welsh Language.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to the future of the Welsh Language. I look forward to working with Aled in the future to help promote the Welsh Language and ensure a bright future for the Welsh Language across Wales.

Theresa May Must Give Wales a People’s Vote – Welsh Lib Dems

As Theresa May visits Wales to attend the Royal Welsh Winter Fair and try and gain support for her Brexit deal, the Welsh Lib Dems have urged the Prime Minister to give the people of Wales the final say on Brexit.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

It’s all very well for the Prime Minister to try and get the people’s support for her Brexit deal, but this is not enough. The only way to get the people’s approval or rejection of any Brexit deal is through a People’s Vote.

I hope in her visit to Wales today the Prime Minister appreciates the scale of change in public opinion on Brexit since 2016. Poll after poll is clear, in remain and leave constituencies alike the people want to have the final say on Brexit.

Theresa May’s Brexit deal is the worst of all worlds and would leave Wales and the UK as rule-takers, not rule-makers. There is no post-Brexit relationship with the EU that can be better than our existing relationship.

We have led the fight for a People’s Vote for the last two years and we will keep fighting. We’re clear, the people must be given the final say and the opportunity to choose an Exit from Brexit.

Stars Oppose Brexit at Hay Festival – Welsh Lib Dems

The Welsh Liberal Democrats bought their Brexitometer campaign to the Hay Winter Festival this weekend and gained the support of stars including Gina Miller, James O’Brien and Jeanette Winterson.

Welsh Liberal Democrat President and Powys County Councillor William Powell and local activists were campaigning for a People’s Vote with the option to stop Brexit.

People were asked whether they preferred Theresa May’s Brexit Deal, a no deal Brexit or no Brexit at all and whether the UK Government, Parliament or the people should have the final say on Brexit.

Welsh Liberal Democrat President Cllr William Powell said:

It was a pleasure to be at the Hay Winter Festival this weekend and gain the support for a People’s Vote and an Exit from Brexit from celebrities and punters alike.

Our Brexitometer at the festival showed what countless Brexitometers have shown throughout this Autumn and Summer. The people clearly want to have the final say on Brexit and the opportunity to choose an Exit from Brexit.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented:

We have led the fight for a People’s Vote for the last two years because we know just how devastating Brexit will be for Wales. Our campaign is closer than ever to succeeding.

We will not rest until the job is done. We will fight from Hay to Holyhead, from Pembrokeshire to Wrexham until we secure an Exit from Brexit.

Davey: Govt’s failure to publish immigration plans “unacceptable”

Responding to the Home Secretary’s admission today that the Government’s plans for post-Brexit immigration might not be published before the ‘meaningful vote’ on the Brexit deal, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey described the continued delay as “completely unacceptable”.

Appearing before the Home Affairs Select Committee, Sajid Javid admitted that he couldn’t say that the long-awaited immigration white paper would be published before MPs vote on Theresa May’s deal on 11th December.

Ministers originally promised to publish the white paper last year, but that deadline has been repeatedly postponed. Ed Davey has written to both the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary demanding that they publish the white paper without any further delay.

Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey said:

When it comes to publishing their immigration plans, the Tories seem to be taking the phrase ‘white paper’ far too literally. After years spent talking about ending free movement, they still can’t give us any details of what that really means. This continued delay is completely unacceptable.

From the reports of Cabinet splits, it seems Theresa May’s own Ministers understand that her obsession with the arbitrary net migration target is disastrous for our economy and our public services. Her proposals would create a huge amount of bureaucracy for British businesses and make the shortage of workers in the NHS and social care a lot worse.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. Theresa May must either publish her immigration proposals now, or admit the truth: that they are simply unworkable.

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.

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.