12 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Digital exclusion shows Universal Credit not fit for purpose Responding to reports that almost half a million people needed help to apply for the government’s flagship Universal Credit benefit online, DWP Spokesperson Christine Jardine said: The Liberal Democrats raised the issue of digital exclusion with Conservative ministers months ago, but these concerns clearly haven’t been […]

Digital exclusion shows Universal Credit not fit for purpose

Responding to reports that almost half a million people needed help to apply for the government’s flagship Universal Credit benefit online, DWP Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The Liberal Democrats raised the issue of digital exclusion with Conservative ministers months ago, but these concerns clearly haven’t been taken on board. This underlines the need to look again at Universal Credit, which is clearly not creating the simpler and more accessible benefits system that was intended.

It is failing the very people it was supposed to be designed to help. Now the Government has acknowledged that Universal Credit has created a greater need for food banks, it is time they accepted it needs more than just the tinkering we have seen.

Universal Credit just isn’t fit for purpose, and it’s time the Government accepted responsibility.

Conservatives pass one of worst pieces of legislation ever witnessed

Speaking after the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill was passed in the House of Commons tonight by just 58 votes, former Liberal Democrat Care Minister Norman Lamb MP said:

Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people are at risk of unlawfully having their freedom restricted and receiving inappropriate care. That is the deeply flawed system this Bill should have fixed, but instead the Conservatives produced one of the worst pieces of legislation ever seen.

I set the Government two tests at the beginning of this process. Does the new system safeguard individuals’ human rights and does the new system result in very vulnerable people being better protected? Conservative Ministers have failed both of these tests.

It is incredibly worrying that the Conservative Government are still pursuing this change in legislation when there has been overwhelming and united opposition from parties and care organisations. People deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats will keep fighting for the rights of the most vulnerable.

Motorists to be driven round the bend by Brexit bureaucracy

The House of Lords has this evening formally approved a Brexit regulation allowing the Government to issue new international driving permits, which could be required to travel to several EU countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Responding, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson said:

International Driving Permits are a relic of the 1960s with different countries requiring different formats, not forgetting, the only way to get one is through queuing up at the post office.

EU countries may require drivers to buy these permits if the UK crashes out without a deal, causing delays and hassle to all those who drive across the continent for holidays, not to mention severely hampering British business.

This is just another example to add to the list of transport and border issues that have been brought about by Brexit.

Previously, UK drivers could enjoy travelling across Europe by road pretty seamlessly, but now will risk prosecution if they do not adequately prepare. The only way out of this mess is for the Prime Minister to take no deal off the table and to give the public a final say, with the option to remain in the EU.

7 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Ghost Trains Add to GWR Chaos – Welsh Lib Dems Davey: Govt needs to stop hitting people with higher energy bills Vince Cable announces changes to top team Lib Dem International Trade spokesperson slams Liam Fox for misleading House Ghost Trains Add to GWR Chaos – Welsh Lib Dems The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised […]

  • Ghost Trains Add to GWR Chaos – Welsh Lib Dems
  • Davey: Govt needs to stop hitting people with higher energy bills
  • Vince Cable announces changes to top team
  • Lib Dem International Trade spokesperson slams Liam Fox for misleading House

Ghost Trains Add to GWR Chaos – Welsh Lib Dems

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised Great Western Railway (GWR) for ‘ghost trains’ after trains after 21:00 between London Paddington and Swansea for Monday to Thursday next week (11th-14th) disappeared from the timetable.

The tickets have been removed from the timetable so passengers are unable to buy them but the trains don’t appear as cancellations on GWR’s disruption information online.

This means the trains aren’t technically recorded as cancellations in GWR’s reporting to the Department for Transport (DfT) and so GWR aren’t penalised for it. However, not giving out passenger information is a breach of Rail Delivery Group (RDG) guidelines on passenger information during disruption.

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Baroness Randerson said:

The lack of publicity about this stealthy change to the late evening timetable could mean many regular travellers who don’t book specific trains could turn up at the station to find there is no train home that night.

These ghost trains are the latest in a long list of failures in recent years by GWR. Just days ago GWR was criticised in Parliament for ‘delays, overcrowding and ticket costs.’ Now we find out trains have been removed from timetables without telling anyone. This simply isn’t good enough.

Given GWR’s passenger satisfaction levels are the worst they’ve been in more than a decade, we’d expect GWR to be pulling out all the stops to improve services and keep passengers happy. Unfortunately this doesn’t appear to be the case. I call on GWR to urgently act to improve their passengers’ experience.

Earlier this week Assembly Members voted to call for the devolution of more powers and funding for rail to ‘deliver the railway the people of Wales deserve.’ We welcome the Assembly’s calls and urge the UK Government to devolve these powers at the earliest opportunity.

Davey: Govt needs to stop hitting people with higher energy bills

Responding to reports that more than half of households are set to see an increase in energy costs with Ofgem raising price caps, former Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:

The Conservatives introduced the price cap claiming it would save people money. But it was never going to do so, and it was inevitable that they would instead have to put the cap up at some point.

Now the truth on the price cap is clearer to people, the Government needs to stop hitting people with higher energy bills thanks to their policies.

Competition in the energy market is under threat due to this cap. Yet it is precisely that competition which has helped many more consumers reduce their energy bills than the cap.

Liberal Democrats believe people deserve better. We would take meaningful steps to promote more competition as the most effective way to slash energy bills, and we would roll out an energy efficiency programme to reduce energy bills for those in fuel poverty.

Vince Cable announces changes to top team

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has announced several changes to his top team of spokespeople.

Former leader Tim Farron will be taking over the Communities and Local Government spokesperson role, with Bath MP Wera Hobhouse moving to cover Energy and Climate Change.

Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine will now cover issues relating to Work and Pensions, with Jamie Stone taking on the Scotland brief. Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael will speak on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Commenting on the changes to the Liberal Democrat spokespeople, Vince Cable said:

I am pleased to announce today our new spokespeople who will speak out on the most important issues we face in Britain today.

While Parliament is consumed by Brexit, we need to remember that people are also affected by a whole host of other challenges.

We will continue to speak up for them as we continue our fight for the public to have a say on the Brexit deal with a People’s Vote.

Lib Dem International Trade spokesperson slams Liam Fox for misleading House

Following an exchange at International Trade questions today, during which Tom Brake sought assurances from the Secretary of State, Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, that he would provide Parliamentarians with a progress report on the trade deals the UK wants to roll over – a report Fox has already provided to key businesses – Tom has accused Fox of misleading MPs.

Tom explained in a later Point of Order to the Deputy Speaker, that contrary to Liam Fox’s assertion that he had dealt with this issue ‘extensively’ in the International Trade Select Committee hearing the day before, Tom, having viewed the hour long session, could confirm that the Secretary of State had provided no guarantees about making this progress report available. Indeed no reference was made to this progress report at all.

Tom Brake said:

It is clear that to save his embarrassment for the shocking lack of progress in rolling over these trade deals, Liam Fox has concocted a sham story about having dealt with the matter yesterday.

He is clearly one of the people Donald Tusk had in mind when he referred to Brexiters who promoted Brexit, with no plan for delivering it!

Tom added,

This could be another case of a Government in contempt, by providing information to third parties, but refusing to provide it to MPs.

In his Point of Order, Tom asked the Speaker how he could get the Secretary of State to correct the record and, more importantly, provide the information he was happy to share with business with Parliamentarians.

Tom has raised this issue with Ministers on a number of occasions, most recently in a letter dated 28th January 2019 (below).

5 February 2019 – today’s press releases (part 1)

It’s been a busy day today, so we’ll break today’s releases up into two pieces, starting with… Govt must take action on projected rise of car emissions Cable: Brexit causing the economy to stagnate EU citizens in Holyhead face 224 mile round trip to register for settled status Davey questions Justice Minister on potential Brexit […]

It’s been a busy day today, so we’ll break today’s releases up into two pieces, starting with…

  • Govt must take action on projected rise of car emissions
  • Cable: Brexit causing the economy to stagnate
  • EU citizens in Holyhead face 224 mile round trip to register for settled status
  • Davey questions Justice Minister on potential Brexit bribes

Govt must take action on projected rise of car emissions

Today a report from Friends of the Earth, and the think-tank Transport for Quality of Life highlights that a rise in emissions from the roads could have a hugely detrimental effect on climate change and public health.

Commenting former Liberal Democrat Climate Change Secretary of State Ed Davey said:

The Liberal Democrats welcome this report and agree more radical thinking needs to be done in the transport sector to tackle climate change.

While real progress has been made in the power sector, with renewables now replacing by dirty fossil fuels, thanks in part to Liberal Democrat policies, the Conservatives must now cut emissions elsewhere.

Transport is one of the biggest contributors of emissions so we desperately need a more ambitious plan to slash emissions.

Liberal Democrats want a new Green Transport Act with a new programme of measures to significantly reduce emissions from road transport.

Jenny Randerson, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson said:

The Conservatives are presiding over a shameful decline in public transport at a time when we need to cut emissions, not only to combat climate change, but to tackle the public health disaster in our towns and cities.

Since 2015 the DfT’s own figures show a decline of nearly 200 million bus journeys. This Tory Government claim they are committed to public transport, but instead they are driving it into a wall. It is clear that for the Conservatives the car remains king.

Liberal Democrats would aim to improve bus services, encouraging people to move out of cars and into public transport. We would create a nationwide bus plan, creating a model shift towards public transport use, we would enable councils to choose how they run their own services and we would introduce a discount card for Young People.

Cable: Brexit causing the economy to stagnate

Responding to the news that growth in the service sector has stalled according to the IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

There is now cumulative evidence that Brexit uncertainty is causing the economy to stagnate. Even if we avoid no-deal, we will have to face the prospect of a blind Brexit.

With our economy in such a fragile state, it would take very little to push the country into a recession. This is the risk the government is taking.

The Liberal Democrats are clear that there is only one way to end this paralysing economic uncertainty. The public must be given a People’s Vote on Brexit, with the option to Remain.

EU citizens in Holyhead face 224 mile round trip to register for settled status

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservative Government for their “hapless treatment” of EU citizens after the Home Office released guidance on the new EU Settlement Scheme.

The Home Office has confirmed that for the duration of the trial period, until 30 March, EU citizens applying to stay in the UK must either use an Android phone or travel to one of 13 ‘document scanning’ centres instead.

For Holyhead, the closest ‘document scanning’ centre is Trafford. According to analysis by the Welsh Liberal Democrats, EU citizens travelling from Holyhead, would face costs of £55 on the train for at least a six and a half hour round trip. The drive would be a 224 mile round trip costing around £56 in fuel.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

Too many people in Wales are deeply anxious about their right to stay. Many of them fill vital roles in the health service, our schools and the tourism sector. They want to register as soon as possible, but Theresa May’s hapless treatment of EU citizens could result in a new Windrush scandal.

For anyone who doesn’t have an android phone, this botched scheme means they will have to travel. For people in in Holyhead that means facing a 224 mile round trip and paying over £50 for the privilege. This postcode lottery is simply unacceptable.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey MP said:

Following significant pressure, the Prime Minister said there will be no financial barrier for any EU nationals who wish to stay. How long did that commitment last?

It is Conservative Ministers who have made a mess of Brexit. They should either pay the cost for EU citizens or change the application system and ensure EU citizens are made to feel welcome in the UK.

Ultimately, the best way to avoid all of this mess is by giving the people the option to remain in the EU with a final say on Brexit.

Davey questions Justice Minister on potential Brexit bribes

The Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has questioned the Justice Minister, David Gauke, on whether the Government are in breach of the Bribery Act (2010) over plans to offer MPs money for their constituency to vote for the Brexit deal. The Justice minister stated that he would meet with Ed Davey to discuss this important matter.

The issue has come to prominence after a letter from Liberal Democrat Peer Martin Thomas was published in the Sunday Times.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

With media reports that a desperate Number 10 is seeking to tempt Opposition MPs to back their Brexit deal by offering constituency favours, Liberal Democrats are right to call foul play.

The Government could be in clear breach of the Bribery Act. I am pleased David Gauke is now prepared to meet me to discuss this serious matter, and I will be seeking an early date.

Brexit should not be stitched up with backroom deals but sorted out with a people’s vote, with an option to remain in the EU.

8 January 2019 – today’s press releases

It seems that, no matter how late I publish this feature, the Press Team are still up and working. Last night, the final press release came out at 11.58 p.m., so is included in today’s batch… Drone reforms are vague and lack resources Social housing neglect due to lack of political will Dover delay is […]

It seems that, no matter how late I publish this feature, the Press Team are still up and working. Last night, the final press release came out at 11.58 p.m., so is included in today’s batch…

  • Drone reforms are vague and lack resources
  • Social housing neglect due to lack of political will
  • Dover delay is a national embarrassment
  • Cable: Bumbling Govt taking ‘Dad’s Army’ approach to Brexit
  • Lib Dems: Govt defeat shows no deal not an option
  • Lib Dems: Drone sighting shows urgent need for regulation
  • Lib Dems defeat Govt on loan charges

Drone reforms are vague and lack resources

Responding to the Government annoucement that the police will be given new powers to tackle the illegal use of drones, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson said:

Action has been long overdue. Had the Conservatives introduced reforms when previously advocated by the Liberal Democrats and others, the nightmare before Christmas could have been avoided.

The Government has a lot of ground to make up. These reforms are still too vague and simply won’t come fast enough. Liberal Democrats demand better, including additional resources and training to ensure the police and army are better prepared.

Social housing neglect due to lack of political will

Responding to calls from housing charity Shelter for more social housing, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Housing Wera Hobhouse said:

Conservative Ministers have neglected social housing for far too long. The housing crisis is leaving people unable to afford a home of their own or, even worse, without a roof over their head.

Councils building social homes for rent is not only the quickest and most cost-effective way to produce the maximum amount of homes, but it is so important due to the secure tenancy they offer vulnerable tenants.

The Liberal Democrats welcome Shelter’s call for funding and more social housing. The current lack of social housing results in housing benefit going into the hands of private landlords, rather than councils. What is stopping this from changing is simply the lack of political will.

The Government must put forward an ambitious plan for building new social housing. The housing crisis is a human crisis; Ministers must take responsibility and start making a serious effort fix it.

Dover delay is a national embarrassment

Commenting on official research commissioned for the Department for Transport which reveals lorries could face a six-day wait at Dover in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

A six day queue for lorries at Dover port beggars belief. Just imagine the chaos that would ensue because of delays to food, medicine and other deliveries. The wait would certainly provide plenty of time to think about where it all went wrong!

It doesn’t have to be this way. The Conservative Government could take no-deal off the table today, end this national embarrassment and offer the public a people’s vote with the option to remain in the EU.

Cable: Bumbling Govt taking ‘Dad’s Army’ approach to Brexit

Three times as many lorries using Portsmouth International Port as a result of a no-deal Brexit would result in gridlock and potential closure to parts of the motorway, Leader of the Liberal Democrats was told today.

The warning from Mike Sellars, Manager of Portsmouth International Port, came during Vince Cable’s visit to the port alongside the Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

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

This shows the bumbling incompetence of the Government taking a ‘Dad’s Army’ approach to no deal Brexit preparations.

Motorway closures are unacceptable; throwing the Portsmouth port into chaos shows the disregard Conservative Ministers have for the people of a city who voted for Brexit.

Now the people of Portsmouth must pay for the Conservative Government’s incompetence.

Lib Dems: Govt defeat shows no deal not an option

Responding to the Government’s defeat on Amendment 7 to the Finance Bill, which limits their ability to raise tax if there is a no deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The Conservative Government’s defeat this evening shows Parliament’s rejection of a no deal. This amendment goes some way to taking no deal off the table, but it is crucial it is removed as an option entirely.

Theresa May must stop gambling with our future. It is entirely within her power to take no deal off the table, however she is recklessly keeping it there as a scare tactic due to the lack of support for her deal.

The only real alternative to get us out of this mess is to legislate for a people’s vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

Lib Dems: Drone sighting shows urgent need for regulation

Responding to reports that departures at Heathrow Airport were temporarily stopped after a drone was spotted, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson said:

The reports that there has been another drone sighting, but this time at Heathrow Airport, is rightly concerning. This predictable copy-cat incident looks like more travellers will be delayed due to the Government’s incompetence.

Yesterday, the Government finally conceded on introducing some legislation to regulate the drone market. However, what was proposed was scant in detail and there was little sense of urgency. How many flights have to be cancelled before the Conservative Government take the regulation of drones seriously?

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We have been raising the dangers that the wild west drone market has posed for years but to no avail. The Government must move swiftly to pass this drone legislation with sufficient resources behind it to avoid future disruption.

Lib Dems defeat Govt on loan charges

Tonight, an amendment on the Finance Bill put forward by Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey has been passed unopposed in the House of Commons.

This amendment will force the Government to undertake a review into their proposed loan charge and its retrospective nature.

Responding to the victory, Ed Davey said:

The Conservative Government’s concession this evening demonstrates how little support they had across the House on this issue. The loan charge is causing misery to thousands of struggling individuals across the country who were wrongly advised.

To backdate these charges was grossly unfair and represented a disregard for the rule of law. Tonight, MPs have rightly come together to condemn this injustice.

Hard working families across this country have been unfairly punished by these loan charges. I hope that these impact assessments will force the Government to rethink this cruel policy.

31 December 2018 – 6 January 2019 – the week’s press releases

Right, the holiday season is over, and it’s back to something resembling normalcy tomorrow, what with Parliament resuming and all. So, here’s the press releases that you missed… Govt must provide answers over forced marriage scandal Javid comments on asylum seekers ‘completely unacceptable’ Corbyn cosies up to the Conservatives on Brexit All Gove is offering […]

Right, the holiday season is over, and it’s back to something resembling normalcy tomorrow, what with Parliament resuming and all. So, here’s the press releases that you missed…

  • Govt must provide answers over forced marriage scandal
  • Javid comments on asylum seekers ‘completely unacceptable’
  • Corbyn cosies up to the Conservatives on Brexit
  • All Gove is offering farmers is uncertainty
  • Cable: PM’s publicity campaign is scaremongering
  • Cable: Govt must end brinkmanship over security in Northern Ireland
  • Lib Dems: Govt must follow airports and invest in drone protection

Govt must provide answers over forced marriage scandal

Liberal Democrats today condemned reports that the Government is charging victims of illegal forced marriages to bring them home.

The Times has today reported that women who are sent abroad by their families for forced marriages are charged by the Foreign Office for the cost of rescuing them.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The Government cannot surely think it’s acceptable to ask victims of illegal forced marriages to pay to be rescued.

These young women who have been through traumatic circumstances are being asked to repay their repatriation costs and then punished if they can’t by having their passports confiscated until they pay the Government back.

The Conservative Government needs to explain exactly why they think this is acceptable.

Javid comments on asylum seekers ‘completely unacceptable’

Responding to the Home Secretary’s comments regarding asylum seekers, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The Home Secretary’s comments about refugees crossing the Channel show that the Tories’ nasty, hostile environment is alive and well.

Many of these people have fled war in Syria or persecution in Iran. For the Home Secretary to suggest – on the basis of no evidence whatsoever – that they are not ‘genuine’ asylum seekers is completely unacceptable. For the Government to summarily deny their claims would be unlawful and inhumane.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We demand an effective and compassionate response: investing in a stronger Border Force to stop the smugglers and traffickers, while ensuring safe, legal routes to sanctuary for those forced out of their homes.

Corbyn cosies up to the Conservatives on Brexit

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has today accused Jeremy Corbyn of cosying up to the Conservative Government after the Labour Leader said May should return to Brussels to find a deal Labour could support.

Following the remarks Tom Brake said:

Whilst many Labour supporters join Liberal Democrats marching and campaigning for a people’s vote, Jeremy Corbyn sidles up to the Conservatives and works with them to deliver Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn can claim Labour’s policy on Brexit is ‘sequential’, but unless the Labour Party actually start opposing the Tory Government a better word for their policy is nonsensical.

Corbyn offers no alternative. The Liberal Democrats have led the campaign for a final say on the deal, but it is time for Corbyn and the Labour frontbench to stop playing games and back a people’s vote.

All Gove is offering farmers is uncertainty

Responding to Michael Gove’s speech to the Oxford Farming Conference, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said:

Mr Gove is still not listening to any experts while it is clear he has forgotten the assurances he and his cronies gave the farming community during the referendum. Farmers have certainly not forgotten.

To plan for their business properly, famers need to know how much money they’ll get, what standards they need to meet and what tariffs they need to pay. All Gove and co are offering is yet further uncertainty.

This is a national embarrassment, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. The people must have the final say on Brexit, with the option to restore certainty and security for farmers by remaining in the EU.

Cable: PM’s publicity campaign is scaremongering

Responding to the launch of a publicity drive to prepare the public for the possibility of a “no-deal” by the Government, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The no deal publicity campaign is simply further scaremongering by Theresa May. The PM and her cabinet are attempting to frighten MPs, businesses and the public into supporting her deal.

This publicity campaign is not only a waste of the public’s money, but the PM is clearly trying to run down the clock so her deal is the only option left. This, on top of the millions spent on a ferry contract with no ferries, further demonstrates the Government’s disregard for the earnings of hardworking families across the country.

It is time the Tories stopped playing political games with our future and removed no deal from the table. The only real way out of this deadlock is to hold a People’s Vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

Cable: Govt must end brinkmanship over security in Northern Ireland

Responding to the reports that nearly 1,000 police officers are to begin training for deployment in Northern Ireland in case of disorder from a no-deal Brexit, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The Brexiters’ claims that the security of Northern Ireland is not at risk as a result of Brexit have been further dismantled by these reports. In the interest of public safety the Government must take no deal off the table.

The Conservative Government’s policy has been driven by the DUP who do not represent the majority in Northern Ireland who voted to remain.

The people of Northern Ireland demand much better than this. The Prime Minister must act responsibly, end this brinkmanship, and give the people the chance to get out of this mess once and for all with a people’s vote.

Lib Dems: Govt must follow airports and invest in drone protection

Responding to reports that both Heathrow and Gatwick airport have spent millions of pounds in anti-drone technology, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson said:

It appears that, rather belatedly, airports are now investing in the technology needed so that in the future they can manage any misuse of drones much more effectively. The Conservative Government must follow suit immediately to ensure that both police and armed forces are also better prepared to deal with any future disruption caused.

The chaos over Christmas could have been avoided. Chris Grayling must stop sitting on his hands and reverse his decision to abandon legislation which would regulate the drone market.

This whole fiasco has not only demonstrated how much of a distraction Brexit is becoming in stalling vital legislation in Parliament, but that the extent of this Government’s ineptitude knows no bounds.

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.

30 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Just two today, perhaps a reflection of Parliament not sitting today… Increase in fares an insult to passengers Responding to the announcement of an average of 3.1% more for rail tickets from 2 January, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Baroness Jenny Randerson said: Millions of people right across the country are paying over the odds for […]

Just two today, perhaps a reflection of Parliament not sitting today…

Increase in fares an insult to passengers

Responding to the announcement of an average of 3.1% more for rail tickets from 2 January, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Baroness Jenny Randerson said:

Millions of people right across the country are paying over the odds for rail tickets despite not getting the service they pay for. It is frankly an insult to passengers to increase fares yet again.

Conservative Ministers have been conspicuously absent on this announcement, no doubt because they are aware the many problems with the rail network are a result of their incompetence.

People deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. There should be an immediate freeze on fares until the Government publish their review and fix the state of our railways.

May searching for new Universities Minister as well as votes

Responding to reports that Sam Gyimah has resigned from his role as Universities and Science Minister over Theresa’s May’s “naive” handling of Brexit, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The list of Tory rebels for May’s deal gets longer and longer and she is now searching for a new Universities Minister as well as votes.

This Government is falling apart and the decision must be taken back to the public. We know May cant win on the 11th, Sam Gyimah shows us that her deal can’t even convince those closest to her.

As Universities and Science Minister Sam Gyimah will have seen at close quarters the devastating effect this botched Brexit will have on these important sectors. He should be applauded for his actions today and for also not discounting a People’s Vote.

4 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Naturally, Brexit again dominates the news, but there is at least comment on the increasing problems with HS2… Best deal for UK is what we already have Responding to reports in today’s Sunday Times that Theresa May has negotiated a deal with the EU that would see the UK remain in the Customs Union, Liberal […]

Naturally, Brexit again dominates the news, but there is at least comment on the increasing problems with HS2…

Best deal for UK is what we already have

Responding to reports in today’s Sunday Times that Theresa May has negotiated a deal with the EU that would see the UK remain in the Customs Union, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The deal the PM seems to have secured will leave us rule takers not rule makers.

It is time she conceded that the best deal we will get is the one we already have: in the customs union, in the single market and in the EU.

The PM must accept the growing calls around the country to put this to a People’s Vote and provide an option to remain on the ballot paper.

HS2 another line chalked on Grayling’s CV of failure

Responding to today’s Telegraph story carrying Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s admission that the second phase (Birmingham to Leeds) of HS2 may never be built, Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson Baroness Randerson said:

This is another line chalked up on Grayling’s CV of failure.

If HS2 turns out to be just a way of making Birmingham a suburb of London because it can be reached in 30 minutes, it will have fundamentally distorted the purpose of the project.

This Conservative Government are dragging prosperity from the north rather than increasing it and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

Banks represents culture of dodgy deals amongst Brexit campaigners

Responding to Aaron Banks’ comments about financial contributions to Leave.EU, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Aaron Banks’ performance on Marr this morning was nothing short of remarkable. His evasive approach to questions highlights the culture of dodgy deals in the Brexiters’ campaign. The campaign to leave the EU was jam packed full of lies, deceit and allegations of much worse.

Even Banks has admitted that Brexit was a mistake, stating that the shambles we are in now shows we would be better off staying in the EU.

People should not have to accept this mess. The Conservatives must give the people the final say on Brexit and a chance to remain in the EU.