4 December 2018 – today’s press releases

It perhaps tells you all that you need to know about the state of our politics when the Government is found to have acted in contempt of Parliament and yet, hours later, nobody has resigned. But you can guess what’s dominating today… Lib Dems demand urgent action on prisons crisis (already covered here) UK can […]

It perhaps tells you all that you need to know about the state of our politics when the Government is found to have acted in contempt of Parliament and yet, hours later, nobody has resigned. But you can guess what’s dominating today…

  • Lib Dems demand urgent action on prisons crisis (already covered here)
  • UK can get out of Brexit mess
  • Moran: Govt is fostering a culture of senseless competition in our schools
  • Cable: Legal advice must be published urgently
  • Parliament wins back control, but people must have their say
  • Cable: Bring country together with a People’s Vote

UK can get out of Brexit mess

Responding to the recommendation from the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice that Article 50 can be revoked with no legal consequences, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson, Tom Brake said:

Liberal Democrats have long said that we can get out of this Brexit mess if we chose to.

As MPs begin to debate Theresa May’s terrible deal, many will be reflecting on how it compares with the deal we’ve currently got.

UltImately the Government must give a final say through a People’s Vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

Moran: Govt is fostering a culture of senseless competition in our schools

Ofsted’s annual report has provided a damning assessment of secondary schools undertaking ‘off-rolling’ and has identified a ‘worrying gap’ in the provisions for schools attended by pupils with special educational needs or disabilities.

The education watchdog warned that thousands of pupils could be “disappearing” from the school system as a result of illegal off-rolling.

The report found that 19,000 children dropped off school rolls between January 2016 and January 2017, during the time that students are undertaking their GCSE exams.

Around half (9,700) of those dropping off rolls between Years 10 and 11 are not reappearing on the roll of another state-funded school.

‘Off-rolling’, a practice where schools move difficult-to-teach pupils off their rolls to boost performance data, is illegal and leaves the child without access to educational support.

Commenting on the report by Ofsted, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

It is shameful that thousands of children are being let down in this way. Every child has the right to an education and should be supported to achieve to the best of their ability in our schools.

This Government is fostering a culture of senseless competition between schools, where results from a single set of narrowly focused, high-stakes exams, are made to feel like the be all and end all when it comes to judging a school’s success.

All this does is force schools to give up on pupils who are struggling – a decision which will have devastating consequences for their education, job prospects and self esteem for years to come.

Cable: Legal advice must be published urgently

Responding to the House of Commons finding the Conservative Government in contempt over its failure to release their Brexit legal advice, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

This is now a government on the ropes. Theresa May’s majority has evaporated, and the credibility of her deal is evaporating with it.

Parliament has asserted itself, and the full legal advice must now be published as a matter of urgency.

The Commons is now very likely to defeat the Government again next week on the Brexit deal, at which point the country must be given a People’s Vote, and asked to choose between the deal or remaining in the EU.

Parliament wins back control, but people must have their say

Responding to the House of Commons defeating the Conservative Government by backing an amendment that gives MPs control over Brexit if the deal is voted down next week, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Parliament has thankfully won back control from the loosening grips of Theresa May. If, as expected, her deal is voted down then MPs can now instruct the Government on what should happen next.

Brexit will hit the pockets of hardworking people up and down the country. MPs now have the power to give them the opportunity to escape this mess with a People’s Vote, including the option to remain. The path is open, MPs must now take it.

Cable: Bring country together with a People’s Vote

Speaking in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement debate in the House of Commons chamber this evening, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable reiterated his party’s position to hold a People’s Vote with an option to remain in the European Union.

He said:

We shall campaign to remain in the European Union because we believe unambiguously that it is the national interest and the right thing to do.

We want to bring the country together. We don’t want to perpetuate division, but the bitter truth is we are a country divided, and it will be even more so if we leave the EU under these terms.

There are overwhelming arguments for remaining members but the fundamental point is the impact on living standards; it has been acknowledged even by the Government that we would be worse off, we can have different scenarios or assumptions but none show that we would be better off.

This issue will not die in March of next year, let us have an agreement now to have a vote on Brexit now we know what it is.

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.

Let’s cheer on Layla on Question Time tonight

Question Time will actually be worth watching tonight as our Layla Moran makes her debut on the show. She will be on the panel in Penzance with Conservative MP Nadim Zahawi, Labour’s Rebecca Long Bailey, Professor Benjamin Zephaniah and Tim Martin, the founder of Wetherspoons, a chain few self-respecting remainers will be seen in these […]

Question Time will actually be worth watching tonight as our Layla Moran makes her debut on the show.

She will be on the panel in Penzance with Conservative MP Nadim Zahawi, Labour’s Rebecca Long Bailey, Professor Benjamin Zephaniah and Tim Martin, the founder of Wetherspoons, a chain few self-respecting remainers will be seen in these days.

We know Layla is brilliant at these things because she has always rocked on Any Questions with openness, honesty and strong arguments.

Lib Dems have been rarer than hen’s teeth on these big programmes – absent from Marr these last couple of weeks as well as the other big weekend political shows – so we must take every opportunity to get our message out. Support Layla on Twitter by following #bbcqt and retweeting other Lib Dems or anyone who comments positively on Layla’s performance and adding your own comments into the mix. Share our Exit from Brexit campaign as well. And if people are really supportive, encourage them to join us.

While you’re at it, share this parliamentary petition calling for a People’s Vote which has only just started and is already well on the way to the 100,000 signatures it needs to be considered for a debate in Parliament.

It should be a good show. It all starts on BBC1 at 10:45 pm.

 

28 November 2018 – today’s press releases (part 1)

Another sizeable batch today, although one of my colleagues has asked me to hold one back until tomorrow. Indeed, we’ve had so many that I’m breaking them up into two posts… Tory failure to prepare for Brexit risks empty shops & disruption at ports Lib Dems secure key concessions on counter-terror laws Chancellor’s comments show […]

Another sizeable batch today, although one of my colleagues has asked me to hold one back until tomorrow. Indeed, we’ve had so many that I’m breaking them up into two posts…

  • Tory failure to prepare for Brexit risks empty shops & disruption at ports
  • Lib Dems secure key concessions on counter-terror laws
  • Chancellor’s comments show May’s cabinet in chaos
  • Cable: PM must stop threatening the country with no-deal Brexit
  • Cable: UK could be worse off than Government impact assessments say

Tory failure to prepare for Brexit risks empty shops & disruption at ports

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has slammed the Tories for “refusing to provide information people need” as a House of Commons Committee finds that failures in preparing for Brexit mean there is a high risk of disruption at UK ports.

The Public Accounts Committee has today (28th November) published its report entitled “Department for Transport’s Implementation of Brexit.”

The Committee concluded that:

  1. There is slow progress and poor communication around Project Brock (plans for a 13 mile lorry park on the M20).
  2. The ability of businesses to plan is hampered by secrecy, Non-Disclosure Agreements with transport companies and a lack of detailed information from the Government.

The Public Accounts Committee demands an action plan from the Government before Christmas.

Meanwhile, questions asked by Layla Moran in Parliament found that the Department for Transport has signed 28 Non-Disclosure Agreements with external companies and organisations – meaning they can’t say what the Government is planning as it prepares for Brexit.

Liberal Democrat MP and Public Accounts Committee member, Layla Moran said:

It is utterly irresponsible that Conservative Ministers are leaving businesses and the public in the dark about the risks of delays and chaos at British ports if we leave the EU.

To add insult to injury, the Department for Transport is being exceptionally secretive and has even signed 28 non-disclosure agreements with transport companies meaning they can’t discuss the Government’s contingencies for Brexit.

If we see massive delays, tailbacks and lorry parks on motorways like the M20 leading to Dover, then within days we risk shortages of food and other essentials. This isn’t acceptable.

Liberal Democrats demand better, including an urgent action plan to address public concerns. Ultimately, the best way to avoid this mess is with a People’s Vote, including the option to remain in the EU.

Lib Dems secure key concessions on counter-terror laws

The Liberal Democrats have secured a number of important concessions from the Government on its Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill.

Ministers have tabled amendments to the Bill at Report Stage in the House of Lords, to address concerns raised by Liberal Democrat MPs and peers. These amendments would limit some of the Bill’s impact on civil liberties, including by creating clear defences for the new offences of travel to areas designated by the Home Secretary and viewing terrorism-related material online, where someone has a reasonable excuse for doing so.

Liberal Democrat MPs opposed the Bill at Third Reading in the House of Commons, but Labour voted with the Tories to pass it by 376 votes to 10. Liberal Democrat Peers have raised concerns about many aspects of the Bill as it makes its way through the House of Lords, and will continue to do so despite the Government’s concessions.

Responding to the Government’s amendments, Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Lords spokesperson for Home Affairs, said:

Through our opposition to these unnecessary, illiberal new laws, we have secured important changes that will reduce the risk of innocent people being wrongly convicted.

However, we are still fundamentally opposed to much of the Bill, most of which is based on the discredited ‘conveyor belt’ theory: that simply expressing extreme views inevitably leads to radicalisation and terrorist violence.

Completely innocent people could be arrested and detained simply for expressing an opinion, for undertaking legitimate research or for visiting a dangerous part of the world, even if they had a good reason for doing so.

It would also allow people to be detained at ports, airports and the border area between Northern Ireland and the Republic, have the contents of their phones and computers gone through, even if they had no intention of committing any offence.

We must do all we can to protect our country but not at the cost of losing our own liberty.

Chancellor’s comments show May’s cabinet in chaos

Responding to the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s comments this morning that the UK will be poorer if MPs back Theresa May’s deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

For the second time in a week the Chancellor has openly admitted that the UK will suffer economically because of Theresa May’s deal. He first stated that the UK will have less money and now he is saying that we will also be poorer and suffer job losses.

Yet, we are expecting the PM to stand up this afternoon and say this deal is in the best interests of the country. The Government cannot get support for this deal in parliament, that is why they must take this decision back to the people with a final say and the option to remain in the EU. The public want this mess out of the hands of this chaotic cabinet.

Cable: PM must stop threatening the country with no-deal Brexit

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable has slammed the Prime Minister for refusing to end uncertainty and rule out a no-deal Brexit, despite her assertions that her deal is the only option.

Challenging the Prime Minister at PMQs today, Vince Cable said there was “absolutely no reason why the public should be alarmed by continuing discussions about a chaotic no-deal.”

He added: “It is entirely within the power of the House and the Government to stop it. So will she reassure the public that under no circumstances this will happen?”

In response, the Prime Minister refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

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

The Prime Minister must stop threatening the country with a scenario virtually nobody supports.

This attempt to bamboozle businesses and backbenchers with the prospect of chaos lacks all credibility. The Commons will never support ‘no deal’, and Parliament has the power to stop it.

If MPs vote down May’s deal in December, the real alternative will be a People’s Vote with the option to stay in the EU.

Cable: UK could be worse off than Government impact assessments say

Responding to the release of Brexit impact assessments by the Treasury, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

It was shocking to hear the Chancellor candidly admit that Brexit will make the country poorer.

The Government’s own analysis shows real wages falling, every region in the UK worse off and no Brexit dividend.

The assessment of Theresa May’s deal assumes a rapid transition to a frictionless trade deal with the EU and other free trade arrangements with third-party countries, but the prospect of these negotiations happening quickly is wildly optimistic.

In reality the Conservatives’ deal could leave the UK much worse off than even these dour assessments forecast.

The case is stronger than ever for giving the public the final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to remain in the EU.

Layla: If you’re bored of Brexit, this deal won’t help. We’ll be talking about it for 10 years if it goes through

Layla Moran represented the party in a debate on the Brexit Deal on last night’s Newsnight.
Here’s her pitch:

Finally, Lib Dem Layla Moran MP pitches what she wants to happen: another referendum #newsnight | @maitlis | @LaylaMoran pic.twi…

Layla Moran represented the party in a debate on the Brexit Deal on last night’s Newsnight.

Here’s her pitch:

You can watch the whole thing here.

22 November 2018 – today’s press releases (part 1)

Our Press Team have been incredibly busy today, so much so that I’m going to have to deal with this in two parts, both of which are going to be larger than usual. So, without further ado… Lib Dems: Levels of homelessness an ‘absolute disgrace’ (see article here) Tory paralysis failing domestic abuse victims Health […]

Our Press Team have been incredibly busy today, so much so that I’m going to have to deal with this in two parts, both of which are going to be larger than usual. So, without further ado…

  • Lib Dems: Levels of homelessness an ‘absolute disgrace’ (see article here)
  • Tory paralysis failing domestic abuse victims
  • Health Sec knows UK in critical condition
  • PM’s deal goes from fudge to farce
  • Tory bucket list for pupils ‘an insult’
  • Lamb: Tories must not neglect young people with mental illness
  • (see article here)

  • Davey: Reducing climate-changing gases demands real leadership

Tory paralysis failing domestic abuse victims

Responding to official statistics published today showing that 2 million people experienced domestic abuse in 2017-18, Liberal Democrat Communities spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

Every case of domestic abuse is an abhorrent and unthinkable crime. The scale of these figures show the urgent need for the Domestic Abuse Bill, but the Tories’ Brexit-induced paralysis is delaying vital legislation and failing victims.

Changing the law alone won’t, however, be enough on its own. Liberal Democrats demand better. We are fighting for more funding for refuges and rape crisis centres, as well as a new national rape crisis helpline to support victims and increase the chances of convictions.

Health Sec knows UK in critical condition

Responding to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, declaring the UK could hold a second referendum on Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Hancock says he doesn’t like the idea of a People’s Vote but May firmly put ‘no Brexit’ on the table last week.

Support is growing to give the people the final say on Brexit, and the Health Secretary knows better than anyone that this country is in a critical condition. May’s deal is dead on arrival.

He, and the others around the Cabinet table need to open their eyes and ears to public opinion, but are running scared from the Brexit backlash they face.

PM’s deal goes from fudge to farce

Commenting on today’s publication of the Political Declaration between the European Union and the UK, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

This document is as aspirational as it is contradictory. In reality, it tells us nothing new, and as we heard from the Spanish PM’s comments last night, people aren’t rallying behind this deal, home or away.

This has gone from being a fudge to a farce. May needs to start telling some home truths, about what this deal really means for people in Britain, and British expats.

The declaration – in trying to please all sides – pretends that the UK will be able to have its cake and eat it, combining a “single customs territory” and “alignment of rules” with an independent trade policy and an end to freedom of movement. This is not the case, and MPs should not be tricked into voting for the deal on this pretence.

Tory bucket list for pupils ‘an insult’

Responding to the announcement from the Education Secretary of a ‘bucket list’ for pupils, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Whilst I welcome any shift away from the Conservative Government’s obsession with high-stakes exams, this list is an insult considering their punitive funding cuts to schools across the country.

It is laughable that the Education Secretary is prioritising “watching the sun rise” when teachers are barely able to afford text books, are being forced to drop subjects and are using food banks to provide lunches.

If the Tories are serious about giving children a more rounded experience of education perhaps they should be protecting arts subjects and mental health education – which are either being cut back or squeezed out of the school day altogether because of critical funding shortages.

Davey: Reducing climate-changing gases demands real leadership

Reacting to news that climate-changing gases in the atmosphere have reached a new high, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said:

Climate change comes not just with an environmental cost, but a human cost. Unless we act now, the destruction could be unparalleled.

Frankly, however, this Conservative Government is moving at a glacial pace. Tory Ministers have no interest in tackling climate change, proven by the fact the UK is already set to miss the Paris Agreement objectives.

Liberal Democrats demand better. Now is the time for real leadership. Liberal Democrats are offering just that with plans to bring forward decarbonisation targets by ten years and a radical plan to ensure the UK can meet them.

21 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Having completed another meeting of the Federal International Relations Committee, featuring an exploration of the distant reaches of Article 7 of the Federal Constitution of the Party, your editor’s mind turns to press releases… Moran: Gov must recognise state of Palestine Cable: Prokopchuk’s Interpol position is still ‘an insult to the victims of the Salisbury […]

Having completed another meeting of the Federal International Relations Committee, featuring an exploration of the distant reaches of Article 7 of the Federal Constitution of the Party, your editor’s mind turns to press releases…

  • Moran: Gov must recognise state of Palestine
  • Cable: Prokopchuk’s Interpol position is still ‘an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack’
  • Sanctions needed to get Matthew Hedges home
  • Davey: PM must publish immigration white paper now
  • Lib Dems announce Siobhan Benita as London Mayoral candidate
  • (covered separately here)

  • Lib Dems lead fight to protect vulnerable people in care
  • Davey: Something going very wrong in energy market

Moran: Gov must recognise state of Palestine

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran will introduce a Bill to the House of Commons today calling on the Government to give recognition to the state of Palestine.

The Palestinian Statehood (Recognition) Bill would require the Government to recognise the State of Palestine within 3 months of the Bill being passed. It has support from Lib Dem, Labour, SNP, Plaid and Green MPs.

Commenting ahead of the Bill’s presentation, Layla Moran said:

Since I was elected I have been dismayed at the progress the Conservative Government has made towards recognising the state of Palestine.

I am in favour of a two-state solution, but until the state of Palestine is recognised, the two actors can’t come to the table as equal partners.

Given the UK’s role in the Balfour declaration it is vital that Britain recognises the role it has played and the role is has to play in re-igniting the peace talks.

Whilst I acknowledge that the UK recognising the state of Palestine alone won’t be a solution, doing it would go some way to reigniting the spark of hope that has gone out in the hearts of Palestinians across the world.

Cable: Prokopchuk’s Interpol position is still ‘an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack’

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has today warned Prokopchuk’s position in Interpol is still “an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack”.

Vince Cable used an Urgent Question in the House of Commons yesterday to urge the Conservative Government to block the election of Alexander Prokopchuk to the position of President of Interpol.

Mr Prokopchuk has been accused of abusing the international police body’s arrest warrant system. He lost his bid to be President of Interpol to South Korean Kim Jong-yang.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Following a Liberal Democrat-led intervention in Parliament yesterday, it is a relief to see Government lobbying has meant Interpol have not elected Prokopchuk as their President.

Prokopchuk is still, however, the Vice President and able to exercise considerable influence. Given his direct role in the Putin regime’s abuse of Interpol’s red notices, his presence in office represents a disregard for the rule of law and is an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack.

With the Conservative Government turning its back on Europe, it is absolutely essential that the UK remains firmly part of Europol.

Sanctions needed to get Matthew Hedges home

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine has demanded the Government use sanctions on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in response to the imprisonment of Matthew Hedges.

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said:

It is evidently clear that Matthew Hedges has not been given anything like a fair hearing. People will be shocked and horrified by this miscarriage of justice.

The Government must take action now, including sanctions on the United Arab Emirates, in order to secure Matthew Hedges’ full release and reunite him with his family.

He and his family deserve better, and this Government must take every step necessary to return him to the UK.

Davey: PM must publish immigration white paper now

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey has written to the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, demanding that they publish the Government’s immigration white paper without any further delay.

In the letters, Davey writes that MPs “should be given plenty of time” to scrutinise the Government’s proposals for post-Brexit immigration before the meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal. He says it would be “unacceptable to ask MPs to vote on that agreement without sufficient time to scrutinise those plans” and urges May and Sajid Javid to publish the white paper “without delay”.

In the House of Commons on Thursday, Davey asked the Prime Minister to “guarantee today that her immigration white paper will be published and debated before the meaningful vote on the deal”. May refused to give that guarantee, saying only that “We will publish the immigration white paper in due course.”

Ed Davey commented:

Ministers promised to publish their immigration proposals more than a year ago, but we’ve had nothing but meaningless slogans.

The Prime Minister is telling MPs to vote for her Brexit deal to end free movement, but refuses to spell out what that means. The answer is a lot more red tape for British businesses and a national shortage of NHS workers, carers and builders.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. Theresa May must finally come clean and publish her immigration white paper now, so MPs can scrutinise the proposals before voting on her Brexit deal.

Lib Dems lead fight to protect vulnerable people in care

The House of Lords has passed an amendment to the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, which would ensure that depriving someone of their liberty, for example in a care home, must be necessary to prevent them from harm.

The Lib Dem led amendment was supported by Labour and Crossbench Peers, who defeated the Government 202 votes to 188.

Liberal Democrat Peer Liz Barker, who tabled the amendment, said:

This is an important victory in ensuring that vulnerable people in care are sufficiently protected when they are deprived of their liberty. This is not something that should be done lightly, and so it is vital to ensure that a strong test for necessity is in place.

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill is by and large an unsatisfactory mechanism for reforming the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, and any opportunity we get to ask the Government to think again must be taken.

Davey: Something going very wrong in energy market

Responding to the news that energy supplier Extra Energy have ceased trading and Ofgem have appointed First Utility as the supplier of last resort, taking on Extra Energy’s customers, Ed Davey, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said:

I am deeply concerned by the news about the collapse of Extra Energy and the impact it could have on jobs. Clearly something has gone very wrong for this to have happened.

However, they are not the first supplier to go bust this year and most likely won’t be the last. The Conservative’s obsession with meddling with their price cap certainly hasn’t helped, and has distracted them from fixing the real issues in the energy market. Liberal Democrats demand better.

We desperately need proper stress tests for new suppliers, to ensure they can financially support themselves and also continue to provide customers with a good level of service. Otherwise the hard work of the Liberal Democrats will be squandered by the Tories.

14 November 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s been a long day today, with the last press release issued after 10 p.m…. Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages Number Ten bows to pressure on FOBT stakes Failures on women’s health becoming the norm DUP “punishment beating” comments unacceptable and dangerous ‘No Brexit’ still a very real possibility Country still […]

It’s been a long day today, with the last press release issued after 10 p.m….

  • Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages
  • Number Ten bows to pressure on FOBT stakes
  • Failures on women’s health becoming the norm
  • DUP “punishment beating” comments unacceptable and dangerous
  • ‘No Brexit’ still a very real possibility
  • Country still none the wiser on PM’s blindfold Brexit
  • Brexit will rob UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools

Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has warned the Tories are being “unacceptably risky” as a House of Commons committee finds that failures in preparing for Brexit mean food shortages are a real possibility.

The Public Accounts Committee has today [14th November] published its report into the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ preparations for Brexit.

The committee concluded that:

  • The Department is too complacent about potential disruption or interruption to trade
  • Fundamental issues for food, chemical and animal importers and exporters remain
  • Inadequate engagement with businesses means small businesses in particular are ill-prepared

The Public Accounts Committee is now calling on the Conservative Government to be clear about the impact of not being able to make the necessary legal changes in time.

Liberal Democrat MP and Public Accounts Committee member, Layla Moran said:

Following extensive evidence, there can be no confidence that food imports, food standards and food safety can be guaranteed if Brexit happens.

Muddling through in the hope of goodwill is unacceptably risky. We cannot have unsafe food, or worse no food at all, on the shelves after Brexit. This is not a price worth paying.

Liberal Democrats demand better. This mess can be avoided by giving the people a final say on Brexit, including the option to remain in the EU.

Number Ten bows to pressure on FOBT stakes

Responding to the news that the minimum stake for Fixed-Odds-Betting-Terminals will be reduced to £2 in April of next year, Liberal Democrat Culture spokesperson in the Commons, Christine Jardine said:

Tracey Crouch’s resignation sent shock waves through Number Ten and I am glad that the stake change will take effect from April.

There was no justifiable reason for the delay and it just showed how in the pocket of the gambling industry the Tories have been.

This is a victory for those like the Liberal Democrats who have been campaigning for this crackdown for a decade, and putting the interests of vulnerable people ahead of profits.

Failures on women’s health becoming the norm

Responding to the reports that more than 40,000 women in England have not received information regarding cervical cancer screening after a failure to send out letters by the NHS, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said:

It is outrageous that women’s health has again been compromised with the failure to send out cervical cancer screening letters.

Only six months ago, the former Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, stood up in the Commons to apologise to women for failures to send invitations for breast cancer screening.

It is unacceptable that these failures seem to be becoming the norm. The Liberal Democrats demand better for women’s health, much better.

DUP “punishment beating” comments unacceptable and dangerous

Responding to comments from the DUP’s Brexit Spokesperson, Sammy Wilson, in which he compared the EU’s Brexit deal to a “punishment beating for the UK because they dared to vote to leave the EU”, Liberal Democrat Northern Ireland spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Over the past few months there has been cross party agreement that the use of violent imagery and language has no place in our politics.

Sammy Wilson’s analogy is completely unacceptable and potentially dangerous. Many will read his words as being a clear reference to paramilitary violence and intimidation used during the Troubles in Northern Ireland by terrorist groups.

Politicians set the tone. In this time of division and rancour we must debate with respect and care.

‘No Brexit’ still a very real possibility

Responding to this evenings statement by the Prime Minister on the steps of Downing Street, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The crucial change is that the Prime Minister and the Government have admitted for the first time that the choice for the country is not just between this bad deal or ‘no deal’. Instead, ‘No Brexit’ is a very real possibility.

It is time to return this issue to the country, and give people the option to Remain.

Country still none the wiser on PM’s blindfold Brexit

Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement on the draft Brexit deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

After five hours in a safe room, the PM and the Cabinet emerged to provide little detail on the divorce and nothing on our future relationship. She leaves the country none the wiser.

But at least she has accepted Parliament and the people have another choice: the option the Liberal Democrats have been pushing for two years, a People’s Vote.

The PM claims she owes it to the country to take decisions in the national interest. This deal, which leaves the UK a rule taker not a rule maker, is bad for Britain, bad for the NHS and bad for British jobs. It is a deal nobody voted for and nobody wants.

Brexit will rob UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has warned that Theresa May’s Brexit deal “will rob the UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools that help to keep us safe”.

Article 8 of the withdrawal agreement, published by the Government this evening, states that the UK “shall cease to be entitled to access any network, any information system and any database established on the basis of Union law”.

Article 63 states that we will only be able to access the Schengen Information System for a maximum of 3 months after the end of the transition period, and Europol’s SIENA platform for a maximum of 1 year.

Meanwhile, Article 62 makes clear that the European Arrest Warrant will only apply to people arrested before the end of the transition period.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Theresa May’s deal finally spells out in black and white what the Liberal Democrats have been warning about for the last two years: Brexit will rob the UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools that help to keep us safe.

After the transition period, we’ll lose the European Arrest Warrant and access to vital data-sharing systems, making it harder for the police to put serious criminals behind bars and keep us all safe.

The Government says it hopes to strike a ‘comprehensive’ deal on security co-operation, but euphemistically admits negotiations have been ‘particularly challenging’. Essentially, Theresa May is asking us to trust her to sort all this out within the next two years, while admitting that she’s failed to make any progress over the last two years.

Britain’s not buying it, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. That’s why we are fighting to give the British people a say on Theresa May’s deal, including the option of an Exit from Brexit.

13 November 2018 – today’s press releases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Davey: Brexodus already damaging NHS and social care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brexit will derail the gravy train

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

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

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

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

Davey: Tory cuts make our borders less secure

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

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

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

Responding to the report, Ed Davey said:

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

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

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

Both Tories and Labour must be transparent about Brexit mess

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

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

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

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

Layla Moran: Botched Brexit can be stopped

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

Full speech – **check against delivery**

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cable: Deal will be torn apart before ink is dry

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

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

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

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

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

MPs must now let people have final say on Brexit

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

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

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

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

2 November 2018 – today’s press releases

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

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

Cost of Brexit spiralling out of control

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

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

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

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

Lib Dems call for Women’s Equality Day

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

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

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

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

Commenting on the campaign, Layla Moran MP said:

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

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

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

Emily Beer, Headteacher at Willingdon School said:

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

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

Lib Dems demand more police to tackle violence epidemic

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

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

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

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

Davey: Home Office not fit for purpose

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

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

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

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

Lib Dems: Govt must close second homes loophole

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

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

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

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