Layla: I’m thinking of standing for leader..

We know that there is going to be a leadership election at some point in the not too distant future. Vince said as much last year when he launched his plans for a supporters scheme. He said: Once Brexit is resolved or stopped, that will be the time to conduct a leadership election under the […]

We know that there is going to be a leadership election at some point in the not too distant future. Vince said as much last year when he launched his plans for a supporters scheme.

He said:

Once Brexit is resolved or stopped, that will be the time to conduct a leadership election under the new rules.

Those new rules will be voted upon by the York Conference next month.

We’re not going to get a leadership election imminently and of course nobody has yet announced their candidacy. But we can make an educated guess about likely front-runners.

In 2017, both Ed Davey and Jo Swinson decided against standing.  It’s interesting that they have joint billing with Vince at the Conference rally in York. Or maybe that’s down to Federal Conference Committee’s diplomatic skills.

Layla has also been mentioned as a candidate and she gave a refreshingly straight answer when Iain Dale asked her about it the other night on LBC. 

I’m only 36, I hope to have a long and prosperous career and when someone says might you want to one day run for leader of the Liberal Democrats the answer is honestly, I don’t know.

She went on to say that she didn’t know whether she was up for the disruption to her private life:

I think the bit of it that worries me the most is how do you juggle everything else in your life, and I love being a real person who does things with friends and has a family.

I do worry about how anyone in those kinds of positions balances all of that.

Time will tell…

This was the start of a 45 minute interview which you can watch here.

It was like a proper conversation rather than a political interview. She talked about her Palestinian heritage, about how she was horrified by anti-semitism and about how moving around the world in her early life shaped her.

“Playing chicken with the country” – and the possibility of revoking Article 50

Lib Dem MPs have been out and about in the media this week. Christine Jardine took Labour to task for their abject failure to oppose the Government properly. Layla took to Twitter to give a Valentine’s Day message – and she mentioned the possibility of revoking article 50 if we get to March 29th and […]

Lib Dem MPs have been out and about in the media this week.

Christine Jardine took Labour to task for their abject failure to oppose the Government properly.

Layla took to Twitter to give a Valentine’s Day message – and she mentioned the possibility of revoking article 50 if we get to March 29th and there is still no deal. Like Christine before her she talked about May’s game of chicken with the country. Definitely a theme here. .

On Bloomberg, Jo Swinson took a coach and horses through Theresa May’s Brexit policy from the beginning, saying that public opinion had changed and the best way forward was a People’s Vote.

 

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.

31 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Govt must follow evidence not chase headlines in fight against knife crime Moran: Rough sleeping shames our whole country Tory Govt woefully unprepared for no deal Brexit Cable: Cancelled recess shows extent of Tory chaos Davey: Shocking new figures expose prison crisis Pharma giant stockpiling emergency trauma packs Huge increase in part-time and postgraduate graduates […]

  • Govt must follow evidence not chase headlines in fight against knife crime
  • Moran: Rough sleeping shames our whole country
  • Tory Govt woefully unprepared for no deal Brexit
  • Cable: Cancelled recess shows extent of Tory chaos
  • Davey: Shocking new figures expose prison crisis
  • Pharma giant stockpiling emergency trauma packs
  • Huge increase in part-time and postgraduate graduates
  • Cash-strapped councils asked to prepare for no deal is an insult to local services

Govt must follow evidence not chase headlines in fight against knife crime

Responding to the Home Secretary’s plan to give new powers to the police to tackle knife crime, Liberal Demcorat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The UK is in the grip of a knife crime epidemic, so all ideas should be considered, especially ways to stop the glorification and incitement of this violence on social media.

But Ministers must remember that ASBOs have a very mixed record – they were often seen as a “badge of honour’ by young offenders and required significant police resources which no longer exist thanks to the Conservatives’ police cuts.

Worse still, this plan ignores the evidence and the policy of the current Justice Secretary, that short term prison sentences won’t deter young people from carrying knives and instead increase the risk of re-offending.

Ministers must follow the evidence not chase the headlines.

The victims of knife crime and their families deserve better and Liberal Democrats demand better for them. We will recruit more officers to restore community policing and invest in a proper public health approach that brings together youth services, community groups, schools and the NHS to tackle this shocking rise in violent crime.

Moran: Rough sleeping shames our whole country

The Liberal Democrats have today called for cross-party support for Layla Moran’s Bill to scrap the Vagrancy Act following the publication of official figures which reveal there were 4,677 rough sleepers across England in Autumn 2018.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

The fact that thousands of people sleep rough every night shames our whole country. These figures don’t even capture the many more ‘hidden homeless’ in insecure and unsuitable accommodation.

Even worse, hundreds of homeless people die each year, as the tragic death of Kane Walker in Birmingham on Sunday reminded us. The Tories are failing our most vulnerable people.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We want the Government to be building up to 100,000 social homes a year, provide accommodation and support to those in need, and finally back my Bill to scrap the Vagrancy Act.

Tory Govt woefully unprepared for no deal Brexit

Responding to the Institute for Government report which warns the Conservative Government isn’t ready for the prospect of the UK leaving the EU with no-deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

This report makes clear what we all fear: the Tory Government is woefully unprepared for crashing out of the EU.

Despite spending over £4 billion on no-deal preparations, the Conservative Government have still failed to ensure that vital laws will be in place or that our health, food or legal sectors will have the systems in place to cope with crashing out.

What’s worse, this report suggests the Tories have also been unhelpfully secretive in the way they have made preparations. No need to guess why.

There are just 8 weeks left until supposed exit day and yet there is no deal in sight and Theresa May refuses to take no deal off the table. Liberal Democrats demand better. It’s time to give the people the final say on the deal with the option to stay in the EU.

Cable: Cancelled recess shows extent of Tory chaos

Responding to the announcement that February recess for the House of Commons has been cancelled, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The Liberal Democrats have no problem with working hard to deliver whatever needs to be done in the national interest.

But there is no doubt that the Tory Government is in this desperate position as a result of their own chaotic planning. There is a huge tranche of legislation which needs to be worked through and given proper scrutiny.

The Prime Minister must accept reality and seek a postponement to the Article 50 deadline which would give time, not just for Parliament to legislate, but for the people to have the final say. Nobody voted for this no deal outcome the Conservative Government is threatening as they run down the clock.

Davey: Shocking new figures expose prison crisis

The Liberal Democrats have called for urgent action to tackle overcrowding and recruit more prison officers following new figures showing a dramatic increase in deaths, self-harm and assaults in prison.

The statistics, published today by the Ministry of Justice, show that in 2018 there were 325 deaths in prison, up 10% since 2017.

They figures also reveal self-harm incidents and assaults have reached new record highs. In the 12 months to September 2018, there were:

  • 52,814 incidents of self-harm, up 23% year-on-year;
  • 33,803 assaults, up 20% year-on-year & the highest on record;
  • This includes 10,085 assaults on staff, up 29% year-on-year.

Liberal Democrats Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

These shocking statistics are yet more evidence that our prisons are in crisis. They are stuffed full of people on short sentences, leaving overstretched staff simply unable to cope and unable to provide the rehabilitative and mental health services prisoners need.

Prisoners are fighting, self-harming, attacking staff and even dying as a result. The Liberal Democrats demand better.

Ministers should urgently recruit more prison officers and reduce overcrowding by ending pointless short-term sentences. Our goal must be to transform prisons into places of rehabilitation and recovery, to cut re-offending and make our communities safer.

Pharma giant stockpiling emergency trauma packs

Responding to the announcement that emergency “trauma packs” flown into the UK during terrorist attacks are being stockpiled by pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, Catherine Bearder, Liberal Democrat MEP, said:

Vital trauma packs can be sent to hospitals from the EU within hours. Customs checks will delay the packs getting to patients in emergency situations – it’s terrifying. The prime minister must take no deal off the table now.

This short time frame is particularly necessary during unexpected large-scale emergencies, such as terrorist attacks, as hospitals do not always stockpile these packs on a large enough scale to deal with these extreme emergencies.

It is completely within Theresa May’s power to rule out a no deal but she continues to refuse as she attempts to scaremonger people into supporting her defeated deal. The only way out of this chaos is to offer the people a final say, with the option to remain in the EU.

Huge increase in part-time and postgraduate graduates

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds has welcomed figures showing a huge expansion in Welsh part-time undergraduates and postgraduate students.

Figures published today show that there has been a 35% increase in part-time undergraduates from Wales. There has also been a 58% increase in the number of postgraduates supported.

Under reforms introduced by Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Minister Kirsty Williams, students from Wales now receive the equivalent of the National Living Wage in grants and loans while they study.

Wales is also now the only country in Europe to introduce equivalent maintenance support across full-time and part-time undergraduates, as well as postgraduates. This has resulted in huge boost in students applying.

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:

These figures are fantastic news for Wales.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have long argued that living costs are the biggest barrier to people studying at university. That is why, in government, Kirsty Williams has introduced a new package that ensures students receive the equivalent of the National Living Wage in grants and loans while they study. The figures published today show that these reforms are making a real difference.

Wales is now the only country in Europe to introduce equivalent maintenance support across full-time, part-time undergraduates, as well as postgraduates. This is yet further evidence of the positive impact the Welsh Liberal Democrats are having in government.

Cash-strapped councils asked to prepare for no deal is an insult to local services

Responding to the letter from Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government calling for local authorities to prepare for a no deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Local Government Wera Hobhouse said:

Asking cash-strapped councils to prepare for a no deal when it is in the Government’s gift to rule it out is nothing short of an insult to local services.

With local government being eroded at every opportunity and councils struggling to even run just the most basic services, to add this burden for no reason other than to scaremonger support for the Prime Minister’s already defeated deal is utterly shameful.

Local government is being disregarded and facing funding cut after funding cut. Adult social care is facing a £3.6 billion funding gap by 2025, yet the Conservative Government have delayed the publication of Social Care Green Paper six times. The Tories are wasting the public’s time and money navel-gazing and it is having a damaging effect on our communities.

The only way out of this chaos is to give the public a final say, with the option to remain in the EU.

29 January 2019 – today’s press releases

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”. I’m afraid that we’re now well […]

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”.

I’m afraid that we’re now well into the Lewis Carroll phase of Brexit, but on the plus side, my beloved Luton Town went five points clear at the top of League One…

  • Lib Dems: Safe standing an important opportunity for football fans
  • Travel insurance not guaranteed with no-deal Brexit
  • Lib Dems: Govt continue to scaremonger with redeployment of defence staff
  • Moran: Time to scrap cruel Vagrancy Act
  • Davey: Tory cuts have made it easy for ‘county lines’ drug traffickers
  • Lib Dems: The only compromise that the PM should consider is a people’s vote
  • Cable: Contradictory amendments show only way forward is a people’s vote
  • Labour MPs who sided with the Tories have become handmaids to Brexit

Lib Dems: Safe standing an important opportunity for football fans

Responding to the announcement that Wolves are to become the first Premier League club to introduce safe standing, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The Liberal Democrats have long called for safe standing at football matches and we welcome this first step.

This is an important move in providing both safe and affordable space for fans watching the game. It is great to see clubs recognise that this is an opportunity to create a better atmosphere and cut ticket prices.

Travel insurance not guaranteed with no-deal Brexit

Five out of seven leading travel agents are unable to provide insurance cover guarantees in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a mystery shopper exercise has uncovered.

Following the Conservative Government’s own advice, the Liberal Democrats contacted seven of the UK’s largest insurers to ask whether or not they would provide cover for travel plans disrupted by a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

However, with only weeks to go until the UK could leave the European Union with a possible no-deal Brexit, only two of the seven companies could confirm insurance would be paid out as normal in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Another two insurers stated that travellers would not be covered at all while another three were simply unsure as to whether coverage would continue or not.

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Just when people are booking their holidays, the Conservatives’ shambolic handling of the Brexit process could turn their trips into a nightmare.

It is a nonsense that the Tory Government appeals to people to contact their insurance companies yet they themselves have been left largely ill-informed and unable to address any uncertainties.

It is time the Prime Minister saw sense and ruled out a chaotic ‘no deal’ scenario. Better still, Liberal Democrats want to give people an opportunity to exit from Brexit with a final say on the deal and the option to remain in the EU.

Lib Dems: Govt continue to scaremonger with redeployment of defence staff

Responding to reports that up to 1,000 defence staff could be redeployed to help the UK Government cope with a no-deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Once again this Tory Government are scaremongering about a no-deal Brexit when the Prime Minister could easily take the option off the table.

Theresa May is attempting to run down the clock, tinker with unviable solutions to the Irish border and frighten MPs, businesses and the public into supporting her already defeated deal.

The Liberal Democrats are clear the best way out of this deadlock is by giving the people the final say, with the option to remain in the EU.

Moran: Time to scrap cruel Vagrancy Act

This evening Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran will use the Adjournment Debate to bring a Bill to parliament that would see the 1824 Vagrancy Act repealed.

The Vagrancy Act currently criminalises those that sleep or beg on the streets.

Commenting ahead of the debate, Layla Moran said:

I’m delighted that I have the opportunity to debate this Bill and bring it back to parliament today and to hopefully move a step further to eradicating this cruel practice of criminalising rough sleepers.

Moving people on, issuing fines and putting vulnerable people in prison cells should be a source of shame to our authorities and our government. It is time that this archaic act from the nineteenth century was repealed.

I want to see a society that cares for those that have fallen on hard times and treats them with compassion, not cruelty and condemnation. I hope that parliament joins me in supporting the end of this legislation.

Davey: Tory cuts have made it easy for ‘county lines’ drug traffickers

Responding to the National Crime Agency’s report on the spread of ‘county lines’ drug traffickers, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

When children as young as 12 are being exploited by drug gangs, the Conservative Government’s approach clearly needs to change. We need to stop both the supply and demand of illegal hard drugs.

Unnecessary Tory cuts to the police have made it easier for organised criminal networks to spread; cuts to the Border Force have made it easier for them to traffic illegal drugs and weapons into the UK; and cuts to youth services have made it easier for them to prey on young people.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats demand more community police officers to prevent gangs from operating, more Border Force officers to stop drugs and weapons entering the country, and more youth services to keep children out of the grip of criminal gangs.

But we must also treat the addiction that fuels demand for these drugs. Rather than simply being locked up, drug users should be diverted into evidence-based treatment programmes and given the support they need to get off drugs.

Lib Dems: The only compromise that the PM should consider is a people’s vote

Responding to the Prime Minister’s agreement to engage with Conservative backbench MPs regarding the ‘Malthouse Compromise’, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

It is beyond ludicrous that the Prime Minister is willing to consider staking the country’s future on technology that does not even exist. This is not even the most irresponsible part. The idea of entering into a transition deal when the Government cannot even agree where we will end up is nothing short of dangerous.

This so-called compromise is nothing other than kicking the can down the road in an attempt to paper over the cracks in the Conservative Party. If the Conservatives are convinced that the can of worms that the referendum opened within their party can somehow be solved by delaying decisions, they are deluded.

The only compromise that will get the UK out of this mess is to give the public a people’s vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

Cable: Contradictory amendments show only way forward is a people’s vote

Responding to both Sir Graham Brady’s and Dame Caroline Spelman’s amendments being passed this evening, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The House of Commons has given contradictory instructions, both ruling out ‘no deal’ and setting the Government on a collision course with the EU, ramping up the chances of no deal.

Willing the ends but not the means for preventing no deal gets us nowhere.

Parliament remains effectively deadlocked. The only way forward is a people’s vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

Labour MPs who sided with the Tories have become handmaids to Brexit

Responding to 14 Labour MPs voting with the Conservative Government against Yvette Cooper’s amendment this evening, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

It is clear from votes in the House of Commons that divisions in the Labour Party are as deep as they are with the Tories.

Labour MPs who sided with the Conservatives have become handmaids to a Tory Brexit. As a result, a no-deal Brexit is a step closer. People will be worried about what the future holds.

The best way out of this mess is to go back to the people and give them a final say on Brexit. That is what the Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for with all our soul and heart.

28 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Never let it be said that we’re not public spirited here at Liberal Democrat Voice. So, for those of you who haven’t filed your Self Assessment tax return for the year ended 5 April 2018, the deadline is just seventy-two hours away. Don’t delay, don’t let it peck away at you! Meanwhile, back on Planet […]

Never let it be said that we’re not public spirited here at Liberal Democrat Voice. So, for those of you who haven’t filed your Self Assessment tax return for the year ended 5 April 2018, the deadline is just seventy-two hours away. Don’t delay, don’t let it peck away at you!

Meanwhile, back on Planet Zog…

  • Lib Dems: Culture in our schools system is toxic
  • Lib Dems reject Tory Immigration Bill
  • Ed Davey: Labour abstention on Immigration Bill “pathetic” (see here)
  • Govt defeat in Lords shows backstop tinkering will not work
  • Lib Dems: Britain deserves a better opposition as Labour U-turn on Immigration Bill
  • Swinson: Proxy voting a baby step in bringing Parliament into the 21st century

Lib Dems: Culture in our schools system is toxic

Responding to the Department for Education’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy that was published this morning, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Although any changes that improve the learning environment for children and working conditions for teachers are to be welcomed, we won’t see any fundamental changes in schools under this government.

For years teachers have faced real terms cuts, feeling undervalued and overworked whilst battling funding cuts and swelling class sizes. The problems that we see in our education system won’t go away until the government reverse these cuts and invest properly in the education of our future generations.

The culture that exists, of endless testing, Ofsted and league tables needs to be abolished – it’s toxic and we must instead focus on pupil and teacher well-being.

Lib Dems reject Tory Immigration Bill

Liberal Democrat MPs will today vote against the Government’s Immigration Bill, because it “fails to establish an immigration system to replace free movement” and grants “excessive powers to the Government to make changes to immigration law without primary legislation”.

The Liberal Democrats have tabled a reasoned amendment to the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, which has its Second Reading in the House of Commons this evening.

Ahead of the vote, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The Windrush scandal and countless other failings show that the immigration system is not fit for purpose.

The Tories shouldn’t even be thinking about extending it to cover millions of EU citizens before they have fixed the existing problems, starting by scrapping Theresa May’s hostile environment and taking responsibility for immigration away from the Home Office.

Govt defeat in Lords shows backstop tinkering will not work

Responding to tonight’s Government defeat in the House of Lords by 152 votes, Liberal Democrat Leader in the Lords Dick Newby said:

Over the past 8 weeks, we have moved no closer to having a Brexit outcome which can command a majority support in the Commons.

Theresa May is irresponsibly running down the clock whilst, as confusion continues to reign, businesses and individuals are voting with their feet. For Ministers to encourage filibustering in the House of Lords shows how desperate they are to scaremonger people into supporting the Prime Minister’s defeated deal.

This tactic hasn’t worked – tonight’s vote demonstrates that and is another clear rejection for the Government, showing that tinkering around the backstop will not get their deal the support it needs tomorrow. The only real alternative way out of this mess is a people’s vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

Lib Dems: Britain deserves a better opposition as Labour U-turn on Immigration Bill

Responding to the Immigration Bill passing its second reading this evening, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The Government’s Immigration Bill is so bad that even MPs from their own party joined the Liberal Democrats in the ‘No’ lobby to vote against it this evening.

But the most bizarre element of today’s debate was Labour’s U-turn on the Bill – from their original plan to abstain, to a mid-debate decision to vote with Liberal Democrats, against this Bill.

It is beyond belief that some Tory MPs were more organised on opposing the Government’s hostile immigration policies than the Labour shadow cabinet. Just like on a People’s Vote, when it comes to the crunch, Jeremy Corbyn and co are absolutely useless.

Britain deserves a better opposition, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. We will continue to fiercely oppose Tory plans to end free movement and fight for a People’s Vote and an exit from Brexit.

Swinson: Proxy voting a baby step in bringing Parliament into the 21st century

Responding to the motion on proxy voting being passed in the House of Commons this evening, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

The motion passed this evening is very welcome and long overdue. No Member of Parliament should have to choose between ensuring their constituents are represented on important votes and caring for their newborn child.

The vote today marks a baby step in the right direction in bringing Parliament into the 21st century.

24 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Liberal Democrats continue fight for a people’s vote Tory failures result in increase in violent crime Cable: Airbus warning a stark reminder of the livelihoods at risk European Court of Human Rights rules against UK Govt on privacy case Govt must repay £1.95 million to EU citizens Liberal Democrats continue fight for a people’s vote […]

  • Liberal Democrats continue fight for a people’s vote
  • Tory failures result in increase in violent crime
  • Cable: Airbus warning a stark reminder of the livelihoods at risk
  • European Court of Human Rights rules against UK Govt on privacy case
  • Govt must repay £1.95 million to EU citizens

Liberal Democrats continue fight for a people’s vote

The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to the Government’s Plan B calling on the Government to prepare for a people’s vote with an option to remain in the EU.

The amendment, supported by all Liberal Democrat MPs, also calls on the Conservative Government “to take all necessary steps to rule out a No-Deal scenario”.

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

For over two years the Liberal Democrats have been leading the charge for a people’s vote. We know people are increasingly concerned about the national embarrassment Brexit has become, which is why we have tabled an amendment that would give people the final say on Brexit.

There is still time to act in the national interest. Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership must stop dreaming up more and more creative excuses for refusing to support a people’s vote, which their members and supporters want.

No matter who delivers Brexit it will be bad for jobs, the NHS and reduce our standing in the world. That is why the Liberal Democrats are steadfastly committed to a people’s vote, where people have the right to choose to remain in the EU.

Tory failures result in increase in violent crime

Responding to the latest official figures which have revealed a 19% rise in violent crime recorded by police in England and Wales, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

We are facing an epidemic of violent crime. Behind these shocking figures lies hundreds of tragedies of young lives cut short. All Conservative Ministers have done is make things worse.

From severe reductions in the police budget to the weakening of security at our borders, the Prime Minister bears personal responsibility for decisions that have left people and communities in danger.

Conservative Ministers ought to be getting a grip, yet they have farmed out responsibility to Police and Crime Commissioners and asked them to sort it out.

The Liberal Democrats demand better for our communities. We demand more police, more youth services and people working better together to stop the violence epidemic spreading even further.

Cable: Airbus warning a stark reminder of the livelihoods at risk

Responding to Airbus’ latest warning that a no-deal Brexit could force it to pull out of the UK, describing the Brexit process as a “disgrace”, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The warning from Airbus is a stark reminder that the livelihoods of thousands of British workers are at risk from the UK leaving the EU with no deal.

The longer the Prime Minister runs down the clock and fails to give businesses certainty to plan, the greater the risk to jobs.

An extension of Article 50 is now the only responsible course, and the Government should back a People’s Vote and to give the public the final say with an option to remain in the EU.

European Court of Human Rights rules against UK Govt on privacy case

Responding to today’s European Court of Human Rights judgment that the UK failed to protect the right to privacy in the case of John Catt, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The UK should be championing human rights around the world, not violating the rights of its own citizens.

Keeping an innocent protestor’s personal details on a ‘domestic extremism’ database for years – and refusing to delete them – is a clear breach of his privacy. As today’s judgment states, it is also a breach of the UK’s commitment to uphold human rights.

While the police must have the powers and resources to keep us all safe, there must also be proper safeguards for the privacy of innocent people.

This shaming judgment is a reminder of the crucial role the European Court of Human Rights plays in protecting British rights and freedoms. The Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose any attempts to withdraw the UK from it.

Govt must repay £1.95 million to EU citizens

Today the Conservative Government has confirmed that it may have to return as much as £1.95 million to EU citizens who were forced to pay money to remain living in the country under the ‘settled status’ programme. It is expected some of the money will be returned to NHS staff and other vital public servants.

The Government were forced into an embarrassing U-turn of the policy on the back of pressure from Liberal Democrats and MPs across the political divide.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

Theresa May’s mean spirited charge was always wrong and I’m proud Liberal Democrats led the campaign to get it abolished. These refunds are right and must be issued without delay – including to the public sector bodies that will have paid some of these charges.

EU citizens have been fleeced out of millions and treated appallingly by the Conservatives throughout the mess of their Brexit negotiations and they deserve an apology.

Having u-turned on this it is now time for the Government to change course and give the people the final say on Brexit through a people’s vote.

The truth about Layla Moran’s trip to Estonia

I saw on Facebook over the holidays that Layla was off to Estonia and just assumed that she was off on a jolly. Not so much, as her website reveals. She was actually in the Baltic state to take part training exercises with British troops. Layla, a former teacher, was part of a cross-party group […]

I saw on Facebook over the holidays that Layla was off to Estonia and just assumed that she was off on a jolly.

Not so much, as her website reveals.

She was actually in the Baltic state to take part training exercises with British troops.

Layla, a former teacher, was part of a cross-party group of 7 MPs that spent several days with armed forces personnel as they carried out training exercises and duties in Estonia.

More than 800 British personnel are currently stationed in the Baltic state as part of NATO’s ‘enhanced forward presence’ along with Danish, Canadian and Estonian forces. The scheme is designed to deter Russian aggression.

The visit was part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme which sees MPs undergo military training and go on exercises alongside armed forces personnel to help inform better decision-making on defence issues in Parliament.

Layla Moran said:

“It was an honour to spend time with armed forces personnel from the Yorkshire Regiment and to find out more about their work in Estonia protecting us and our allies from Russian aggression.

“As well this visit, I’ve also been spending time at RAF bases and on exercise across the country to find out more about the outstanding work that our armed forces do serving our nation, including here in Oxfordshire.

“I hope that by getting a better understanding of day-to-day challenges of our armed forces, I will be able to contribute more usefully to the debate about whether we spend enough on our defence forces or not – and, crucially, what type of defence spending we need to meet the threats of the future.”

 

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

Layla on Any Questions this evening

Layla Moran joins the Any Questions panel in Huddersfield (or Hoodezfield if you’re American and listening to Jodie Whittaker talk about her home town) at 8pm this evening. Also on the panel is Richard Burgon, who was so rude to Jo Swinson the other night. Clearly Labour can sense the threat from us because of […]

Layla Moran joins the Any Questions panel in Huddersfield (or Hoodezfield if you’re American and listening to Jodie Whittaker talk about her home town) at 8pm this evening.

Also on the panel is Richard Burgon, who was so rude to Jo Swinson the other night. Clearly Labour can sense the threat from us because of their failure to back a People’s Vote.

1922 Committee Chair Graham Brady and the Economist’s Anne McElvoy complete the line-up.

 

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

WATCH: Lib Dem MPs talk about today’s vote

Our people have been out and about today, talking about the run-up to the vote and its aftermath. No deal should no longer be an option. Go back to the people https://t.co/ANbKGNC8BH — Vince Cable (@vincecable) January 15, 2019 Layla on the beginning of the end of Brexit Tonight’s historic defeat shows that this is […]

Our people have been out and about today, talking about the run-up to the vote and its aftermath.

Layla on the beginning of the end of Brexit

Ed on having no confidence in Labour, but backing a People’s Vote

Earlier, Wera had made the case against Brexit in her speech in the Debate

You can soak up a wee bit of the atmosphere from this view of Christine Jardine’s:

Earlier, she had told Sky News why she was fighting for a People’s Vote:

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

Lib Dems vs Brexit: Layla Moran: I want an open Britain, not one that closes itself off

In full, below, Layla Moran’s speech against Theresa May’s Brexit deal. It will come as no surprise to anyone, I am sure, to hear that I will not support the deal. I am determined to do everything I can to secure a people’s vote, with the option to stay in the EU and exit from […]

In full, below, Layla Moran’s speech against Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

It will come as no surprise to anyone, I am sure, to hear that I will not support the deal. I am determined to do everything I can to secure a people’s vote, with the option to stay in the EU and exit from Brexit. After all, that is what I was elected to do when I overturned a Tory majority of nearly 10,000 with the help of a progressive alliance of voters from across the entire political spectrum. I am still regularly stopped in the streets by constituents who just want an end to this mess. One lady said to me the other day, “I didn’t vote for this Brexit. Please make it stop!” Is not that the refrain we are hearing from everyone—“Make it stop”?

That is my issue with the deal. The Prime Minister’s deal has only 26 pages about what comes next. It will take years to get that right. Meanwhile, the fact that the air has been sucked out of this Government and the economy will continue to suffocate society. The very causes of Brexit—inequality, injustice, the incomprehension of parents that their children’s future will not be as bright as theirs—will continue to be ignored until this is over. We have to be honest with people: Brexit will not solve any of those issues.

There is only one way to make this stop, and that is a democratic exit from Brexit. Support for that, as much as many in this House are trying to ignore it, is growing. Poll after poll shows that the will of the people has changed since 2016. Add to that Russian interference, Cambridge Analytica, the leave campaign being fined for breaking electoral law and dodgy DUP donations, and is it any wonder that people are dismayed? Does that surprise us at all? In a democracy, as has been said, people should be able to change their mind. If they want to vote for this deal, let them, but if they want an exit from it and to keep the deal we already have, let them have that.

One group that Brexit affects more than anyone else is EU citizens in the UK. These people are our friends. They have built relationships and careers in this country. They deserve so much better than this shambles. Is it not shameful that they are being asked to pay £65 to continue to live in their own homes and stay in their jobs? Although I welcome the announcements of Oxford University and my local NHS trusts that they will pay the fee for their staff, it beggars belief that they even have to offer. How much public taxpayer money has been offered to overcome the charge? That suggests to me that the Government should scrap it now.

Furthermore, what of British citizens who live in the EU? We have to think of them too. Above all, this affects young people—people like my younger brother and sister, who both live in Berlin. One is a scientist and the other an artist. They grew up understanding that they would be able to seek jobs elsewhere. That is being snatched from them by leaving.​

On our NHS, 21% of the nurses and health visitors in Oxfordshire are EU citizens. My constituent, Jill, emailed me to say:

“Nobody voted for Brexit to have fewer nurses on our wards, fewer doctors in our surgeries.”

We know from our trusts that that is already happening. I agree with Jill. We would be far better off staying in and welcoming those workers with open arms.

I have two universities in my constituency, at least partially: Oxford University and Oxford Brookes. Both have expressed serious concerns about the impact of Brexit. Stuart, a professor at one of those universities, emailed me to say:

“In this department, we have been advertising lecturing jobs for the first time since the Brexit referendum. We were hoping to attract a French mathematician to one of these jobs, but when we contacted her, she made it clear that it wasn’t even an option, because she didn’t want to leave the EU.”

Instead of feeling welcome in our university towns and cities, some of the most saleable people in the world are being put off. While Brexiteers may well have had enough of experts, Oxford West and Abingdon most certainly has not.

MPs across this House must now ask themselves if the deal brought forward by the Prime Minister is better than the deal we already have. If they vote for it, they have to be able to look each and every constituent in the eye and say that that is true, and if they cannot do so, they need to give them that choice. The EU has been utterly clear that this deal is the only deal on the table—let us not make that mistake—and it should be up to the people to decide whether or not they want to accept that deal.

We should recognise, however, that this is about much more than that. It is about Britain’s place in the world—our outlook and our identity as individuals and communities. I support a people’s vote because I support an open Britain that wants to engage with the world more, not one that closes itself off.