Author Archives: NewsHound

LibLink: Tim Farron: Scrapping Minister for Refugees shows May’s Govt shrinking from role in solving refugee crisis

Syrian refugees by Syria Freedom Freedom House Flickr CCL 2In an article for the Huffington Post, Tim Farron has slammed Theresa May for scrapping the post of Minister for Refugees, a post which was only established by David Cameron last September to make it look like he was doing something.

The minister, amongst other things, oversaw the implementation of Britain’s commitment to take 20,000 Syrian refugees from the region and an additional 3,000 vulnerable refugee children from the Middle East over the course of this Parliament. This process was already moving at a snail’s pace – by the end of March of this year only 1,602 people had been resettled in the UK. Now, with no one holding the ball on this issue you have to wonder how anyone can remain optimistic that we will hit this target.

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LibLink: Alistair Carmichael: We put an end to child detention. Now the Tories have backtracked

Alistair Carmichael writes for STV News about the Tories sneaking out the announcement about the closure of the Cedars facility:

It is the oldest trick in the parliamentary book. Slip out all the bad news on the last day when MPs are already looking out the Ambre Solaire and the flip flops. By the time the Commons returns in September the moment for protest will have passed and the pressure will be off.

Thursday’s clutch brought the usual mix of the good, the bad and the indifferent. And one more — the shameful. Buried in amongst announcements about schools funding, Ecofin and Armed Forces Pay Review Body appointments, there is one entitled “Cedars pre-departure accommodation”. It is a cosy-sounding title that betrays its true nature.

Cedars was the accommodation set up under the coalition government when implementing the commitment in the coalition agreement to end the detention of children for immigration purposes. It meant that children in families awaiting removal from the UK would no longer have to spend time in lock-down institutions.

Why should we treat children of asylum seekers less well than we would want our own to be treated, he asks.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Turmoil makes case for voting reform

Tim Farron has written a thoughtful article for the Yorkshire Post saying that we need to reform our voting system to make it fairer and to reflect the views of the people.

What’s surprising is that there’s more than just Lib Dems talking about it:

But just as extraordinary in its way has been the letters page of The Yorkshire Post. It has been bursting with debate on the need for electoral reform in the light of Brexit and the divided state of our country.

Tim went on to talk about conversations with Leave voters in Preston who felt that their concerns were not reflected in Westminster:

Many said that London had boomed while places that had been hit hard by the recession still haven’t seen much evidence of a recovery.

True, there were some who had voted Leave because they were worried about what they saw as an erosion of sovereignty. But many raised issues such as low wages, poor housing and lack of investment.

Even when immigration was mentioned, it was in the context of lack of training and opportunities for people in cities such as Preston to improve their lives and share in prosperity. I pointed out that London certainly has its share of disadvantaged people, but several people asked: “Where is the infrastructure investment in other parts of the UK?”

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Nick Clegg: We need more than warm words and bromide from May

In his first few hours as our EU Spokesperson, we’ve had more sense from Nick Clegg than we’ve had from the whole government in the four awful weeks since the referendum.

Tonight he was on Radio 4’s PM programme saying that it was really important that we started to see some detail from the Government on its plans for Britain’s exit from the EU. We need, he said, a very detailed plan to extricate ourselves from the complex web of economic and legal ties between us and the EU.

He said that if the Government wanted to retain the closest possible ties with the single market, their own backbenchers would kick off.

You can listen to his interview here from about 39:30.

In a piece for the i newspaper, Nick pointed out a few discrepancies between what the Tories say they want and the likelihood of it happening without compromise:

Theresa May can’t, for example, promise that we will be able to enjoy all the benefits to our economy that full access to the world’s largest borderless single market will bring, without accepting freedom of movement in return. So which is it? What matters more – our economy and jobs or clamping down on immigration?

David Davis, Theresa May’s new Brexit minister, appears to believe the single market is just a free trade arrangement. It isn’t. Free trade means removing tariffs so that companies can trade without paying different levels of tax on the goods they buy and sell. But the single market is much more ambitious. It is about harmonising all the standards and regulations that apply to goods and services across Europe, so that companies can trade with each other on a truly level playing field.

So it’s good that someone is on the case. He sets out his own plans:

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LibLInk: Alistair Carmichael: Theresa May’s liberal rhetoric a surprise

Alistair Carmichael has written an article for today’s Scotsman in which he matches up Theresa May’s words on entering Downing Street to her actions in government. Certainly we can all remember Margaret Thatcher’s warm words about bringing peace and harmony when she entered No 10, and we know how that turned out.

For many people there were three main reasons for being pleased to see Theresa May enter No 10 Downing Street last week. Firstly she was not Boris Johnson; secondly she was not Michael Gove and thirdly she was not Andrea Leadsom. As a father, I felt it could have been worse. Mrs May, a vicar’s daughter we are told, delivered a little homily for the benefit of the world’s media outside her new residence. The rhetoric was good. I know from five years in coalition government that getting some Conservatives even to acknowledge the inequalities of modern life can be difficult. Here we had a Conservative prime minister not just acknowledging them but promising to tackle them.

But her record so far doesn’t quite reflect this:

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LibLink: Tim Farron: What’s next?

Tim Farron has written a blog for the party website where he outlines 3 Liberal Democrat priorities. They are:

I’ve already announced that at the next General election, our party’s manifesto will contain a clear commitment to take us back into the European Union.

Our manifesto will contain a clear commitment to take us back into the European Union.

We have also launched a campaign to protect EU citizens right to stay in the United Kingdom. Thousands have already signed a petition backing the campaign online (you can add your name here) and this week, Tom Brake introduced a bill to the House of Commons, intended to do exactly that.

EU Citizens have built their lives here, they’re our friends, family, co-workers and neighbours and we must guarantee their future in this country.

EU citizens have built their lives here, we must guarantee their future

Our fight will not stop there – as Theresa May’s new government begins to negotiate Brexit, we must hold the Brextiers to account for the promises they have made.

They cannot be allowed to get away with the lies and half truths they told during the referendum and they cannot be allowed to escape responsibility for what they have done.

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LibLink: Shirley Williams: Bring all sides together to negotiate our future with Europe

While Tory and Labour parties rip themselves apart, the Liberal Democrats have spent a great deal of time offering ideas and solutions. The latest is Shirley Williams in today’s Observer:

She succinctly sums up the mess we are in:

With every passing day, the problems confronting the new prime minister multiply. The balance of payments worsens, the pound sinks against the dollar, the London property market, no longer attractive to ambitious young bankers and financial experts, declines and Brexit begins to look more and more like snake oil.

How do we face those challenges? Well, it needs strong government and opposition:

To get through the business of negotiating an alternative to membership of the European Union, and to do so without our country falling apart, will require patience, tolerance of different and often strongly held views and good, grown-up government. None of these were evident in the bitter, brutal referendum debate. We need not just good government but a serious, responsible opposition as well.

She draws parallels with the mess of the Labour Party in the 80s.

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  • User AvatarIan Patterson 29th Jul - 11:08am
    What is the political balance on VCornwall now after this by election?
  • User AvatarChristopher Ecclestone 29th Jul - 10:40am
    Sign up details link does not work...
  • User AvatarCllr Mark Wright 29th Jul - 10:32am
    Cracking month of July! Local Council by elections results summary for July - 32 by elections in total ( none in Scotland ) Lab 31.5%...
  • User AvatarMeg Thomas 29th Jul - 10:16am
    We need to get the whole country more like Totnes!
  • User AvatarAshley 29th Jul - 10:06am
    Welcome Dean. Lots of issues around mental health need tackling and the party has made great start. As the partner of someone with bipolar left...
  • User AvatarChris Maines 29th Jul - 10:06am
    We should keep adding in Totnes to yesterday's results - Two holds + Two gains - another good week for the party