Category Archives: News

Roger Roberts: Could we not be the nation that leads morally in this ruptured world

Yesterday, Roger Roberts was one of many Liberal Democrat peers to take part in the Queen’s Speech debate. He’s sent us his speech on the treatment of refugees, an issue very close to his heart:

 In the wide-ranging speeches, we had one great disappointment, and I am sure the Minister involved will know exactly what I am referring to; there has been no commitment at all to receiving the 20,000 Syrian refugees as promised by David Cameron. It is not there in the Queen’s Speech. Nor is there a commitment to increase the number of unaccompanied child refugees. When you think that in Europe there are still about 88,000 of these children by themselves, we have met no commitment whatever in the Speech that we are discussing this afternoon. It has been a great disappointment in that direction.

We are probably going to get another immigration Bill; we get one every Session. I am not sure what we are going to do in a two-year Session: will we get two or just one and a half? We are going to get new legislation, and every time we do it makes it more difficult for those who are vulnerable and those who wish to escape from total austerity to come here. We can promote many amendments when that new Bill comes. We can ask why asylum seekers are still refused permission to work for the first 12 months of their time in the United Kingdom. Is there any reason whatever? I cannot see any. Why, also, do we have legislation that permits 18 year-olds to be deported? Those who are deported are largely those who have had no access to legal advice. The Government could, quite easily I think, make a commitment that everyone who approaches 18 years of age shall at least have the benefit of top-rate legal advice.

There is one other thing I would like to see in the new immigration Bill. Do you know how much people get every week when they are applying? It is £36.95, and this has not increased at all in the past five or six years. Anything that we can do to uprate that to the present cost of living would be very welcome.

I have come across a poem by Warsan Shire of Somalia that describes the circumstances, and I shall quote part of it:

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Leadership election

The timetable for the election of a new Leader for the Liberal Democrats has been announced. Here are the key dates:

Opening of nominations: 26th June (today)

Deadline for nominations: 20th July

Despatch of ballot papers to members: 16th August

Close of ballot: 11th September

Verification, count and declaration: 13th September

Also posted in Leadership Election | Tagged | 16 Comments

Tim Farron on the Conservative/DUP deal

Tim Farron has responded to the deal between the DUP and the Conservatives. He said:

The public will not be DUPed by this shoddy little deal. The nasty party is back, propped up by the DUP.

While our schools are crumbling and our NHS is in crisis, Theresa May chooses to throw cash at ten MPs in a grubby attempt to keep her Cabinet squatting in No 10.

It would be better for the people of Northern Ireland for the DUP to buckle down and focus on the talks process to restore devolved Executive at Stormont, to bring the political stability that is needed for inward investment and growth, rather than demanding cash injections from the Treasury.

Theresa May must make all the details of this agreement public immediately, so we can judge for ourselves if she is acting in the best interests of the country or of her own party.

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ALDC Campaigner Awards 2017 – nominations open

Each year, ALDC recognises the outstanding work of local Liberal Democrat campaigners and campaign teams through our Campaigner Awards. And nominations are now open.

The five categories:

  • Best By-election Campaign – We’re looking for local parties that have fought effective and strong by-election campaigns. We want to see your literature examples and hear about your strategy for winning the seat.
  • Best Online Campaign – We’re looking for local parties that have run successful online campaigns or developed a winning digital strategy. You may have used social media, emails, your website or another digital platform to achieve your campaigning aims, to fundraise or to grow your local party. Let us know what’s worked for you.
  • Best Literature Campaign – We’re looking for local parties’ examples of well-designed literature with strong messaging, photos and layout.
  • Best Community Campaign – We’re looking for parties that have successfully campaigned with local residents to benefit their area. We are particularly keen to hear from parties that have engaged hard to reach groups and used innovative approaches to do this.
  • Best Fundraising Campaign – We all know the importance of funding our campaigns and keeping our local party’s coffers in the black. Tell us how you engaged with your members and supporters to raise funds for your campaigns. You don’t need to have raised large amounts, but how you innovatively appealed to your audiences.

How to submit your nominations

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Tim Farron’s message for Eid

Here is Tim Farron’s message for Eid:

I would like to wish all those celebrating a happy and peaceful Eid.

For those celebrating, Eid will enable many Muslims to reflect on their own personal strength, particularly following the long fasts these summer days bring.

When travelling the country, I am fortunate enough to witness many examples of this strength first hand. Whether it’s in hospitals where thousands of Muslim doctors and nurses continue to provide excellent healthcare despite the increasing pressure our NHS is under.

Or in the countless towns and cities where businesses run by Muslims are driving our economy and overcoming the challenges of Brexit.

Or in mosques up and down the country who are organising charitable initiatives and promoting inter-faith dialogue.

These are just a few examples which make the heinous attack on Finsbury Park not just an attack on worshipers at the Mosque but an attack on us all.

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Momentum builds behind Brexit deal referendum

We shouldn’t assume that our failure to break through in the General Election means that people don’t agree with our policy on a referendum on the Brexit deal.

Polling is consistently showing that a majority of people are coming round to that position. For that reason, it would be unwise for us to ditch it.

A Survation poll carried out less than two weeks ago found that 53% of those who expressed a preference favoured a further referendum.

A poll of Scots for STV similarly showed that 61% of those polled said they wanted to see a referendum on the deal. This is particularly interesting given that 70% didn’t want a referendum on independence at the moment. It is significant, though, that 22% of those want to wait and see what happens with Brexit, so that argument isn’t entirely over.

Over at the Huffington Post, Tom Brake set out the case to continue wth our policy on a second referendum:

I do not agree with the view that we should just remain silent during the negotiating process and accept any deal the Government comes up with. This issue is far too important to give the Government a blank cheque. This is like saying that after a general election we should just accept and rubber stamp all decisions until the next election, without holding the Government to account.

I believe, even more strongly than a year ago, that just as people were able to vote for departure from the EU, they should be given a vote on our destination in our future relationship with the EU.

If the process started with a referendum, why shouldn’t it end with another one?

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Housing fire safety a civil emergency – Brinton

Sal Brinton, who sits on the All Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group has said that the Government should declare a civil emergency over fire safety in tower blocks and compensate those who had been evacuated. During the flooding damage in 2015, the Government extended a Council Tax discount to help those who had been badly affected. Sal said that those evacuated should have their Council Tax suspended:

This is a civil emergency. The government must guarantee funding for local councils to do everything necessary to keep people safe and compensate those who have had their lives disrupted.

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  • User AvatarAndrew Hickey 28th Jun - 8:48pm
    "Advocating a compromise solution which those in power might actually be willing to listen to is the art of the possible." What he advocated was...
  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 28th Jun - 8:41pm
    I am with Bernard here, because foreign residents need long-term stability which is guaranteed by ongoing reciprocity. If peoples' fate is quickly subject to legal...
  • User AvatarDESMET MICHEL 28th Jun - 8:40pm
    Belgian comment from Brussels : Her speech was very impressive. To repeat the words of Bachman Turner Overdrive : "You ain't seen nothing yet....." I'm...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 28th Jun - 8:39pm
    Andrew Hickey: "Vince... didn’t talk about “if the Government was determined to prioritise immigration control”, he talked about (his own views)". Vince wrote, last January,...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 28th Jun - 8:33pm
    @Ian "The peers’ precipitate intervention has denied all of us any meaningful choice this time around." @R Uduwerage-Perera "we need an election and not a...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 28th Jun - 8:32pm
    Ruwan You always sat things that are significant . Your posts are from a position of forthright but understanding concern. You could be angrier and...
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