Whatever the issue around asylum seekers and refugees, the Lib Dems have a policy

Obviously issues around refugees and asylum seekers are not top of the agenda in this election, but the issues often get raised at hustings, particularly those in places of worship, and those asking are the sort of people who vote, and tell others.

Lib Dems for Seekers of Sanctuary have done a “mini manifesto” based on Lib Dem policies on these issues that is handy to have for quick reference. It is on our website here

Also we have detailed briefings on issues in more detail. For instance on detention, right to work, decision making, Family Reunion, and LGBT+ issues affecting asylum seekers. Also on Refugees, including unaccompanied children. They are in our “documents” section of our website, here.

We are happy to send word documents or PDFs of any of these.  If issues come up in the campaign, or you are asked questions, please do get in touch at [email protected] and we will do what we can to help.

A huge amount of time and effort has gone into making these policies, and condensing into handy formats.  They are there to use. For very many years Lord Roger Roberts has been campaigning for the right of asylum seekers to work.  We made our policy on ending indefinite detention for immigration purposes, along with many other issues, in 2014.  These were expanded and new one’s added in 2018. With policies on “Safe Routes for Refugees” and “Communicating in English” being added in between.  Our policies reflect our Liberal Democrat values too.  Details may change, our values don’t.

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Why Lib Dems should not stand aside in favour of Labour Remainers

Last night, Liberal Democrat PPC for Canterbury Tim Walker announced he was stepping aside in favour of Rosie Duffield, the sitting Labour MP. 

There is no doubt that Rosie Duffield is a good person who supports remaining in the EU. She holds values that are compatible with ours and, should she ever choose to join the Liberal Democrats, she would be warmly welcomed. However, she represents a party that is not committed to Remain. To stand aside for her would send the wrong message to the millions of people who are relying on Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats to stop Brexit.

Liberal Democrats have already stood aside in 20 seats, 17 as part of the Unite to Remain initiative and 3 against prominent independent remainers. Our willingness to work with others to achieve a remain objective is not in doubt.

There is one thing in common with the people we have stood down for. They represent parties who wholeheartedly support remain or are running as independents. We are the strongest voice of remain and in no circumstances should we stand aside for a representative of a party which is not committed to Remain.

Let’s go through that Labour policy again. They would go back to the EU, negotiate another deal, put that to their conference to work out whether they support the deal or remain, and then have a People’s Vote. Would they really negotiate a deal and campaign against their own efforts? I doubt it. Labour would deliver Brexit and any Brexit damages the country.

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The UK’s responses to global economic changes

High on the list of public priorities in the General Election is a sustainably improving economy. Even avid supporters of Brexit balance their new-found acceptance of economic damage from leaving the EU, with tall tales of an eventual post-Brexit boom for ‘Global Britain’.

Brexiter MPs have at different times blamed economic contraction and lower growth on ‘Remainers’ blocking Brexit and causing uncertainty, an idea which hasn’t gained much traction. Slower UK growth has also been falsely blamed on weaker global and European economic growth.

The latter claim is at least is an acknowledgement by Brexiter MPs that the UK economy is integrated …

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13 November 2019 – the overnight press releases

  • Food bank rise the result of brutal Tory cuts to universal credit
  • Lib Dems: We must end Tory erosion of local government
  • Lib Dems to invest £500 million in youth services to help tackle knife crime

Food bank rise the result of brutal Tory cuts to universal credit

Responding to data from the Trussell Trust which shows April to September 2019 to be the busiest half-year period for food banks in their network since the charity opened, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for the Department for Work and Pensions, Tim Farron said:

The UK remains one of the world’s richest countries, yet for six months of

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12 November 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Refusal to publish Russian interference shows Johnson morphing into Trump
  • Gyimah: Labour plans fail meet the needs of working people
  • Lib Dems set out plans to strengthen support for survivors of violence and abuse
  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s speech shows he is misleading voters again
  • Lib Dems: Selection of Chris Davies shows Tories’ contempt for voters

Refusal to publish Russian interference shows Johnson morphing into Trump

Following the reports that Hillary Clinton has said it is “inexplicable and shameful” that the UK government has not yet published a report on alleged Russian interference in British politics, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Chuka Umunna said:

No-one knows the extent

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Thoughts on the tragedy of the 39 killed in the lorry

All reading this will have read about the tragedy of those who died in the lorry on the way to the UK.  These deaths have made the headlines because so many people died, all at once.  But there are deaths connected with trafficking every day that we don’t hear about.

This report from “Missing Migrants” shows the figures from around the world.   It gives the facts about the tragedies of desperate people trying to reach Europe bringing the total this year to 1090 deaths, out of 2063 worldwide this year.

There are also those who are trafficked here, and are victims of slavery.  Paul Vallely, writing in the Church Times, says “What if the 39 migrants had survived?”  A big question that isn’t being addressed.  There is no doubt that the outpouring of sympathy would not have been the same.  If they had been intercepted by the authorities they would have been treated badly, and probably detained, and “sent back to where they came from”.  They certainly would not have been able to work here.  Had the smugglers been successful, the migrants would have been subjected to being treated as human slaves here.  No rights; no documentation; no employment legislation; no decent housing.  

There are many examples, from the many recently reported, of how victims of trafficking have been badly treated in the UK after arriving here. It is criminal for our Government to send those who have been trafficked (and proved to be so) back to where they are so vulnerable to be trafficked again. Every possible effort must be made to stop the smugglers and their agents, who profit from trading human beings.

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12 November 2019 – the overnight press releases

  • Liberal Democrats pledge to invest in flood defences
  • Jane Dodds to Unveil Lib Dem Plan for a Brighter Future
  • Corbyn can’t afford lifelong learning if he doesn’t stop Brexit

Liberal Democrats pledge to invest in flood defences

The Liberal Democrats have announced plans to create a £5bn flood prevention and adaptation fund.

As the world grapples with a climate emergency, the Tories are turning their backs on communities most at risk by failing to provide adequate flood defences. The Tory’s Brexit agenda risks the UK losing access to vital EU funds for improving flood defences and flood relief. This would starve local communities of …

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Lest we forget… a lesson from history…

140,000 patriotic Chinese volunteered to go to the Western Front in World War 1 to help the British and the French dig trenches and perform other manual work. This was because they thought that Western democracies would appreciate their sacrifices and reward China justly after the war for her contribution.

China had been the richest and most powerful nation on earth for many centuries. However, by the time of the later Qing Dynasty China had lost two Opium wars against the British, leading to a downhill slide into semi-colonialism for the country. This period saw China being carved up like a …

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11 November 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Gwynne’s comments reveal Labour’s hand on Brexit
  • British Steel takeover an ‘alarm bell’ for Tories’ Brexit Britain
  • Lib Dems: Brexit to blame for ‘anaemic’ economic growth
  • Davey: Conservatives and Brexit party are now one and the same
  • Lib Dems file proceedings at High Court for judicial review of ITV debate
  • ERG and Brexit Party talks show Farage is now pulling the strings

Lib Dems: Gwynne’s comments reveal Labour’s hand on Brexit

Responding to comments by Labour’s Campaign Coordinator, Andrew Gwynne, that Labour would seek to create “reciprocal agreements with the EU27 that allow British citizens to enjoy some of the freedoms that they will …

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Tory and Labour fiscal promises: Fantasy economics or Fantasy League?

This chart from the IMF shows the UK has been at the bottom of the G7 growth rates (remains true today in 2019). Remain is the best pathway to sustainable growth and resumption of “fiscal space” for both a rise in current expenditure (wages & salaries) and capital expenditure.

2. The UK’s economy is approx. £2.5 trillion (£2500 bn). A clear REMAIN decision or revocation of Article 50 would have the following macroeconomic effects:

  • A fall in country risk for the UK, even cheaper borrowing costs and a stronger pound
  • Higher GDP both

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11 November 2019 – the overnight press releases

  • Lib Dems to create ambitious £10,000 Skills Wallet for every adult
  • Lib Dems: Tories making social care crisis even worse

Lib Dems to create ambitious £10,000 Skills Wallet for every adult

The Liberal Democrats have set out their vision for a “new era of learning throughout life” with the creation of an ambitious Skills Wallet. This will give every adult £10,000 to spend on education and training throughout their lives.

A Liberal Democrat Government will put £4,000 into people’s ‘Skills Wallet’ at 25, £3,000 at 40 and another £3,000 at 55. The grants have been designed to encourage saving towards the costs of …

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9-10 November 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

That’s rather embarrassing, in that I managed to fall asleep mid-edit. So, time to catch up…

  • Lib Dems respond to Conservative announcement on GP appointments
  • Lib Dems: Boris Johnson should call Cobra meeting over flooding emergency
  • Labour People’s Vote promise rings hollow – Lib Dems
  • Labour People’s Vote promise rings hollow – Lib Dems
  • Lib Dems: Manifestos must receive OBR scrutiny

Lib Dems respond to Conservative announcement on GP appointments

Responding to the Conservative Party’s announcement today on GP appointments, Luciana Berger, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, said:

This latest Tory announcement isn’t offering any real solutions to the current

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WATCH: Jo and Layla at the Rally for the Future – We have to do better for the next generation

On Saturday, the first big Lib Dem election rally took place. The main subject was our policy of providing free childcare to children from 9 months of age – which will make life so much easier for families. What was really good is that this event was family friendly. Babies, toddlers, teenagers were in the audience including Jo’s own two sons.

The speeches were punctuated with toddler babble. It was a joy.

Jo and Layla spoke.

Watch here:

Layla remarked that she had never known such a friendly reaction on the doorstep.

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Luciana Berger: Being in the Liberal Democrats is so refreshing and so positive

When I saw Luciana Berger at Conference  in September, she looked happy and relaxed as she toured the stalls in the exhibition. She said then that she felt very welcome in the Liberal Democrats.

Many of us hoped for a long time that she would come across to us.

In an interview with the Independent, she contrasted her new life in the Lib Dems with the appalling, horrible abuse she suffered in when she was in the Labour Party:

Being in the Liberal Democrats is so refreshing and so positive. I can have disagreements with people and we do so in an adult way where people don’t shout and scream at you and hurl abuse in your direction.

Her last meeting in the Labour Party was very different:

I attended my last Labour Party meeting in October last year and vowed never to go back because it was so unpleasant – it was so toxic, there was no humanity in the room.

The attitude was very much that she should be more loyal:

She says the abuse was regularly dismissed by Labour members in her Liverpool Wavertree constituency, who responded to her recollections by sitting stony-faced and suggesting that she should be more supportive of Jeremy Corbyn.

The instances of anti semitic abuse from the far right, far left and Brexiteers made her physically ill at one point this Summer. You would think that anyone hearing the sorts of things outlined in the interview would react with compassion and empathy.

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Christine Jardine: Brexit is sucking the life out of our politics

Christine Jardine was on Sophy Ridge this morning talking (among other things) about how Brexit was sucking the life out of everyone meaning that we couldn’t concentrate on the huge issues of the day like Brexit and the NHS.

The amusing thing is that this clip is both being promoted by the party on its social media channels and trashed on Guido Fawkes.

Guido reckons that Christine is saying that Brexit is more important than the union. Which is a cheek given that Brexit as proposed by the Conservatives is more of a threat to the union than anything I have seen in my lifetime.

If we stop Brexit, we strengthen the union.

Sophy Ridge asked Christine about the leaders’ debates.

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New issue of Liberator out

Issue 398 of Liberator will soon be on its way to subscribers and the free sample articles for this issue Liberalism After Brexit, by Bernard Greaves, and Another Capitalism is Possible, by Paul Hindley, are available here.

And for those facing the rigours of a winter general election, here is the front cover illustration.

Other articles in this issue are:

Answering To A Higher Authority – Tim Farron chose to join a notably hardline Christian group, and then wondered why his views were wildly incompatible with being Lib Dem leader. Liz Barker seeks answers in his new book

Army Dreamers – The west’s counter-insurgency strategy sees the UK and its allies are pouring money into the questionably effective armed forces of repressive governments, says Rebecca Tinsley

Ukraine’s Comedian is No Comic – As America’s impeachment hearings centre on President Trump’s relations with Ukraine’s comedian president, Kiron Reid looks at how the latter got elected

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A question to Federal Conference Committee as they open registration for Spring Conference

Despite the general election, our conference timetables have to proceed as normal. So this week, registration for Spring Conference in York opened.

You will definitely want to be there. Even when our party was out its lowest ebb, Conference is still the best fun you will ever have in your life. And it’s in York, which is a gorgeous city. And the food and beer at the Mason’s Arms, just down the road from the Conference Centre is delicious.

You can register here.

But I have a question for the Federal Conference Committee. If you register now, you get your conference pass for £60.  After 20th December, just 8 days after the election, the cost rockets up to £95.

Now, most of us are knocking ourselves out campaigning for the General Election. We’re out in the cold and dark on a daily basis. Campaigning is not cheap. You have to pay to travel -and many of us are travelling to our nearest target seats. And we’re all getting asked to contribute to local and national campaigns. 

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Scottish Liberal Democrats’ bright campaign launch as party overtakes Labour in poll

The Scottish Liberal Democrats launched their campaign in Cramond on Thursday mornings. The bright umbrellas provided a contrast to  damp  grey  surroundings.

Alistair Carmichael and former Leader Lord Campbell of Pittenweem joined Willie Rennie, North East Fife candidate Wendy Chamberlain and many activists.

Willie Rennie told the assembled crowd:

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Sunday poetry

Boris is playing mind games

Cummings is showing him how

The chaos theory of conquest

Is up and running now

 

We’re now aware of their tactics 

We must band together to fight

Demonstrate the strength of the British 

Backing all MPs doing right

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Lib Dem Jobwatch: Do you want to work on the Lib Dems’ election campaign?

The Lib Dems are looking for field organisers to work for the party in the run up to the General Election.

The party is looking for people who have the following skills:

Essential Skills and Experience

  • A positive attitude with the ability to inspire others.
  • An enthusiastic approach to the job.
  • An open and approachable personality.
  • Confident talking to new people, both volunteers and members of the public.
  • The ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
  • Strong verbal communication skills.
  • Sympathy with the aims and objectives of the Liberal Democrats

.Desirable Skills and Experience

  • A full clean driving license and access to a

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Remembrance Sunday reflections

Charles Homer Bosworth was my great grandfather. In his face, I can see my Dad, my Uncle Bob, my Uncle Peter. My Dad was called after him. Known as Homer, he lived in Codford in Wiltshire. Born in 1888, he served in the First World War and gets a mention in the Codford Roll of Honour:

Charles Homer Bosworth served in the British Army during World War 1 and spent time in Russia as part of his service.

Until last year, that was as much as my sister and I and our cousins knew about his first World War Service. Then we got in touch with our Dad’s cousin in the US and he was able to tell us some more details. Apparently, Homer’s time in Russia involved being captured by the Bolsheviks and held in a cattle train car. Thankfully, he and his colleagues managed to escape, otherwise I would not be here today.

Homer continued to serve this country, joining the RAF. By the time World War 2 broke out, he was 51 years old and could have retired. Just two weeks in, he was one of 519 people killed after HMS Courageous was torpedoed off the course of Ireland.

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Jo Swinson’s statement for Remembrance Sunday

Here is Jo Swinson’s statement for Remembrance Sunday

Today we remember all those who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom. We also give our heartfelt thanks to those members of our armed forces, to veterans and their families, for all they do and the sacrifices they make to keep us safe.

We know it is so hard for people to be away from their loved ones and we owe them a debt of gratitude. We should also pause to reflect and remember today how fragile peace can be and how important it is that we all continue to stand up alongside our allies to preserve it.

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My favourite election moment of the week

It’s a toss up between Jo Swinson and arriving at a visit in Auchtermuchty and Willie Rennie and Alex Cole-Hamilton being, well, themselves.

Yesterday, Jo visited North East Fife

The typo in this, from a Courier reporter, is very amusing, but I just loved the exuberance of it.

The baby is Daphne Grint, 5 month old daughter of Scottish Lib Dem environment spokesperson Rebecca Bell.

And it’s Willie himself who provides the other iconic moment along with Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton. And there wasn’t a farm animal in sight.

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A quick canter through some Taxpayers’ Alliance polling

I’ve spent the last two days being less than warm towards the Taxpayers’ Alliance, but even where I doubt the sincerity of their aims in the generality, the data they produce is nonetheless in that it tells you much about the voters you are trying to convince. And yes, whether or not you can come up with a persuasive argument to reflect their wishes, or if you even want to, you still need to understand their motivation. So, here are some of my personal highlights…

Reducing the basic rate of corporation tax from 19% to 12.5%, the same level as Ireland

Those …

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Boost free childcare to build a brighter future

The Liberal Democrats will today (09/11/19) announce bold plans to introduce free childcare from 9 months, transforming the lives of parents and children across the UK.

Today’s high cost of childcare means that too many parents are unable to return to work without risking real financial hardship. With the average cost of 25 hours nursery care for a child under two running to more than £6500 per year, many parents are effectively excluded from work due to the burden of childcare costs.

A Liberal Democrat government will build a fairer economy by providing free, high-quality childcare for every child aged two to …

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9 November 2019 – the overnight press release

Lib Dems respond to NEU schools league table

A new NEU league table reveals that Boris Johnson’s funding plans will see 83% of schools receiving less money per pupil in April 2020, in real terms, than they received in 2015.

Responding to the report, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Education Layla Moran said:

These figures reveal how the Conservatives are failing the next generation. Schools are already struggling to cope with catastrophic budget cuts, with headteachers having to ask parents for donations for basic resources like paper and textbooks. This chronic underfunding is only set to get worse, denying children up and down

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8 November 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: If the PM thinks NI deal is so good – why doesn’t the rest of the UK have it?
  • Lib Dems: BBC now complicit in establishment stitch-up to exclude Remain voice

Lib Dems: If the PM thinks NI deal is so good – why doesn’t the rest of the UK have it?

Responding to comments made by Boris Johnson that Northern Ireland has got a great deal by keeping access to the Single Market and free movement, Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said:

The Single Market and freedom of movement are a great deal – even Boris Johnson

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Mark Pack writes…Parrots, canvassing and factsheets

Parrots feature more often in canvassing that you might expect. 

A few years back, Kelly-Marie Blundell revealed her canvassing experience one day in Guildford:

“Canvassing flats, often elderly people will call out through the door before opening as a measure of precaution. When I was canvassing some flats in Guildford, I knocked on one such door, or so I thought.

“‘Excuse me, can I help you?’ came the thin, elderly lady’s voice. I replied, ‘Yes, my name is Kelly-Marie Blundell and I am your…’

“But then she repeated it, speaking over me. So I spoke a little louder and clearer, presuming she was hard of hearing. ‘Yes, my name is Kelly-Marie…’ Then I heard it again, ‘Excuse me can I help you?’

“Rather baffled, I started again. ‘My name is Kelly-Marie…’

“And then I heard a squawk. That’s right. The repeated phrase was clearly coming from a parrot!”

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Some thoughts on taxation, as inspired by the Taxpayers’ Alliance…

Yesterday, I wrote slightly cynically about an approach from those lovely people at the Taxpayers’ Alliance. But, you know, they’re entitled to their view, even if they’re highly unlikely to admit who funds their research and their interest in seeing key tax rates lowered (the answer being, probably not people like you, gentle reader…). But I did promise to take a look at their findings, and thus give you an opportunity to comment.

But, before I do, here are some base statistics from their research;

  • 40% of respondents stated that they were “relatively comfortable financially”
  • 9% stated that they were “very comfortable

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Three poll boosts for Lib Dem candidates

Three constituency election polls put Lib Dems in touching distance of taking Dominic Raab’s Esher and Walton seat. This is great news for Lib Dem candidate Monica Harding.

The polling work was done before the announcement that Esher and Walton was part of the Unite to Remain arrangement.

Another poll put is on course to win South Cambridgeshire where Ian Sollom is our candidate

And with just under 5 weeks to go, Dr Phillip Lee is only 4 points behind John Redwood in Wokingham.

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