20 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Another busy day, but I’m pleased to note that a bit more use is being made of our Spokespeople in the Lords. After all, there are rather more of them than in the Commons, and they’re a valuable asset when it comes to holding the Government to account…

  • Cable: Bank of England must conduct honest assessment of Brexit deal
  • Cable: Govt must block Interpol election of Alexander Prokopchuk
  • Tories to blame for missed NHS targets
  • Cable: Our priority is building the momentum for a People’s Vote
  • Vulnerable people put in homes not fit for human habitation
  • The licence fee is not the Government’s to spend

Cable:

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For Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20th every year is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, where we stop to remember those transgender people who have lost their lives over the past 12 months because of who they are.

The party Twitter account marked the occasion and highlighted Sal Brinton’s recent blog post.

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How you can help Liberal Democrat Voice

The Voice is only a success because of the interest and support from our readers. For many people just lurking and reading the site is all they want to do – and that’s fine, we’re grateful for people taking the time to read the site.

You can though help us continue to produce interesting content for a growing audience. Here are four simple ways:

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Lib Link: Willie Rennie Brexit’s promises have fallen through so a People’s Vote must be held

In the Scotsman, Willie Rennie sets out the case for a People’s Vote in the wake of a woefully inadequate Brexit Deal that satisfies nobody.

Do we sit by as Rees-Mogg’s band of Brexit followers try to force us out of Europe with no deal? No. This is the time to rally for a People’s Vote. When Parliament is so divided it’s time to return it to the people. Growing numbers of people support the move to a People’s Vote. People are signing up every day. This deal satisfies no one, regardless of whether they voted leave or remain. Brexit will

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16 November 2018 – today’s press release

Lib Dems in ‘call to action’ to stop Brexit

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake MP has today written to Remain MPs from all political parties, urging them to back the Liberal Democrat’s campaign for a People’s Vote in the fight against Brexit.

Tom Brake said:

The Liberal Democrats have been consistently fighting for the last two years, but we know that now is the time for every single MP to make their decision on the most important matter facing the UK.

That is why I have written to Remain MPs urging them to join us in this fight.

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ALDC by-election review – 15 November

Four by elections took place on an eventful day for politics as a whole in the UK, with Lib Dem candidates standing in all four seats. 

Oxfordshire CC, Grove & Wantage
LD Jane Hanna 1925
Con 1447
Lab 459
Green 185
Turnout 27.85%
LD Hold
Percentage change from 2017

The outstanding result from the night came in the Grove & Wantage by-election for Oxfordshire County Council. Jane Hanna and the Oxfordshire Lib Dems put on a great campaign and increased their vote by 4.6% increasing their majority to strengthen their hold on the seat. A fantastic result for Jane and the party, congratulations and keep up the good work!

Kent CC, Canterbury North
Cons 1355
LD Alex Lister 756
Lab 660
Green 157
Ind 155
UKIP 120
Turnout 26.04%
Con Hold
Percentage change from 2017

A hard-worked campaign from Alex Lister and Kent Lib Dems saw a great swing of 7.1% cementing the Lib Dems place as the second party in the ward. The result saw the Conservatives lose 12.3% of their vote share highlighting the excellent performance from Lister despite defeat. Congratulations and let’s hope this result provides a platform for an increased focus on liberalism in the area. 

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Financial support to attend Conference

Have you ever wanted to attend our federal party conferences but been discouraged because of financial or access issues?

The Federal Conference Committee (of which I am a member) wants to enable everyone to attend, so some years ago we set up an Access Fund to provide support.

This is how it works:

  • Everyone who registers for conference is asked if they would like to contribute to the Fund.
  • Anyone with relevant needs can apply to the Access Fund for support. In short, it can cover childcare, accommodation and travel for anyone who could not otherwise afford it, plus specific costs for those with disabilities (such as sign language interpreting and mobility scooters). You can see more detail about what can be covered and how to apply here.
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Friendship, addiction and Brexit: Alastair Campbell’s poignant and frank Charles Kennedy Memorial Lecture

In the last 3.5 years, so many people have wondered what Charles Kennedy would have had to say about Brexit and our fight against it. A European to his core, he would have been such a strong and credible voice for Remain in the referendum.

Our politics is so much the poorer for his absence and in this party, his loss is particularly acute. People across politics and outside politics had so much time for him.

We didn’t find out until after he died how close he was to Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s Chief spin doctor. This was a relationship that transcended the fact that Charles was the leading opponent of the  Iraq war.

Last night Alastair Campbell travelled to Fort William to give the annual Charles Kennedy Memorial Lecture.

He recalled when Charles asked him to think about running for Rector of Glasgow University when he stood down:

As his second term as Glasgow University Rector neared its end, he sounded me out as a possible successor. He said listen, your Dad was at Glasgow, your brother is the principal’s official piper, your name and your bagpipes give you a bit of Scottish cred, you get on with young people, and, you would love it.’

‘But Charles, what about Iraq?’

‘Oh, Iraq. Huh huh, yes, Iraq. I forgot you were part of all that, weren’t you? Ach well, not to worry.’

He touched on Brexit and what Charles would have made of it all:

On the day of his funeral, we were driving up to Fort William from Glasgow airport listening to the tributes across Good Morning Scotland. A constituent recalled asking him whether he intended to support or oppose the bedroom tax, and Charles saying he would oppose it. His reasoning was very simple. ‘It’s just wrong.’

And I think he would argue very strongly that it is just wrong if the government and Parliament press ahead with a course of action that they know is going to make people poorer, our country weaker, our standing in the world lower. I believe too he would have had no difficulty arguing against this notion that somehow it is anti-democratic to put the outcome of these negotiations back to the people, given the Brexit now on offer bears next to no relation to the false prospectus on which it was sold. MPs are there to lead not follow, and Charles would have led the argument that that far from it being anti-democratic to have a People’s Vote, it would be anti-democratic – just wrong– not to. So we keep fighting.

That wasn’t the main topic of his lecture though. He wanted to talk about mental health and addiction. 

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Observations of an ex pat: The re-United Kingdom

Britain is a United Kingdom again. After more than two years of divisive vitriolic debate it has emerged upon the sunny upland plain of total agreement.

Soon the British public will be treated to the sight of former bitter enemies Boris Johnson, Vince Cable and Jacob Rees-Mogg joining hands to skip gaily into the Commons division lobby. Nigel Farage and Bob Geldof may soon embrace on the banks of the Thames.

Fathers and sons who have scowled at each other for two years will again smile across the breakfast table. Mothers and daughters will cheerfully gossip over a steaming cuppa and the pubs will enjoy a booming trade as stalled friendships are renewed over a pint—or two.

Prime Minister Theresa May has succeeded in uniting the British people against the common enemy—Herself.

Brexiteers and Remainers who only yesterday were at each other’s throats have turned as one to sink the political axe firmly into the back of their prime minister and her draft Brexit deal with the EU.

 It took less than 24 hours for Dominic Raab– the man Mrs May placed in charge of Brexit negotiations—to resign. He refused to allow his name to be associated with the agreement. He was preceded by the junior minister for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara. At least nine other cabinet ministers are known to oppose the deal and it is quite possible that there could be more resignations before I finish this piece.

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15 November 2018 – today’s press releases

A tricky day for a Press Team, I’d suggest. After all, all the attention is directed towards who might, or might not, resign, and whether or not a leadership contest will be called. Who’d be a press officer under such circumstances?…

  • Cable: The Conservative Government is in meltdown
  • Cable: PM’s incompetence leaves UK unprepared for all options
  • Brexit chaos hitting UK businesses hard
  • Cable: ‘No Brexit’ clearly on the table
  • Cable: PM in Brexit denial

Cable: The Conservative Government is in meltdown

Responding to the resignation of Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable said:

The Government started Britain on a journey with no

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Vince: People’s Vote is now probable

Well, it’s been quite a day.

I don’t work Thursdays, so under normal circumstances, I would have been glued to the telly and social media bringing you a blow by blow account of everything as it happened.

As luck would have it, I was at a housing conference. It was excellent, I learned loads, I met lovely people and I wouldn’t have missed it for any political drama, even without the excellent scones, jam and cream at the afternoon tea break.

I will admit to the occasional glance at Twitter to see the drama unfold. Looks like my crystal ball was a bit wonky the other day when I said that ministers wouldn’t create a fuss to cling on to power. However, the way that Amber Rudd and Nicky Morgan have been shoring Theresa May up today makes me worry that some Tory Remainers are folding as they have done fairly regularly for the last 30 years or so. Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston are still flying the People’s Vote flag, though.

I was on a cold station platform when May held her press conference. I spent the journey home glued to Twitter. No, she wasn’t resigning, she was just spouting the same Brexity rubbish and clinging to her deal that only she really loves.

There is no way her deal is in anything like the national interest. David Lidington couldn’t say it would make us better off. We would end up abiding by rules we had no way in making. I think those rules are generally ok to be honest, but it’s better if we have some deal of ownership of them.

Not only that but a Sky News poll became the second major tv poll in a week to show a majority of support for remaining in the EU. 54% would choose Remain, while 55% want a People’s Vote.

The party hastily organised a rally for an exit from Brexit in Parliament Square tonight. Vince told the assembled crowd that a People’s Vote had moved from possible to probable. Here he is:

Earlier in the day, Christine Jardine talked about how the Liberal Democrats had led the way on campaigning for the People’s Vote and how it was now the only way out of this mess.

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Rally tonight, Parliament Square, to demand a Final Say

An email has just gone around announcing a rally tonight in London from 6 pm to demand a Final Say on the proposed Brexit deal. More info here.

There have also been a flurry of press briefings and reactions to May’s proposals going out, here are some highlights.

Brexit chaos hitting UK businesses hard

Responding to reports that UK- focused firms have been hit hard by the PM’s proposed Brexit deal, with RBS, Lloyds, Barclays, Marks and Spencer, Barratt, Berkeley and EasyJet all seeing falls in their share prices, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Ministerial resignations and Brexit chaos are hitting UK-based businesses hard. But the short-term damage caused by a rudderless Government will be nothing compared to the permanent harm the PM’s bad deal or catastrophic No Deal would inflict on UK Plc. That is why we need a People’s Vote to get us out of this mess and secure an exit from Brexit.

PM’s incompetence leaves UK unprepared for all options

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has today criticised Theresa May for failing to prepare for no Brexit, despite admitting it was an option.

Speaking in response to the Prime Minister’s Brexit statement in the House of Commons today, Vince Cable said:

The Prime Minister rightly asserts that there are two alternatives to her plan, no deal and no Brexit. The Government is investing considerably in contingency planning for no deal. What contingency planning is she doing for no Brexit? Including, for example, advising the Commission that Article 50 may have to be withdrawn? And is she herself preparing for the fact, however much she hates it, that the House may instruct her to carry out a People’s Vote?

In response, the Prime Minister confirmed the Conservative Government was making no plans for no Brexit.

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

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The rest of us can learn from what the Welsh are doing with education….

Two recent press releases have caught my eye. As PPC for North Devon, a rural economy where, on average, schools get £300 less per pupil than in the rest of England, I am keen on education reform. Key to that is ensuring good teaching and supporting our teachers.

So I was pleased to see that Welsh Lib Dem Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced the single biggest investment in Wales’ teachers since devolution. This is through a groundbreaking £24m package to help teachers deliver Wales’ new curriculum. Kirsty says,

This major investment shows how highly we value teachers’ professional learning. It is an investment in excellence and we are aiming for nothing less than a wholesale reform of how teachers learn; a process that starts from the moment they begin initial teacher education and goes right the way through their career.

The National Approach to Professional Learning (NAPL) will focus on flexible ways of learning that don’t disrupt the school day. A much more accessible blend of learning will be available through Wales’ regions and universities. This will encompass learning outside the classroom, online learning, classroom learning and coaching.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented,

This announcement is yet another example of the transformational reforms the Welsh Lib Dems are implementing in our national mission to raise standards, reduce the attainment gap and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and public confidence.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to creating a Wales where every child has the opportunity to achieve their potential and determine their own destiny. This funding will help us realise this vision.

Not only are the Welsh investing in teachers, but they are also protecting rural schools.  Kirsty Williams introduced a new, stronger code last week which includes a presumption against the closure of rural schools. This is part of a wider Rural Education Plan which also includes a Small and Rural Schools Grant.

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  • User AvatarMatt (bristol) 20th Nov - 11:48pm
    Speaking of details, and unnecessarily complicating my point with multiple subclauses, I object entirely to this post based on the contention that it has omitted...
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    Why these horrible things happen who can even imagine, people victims of hatefulness, innocent of ever hurting, typical of those who so often are targeted,...
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    I hope that Vince and others in the leadership are looking at what can positive action can be achieved to promote the representation and input...
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    The lack of an emoji button is very frustrating.
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 20th Nov - 10:42pm
    This has been a very worthwhile exercise, Katharine. Obviously there are lots of ideas (and just as important) a recognition that something should be done....
  • User AvatarSue Sutherland 20th Nov - 10:32pm
    Andrew T I think you are seeing these problems over too short a time frame. Thatcher started the demolition of the welfare state, it continued...