11 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Amidst the chaos that is Westminster at the moment, at least somebody was trying to do something liberal. Admittedly, it wasn’t successful, but as another step towards a more liberal drugs policy, it was certainly worth the effort. Otherwise, another day of national humiliation for our country, as Theresa May found herself child-locked into a limousine. It’s a metaphor for something, isn’t it?…

So, what has gone out in the name of the Party today…

  • Lamb: Prohibition of cannabis is causing harm across the country
  • Cable: Govt economic analysis on Brexit misleading
  • EU confirms May has no room to renegotiate Brexit
  • Lamb: It is shameful that we continue to criminalise cannabis users
  • ‘Gold-plated’ visa chaos shows Home Office can’t take back control
  • Lib Dems demand more action on ‘dangerous’ short prison sentences

Lamb: Prohibition of cannabis is causing harm across the country

This afternoon, former Health Minister Norman Lamb will introduce a Ten Minute Rule Bill to legalise the possession and consumption of cannabis.

He will call upon the Government to provide for the regulation of the production, distribution and sale of cannabis; and for connected purposes. Identifying the clear benefit of legalisation to those suffering with chronic pain, and the protection of young people.

Norman is expected to say:

It is clear the recent reforms are not working. This leaves the Government with a choice: either it can tinker with a failing, arbitrary system which condemns many people to a lifetime of pain and misery; or it can look in the round at the harm that prohibition of cannabis is causing across the country and try to come up with a more enlightened approach.

My Bill offers a more rational alternative to this mess. With strict regulation of the growing, sale and marketing of cannabis, with an age limit of 18 for the purchase and consumption of cannabis, with clear controls over potency of what is sold in licensed outlets.

It’s time for this country to act on the evidence and to protect children and young people from harm.

Cable: Govt economic analysis on Brexit misleading

Responding to the Treasury Select Committee Report, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

This scathing report by the Treasury Committee rightly picks apart this Conservative Government’s misleading Brexit assessments.

If there’s one thing economists and business leaders agree on, it’s that we are better off remaining in the EU. That is why the people must get the final say on the deal, will the option to remain in the EU.

EU confirms May has no room to renegotiate Brexit

Speaking after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned this morning there would be no renegotiation of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

This is yet further confirmation of the idiocy of Theresa May’s decision to unilaterally postpone the vote on her deal.

What was the point of postponing the vote when nothing about the deal will change? It was just about avoiding egg on her face with a humiliating defeat. The Tories have no regard for the uncertainty Brexit poses to businesses across the UK.

As the Prime Minister previously warned, this is the only deal on the table. It will make people poorer and reduce the UK’s standing in the world. That is why Liberal Democrats are fighting for a People’s Vote, including the option to remain in the EU.

Lamb: It is shameful that we continue to criminalise cannabis users

Responding to the narrow defeat of his Ten Minute Rule Bill that sought to legalise and regulate the use of cannabis in the UK, former Health Minister Norman Lamb said:

Its depressing that rational, evidence-based reform was opposed by Conservative MPs.

It is total hypocrisy that the most dangerous drug of all, in terms of harm to yourself and others, alcohol, is consumed in large quantities right here in our national Parliament, whilst we criminalise others for using a less dangerous drug – with many using it for the relief of pain.

It is shameful that we continue to criminalise people who use cannabis for the relief of pain. It is equally shameful that we criminalise many young people for using cannabis, when many people in Government will have themselves used cannabis at some stage of their lives.

‘Gold-plated’ visa chaos shows Home Office can’t take back control

Responding to today’s U-turn on suspending ‘gold-plated’ visas, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey has attacked the Government’s immigration plans as “simply unworkable”.

Last week, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes announced that tier 1 (investor) visas would be suspended from midnight last Friday, due to concerns that they were being used for money laundering. However, the Home Office Migration Policy Department confirmed today that the scheme “is not currently suspended”.

Ed Davey said:

The Home Office can’t even take action on one small part of the immigration system without creating chaos and confusion. How do the Tories expect it to cope with a whole new system for millions of European workers if we leave the EU?

The truth is that Theresa May’s plans are simply unworkable. That’s why she has refused to publish her immigration white paper for more than a year – because she knows it will expose the hollowness of her promise to ‘take back control’.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. Now that Theresa May has delayed the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal, there’s no excuse for her not to publish the white paper beforehand, so that MPs can properly scrutinise the proposals.

Lib Dems demand more action on ‘dangerous’ short prison sentences

Responding to the Prisons Minister’s appearance before the Justice Select Committee today, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey has called on the Government to introduce “a presumption against short prison sentences and greater use of community sentences”.

The Prisons Minister, Rory Stewart, told the committee that the “wrong kind of short sentences actually endangers the public” because they increase re-offending and destabilise prisons. He also announced that the Ministry of Justice now has a new GPS tagging system that allows it to monitor offenders in the community.

Ed Davey said:

It is good to hear Tory Ministers finally admit what the Liberal Democrats have long been arguing: short prison sentences don’t cut crime.

But despite the evidence, the Government is trying to create even more short sentences. Even worse, some of these are mandatory sentences, which will tie judges’ hands and worsen prison overcrowding while failing to actually prevent crime.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We need a little less talk from Ministers about ending short sentences, and a little more action.

That’s why we are opposing the Government’s new mandatory sentences, and calling for a presumption against short prison sentences and greater use of tough community sentences, which have been shown to be more effective at reducing reoffending.

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2 Comments

  • Norman is a brilliant MP, and he’s totally correct on this issue. It’s such a shame that the great work he has been doing is currently being overshadowed by this Brexit mess

  • nigel hunter 12th Dec '18 - 9:42am

    If people from outside the EU (or in it) can invest 2 million in the country, that can be just the price of their London house. Is their a commitment that these individuals MUST invest more millions in our infrastructure development etc.?

    Lots of people on short sentences are not real hardened criminals. To stop them declining into serious criminality more use of tagging and the EXPANSION of the probation system to get them on the straight and narrow should be introduced. We all deserve 2nd chances.. By stopping people going to prison it reduces overcrowding etc. Equally it could stop further prisons being built and that money spent elsewhere.

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