11 February 2019 – today’s press releases (part 2)

And here’s the rest…

  • Lib Dems: Defence Secretary showboating with ‘hard power’ rhetoric
  • Lib Dems: Tory Govt prepared to sacrifice people to the electric chair
  • Govt Universal Credit admission is too late for tens of thousands
  • Lib Dems: Govt must ensure dinosaur MPs can’t obstruct legislation

Lib Dems: Defence Secretary showboating with ‘hard power’ rhetoric

In his speech “Transforming UK Defence to Meet the Global Threats of Tomorrow”, Gavin Williamson today confirmed that aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is to be deployed to the Pacific region.

Commenting on this move Liberal Defence Spokesperson Jamie Stone said:

Gavin Williamson is heating up UK defence rhetoric, something which may well be seen as provocation by Beijing. This comes following years of hollowing-out of Britain’s military capabilities, with the British Army now at the smallest it has been in decades.

Do we really have the capacity at the moment to send this ship over to showboat? Rather than flaunting the HMS Queen Elizabeth in the pacific, the Conservatives should instead be focusing on the pressing issues facing the British armed forces at the moment, including the £15bn shortfall in the MoD’s equipment plan over the next decade.

Lib Dems: Tory Govt prepared to sacrifice people to the electric chair

A Liberal Democrat amendment which would have prohibited UK authorities sharing data with overseas agencies where the death penalty could be imposed was rejected by the Conservatives today.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson in the Lords Brian Paddick accused the Conservative Government of being “prepared to sacrifice people to the electric chair in America if that is what it takes to secure the kind of agreement this Bill covers.”

The amendment to the Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill was defeated in the House of Lords by just 19 votes.

Speaking after the vote, Lord Paddick added:

The UK has long been committed to eradicating the death penalty wherever it exists in the world. An important part of that commitment is that we only help other countries to prosecute criminals if we have assurances that the death penalty will not be used.

It is disappointing to see less than half of Labour peers join us in opposing the Government on an issue which could see people being executed as a result of the UK sharing data. The Liberal Democrats are clear that we will continue to fight to keep the UK’s commitment to fundamental human rights.

Govt Universal Credit admission is too late for tens of thousands

Responding to comments from Amber Rudd about the link between the rise of food bank usage and the roll out of Universal Credit, Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

This belated admission of responsibility comes far too late for the tens of thousands of people forced to rely on food banks because of the Conservatives’ stubborn refusal to fix Universal Credit.

In 21st century Britain no one should be dependent on charitable handouts for their survival, yet that is precisely the situation that Government policy has created.

While some tinkering around the edges has happened, the Conservative Government must go all the way and give UC claimants full flexibility over when and how they are paid, while completely reversing the swingeing cuts made to the programme in 2015.

Lib Dems: Govt must ensure dinosaur MPs can’t obstruct legislation

The Liberal Democrats have today secured assurances that a Bill on female genital mutilation (FGM) will be introduced in Government time, but have called for the way in which Private Members Bills’ are debated to be reassessed.

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse secured the assurance during her Urgent Question today. The Bath MP pressed the issue after a Private Member’s Bill on FGM was dismissed on Friday after Conservative MP Christopher Chope objected.

Following the Urgent Question, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said:

It is severely disappointing that I have had to ask the Minister to bring this issue back to the Chamber today. The Conservatives should be ashamed to have Members on their benches with such outdated views about women and who fail to recognise the urgent need to protect vulnerable girls.

We need far greater protection for children who are at risk of female genital mutilation, with clear evidence that it is on the rise. We cannot be in a situation where action is only ever taken after the crime has been committed, and after these girls have undergone unsafe, life-changing, and potentially life-threatening surgery.

It is a relief to to see that the Government have taken it upon themselves to introduce this legislation, after one of their own backbenches blocked it. It is time to reassess the way in which Private Members Bills’ are debated to ensure that one aged dinosaur MP cannot obstruct the progress of vital legislation out of spite in future.

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  • nigel hunter 12th Feb '19 - 12:19am

    The army is under recruited and the aircraft carrier has no planes, China will more likely laugh at this ‘show of might’
    This ‘I object’ business over FGM. Is it not time that this archaic parliamentary procedure should be consigned to the rubbish bin. Equally it is time to have a written Constitution..

  • Don’t tellem the plan Pike.

  • >Gavin Williamson today confirmed that aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is to be deployed to the Pacific region.

    Just restating what was said in 2016:
    British fighters to overfly South China Sea; carriers in Pacific after 2020 – envoy
    What isn’t quite so clear is whether the ship will be crewed by the UK or US and likewise given the lack of UK jet fighters, whether the air wing will also be US personnel.

    I note, Gavin Williamson plays down the US involvement and that this deployment was agreed years back; suspect it doesn’t quite fit the brave Brexiteer “British Empire” mindset and rhetoric…

  • Citizens Advice verdict on Universal Credit:
    The charity says that although fixing fundamental design and reliability issues in universal credit are crucial, the overriding problem is that payments are too low because of the benefit freeze and housing benefit cuts.

    “The people we see on universal credit often struggle because the level of income they live on leaves no budget for any unexpected expenses or income shocks. Some simply do not have enough money to live on,”.

    “Fixing issues in the design and delivery of universal credit can help with the five-week wait and ongoing budget issues, but people need to be paid reliably at a level that gives them enough to meet essential living costs.”

    The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is calling for people to be able to keep more of what they earn to reduce in-work poverty, delivered by increasing the work-allowance. They estimated this would result in 340,000 fewer people in poverty and would have cost £3.4 billion in 2020/21. Half of this (£1.7 billion was announced in the last budget).

    The Resolution Foundation said the Treasury’s cuts were preventing the system functioning effectively. It has called for “far-reaching and fast-moving reform” as well as more investment.

    The original architect of the Scheme Ian Duncan Smith has said: “Rolling out a new system, and pulling the money out of it the whole time, is very difficult to do it. It counters the whole purpose of what the welfare reforms are about.”

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