11-13 September 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Long-term furlough extension essential to protect jobs
  • Economic contribution of UK-Japan trade deal will be “drop in the ocean”
  • COVID-19 testing falling dangerously short of expectations
  • New Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader commits to building “winning campaign machine”
  • Accepting rule of law appears optional for Ministers under Boris Johnson

Long-term furlough extension essential to protect jobs

Responding to ONS figures showing that UK GDP grew by 6.6% in July 2020, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

We mustn’t let these figures disguise the fact that the economic crisis caused by coronavirus is far from over. As we approach winter, countless people are worrying about their jobs and livelihoods.

The current increase in COVID-19 cases means the danger of more restrictions and job losses is very real. The Government must announce a long-term extension to the furlough scheme into 2021 to protect jobs and begin to rebuild our economy.

And to be breaking international law and indulging in brinkmanship with the EU in the current economic climate is irresponsible and shows a recklessness with all our futures. The Prime Minister must immediately row back on plans to breach international law and work for the best possible deal for UK workers and businesses.

Economic contribution of UK-Japan trade deal will be “drop in the ocean”

Responding to news that the UK has signed a new trade deal with Japan, Liberal Democrat Trade Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The Government’s deal with Japan appears to be little more than a less ambitious version of the trade agreement between Japan and the EU. The Conservatives cannot be allowed to present it as a Brexit victory.

The agreement’s economic contribution will be a drop in the ocean. Government has failed to leverage any meaningful benefit from its independent trade policy, whilst a deal protecting our EU trade is nowhere in sight. There couldn’t be a more reckless approach to international trade.

Boris Johnson must immediately get his priorities right and stop posturing, to ensure a close relationship with our most critical economic partner – Europe – or we risk a second economic crisis on top of coronavirus.

COVID-19 testing falling dangerously short of expectations

Responding to reports that the COVID-19 R rate has risen above 1 across the UK, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:

People will be rightly alarmed by these figures. No one wants to see a second wave of this dreadful virus.

A robust system to test, trace and isolate every coronavirus case remains essential to keep people safe as we open up our economy and society more and more. The current situation – with many people unable to access testing at all – continues to fall dangerously short of expectations.

If we are to prevent a second wave we need rapid action to bring our test and trace system up to scratch, as well as absolute clarity in public health messaging. If the Government can’t get these basics right, it will be difficult for people to have any faith in their promises for the future.

New Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader commits to building “winning campaign machine”

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper has been elected unanimously as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats and has committed to building a “winning campaign machine”.

Before winning St Albans for the Liberal Democrats in the 2019 election, Daisy worked for the cross-party movement More United and in Commonwealth affairs where she campaigned for improved LGBT+ rights abroad and against human rights abuses.

Daisy is also known in the Liberal Democrats for being a driving force behind the adoption of “One Member One Vote” and was a key member of the team that designed measures that has improved the diversity of the party’s MPs.

The result of the Deputy Leadership was announced this week at the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Meeting. In addition to this new role, Daisy will continue as education spokesperson.

Speaking after her election, Daisy Cooper MP said:

At the same time that Ed Davey, as our new Leader, is listening to and reconnecting with voters, it is my role to help build a winning campaign machine that will get Liberal Democrats elected at every level.

Liberal Democrats won St Albans in December for the first time ever. It was a seat we had never held before. But it didn’t happen overnight. It took three and a half years. I am determined to use the three and a half years before the next General Election to replicate our St Albans win in many other places.

With Johnson’s Conservatives attacking the independence of our judges, brazenly stating that they want to break the law and destroy our international reputation, it is more important than ever that Liberal Democrats listen and win in every part of the UK.

Accepting rule of law appears optional for Ministers under Boris Johnson

Responding to the Lord Chancellor’s comments on The Andrew Marr Show today that he would resign “If I see the rule of law being broken in a way that I find unacceptable”, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

As Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland swore an oath to respect the rule of law. It is utterly appalling to see him shrug his shoulders like this when the Conservative Government is preparing to break it. It seems that under Boris Johnson, accepting the rule of law has become optional.

For the sake of the future of our country, Ministers must stop playing fast and loose with the rule of law. Far from protecting the national interest, Boris Johnson’s Government seem content to see the UK’s international reputation trashed.

The Liberal Democrats will always fight to protect the rule of law here and abroad, and maintain the UK’s proud record. We unequivocally condemn the reckless approach of this Government.

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This entry was posted in News and Press releases.


  • richard underhill.,. 14th Sep '20 - 6:42pm

    What part of NO do you not understand?
    You may be a popular local MP, a former President and a former Leader,
    but a junior minister in the current government can say NO, at great length, as she did today.

  • Antony Watts 15th Sep '20 - 8:26am

    There are some who know about things: financial markets. Pound 2016 €1.43, now €1.08

    Go figure.

  • I suppose we all have our own insurance policy that retains an option to break the law under certain circumstances. The issue is that the mere presence of it in law makes a mockery of our legal system. How can you have a law to break a law in certain circumstances? Even discussing breaking a law could end you up in the courts in certain circumstances.

  • It’s interesting, but also a little disappointing, to see us say that our new Deputy Leader of the parliamentary party thinks that it only took three and a half years to win St Albans. Actually it took 15 years from when WA Newton Jones stood in 1959 and got nearly 6,000 votes to when Tony Shaw got us into second place ahead of Labour in 1974 with nearly 18,000 votes. We got to 21,000 votes in 1983 and 1987, before a period of decline ended with Labour leapfrogging ahead of us and the Conservatives to take the seat in the Blair landslide of 1997.

    By 2010 the local Lib Dems had again got their candidate local councillor Sandy Walkington into a clear Second Place as Labour collapsed and we were on 19,000 votes only 2,000 votes behind the Conservative – a phenomenal base Daisy built on in 2017 and 2019. Indeed since the early eighties, the Lib Dems were always been ahead of Labour on St Albans Council and on occasions held nearly every council seat in the constituency.

    It may have been a three and a half year sprint from 2015 to get over the finishing line – but generations of Liberals and Lib Dems ran the early laps and built the foundations and a lot of the structure that underpinned their and Daisy’s success in 2019.

    We shouldn’t forget them or underestimate the huge effort that took.

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