13 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats table Bill to introduce ‘X’ gender option on passports
  • Government’s destructive immigration plans will cause chaos and confusion
  • “Outrageous” social care exclusion from Government’s new Health and Care Visa

Liberal Democrats table Bill to introduce ‘X’ gender option on passports

Ahead of International Non-Binary People’s Day [Tuesday 14th July], Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson Christine Jardine will present a Private Members’ Bill in the House of Commons to require the Government to introduce an ‘X’ gender option on passports.

Christine Jardine’s ‘Non-gender-specific Passports Bill’, supported by Stonewall, would “require the Secretary of State to make non-gender-specific passports available to non-gendered, non-binary and other people who do not identify as, or exclusively as, male or female.”

This change would bring the UK into line with other countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Germany, India, Netherlands and New Zealand that already include non-binary gender options on passports, as well as 18 US states that allow residents to mark gender ‘X’ on their driving licence.

In 2016, Parliament’s cross-party Women and Equalities Committee said that “The UK must follow Australia’s lead in introducing an option to record gender as ‘X’ on a passport.” However, the Government refused to implement that recommendation. In March, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Home Office’s refusal to introduce an ‘X’ gender option is not unlawful.

Ahead of the presentation of her Bill, Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

There are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who do not identify as exclusively male or female, but the Conservative Government still refuses to give them the dignity of recognising their identities.

Introducing an ‘X’ gender option on passports is a relatively small change that would make a big difference to so many people’s lives. I find it utterly incomprehensible that this Conservative Government still refuses to follow the example of so many other countries and make this change.

Liberal Democrats will always stand up for the rights and dignity of trans, intersex and non-binary people. We must combat the hostility and discrimination that prevents too many people from living freely and fulfilling their potential.

Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive of Stonewall, added:

It’s vital that non-binary people are able to have their gender recognised on official documents, including passports.

Travelling abroad can present many challenges for non-binary people, and trans communities more widely, who can face intrusive questions and difficulties at passport control.

That’s why we urge the Government to include an X category on passports, so non-binary people can have documents that reflect who they are.

Government’s destructive immigration plans will cause chaos and confusion

Responding the publication of further details about the Government’s points-based immigration system, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

These Conservative immigration plans will be a disaster for the small businesses that power the UK economy, just as they are struggling to survive the coronavirus crisis.

Key sectors like construction and hospitality, already facing enormous challenges, will face staffing shortages. The existing social care crisis will get even worse as there is so little time to prepare for this new system.

Given the shortage of time and the mountain of red tape that everyone including the Home Office will face, far from restoring public confidence in the immigration system, this will just cause chaos and confusion.

Liberal Democrats will oppose Priti Patel’s destructive policies and continue our fight for a fair, effective immigration system that works for our economy and treats everyone with dignity and respect.

“Outrageous” social care exclusion from Government’s new Health and Care Visa

Responding to the Government’s decision to exclude social care workers from the new Health and Care Visa and the entire “skilled worker” route under the new points-based system, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

It is utterly outrageous that Boris Johnson’s Government has pretended to prioritise social care during the COVID-19 crisis, only to announce that these vital key workers will be excluded from the so-called “Health and Care Visa”.

Without our social care workers, the most vulnerable in our society would suffer immeasurably. And yet their work is not deemed of sufficient value to this callous Conservative Government. This is a deeply short-sighted move that risks stretching the sector to breaking point, with 120,000 vacancies to fill.

Priti Patel might consider social care workers to be unskilled, but the coronavirus pandemic reminds us they are anything but. The Liberal Democrats will oppose these destructive policies and continue our fight for a fair, effective immigration system that works for our economy and society, and treats everyone with dignity and respect.

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7 Comments

  • Ruth Bright 14th Jul '20 - 8:42am

    Unimaginative approach on social care from Jardine. These are fulfilling jobs for school leavers here if they are nurtured in their roles and paid properly.

  • @ Ruth Bright Not surprised by that comment, Ruth. The same applied when the U.N. Alston Report on Poverty and Inequality was published. The said MP was impervious to requests by a number of people to campaign on it and didn’t even turn up to a Commons debate on it.

    It’s time this party became committed to a thoroughgoing policy review of its stance on social care. A highly professional well qualified properly funded system aligned to the NHS is needed to replace the current for profit on the cheap system. The issue won’t go away – although the party may whither away if it can’t get out of its present self justifying complacency.

  • “Key sectors like construction and hospitality, already facing enormous challenges, will face staffing shortages.”
    So what?
    Get with it, and stop being the rah-rah crowd for the conservatives.
    One of the reasons people – who live in the UK voted leave in 2016 was for a Westminster government to invest in UK residents. Staff shortages means opportunitiesfor UK residents such as our young people who are looking to engage with society and thus in need of jobs. So instead of complaining about it being harder to source from overseas, shout about investment in UK residents – something that I think is a LibDem policy…

  • Ruth Bright 14th Jul ’20 – 8:42am………….Unimaginative approach on social care from Jardine. These are fulfilling jobs for school leavers here if they are nurtured in their roles and paid properly………….

    As my mother used to say, “If ‘ifs’ were horses beggars would ride’…What is needed is a complete rethink, and reinvestment in social care; there is little use in green, white and polka-dot papers if the money is not there to finance change..
    As for a fulfilling job? There is little joy in the ‘waiting for death’ service in many care homes and it takes a special kind of person to undertake such work as a career..A close friend (a dedicated nurse) once told me that her most depressing duties were on ‘geriatric wards’..
    Many overseas carers come from societies where elderly relatives are still part of the close family. For better, or rather for worse, that is not the norm in our society and the gap between young and old has become a gulf…
    In the long term, with major changes, caring may be viewed as a rewarding career but, until then, overseas carers are the immediate answer and Patel’s callous short sightedness needs challenging at every opportunity.

  • David Garlick 14th Jul '20 - 10:52am

    Item was response to a measure that proposes cutting off one existing supply of care workers whilst offering nothing to bring forward the ‘young people’ for ‘fulfilling jobs’.
    Young people have bought into the narrative that they can do well paid, useful and important work but have not, until the recent pandemic, had any idea of just how important care workers are. With the Government moving to return to business as usual with little or no money to spend, the likelihood of care workers getting the substantial pay rise their role requires and deserves is remote indeed. I look forward to finding our just how the Government intends to square the circle but anticipate it will require either a substantial increase in the expected to pay rate at tax payers expense, some form of ‘care insurance’ we will all pay for, a plan I have not thought of or a combination of all three.

  • Jenny Barnes 16th Jul '20 - 2:41pm

    These here shortage occupations. What they need is a big pay rise. Yunno, supply and demand? There would be plenty care workers if their salary was doubled, and they were treated properly rather than not being paid for travel time and scheduled for back to back 15 minute appointments. Same goes for nurses.
    But this government believes in cheap – except for them, ofc.

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