14 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

It’s another trying day, with the ghastly news from New Zealand overnight, and one does despair at the ability of human beings to do inhuman things, but politics rolls inevitably onwards. So, here are yesterday’s releases…

Lib Dems: Short prison sentences for knives don’t work

Responding to the figures showing the number of crimes related to knives and other offensive weapons dealt with by the courts has reached a nine year high, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse:

Both the Justice Secretary and the Prisons Minister have admitted that short prison sentences don’t work and actually increase the risk of re-offending. So why are so many young people still being sent to prison for a few months for carrying knives?

These pointless sentences do nothing to deter young people and offer no chance of rehabilitating them. Instead, they cost millions and only worsen the crisis of overcrowding in our prisons.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. The Government must urgently bring forward legislation to end pointless short-term sentences and take real action to prevent knife crime: more police officers, more youth services and a proper public health approach.

Lib Dems slam Govt refusal to act on the gender price gap

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has today slammed the Conservative Government for refusing to act to stop the gender price gap.

Speaking in Parliament today, Ms Jardine asked Victoria Atkins, Minister for Women and Equalities, if the Government would back her Bill to ensure that women cannot be charged more than men purely on the basis of an item’s marketing. Currently women are paying more than men for basic products 40% of the time.

Responding to Ms Jardine, the Minister refused to give the Bill the Conservative Government’s backing and refused to take action to urge companies to remove the price disparity. The Minister instead put the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of women, telling them to send a signal to retailers.

Following the exchange, Ms Jardine said:

The Minister recognised that the gender price gap is a serious problem and yet the Conservative Government does not have the courage to stand up to companies and force them to act. They are letting women and girls down through this failure to act. Liberal Democrats demand better.

I will therefore be writing to manufacturers and retailers right across the UK to ask them to change their outdated and sexist pricing structures, and I’ll be naming and shaming those who refuse to do so.

I urge the Conservative Government to reconsider, put their obsession with market forces aside, and join me in fighting to stop this injustice.

Cable: Labour leadership sits on their hands

Speaking after the Labour Party fails to back a People’s Vote and the House of Commons votes for an extension of Article 50, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Labour have predictably let down the cause of a People’s Vote this evening. This was their first chance to stand up and be counted, but instead they sat on their hands. Brexit remains in chaos with the government having faced heavy defeats this week.

The Commons has agreed by a large majority that Article 50 will have to be extended. With the hallowed exit date of March 29 more or less scrapped, it now seems inevitable that Brexit will be delayed or very possibly stopped. A People’s Vote remains the only way to resolve what is fast becoming a national crisis.

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