17-19 March 2023 – the Conference weekend press releases (part 1)

  • Steve Brine must step down from Health Select Committee
  • ‘Show Sunak the door’ – Lib Dems update by-election door as victory props take centre stage in blue wall rally
  • Welsh Conservative MPs should “hang their heads in shame” over rail funding

Steve Brine must step down from Health Select Committee

Responding to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner launching an investigation into Steve Brine over allegations of inproper lobbying of the NHS, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

Steve Brine should immediately step down from the Health Select Committee whilst this investigation takes places. It is absurd for an MP who may have wrongly lobbied the NHS to now be in charge of holding them to account.

The evidence against him looks damning and is clear for all to see. The messages sent by Steve Brine appear to show an MP during the pandemic proiritising his corporate employers above all else.

To the public, this whole thing stinks of another Conservative sleaze scandal.

‘Show Sunak the door’ – Lib Dems update by-election door as victory props take centre stage in blue wall rally

The Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, pledges to ‘Show Sunak the Door’ as the party’s by-election victory props make a special appearance at the Spring Conference opening rally.

As he walked on stage, Ed Davey first smashed the blue wall from Chesham and Amersham with an inflatable gold hammer, then burst a confetti filled ‘Boris’ Bubble’ first seen in North Shropshire. The party leader then updated the door by replacing Boris’ name with first Truss, then Sunak’s.

The famous blue door was first unveiled in Tiverton on the morning Richard Foord won his seat from the Conservatives in a record-breaking by-election defeat. Two weeks later, Boris resigned as Prime Minister.

During the blue wall rally, special appearances were made by the blue-blooded Countess of Swinton Felicity Cunliffe-Lister who recently beat the Conservatives in a council by-election in North Yorkshire, Baroness Pinnock who delivered 48,000 leaflets to Lee Anderson after his Twitter dare and Sarah Dyke who beat Hayward Burt, the Conservative Councillor in charge of the ‘Liberal Democrat Unit’ at CCHQ, in a council election last May.

In an ode to Hayward Burt’s previously hosted ‘Fighting the Lib Dems’ events, and recent leaks about further training on how to battle the Liberal Democrats, Sarah Dyke shared some training tips for the Conservatives. She advised them to start paying taxes and stop pumping sewage into our rivers.

MPs speaking in the rally included Christine Jardine who opened the event, Munira Wilson who celebrated the members and by-election winners Richard Foord and Helen Morgan, who sat down for an interview with the Lib Dems Eastbourne candidate Josh Babarinde to discuss their time in Parliament since taking office.

Speaking after the rally, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

This blue wall rally was just a taste of what’s to come from the Liberal Democrats. Since our last conference, we have been making history and winning across the country, especially in the Conservative heartlands.

We’ve shown that when we come together, united in our vision for a fair deal for people who have been taken for granted for far too long, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.

The Conference rally was our springboard into the local election campaign. It has been fantastic to see so many energised activists ready to take on the Conservatives and prepared to create the change that our country so desperately needs.

Speaking after the rally, Cllr Sarah Dyke said:

This rally was the perfect opportunity to inspire our members and we can now use this energy to drive us forward and make our voices heard ahead of the local elections, where we will claim more victories over the Conservatives.

The Conservatives can throw whatever they want at us, we’re ready. We will not stop working to create the future we want for ourselves, our families, and our communities.

Welsh Conservative MPs should “hang their heads in shame” over rail funding

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have hit out at the Conservative Party after it emerged Wales is to miss out on yet another large pot of rail funding.

The anger follows the revelation that ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail’ will be classified by the Conservative UK Government as an England and Wales project.

Northern Powerhouse Rail is a project to connect northern cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, York, Sheffield and Leeds with high-speed and improved rail, not a single meter of the track will be in Wales.

The project is expected to cost £17.2 billion. Under the Barnett Formula (the formula in which Welsh Government funding is calculated), Wales is meant to receive a proportional share of spending in England. In this case, if Northern Powerhouse Rail was classified as an England-only project Wales would receive around £1 billion in funding it could spend on public transport.

However, this is not the first time Wales has been short-changed by the Conservative Government with High Speed 2 (HS2) also being classed as an ‘England and Wales’ despite none of the line being located in Wales. This decision is estimated to have cost Wales £5 billion in lost funding that could have been spent on public transport.

This is despite the fact Scotland has been guaranteed consequential funding from HS2 that was estimated to be up to £10 billion.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

The latest development goes to show to Conservatives couldn’t care less about Wales and that Welsh Conservative MPs are utterly failing to do their job and stand up for their constituents.

Welsh Conservative MPs should hang their heads in shame, this project very clearly is not ‘England and Wales’ and their lack of backbone is robbing Wales of vital investment that would not only better services for the public, but help to attract more businesses to Wales.

Any Welsh person, whether they are in North, Mid or South Wales, will be able to tell you the abysmal state Welsh railways are.

To deprive Wales of the funding needed to address these problems is to deprive Wales and its people of opportunity and potential for further development.

This sadly fits a long record for the Conservative Party, given they also cancelled the electrification of the South Wales rail lines, cancelled Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and deprived Wales of £1 billion in funding it would have received had we stayed in the EU.

It seems if the Conservatives had a message for the Welsh electorate it would be – ‘you don’t matter to us’.

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2 Comments

  • George Thomas 20th Mar '23 - 8:36pm

    Wales is about to miss out on an estimate of £4.55-£6 billion worth of funding due to Tories in Westminster decision making.

    It’s fantastic that Jane Dodds is making noise about this but is Ed Davey committed to correcting this error if Lib Dems end up in power by themselves, pushing for it if in power as part of a coalition or pushing for it as part of opposition?

    We’ve recently seen Northern Ireland be picked up, shaken about due to a Brexit they never wanted (the latest being that Northern Ireland MP’s will be invited to debate set to last just 90 minutes) and Wales be denied funding on a large scale. It’s not fun being smaller part of the UK at the moment.

  • George Thomas 20th Mar '23 - 8:45pm

    P.S. because we all know that Wales isn’t going to get the estimated £4.55-£6 billion worth of funding back regardless of whether Tories stay in power or Labour become biggest party, and because voting system in general elections doesn’t allow for any other result, please remember Jane’s final sentence here (“you don’t matter to us”) when a thread criticising the SNP’s want for independence comes up on this website.

    I don’t think SNP/Plaid have made solid enough case for independence, it’s probable that staying in Union makes Scotland (and Wales) better off because comparison appears worse, but the clear message from Westminster is “you don’t matter to us” and we’ll rob you of of £4.55-£6 billion in funding if it makes our jobs easier. That’s the reality of it.

    Unless of course Ed Davey wants to include this in his campaign? Because it’s not Jane Dodds who can change things here. I’m going to watch his speech at conference now to find out what he has to say….

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