18 October 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Triple lock: Truss looks set to betray struggling pensioners in the middle of a cost of living crisis
  • Lib Dem Amendment Put to Vote to End Sleaze in Parliament
  • Anti-sleaze amendment passed to stop MPs “marking their own homework”
  • Calls for Action as Drug-Related Deaths in Wales Rise to Highest Level Ever
  • Welsh Government Must Act to Stop the Brain Drain of Doctors in Wales

Triple lock: Truss looks set to betray struggling pensioners in the middle of a cost of living crisis

Responding to the Prime Minister’s spokesperson refusing to say the Government is committed to the triple lock pension, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Work and Pensions Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Liz Truss has trashed the economy and now looks set to betray struggling pensioners in the middle of a cost of living crisis.

This Conservative Government’s botched budget has already sent mortgage bills spiralling. It would be a kick in the teeth for millions of people if Truss now backtracks on her triple lock promise. The British public will never forgive the Conservative party if they break this promise.

This chaotic Government has to go. Britain needs a general election before Liz Truss and her Conservative Ministers do anymore damage.

Lib Dem Amendment Put to Vote to End Sleaze in Parliament

The Liberal Democrats have today led a cross-party Parliamentary effort to finally end the practice by which MPs are allowed to vote on motions regarding their own misconduct.

The Lib Dem Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain is today putting an amendment to a vote on the Government’s motion on standards, which the Government has tabled to implement recommendations from the Standards Committee, later this afternoon.

This practice was notoriously brought to attention by the Owen Paterson scandal, when he voted against his own suspension from the House of Commons in 2021 – a saga which ultimately resulted in a Liberal Democrat victory in the North Shropshire by-election.

The amendments, which have support from Conservatives (David Mundell, Alicia Kearns), Labour (Kim Leadbeater, Cat Smith) and the Green Party (Caroline Lucas), would prohibit members from voting on anything concerning their own conduct.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson, Wendy Chamberlain MP, said:

Voting through this amendment is a no-brainer for any MP who wants to stop the flow of sleaze stories coming from our Parliament. Mending our broken politics must be a priority for this Government.

It’s obviously not right that MPs who have been found to have broken conduct rules get to vote on whether or not they are punished. The defendant shouldn’t also be a member of the jury.

There needs to be a line in the sand to stop any MP from effectively marking their own homework.

Anti-sleaze amendment passed to stop MPs “marking their own homework”

A Liberal Democrat led amendment to end the practice which allowed MPs to vote on motions regarding their own misconduct has been passed in Parliament this evening.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain tabled the amendment to the government’s motion on standards which received cross-party support. It means MPs will no longer be able to take part in Commons votes relating to their own misconduct cases.

The previous practice was notoriously brought to attention by the Owen Paterson scandal, when he voted against his own suspension from the House of Commons in 2021 – a saga which ultimately resulted in a Liberal Democrat victory in the North Shropshire by-election.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain said:

After years of sleaze and scandal, we’ve finally taken a vital step to clean up our politics.

The British public expect our politics to be mended and this Government has done the right thing today.

It’s obviously not right that MPs who have been found to have broken conduct rules get to vote on whether or not they are punished. The defendant shouldn’t also be a member of the jury. I am glad our amendment has corrected this.

Today makes sure MPs no longer get to mark their own homework.

Calls for Action as Drug-Related Deaths in Wales Rise to Highest Level Ever

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for radical changes to how drug addiction is dealt with in Wales following the publication of Public Health Wales figures showing that the number of drug-related deaths in Wales has reached its highest level ever.

According to the figures, there were 210 deaths recorded in 2021, compared with 149 in 2020, an increase of 41%.

It also showed that the number of people dying in Wales after taking cocaine has doubled over the past five years.

The figure was also the highest since records began in 1993, with the previous record being 208 in 2018.

The number of deaths per million people was higher in Wales than in England, which saw a far smaller rise in deaths.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the UK Government to learn from the experiences of places like Portugal and organisations such as the UN in developing policies to drive down drug deaths or to devolve justice for Wales so that the Senedd can legislate to do so. The party is also calling for the establishment of safe consumption spaces, which could be done under existing Welsh Government powers.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

Every death caused by drugs is a tragedy and results in the loss of someone’s parent, child, friend or sibling. What makes it all the more tragic is most deaths caused by drugs are preventable. Drug addiction is a health condition and should be treated as such.

We want to see a much more holistic approach to those reported for drug offences, treating offenses as a public health issue rather than a criminal one, learning from best international practice such as that in Portugal.

This would see the diversion of people caught in possession of drugs for personal use into education, treatment and recovery, ceasing imprisonment in these circumstances.

It is clear from these figures today that the current approach by the UK Government isn’t delivering the results we want to see. The Conservatives must develop a new, more progressive approach to drug addiction or devolve the Misuse of Drugs Act to Wales to allow the Senedd to do so.

Welsh Government Must Act to Stop the Brain Drain of Doctors in Wales

Responding to a new report released today by the General Medical Council, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Labour Government to take action to stop the brain drain of doctors from Wales.

The staggering statistics outlined in the report highlight that a huge 46% of medical graduates in Wales leave the country to practice in England. An additional 4% move to Scotland, Northern Ireland or abroad.

While England retained more than 92% of newly qualified GPs and specialists after four years, 77% of those who qualified in Wales stayed in Wales.

Wales is also shown to be the only part of the UK where there was an increase in the number of doctors leaving the workforce increasing by 3% compared to decreases of 5%, 13% and 10% in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on Labour to put in place more opportunities for foundation posts and specialist training in order to retain medical students in Wales both while they carry out further studies and once they graduate.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

The figures outlined by the General Medical Council for Wales today are pretty dire.

46% of medical graduates in Wales leaving for England is a huge amount of talent being lost.

We must make sure Wales is an attractive destination not just to study medicine at university level, but also for students wanting to go on to specialise in specific areas of medicine and carry out more advanced training once qualified.

Our NHS is already suffering from stretched resources and low morale among staff, the last thing we need is talented staff leaving the country for better opportunities elsewhere.

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7 Comments

  • nigel hunter 19th Oct '22 - 9:38am

    Is it not time we put more effort into selling us as a party that can be seen throughout the country rather than just being good at winning by-elections?

  • Adrian Sanders 19th Oct '22 - 10:21am

    Nigel Hunter – I’m not sure how much more our press officers can do when we cancel our annual conference and when they are up against the broadcasters belief that they have to treat the SNP as the third party. This is despite the SNP only contesting seats in one part of the UK. This is the numbers game Clegg left us with when the SNP replaced us as we lost us 49 seats and hundreds of staff and a fair few thousands of pounds. We have not recovered and have to rely on local election and Parliamentary by-election successes for a lift when the media do notice us. The Clegg years were a hard lesson in why bums on seats in Council chambers, Assemblies and Parliaments are so important, and why we should contest everything, and fight to win where we stand the best chances.

  • Helen Dudden 19th Oct '22 - 11:17am

    I believe this situation has taught me how profit comes before principles. How Tory voters
    would hang onto a bad situation that keeps power at it ‘s cruel heart.
    The idea of putting Johnson back into number 10 seems unthinkable but not to a certain element of the Conservative Party.
    I feel there are some worrying questions to answer.

  • Peter Watson 19th Oct '22 - 11:40am

    @nigel hunter “Is it not time we put more effort into selling us as a party that can be seen throughout the country rather than just being good at winning by-elections?”

    I think a big problem here is the party’s seeming inability to communicate a clear, consistent message “throughout the country” apart from “we’re not Boris/Liz”! 🙁 Even “Stop Brexit”, probably the clearest national message the party has ever had, fizzled out into the damp squib of a vague “pro-European but not a party of rejoin”.

    “Being good at winning by-elections” appears to allow the party to change its colours like a chameleon, and I don’t believe that sort of inconsistent opportunism is a good way to “sell us as a party that can be seen throughout the country”. For example, in Chesham & Amersham, activists travelled from all over the country to say locally “HS2 is a big no” while nationally having a “continued commitment to HS2” and a former leader, Tim Farron, emphasising the importance of HS2 for voters in the north as part of an integrated rail plan. Similarly, the party looks unclear and inconsistent if it lets activists get excited at Conference and vote to phase out grammar schools and faith schools and then not tell anybody – does that make it a policy or not? – for fear of frightening voters in places like Chesham & Amersham.

  • If we are a national party we should be fighting the coming by election in a proper manner, a full blooded campaign, after which we should move into second place.

  • Theakes,…… “fighting a full blooded campaign to finish second”, means……. you’ve lost”.

  • @ Adrian Sanders. Sorry, Adrian, but whether you like it or not, the fact is that the SNP are the third party in the UK parliament….. though I do agree with the rest of your comments and conclusions. I’m afraid the Lib Dems needed no help in digging their own hole however much some people may still be in denial.

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