19 July 2019 – live from Brecon, today’s press releases…

  • Lib Dems bring forward legislation to protect EU citizens
  • Lib Dems: Govt must provide urgent clarity on teachers’ pay
  • Lib Dem legislation to protect victims of crime passes second reading
  • Davey: Govt must fund police pay rise
  • Umunna slams economically incompetent Tories
  • Swinson: This is a time for cool heads in the Gulf

Lib Dems bring forward legislation to protect EU citizens

Today, the Liberal Democrats have brought forward a bill to safeguard EU citizens’ rights.

The Bill brought forward by Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates would provide a guarantee that, regardless of the outcome of Brexit, the rights of EU citizens and other EEA nationals living in the UK would be protected.

Ahead of the debate on his Bill, Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates said:

The last three years have been a time of huge anxiety and fear for EU citizens in the UK. The Tory Government has broken the promises made to them by Boris Johnson and the Leave campaign.

My Bill would deliver on those promises and remove that fear by giving all EU citizens currently in the UK an automatic right, guaranteed in law, to stay here afterwards Brexit.

Of course, the best way out of this mess is to stop Brexit altogether. But this Bill can at least provide a greater sense of security and certainty to the EU citizens who have contributed so much to our country.

Ilse Mogensen, public affairs officer for the 3million, the EU citizens’ campaign organisation, said:

Both Leave and Remain campaigns promised in the 2016 referendum that EU citizens living in the UK would have the automatic right to stay here, no matter what the outcome on Brexit.

With no EU/UK withdrawal agreement in place to protect us and increasing talk of no deal, EU citizens need more than warm words to protect the right to stay in the UK for ourselves and our families.

We welcome this initiative for a Bill to provide that protection in UK law, and to ensure that only a majority in Parliament can change it.

Lib Dems: Govt must provide urgent clarity on teachers’ pay

Responding to reports today in The Times that teacher pay in maintained schools will increase by 2.75% next year, Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

Our teachers are overworked, undervalued and underpaid. Today’s story is welcome news, particularly to senior leaders who continued to face real-terms pay cuts last year.

But it is irresponsible of Theresa May to delay this announcement to the penultimate day of the school year. Headteachers have had to budget blindfolded for September at a time when schools are strapped of cash.

Schools are desperate to find out if this pay rise will be fully funded by the Government or only partially, as happened last year. It will be a tragedy if the only way schools can fund this pay rise for teachers is by letting go of other vital support staff.

Liberal Democrats demand better for our teachers. The Government must provide an emergency cash injection to reverse school cuts so that teachers can be paid properly and have the resources they need to teach.

Lib Dem legislation to protect victims of crime passes second reading

Today, a bill put forward by Liberal Democrat Party President, Sal Brinton, to turn the current victims code into law has passed its second reading.

The Victims of Crime Bill would put the discretionary victims code onto a statutory footing. The code, introduced into England and Wales in 2006, is a set of expectations for Criminal Justice agencies but it is not currently mandatory.

The Bill would enshrine the victims code into law, giving them new statutory rights and entitlements. Some of these include granting victims the right to request a review of a decision not to prosecute and requiring local policing bodies to assess victims services.

Following the Bill passing its second reading, Sal Brinton said:

It has been nothing short of a disgrace that the Conservative government has ignored the issue of victims’ rights for so long.

The Tories promised us back in 2017 they would consult on this issue and instead they have spent two years navel-gazing over Brexit, rather than bringing forward legislation that would genuinely make a difference to people’s lives. The consultation the Conservative Government have finally put forward this week adds insult to injury – it is so weak it will do nothing to help the victims of crime.

Liberal Democrats demand better. For far too long the code which protects victims of crime has not been properly enforced leaving them more vulnerable and deters people from coming forward in the first place.

The victims code must become law. The government must now ensure this bill passes without delay. To delay any further is to fail to protect those for whom life is already hard enough.

Davey: Govt must fund police pay rise

Responding to reports that the Government will increase police pay but no new money will be provided for it, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Police officers are on the frontline in the fight against rising violent crime. They absolutely deserve a pay rise, but the Tory Government must provide the funding to pay for it.

Police budgets are already massively overly-stretched, and if police chiefs have to find money for pay rises they will be forced to make cuts elsewhere. That would make our communities less safe.

If there is no new government money to accompany this announcement, Tory Ministers will once again be failing in their duty and passing the buck to local police chiefs.

That is unacceptable, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. The Government must urgently give police forces the funding they need – not only to give police officers a pay rise, but also to recruit more officers and restore community policing.

Umunna slams economically incompetent Tories

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Chuka Umunna has slammed the Tories for “economic incompetence” as new official borrowing figures show the deficit rising in June.

The Public Sector Finances bulletin, published this morning by the Office for National Statistics, shows that public sector net borrowing in June 2019 was £7.2 billion – £3.8 billion higher than in June 2018 and the largest June deficit since 2015.

In his Spring Statement in March, the Chancellor said the Government would borrow £29.3 billion in 2019-20, but it has already borrowed £17.9 billion in the first quarter alone.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Chuka Umunna MP said:

After breaking their pledge to eliminate the deficit by 2025 the Tories are on track to miss their own borrowing target for this year too. What more evidence do we need of their economic incompetence?

The new Tory leadership fails to grasp that it’s simply not possible to spend more, reduce borrowing and cut taxes – all while crashing the country out of the EU. That move alone will cost our public coffers billions.

The Liberal Democrats have consistently been the only voice calling for realistic, responsible borrowing to unlock funding for our public services. But this hinges on a stable economy. Our priority will be to safeguard this stability by stopping Brexit, and ending the Tories’ catastrophic management of our finances.

Swinson: This is a time for cool heads in the Gulf

Responding to the news that Iran has seized two British tankers, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Jo Swinson said:

This is a time for cool heads. The last thing any of us want is a conflict and the situation in the Gulf is becoming more dangerous by the moment.

The Republican Guard, who have been responsible for this seizure, are a law unto themselves. They have clear objectives which are not always in line with the government of Iran.

We must be concerned about the safety of the crew, and we should also be determined to resist any responses which have the effect of further escalation.

The UK Government must now actively stop the White House from seeking to use this event as a justification for military action.

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One Comment

  • Iran has seized two British tankers,…Swinson: This is a time for cool heads in the Gulf…..The UK Government must now actively stop the White House from seeking to use this event as a justification for military action….

    Very unlikely with Johnson at the helm..This action was a ‘tit-for-tat’ response to the UK meekly complying with US instructions to detain the ‘Grace 1’. What did we expect?

    It’s time the UK stopped following the USA’s instructions and to admit that we are no longer the world’s policeman.

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