2 April 2019 – today’s press releases

Today’s press releases are brought to you from Antwerp, as your columnist enjoys possibly one last trip as an EU citizen…

  • Lib Dems table composite amendments to end Brexit impasse
  • Lib Dems: We must ensure all children receive an education that meets their needs
  • Lib Dems: Gisela Stuart Not Fit for FCO Wilton Park
  • Lib Dem victory on Mental Capacity Bill
  • Callous Tories could strip people of voting rights
  • Cable: PM piles more logs on the Brexit log jam

Lib Dems table composite amendments to end Brexit impasse

Today (2nd April) the Liberal Democrats are tabling amendments, working cross-party, to break the deadlock in Parliament by ensuring any Brexit voted through Parliament goes back to the people, with a People’s Vote.

The Liberal Democrats will table composite amendments to reflect Brexit motions voted on last night and the Prime Minister’s deal.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

It is time for MPs to come together and build a majority to end the impasse. That is why Liberal Democrats are seeking to add a People’s Vote to any Brexit motions so that the deadlock in Parliament is broken and the people can decide on the path the country takes.

Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for a People’s Vote for nearly three years, always believing that the people, not politicians, must have the final say.

Adding a People’s Vote to any of the motions voted for last night or the PM’s deal provides the quickest and safest way out of this unholy mess.

Lib Dems: We must ensure all children receive an education that meets their needs

Following the announcement of Government proposals that will see a requirement for home-educated children to be registered with their local authority, affecting almost 60,000, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Parents can decide to home school children for any number of reasons and most do a brilliant job. But undeniably, they need more support.

Yet councils cannot offer this support if they don’t know where children are. A child who has never been on the school roll may simply be unknown to the local authority.

If we want to ensure all families provide their children with an education that meets their needs, then these proposals are a welcome first step.

Lib Dems: Gisela Stuart Not Fit for FCO Wilton Park

Today Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson, has written to the Prime Minister to ask her to reconsider the suitability of Ms Stuart as Chair of Wilton Park, an Executive Agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

This comes following Vote Leave’s decision to drop their challenge against the fine of £61,000 imposed on them by the Electoral Commission for spending offences during the 2016 EU referendum.

Commenting on his decision to write to May on the matter, Mr Brake said:

Ms Stuart was the Chair of a campaign that broke the law. She cannot now continue as head of Wilton Park: a body which promotes good governance across the world on behalf of the UK.

In any other job you would not stay in post if you risked bringing the organisation into disrepute, so why is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office any different? The Prime Minister must act.

Ms Stuart’s role as Chair of Vote Leave and her refusal to apologise for the campaign’s illegal activities make her position at Wilton Park completely untenable.

Liberal Democrats demand better. I have urged the Prime Minister to review Ms Stuart’s appointment in light of the revelations about Vote Leave. British Government appointments must always be spotless. It is not clear this appointment passes that test.

Lib Dem victory on Mental Capacity Bill

Today the House of Commons is debating the Mental Capacity Bill which now includes huge concessions the Liberal Democrats secured from the Government.

The Bill aims to reform the process in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for authorising arrangements enabling the care or treatment of people who lack the capacity to consent, which give rise to a deprivation of their liberty.

The Liberal Democrats led a cross-party effort which secured a huge concession from the Government to remove their exclusionary definition which would have led to people not being protected when deprived of their liberty, and further includes a commitment to review the Code of Practice.

Ahead of the debate today, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

This Bill when it was first introduced was one of the worst pieces of legislation ever to be considered by Parliament.

What was proposed by the Conservative Government would not have fixed any of the issues we see at the moment in authorising care for those who can no longer consent, and instead would have ridden roughshod over their rights.

Through consistent, hard work over the past few months, the Liberal Democrats have secured key concessions to the Conservative Government’s shoddy legislation. Today’s win removes the Government’s exclusionary definition of deprivation of liberty to protect the rights of those who are not capable of consenting.

Liberal Democrats demanded better of the Government, and secured better for all those in care.

Callous Tories could strip people of voting rights

The Liberal Democrats have today blamed “callous, Conservative party self-interest” for allowing over 4 million people to lose the right to vote in local elections in the event the UK crashes out of the EU with a no-deal.

In response to parliamentary questions from the Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake, the Government has confirmed UK reciprocal voting rights for UK citizens residing in the EU and EU citizens residing in the UK have yet to be agreed in the event of a no-deal, except with Spain.

According to population statistics from the Office of National Statistics, 3,546,000 EU citizens across the UK and 484,700 UK citizens across the EU would lose the right to vote. The revelation comes ahead of the local elections in May.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Far from illusions that Brexit would renew our democracy, it is instead tearing it apart and stripping people of their rights all because of Tory incompetence.

Many EU citizens fill vital roles in the health service, our schools and across Parliament. The deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

The upcoming local elections are therefore an opportunity to send a clear message to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn’s failed leaderships by voting for the Liberal Democrats.

Every Liberal Democrat elected in May is another voice fighting for a People’s Vote, with the option to stay in the EU.

Ilse Mogensen, public affairs and campaigns officer for the3million, added:

EU citizens living in the UK were denied a vote on our own future in the 2016 referendum. To add insult to injury, we now face the loss of our right to vote and stand as candidates in local elections.

The Welsh and Scottish governments have confirmed that EU citizens will keep the right to vote. The UK Government should do the same, instead of leaving the democratic rights of 3.6 million people in limbo.

Cable: PM piles more logs on the Brexit log jam

Responding to the announcement from the Prime Minister that she wants to meet Jeremy Corbyn to agree a plan on the future relationship with the EU, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:

The Prime Minister’s statement could be a case of piling more logs onto the log jam. Liberal Democrats are clear – Brexit, whether Labour-Red or Tory-Blue would be hugely damaging for the country.

Theresa May now finally seems to be accepting that she cannot get support for her deal, though her identifying Jeremy Corbyn as a source of support for Brexit is less surprising.

The way forward, to break the impasse, is for the Prime Minister to compromise and support a People’s Vote, with the option to stay in the European Union.

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2 Comments

  • Well done Tom Brake on the Gisela Stuart issue. Too often we let the cosy Westminster ‘club’ thing get in the way of calling out former MPs who deserve to be criticised. Gisela Stuart was part of the lies and deceit of the Leave campaign, every bit as much as Gove, Johnson et al, and her doubling-down in the last week has been appalling.
    I suppose some will decry this as ‘personality politics,’ but when the person in question has lied, cheated, broke the law and caused a national catastrophe – and then refused to take responsibility for it – I say we should absolutely nail them for it and Tom does a good job of that here. No kid gloves with these people. Let’s see more of the same please.

  • nigel hunter 3rd Apr '19 - 12:05am

    Gisela stuart will stay cos she is a Brexiteer. May needs all the support she can. She will turn a blind eye to all illegalities for the Tories to reign supreme over all else.
    May and the Tories will not give EU supporters in the UK (England?) cos they wish England to be their feifdom ANY way of fixing voting patterns to suite their ends will be carried out.

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