20 January 2020 – yesterday’s press releases

Apologies for the delay, press release fans! Unfortunately, the Parish Council I chair ran late, so I wasn’t able to get these up last night…

  • Young people deserve a clear, unambiguous commitment to Erasmus
  • Ministers must explain to Parliament why HS2 costs have soared
  • Lib Dems urge Govt to extend provision of free period products
  • PM must put child refugees above politics
  • Lib Dem peers defeat Govt on vote to protect EU citizens’ rights
  • PM negotiating deadline with EU woefully unrealistic
  • Lib Dems inflict another defeat on Govt’s Brexit Bill

Young people deserve a clear, unambiguous commitment to Erasmus

Responding to reports the Government is extending an exchange scheme to help disadvantaged pupils travel abroad after suffering a backlash over the Erasmus programme, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The Prime Minister cannot be allowed to pull the wool over our eyes. This announcement falls a long way short. Young people deserve a clear, unambiguous commitment to ensure the UK stays in Erasmus.

Erasmus provides thousands of life changing opportunities every year. Liberal Democrats will not allow Boris Johnson’s government to steal that away.

Ministers must explain to Parliament why HS2 costs have soared

Responding to a Government report, seen by the Financial Times, which warns HS2 could soar to £106bn alongside the West Midlands to Manchester and Leeds link being put on hold for six months, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

HS2 is a vital project for reducing our carbon emissions and unlocking the economic potential of the North, but Ministers should not be given a blank cheque.

Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent, but the suggestions of a ‘pause’ or cancellation of the northern section is exactly the wrong thing to do. Liberal Democrats will not allow the Tories to once again fail to invest in the North.

Ministers must now come before Parliament and make clear why these costs have soared and set out how the Government will seize control of the project.

Lib Dems urge Govt to extend provision of free period products

The Liberal Democrats have today urged the Government to extend the provision of free period products to key spaces including GP surgeries, women’s shelters and hostels.

The call coincides with today – 20th January – being the first day state schools and colleges in England can now order free period products for students as part of a government scheme to tackle period poverty.

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

No child should miss out on any aspect of their education because of their period.

It is fantastic that schools across England will now be able to provide free period products. This is a big step towards the eradication of period poverty everywhere. It is vital that all schools take up this offer so that no pupil is left at a disadvantage.

I am proud that my colleague Kirsty Williams, Welsh Education Minister, played a key role in ensuring children in Wales also have access to vital sanitary products.

Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign for the provision of free period products in key spaces across England including GP surgeries, women’s shelters and hostels.

Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson, Christine Jardine MP added:

While this long overdue step is wholeheartedly welcomed, the Conservative Government must do much more to ensure women and girls are not hit by unjust costs.

It is time to end the tampon tax and it is time to end the price gap that exists across many products.

Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to stop the multiple everyday costs that continue to push women into period poverty and exacerbate inequality everywhere, not just in schools.

PM must put child refugees above politics

Today Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, spoke at a rally for child refugees in Parliament Square, organised by the legal charity Safe Passage.

Commenting ahead of the crucial vote in the House of Lords to protect child refugees tomorrow, Ed Davey said:

Today the Prime Minister said he wants to put people before passports, but he is wantonly taking rights away from refugee children. It is time Boris Johnson put children above politics.

The Conservatives are preventing child refugees from being reunited with their families in the UK, turning away from our country’s proud history of offering sanctuary to people in need.

Liberal Democrats are fighting for these children. We will vote to restore the protections for child refugees in Europe and have tabled new legislation to allow unaccompanied children in the UK to sponsor close family members to join them.

Lib Dem peers defeat Govt on vote to protect EU citizens’ rights

This afternoon, the Liberal Democrats defeated the Government on a vote in the House of Lords to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.

The Lords passed an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, moved by Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates, by 270 votes to 229. It would give EU citizens in the UK the automatic right to stay, rather than having to apply to the Home Office, and would ensure they can get physical proof of their rights.

Following the vote, mover of the motion and Liberal Democrat Peer Jonny Oates said:

This amendment simply seeks to uphold the promise repeatedly made by Boris Johnson that the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK would be automatically guaranteed.

It would remove the risk that those who failed to meet the cut off deadline would be automatically criminalised and subject to deportation.

It was very disappointing to see the Conservatives vote against protecting the rights of millions of people who contribute so much to our society, our economy and our communities.

Liberal Democrats will always champion the rights of EU citizens in the UK and hold the Conservative Government to account for the promises they’ve made.

PM negotiating deadline with EU woefully unrealistic

Responding to the European Commission warning that Brexit trade talks could be delayed until March, Liberal Democrats Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

It has become increasingly obvious that the arbitrary deadline Boris Johnson has set for negotiating the future relationship between the EU and UK is woefully unrealistic.

With business already in uproar about the Tories’ plans to end pan-European regulatory alignment, the Prime Minister is steering the UK towards some heavy storms.

People deserve better than a future where a Prime Minister willingly threatens jobs, the environment and the NHS. It is essential that the transition period can be extended to prevent this devastating prospect.

Lib Dems inflict another defeat on Govt’s Brexit Bill

The Liberal Democrats have defeated the Conservative Government for the second time today, this time on a vote to prevent Ministers from instructing lower courts to ignore legal precedent.

The House of Lords passed the amendment to the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill, moved by Liberal Democrat peer Alan Beith, by 241 votes to 205. The Lib Dems also supported an amendment by Lord Mackay (former Tory Lord Chancellor) linked to the same issue.

This follows another Liberal Democrat amendment to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, which passed the Lords by 270 votes to 229.

The Liberal Democrats hope to defeat the Conservative Government for a third time tomorrow, when the Lords votes on a cross-party amendment to protect the rights of unaccompanied refugee children elsewhere in Europe to be reunited with their family members in the UK.

Following the vote, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords Dick Newby said:

The Conservative Government is trying to use this Brexit legislation to undermine both the rule of law and parliamentary sovereignty. Liberal Democrats will fight them every step of the way.

Despite Boris Johnson’s talk about bringing the country together, his approach seems designed to divide it even further.

Certainty that lower courts will follow the rulings of higher ones is a crucial part of our legal system. By removing it, the Conservatives would cause chaos and confusion.

Whether it’s defending the rule of law, protecting people’s rights or offering sanctuary to child refugees, the Liberal Democrats will hold this Government to account, resist Boris Johnson and fight for our vision of a United Kingdom that is open, inclusive and fair.

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