20 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Test and trace privacy fiasco yet another blunder by Ministers
  • Government’s school funding plan shows no understanding of challenges facing schools
  • Government must set up lifeboat system to ensure safe passage for Hong Kongers
  • Government silencing those who get in the way of their own political interests
  • Tories’ plan to “take back control” proves to be empty words when it comes to trade

Test and trace privacy fiasco yet another blunder by Ministers

Responding to reports that privacy campaigners have accused the Government’s test and trace programme of breaking data protection laws, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The fact that the Government have potentially broken the law is just another example of Ministers’ disastrous handling of test and trace. For the Department of Health to admit there was no consideration on the impact this would have on our privacy shows that this Government is simply walking into blunder after blunder, failing to get a grip on this crisis.

Of course mass testing, contact tracing and isolation at the community level for those who test positive, is the only safe way out of lockdown, but protecting individuals’ privacy remains of the utmost importance.

The Liberal Democrats have been clear that as long as there is absolute transparency when it comes to what information is collected, how long it is stored for, and who has access to this data, the Government can mitigate the concerns people have.

Ministers must get a grip of test and trace system if they are to keep people safe from coronavirus. They must do everything they can to not only protect people’s data and keep the public’s trust, but ensure we get an effective app up and running as soon as possible.

Government’s school funding plan shows no understanding of challenges facing schools

Responding to the publication of the Government’s funding allocations for schools in 2021-22, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The Conservatives’ spending plans show no understanding of the challenges facing schools in September. They have asked schools to open as normal when our Test and Trace system is faulty. Teachers must try to reverse the harm to children’s learning, development and mental health, when many disadvantaged children have disappeared off schools’ radars entirely during lockdown.

In the face of this crisis, spending plans announced last year are utterly unfit for purpose. All the Government has added is a catch-up premium worth just £80 per pupil per year, and a tutoring fund. It’s simply not enough to pay for the small group teaching that Ministers say our children need.

The pandemic requires us to invest in education at all levels on an unprecedented scale. That’s why Liberal Democrats have launched a five-point plan to re-open schools safely, provide laptops to those who need them and close the disadvantage gap, so that we can give every child a great start in life.

Government must set up lifeboat system to ensure safe passage for Hong Kongers

Responding to news that the Foreign Secretary has confirmed that the UK will suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson and Chair of the APPG on Hong Kong Alistair Carmichael said:

Suspending extradition is the only logical step to protect all Hong Kongers, including those who have already sought refuge in the UK.

The Government must live up to its commitments and move quickly to put in place a lifeboat system to secure safe passage to the UK for Hong Kongers. A system that opens in 2021 just gives an incentive to the Chinese Government to crack down on pro-democracy campaigners sooner rather than later.

The UK Government should be accelerating the design of that system and opening local offices to make the scheme as accessible to as many people as it possibly can be.

The Foreign Secretary must also now take seriously further sanctions against the Chinese regime given the horrific violations of human rights amounting to genocide in Xinjiang. We cannot standby. The UK must work hand-in-hand with international partners to stop these abuses and protect those whose lives are at grave risk.

Government silencing those who get in the way of their own political interests

Responding to England’s chief nurse Ruth May confirming she was dropped from a coronavirus press conference after refusing to back Dominic Cummings, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The confirmation that England’s Chief Nursing Officer, Ruth May, has been silenced since her refusal to back Dominic Cummings’ decision to break the rules back in May simply shows what we guessed all along – that this Government would do anything it could to keep him in post.

The damage to public health and the public’s trust in the Government was enormous, but clearly this was less important than Dominic Cummings keeping his job – pandemic or not. At the time I wrote to Matt Hancock demanding to know if the reports about Ruth May being excluded from the press conferences were true, but this was met with silence.

This confirmation from Ruth May today should be shocking, but considering we witnessed Boris Johnson trying to gag Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance live on air, it unfortunately isn’t. It is now clear for all to see that far from following the science, this Government has no intention of listening to it whatsoever if it gets in the way of their own political interests.

Tories’ plan to “take back control” proves to be empty words when it comes to trade

Following news that the Trade Bill has passed in the House of Commons, without any amendments which would ensure that Parliament can vote on future trade deals, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for International Trade Sarah Olney said:

By refusing to give Parliament a say over future trade deals – going against the wishes of many of their own MPs – it is clear that this Conservative Government’s motto of “taking back control” was just empty words in their ideological pursuit of Brexit.

As the Liberal Democrats warned, we now have less scrutiny over trade deals than when we were part of the EU. Instead the Government is clearing the way to push through a quick deal with Trump’s America, no matter what the cost to the UK.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to hold Boris Johnson’s Government to account to deliver the closest possible relationship with the EU and to safeguard high environmental, labour and food standards post-Brexit.

Read more by or more about , , , , , , , , or .
This entry was posted in News and Press releases.
Advert

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Joe Bourke
    It is an interesting article, John. The Biden administration will surely have an important role to play but perhaps of more relevance may be Israel's rapproachm...
  • Peter Hirst
    China and Russia have strategic interests and they must sometimes overlap. China seems more emenable to western values despite its lack of democracy. They will ...
  • David Evans
    The deal was signed by Boris Johnson and the Conservatives because they were under duress - the duress of an absurd promise to "get Brexit done" without anyone ...
  • David Evans
    It is sad to see that the centrists have been outmanoeuvred by the right once again. When the leader of the fourth largest party becomes PM for the first two ...
  • William Francis
    @Roland. Building new railways is if anything anti-1960s thinking. That was the era of mass motorway expansion and the Beeching cuts. This country's continua...