20 November 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak removes NHS from top 5 pledges
  • Ethics advisor must investigate David Cameron’s appointment
  • Lib Dem Peer’s Bill to end conversion therapy

Sunak removes NHS from top 5 pledges

Responding to Rishi Sunak’s speech this morning, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

By officially de-prioritising the NHS and omitting it from his top 5 priorities, Rishi Sunak has shown yet again just how out of touch he is.

The Prime Minister clearly doesn’t care about the millions of people across the country on hospital waiting lists or the families and pensioners struggling to get appointments with a GP or dentist.

Shockingly, the Prime Minister doesn’t even understand the link between a better health service and a stronger economy.

Any strategy for economic growth must have a strategy for better healthcare, yet the Conservatives clearly don’t understand that.

Ethics advisor must investigate David Cameron’s appointment

The Liberal Democrats have written to Rishi Sunak’s ethics adviser, calling on him to launch an investigation into David Cameron’s appointment as Foreign Secretary.

It comes as Cameron is set to officially take up his peerage in the House of Lords today.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain has raised five key questions in a letter to the ethics adviser Laurie Magnus. These include whether David Cameron will be publishing a full list of ministerial interests as soon as he is appointed, and if he will be placing his investments into a blind trust to prevent conflicts of interest. Currently it is expected that David Cameron won’t have to publish his register of interests until January.

Failure to prevent any conflicts of interests would risk breaching the ministerial code, which requires ministers to be transparent about their private financial interests to avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest.

The letter also asks whether Cameron will come clean over any of his recent lobbying work, including involving foreign governments such as China. In addition, it calls for clarity over whether Cameron will recuse himself from any cabinet discussions on decisions related to his recent and current financial interests, including on the Greenhill scandal. This could include extradition requests related to the various international criminal investigations into Greensill including in Switzerland and Germany.

Finally, the letter asks what conversations took place between Sunak and David Cameron prior to his appointment, and if these touched on Cameron’s financial interests and lobbying work.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

We need urgent clarity over David Cameron’s financial interests, which could lead to serious conflicts of interest whilst he represents the UK on the world stage.

If he was serious about acting with integrity, Rishi Sunak would address these concerns by asking his ethics adviser to launch a full investigation into Cameron’s appointment.

David Cameron has serious questions to answer over whether he can act impartially in the best interests of the British people. His judgement and integrity have all been questioned in recent years and for good reason.

Everybody could hear Rishi Sunak scraping the bottom of the barrel when he made this appointment. He is a desperate Prime Minister appointing an equally desperate politician trying to rehabilitate his image. Frankly, the country deserves better.

Lib Dem Peer’s Bill to end conversion therapy

Today, Baroness Burt’s landmark Bill to prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity conversion practices will get its first reading.

The Conversion Therapy Prohibition Bill which is set to be formally debated in the new year will make it an offence for any person to practise, or to offer to practise, conversion therapy in the UK.

Commenting ahead of the first reading, the Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Equality Baroness Burt said:

It is very disappointing that the Conservatives have failed to deliver on their promise to ban conversion therapy for five years now. But we Liberal Democrats are more than willing to help them out by introducing the Bill ourselves.

There is cross-party consensus for dealing with this awful practice and I look forward to working with colleagues across Parliament to deliver the change we all desperately want to see – finally banning conversion therapy.

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