21 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Some good news today, as the Government has withdrawn the £65 charge for EU citizens to register for settled status. Admittedly though, they’re still at the mercy of a Home Office not necessarily recognised for its compassion or competence, but it is at least a start…

And with that, here are today’s press releases…

  • Home Office settled status scheme risks new Windrush scandal
  • Swinson: Govt Chief Whip must resign if he is blocking proxy voting
  • New laws only help domestic abuse victims if there’s cash to enforce them
  • Lib Dems: Will Corbyn agree with Gardiner and vote for a People’s Vote?
  • Government cave on unfair EU citizen fee
  • Theresa May’s Brexit Position Untenable – Welsh Lib Dems
  • Which? analysis shows Mid Wales Amongst Worst Areas for Broadband Speed – Welsh Lib Dems

Home Office settled status scheme risks new Windrush scandal

Responding to the new British Future report on the Settled Status scheme, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

British Future are right to highlight the grave risks that Brexit poses to the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.

No one seriously believes that the Home Office will be able to grant settled status to everyone who’s eligible within two years. Thousands will be left effectively undocumented and subject to Theresa May’s hostile environment.

Liberal Democrats demand better for the Europeans who’ve made their lives here and contribute so much to our economy, our public services and our society. They must not become the victims of a new Windrush scandal.

Swinson: Govt Chief Whip must resign if he is blocking proxy voting

Responding to reports that Government Chief Whip Julian Smith is “trying to obstruct” changes to the Westminster voting system which would allow proxy voting, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

Julian Smith had to apologise for cheating my constituents out of their voice, by asking an MP to break our pair while I nursed my two-week-old baby.

If he is blocking proxy voting in private, it makes an absolute mockery of his public apology and he should resign.

New laws only help domestic abuse victims if there’s cash to enforce them

Responding to the publication of the long awaited Draft Domestic Abuse Bill, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Every case of domestic abuse is an abhorrent and unthinkable crime. So we must get behind this welcome work to improve the law and court procedures.

However, Ministers have taken rather too long to come forward with these ideas, and if we are to get people the support and justice they deserve, there must not be any more unnecessary delay.

And Ministers must be honest enough to admit that new laws won’t make any difference if there aren’t higher budgets to enforce the laws and protect victims too.

Liberal Democrats want more funding for refuges and rape crisis centres and a new national rape crisis helpline to support victims, increase the chances of convictions and back up any legal change.

Lib Dems: Will Corbyn agree with Gardiner and vote for a People’s Vote?

Responding to Barry Gardiner’s statement that if there was a motion for a People’s Vote put before Parliament, the Labour Party “would be supporting a public vote”, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Jeremy Corbyn must now decide if he backs his Shadow Trade Secretary and the comments he has made this afternoon.

Does he, like Barry Gardiner, and Labour Party members, now support a People’s Vote, and will he offer the opportunity to remain in the EU?

It’s time that he fulfilled his duty as Leader of the Opposition and backed a final say.

Government cave on unfair EU citizen fee

Responding as the Government bow to pressure from Liberal Democrats and MPs from across the House on charging EU citizens £65 per person to register to stay in the UK, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

It was abhorrent that people who have worked and contributed to our communities for so long should have to pay to stay at home.

However, people will still be worried that Home Office will botch the policy as it has already done with the Windrush scandal, causing so much harm.

The best way forward is an Exit from Brexit with a people’s vote on the deal so that we can get out of this mess once and for all.

Theresa May’s Brexit Position Untenable – Welsh Lib Dems

The Welsh Lib Dems have criticised Theresa May’s statement to the Commons on Brexit this afternoon, claiming simply persisting with her utterly failed approach is not a viable solution.

Theresa May again ruled out a People’s Vote, extending or revoking Article 50 or staying in the single market and customs union.

Instead her approach appears to be that her deal is still the best option, despite the fact it was defeated by 230 votes last week in the Commons.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

Theresa May’s statement to the Commons this afternoon was deeply disappointing, but unfortunately not surprising. The Prime Minister’s intransigence is now putting the entire country at risk and pushing us closer and closer to a disastrous no deal Brexit.

Theresa May’s deal is dead, it suffered a humiliating defeat by 230 votes last week, the biggest UK Government defeat in history. No amount of tinkering can save this deal now, particularly since Theresa May’s attempts to improve the deal over Christmas failed so abjectly.

Brexit continues to be a national embarrassment, but it can be stopped. Theresa May must accept that only the people can end this Brexit chaos.

A People’s Vote is the only viable way forward and the only option that is supported by the people and could gain the support of Parliament. We must give the people the final say and the opportunity to choose an Exit from Brexit.

Which? analysis shows Mid Wales Amongst Worst Areas for Broadband Speed – Welsh Lib Dems

New analysis from Which? has today revealed that Mid Wales’ local authorities remain near the bottom of the table for internet speeds.

Ceredigion and Powys have average speeds of just 7.5mbps and 7.7mbps, making them the 7th and 8th worst local authorities in the UK respectively.

Last week the Welsh Government committed in a written statement to spending over £9.2million to provide better broadband for around 10,000 houses by March 2021.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

These figures make difficult reading as they show the digital divide between Mid Wales and South Wales is getting wider, not narrower. While big cities are on the information superhighway, Wales’ rural communities are left with the internet equivalent of a single-track road.

The Welsh and UK Governments need to step up their efforts to deliver faster broadband across Wales and particularly in rural communities.

Digital connectivity is essential to allow our businesses and communities to flourish in the modern world. Mid Wales cannot be allowed to fall behind.

A few days ago the Welsh Government announced details of investment in broadband in Mid Wales and it’s absolutely imperative this is followed through and delivers significant improvements for the people of Wales.

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