21 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Having completed another meeting of the Federal International Relations Committee, featuring an exploration of the distant reaches of Article 7 of the Federal Constitution of the Party, your editor’s mind turns to press releases…

  • Moran: Gov must recognise state of Palestine
  • Cable: Prokopchuk’s Interpol position is still ‘an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack’
  • Sanctions needed to get Matthew Hedges home
  • Davey: PM must publish immigration white paper now
  • Lib Dems announce Siobhan Benita as London Mayoral candidate
  • (covered separately here)

  • Lib Dems lead fight to protect vulnerable people in care
  • Davey: Something going very wrong in energy market

Moran: Gov must recognise state of Palestine

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran will introduce a Bill to the House of Commons today calling on the Government to give recognition to the state of Palestine.

The Palestinian Statehood (Recognition) Bill would require the Government to recognise the State of Palestine within 3 months of the Bill being passed. It has support from Lib Dem, Labour, SNP, Plaid and Green MPs.

Commenting ahead of the Bill’s presentation, Layla Moran said:

Since I was elected I have been dismayed at the progress the Conservative Government has made towards recognising the state of Palestine.

I am in favour of a two-state solution, but until the state of Palestine is recognised, the two actors can’t come to the table as equal partners.

Given the UK’s role in the Balfour declaration it is vital that Britain recognises the role it has played and the role is has to play in re-igniting the peace talks.

Whilst I acknowledge that the UK recognising the state of Palestine alone won’t be a solution, doing it would go some way to reigniting the spark of hope that has gone out in the hearts of Palestinians across the world.

Cable: Prokopchuk’s Interpol position is still ‘an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack’

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has today warned Prokopchuk’s position in Interpol is still “an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack”.

Vince Cable used an Urgent Question in the House of Commons yesterday to urge the Conservative Government to block the election of Alexander Prokopchuk to the position of President of Interpol.

Mr Prokopchuk has been accused of abusing the international police body’s arrest warrant system. He lost his bid to be President of Interpol to South Korean Kim Jong-yang.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Following a Liberal Democrat-led intervention in Parliament yesterday, it is a relief to see Government lobbying has meant Interpol have not elected Prokopchuk as their President.

Prokopchuk is still, however, the Vice President and able to exercise considerable influence. Given his direct role in the Putin regime’s abuse of Interpol’s red notices, his presence in office represents a disregard for the rule of law and is an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack.

With the Conservative Government turning its back on Europe, it is absolutely essential that the UK remains firmly part of Europol.

Sanctions needed to get Matthew Hedges home

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine has demanded the Government use sanctions on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in response to the imprisonment of Matthew Hedges.

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said:

It is evidently clear that Matthew Hedges has not been given anything like a fair hearing. People will be shocked and horrified by this miscarriage of justice.

The Government must take action now, including sanctions on the United Arab Emirates, in order to secure Matthew Hedges’ full release and reunite him with his family.

He and his family deserve better, and this Government must take every step necessary to return him to the UK.

Davey: PM must publish immigration white paper now

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey has written to the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, demanding that they publish the Government’s immigration white paper without any further delay.

In the letters, Davey writes that MPs “should be given plenty of time” to scrutinise the Government’s proposals for post-Brexit immigration before the meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal. He says it would be “unacceptable to ask MPs to vote on that agreement without sufficient time to scrutinise those plans” and urges May and Sajid Javid to publish the white paper “without delay”.

In the House of Commons on Thursday, Davey asked the Prime Minister to “guarantee today that her immigration white paper will be published and debated before the meaningful vote on the deal”. May refused to give that guarantee, saying only that “We will publish the immigration white paper in due course.”

Ed Davey commented:

Ministers promised to publish their immigration proposals more than a year ago, but we’ve had nothing but meaningless slogans.

The Prime Minister is telling MPs to vote for her Brexit deal to end free movement, but refuses to spell out what that means. The answer is a lot more red tape for British businesses and a national shortage of NHS workers, carers and builders.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. Theresa May must finally come clean and publish her immigration white paper now, so MPs can scrutinise the proposals before voting on her Brexit deal.

Lib Dems lead fight to protect vulnerable people in care

The House of Lords has passed an amendment to the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, which would ensure that depriving someone of their liberty, for example in a care home, must be necessary to prevent them from harm.

The Lib Dem led amendment was supported by Labour and Crossbench Peers, who defeated the Government 202 votes to 188.

Liberal Democrat Peer Liz Barker, who tabled the amendment, said:

This is an important victory in ensuring that vulnerable people in care are sufficiently protected when they are deprived of their liberty. This is not something that should be done lightly, and so it is vital to ensure that a strong test for necessity is in place.

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill is by and large an unsatisfactory mechanism for reforming the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, and any opportunity we get to ask the Government to think again must be taken.

Davey: Something going very wrong in energy market

Responding to the news that energy supplier Extra Energy have ceased trading and Ofgem have appointed First Utility as the supplier of last resort, taking on Extra Energy’s customers, Ed Davey, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said:

I am deeply concerned by the news about the collapse of Extra Energy and the impact it could have on jobs. Clearly something has gone very wrong for this to have happened.

However, they are not the first supplier to go bust this year and most likely won’t be the last. The Conservative’s obsession with meddling with their price cap certainly hasn’t helped, and has distracted them from fixing the real issues in the energy market. Liberal Democrats demand better.

We desperately need proper stress tests for new suppliers, to ensure they can financially support themselves and also continue to provide customers with a good level of service. Otherwise the hard work of the Liberal Democrats will be squandered by the Tories.

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