22 October 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s been a busy day in HQ, and there’s news of a victory over the Government in the Lords…

Lib Dems: Research shows hard border for NI puts lives at risk

Research by the Liberal Democrats and PoliticsHome has shown how crucial a soft border is between Ireland and Northern Ireland, specifically in relation to emergency service call-outs.

A series of freedom of information requests has shown that 182 ambulances and 270 fire engines crossed into the Republic during 2016-17 in response to 999 calls, highlighting how a hard border could potentially leave people with far slower emergency responses if the UK leaves the EU in a no-deal Brexit.

Commenting on these findings, Liberal Democrat Northern Ireland spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

This research shows just how essential smooth border traffic is in Northern Ireland, and why it is so essential for Theresa May and the EU to sort this mess out.

These call-outs are likely in many cases to be matters of critical importance, life or death potentially. Every second counts. Nothing should jeopardise cross-border cooperation and if it is lost, that will rightly doom May’s legacy.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. The Prime Minister must get back round the table with the negotiators, she has got to deliver a deal which works for Northern Ireland and the border communities on both sides in order to ensure there is no collateral damage to her calamitous Brexit.

95% completion of a shambles will not bring confidence to anyone

Responding to reports that the PM will tell parliament the Government has negotiated 95% of the Brexit deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Considering the mess the Government has made of Brexit the fact 95% of the shambles is complete is unlikely to bring confidence to anyone.

Not only has the PM failed to come up with any real solution to the Irish border, a concrete plan for trading in services or a functioning customs arrangement, it seems the percentage chances of a deal getting through parliament is less than 5%.

On Saturday over half a million people marched in London for a people’s vote. Whatever the Government thinks it has negotiated, the country demands a final say on the deal with an option to remain.

Government must include all violence against women and girls in Domestic Abuse Bill

Responding to a report from the Home Affairs Select Committee into domestic abuse, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The Government’s Domestic Abuse Bill is urgently needed, but the Liberal Democrats agree with the Committee that it should go beyond domestic abuse to cover all violence against women and girls. The Government must ensure that all victims are listened to and supported throughout the criminal justice system.

But changing the law will make little difference without the resources to actually help victims of violence and abuse. We need more funding for refuges and rape crisis centres, as well as a new national rape crisis helpline. And we need to reverse Conservative cuts to the community policing that helps to keep us all safe.

Government defeated on death penalty assurances

The Conservative Government has today been defeated in the House of Lords, with peers voting for a Liberal Democrat-backed amendment that will prevent the death penalty being used in cases where the UK has provided electronic data.

The Government’s “Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill” would give courts new powers to require internet companies outside the UK to provide electronic data that law enforcement agencies need to investigate and prosecute serious crimes, but only once new international agreements have been signed.

The amendment, passed at report stage in the House of Lords today, will require those agreements to include assurances from other countries that the death penalty will not be imposed in cases where electronic data from the UK is used.

Following the debate, Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Hamwee said:

The death penalty is one of the greatest affronts to fundamental human rights. It is cruel, inhumane and irreversible. The UK must oppose its use anywhere in the world.

The Home Secretary’s decision earlier this year not to seek death penalty assurances from the US undermines that opposition. If the UK is seen no longer fully to oppose the death penalty, it weakens our ability to persuade others to abolish it.

I am therefore pleased that we have successfully amended this Bill to ensure that death penalty assurances must be part of data-sharing agreements with other countries.

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  • Peter Martin 23rd Oct '18 - 8:44am

    We still see a Lib Dem press release after Lib Dem press release about the UK leaving the EU but nothing much at all on the EU itself. I can understand some very inwardly looking UK parties taking the view that EU affairs aren’t important, but it’s somewhat surprising that Lib Dems, for all their supposed pro-EU views, don’t show more interest in what goes on across the channel.

    News doesn’t stop at Dover. There’s plenty going on. There is, as I’m sure all the 700,000 marchers would agree, still a strong possibility that we’ll still be a member of the EU this time next year.

    So how about some coverage of what we could still be a part of?

  • The eu needs to read up on democracy and understand that only the people of Northern Ireland can decide to play their part in reuniting Ireland. If it is not possible to leave the eu while maintaining a free border between its parts, then who should decide on which is to be preferred? It is inviting disaster to force change that directly effects Northern Ireland without its consent.

  • Peter Hirst 23rd Oct '18 - 1:49pm

    What I don’t understand is why if keeping the irish border open is so important to the eu, it is not trying harder to avoid a no deal Brexit when presumably there will be a hard border?

  • Andrew McCaig 23rd Oct '18 - 2:16pm

    The EU has made a number of suggestions to resolve the border issue. One is a special status for NI. Theresa accepted that back in December for a few hours before the DUP pulled the plug. Then there is the backstop deal which Theresa also accepted back in December before she went back on her word. Finally there would be simply staying in the Single Market and Customs Union. Polls suggest that is the only version of Brexit acceptable to the EU that could command majority support among the British people. But Theresa has ruled it out.
    It is not the EU that is the problem here…

  • Lorenzo Cherin 23rd Oct '18 - 11:45pm

    Agree with the really useful press info we see here now, a welcome move,yet the party must not be so overtly dramatic only on Brexit, we must have some light and shade, agreeing thus with Peter Hirst here.

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