24 November 2022 – today’s press release

  • Government ‘must get a grip’ as asylum backlog soars to 143,000
  • Raab emails: Lib Dems write to Cabinet Secretary demanding investigation
  • Michelle Mone: Lib Dems table amendment to scrap VIP lanes
  • Richard Foord MP raises sewage report in Parliament after his son fell sick swimming in Devon river
  • Full Review in Social Services in Wales Needed After Logan Mwangi Report

Government ‘must get a grip’ as asylum backlog soars to 143,000

Responding to new official figures showing that the asylum backlog has risen to 143,377, with 97,717 waiting more than six months, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

The Home Office is a disaster zone, and it’s clear who is to blame. By their own admission, the Conservatives have broken our asylum system and shattered public trust in it.

Tens of thousands of refugees have been waiting months for a decision, banned from working or renting their own home. The Conservative chaos at the Home Office is wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money every day.

The Government must finally get a grip. It should take asylum cases away from the discredited Home Office and set up a new independent unit to make decisions quickly and correctly.

We need a fair, effective asylum system that treats everyone with dignity, and that everyone can have confidence in.

Raab emails: Lib Dems write to Cabinet Secretary demanding investigation

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Cabinet Secretary asking for an investigation into reports that Dominic Raab has been using his personal email for Government business.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain, who wrote the letter, commented:

The public deserve answers, not more cover-ups.

The drumbeat of allegations against Dominic Raab is relentless. From reports of bullying to allegations he has followed in the footsteps of Suella Braverman by using his personal email for government business, it is obvious that investigations are needed.

The Deputy Prime Minister cannot be relaxed about national security, especially at a time when Britain’s enemies are stepping up their cyber attacks. It is only right and proper the Cabinet Office investigate these reports and determine immediately if overseas enemies could have seen national secrets sent by Dominic Raab.

Michelle Mone: Lib Dems table amendment to scrap VIP lanes

The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment in the House of Lords to ban VIP lanes in future procurement decisions.

This would amend the Procurement Bill to ensure that no preferential treatment for public contracts can be given to organisations recommended by MPs and Peers.

The party have urged Conservative ministers to accept the amendment to end the “sleaze and cronyism” that has run rampant under their watch

It follows reports in the Guardian that the Conservative peer, Baroness Michelle Mone and her family received £29 million originating from the profits of a PPE business that was awarded large government contracts after she recommended it to ministers.

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson Christine Jardine asked the Government to support the party’s amendment and end VIP lanes in the Commons today.

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

As people face a savage squeeze on living standards, this Conservative Government’s recklessness with taxpayers’ money will rub salt into the wound.

It’s unacceptable that we have seen special treatment for Conservative ministers and their friends, whatever the cost to the public purse.

VIP lanes must be scrapped from future procurement decisions to avoid this kind of unforgivable waste in future.

Rishi Sunak’s pledge to act with ‘integrity and professionalism’ risks becoming an empty promise unless he accepts this amendment to crack down on future cronyism and sleaze.

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson in the House of Lords, Baroness Brinton, who tabled the amendment said:

The Liberal Democrat amendment would put an end to the constant stream of VIP Lane stories we have seen since the start of the pandemic.

Every revelation merely adds to the scale of this issue. The Conservative Government has a chance to act now – they must take it.

Richard Foord MP raises sewage report in Parliament after his son fell sick swimming in Devon river

Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton and Honiton Richard Foord has raised concerns over sewage discharges in the House of Commons after his son became ill swimming in a local river.

It comes as the Surfers Against Sewage Water Quality report was released today, uncovering evidence of people becoming sick from swimming in water polluted by sewage.

In a question to Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt MP, Richard Foord asked when the government will finally crack down on water companies polluting our waterways despite evidence of people getting sick – including his own son.

Richard Foord’s coastal constituency in Devon is plagued with sewage spills from South West Water, the second worst offender of “dry spills” in the UK according to the SAS Water Quality Report.

Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton and Honiton Richard Foord said:

Our children should not be getting sick from spending time in nature or building sandcastles next to sewage.

This is an environmental scandal. It is deeply shocking to hear people from across the South West, the Lake District and beyond have become sick from swimming in lakes and coastlines as a result of these “dry spills”. My own son became ill swimming in a Devon river.

Months of Conservative chaos and an ever-changing cast of Environment Secretaries has meant that instead of action taken to hold water companies to account, we have only seen empty threats from the Government. Those MPs who voted against a ban on these sewage discharges last year should hang their heads in shame.

The time is now to save Britain’s wild swimming spots and wildlife. This is a wake-up call to Conservative Ministers whose instinct is to do nothing.

Full Review in Social Services in Wales Needed After Logan Mwangi Report

Commenting on the release of the report into the murder of 5-year-old Logan Mwangi by Cwm Taf Morgannwg Safeguarding Board, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS, who worked for over 25 years as a child protection social worker stated:

I welcome the publication of this review, but what we really need now is the Welsh Government needed to undertake a full review of social services in Wales.

I note the recommendation for a review of national child protection conferences but it needs to go wider.

This is not about apportioning blame, but we need more staff in social work who are supported and who work together better.

This was a child who should not have lived in fear of his life, which was so tragically taken. Police, social workers, CAFCASS and health authorities failed him.

Finally, the report should have called him Logan, rather than dehumanising him by calling him Child T.

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2 Comments

  • nigel hunter 25th Nov '22 - 3:03pm

    As Unite Union has discontinued its access to one of its funders re ‘criminal activity’ with the proceeds of Crime Act of the early 2000s could this act be used to investigate the many PPE accounts to see if fraud was involved?

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Nov '22 - 5:55pm

    Re the sewage item – interesting article at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/26/water-chiefs-blame-uk-government-for-failure-to-stop-sewage-pollution
    “Under-fire water firms, criticised for their part in the scandal, have pointed the finger at the authorities in newly revealed letters”

    “During his short stint as environment secretary, Ranil Jayawardena demanded that every water company boss write to him with plans to reduce storm overflows, where human waste is pumped into rivers and on to beaches.

    The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs did not publicly release these letters until months later, when obliged to under the Freedom of Information Act.

    In the letters, the water company chief executives made scathing comments about the lack of action from government on the sewage scandal. They complained that the government had failed to bring in new laws as a reason for sewage discharges.”

    Six of one and half a dozen of the other?

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