25 January 2023 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • Zahawi: What more will it take for Sunak to do the right thing
  • Govt lags behind key 20,000 police officer pledge by over 3,400
  • Powys Patients Waits in English Hospitals Raised in the Senedd
  • Wagner Group: Rishi Sunak must order an immediate inquiry

Zahawi: What more will it take for Sunak to do the right thing

Responding to the growing calls for Rishi Sunak to suspend Nadhim Zahawi as Conservative Party Chairman, including among his own party, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Every day that Nadhim Zahawi clings on does more damage to Rishi Sunak’s credibility.

The Conservative Party is stuck in an endless cycle of sleaze and chaos, while the country suffers from a cost of living and NHS crisis.

What more will it take for Sunak to finally do the right thing and sack Zahawi, or at least suspend him for the duration of this investigation?

He promised his government would have integrity and accountability, but instead once again it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else.

Govt lags behind key 20,000 police officer pledge by over 3,400

New Police uplift statistics from the Home Office have revealed that the Government would need to double its police recruitment efforts in the next three months to meet its 20,000 targets as it lags behind by 3,427.

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservatives for being on track to break their key 2019 manifesto promise to recruit 20,000 new police officers by the end of March 2023.

The Government’s flagship crime policy lags behind the total by 3,427 – with only 3 months left to go.

Analysis from the Liberal Democrats shows to meet the target of 20,000 by March 2023, the Government would have to hire 130% more officers each month, up from 494 extra officers a month over the last six months to 1,142.

The most recent statistics reveal that 17 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales have failed to recruit a single new officer in the last 2 months.

Responding, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

The Conservatives are too busy dealing with sleaze and scandal to properly tackle crime festering in our communities. They are letting down people across the country with their failure to recruit police officers and tackle crime.

Victims right across the country will be left without confidence in this Government and it’s all because of these broken promises and failures.

Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing where people feel safer in their areas and the Government is focused on cutting crime instead of squabbling in Downing Street.

Powys Patients Waits in English Hospitals Raised in the Senedd

Allegations that Welsh patients are being forced to wait longer than their English neighbours to be admitted to Shrewsbury hospital have been raised in the Senedd this week.

The allegations made by a Union boss and first reported by the County Times state that paramedics at the Welsh Ambulance Service (WAS) say Welsh patients are waiting longer in ambulances at the hospital, whilst patients brought in by West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) are being released much quicker.

The service says “cohorting arrangements” mean that West Midlands ambulances can unload patients more quickly, and that no such arrangement exists for ambulances from Powys.

During the Senedd this week, Liberal Democrat Member for Mid & West Wales Jane Dodds asked the Welsh Government to investigate the claims.

The Trefnydd Lesley Griffiths suggested that the Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan could get her officials to monitor commissioning arrangements with English hospitals.

Commenting Jane Dodds said:

Given the majority of people in Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire access emergency medical care through services in England via Shrewsbury, Telford and Herefordshire; reports that Welsh patients may be waiting longer than their English counterparts to be treated has understandably led to a lot of concern.

This concern comes on top of already abysmal ambulance waiting times in Powys, with 63% of red calls in Powys not being met within target times and 66% of amber calls (which include heart attacks and strokes) taking over an hour to arrive.

None of this is due to our extremely hard-working ambulance staff who always do their best under the most difficult of circumstances.

I have asked that the Welsh Government investigate this issue urgently. While clearly this issue isn’t down to ‘anti-Welsh bias’, if differences in practical operations are having an impact on handover times than we need to know so it can be addressed and improved.

I will continue to press the Welsh Health Minister to investigate this issue and ensure that everything possible is being done to ensure residents are getting the best access to healthcare they can. As I said during the debate on the Welsh Air Ambulance recently, we need better access to healthcare in rural areas, not worse.

Wagner Group: Rishi Sunak must order an immediate inquiry

Responding to reports that the UK Government helped Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Putin ally and founder of the Wagner Group, to attempt to ‘subvert sanctions and silence a journalist,’ Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

These reports are simply staggering. The idea that one of the most notorious criminals might have evaded sanctions to sue a British journalist is bad enough. But for the Government to have allegedly helped him get away with it is beyond belief.

We need the facts right away. The public deserves answers. Rishi Sunak must order an immediate inquiry – and set out whether he knew anything about this at the time, given he was Chancellor when this allegedly took place.

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