25 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Yesterday, we received a lot of press releases with an embargo upon them until after midnight, so it’s a bumper bunch today…

Leading figures from opposition parties will meet Michel Barnier in Brussels today [Thursday] to say the UK must remain within the Single Market and the Customs Union.

The campaign to resolve Brexit through a People’s Vote will also be discussed. The Liberal Democrats, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have all said they would support the public to have the final say on any Brexit deal in a vote in the House of Commons.

Last weekend saw hundreds of thousands of people march in London for the People’s Vote and polling shows the option is increasingly the preferred choice across the UK.

The group will open a cross-party line of communication to the European Commission, so that officials are aware of Parliamentary progress made on securing the People’s Vote, while continuing to make the case for the UK to stay within the Single Market and the Customs Union.

Those attending the meeting with Barnier will be: Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats; Ian Blackford, Westminster Leader of the SNP; Liz Saville Roberts, Westminster Leader of Plaid Cymru; and Molly Scott Cato, Green Party MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar.

Vince Cable said:

Our ‘unholy alliance’ has provided a sensible counterpoint to the hard-line Brexiteers who have pushed the Conservatives and Labour’s frontbench into senseless and fudged positions. It is vital that Michel Barnier and the European Commission know that there is another view in Parliament, one that has cross-party support and that can get the EU and the UK out of this mess.

I will also tell Michel Barnier that there are also brave Conservative and Labour rebels involved in leading this fight to give the people a final say. As a result, there is now tremendous Parliamentary and public pressure to hold that vote.

Liz Saville Roberts said:

Plaid Cymru will not stand by and allow the British Government, along with their collaborators in the Labour party, to drag Wales out of the Single Market and Customs Union. Negotiations between the Prime Minister and Michel Barnier have reached another embarrassing stalemate. The only realistic option available to us is to extend Article 50 and take the Withdrawal Agreement to a People’s Vote.

Leaving the key European economic frameworks will wipe £5 billion off the Welsh economy. In making the case for a People’s Vote, I will impress upon the Chief EU Negotiator the full gravity of the impact of Brexit on Wales. The British Government has never had Wales’s best interest at heart.

Ian Blackford said:

While the UK Government clearly still has no plan to break the Brexit impasse, and Labour fail to act as an effective opposition, it has been left to the ‘unofficial opposition’ to speak up for a deal that would protect jobs and livelihoods. I am grateful to Mr Barnier for meeting with us.

Any Brexit deal that falls short of staying in the Single Market and the Customs Union will not get through Parliament. It’s time for Theresa May to drop the jargon, quit playing games and act to protect our economic future.

Molly Scott Cato said:

There is now Parliamentary paralysis on Brexit. The Chequers plan is dead, but neither is there support for alternative versions of Brexit being driven by a Brexit syndicate of far-right think tanks.

It is clear the only way out of this deadlock is to hand the process back to the people. Last weekend 700,000 people marched in support of the People’s Vote; more than the combined membership of the Tories and Labour. The momentum behind this idea can no longer be ignored; it now looks unstoppable.

We Must do More to Prevent Youth Homelessness

Responding to a report from the Wales Centre for Public Policy, the Welsh Lib Dems have urged the Welsh Government, councils and the third sector to work together to implement its recommendations.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson Cllr Joe Carter said:

We welcome this new report from the Wales Centre for Public Policy and believe it shines a light on the growing problem of youth homelessness.

Preventing homelessness through appropriate support is better for the individual, local authorities and society. We need social services and housing teams to work with the voluntary sector to design solutions to support the most vulnerable people now.

It is a travesty that anyone should have to sleep on the streets in 21st century Wales, let alone young people often already let down by society. We urge the Welsh Government to take every step necessary to prevent youth homelessness.

Campbell accuses Tories of “a facile misunderstanding of the EU”

Former Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Menzies Campbell, will today [25/10/2018] lead the first stand-alone debate in Parliament on the case for a ‘People’s Vote’ on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

Menzies Campbell will use the debate to accuse the Conservative Government of “displaying a facile misunderstanding of the European Union, its origins and its priorities.” The former Party Leader will also warn the Prime Minister that she cannot “pick and choose advantages of EU membership if the UK leaves the EU”.

The debate follows last weekend’s ‘People’s Vote’ march in London which saw nearly 700,000 protesters take to the streets to show their support for a final say on Brexit.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Menzies Campbell said:

The Brexiters never told the country that a decision to leave would result in the depreciation of the pound, an increase in inflation and a rise in the cost of living. But sadly the public have been failed by an incoherent and incompetent Tory Government whose divisions and internal strife undermine the United Kingdom.

We do not know what, if anything, the final package will be that is put before Parliament. However, the chances of it being approved by the Commons melt by the hour as bitterness and abuse replace loyalty and respect.

If ever there was a need for pause for thought it is now. That is why nearly 700,000 members of the public marched through the streets of London last Saturday calling for the people to have the final say on any deal.

Government wasting hundreds of millions on short term sentences

Responding to new statistics on the number of people going to prison on short-term sentences, Liberal Democrat spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The Justice Secretary has admitted that short-term sentences don’t work, and yet we are still spending hundreds of millions of pounds to lock people up for a matter of months.

Even worse, the Government is now trying to create new mandatory short-term sentences, which will tie judges’ hands and worsen prison overcrowding while failing to actually prevent crime.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We are opposing the Government’s new mandatory sentences, and calling for a presumption against short prison sentences and greater use of tough community sentences, which have been shown to be more effective at reducing reoffending.

Cable: Philip Green knighthood should be stripped if allegations are correct

Responding to the naming of Sir Philip Green in connection to recent allegations in the Telegraph newspaper, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

He narrowly and luckily escaped losing his knighthood over the pensions scandal.

If these allegations are correct, he should certainly be stripped of his knighthood.

Joint statement from Lib Dems, Green Party, SNP and Plaid Cymru on Barnier meeting

See separate post.

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