26 May 2020 – the day’s press releases

And that brings us back up to date…

  • All Tory MPs must reflect on Govt resignation and call for Cummings to go
  • Govt must invest now in mental health support given impact of COVID-19
  • Govt must scrap Vagrancy Act as part of plan to end rough sleeping for good
  • PM out of touch with public and his own party
  • Govt review into lockdown fines shows one rule for Cummings and one for everyone else
  • Increase in prison staff Covid-19 cases show Govt allowing prisons to become crucible for virus

All Tory MPs must reflect on Govt resignation and call for Cummings to go

Responding to the resignation of a Conservative Minister in protest at the row over Dominic Cummings, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Countless people have made heartbreaking sacrifices to keep to the Government’s rules, so people are understandably angry about Dominic Cummings’ behaviour.

Douglas Ross recognises it cannot be one rule for senior government officials and one rule for everyone else, so why doesn’t the Prime Minister? Boris Johnson is losing the trust of his own Ministers and his judgement is seriously in question. To tackle this pandemic and save lives, people deserve better.

All Conservative MPs must reflect on this resignation, stop defending the indefensible and put the public health of our country first by calling for the Prime Minister’s scandal-hit spin doctor-in-chief to go.

Govt must invest now in mental health support given impact of COVID-19

Statistics from the ONS show that across Great Britain from 3 April to 3 May 2020, some 80% of adults were worried about the effect that COVID-19 was having on their life. Responding to these figures, Munira Wilson, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, said:

The majority of people right across the country have experienced a tangible, detrimental mental health impact as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Ministers must recognise that the mental health scars of COVID-19 will be deep. We need to see investment now to ensure that people – regardless of where they live – can access the support they need, when they need it.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats are calling for the Government to urgently increase funding for and provision of mental health support. We are calling for access to mental health support 24/7 for those working in health and care, many of whom are enduring daily trauma, and better funded, clearly signposted support for every single community.

Given the severity of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK, which has unfolded on his watch, the Prime Minister must act to ensure we provide a world-leading mental health response. The recovery of people across our family of nations requires it.

Govt must scrap Vagrancy Act as part of plan to end rough sleeping for good

Responding to news that £53m will be provided for support services to help rough sleepers in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

COVID-19 forced the Government to take urgent action to end rough sleeping. I welcome these efforts, but that action should have been taken years ago, as the Liberal Democrats have long-called for. Now we must seize the opportunity to ensure that we never return to the status quo and end rough sleeping for good.

The Government must urgently pass legislation to scrap the Dickensian Vagrancy Act, which unfairly penalises people for sleeping rough. Instead we need to support people in finding secure accommodation. The additional funding announced will help, but we need to ensure it is sufficient for the long term.

Ministers must also make sure local authorities can be confident that they will have access to the resources they need to provide safe, secure accommodation for all those at risk of sleeping rough into the long term, not just through the current crisis. This must include ongoing support for those in emergency accommodation.

PM out of touch with public and his own party

Responding to polling which shows 71% say Dominic Cummings broke law and 56% of Conservatives say he must go, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The public have made so many sacrifices since the lockdown and this polling clear shows people think there cannot be one rule for senior government officials and one rule for everyone else.

The Prime Minister’s support for his adviser increasingly looks out of touch and is losing him support with the public and his own party.

The Prime Minister’s judgement has now become the issue, as this saga is confusing the vital public health messages needed to defeat coronavirus.

Each minute the Prime Minister fails to act is another minute the Government is distracted from upscaling Britain’s testing capacity, securing PPE for frontline workers and preventing the tragic deaths in our care homes. Dominic Cummings must go.

Govt review into lockdown fines shows one rule for Cummings and one for everyone else

Responding to the daily press conference, where Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated the government will look into reviewing fines imposed on families travelling for childcare purposes during lockdown, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The British public have made huge sacrifices over the past two months, losing their freedom, their livelihoods, and in many tragic instances – someone they loved. Ministers’ determination to keep defending the actions of Dominic Cummings are an insult to every single person following the lockdown measures in place.

The commitment by the Health Secretary today to look into reviewing fines imposed on those travelling for childcare during lockdown shows that the Government are in an untenable position.

If what Dominic Cummings did wasn’t against the rules, then why have others been fined for the same actions? There is no answer other than there is one rule for Dominic Cummings, and one rule for the rest of us.

The trust between the government and the British public has been broken, at a time when it is absolutely crucial if we are to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives. The longer Dominic Cumming stays in post, the longer the Prime Minister and his government not only risk public health, but their ability to fight the virus altogether.

Increase in prison staff Covid-19 cases show Govt allowing prisons to become crucible for virus

Responding to the figures showing the number of prison staff with coronavirus has increased dramatically, with 873 staff having tested positive across England and Wales, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

The figures showing the dramatic rise in Covid-19 cases amongst prison staff demonstrate that the government is allowing prisons to become a crucible for the virus.

Whilst our prisons remain overcrowded and the government refuse to release all low-risk prisoners, there is no chance of social distancing. This puts the health of both staff and prisoners, as well as our communities, at risk.

The government must listen to prison governors and end overcrowding in prisons before the consequences become even more severe. Liberal Democrats are calling for Ministers to release all low-risk prisoners serving short sentences and suspend any new short sentences. With tough licence conditions and electronic tagging, the government can keep our communities safe from both crime and the spread of coronavirus.

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