28 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dem policy for 9pm junk food marketing watershed has public support

Responding to a survey by Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) which shows the widespread support for the Liberal Democrat policy to create a 9pm watershed for junk food marketing, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

With obesity as one of the leading causes of cancer, there is increasingly concern about the childhood obesity epidemic throughout the UK.

The Conservative Government have failed to take these concerns seriously. So far all we have seen from the Tories is an unambitious strategy on Childhood Obesity that will do little to solve the problem.

Children deserve better and Liberal Democrats demand better. We believe it is time to end junk food marketing on TV before 9pm as well as measures to stop junk food marketing online.

Tory Brexit chaos to blame for sharp fall in EU migrants

The Liberal Democrats have blamed the sharp fall in EU migrants revealed today on the “chaos created by Tory Ministers and the nasty rhetoric of Brexiters”.

The latest migration statistics, published today by the Office for National Statistics, reveal that net migration from the EU has dramatically fallen from 106,000 last year to 57,000 now. EU net migration is at the lowest point since 2008.

However, net migration from outside the EU is at the highest since 2004. It has risen to 261,000, up from 222,000 a year ago.

On EU migration, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Hospitals, schools and social care providers are already struggling to hire the staff they need, and Brexit is making that problem so much worse.

Even before we’ve left the EU, the chaos created by Tory Ministers and the nasty rhetoric of Brexiters is putting off the EU workers that our public services badly need.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. That’s why we’re leading the fight for a People’s Vote and an Exit from Brexit.

On the Conservatives’ net migration target, Ed Davey added:

Today’s figures also show that the Tories’ promise that Brexit will bring net migration down to their ‘tens of thousands’ target is a complete fiction. Immigration from outside the EU is rising well above that target and rising – driven not by our membership of the EU, but the demands of our economy.

Lamb: We could see rapid deterioration of A&E waiting times

Responding to reports in The Times that Accident and Emergency departments will no longer have to treat patients within four hours, former Health Minister Norman Lamb said:

There has been a widely held view that the 4 hour standard transformed hospital care and ended dire delays when patients arrived in an emergency. It forced hospitals to focus on the whole system through to discharge, to ensure that beds were available to admit seriously ill patients. But, it has also been accepted that the standard can distort clinical priorities.

A review of the standard with a view to introducing a more sophisticated approach is reasonable. But if, in reality, it was effectively abandoned, then we could see a very rapid deterioration of waiting times for patients arriving in A&E.

They have got to get this right. The principle that people should be entitled to assessment and treatment within a reasonable time in our NHS is really important and should not be abandoned – and certainly not because of cost pressures.

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  • Is it not time to stop using the term “junk food” to refer to harmful ingestible material with zero or negative nutritional value?

  • Yesterdays by election suggested Labour coming out for Referendum stopped the drift away from their candidates.
    TIG have a seeming leader. Should we become Independent and LIberal Group. See one poll gave TIG 18%, Lib Dems 6%, combined 24%, and Labour at 23%!!!!

  • Alex Macfie 1st Mar '19 - 10:43am

    National opinion polls that include TIG mean absolutely nothing unless and until TIG starts standing in elections and gets an electoral track record. Currently all the media focus is on TIG, while we are being ignored. So of course TIG is getting poll ratings. But was there a TIG candidate in yesterday’s Council by-election in Stroud? No, there was not. And be assured, TIG will almost certainly not be on the ballot paper in either the forthcoming Newport W Parliamentary by-election, nor in the next round of local elections in May. However, the Lib Dems will be on the ballot paper.

  • Alex: opinion polls do identify the trend, therefore surely the return figures have some relevance. I was a constituency chair in the North East in 1981 and 1982 and well remember the SDP opening. Liberals fell from 15-16% to 4% up there in one poll , with the SDP in the 20’s. Up to then there had been no SDP candidates standing in the country.Very similar you might think to now. BUT the SDP figure did boost us consdierable once the Alliance was unveiled. Interestingly whilst still two organisations we did poll 18% nationally the May locals as I recall, many commentators were thinking of 25 -30%, thinking we would get all the SDP support and a breakthrough, but we did not..

  • In case it had escaped anyone’s attention, the Newport West by-election will be held on 4 April; the Labour Chief Whip (Nick Brown MP) moved the writ in the House of Commons yesterday morning.

    Candidates for all the other “main” parties have already been announced: Labour, Conservative, Plaid Cymru and Green – plus Renew and an “Abolish the Assembly” candidate – but no Lib Dem (so far). Have we yet actually selected a candidate – and when can we expect to see a press release to announce who this will be? Hopefully, we won’t just be “flying the flag” as also-rans!


  • John Roffey 1st Mar '19 - 1:08pm

    There seems to be an omission.

    Congratulations to Layla Moran for securing a discussion in parliament on Climate Change [with Caroline Lucus of the Greens];

    MPs debate climate after school strike – but only a handful turn up

    This was a very welcome distraction from Brexit – which bizzarely is likely to be still left unresolved by the time that the final reductions in greenhouse gases will be required [in about 10 years]. Failure to achieve this goal will sentence these children to the fearful approaches of human extinction [only 5% of climate scientists believe this will be avoided by the end of the century].

    Why it’s time to think about human extinction | Dr David Suzuki

    Dr Suzuki seems to one of the few who still believes it is still possible for this to be averted.

    Well done Lib/Dems and particularly to Layla Moran and her performance on Question Time when the issue was discussed.

  • John Bicknell 1st Mar '19 - 1:53pm

    With reference to Newport West. I note that the BBC are speculating whether there might be a TIG supporting Independent choosing to stand. I wonder what the local Lib Dem response would be under those circumstances, or, indeed, whether they are delaying announcing a candidate in anticipation of such a move?

  • Alex Macfie 1st Mar '19 - 2:11pm

    theakes: If an opinion poll is reporting people saying they will vote for a “party” that in all likelihood won’t even be an option on the ballot paper, then it is not a useful indicator of actual voting intentions. The first question you have to ask is where will the “TIG vote” go when voters find it isn’t on the ballot paper. The second question is how will voters respond to an ACTUAL TIG candidate campaigning in an actual election. Thus far, and as with the SDP in its inception, the support for TIG is based on the national Westminster-based media talking it up. It is a very different story in actual votes in actual elections, which are decided by actual campaigning and where voters have to vote for one of the options actually available to them. And as TIG is at the moment still political vapourware, the support it is getting now may well dissipate as the media move onto the next big thing. If it becomes an actual political party with an actual platform, there will be scrutiny of its platform and its support will depend on that — as well as on actually standing in actual elections.

    The Parliamentary gains made by the SDP-Liberal Alliance were mainly off the back of Liberal effort. The only SDP gain ever in a general election was by Charles Kennedy, who ran a Liberal-type campaign, aided by Liberal activists, in a seat that had been Liberal previously. The only SDP switcher never to lose his seat was Bob MacLennan, Charles’ Parliamentary neighbour, again in a seat that had previously been Liberal. Success in elections is won off the back of real campaigning effort, not national blazes of publicity, however useful these may be. The SDP needed the Liberals more than vice versa. Likewise, TIG will need us more then we need them.

  • @David Raw

    On the other hand we went from 4.4% to 24.6% in the Lewisham East by-election – leaping over the Conservatives.

  • David Evans 1st Mar '19 - 5:50pm

    Indeed you are right Michael 1. That is the sort of result we need to achieve, second place and a substantial increase in vote share. Of course we also need to be circumspect like David Raw. 24.6% in the Lewisham by-election was not a massive achievement. The turnout was down from 47,000 voters to a pitiful 22,000 so our vote only needed to rise by 3,400 votes to get the result and the headlines.

    Good publicity and image are the key results we need to get this time, and we need everyone, including the London crowd to get out there to make it a success. I hope to see you there.

  • I’ve always been quite sceptical of the ‘personal vote’ argument: I suspect very few MPs have a large number of constituents who would vote for them against their natural political inclinations. However, I have a feeling Paul Flynn may have been one such MP. So I think the number of votes up for grabs in Newport may be quite high.

  • Alex: in the longer term you may well be right, but we are talking about the next 5 weeks to April 4th, and facts are facts whether we agree with them or not. It is a question of who stands us or TIG, it cannot stand both.
    Just for the record I campaigned at Warrington & Crosby by elections

  • I fear that the signs are not particularly promising for any sort of significant Lib Dem advance in Newport West. David Raw’s statistics are correct – sadly, we will be starting from a very low base in this constituency, having finished with lost deposits and in 5th place (behind UKIP and Plaid Cymru) in both 2015 and 2017. Joe B is therefore also right to warn that this by-election looks most likely to be a straight Labour/Conservative contest – perhaps with a secondary tight contest for third place. But let’s keep hope alive – because Lib Dem prospects in Brecon and Radnorshire should clearly be better if that potential by-election comes to pass.

  • Clearly Newport West is a more difficult contest for us than Lewisham East but I was surprised when I looked it up that actually the statistics were not that different. It should have been a Labour/Tory contest in Lewisham East – but wasn’t

    Significantly Labour have suffered a haemorrhaging in their vote in Wales. The latest Yougov poll for Westminster voting intention has them down from 49% in Wales at the General Election to 35%.

    One can also foresee that if we delay leaving the EU that the Tories will begin to lose votes to UKIP and/or Farage’s new Brexit party. In fact a parliamentary by-election would be a good opportunity for the Brexit party – who knows may be with Farage standing!

    We have a clear message to Tories “Leavers or Remainers, don’t reward the Tories for the Brexit mess.” (80% of the electorate disapprove of the Tories’ handling of Brexit) and to Labour – send them a clear message that we want a People’s Vote. Both for by-elections and the local elections and the…. um… coming (probably) European Parliamentary elections.

    If Labour don’t hold Newport West it is dire for them. If the Tories don’t gain it, it is dire for them.

  • Alex Macfie 2nd Mar '19 - 1:53pm

    theakes: The SDP was a fully formed party, in a formal alliance with the Liberals, by the time of the Warrington & Crosby by-elections. TIG is still in the “Council for Social democracy” stage. Also the fact that the Liberals were getting poll ratings of 4% in early 1981 compared with SDP getting 20%+, then the Liberals polling about 18% in that year’s May local elections, reinforces my point that opinion poll ratings for a hypothetical party are meaningless.
    I notice that Lib Dems don’t seem to have a candidate yet in Newport West. It has been speculated that they are waiting for TIG to make a move, and if TIG does get its act together and put a candidate up then the Lib Dems should and would probably support the TIGger. However, it still seems too soon for that to be likely, and so by far the most likely scenario will be will be Lib Dem but no TIG on the ballot paper.

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