28 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Davey calls for PM to put Martin Forde QC in charge of a Coronavirus Inquiry
  • Davey: PM must take second wave risk seriously
  • Government gaps in support for freelancers leaving employers to pick up the tab
  • Government must apply same human rights standards to US when it comes to exports
  • Dodds: ‘Swansea Tidal Lagoon is a vital part of our post-Covid recovery’
  • Davey calls for PM to put Martin Forde QC in charge of a Coronavirus Inquiry

    Today Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has written to the Prime Minister with a plan for an immediate inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic.

    Ed has called on the Prime Minister to appoint Martin Forde QC as the chair of an independent coronavirus inquiry and to start work immediately. Martin Forde was the independent adviser on the design of the Government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme and is chair of the independent inquiry into Labour’s report on the party’s handling of antisemitism complaints.

    Ed also released proposed Terms of Reference for the independent inquiry agreed to by the Covid19 Bereaved Families for Justice.

    A spokesperson for the Covid19 Bereaved Families for Justice said:

    Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice are relieved that Ed Davey has seen the urgent need for a rapid inquiry.

    The Government’s own ‘Preparing for a challenging winter 20/21’ report (The Academy of Medical Sciences) predicts over 119,000 excess deaths this winter if urgent action is not taken now.

    That action has to be informed by this transparent inquiry. It’s time the Prime Minister put the well-being of the nation above politics.

    Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

    The Prime Minister confirmed to me weeks ago that there would be an independent inquiry, but we have seen no action from the Government since. Bereaved families I speak to are so disappointed that the Government is yet to begin an inquiry. They just don’t want any more families to go through what they have.

    The coronavirus threat remains very real. Were a second wave to happen during the winter, it could be even more deadly and damaging than the first. The Government must immediately start an inquiry so that we can learn from mistakes and properly plan for a second wave.

    This plan has been agreed by the Covid19 Bereaved Families for Justice. I hope Boris Johnson takes it seriously and sees it as an opportunity to get an inquiry going as soon as possible.

    Davey: PM must take second wave risk seriously

    Responding to comments from the Prime Minister that several countries in Europe are facing a second wave of coronavirus, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

    “The Prime Minister is right that to warn that some countries face the possibility of a second wave of Coronavirus. However it is extremely worrying that he has not acknowledged or acted upon the risk of a second wave here in the UK.

    “Yesterday I met with families who had lost loved ones due to COVID-19. Many just want the Prime Minister to start an independent Inquiry immediately, so that the Government does not make the same mistakes that cost so many lives earlier this year.

    “Back in March, as the coronavirus wreaked havoc across Spain and Italy, Boris Johnson acted too slowly. The UK was not immune and it still is not. That is why the Prime Minister must take immediate action and begin an independent inquiry, so that we have learned the lessons should there be a second wave of the virus.”

    Government gaps in support for freelancers leaving employers to pick up the tab

    The Liberal Democrats have today urged the Chancellor to step in and support freelancers excluded from existing government support schemes. This comes after the announcement that the BBC will offer financial support to around 600 freelancers who they regularly employ.

    Liberal Demcorat MP and Chair of the Excluded UK APPG Jamie Stone demanded Rishi Sunak step in after the BBC confirmed it will pay average earnings for March, April and May capped at £2,500 to around 600 freelancers who have not been eligible for any of the UK Government’s support schemes.

    Liberal Democrat MP and Chair of the Excluded UK APPG, Jamie Stone commented:

    This is a responsible and compassionate move by the BBC. Although it has come late on in the arc of lockdown, it is welcome nonetheless. Freelancers are of immeasurable valuable to our arts and screen sectors.

    Millions of people across the UK have been left in bleak situations with no income and no support throughout the pandemic. Many of these people are freelancers and still face real financial hardship.

    This should never have been left to individual employers to cover the gaps in the government’s schemes. I urge the Chancellor to find a way to help those excluded from existing schemes and ensure that no one is left behind.

    Government must apply same human rights standards to US when it comes to exports

    Responding to reports that the UK will continue to export tear gas and rubber bullets to the US despite continued use of force against protesters, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

    From the use of gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters, to the arrest of over 70 journalists, it is clear that there are serious ongoing questions regarding the use of this equipment in the United States.

    The UK must ensure that human rights are upheld and protected. Supplying tear gas to those who use it inappropriately is unacceptable. It’s appalling that Boris Johnson’s Government have given the green light to continued exports.

    The UK must apply the same standards to the US as we would expect from any other trading partner. The Government must make the review into these sales public. It is unconscionable that the UK could be supplying tear gas where it may be used to violate basic human rights.

    Dodds: ‘Swansea Tidal Lagoon is a vital part of our post-Covid recovery’

    Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has called for the UK Government to honour their previous commitment to support the Swansea Tidal Lagoon.

    The UK Government and Swansea Council today stated that the Developers behind the project no longer have planning permission, following a series of delays and roadblocks.

    The project was set to go ahead back in 2018, with the UK and Welsh Governments, along with private investors, collaborating to fund the £1.3bn scheme. However, the UK Government pulled out late in the process, questioning the projects value for money.

    Since then there have been many attempts to keep the project moving, including the formation of a new company called ‘Tidal Power’. Sadly, none of these moves have allowed the project to proceed.

    Now the Welsh Lib Dems are calling for the UK Government to get behind the scheme once more, citing it as a key part of their plans for a post-Covid green recovery.

    Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:

    We have a chance to make Wales a world leader in green and renewable tidal power. Yet sadly, due to the Conservatives, we’re now back at square one.

    Boris Johnson talks a lot about ‘levelling up Wales’, but when it comes to putting his money where his mouth is, we see nothing but inaction and posturing. He would rather bang on about building another big and polluting road than actually delivering on revolutionary green energy projects like the Swansea Lagoon.

    We are in the midst of a climate emergency, we need be to investing in the sustainable technologies of the future. The Swansea Tidal Lagoon is a vital part of our post-Covid recovery – by building it we can power a green recovery and create many well-paid, high-skilled jobs.

    The Welsh Liberal Democrats have backed the Lagoon project from the very beginning and will continue to champion green energy projects across Wales. The Conservatives’ need to honour their previous commitment to fund the Lagoon so we can get on with the project.

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One Comment

  • A good person to chair the inquiry would be Lord Sumption the former Supreme Court Judge. He has an intellect that is all too lacking in many public figures and writes eloquently. He would not be afraid to criticise the government.

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