3 July 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems demand new committee to assess no-deal damage
  • Lamb criticises whistleblower protections as “fundamentally inadequate”
  • Lib Dems produce bill to stop Govt’s publicity stunt approach to plastics
  • Lib Dems: Govt must tackle obesity crisis to save lives

Lib Dems demand new committee to assess no-deal damage

Today, the Liberal Democrats with a cross-party group in the House of Lords will attempt to create a a joint parliamentary committee of MPs and Peers to consider the impact of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement on 31 October 2019.

The motion not only calls for the creation of the joint committee, but that they report its findings by 30 September 2019.

Ahead of the debate, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, Dick Newby said:

Politicians across Parliament are aware of the threat no-deal poses. If it was going to be beneficial for the UK we wouldn’t see Johnson and Hunt having to promise billions in an inadequate attempt to protect British business and jobs.

However, if Brexiters continue to refuse to listen we will continue our efforts to spell out just how damaging it is. We will not allow the Tories to stumble blindfold into a no-deal Brexit, damaging our NHS, our ability to tackle climate change and our economy.

Any Brexit will leave the UK worse off and we will continue our efforts to stop it from happening. A no-deal Brexit would however be particularly damaging, and a joint committee pointing out the costs and implications of such a course would be the first step in preventing it.

Lamb criticises whistleblower protections as “fundamentally inadequate”

Former Liberal Democrat Business Minister Sir Norman Lamb will lead a debate on whistleblowing this afternoon.

On Wednesday 3 July, Sir Norman Lamb will hold a debate on whistleblowing, arguing that protections are “fundamentally inadequate” and a review is “urgently needed”. Sir Norman Lamb, who is co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Whistleblowing, served as business minister during the Coalition.

In the debate, which will be held in the House of Commons Chamber, Lamb will call upon the Government to launch a fundamental review of whistleblowing legislation.

He will point to the case of foster carers, who currently are not included under whistleblowing legislation. He will also highlight examples from the NHS and from financial services where brave individuals have been failed by the system.

Sir Norman said:

Whistleblowers perform an incredibly important function within both private and public sector organisations. They seek to expose wrongdoing where they have been listened to, illicit practices have been stopped, justice has been done and lives have been saved.

Fundamentally, this is about good governance. We all rely on people being prepared to expose wrongdoing. They should be celebrated not denigrated.

The way in which we treat whistleblowers is shameful. The protections which are offered in the law go nowhere near far enough. The law doesn’t aim to stop firms from treating whistleblowers poorly; and the compensation offered to whistleblowers – usually after a long tribunal battle – is insufficient.

That’s if you count as a whistleblower under legislation. But many groups of people don’t – if you’re a foster carer, and you blow the whistle to the local authority that you work with, you have no protections under law. They can take children out of your care or stop further children being placed with you and you have no grounds to challenge. This is shameful.

Clearly we desperately need to update whistleblowing legislation, to finally provide whistleblowers with the protections that they deserve.

Lib Dems produce bill to stop Govt’s publicity stunt approach to plastics

Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael will today present his Plastic Pollution Bill in Parliament.

The Bill, supported by Friends of the Earth and the Women’s Institute, aims to phase-out all non-essential single use plastics by 2025 and obliges the Government to produce a strategy that will end plastic pollution by 2042.

Ahead of presenting his Bill, Alistair Carmichael said:

The Conservative Government have grabbed the headlines with their bans on plastic straws and coffee stirrers, but we need a government that produces more than a series of publicity stunts.

The plastic in “The Great Garbage Patch”, a floating pile of rubbish in the Pacific Ocean three times the size of France, was found to be 46% from discarded fishing nets. Governments need to do more to tackle this.

This Bill sets meaningful targets in law, and creates an advisory committee, like the climate change committee. This, in turn, will lead to meaningful action to tackle plastic pollution, and set an example around the world. Michael Gove’s single-use gimmicks must be consigned to the political recycling bin.

Lib Dems: Govt must tackle obesity crisis to save lives

Responding to Cancer Research UK reporting that obesity now causes more cases of four common cancers in the UK than smoking, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

The reports that many cancers are more likely being caused by being overweight than smoking shows the need for Government to step up plans to tackle obesity in the UK to improve our health and life expectancy.

It is therefore astonishing to hear that Boris Johnson doesn’t think it is worth his time extending the sugar tax and also wants an entire review of ‘unhealthy food taxes’. The fact he introduced his own version of the sugar tax in city hall when he was mayor of London shows how this is nothing more than another U-turn to woo Tory members.

The sugar tax is working. It was the Conservative Government who announced in November last year that the sugar tax had raised a lot less money than expected because manufacturers of soft drinks had cut the amount of sugar in drinks to avoid paying the tax.

Rather than cosying up to corporate interests, the Liberal Democrat would tackle the obesity crisis. We are committed to extending the sugar tax as well as reversing Tory cuts to preventive health services. It is the right thing to do – it is not just about reducing demand on our health service, but tackling this crisis will save lives.

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  • Nigel Jones 4th Jul '19 - 9:31am

    Why has no group of MPs spelt out why a no-deal is so bad, nor why it is so beneficial to stay in the EU ? So many people do not believe general statements from politicians, including Tories; they only trust leading Brexiteers such as Farage.
    We urgently need a small document that spells out the overall position, together with a few sharp specific points that will drive the message home. The Brexiteers and for decades their media supporters have presented examples that are true but distort the picture and against the EU. It is not sufficient to quote either experts or experienced politicians, because they are not trusted anymore; it must be spelled out and in simple language.

  • David Garlick 4th Jul '19 - 10:28am

    The Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific needs to be cleared and sooner rather than later.
    Can the Lib Dems sponsor a move from the EU to Act, in concert with others, to clear it up? Maybe through the UN.

    If we stopped chucking plastic into the Oceans today this will still need to be done asap.
    If we dont stop chucking this rubbish into the Oceans it will still need to be done asap.

  • Now that our opinion poll ratings have risen to 20% plus why has there been no strident demand in the press for a substantial increase in our House of Lords representation to about 160 -170 ? Just asking !

  • nigel hunter 4th Jul '19 - 4:00pm

    Yes, the great ‘plastic sea’ should be dealt with. They say there is a lot of fishing nets involved. Could it not be all swept up by fishing nets and then disposed of.It should not be that expensive. Good idea to get sponsorship from many nations to s.hare the cost

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