6 March 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak must veto Johnson honours list
  • 97% of NHS trusts are missing cancer treatment targets in “shocking gap in care”

Sunak must veto Johnson honours list

Responding to reports in The Times that Boris Johnson has nominated his father for a Knighthood in his Resignation Honours list, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

The Conservative party is rewarding Boris Johnson’s failure, lies and corruption. If future Honours Lists are to have any shred of credibility, Sunak must step in and veto this list.

Honours should be reserved for those who’ve gone above and beyond to contribute to our country. Boris Johnson’s attempt to bestow that recognition on his father makes a mockery of the whole thing.

This nepotism from the former Prime Minister isn’t new, he successfully secured a position in the House of Lords for his brother, now he’s trying to get similar VIP treatment for his father.

A Prime Minister who was found guilty of breaking the law while holding office doesn’t deserve an honours list with one name, let alone with over 100.

97% of NHS trusts are missing cancer treatment targets in “shocking gap in care”

Only 3% of NHS trusts met a crucial cancer treatment target last year, down from one in two in 2015, distressing new research from the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The House of Commons Library data analysis looks at the number of trusts meeting a key target for 85% of patients to receive their first cancer treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referral.

Only three out of 125 trusts met the target in 2022, making up just 3% of the total. The research also shows that cancer waiting times were getting steadily worse far before the pandemic struck, showing the impact of years of Conservative neglect of the health service.

In 2019, fewer than one in four (23.9%) NHS trusts met the cancer treatment time target.

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

These stark figures show that even before the pandemic struck, waiting times for cancer treatment were rising and the number of hospital trusts meeting vital targets were falling of a cliff.

Now the situation is so bad that barely any hospitals are able to provide patients with the treatment they need on time.

Patients are being left in distress, and the fault lies squarely with this Conservative Government that has been running the NHS into the ground for years. Ministers have consistently failed to plan ahead or provide adequate funding, while taking patients and NHS staff for granted.

There is a shocking gap in cancer care from one area to another. Access to good quality care shouldn’t be determined by where you live in the country.

Long waits for cancer patients can be the difference between life and death, it’s time the Government gave this crisis the attention it deserves.

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  • Richard Easter 7th Mar '23 - 9:54am

    I see Angela Smith has been “re-admitted” to Labour.

    Clearly a political chancer (and I wonder what Labour members think of her commitment to water privatisation and fracking – not to mention her “tinge” outburst).

    Labour have now become the “Westminster” Party – this could be fertile ground for the Lib Dems to position themselves as the party of the regions.

  • Mel Borthwaite 7th Mar '23 - 12:28pm

    I see the sole Liberal Democratic councillor in Dumfries and Galloway has chosen to support the Conservatives in taking control of the council. This is not a good look for the Party.

  • Peter Watson 7th Mar '23 - 1:10pm

    Richard Easter “I see Angela Smith has been “re-admitted” to Labour … fertile ground for the Lib Dems to position themselves as the party of the regions”
    Given that Starmer’s Labour has moved into the Lib Dem territory of being a vaguely-defined, inoffensive, centrist, small-c conservative alternative to the Tories, perhaps the fertile ground for Lib Dems could be as a more radical, left-leaning party.

    Voters from the right will always favour the Conservatives, and those from the left will always favour Labour, and with Sunak detoxifying (a little bit!) the legacy of Johnson and Truss, the Lib Dems look likely to be squeezed, having squandered the opportunity to look distinctive in recent years. I’m reminded of the analogy of three ice-cream sellers on a beach.

    Though it would also be good if the party remembered that there are regions! 😉

  • Richard Easter 7th Mar '23 - 2:09pm

    @Peter Watson

    I don’t know why the Lib Dems don’t position themselves more towards the Nordic Social Democrat mould. In that way they could be “a more radical left-leaning party” as you put it, without being lumped in with Corbynism or whatever.

    Starmer’s Labour seems incredibly “Westminster” in its approach. He’s essentially moulded it into a Westminister establishment revolving door party – which was one of the worst aspects of Blairism.

    Starmer’s approach appears to be to make the Westminster set of journalists and whatnot think he is a safe pair of hands because he is one of them, but it means ditching anything which is not in their interest. When he’s not being Mr Westminster he is “Davos Man”.

    I’d like to see the Lib Dems as a genuine alternative proposing the sort of sensible policies the Nordic countries and countries such as Belgium and Germany have. I feel that’s what’s missing in this country, and I suspect many on the left (who were not hardcore socialists) who were drawn to Kennedy and pre coalition Clegg, and some even who are drawn to Corbyn were after.

    There is also a group of voters which if Starmer was genuinely targetting floating Tories he’d be all over, but certainly does not appear to be. Tradespeople, small business owners, dog groomers, beauticians and so on. And they form the backbone of Britain in every town – all the places the party used to reach into.

  • George Thomas 7th Mar '23 - 2:30pm

    I still think there is fertile ground for Lib Dems both on basis of major issues of today (how to be best local, international party; how to manage need to draw closer to the EU; how to tackle climate emergency) and failures of major parties (both will lose their identities fighting over smaller and smaller piece of ground and are less interested in making strides into the future less it creates negative headlines today).

    There is a place for radical, grown-up politics. For example, House of Lords has a place in UK society but really should be 1/5 equally from devolved nations and 1/5 from best and brightest minds of the day. It shouldn’t be a huge body, largely on basis of departing Prime Minister’s friends, and we can say that Boris Johnson is extreme example of bad behaviour but every recent PM has been bad for this too.

    However, the idea that it was fine institution before Boris’ proposed list of nominees is a bit of a joke.

  • Peter Watson 7th Mar '23 - 3:02pm

    @Richard Easter
    “I feel that [something in the the Nordic Social Democrat mould] is what’s missing in this country”
    I agree entirely with your points, and that sounds like the sort of party I’d like to see.

    “There is also a group of voters which if Starmer was genuinely targetting floating Tories he’d be all over”
    Many years ago, when I was doing the thing that involves sitting outside a polling station wearing a yellow rosette and ticking off voters so that somebody else could check which potential Salads (like I said, a long time ago!) had not yet voted, one of my neighbours came over to apologise that he had a small business so had to vote Conservative!
    Starmer is walking a bit of a tightrope, and with regards to these voters (who I would perceive as somewhat socially and economically conservative, but that might just be me!), I think his priority is to not rock the boat. Where something might make waves, e.g. debates around the rights of trans people, I think he is taking a socially liberal position but also trying to stifle the discussion so nobody notices! Otherwise, it is about making Brexit work for them and shouting about Tory incompetence. Reminds me of another party! 😉

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