7 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases (part 1)

A busy day yesterday and overnight, so today’s press releases will come in two sections…

  • Home Secretary ‘open-minded’ on right to work
  • Permanent Secretary exit only ‘managed departure’ from DExEU
  • Liberal Democrats demand better for women on International Women’s Day
  • Revealed: Home Office report rubbishes Boris Johnson’s Stop and Search claim

Home Secretary ‘open-minded’ on right to work

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has secured assurances from the Home Secretary that he is ‘open-minded’ about her Bill which would loosen rules around asylum seekers’ right to work.

The Edinburgh West MP raised her campaign with Sajid Javid in a joint meeting organised by cross-party group, More United.

Currently, asylum seekers can only work if they have been waiting more than 12 months for their claim to be processed, and only then if they can fill a role on the Government’s very narrow ‘shortage occupation list’.

Ms Jardine’s Bill would change the law to allow them to work after just 3 months, which would vastly improve integration, help people rebuild their lives, and save the taxpayer millions in support payments*.

After the meeting, Ms Jardine said:

Being denied the right to work, and to put food on the table for you and your family, is cruel and undignified. People deserve better.

I was therefore very encouraged to hear that the Home Secretary is open-minded about backing my campaign and changing the rules to allow asylum seekers the right to work.

He told me that he and his officials are looking in to the issue, but that more evidence is needed to clear up some reservations.

I will now work with colleagues across the House to provide him with that evidence, so that we can finally get the law changed and help people who have risked so much to rebuild their lives.

Permanent Secretary exit only ‘managed departure’ from DExEU

Responding to news that the Department for Exiting the European Union’s most senior civil servant Philip Rycroft is expected to retire at the end of the month, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

So the only managed departure the Department for Exiting the European Union has been able to strike is for their own Permanent Secretary.

I wish Philip Rycroft well in his retirement, albeit I am sure the public, like me, would prefer to see the whole Brexit shambles retired instead.

With a change in personnel at this key stage in the Brexit process, questions will be raised. The best assurance Ministers could give is to back the Liberal Democrat campaign to give the people the final say, including the option to stay in the EU.

Liberal Democrats demand better for women on International Women’s Day

Today, International Women’s Day, Liberal Democrats are demanding that the Conservative Government do more to improve the lives of women and girls across the UK and address the gendered inequalities that persist throughout society.

In a joint statement Liberal Democrat MPs Christine Jardine, Jo Swinson, Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse said:

It is frustrating and unacceptable that in the UK in 2019, women and girls continue to face so many everyday barriers.

The Conservative Government have passed the role of Minister for Women and Equalities around like a hot potato, whilst many of the issues that still disproportionately impact women and girls are failing to be addressed.

Liberal Democrats demand better for women and girls. Last year Liberal Democrats introduced legislation to make upskirting a specific offence and now it’s illegal. For International Women’s Day 2019 we’re fighting to improve the lives of women and girls in other ways: by banning the pink tax so that women do not pay more for the same products, introducing gender neutral school uniforms, and improving mental health care for postnatal women.

International Women’s Day is not only about celebrating the achievements of women, but about taking action, and that is exactly what the Liberal Democrats are doing.

Revealed: Home Office report rubbishes Boris Johnson’s Stop and Search claim

Today Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey reveals that a stop and search programme recently lauded by Boris Johnson had “no statistically significant crime-reducing effect” according to a Home Office report.

Yesterday the former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson defended the stop and search project Operation Blunt 2 stating that it had taken “10,000 knives off the streets”.

However this statement from Johnson undermines the report of the Home Office which concluded “Overall, analysis shows that there was no discernible crime-reducing effects from a large surge in stop and search activity at the borough level during the operation.”

Responding Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Is there no depth of deception to which Boris Johnson will not stoop?

Citing his massive increase in Stop and Searches in London as he argues for the same policy now, when the Home Office’s own analysis shows that it had ‘no discernible crime-reducing effects’.

His gall would be impressive if it weren’t so destructive. Instead of reducing crime, expanding Stop and Search will only increase discrimination and undermine the community relations police officers need to prevent knife crime.

We know what is needed to tackle this knife crime epidemic: more police, more youth services and a proper public health approach. We mustn’t let Boris’s dishonest arguments distract us.

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