9 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems secure cross-party call for Govt to take up Hong Kong Bill
  • Govt must prevent disadvantaged pupils falling behind due to COVID-19
  • Govt must help businesses and people excluded from support schemes
  • Govt wrong to deny Brexit extension

Lib Dems secure cross-party call for Govt to take up Hong Kong Bill

The Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support demanding the Prime Minister take up legislation to go further in UK support for Hong Kong.

The cross-party groups of MPs, led by Alistair Carmichael MP, has secured the support of former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in calling for a UK response to Beijing’s recent attempts to force a new national security law on Hong Kong.

Amidst reports of Hong Kong police firing tear gas and water cannons at several hundred demonstrators, the Government announced last week new measures to support visa rights and a path to citizenship for current British Nationals (Overseas) holders in Hong Kong.

However, the cross-party group of over 50 MPs want the Government to go further and take up Alistair Carmichael’s Hong Kong Bill for parliamentary consideration, which would also ensure greater oversight over each party’s adherence to the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

MPs from all parties and all political persuasions are backing Hong Kong with one voice today. We are calling on the Government to take up the Hong Kong Bill on a cross-party basis for debate and amendment. This is a critical moment.

That the Government has started to take action to support BNO status holders is welcome. We can and must go further, however. Measures including targeted sanctions and a reopening of the BNO passport offer deserve a full hearing.

Beijing is on the verge of wiping out the basic freedoms of Hongkongers with its draconian law. The Government must stand with us and take up legislative action to support the people of Hong Kong.

Govt must prevent disadvantaged pupils falling behind due to COVID-19

Responding to news that primary schools will not now be expected to reopen to all pupils in the current academic year, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Serious questions have to be answered about when the Government knew their plan was bound to fail and why concerns from teachers about capacity were derided as scaremongering.

We need to hear the Government’s proposals for what happens now and in the summer to make sure children don’t fall behind, including providing laptops and internet access to disadvantaged pupils who need them.

Children, families and staff are owed an apology from an Education Secretary who is not in control of his brief and has attacked the teaching profession at every turn. He is out of his depth and children and their families are paying the price for his incompetence.

Govt must help businesses and people excluded from support schemes

Responding to the news that 8.9m jobs have been furloughed & 2.6m claims submitted to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The furlough scheme and income support for self-employed people, which the Liberal Democrats fought hard to get, are providing a lifeline for millions of families.

However, far too many people are still excluded from this support, including those who recently became self-employed and those who operate as limited companies. The Chancellor must expand the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to cover these people.

The Government must not leave behind people and businesses without the support they need when these schemes come to an end. Many parts of our economy, such as tourism and hospitality, will simply not be back up to speed by October.

The Government must bring forward bespoke packages of support for these industries to save jobs and prevent mass unemployment.

Govt wrong to deny Brexit extension

Responding to reports the UK Government will tell the EU on Friday it is not going to seek an extension to the Brexit transition period, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Food shortages, medicine shortages, and an unprecedented hit to jobs and livelihoods: that is what the UK is facing if we crash out of the EU without a deal.

Boris Johnson’s ideological stubbornness will see the most vulnerable in our country hit hardest.

With the country is already struggling as a result of Covid-19, it beggars belief that the Government are happy to pile Brexit on top of this already devastating situation.

Liberal Democrats will continue to urge the Government to think again and extend the transition period.

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