9-10 February 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

It may be that Parliament is at a bit of a loose end whilst the Government argue amongst themselves over Brexit, but that isn’t to say that there is much for Liberal Democrats to be stirred by…

  • Government ferry plan hits the rocks
  • UK citizens to be left without medical cover in event of no-deal Brexit
  • No specific funding for NHS in no deal scenario
  • Stone: Immigration rules for Commonwealth soldiers are outrageous
  • Cable: PM’s meaningful vote timeline irresponsible and insulting to parliament
  • UK must support Turkey’s stand on Uyghur crisis – Carmichael

Government ferry plan hits the rocks

Responding to news that the Government has scrapped its contract with Seaborne Freight Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The Government did not need a siren’s call to get into chaos over a contract with a ferry company, all they needed was to put Chris Grayling in charge.

This Government has now had to fire their ferry company with no ferries, as we drift closer and closer to no deal.

The Conservatives have failed to plan for Brexit and are steering this country to disaster. They must take no deal off the table and then offer the country a people’s vote so we can get out of this mess once and for all.

UK citizens to be left without medical cover in event of no-deal Brexit

The Liberal Democrats have pushed the Conservative Government to admit that Ministers have not secured any bilateral health agreements with EU member states in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In a response to a parliamentary question from Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, Health Minister Stephen Hammond MP could not confirm any agreements have been made to ensure British citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK would have the same access to medical cover.

Mr Hammond could only confirm that the UK and Irish Governments have “firm intentions to maintain the Common Travel Area and to protect the associated reciprocal rights”.

The revelation will add further woes to UK citizens intending to travel across the EU this summer after a a Liberal Democrat mystery shopper exercise recently uncovered several leading travel agents were unable to guarantee cover in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

In a no-deal scenario, it is now disturbingly likely that UK citizens will have no medical cover in most, if not all, of the EU countries.

With many people already having booked travel to the EU for after 29th March, we need urgent clarification from the Government of what action UK travellers need to take, including whether they should be taking out expensive travel insurance.

This is particularly worrying as most of the large travel insurance firms are not able to confirm whether their insurance will be valid in the case of no-deal.

Conservative Ministers do not need to hold British travellers at ransom. They can instead take no-deal off the table and give the public the final say with a People’s Vote so that we can get out of this mess once and for all.

No specific funding for NHS in no deal scenario

The Conservative Government has refused to reveal how much funding it is allocating to keep the National Health Service running in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Although the Department of Health and Social Care has been allocated £71 million by the Treasury to prepare for Brexit, in an answer to a written PQ it said it was “unable to provide a breakdown of the amount of funding allocated to ‘no deal’ preparations specifically”.

Of the 18 Government departments questioned on their no-deal spending in written PQs tabled by Vince Cable, just one – the Department for Transport – provided a specific figure.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Matt Hancock has been boasting about being the world’s biggest buyer of fridges, yet his department doesn’t even appear to know how much it is spending on preparing for a no-deal Brexit. The Government needs to come clear with taxpayers on which particular Brexit blackholes it is pouring their money down.

Shockingly, only one department is actually aware of what it is spending to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. This suggests the government is either trying to scare the public and MPs about the dangers of a no-deal it doesn’t expect to happen, or it is totally incompetent.

Stone: Immigration rules for Commonwealth soldiers are outrageous

Hundreds of troops who joined the British Army after a targeted Commonwealth recruitment drive in 2016 are having to work second jobs in order to meet the Home Office threshold necessary to relocate their families.

Commenting Jamie Stone, Lib Dem Defence Spokesperson said:

This is yet another example of the Tory’s botched immigration policies. These soldiers were asked specifically to come and defend our nation and the government repays them with a hostile environment. It has all the hallmarks of the policies which caused the Windrush crisis.

These people have responded to a call to serve the country and it is outrageous that immigration thresholds mean they must work second jobs just to bring their spouses and children with them.

The Liberal Democrats demand better, Commonwealth soldiers who have been asked to come and serve must be welcomed into UK society.

Cable: PM’s meaningful vote timeline irresponsible and insulting to parliament

Responding to the news that the PM will seek to wait until the end of the month for a second attempt at winning the meaningful vote, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

This is worse than irresponsible.

It is deeply insulting to the country and to Parliament. It goes against what she has been mandated to achieve. I would not be surprised if she faces a massive rebellion by Conservative MPs.

UK must support Turkey’s stand on Uyghur crisis – Carmichael

Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, has today called on the Foreign Secretary to support Turkey’s stance on the Chinese Human Rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Mr Carmichael responded to comments made by the Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy, that it is for the international community “to take effective steps to end the human tragedy in Xinjiang region.”

Commenting, Mr. Carmichael said:

Turkey is right to stand up to the barbaric practices China is using to oppress the Uyghur people of Xinjiang. The Foreign Secretary must support them, and use our position as permanent members of the Security Council and prominent defenders of human rights to support Turkey’s calls, and deliver meaningful action.

Many nations have been scared into refusing to engage with this crisis because of Chinese economic pressure, so it is quite brave of Turkey to stand up and do the right thing. The UK must not silently acquiesce to these rampant human rights abuses either.

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5 Comments

  • ………………..The Government did not need a siren’s call to get into chaos over a contract with a ferry company, all they needed was to put Chris Grayling in charge…………

    Mark, shame on you for targeting Chris Grayling; you should try and look at things from his point of view.
    After his problems with running the railways on time, Grayling was convinced that, by having no ferries, they could never be penalised for late arrival, the passenger walkways wouldn’t need replacing and, unlike the railways, no chance of strike action by staff.

    In short a win-win situation!

  • Good of Turkey to support Human rights in China. Perhaps they can start to support the Human rights of all their citizens who are of non Turkish origin.

  • Mark Valladares 10th Feb ’19 – 11:56pm…..Expats,……Bless you, my friend, but you do realise that I don’t write these, that they’re as issued by the Party’s Press Team, don’t you?……

    Yes, Mark, I do…..However, starting a post with,,”Dear Liberal Democratic Press Team” doesn’t sit well…..

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