Author Archives: Mary Reid

Ed Davey: Visiting Poland’s border with Ukraine

Yesterday Ed arrived in Poland at the Ukrainian border and saw first-hand how Polish people were welcoming their exhausted neighbours.

He shared some photos and stories with colleagues back in Kingston. Here are some of them.


Border crossing – the exhausted people are met with a short walk to the queue for the onward bus, and either side are multiple tents and “stalls” with hot food, drinks, nappies and toiletries, sim cards for the Polish telecom networks and initial information


12 year old Artsiom with his mum – just had a very long journey from Kharkiv which they said was in ruins. It is his dream to come to London.

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Ed Davey calls for an honorary knighthood for President Zelenskyy

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Volodymyr Zelenskyy was given the unprecedented opportunity to address a packed Commons yesterday by video link. You can see his speech here if you missed it.

His speech echoed Churchill’s oratory:

We will fight at sea, we will fight in the air, we will protect our land. We will fight everywhere… and we will not surrender.

He received a standing ovation, which again is very rare in Westminster.

That appearance fully justifies Ed Davey’s call to award him an honorary knighthood. Ed said:

At this dark moment, we must be offering President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people not just our support but our recognition too.

For decades, many heroes of liberal democracy from across the globe have been rewarded with an honorary knighthood here in the UK. President Zelenskyy should follow in the footsteps of individuals like Nelson Mandela, and be awarded this honour.

I hope the UK Government will get behind the Liberal Democrats’ call to give President Zelenskyy an honorary knighthood. It is the very least we can do, as we step up our offer of support to the people who elected him.

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Lib Dems call for an emergency session of Parliament this weekend

Lib Dems are calling for an emergency session of Parliament this weekend to pass legislation to sanction oligarchs who are in the process of selling off their assets in the UK.

Layla Moran is our Foreign Affairs spokesperson and here she is explaining why it is necessary.

The i picks up the story:

European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans claimed Britain was trailing behind the EU and suggested that Russian funding of the Conservative party was responsible.

It also quotes Layla:

New legislation must be brought forward immediately – with an emergency session of Parliament over the weekend if necessary.

This ties in with Alistair Carmichael’s call to seize mansions held by oligarchs in the UK and use them to house Ukrainian refugees.

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Online participation in Council meetings must be allowed again

Jackie Weaver has said that she wants online Council meetings to continue. Although I am sure she knows the difference, this article from the BBC does rather muddy the waters by not distinguishing between streaming Council meetings and remote participation in them (although it does give us another chance to watch the meeting that introduced us to Jackie Weaver’s authority).

Nearly 20 years ago I was asked to chair the National Project for Local e-Democracy, with the remit to explore digital means to improve democratic participation in Council decision-making. At that time some Councils did not even have a website, and where they existed they were non-transactional. The Project pioneered online consultation and petitions at Council level, amongst other things, and encouraged councillors to use online methods of communication with residents, including blogs, which were the only social media available at the time.

Webcasting was another of our initiatives, and many councils adopted the streaming, and subsequent playback, of Council meetings. The systems usually allowed for some interaction through chat. The intention was to allow residents to observe and follow the people they had elected.

At the time the technology for online meetings did not exist, and, as we all know, Zoom and other platforms were only adopted widely during the pandemic. They meant that both Parliament and local councils were able to continue to run meetings and debates without breaking the Covid restrictions.  However, remote participation at both levels did require a change in the Government regulations.

Those regulations for Local Government ended on 7th May 2021. However Covid restrictions were still in place at that time, which meant that social distancing would have to be observed by anyone attending an in-person meeting. In practice this made it impossible for Full Council meetings to be held in many Council chambers, as there was not enough room to space people out.  Pleading for hybrid solutions (a mix of in-person and online attendance) was rejected by the Government, even though they still continued in Parliament.

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Zelenskyy’s party is welcomed by ALDE

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We have all found a new hero over the last week: Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine.

I must admit that I knew very little about him, or indeed the history of Ukraine, until this week, but his story is a fascinating one. Zelenskyy worked as an actor and comedian, and he voiced Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian-dubbed version of the film.

He formed a production company Kvartal 95 which launched a popular comedy TV series called “Servant of the People”. In the series he plays a teacher who is unexpectedly elected as the President of Ukraine. Watch a prescient subtitled episode here. (You couldn’t make it up …)

Ukraine has dozens of active political parties, so its Governments are always multi-party coalitions. In 2018 a new political party was registered; it grew from the Party of Decisive Change and was named Servant of the People (sometimes romanized as Sluha Narodu), after the show. Indeed, its first leader was the CEO of Zelenskyy’s production company Kvartal 95.

Then came the Presidential election in 2019. In the final run-off Zelenskyy, standing for Servant of the People, beat the incumbent with over 70% of the vote. He immediately called a general election and the party was successful in winning a substantial number – 254 – parliamentary seats. This was followed by the 2020 local elections when Servant of the People won more seats than any other party.

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Jamie Stone calls for cancellation of Russian Grand Prix

UEFA have moved the Champions League final from Russia to Paris. It was due to be played in St Petersburg on 28th May.

Jamie Stone said:

Moving the Champions League final out of St Petersburg is the right thing to do. Putin and his cronies cannot strongarm their neighbours, invade a sovereign nation, and expect to sportswash their actions.

Where football has led, other sports must follow. Formula One must cancel the Russian Grand Prix with immediate effect.

He has written to Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of F1, calling on him to do just that. The text of his letter is:

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Layla Moran welcomes scrapping the Vagrancy Act

Layla Moran has been campaigning for years against the archaic Vagrancy Act, which criminalises rough sleepers. Yesterday the Government announced that the Act will be repealed.

She has written about it in the Big Issue under the heading: Scrapping the Vagrancy Act is just the start – now we must end rough sleeping for good.

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Sal Brinton shortlisted for Anthony Nolan award

Last night the winners were announced for the Anthony Nolan Supporters awards. Amongst the nominees in the category for Political Supporter of the year was our own Sal Brinton, Lib Dem Health and Social Care spokesperson in the House of Lords and former President of the Liberal Democrats.

The citation reads:

Baroness Sal Brinton

Sal has been a committed parliamentary advocate for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people during the pandemic and has helped to raise the profile of Anthony Nolan with senior ministers and officials, enabling Anthony Nolan to take policy asks straight to government.

Congratulations to Sal on the shortlisting, and to Clive Betts MP on winning this category.

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Wikipedia quoted at length in the Levelling Up White Paper

For most of us, our go-to source when doing a bit of background research is Wikipedia. Sometimes when we are looking for simple facts (like the election results in a particular year) the online crowd-sourced encyclopaedia is all we need. Sometimes it provides the starting point for more in-depth research, especially if we need to verify the sources.

Some years ago I was intrigued by an animation which showed the same Wikipedia page as it evolved over time. The number and frequency of changes was astonishing, which underlined the dynamic nature of knowledge, but also suggested that it should be used with some caution.

However it seems Wikipedia was enough for Government advisers who drew up the Levelling Up White Paper.

Tim Farron has been questioning Michael Gove (Minister for, among other things, Levelling Up) about the White Paper, mainly about the issues for people living in rural communities. But in the process he noticed that whole chunks of the White Paper were copied in full from the relevant Wikipedia entry.

According to The Independent

The white paper includes large sections of padding, with three pages devoted to the history of Jericho, Rome, and renaissance Europe.

But bits of this section appear to have been lifted directly from the popular internet encyclopaedia.

One off-beat part of the report reads: “Constantinople was the capital of the Roman/Byzantine Empire (330-1204 and 1261-1453), the Latin Empire (1204-1261) and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922)”.

The text is identical to the first line of the Wikipedia page for Constantinople, right down to formatting and punctuation.

Another section of the report includes a full-page timeline of the largest cities in the world since 7,000 BC which is identical to a table on Wikipedia’s “List of largest cities throughout history” page.

Tim said:

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Forcing ministers (and the PM) to reveal any fines they are given for partygate

Alistair Carmichael has tabled a rather niche motion in Parliament – the Ministerial Disclosure Bill. This would force Boris Johnson to admit to any fixed penalty notices he receives for lockdown breaches.

The Independent covers the story: Bill tabled to force Boris Johnson to reveal Covid fines which could total more than £12,000.

On Tuesday No 10 agreed to tell the media if the Prime Minister was fined as a result of the Met Police investigation into Downing Street parties. But they did not extend that to other ministers, nor did they say they would state the amount of any fines, both of which are covered in Alistair’s motion.

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Support jobseekers, don’t sanction them

Were you as incensed as I was at reading the latest Government move against some of the most vulnerable people in our society?

The scheme is called “Way to Work” and according to this report, jobseekers will have only four weeks (reduced from three months) to find work in their preferred sector. After that period they will be forced to widen their job search to other sectors.  If they turn down employment or don’t make “reasonable efforts” to find work then they will be sanctioned and lose some of their Universal Credit.

I do understand the context. There are 1.22 million job vacancies, many of these in essential services such as care work or delivering, and it is important for all of us to get those filled. But forcing people to take on jobs that they find difficult or unpleasant does not produce a happy and productive work force. And reducing benefits for people who are already on the breadline is dangerous, as it can push people into criminality or homelessness.

Wendy Chamberlain MP is our Work and Pensions Spokesperson, and she said:

Rather than supporting people to find secure long-term employment, the Government is now attempting to force people into accepting any job going.

This callous move could see skilled workers forced to accept insecure short term employment, for fear of having the rug pulled out from under them, and create a cycle of unemployment.

What is worse, these harsh sanctions could be applied within weeks of applying for Universal Credit – before people’s first payment even arrives.

We are in the middle of a cost of living crisis, with energy bills soaring and reliance on food banks rising. If the Government can write off billions in Covid fraud, they can afford to genuinely support those looking for work instead of sanctioning them.

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Early Bird registration for Spring Conference extended

If the report earlier today from Nick da Costa, Chair of the Federal Conference Committee, prompted you to book your place, then you are in luck. The Early Bird rate is being extended until Monday 24th January.

You can register here.

Whilst the Early Bird rate is £40, there is a massive bargain for first-timers who only need to pay £5. And under 18s,  students and benefits claimants can register at the special rate of £10. The £10 and £5 rates apply whenever you register, but the main rate will be rising from next Tuesday, so book now.

This will hopefully be the last online Conference. The platform used by the party (Hopin) is very effective but it’s still not the same as wandering around the Conference Centre and nearby hotels and randomly bumping into old friends and making new ones.

As usual Lib Dem Voice will be at Spring Conference reporting back to our readers. See you there?

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Daisy Cooper on Question Time

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Just to let you know that Daisy Cooper MP is appearing on Question Time this evening from Shrewsbury (10.35pm on BBC 1.)

 

 

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Where were the police?

Much has already been written about the revelations – which seem to increase on a daily basis – of illegal gatherings at No 10, but little has been said about the role of the police during those times.

It seems the Met Police have fined over 17,700 people for breaching Covid laws over the last two years, including some for holding gatherings of over 30 people.

So where were they on 20th May 2020? – and on 15th May 2020, 13th November 2020, 27th November 2020, 10th December 2020, 15th December 2020 (according to this timeline)?

The police were, of course, actually on the spot. No 10, naturally, has a high level of security, with uniformed and plain clothed officers present at all times. Did they warn the staff about breaches? And when the offences were repeated why did they not issue fines?

Boris Johnson has now admitted that he attended the event on 20th May – and there are clear photos of his attendance on 15th May.  At the very least the Met Police should investigate. And it should also be taken to task for not investigating at the time.

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New Year Honours – the Lib Dem edit

Chris Whitty and Emma Raducanu were dead certs for the New Year Honours list published today. But what about all those people working for their local communities, most of whom were nominated by the people they serve, and some of whom are certainly Lib Dems (because that’s what Lib Dems do)?

Here is the chance to tell us about any members who have been given an honour this time round. Use the comments below to explain why they have been honoured and we will add them to the main post.

Isabelle Parasram

Congratulations to former Vice President of the Lib Dems, Isabelle Parasram, on being awarded an OBE for public and political service. Isabelle is a barrister, currently working as the CEO of Social Value UK, a national network for those interested in social value and social impact.

Ed Davey said:

We are absolutely delighted to hear that Isabelle has received this award, which is richly deserved for her distinguished and tireless service within politics and indeed beyond.

Her enduring legacy within the Liberal Democrats is reflected in her work on democratic engagement, diversity and social justice, which is greatly respected by the party and something we continue to aspire towards.

Matthew Clark

And many congratulations also go to Matthew Clark, former Chief of Staff to the Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament, and former councillor, who has been awarded an MBE for services to politics.

Caron Lindsay wrote a post here on Lib Dem Voice last June: “End of an era as Matthew Clark leaves Holyrood”, in which she quotes Scottish Party Convener Sheila Ritchie:

Matthew is my friend. He has a brain the size of a planet and has been the repository of the party’s institutional knowledge for decades.

He is kind, and firm, and he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Being a fool, and certainly not in his intellectual league, there have been occasions when he has not suffered me.

But he has always been there for me, as Convenor, as candidate, as MEP, and for anyone in the Party who needed him.

We owe him a huge debt, which we probably can never repay.

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Ed Davey: Bring back volunteering scheme

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Lib Dems are asking the Government to introduce an Emergency Volunteering Leave scheme – urgently. This would allow volunteers to take time off work, but still be paid, to help with the booster vaccinations over the holiday season.

Last week the NHS said it needs 40,000 volunteers for roles such as admin support and stewards, while vaccination centres say they are desperate for staff. Meanwhile, the British Medical Association has warned there could be up to 50,000 staff absences in the NHS by Christmas.

We also know that there are plenty of people willing to volunteer. We need to put the two together.

The scheme would allow people to take between two and four weeks on unpaid leave, and the Government would compensate them for expenses and loss of earnings.

Ed Davey says:

We are in the race of our lives to get people jabbed and turn the tide against Omicron, while the NHS is facing catastrophic staffing shortages.

It is baffling that the Government decided to scrap these plans that could have helped speed up the booster rollout.

There is no time to waste. Boris Johnson must bring back Parliament and introduce an Emergency Volunteering Leave scheme.

This would help people play their part in the booster rollout and take pressure off the NHS at this critical time.

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“Is Boris Johnson honest?”

That was the question asked by journalist Michael Crick yesterday. And the person he asked was the Conservative candidate in the North Shropshire by-election.

Unfortunately we have to link to the Daily Mail so you can see his answer(s), but it is worth watching the whole of this gem of a video.

To everyone helping today’s efforts – have a great day!  And good luck to Helen Morgan.

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Do social networking sites support democracy and the Open Society? – revisited

I was reminded of a post that I wrote for Lib Dem Voice 12 years ago entitled “Do social networking sites support democracy and the Open Society?“, and thought it was worth revisiting in the light of current concerns about Facebook and others. I wrote then:

The obvious answer is, yes. But do they?

Let’s track this idea back.

In 1979 Christopher Evans published “The Mighty Micro”. His bold and prophetic book looked at the impact of the microchip on society over the next 10-15 years.

In the same year, 1979, I wrote my first computer program on a teletype terminal and stored it on paper tape. Some desk top computers had been built, but they were very uncommon.

The chapter that really inspired me when I first read it was the one on Political and Social Issues. He predicted that the 1980s and 1990s would be dominated by “virtually infinite data transmission”

This kind of development will encourage lateral communication – the spread of information from human being to human being across the base of the social pyramid. Characteristically this favours the kind of open society … the opposite effect on autocracies who like to make sure that all information is handled very firmly downwards.

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Wendy Chamberlain on QT tonight

Wendy Chamberlain, Lib Dem MP for North East Fife, is on the Question Time panel tonight. The programme is being broadcast from Weston-super-Mare on BBC 1 at 10.35pm.

With her will be Maggie Throup (Conservative MP for Erewash), Thangam Debbonaire (Labour MP for Bristol West), Professor Peter Openshaw (Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College) and Theo Paphitis (retail entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den regular).

Expect questions on asylum seekers, No 10 Christmas parties and the impact of the Omicron variant.

 

 

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White Ribbon Day #AllMenCan

Today is White Ribbon Day, which marks the start of 16 days of action to end men’s violence against women and girls.

#AllMenCan is the hashtag this year. As the organisers explain:

It was developed for us in March when the murder of Sarah Everard brought women’s experience of men’s violence to the forefront of everyone’s minds. It also opened up so many conversations about men taking action and making a stand. We want as many men as possible to think carefully and make the White Ribbon Promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.

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Babies in Westminster

Pub quiz question: Who was the first MP to take a baby through a voting lobby?

<spoiler alert>

 

 

The picture of Jo Swinson is a red herring.

It was her husband Duncan Hames, then MP for Chippenham, who carried young Andrew on one occasion when he voted in 2014.

Duncan and Andrew Hames make history

By the way, the reference to Harriet Harman turns out to be an untrue rumour, but neatly encapsulates the values 30 years before.

Four years after Duncan’s pioneering act Jo took their second baby (as seen in the photo) into the Commons for a debate, appropriately on allowing proxy votes for new parents. She wrote about the experience, and the backlash she received afterwards.

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Fighting institutional disablism

We should all have been shocked and embarrassed by the news that an Israeli minister was unable to access COP26 on Monday because she was in a wheelchair. This was followed by an attempt at victim blaming by Environment Secretary George Eustice who said that she should have told them about her access needs in advance. The Prime Minister eventually apologised, but used weaselly terms like “confusion” and “regrettable incident”.

The Black Lives Matter movement has alerted us all to the concepts of institutional and structural racism. They remind us that discrimination does not always result from hatred or prejudice, or even unconscious bias, on the part of an individual, but can sometimes be the result of built-in and unintentional practices within organisations, and indeed within society itself. We need to take on the same thinking when discussing the needs of people with disabilities.

Institutional and structural disablism can be very evident to those who experience it, but invisible to those who don’t.

Let me give you a small example. My husband has a rare neurological condition which affects his mobility and balance, amongst other things. He uses a walking stick but doesn’t need a wheelchair. We like to go out for short walks in the local parks and commons, and we are always on the look-out for somewhere to sit halfway through. We do find a number of seats but too often they are benches without backs and arms – which means my husband can’t get up from them. So the people who could benefit most from the provision of seating are often unable to use them.

The diagram of a person in a wheelchair is the universally understood icon for provision for disabled people – it’s seen on parking spaces, toilets, entrances and exit buttons. And indeed a wheelchair is the most visible sign of disability.  So when planners and designers are thinking about disabled provision they usually focus on wheelchair accessibility. But of course, most disabilities, like my husband’s, are less visible, with the result that places can be far less accessible than they should be.

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Candidates for Lib Dem Vice-President revealed

Nominations have closed for the Vice President of the party with responsibility for working with ethnic minority communities. You can read the list here.

This election follows the resignation of Isabelle Parasram for work reasons.

The candidates are:

Amna Ahmad

Roderick Lynch

Tahir Maher

Julliet Makhapila

Rabi Martins

Marisha Ray

There will be some hustings, although no dates have been announced yet.

The ballot will run from 12th November to 10th December, with the count and declaration on 13th December.

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A new narrative for community democracy?

Have you noticed the hierarchical language that is often used by public service providers?

Local authorities, and others, are required to ‘engage’ with residents. ‘Citizen empowerment’ is offered as a gift by government.

Even those of us involved in politics fall into the trap and sometimes talk as though it is government that drives society; we talk as though it is government that is the main source of welfare for citizens; and we talk as though it is government that creates successful communities.

We need to turn this on its head. We need to talk instead of government dependent on, and subservient to, the dynamic communities they represent and serve.

As Liberal Democrats we are proud of our practice of community politics. We now need a new narrative of community democracy.

In our personal lives we all know that the things that have the greatest impact on us happen quite independently of local or national government. What matters to us most are our relationships with others, and our interactions with the localities where we live and work.

We must return to a concept of community that has, at its heart, individuals who are free to make and break relationships with each other, individuals who are free to develop roots, as deep or as shallow as they wish, in their local area, and individuals who are free to form local networks based on common interest and common interests. Community democracy grows organically from the natural relationships and networks that already exist in localities.

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The Paralympics and attitudes to disability

The Paralympics have been a delight, and we still have another week to enjoy. We have seen athletes carrying out seemingly impossible feats – playing table tennis while holding the bat in the mouth, swimming without arms, cycling with one leg – and we have heard from commentators who share the disabilities of the competitors.

And what about the joys of Wheelchair rugby? Apparently it was called Murder Ball until the sport decided to become legitimate and started applying for grant support. Looking very much like dodgems on speed, it is probably the most physical and chaotic of all Paralympic sports, but it has mixed teams and is terrific fun. I would happily watch it between one Paralympics and the next.

Each day is topped by the silliness of The Last Leg on C4 wrapped around some serious campaigning for people with disabilities. That programme, which started during the 2012 Paralympics, has been a shining light for disability awareness, using humour and compassion to overcome any residual discomfiture. It has also provide a platform for disabled comics, including the fabulous Rosie Jones.

In fact, we can be proud of the fact that the Paralympic movement began in the UK with the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948 alongside the London Olympics. So it is fitting that when the Olympics returned here in 2012 it was the first time that the management of the Olympics and Paralympics had been fully integrated, giving them equal esteem and equal publicity. As a result Sarah Storey, Ellie Simmons, David Weir and others became household names, and they were awarded honours on a par with their Olympic colleagues. Since 2012 Paralympians have mainstreamed in many Celebrity shows, from Strictly to Masterchef.

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LibLink: Ed Davey says private capital must switch from dirty to clean

Now here’s an interesting thought. Why not ban any new listings of fossil fuel companies on the London Stock Exchange?

Ed Davey flags up this idea in an interview with The Guardian today to mark his first year as Party Leader.

Under the plan outlined to the Guardian by the Lib Dem leader, Ed Davey, another immediate policy would be to stop new bonds being issued in London to finance oil, coal or gas exploration.

Fossil fuel firms already listed in the UK would then have two years to produce a coherent plan about how they would reach net zero emissions by 2045, or risk being struck off the LSE.

In the longer term, pension funds would have to disinvest from fossil fuels by 2035, with all companies with fossil fuel assets removed from the exchange by 2045.

Ed said:

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Ed Davey: Extend Armed Forces Covenant to Afghans who supported British troops

The Armed Forces Covenant protects UK military veterans and their families. In the i Ed Davy has called for the Covenant to be extended to include Afghan soldiers and interpreters who have been working with the British forces in Afghanistan.

He says:

The UK owes a huge debt of gratitude to all the Afghan citizens who heroically took a stand and worked alongside our brave men and women on the ground over the past 20 years.

Without their selflessness, we simply couldn’t have achieved what we did and undoubtedly more lives would’ve been lost. It is only right that their huge contribution is recognised and rewarded.

We must start by ensuring all Afghan interpreters, and their families, are able to come to the UK. Now is not the time for arbitrary caps on refugees – unless we offer sanctuary they will be hunted down by the Taliban, and we will see a humanitarian crisis unfold before our eyes.

He will table an amendment to the Armed Forces Bill when it comes before Parliament and it is likely to receive widespread support.

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Bobby Dean selected for Carshalton and Wallington

Ed Davey has announced our candidate for a future General Election in the South West London seat of Carshalton and Wallington. Congratulations to Bobby Dean who was selected in a well-fought contest which attracted a very able field of candidates.

Carshalton and Wallington is a marginal blue wall seat, held by Tom Brake from 1997 until 2019, when it was won by the Conservatives with a slender majority of 629. It also forms half of the London borough of Sutton, which Liberal Democrats hold with a substantial majority (33 seats to 18). …

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Mental health pressures on Olympic competitors

Liberal Democrats have been strongly campaigning on mental health for several years now.

Here is the party’s response to Simone Biles’ acknowledgement of the pressures she has been under. She has won a total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals in gymnastics and the expectations placed on her are exceptional.

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Up and down

At Lib Dem Voice we don’t usually cover the results of political polls, because they do fluctuate. Also, paying too much attention to poll results can have unintended consequences for our party’s campaigning. Liberal Democrats were riding high in the polls during the last elections to the European Parliament in 2019, and some people imagined that we could win a swathe of seats in the General Election later that year simply based on the polling data. Seasoned campaigners, however, know that we only win seats if we do a lot of work on the ground – the support shown in polls is never enough.

But we have to admit that it is exciting when our poll position makes a substantial leap from 6% to 13%. The Evening Standard  reports an Ipsos-Mori poll which shows that support for both Labour and the Conservatives has fallen by 4 points since their last poll. The Conservatives are still 9 points ahead, but net satisfaction of Boris Johnson and the Government have fallen to and -16 and -20 respectively. But the Liberal Democrats have jumped to 13%, and this is the first time we have been at that level since the 2019 General Election.

So what do we make of it? Undoubtedly our win in Chesham and Amersham produced this bounce. The party cleverly exploited the publicity immediately afterwards. The image of Ed Davey knocking down the blue wall with a small yellow mallet visually encapsulated our key message to the whole country very neatly – those who criticised it as a stunt clearly don’t understand how the media works.

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