Author Archives: Judith Jolly

Judith Jolly writes: Lib Dem Brexit health win in the Lords

In the midst of all the Brexit chaos, I want to take a moment to reflect on a significant and unreported win for the Liberal Democrats against the Conservative Government. 

A few months ago, a Bill was introduced into Parliament which seemed fairly uncontroversial – it’s aim was to replicate our reciprocal healthcare arrangements with other countries in the event of Brexit (either in a deal or no deal scenario). However, the Conservative Bill went much further than replicating healthcare with EU countries and was is in fact much more threatening. It opened up health deals with the whole world, one of our fears being that that in Liam Fox’s frantic attempts to sign a trade deal, the Tories were planning to put the NHS on the table as well.  As a result, Sal Brinton, Jonathan Marks and I – along with members of the Labour Party and the crossbenches spent weeks challenging the Government to limit the application of the Bill – with great success! 

One of the privileges of being members of the European Union, is that no matter where we are in the EU, our health needs are safeguarded when we need medical attention. Under EU agreements, the UK has participated in a variety of reciprocal healthcare arrangements with other countries, with the result being that all citizens and visitors are protected. 

The Liberal Democrats with cross-party support worked to amend the Bill significantly. We were clear that this Bill must only allow ministers to replace the health deals we already have with the EU, the EEA and Switzerland. 

The Bill’s scope was extraordinarily wide, and the powers included were unjustifiable. In November, the House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee described its scope as “breath-taking”. 

The Bill had a worldwide scope, it did not just apply to EEA countries and Switzerland – countries we will need to establish healthcare arrangements with in the event of Brexit. We made sure to limit this. 

Not only did Liberal Democrats feel that worldwide powers were being snuck through in the guise of Brexit legislation and were unnecessary, but there was a genuine fear that this was an attempt to allow the NHS to be used as part of trade arrangements when creating new trade deals with countries such as the USA or China. We were witnessing the Conservative Government attempting to steal powers for ministers in Whitehall which could see them selling our NHS down the river. 

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Baroness Judith Jolly writes…Brexit must not put public health at risk

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for health, Baroness Jolly, asks for your support on a crossbench Public Health amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill which will be debated at Committee Stage in the Lords on Monday.

Fellow Peers and Liberal Democrat supporters. Whatever your stance is on Brexit, an issue on which we can all unite is the health of our nation. That is why I will proudly stand alongside fellow Peers next week to make the case for a ‘Do No Harm’ amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

The amendment was tabled by ex-Health Minister Lord Warner (Crossbench) and will be supported by co-signatories to the Bill, Labour frontbench spokesperson for health, Lord Hunt, and Crossbench Peer Lord Patel who previously chaired the Long-Term Sustainability of the NHS Committee. While we are all co-signatories to the amendment, we have welcomed a significant amount of support from Peers across the House and we will be strongly encouraging them all to speak in support of this amendment next week. We already have strength in numbers and together, we can make sure that Brexit will do no harm to the public’s health.

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Baroness Judith Jolly writes…Why we need a UK register of arms brokers

I never expected to come anywhere near the top of the ballot for private members bills. My record for the Lib Dem raffle over thirty odd years is less than five or six wins. And I came third! That means I have second reading next Friday (10th June).

My bill calls for arms brokers to be registered and a fit and proper test applied to would be brokers. At present there are few restrictions so you or I could set up as a broker. In the US they are regulated.

Save the Children and Amnesty International are supporting us. Save the Children said:

Our Yemen work in Parliament has mainly focused on humanitarian access and the credible reports of breaches of international and human rights law. Whilst we recognise the positive impact that the Government’s humanitarian response and interventions have made, we remain concerned that the Government’s current support for Saudi Arabia-led military action is undermining the protection of civilians and is inconsistent with its support to the humanitarian response. We believe more robust action is needed to ensure that existing standards and norms are upheld by all parties to the conflict, in line with Government commitments under the new National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review, and to ensure full compliance by the UK with legal obligations under national and international law relating to the sale of arms.

Amnesty International added:

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Baroness Judith Jolly writes…Towards a pluralist, peaceful Syria

Interviews with Syrians of all faiths and sects have shown that, as with all of us, they wish to live in a pluralist society, as they used to. The want to return to the days when Christians and Druze were friends and all lived on the same street. The action we take must contribute to this aspiration

Lib Dem MPs voted to support the government based on five criteria, or principles. Any action taken must be legal, there must be a diplomatic framework, we must ensure pressure is placed on the Gulf States and Turkey to re-engage and support efforts to destabilise Daesh, there must be a post Daesh plan, and we must do more within our own borders to combat British extremist groups and ensure safety for refugees.

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Baroness Judith Jolly writes… Welcome to our new Peers

We heard this morning of new members swelling our ranks on the red benches in the House of Lords.

It seems only yesterday since I arrived in January 2011, fully expecting to serve only five or maybe ten years before standing down for those elected to the Upper House. We now know that it is not to be (yet!) but it was not for want of trying.

If I were to give advice it would be to get involved in something you know something about and something you know nothing about but find interesting. Join some all-party groups. Challenge our government …

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Baroness Judith Jolly writes: new Social Care Bill focuses on people not systems

The Care Bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the social care system. Currently there is a morass of legislation, confusing to those who work in the system and almost impenetrable to those in need of care, or their carers. It is leaving behind those who fund themselves to work it out as they go along. These are the most vulnerable in our society – the elderly and those of working age who are disabled and need care. The Bill focuses on people, not systems, and has received plaudits from all quarters.

Today I will stand up …

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Judith Jolly writes … Lib Dems are leading the battle over the regulations for the Health and Social Care Act

One year ago my colleagues and I sat in a room in Gateshead explaining in detail to party members what we had done to ensure that the Health and Social Care Act included key Liberal Democrat policies and principles.  We explained our efforts to reinstate the Secretary of State’s responsibility for ensuring that there is a comprehensive NHS.  We stated that we would end Labour’s policy of  crude competition on the basis of price, not quality, which had led to the private sector being paid £250m for work which was never done.

Above all, we stated that competition should be used …

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Baroness Judith Jolly writes: Why Lib Dem peers have supported an amended Health and Social Care Bill

Twenty five days of debate in the chamber of the House of Lords have now concluded on the Health and Social Care Bill. Our health team in the Lords has been involved in numerous meetings, events and correspondence discussing the Bill over the last eighteen months. We made it plain throughout the process that we could not have voted for the Bill without significant series changes that Liberal Democrats and professional organisations demanded. We believe that great care is now needed over how it is implemented in order to avoid the dangers of which many have warned and in order to restore the confidence of professionals in the NHS.

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Baroness Judith Jolly writes… The House of Lords will challenge, revise and improve the Health Bill

Tony Blair, on the eve of the 1997 General Election, famously proclaimed that we have just “24 hours to save the NHS”. A nice rhetorical flourish, but lacking in objectivity. Perhaps somewhat like the Labour party. Similar language is once again being used this week as the House of Lords debates giving a second reading to the Health and Social Care Bill. Opposition groups have jumped on this by suggesting that this is the last chance to ‘stop’ this Bill. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the complexity of the inner workings of the House of Lords, this doesn’t properly reflect …

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Baroness Judith Jolly’s maiden speech

In recent months, LDV has been bringing its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Earlier in January, Baroness Jolly of of Congdon’s Shop in the County of Cornwall, made her maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on the NHS. Her words are reproduced below.

My Lords, I start by thanking noble Lords kindly for the warm welcome that I have found since my introduction on Tuesday-from Members opposite as well as from my own Benches. Advice about my speech was to keep it simple, but most of all to keep it short. I extend these thanks to members of staff who have been exceptionally helpful in all manner of ways. I must say that I am not without trepidation. My introduction by comparison was easy, as once in my robes I was but an actor. Today, I feel somewhat naked without them, particularly in such eminent company.

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