Author Archives: Mark Valladares

UPDATED: Bercow rules out a third attempt by Theresa May to get her Brexit deal passed – how should the Liberal Democrats respond?

In dramatic scenes in the House of Commons, The Speaker, John Bercow, has ruled that Theresa May can’t hold a third vote on her Brexit deal without major changes to it. This appears to leave only five options;

  • No deal;
  • No Brexit;
  • Seek a long extension to allow time to negotiate a new deal;
  • Prorogue Parliament to allow a new session in which the deal can be brought back, and;
  • A General Election

Here’s some early reaction from the Party…

UPDATE – we’ve now received the official press comment…

Responding to the decision by Commons Speaker John Bercow to rule out the Conservative Government holding another vote on …

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14 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

It’s another trying day, with the ghastly news from New Zealand overnight, and one does despair at the ability of human beings to do inhuman things, but politics rolls inevitably onwards. So, here are yesterday’s releases…

Lib Dems: Short prison sentences for knives don’t work

Responding to the figures showing the number of crimes related to knives and other offensive weapons dealt with by the courts has reached a nine year high, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse:

Both the Justice Secretary and the Prisons Minister have admitted that short prison sentences don’t work and actually increase the risk of re-offending. So why

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Time to drag party policy making into the 21st century?

Before we start, let me make something clear. I’m not a policy wonk. It’s not that I’m disinterested in policy, far from it. It’s just that, as a bureaucracy geek, I’m interested in how things work.

When the recent governance review took place, I found myself wondering if it was going to look at how we could engage more members in what interests many of them – policy. And, in truth, I was disappointed. It was mostly about reordering the committee structures and, whilst I have my views on that, it didn’t really do anything that would engage ordinary members.

Our policy …

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8 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Govt decision on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe a step in the right direction

Responding to news that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been offered diplomatic protection, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Jo Swinson said:

This is a promising step in the right direction.

I welcome this action by the Government, which contrasts the reckless incompetence displayed by the previous Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson.

Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s plight should give us all pause for thought. We must all do what we can to bring her home as soon as possible.

Moran: Fox wastes £2.6m on another vanity project

A Parliamentary Question from Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has revealed that …

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7 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases (part 2)

And now, as promised, the rest of the press releases…

  • Figures highlight extremely difficult time for high streets
  • Swinson: Employers must be held to account over gender pay gap
  • Chancellor must end the freeze on benefits and tax credits
  • Davey: Strip Home Office of immigration powers

Figures highlight extremely difficult time for high streets

Responding as the BDO High Streets Tracker reveals that sales declined by 3.7%, the worst February for lifestyle in-store sales since November 2008, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Our high streets are clearly going through an extremely difficult time, thanks to a combination of long-term structural challenges and the damaging

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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 …

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6 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

  • PM fails to stand up for rural communities over bank closures
  • Cable: Catastrophic no-deal would push economy into recession
  • Davey: Britain must be far more ambitious on offshore wind
  • Lib Dems: Yet another embarrassing rejection of May’s Brexit

PM fails to stand up for rural communities over bank closures

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron today used Prime Minister’s Questions to urge the Prime Minister to properly compensate communities that have been abandoned by the banks and forced to use online banking instead.

According to the consumer group Which? around 3,000 bank branches have closed over the past three years.

Meanwhile over the same time period, innocent customers have lost an extra £2billion in online and financial fraud.

Speaking during Prime Ministers Questions, Tim Farron asked:

Will she agree that the banks have taken without giving for too long?

Will she meet with me to force the banks to compensate victims of fraud, to compensate the communities they have abandoned and to prevent banks closing the last branch in town?

In response, the Prime Minister refused to help abandoned communities and victims of financial fraud, instead saying that banks are “commercial organisations and those are decisions that they take.”

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said:

It’s absolutely staggering and hugely disappointing that the Prime Minister has decided to turn her back on communities like Grange in my constituency that have been abandoned by the banks.

People who have been victims of financial fraud and those who have been let down by the banks deserve better than the Prime Minister shrugging her shoulders.

Cable: Catastrophic no-deal would push economy into recession

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5 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

We’re running a bit late today, mainly because a number of these releases were embargoed until after midnight…

  • Tory cuts are forcing schools to beg and borrow from communities – Moran
  • Lib Dems: Tories failing to fund adult social care
  • Tory cuts driving down quality of care homes
  • Govt must act to prevent another Windrush
  • Make school uniforms gender neutral – Lib Dems
  • Davey: End ‘right to rent’ checks and Hostile Environment
  • Swinson: PM’s guarantees to protect workers’ rights not worth the paper they’re written on

Tory cuts are forcing schools to beg and borrow from communities – Moran

Responding to reports that parents are being asked …

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4 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Tory Govt must take responsibility for knife crime epidemic

Today Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has called on the Conservative Government to take responsibility for the knife crime epidemic and invest in more police and youth services.

Ed Davey said:

Far too many innocent young lives are being taken by the epidemic of violence that is consuming our cities. Instead of just lamenting these tragedies and talking tough, Ministers need to accept their share of responsibility for this crisis.

When children are excluded from school and see their youth centres closed, it’s hardly surprising that so many of them fall into

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Party Presidency: the challenges for the incoming President

So, we know how to run, we’ve taken a look at the history of the post and, last week, I offered some thoughts as to the skills required. Today, I’d like to dust off the old crystal ball, and look at what might be the possible challenges when candidate X takes over the reins on 1 January.

Party Presidents tend to be most successful when they are either bake to work closely with the Leader, or when the Leader simply allows them to get on with their work without interference. Admittedly, the job of Party management is one that tends to …

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2-3 March 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

Welcome to the start of a new week here at Liberal Democrat Voice. Our Party press release coverage appears to be quite successful, but I find myself wondering if it might not be more useful first thing in the morning, rather than last thing at night, so here it is in the early morning slot. Do let us know what you think…

  • Cable: Corbyn must work with opposition leaders to secure a people’s vote
  • Fox must come clean on failure to secure trade deals
  • Moran: Govt must be more ambitious to end period poverty
  • Corbyn must confirm people’s vote support

Cable: Corbyn must work with

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1 March 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: Govt reforms failing to reduce reoffending

Today the National Audit Office have released a report stating that reforms to probation services have failed to meet the Ministry of Justice’s targets to reduce reoffending.

Responding to the report, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

The rehabilitation of offenders and their re-integration into the community is central to who we are as a society and vital for cutting crime. It must be done with a sense of responsibility.

Good public services cannot be expected to be run on a shoe string. The Tory party’s obsession with saving money has actually cost millions

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28 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dem policy for 9pm junk food marketing watershed has public support

Responding to a survey by Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) which shows the widespread support for the Liberal Democrat policy to create a 9pm watershed for junk food marketing, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

With obesity as one of the leading causes of cancer, there is increasingly concern about the childhood obesity epidemic throughout the UK.

The Conservative Government have failed to take these concerns seriously. So far all we have seen from the Tories is an unambitious strategy on Childhood Obesity that will do little to

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27 February 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

I’m a day behind, so time to catch up, I think…

Brexit: Govt approach to citizens’ rights “fundamentally flawed”

Responding to Sajid Javid’s comments that the Government will support Alberto Costa’s amendment on citizens’ rights, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

After being forced into one U-turn on the £65 fee for settled status last month and another on ring-fencing citizens’ rights in case of no-deal today, the Government should finally just admit that their whole approach is fundamentally flawed.

These U-turns are welcome, but the spectacle of the Prime Minister saying one thing yesterday and the Home Secretary saying the

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26 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems join Amnesty International UK in fight against NI abortion laws
  • Cable: Housebuilders must not pinch their profits from the public purse
  • PM in the process of creating a double cliff-edge
  • Govt’s no deal papers shows PM driving UK to a cliff edge
  • Labour fail to oppose Govt’s controversial knife crime orders

Lib Dems join Amnesty International UK in fight against NI abortion laws

Today, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine will join women impacted by NI abortion law along with Amnesty International UK, other MPs, and other service providers and activists to hand in a petition to …

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25 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems produce Bill to properly tackle plastics crisis

Today, Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Environment, will present his Plastic Pollution Bill to Parliament.

The Bill will set targets to help fix our plastics crisis and require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for the reduction of plastic pollution.

The Bill has been backed by a cross-party group of MPs as well as Friends of the Earth and the Women’s Institute.

Ahead of presenting his Bill, Mr Carmichael said:

Plastic pollution is the scourge of our oceans. The Government must start taking action to reduce our plastic to change our

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So, what might we be looking for in a Party President?

I rather allowed myself to be distracted last week, but I did promise to offer some thoughts on what skills an incoming President might need.

I’ll start with something rather dull, but critical. The ability to manage meetings is imperative. As President, you’ll be chairing Federal Board, a body which can be fractious at the best of times, and moulding it into an effective decision making entity is critical. You can’t just turn up and go, you need to determine potential flashpoints, decide how you might deal with disagreements.

That in turn will require good communication skills and a sense of empathy. …

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23-24 February 2019 – the weekend’s press release

Cable: PM fast becoming most irresponsible politician ever

Responding to confirmation the Prime Minister has delayed her meaninful vote on Brexit, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:

Theresa May is fast climbing the league table of the most irresponsible politicians our country has ever had.

Kicking the can down the road will only heighten fears and anxiety of businesses and people right across the UK.

MPs must this week rule out a damaging Brexit and then urgently bring this mess to an end with a People’s Vote, including the option to stay in the EU.

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22 February 2019 – today’s press release plus a late breaking bonus…

Getting back on track, this should bring us up to date. One feature of the work of the Press Team is press releases that are embargoed until 00:01 the next day. here at Liberal Democrat Voice, we respect the embargo guidance because we understand the rules. However, there is nothing stopping us from publishing the press release as soon as possible after that time. So, the second of today’s press releases was embargoed until one minute ago. Enjoy…

Lib Dems: McDonnell must follow warm words with action

Responding to comments made by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell that Labour are moving towards backing …

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21 February 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Apologies to all for last night’s failure to file. It didn’t mean that there weren’t any, more that I was engaged in a bout of constitution wrangling and lost track of time. So, without further ado…

Cable: Govt must level the playing field between the high street and online

Responding to the report by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee calling on the Government to consider the options of an online sales tax and reforms to business rates, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

While our high streets are going through an extremely difficult time, with the right action from

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20 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Dishonest of PM to say technical education is a priority
  • Extension of no-fly zone will not prevent future drone chaos
  • Radical changes are afoot in UK politics – Cable
  • Davey: Sajid Javid has big questions to answer on Shamima Begum decision
  • Lib Dems indicate hazards for driving abroad after Brexit

Lib Dems: Dishonest of PM to say technical education is a priority

The Association of Colleges has warned that there is a “real risk to the long-term economic prosperity of the UK” if the Government’s flagship ‘T-Level’ policy is not implemented correctly.

T-Levels, which are due to be introduced in September 2020 will be equivalent …

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19 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Wales Woefully Unprepared for No-Deal Brexit
  • Corbyn turns his back on manufacturing sector
  • Honda decision symbolic of Brexit Britain
  • Lib Dems: Begum should face justice for her crimes in the UK

Wales Woefully Unprepared for No-Deal Brexit

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised no-deal preparations in Wales as “woeful” following a report from the Wales Audit Office, which critcised the lack of preparations made in case Britain leaves the European Union without a deal or transition period.

The Wales Audit Office report stated, ‘Wales needs to do more to prepare for possible no-deal Brexit.’ despite the Welsh Government having begun “intensifying” their no-deal preparations as far …

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18 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Amidst the conjecture caused by the launch of The Independent Group this morning, it might have been easy to forget that there’s plenty of other stuff going on…

  • Lib Dems: Rail reform proposals signals change needed
  • Govt consultations on plastic must be followed by action
  • On short prison sentences, Tories say one thing and do another
  • Cable: Honda decision another hammer blow to the UK economy
  • Lib Dems will work with like-minded MPs – Cable
  • Statement on the death of Paul Flynn

Lib Dems: Rail reform proposals signals change needed

Responding to the release of the report containing the Rail Delivery Group’s proposals to the Williams Rail Review, …

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Is being purist consistent with building majorities for change?

I’ve been vaguely following the debate triggered by today’s launch of The Independent Group, and I have to admit to a tinge of despair. The competing stances of “we look forward to working with them” and “they’re not proper liberals and we shouldn’t touch them with a bargepole” are hardly unexpected, and there are people that I respect on both sides.

But, of course, I’m a bureaucrat, inherently cautious, and I’m older and wiser than I once was. So I find myself wondering, what is it we want, and how can this help us to get it?

Think of it as being …

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A detour into the history of the Party Presidency

It’s easy to forget how many Party members are of very recent vintage sometimes. Given that our membership at the time of the General Election was in the region of 45,000, and is now more than double that, many of our readers will have no reason to be aware of the history of the post.

So, here are some of the things that might be of interest…

Sal Brinton is the ninth person to hold the position of Party President, and the longest serving of them all – her second term is of three years, the first of such length. No-one may …

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16-17 February 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

Lib Dems: Divert our flightpath away from Brexit mess

Responding to reports that the East Midlands airline FlyBMI has collapsed amid the uncertainty caused by Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

While the Government claim that Brexit provides the opportunity to create a Global Britain, the evidence is to the contrary; FlyBMI are naming Brexit as one of the reasons for their demise.

The truth is, any Brexit is bad for UK Plc, and puts jobs and livelihoods at risk. It is time to divert our flightpath away from this crisis, with a People’s Vote and a chance to exit

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15 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: Tories failing on air pollution

New figures released today by the Department for the Environment show that emissions of air pollutants have not dropped significantly over the past three years, despite the Government promising to tackle air pollution as a priority.

Responding to the figures, Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson, said:

These figures show that this Tory Government is failing to tackle air pollution, which they described themselves as ‘the biggest environmental threat to public health.’

Long-term exposure to these emissions can cause heart and lung problems as well as potentially contribute to cancers, with the young and the

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14 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • No deal Brexit causing panic for people with diabetes (see here)
  • Lib Dems table amendment to give the people the final say
  • Cable: Govt defeat shows rejection of May’s time wasting

Lib Dems table amendment to give the people the final say

The Liberal Democrats have today tabled an amendment calling for a People’s Vote with the option to stay in the EU.

The Liberal Democrats have ensured that there is a People’s Vote amendment for MPs to get behind on every single Brexit vote in the House of Commons.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

In an attempt to force through this unpopular deal,

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13 February 2019 – (the rest of) today’s press releases

Welsh Lib Dems welcome enhancement of MyTravelPass young persons’ discount scheme

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed the announcement from the Welsh Government that the MyTravelPass young persons’ bus discount scheme is to be enhanced.

The initial pilot scheme was secured by Welsh Liberal Democrats in opposition during the last Assembly.

The scheme, which has evolved and improved since its pilot in 2015, now offers a third off the fares for all journeys taken by young people aged between 16 and 21 – right up until their 22nd birthday.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented:

It’s encouraging to see the MyTravelPass scheme continue to

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12 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Digital exclusion shows Universal Credit not fit for purpose

Responding to reports that almost half a million people needed help to apply for the government’s flagship Universal Credit benefit online, DWP Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The Liberal Democrats raised the issue of digital exclusion with Conservative ministers months ago, but these concerns clearly haven’t been taken on board. This underlines the need to look again at Universal Credit, which is clearly not creating the simpler and more accessible benefits system that was intended.

It is failing the very people it was supposed to be designed to help. Now the Government has acknowledged

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Becket 20th Mar - 10:29pm
    She should be sectioned
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 20th Mar - 10:15pm
    The PM addressed the nation tonight. Why, oh why can’t she use an autocue? Her continually looking down at her notes smacks of insincerity. She...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 20th Mar - 9:56pm
    Time to revoke Article 50.
  • User AvatarTonyH 20th Mar - 9:40pm
    Shameful behaviour, but also very stupid. The TIGs have actually had very little media coverage since their launch, and their freshness was beginning to fade....
  • User AvatarRichard O'Neill 20th Mar - 9:38pm
    Corbyn seems much less bothered about the prospect of a No Deal than May is.
  • User AvatarDavid Warren 20th Mar - 9:19pm
    I have done a submission but have no way of knowing whether it has been received because I haven't received an acknowledgement. I did the...