Author Archives: Mark Valladares

I’m a veteran Party bureaucrat, having joined the old Liberal Party at university. And, perhaps not entirely surprisingly, I’ve held a range of positions since then - everything from Secretary-General of the Young Liberals to being a member of the ALDE Party‘s Financial Advisory Committee. Returning Officer, Presidential consort, committee secretary, you name it, I’ve probably done it. These days, I’m a parish councillor in a (very) small rural village in Suffolk’s Gipping Valley, and a member of the Party’s Federal International Relations Committee. Never let it be said that life is dull…

2 February 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Shell Profits: Sunak has failed to take action with a proper Windfall Tax
  • Lib Dem Bill to ban prepayment meters seeks to protect vulnerable from exploitation
  • Interest rates: A hammer blow and the blame lies squarely with the Government

Shell Profits: Sunak has failed to take action with a proper Windfall Tax

Responding the energy giant Shell making record profits of over £68 billion in 2022, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

No company should be making these kind of outrageous profits out of Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukra ine.

Rishi Sunak was warned as chancellor and now as Prime Minister that we need a

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Rishi Sunak’s first 100 days have left typical family £1,200 poorer

A typical family has been left almost £1,200 poorer in the 100 days since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The party warned that families across the country are suffering from the “cost of Conservative chaos”, as housing costs, taxes and rising energy and food bills all eat into their incomes.

The research shows that a typical squeezed middle household with a mortgage will have seen extra costs of £1,170 in the 100 days since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister on 25th October. This is made up of £822 in extra mortgage interest payments, £132 …

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1 February 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems plan to block taxpayer money for water companies unless they commit to end sewage discharges
  • Raab: PM should publish Cabinet Office advice and give evidence to the inquiry
  • Raab denial: Prime Minister is taking the public for fools

Lib Dems plan to block taxpayer money for water companies unless they commit to end sewage discharges

Liberal Democrat MP slams “a blank cheque written with taxpayers’ money to fund polluting, profiteering firms”.

Today, the Liberal Democrats are seeking to ensure the Government’s new Infrastructure Bank does not invest in water companies unless they produce a costed and time-limited plan to end sewage discharges into local rivers.

MPs will vote on a new Bill which would enshrine into law the UK Infrastructure Bank. Liberal Democrat MP Richard Foord has tabled an amendment to ensure strict sewage discharge conditions are placed on water companies before they can receive funds from the proposed Infrastructure Bank.

The Liberal Democrat MP slammed taxpayers’ funds going to water companies as “scandalous”, amid water companies paying their executives millions of pounds in bonuses, while permitting voluminous sewage discharges.

Analysis of Companies House records by the Liberal Democrats found that the twenty-two water bosses paid themselves £24.8 million, including £14.7 million in bonuses, benefits and incentives in 2021/2022. This is despite destructive sewage discharges in rivers and on seafronts, harming both wildlife and swimmers.

Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton & Honiton Richard Foord said:

It would be a scandal if taxpayers’ money was given to the same firms that continue to poison our rivers and coastlines.

Without adding strict sewage conditions to the bill, it will be a blank cheque for taxpayers’ money to fund these polluting, profiteering firms.

These are the very same water companies that line their executives’ pockets with bonuses worth millions of pounds. Now they expect public money to bail out the companies and patch up the leaking pipes they’ve long neglected.

My own constituency has suffered from regular sewage gushing onto beaches and into our rivers. Until that stops, the Government shouldn’t be throwing taxpayers’ money at water companies.

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31 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Suspend Raab, say Lib Dems
  • IMF forecast “damning verdict on Conservative Government”
  • Conservative Record on Businesses ‘in tatters’ as dam bursts on insolvency rates
  • Jane Dodds to Vote to Protect Welsh Farmers
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats Call for Negotiated Solution on Teachers’ Strikes

Suspend Raab, say Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats have called on Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab to be suspended, following reports which have emerged alleging that at least 24 civil servants have complained about his conduct.

In November 2022, Rishi Sunak opened a formal investigation into Dominic Raab after formal complaints were made by officials about his conduct in the workplace. Now, reports have alleged that the number of complainants is potentially as many as 30 individuals.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain has written to the Prime Minister, calling for Raab to be suspended for the duration of the investigation into his conduct, given the reported scale of complaints against him.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain commented:

The reported scale of the allegations against Dominic Raab raises real questions for Rishi Sunak. Why hasn’t the Prime Minister suspended Raab yet, for the duration of this inquiry?

Rishi Sunak promised to govern with integrity but I’m afraid his track record so far is the opposite. Scandal after scandal continues to emerge about various members of the Cabinet, yet Sunak is incapable of doing the right thing and taking decisive action.

From Zahawi to Raab, from Braverman to Williamson, the British public are fed up with Conservative sleaze which sadly appears to have taken root at the very heart of government.

IMF forecast “damning verdict on Conservative Government”

Commenting on the new IMF forecast which shows the UK as the only major economy to shrink, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP:

This is a damning verdict on the Conservative Government. High inflation, high-interest rates and high energy bills have left our country and hardworking families and pensioners suffering as a result.

While Number 10 lurches from one sleaze scandal to another people up and down the country are suffering from their incompetence and mismanagement. People deserve better than this Conservative shambles.

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30 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Zahawi – Sunak must withdraw Conservative Whip
  • ONS winter survey: A damning verdict on the Government’s record

Zahawi – Sunak must withdraw Conservative Whip

The Liberal Democrats have written to Rishi Sunak calling on him to withdraw the Conservative whip from Nadhim Zahawi.

In a letter to Sunak sent today, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said that Zahawi has shown he is not fit to represent his constituents, and that if he refuses to resign as an MP then he should have the Conservative whip withdrawn.

It comes after Nadhim Zahawi refused to apologise for failing to come clean about his tax affairs and …

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Welcome to my day – 30 January 2023: tax still shouldn’t be taxing…

I spent a chunk of my weekend completing my 2021/22 Self Assessment tax return. Yes, I know, “left it a bit late, didn’t you, Mark?”. Luckily, my tax return isn’t terribly complicated once I’ve found the required bits of information online and elsewhere.

Nadhim Zahawi appears to have had a rather more complex task or, should I say, his tax advisors. That’s partly a problem of his own creation – offshore trust funds aren’t obligatory – and partly the increasingly complex web of tax law in this country.

There is little doubt that, the more complex the tax system is, the more need there is for professional tax advisors and the more scope there is for creative uncertainty. The more you try to create opportunities in an effort to encourage what the Government of the day believes is desirable behaviour, the more you invite terribly clever people to find ways of taking advantage of the unintended consequences of those changes. People tend, often, to reduce their personal tax burden if they can. Wealthier people can pay to find the more obscure means of doing so, and the British legal and accounting professions are very, very good at delivering the desired outcome.

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28-29 January 2023 – the weekend’s (other) press releases

  • Richard Sharp: Publish Boris Johnson’s hidden register of interests

    Richard Sharp: Publish Boris Johnson’s hidden register of interests

    The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to publish Boris Johnson’s internal register of ministerial interests including details of the personal loan he received.

    It comes as the Sunday Times reports that Boris Johnson was formally told by the Cabinet Office to stop asking Richard Sharp for “advice” about his “personal financial matters.

    It is reported that details about the loan were included in Johnson’s own declaration in the internal register of ministers’ interests, parts of which are not made public.

    Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy

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27 January 2023 – today’s press release

Hunt’s speech is cold comfort for families and pensioners

Responding to Jeremy Hunt’s speech this morning, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This Conservative party sounds like an unfaithful partner asking for yet another chance – but after crashing the economy and sending mortgages sky-high – why should we trust them again?

Jeremy Hunt’s speech is cold comfort for families and pensioners facing unbearable price rises.

This Government’s economic record is nothing less than a shambles and the British public will see right through this desperate attempt by yet another Conservative Chancellor to rewrite history.

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26 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Welsh Government Not Monitoring GP Waiting Times
  • HMRC and Zahawi investigation: Sunak must rule out a stitch up
  • £220,000 Johnson bailout fund for “cost-of-lying crisis”

Welsh Government Not Monitoring GP Waiting Times

  • Information obtained by the Welsh Liberal Democrats shows the Welsh Government has no idea how long waiting times for GPs are across Wales.
  • The Welsh Liberal Democrats claim this hinders the Welsh Government’s ability to see where resources should be directed to help local health boards.

The Welsh Government is not collecting data on how long GP waiting times are across Wales according to information uncovered by the Welsh Liberal Democrats. This is despite …

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25 January 2023 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Zahawi: Raab must bring in law to stop baseless legal threats
  • Sunak holding “Hideaway Day” at Chequers with scandal-hit Cabinet
  • New sewage target passed in Parliament which allows 15 more years of harmful waste in rivers
  • Conservative MPs vote to cover up the truth about golden visas

Zahawi: Raab must bring in law to stop baseless legal threats

The Liberal Democrats have written to Dominic Raab, calling on him to “urgently” bring in a new law to stop journalists and campaigners being silenced through legal threats.

It comes following numerous reports that Conservative Party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi used the threat of legal action against campaigners and journalists who raised questions about his tax affairs.

The government has previously promised new legislation to tackle the use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). Last year in response to a consultation on the issue, Dominic Raab warned these sorts of legal threats can have a “chilling effect” and “stifle legitimate reporting and debate,” with “media and others intimidated into abandoning critical stories in the face of crippling legal costs.”

Raab also previously said that “it is wrong that unscrupulous individuals and corporations are able to exploit our laws and our courts in this jurisdiction with claims designed to muzzle respected journalists, academics and campaigners.”

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to bring in new anti-SLAPP laws as quickly as possible, and to clarify if they would prevent Cabinet Ministers such as Nadhim Zahawi from behaving in the way which has been alleged.

The party is also calling for the current investigation by the ethics adviser to look into the use of legal threats by Nadhim Zahawi.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Dominic Raab has rightly warned about the chilling effect that the threat of legal action can have on media scrutiny and exposing corruption. It’s now time to put his money where his mouth is by finally bringing forward tough new laws to tackle these baseless legal threats.

It is particularly worrying that Nadhim Zahawi reportedly used the threat of legal action against those raising questions about his tax affairs. We need to know whether the new rules the government is proposing in this area will tackle such behaviour by Cabinet Ministers in future.

The current inquiry into Zahawi by the ethics adviser must also look into this issue, and whether legal threats were used in an attempt to cover up the truth. It can’t be one rule for Conservative ministers and another for everyone else.

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25 January 2023 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • Zahawi: What more will it take for Sunak to do the right thing
  • Govt lags behind key 20,000 police officer pledge by over 3,400
  • Powys Patients Waits in English Hospitals Raised in the Senedd
  • Wagner Group: Rishi Sunak must order an immediate inquiry

Zahawi: What more will it take for Sunak to do the right thing

Responding to the growing calls for Rishi Sunak to suspend Nadhim Zahawi as Conservative Party Chairman, including among his own party, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Every day that Nadhim Zahawi clings on does more damage to Rishi Sunak’s credibility.

The Conservative Party is stuck in an endless cycle of sleaze and chaos, while the country suffers from a cost of living and NHS crisis.

What more will it take for Sunak to finally do the right thing and sack Zahawi, or at least suspend him for the duration of this investigation?

He promised his government would have integrity and accountability, but instead once again it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else.

Govt lags behind key 20,000 police officer pledge by over 3,400

New Police uplift statistics from the Home Office have revealed that the Government would need to double its police recruitment efforts in the next three months to meet its 20,000 targets as it lags behind by 3,427.

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservatives for being on track to break their key 2019 manifesto promise to recruit 20,000 new police officers by the end of March 2023.

The Government’s flagship crime policy lags behind the total by 3,427 – with only 3 months left to go.

Analysis from the Liberal Democrats shows to meet the target of 20,000 by March 2023, the Government would have to hire 130% more officers each month, up from 494 extra officers a month over the last six months to 1,142.

The most recent statistics reveal that 17 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales have failed to recruit a single new officer in the last 2 months.

Responding, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

The Conservatives are too busy dealing with sleaze and scandal to properly tackle crime festering in our communities. They are letting down people across the country with their failure to recruit police officers and tackle crime.

Victims right across the country will be left without confidence in this Government and it’s all because of these broken promises and failures.

Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing where people feel safer in their areas and the Government is focused on cutting crime instead of squabbling in Downing Street.

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24 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Borrowing Figures: The Govt have no economic competence left
  • Stockport becomes first council to launch a sewage inquiry amid public outrage
  • Mark Drakeford Challenged on Abysmal Ambulance Waiting Times

Borrowing Figures: The Govt have no economic competence left

Responding to the latest borrowing figures, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

A toxic combination of Conservative incompetence and reckless decision making at the top of Government have blown a hole in the country’s finances, and now ministers are making British families pay for it.

A long-list of Conservative Chancellors have hiked taxes, added hundreds of pounds a month to mortgages and left the country with unnecessarily high borrowing costs. The British public will never trust the Conservative party again with the economy. This Conservative Government doesn’t have a shred of economic competence left after months of chaos.

Stockport becomes first council to launch a sewage inquiry amid public outrage

  • Water company hauled in front of public meeting to defend thousands of hours worth of sewage discharges into rivers
  • The Environment Agency confirms in written evidence that water quality is “poor” and the Water Industry “is responsible”
  • Chair of the new inquiry Cllr Smart slams “a national scandal which pollutes our rivers and puts animals lives at risk”

Liberal Democrat run Stockport Council has become the first council in the country to launch an official Sewage Inquiry.

There is widespread outrage across Stockport after United Utilities dumped sewage into the river Mersey a staggering 977 times last year, lasting 3,271 hours. Across Stockport, the water firm discharged 13,372 hours of sewage discharges into local rivers.

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23 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Strip Boris of ex-PM £115k allowance until he comes clean
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats Respond to Building Safety Announcement

Boris Johnson should be stripped of the ex-PM allowance of up to £115,000 a year until he answers questions about his financial arrangements while he was Prime Minister, the Lib Dems have said.

This comes further to successive reports regarding ‘credit facilities’ which Johnson secured while he was in Downing Street, reportedly facilitated by Richard Sharp who was subsequently appointed as BBC Chair.

The Lib Dems have warned that until Johnson comes clean about these facilities, whether there was any conflict of interest with the …

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20-22 January 2023 – the weekend’s press releases (part 2)

  • Zahawi: There must be an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this
  • Cleverly: Dog ate my homework type excuses simply won’t wash with the public
  • Boris loan: He must come to Parliament to explain his murky finances
  • Jane Dodds Responds to Cancelation of Young People’s Village at the Royal Welsh Show

Zahawi: There must be an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this

Responding to the latest statement from Nadhim Zahawi on his tax affairs, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Zahawi and his Conservative Cabinet colleagues are arrogantly trying to brush this under the carpet.

There are facts that still

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20-22 January 2023 – the weekend’s press releases (part 1)

  • Sunak fine: From partygate to seatbelt gate, Conservative politicians are taking British people for fools
  • Research reveals squeezed middle facing biggest income tax hit in a decade
  • Alarm as Number of Homeless Children in Wales Rises by 59%

Sunak fine: From partygate to seatbelt gate, Conservative politicians are taking British people for fools

Responding to the news that Rishi Sunak has been given a Fixed Penalty Notice for not wearing his seatbelt during a Lancashire visit, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

Rishi Sunak has shown the same disregard for the rules as Boris Johnson, and now becomes the second ever Prime Minister to be fined by the police.

From partygate to seatbelt gate, these Conservative politicians are just taking the British people for fools.

Whilst they continue to behave as though it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else, this fine is a reminder that the Conservatives eventually get their comeuppance.

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Welcome to my day: 23 January 2023 – clinging desperately to the wreckage…

I’ve been away, which has come as something of a relief, it must be said. Admittedly, not much has changed since I went away – the people running our country still appear to have a restricted grasp of ethics and morality, the Opposition are still desperately attempting to avoid taking any firm position on very much, the lack of ideas for dealing with the huge challenges our country faces is still troubling.

And I’m weary. Weary of trying to serve a nation where those in charge barely pay lip service to the idea …

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19 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Record ambulance delays reveal NHS “horror show”
  • Latest NHS figures on delayed discharges reveal “living nightmare”
  • Levelling up: Rural and coastal communities taken for granted

Record ambulance delays reveal NHS “horror show”

Ambulance response times in Wales have fallen to a record low in December with a staggering 60.5% of red calls (those deemed most life-threatening) being above the official target times. This figure is the highest on record and beats previous numbers in December 2021 and 2020, the latter of which was at the height of the pandemic.

Figures have also shown that a shocking 78% of amber calls, which include heart attacks and …

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18 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Inflation pushing families to the brink and economy to breaking point
  • Hunt video: Mr Bean-esque from the same clueless party that crashed the economy
  • Retained EU Law Bill a “shameless power-grab”

Inflation pushing families to the brink and economy to breaking point

Responding to the news that inflation remains in double digits at 10.5%, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

For months and months Inflation has soared pushing families to the brink, bills out of control and the economy to breaking point.

People across the country work hard and just want a fair deal but under this Conservative Government, double-digit inflation is just business as usual.

Struggling families and pensioners deserve more support but the Government’s track record on the cost of living crisis has been nothing short of a failure, hurting millions.

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17 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • ONS pay figures: Chancellors have fanned the flames of this cost of living crisis
  • Billions in taxes lost as HMRC moves staff to Brexit and Covid fraud

ONS pay figures: Chancellors have fanned the flames of this cost of living crisis

Responding to this morning’s latest ONS earnings and unemployment figures, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

Successive Conservative Chancellors have fanned the flames of this cost of living crisis. Their deeply shameful tax hikes and failure to grow the economy has lead to Britain’s pay being squeezed despite unbearably high bills. It has been an economic clown show from this Conservative

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16 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • It’s Blue Wall Monday and families are paying the price
  • PC David Carrick: Lib Dems call for immediate investigation

It’s Blue Wall Monday and families are paying the price

Today marks Blue Monday when Brits are left counting up their Christmas bills.

For families in the Blue Wall, there is an additional hit to their finances: The Conservative Government.

New analysis by the Liberal Democrats reveals the typical family in the South East will be £760 worse off this January compared to last year – including paying an extra £620 more a month in mortgage …

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15 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Harper: Govt could have stopped strike misery months ago
  • Lib Dems call for Partygate conduct inquiry in ethics advisor’s ‘first test’ in post

Harper: Govt could have stopped strike misery months ago

Responding to Mark Harper on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg indicating he is hopeful for a deal to resolve the rail strikes, Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:

This Government has spent months dithering, delaying and refusing to get around the table to resolve strike action. Millions of people have suffered upheaval and still, the Government won’t set out a timetable for resolution.

All of these strikes are

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5 December 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems Slam Unacceptable Delay in Support for Off-Grid Homes
  • Gordon Brown Review Shows a Lack of Ambition for Wales
  • Michelle Mone: Lib Dems demand publication of PPE contract

Lib Dems Slam Unacceptable Delay in Support for Off-Grid Homes

Government delays support for off-grid homes until 2023

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have slammed delays by the UK Government in rolling out a scheme designed to support people living in off-grid homes.

The Conservative minister responsible for energy bill support has announced that off-grid households will not receive any help with their spiraling bills until at least 2023, despite MPs from all parties calling for urgent action throughout 2022.

The UK Government is also yet to establish the full details of how hard-hit residents will be able to access the help they need due to taking months to develop what has been described as an “over-complicated and under-generous” scheme.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for a price cap on heating oil and LPG to ease the pressure on the many families in rural Wales living off the national gas grid.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS represents Mid & West Wales which contains areas such as Ceredigion where 74% of properties are estimated to not be connected to the gas grid. In Powys the figure is 55% while in Pembrokeshire it is 41%.

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ALDE Party Council – so many thoughts, so little time…

It was grey and dank as I strode briskly through the quiet morning streets of Bratislava en route to one of those modern, efficient hotels that are so much a feature of European city centres these days. I was a man on a mission, eager to contribute my knowledge and wisdom to the cause of European liberalism. And then I arrived at the ALDE Party Council meeting…

In fairness, the meeting started with a tribute to our fallen colleague, Robert Woodthorpe Browne, with contributions from the co-Presidents, Ilhan Kyuchyuk and Timmy Dooley, Phil Bennion (Chair of our Federal International Relations Committee) and Manfred Eisenbach, who likened his friendship with Robert to that of Stadler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show.

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Welcome to my day: 5 December 2022 – “would the last Tory to leave the building…”

It’s shaping up to be a pretty miserable winter, with key groups across the economy either already intending, or considering, strike action in an attempt to maintain living standards in the face of inflation rates above 10%. I’ve written here before about the effect of real terms pay decreases in the public sector over more than a decade, but whilst opposition politicians can, and do, call for the Government to do better, there seems to be little long-term thinking about its future.

Our politics is so often about change, about big ideas for reform, yet government is, ironically, underpinned by the ability to manage what is already there. It isn’t “sexy” or exciting, it is unlikely to cause voters to rush to their polling stations overwhelmed with enthusiasm, but the concept of competence in government should be at the core of any political party’s offering. For Conservative supporters, the events of the past year have been a salutary reminder of the need to demonstrate that virtue.

Whilst Labour are attempting to recreate the conditions that led to the 1997 landslide, treading carefully in order to avoid offending anyone, there is an opportunity to talk about how you maintain a healthy, efficient public sector in the face of the challenges that now exist. And, just as in 1997, it seems that the public agree that greater investment in those services is necessary. But new, shiny buildings are only part of that reinvention – establishing a conveyor belt of new recruits into teaching, nursing and the rest of the services that underpin civil society is a long-term, slow burn primary task for any incoming government.

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Robert Woodthorpe Browne MBE (1943-2022)

The unexpected death of Robert this week, in the run-up to an ALDE Party Council meeting, the scene of so many of his contributions to the Party’s international work, has cast a shade over the work of our delegation this weekend.

Robert Woodthorpe Browne, the former veteran Chair of the Party’s International Relations Committee, latterly Federal International Relations Committee, died on Tuesday morning, following a stroke the previous week. An internationalist to his fingertips, his reputation as one of the leading players in global liberal politics was a tribute to hard work, an almost uncanny ability to make deals and a sense of pragmatism that stood him, and the Liberal Democrats, in good stead over many years.

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@ALDEParty Council to meet in Bratislava – the preview

And so, once again this year, I find myself heading for Bratislava, this time as a member of the Party’s delegation to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party Council meeting which takes place on Saturday morning. Here’s what’s on the agenda…

Preparations for the 2024 European Elections

A tricky, and somewhat painful, agenda item for us, given that we won’t be fighting them and don’t have a vote on the manifesto, but work is underway on designing the campaign, drafting a Europe-wide message and building stronger links with non-ALDE members of the Renew Europe group in the European Parliament. Our position as a European nation which doesn’t have any formal arrangement with the European Union, nor ambitions to join, does leave us a bit like a small boy with his nose against the outside of the shop window.

Finance

The Commission is being difficult about receipts from third countries (for example, us), and there are suggestions that our rights within the ALDE Party are in jeopardy. Indeed, the key European Regulation 1141/2014 does offer challenges in terms of having non-EU member parties. But it does seem strange that the Commission would discourage participation from EEA states (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), Schengen micro-states such as Andorra, or even candidate nations such as Bosnia-Hercegovina or Moldova.

I would expect quite a lot of horse trading before this resolves itself, but we will continue to make the case for wider inclusivity within all European political families.

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28 November – 2 December: this week in the Lords

It’s a full week ahead for the Liberal Democrats in the Lords, with business on all five days but, before I start, I should note the sad loss of Nigel Jones, who passed away three weeks ago. Max Wilkinson has written movingly about him, and our Leader in the Lords, Dick Newby, offered his own thoughts. Our belated condolences go out to his family and friends.

Sally Hamwee chairs the Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee and, on Monday, introduces its report, “Technology rules? The advent of new technologies in the justice system”. The report looks at the use of Artificial Intelligence by police forces and draws some worrying conclusions. Tim Clement-Jones, Sarah Ludford and Brian Paddick will also be reflecting their concerns during this Grand Committee debate.

In the main Chamber, the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill, sponsored by Green peer, Jenny Jones, reaches its Report Stage, whilst the Government’s Procurement Bill also reaches its Report Stage.

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Liberal Democrat Disability Association elects new leadership

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Liberal Democrat Disability Association (LDDA) on Saturday afternoon.

Guest speaker Wendy Chamberlain spoke about her Private Members’ Bill, the Carer’s Leave Bill, which has passed through its Committee Stage in the House of Commons. The Bill, if passed, would give employed carers the right to a week’s unpaid leave each year to provide or arrange care for a dependent suffering from a long-term condition. She noted that, whilst it didn’t go as far as she would like, this was a change consistent with the manifesto …

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Welcome to my day: 28 November 2022 – lifting one’s eyes to the horizon…

It’s been a somewhat trying week for your Day Editor, as we’ve come under fire for doing pretty much what we’ve always done from people who’ve previously taken no interest in what we do but would now really rather we did it in a way that they approve of.

In fairness, when you take on a role like this, you expect some criticism. We’re too loyal to the leadership, or not loyal enough. We don’t address the big issues, or focus too much on perceived minutiae. We don’t allow freedom of speech or our moderation is too lax. And, sometimes, that …

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26-27 November 2022 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Manston diphtheria scandal: Braverman must resign
  • Stealth Tax: Lib Dems propose law forcing Government to write to every taxpayer facing a tax rise

Manston diphtheria scandal: Braverman must resign

Responding to the Sunday Times report of 70 suspected cases of diphtheria among asylum seekers moved from the Manston facility as well as a suspected untreated gunshot wound, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson, Daisy Cooper MP, said:

Liberal Democrats in the Commons and Lords have been questioning Ministers and repeatedly received assurances on the quality of healthcare for asylum seekers.



The UK is better than this. The Conservative Government should be ashamed of their callous complacency over

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    "The Bill ... seeks to halt the installation of prepayments meters until April." It's not very ambitious, is it. So nothing about existing pp meters, and the...
  • Christopher Haigh
    Mel Braithwaite - Shell reported profits of £68 billion. Analysts somehow adjust this figure for taxation and accounting comparability with other companies e.g...
  • Nonconformistradical
    I agree with Chris Moore. Charisma without political nous is dangerous. Politics is the art of the possible. I beleive Ed also has a good track record as ...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Chris Cory, "I was reading recently about fears of large scale mortgage arrears and a collapse of the housing market in Canada." There are si...