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…

25 November 2022 – today’s press releases

Apologies, press release fans, but broadband to my village was lost due to a BT fault this evening. It’s supposed to be restored in a fortnight’s time, so I’m reduced to the internet equivalent of two tin cans and a length of string temporarily.

  • Sunak reappoints controversial Trade Minister he sacked last month
  • Raab allegations can’t be swept under the carpet

Sunak reappoints controversial Trade Minister he sacked last month

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that reappointed Trade Minister Dominic Johnson urgently publishes his Register of Interests, warning that he has a duty to be “open, transparent and accountable” and avoid a conflict of …

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24 November 2022 – today’s press release

  • Government ‘must get a grip’ as asylum backlog soars to 143,000
  • Raab emails: Lib Dems write to Cabinet Secretary demanding investigation
  • Michelle Mone: Lib Dems table amendment to scrap VIP lanes
  • Richard Foord MP raises sewage report in Parliament after his son fell sick swimming in Devon river
  • Full Review in Social Services in Wales Needed After Logan Mwangi Report

Government ‘must get a grip’ as asylum backlog soars to 143,000

Responding to new official figures showing that the asylum backlog has risen to 143,377, with 97,717 waiting more than six months, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

The Home Office is a disaster zone, and it’s clear who is to blame. By their own admission, the Conservatives have broken our asylum system and shattered public trust in it.

Tens of thousands of refugees have been waiting months for a decision, banned from working or renting their own home. The Conservative chaos at the Home Office is wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money every day.

The Government must finally get a grip. It should take asylum cases away from the discredited Home Office and set up a new independent unit to make decisions quickly and correctly.

We need a fair, effective asylum system that treats everyone with dignity, and that everyone can have confidence in.

Raab emails: Lib Dems write to Cabinet Secretary demanding investigation

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Cabinet Secretary asking for an investigation into reports that Dominic Raab has been using his personal email for Government business.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain, who wrote the letter, commented:

The public deserve answers, not more cover-ups.

The drumbeat of allegations against Dominic Raab is relentless. From reports of bullying to allegations he has followed in the footsteps of Suella Braverman by using his personal email for government business, it is obvious that investigations are needed.

The Deputy Prime Minister cannot be relaxed about national security, especially at a time when Britain’s enemies are stepping up their cyber attacks. It is only right and proper the Cabinet Office investigate these reports and determine immediately if overseas enemies could have seen national secrets sent by Dominic Raab.

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23 November 2022 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Senedd Member Calls for Action on the Cambrian Line
  • Raab bullying inquiry: Sunak must sack him if allegations upheld
  • Debate on Nurses Pay – Liberal Democrats Back Calls for Higher Nurses Pay Offer
  • Conservative MPs break manifesto pledge by voting against business rates review

Senedd Member Calls for Action on the Cambrian Line

Concerns have been raised today in the Senedd over the rail service on the Cambrian Line which runs through Mid Wales.

Speaking in the Senedd, Welsh Liberal Democrat Member for Mid & West Wales Jane Dodds raised delays in the much anticipated hourly service between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury, stating that the delays were just another sign of Mid Wales being forgotten about by the Labour-Plaid Cymru partnership in Cardiff Bay.

An hourly service between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury was announced in 2014, but has faced repeated delays since, with the latest delaying the introduction from 2022 to 2024.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have stated that an hourly service stopping at all stations along the Cambrian Line is essential to encourage more passengers to use the railway instead of cars and for businesses given it will also play an important role in making connections from Shrewsbury easier.

The Party has called on the Welsh Government to prioritise the introduction of the service and tackle delays head-on.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

We really need the Labour-Plaid Cymru partnership in Cardiff Bay to prioritise this route, it is essential for businesses and the public in Mid Wales.

The fact it has been continuously delayed for almost a decade shows that once again Mid Wales is being forgotten about by Labour.

With Transport for Wales now fully nationalized and owned by the Welsh Government, there is no excuse.

If Labour wants to put a ban on all new roadbuilding the least they can do is ensure we have well-functioning public transport networks.

I am calling for the Welsh Government to prioritise the rollout of this service and put an end to repeated delays once and for all.

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23 November 2022 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • Full Inquiry Needed into Gwent Police
  • Supreme Court decision: First year law student could have predicted this
  • Gambling: Conservative Inaction Leaving More People Vulnerable
  • Braverman is out of her depth

Full Inquiry Needed into Gwent Police

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for a full inquiry into misconduct in Gwent Police stating that the evidence that has come to light warrants a full independent investigation if trust in the Force is to be restored.

The Party has also questioned whether Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert, should still be in place.

Calls for a full inquiry come following an investigation by the Times that revealed a culture of misogyny, corruption, abuse and racism in the force.

Wiltshire Police Force is currently set to investigate the claims.

The latest scandal comes after three officers were dismissed from the Force over summer due to inappropriate behaviour. The Welsh Liberal Democrats had previously criticised how long this process took.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and the only female party leader in Wales, Jane Dodds MS said:

Trust in the Force has clearly been undermined to a point where a full independent inquiry is required.

The failure to tackle this appalling behaviour on the part of some officers is failing the public and the majority of brave police who put their lives at risk to keep us all safe.

What has been revealed over the course of the last few weeks is deeply disturbing.

It has also not yet been made clear whether Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert was aware of any of these allegations before the story broke in the Times. If not, how was he able to oversee a Force with such serious problems without being aware?

It is difficult to see how he should remain in post.

With allegations of serious misconduct in a multitude of police forces, including the Met, I do not believe an investigation by another police force is sufficient.

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22 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Debt figures: Conservative Chancellors have blown black hole in Britain’s finances
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats to Vote to Withhold Legislative Consent on the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill
  • OECD forecast: Damning verdict of the Government’s economic record
  • Sewage: Budget means almost £500 million less to tackle the sewage crisis
  • Levelling Up Bill: Conservative chaos to blame for cancellation of vote

Debt figures: Conservative Chancellors have blown black hole in Britain’s finances

Responding to new ONS figures showing the scale of UK government borrowing in October, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

These figures reveal just how badly the long list of Conservative Chancellors have trashed our economy. This Government has blown a massive black hole in Britain’s finances and is now expecting hardworking families to pick up the bill.

It is a national scandal that big banks are getting massive tax cuts whilst the squeezed-middle gets clobbered with endless tax rises.

The sensible way to solve this is surely to tax the richest companies making bumper profits. We can’t trust this Conservative Government to clean up their own mess. They should never be trusted to run our country’s economy.

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21 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Mortgage ticking time bomb: Homeowners facing biggest interest payment hike on record
  • Jane Dodds Responds to FIFA’s Decision to Force Team Wales not to wear LGBT+ One Love armbands

Mortgage ticking time bomb: Homeowners facing biggest interest payment hike on record

  • True cost of the mortgage ticking time bomb revealed by Liberal Democrat analysis of OBR figures
  • Homeowners are paying the price for the Conservative Government crashing the economy

British mortgage owners will face the biggest hike in interest payments on record, the Liberal Democrats can reveal.

Buried in the OBR Budget documents is the stark forecast detailing that mortgage interest payments will double over …

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Review: “Treason: People, Power & Plot” at the National Archives

Treason. It’s a word with connotations of vindictive kings putting potential rivals to death. But, with talk of potential revisions to the existing legislation, it’s perhaps an interesting choice of subject for the new exhibition at the National Archives.

I was lucky enough to take part last week in an in-depth exploration of the exhibition with Dr Neil Johnston, one of the team behind it, as we examined key pieces of original source material and discussed how accusations of treason were used to secure and maintain power over the centuries, from the passing of the Treason Act in 1352 to the …

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19-20 November 2022 – the weekend’s press release

Barclay interview: Jumble of jargon can’t hide Conservative failures

Responding to Health Secretary Steve Barclay’s interview on the Laura Kuenssberg show this morning, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

This Conservative Government cannot continue to blame the coronavirus pandemic for years of neglect and mismanagement of our NHS.

Patients are being failed as waiting times skyrocket and hospitals crumble. Health workers are on their knees struggling to keep up with growing pressures and shrinking budgets.

Social care is in dire need of drastic reform and consecutive Conservative Governments have proved time and time again that they will not deliver it.

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Welcome to my day: 21 November 2022 – showing a little heart…

It’s been an interesting week here at Liberal Democrat Voice. As readers may be aware, we rewrote our editorial policy to reflect what, I would acknowledge, has been the way that we’ve managed the site for some time.

I first became involved in the editorial side of things about a decade or so ago and, as it turned out, it was harder than I had thought at the outset. I came back about five years ago because, well, the team were short-staffed and somebody needed to step up. I have, however, consistently spoken of my personal preference for a culture of mutual self-respect and inclusion. I’m a liberal, obviously, and believe in freedom of expression. And balancing those two concepts has proved… difficult.

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18 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Squeezed middled pushed to the brink by Conservative’s Cost of Chaos budget
  • IFS analysis: Conservative ministers are economic vandals

Squeezed middled pushed to the brink by Conservative’s Cost of Chaos budget

In response to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s morning round following yesterday’s Autumn Statement, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

Struggling families who have worked hard for years have had their security stolen by this Conservative Government. While non-doms and big banks got off lightly, the already squeezed middle are being pushed to the brink.

Those working day-in, day-out are having to choose between food or heating, mortgage payments or fuel for

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17 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Wales Ambulance Waiting Times – Emergency Lights Should be Flashing for Labour
  • Budget: Everyone being forced to pay the price for Conservative chaos
  • Cancer Treatment Waiting Times Intolerable
  • Conservative giveaway to big banks set to cost taxpayers £18 billion
  • 5 Hidden Horrors in the Autumn Statement

Wales Ambulance Waiting Times – Emergency Lights Should be Flashing for Labour

Responding to the news that Welsh ambulance response times have hit their slowest on record ever for red calls Jane Dodds MS said:

When someone is in a moment of crisis and chooses to call 999, they want to know that there will be someone at the other

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16 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Inflation stats: Families struggling to get by because of Government’s inaction and incompetence
  • Raab: Ethics advisor must be appointed to stop a whitewash report
  • Raab investigation: “another Conservative stitch up”

Inflation stats: Families struggling to get by because of Government’s inaction and incompetence

Responding to the latest ONS figures showing inflation has reached 11.1%, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

This Government’s biggest economic failure has been their disastrous attempts to get inflation down. Families are now struggling to get by because of this Government’s inaction and incompetence on spiraling prices.

After inflicting so much chaos, the latest Conservative Chancellor is now expecting the public to clean up their mess with grossly unfair tax rises. Our crumbling hospitals and run down classrooms are on the brink of savage cuts all because the Conservative party crashed the economy to fund tax cuts for the richest companies. The country will never forgive them for this.

This week Jeremy Hunt should target the oil firms and banks making bumper profits to fill the blackhole in Britain’s finances, rather than inflicting more pain and misery on struggling households.

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15 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • ONS earnings figures: Economic mismanagement is leaving pay packets stretched further than ever
  • Vaughan Gething Qatar Press Briefing – More Soundbites Rather than Real Solidarity
  • Liberal Democrats Raise Concerns Over the Impact of Australian and New Zealand Trade Deals on Wales
  • Conservatives failing to count cost of windfall tax loophole

ONS earnings figures: Economic mismanagement is leaving pay packets stretched further than ever

Responding to the latest ONS labour market and earnings figures which show pay falling in real terms, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This Government’s economic mismanagement is leaving pay packets stretched further than ever before just as bills spiral out of control.

This is the worst cost of living crisis in a generation and Thursday is judgement day for the latest Conservative Chancellor in post. He cannot make the same mistakes as his predecessors who crashed the economy and left families to pick up the bill.

Thanks to the Conservative party’s botched budget and reckless mismanagement of the economy, homeowners are being forced to pay hundreds of pounds more a month on their mortgage whilst their take home pay is eaten away by inflation. The public will never forgive Conservative MPs for this.

Vaughan Gething Qatar Press Briefing – More Soundbites Rather than Real Solidarity

Responding to Vaughan Gething’s press conference where he continued to defend the Welsh Labour Government sending a delegation to Qatar during the World Cup, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

I am not convinced by the arguments set out today by Vaughan Gething nor previous arguments from the Welsh Labour Government seeking to justify this morally unjustifiable trip.

The Welsh Government should be upfront about its intentions going to Qatar, it is not to ‘support Team Wales’ but is to seek investment.

These tainted investment opportunities are going to come at the cost of providing diplomatic legitimacy to Qatar’s hosting of this tournament despite the country’s atrocious human rights record that has left over 6,500 migrant workers dead, punishes being gay with execution or imprisonment and treats women as lesser human beings.

Vaughan Gething has stated that the Welsh Government will “proactively use Wales’ place in the World Cup in Qatar to promote our strong Welsh values”, yet today has again not provided any evidence on how the Government will do this.

The last time I checked, unless the three ministers have been promote to Team Cymru itself and are going to be on that pitch, their presence isn’t going to affect how our national team performs and our national team are already upholding our values.

If Labour actually wanted to show solidarity with those living under Qatar‘s poor human rights record, or the families of the victims that have died during the construction of World Cup stadiums, they would cancel their unjustifiable trip immediately and instead join the vast majority of fans who will be watching the games from home, and to show some consistency on “saving them air miles” that was used to justify the Welsh Government not attending COP27 last week.

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11 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Welsh Liberal Democrats Statement for Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday
  • GDP stats: People will never forgive this Government for crashing our economy during a cost-of-living crisis
  • Conservative stealth cuts leave up to 110,000 children without a free lunch
  • Dominic Raab behaviour: Cabinet Office must investigate immediately

Welsh Liberal Democrats Statement for Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

Today and on Sunday we pay tribute to all who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country during its darkest hours.

Their sacrifice has allowed us to live in a society based on both freedom and liberty.

Today we think of not only the lives that were lost, but of the wish of survivors of both World Wars that we should strive to build a world free of war and violence.

This year as we remember those who fought for freedom and liberty during previous conflicts, many of us will also be thinking of the brave men and women of Ukraine, who are at this very moment standing in face of tyranny with winter approaching.

We remain ever thankful to those who stood to protect our country. We will remember them.

GDP stats: People will never forgive this Government for crashing our economy during a cost-of-living crisis

Responding to the latest GDP figures which reveal the UK economy contracted 0.2% in the third quarter, marking the first step towards recession, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Today’s figures show the Conservative Government is leaving our economy smaller and all of us poorer.

People will never forgive this Government for crashing our economy during a cost-of-living crisis and putting up their mortgages by hundreds of pounds a month. The Conservative party can never again claim that they are the party of sound money.

Ministers must now do whatever it takes to protect households from the economic downturn they have caused, starting with a mortgage protection fund to ensure nobody loses their home this winter.

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9-10 November 2022 – the press releases…

Apologies, press release fans, as I got rather caught up in the drama of the US midterms yesterday. So, without further ado…

  • Gavin Williamson anti-bullying video exposes ‘rank hypocrisy’ of Conservative Government
  • Lib Dems: Strip Gavin Williamson of his knighthood if found guilty of bullying
  • Sunak failing the next generation as he refuses to protect education budgets
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats respond to Nurse Strike Action
  • The Government have failed cancer patients
  • Home repossessions increase significantly as budget sets off a mortgage ticking time bomb

Gavin Williamson anti-bullying video exposes ‘rank hypocrisy’ of Conservative Government

Responding to the resurfaced Government anti-bullying video recorded by Gavin Williamson MP during his time as Secretary of State for Education, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Education, Munira Wilson MP, said:

This exposes the rank hypocrisy and double standards at the heart of this Conservative government.

Gavin Williamson himself admitted that bullying is never acceptable.

Schools rightly have a zero tolerance approach to bullying. But once again it seems it’s one rule for Conservative ministers and another for everyone else.

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US Midterms: Democrats defy the odds in the House contests

Going into yesterday’s elections, the expectation was that the Democrats would be hard pressed to repel the five seat swing required by the Republicans to win control of the House. But, as it turned out, the task is made easier if you have extremist candidates carrying the red banner, and you threaten abortion rights in a country where the majority favour abortion rights with some, usually mainstream, restrictions.

And so far, that’s how it seems to be playing. Of the sixty-four seats judged to be in play by the Cook Political Report, forty-five Democrat-held to just nineteen Republican-held, as I write …

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US Midterms – we’re probably not going to know the Senate result for a while yet…

Good morning, and welcome to our further coverage of the critical US midterm elections. Many thanks to Paul Walter, who set the scene yesterday.

On the plus side, it looks as though the ‘red tsunami’ only just made it to the shoreline, but the prospects still look on the gloomy side. We’ll start with the knife edge that is the Senate, where just one flipped seat (net) would hand control to the Republicans. Starting with Paul’s ‘five to watch’:

New Hampshire was, traditionally, a Republican bastion in New England but, as the southern part of the state has seen a population shift from Massachusetts in search of lower housing costs and lower taxes, voting patterns have shifted. The preferred Republican candidate was Governor Chris Sununu, the son of John Sununu, a former Governor and George Bush’s Chief of Staff, but he chose to seek re-election. That left the Republicans with Don Bolduc, a retired US Army Brigadier-General, whose primary victory was founded on a strong anti-abortion stance and a belief that the 2020 Presidential election was “stolen”. The fact that, having won the primary, he then almost immediately started rowing away from both positions probably explained his subsequent lack of success, as incumbent Maggie Hassan is currently 50,000 votes ahead with about 120,000 left to be counted.

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8 November 2022 – today’s press releases

It’s been another day in which the apparent total lack of understanding of governance has been the undoing of another Conservative minister, and today’s press releases reflect how quickly that can play out…

  • Williamson comments: Independent Cabinet Office investigation needed now
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats Only Party in the Senedd Making a Stand on Human Rights
  • Gavin Williamson resigns: Sunak’s integrity left in tatters

Williamson comments: Independent Cabinet Office investigation needed now

The Liberal Democrats have demanded an immediate independent Cabinet Office inquiry into remarks made by Gavin Williamson, in which he told a senior civil servant to “slit his throat.”

It comes after Number 10 confirmed today Rishi Sunak has full confidence in Gavin Williamson.

The Liberal Democrats said a full and independent inquiry must be carried out immediately by the Cabinet Office Propriety and Ethics team, and the findings must be made public.

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The Conservatives must not be allowed to mark their own homework. We need an independent inquiry now to address these damning allegations about Gavin Williamson’s conduct.

Anything less would be an abdication of leadership from Number 10, and make a mockery of Sunak’s promise to govern with integrity.

The findings must be made public – if the Conservatives have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear.

Every day this scandal drags on means more endless infighting while the Conservatives fail to tackle the pressing issues facing the country.

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7 November 2022 – today’s press release

‘Full Confidence’ in Williamson shows same old Conservative sleaze

Responding to the news that Rishi Sunak has ‘full confidence in Gavin Williamson despite knowing about the complaint made, Liberal Democrat Cheif Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Different Prime Minister, same old Conservative sleaze.

If Rishi Sunak, had any sense of public duty, he would sack Gavin Williamson now. In any other workplace, someone who behaved as he did would have been rightly dismissed for gross misconduct.

Instead Williamson is being let off the hook by a Prime Minister happy to let his integrity be brought into question on a

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7-9 November – this week in the Lords

A short week in Parliament, with the short November recess starting on Thursday, but there’s plenty of Liberal Democrat interest.

Monday starts with the usual oral questions, this time including a question from Shas Sheehan regarding Government steps, as President of COP26, to acknowledge and address greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries, in the light of recent flooding in Pakistan.

The Seafarers’ Wages Bill receives its Third Reading, with Ros Scott from our benches expected to pursue the issue of how the legislation sits with international agreements in the maritime sector. So far, there’s been little sense that the Government gets this, but given their persistent disregard for such things, it’s unlikely that they’ll change their mind at this stage. And there’s Day 4 of the Committee Stage of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, with Jeremy Purvis, Alison Suttie, Sarah Ludford and Dee Doocey attempting to prevent a blatant power grab by the Government, allowing them to, effectively, rewrite the legisaltion as they go along.

In Grand Committee, the Electronic Trade Documents Bill has its Second Reading, with Chris Fox up for our benches.

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Welcome to my day: 7 November 2022 – the hypocrisy of a “free market”

With the news that nurses have voted to take strike action – and it should be borne in mind that the result of the strike ballot isn’t official yet, merely rumoured – the Sunak administration faces an early test of its popularity (or lack thereof).

Offering 4% would, in most recent years, have been seen as rather good given the ongoing squeeze on public sector pay since 2010. But, with inflation hovering above 10% and effectively higher for those on lower salaries, it comes as another blow to a workforce which knows that it’s running to stand still. Of course, a private sector operation in such a position would have the choice of cutting services or increasing pay to address shortages such as the NHS has – 40,000 nursing vacancies, exacerbated by the loss of EU freedom of movement and the additional costs now incurred by foreign nurses who might think of working here.

Sadly, the Government appears not to understand that the free market applies to public sector jobs too. If you don’t pay competitive salaries, and you require staff to effectively compromise standards in order to achieve throughput, you shouldn’t be surprised when recruitment and retention become a problem. And there comes a point when blackmailing them with “but think of the customers!” doesn’t cut it any more.

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7 November 2022 – the overnight press release

One in four mortgage borrowers fear losing their homes due to unpaid bills

  • New poll reveals homeowners expect their mortgage bills to rise and are worried about losing their home, defaulting on a payment or cutting down on food bills
  • Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called for a Mortgage Protection Fund, to offer grants to struggling homeowners who risk financial ruin whilst interest rates soar

New polling commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has found over one in four mortgage holders (27%) are worried about losing their home due to unpaid bills as interest rates rise. Almost half of mortgage holders (47%) …

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4-6 November 2022 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Philp’s refusal to apologise shows contempt for the public
  • Lib Dems call for legal right to see a GP within 7 days as millions of patients face delays
  • Philp’s Manston comments show “shocking and callous complacency”
  • Liberal Democrats to Back Bill to Protect Powers of the Senedd
  • PM must sack Williamson

Philp’s refusal to apologise shows contempt for the public

Responding to Chris Philp’s refusal to apologise for his role in the mini-budget this morning, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

Chris Philp has shown huge arrogance by refusing to recognise his role in crashing the economy while second in command at the treasury. His legacy will be higher taxes and cuts to public services for years to come.

The British public deserve an apology for the pain he and his colleagues put them through. That he refuses to give one shows the contempt with which he holds us all.

Lib Dems call for legal right to see a GP within 7 days as millions of patients face delays

  • Ed Davey announces plans to give patients a legal right to see their GP within a week, or within 24 hours if in urgent need.
  • New figures reveal a stark postcode lottery with one in four people in some areas waiting over two weeks for a GP appointment
  • Lib Dem Leader says the Govt must increase recruitment and retention of GPs, introduce a 24/7 booking line and cut bureaucracy to free up appointments

The Liberal Democrats have set out plans to give patients a legal right to see a GP within seven days, or within 24 hours if in urgent need.

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3 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Bank of England rate rise: Chancellor must address the country
  • Asylum seekers abandoned – Braverman failing in her duty as Home Secretary
  • Elin Jones Wrong to Defend Mark Drakeford’s Qatar Trip Say Lib Dems
  • Number of GPs and GP Practices in Wales Fall
  • Interest rates: Chancellor must address the country with a plan to save homeowners
  • Davey: Recession warning a “badge of shame” for Rishi Sunak and Conservative government

Bank of England rate rise: Chancellor must address the country

Commenting ahead of today’s interest rate decision from the Bank of England, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

The Chancellor must address the country immediately after the rate rise decision to spell out a plan to save homeowners on the brink. He should either come to Parliament or hold a press conference to announce support for families facing mortgage bill rises worth hundreds of pounds a month.

Hardworking families are being left to pay the price for weeks of Conservative chaos. People are desperately worried about how they are going to pay these frightening mortgage payments after tomorrow.

The Government cannot hide away, especially after their long list of economic failures.

Asylum seekers abandoned – Braverman failing in her duty as Home Secretary

The Liberal Democrats have warned that Home Secretary Suella Braverman is “failing in her duty” as Home Secretary, after reports asylum seekers have been left stranded in central London by the Home Office.

It comes after Robert Jenrick emphasised last night on ITV’s Peston that the Home Secretary has a duty not to release asylum seekers into destitution.

Suella Braverman also assured Parliament on Monday that she had refused to release people into local communities “without having anywhere for them to stay”.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Asylum seekers being abandoned with no place to stay in central London is the most blatant sign that the system is completely broken.

Suella Braverman is failing in her basic duty as Home Secretary. She needs to urgently explain how this has been allowed to happen, despite the assurances given to Parliament earlier this week.

It’s intolerable that vulnerable people are being left without help because of the endless chaos and incompetence of this government.

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2 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak at COP27: PM embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance
  • Welsh Government Must Do More to Combat Fuel Poverty
  • Matt Hancock should resign and trigger by-election
  • Welsh Conservatives Dysfunctional, Divided and Ineffective
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats – Welsh Government Must Change Their Mind on COVID Inquiry

Sunak at COP27: PM embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance

Responding to the news that Rishi Sunak will now be attending COP, Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said:

This whole debacle has shown the environment is simply not a priority for Rishi Sunak. He’s only going after being embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance.

We need action rather than just attendance from the Prime Minister. Building more renewables, the cheapest and most popular form of energy, and insulating our cold and draughty homes will accelerate progress towards net-zero, cut energy bills and increase the UK’s energy security.

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1 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • BP profits demonstrate utter incompetence of government
  • Hotels for migrants in non-Tory areas is “party first, country last” approach
  • Matt Hancock should lose his MP salary while he’s in the jungle

BP profits demonstrate utter incompetence of government

Responding to the news this morning that BP has announced £7.1bn in underlying profit, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

These profits demonstrate the complete and utter incompetence of this Conservative government. As families and pensioners across the country struggle to pay their energy bills, BP are posting unimaginable profits raking off the backs of hard-working people.

Liberal Democrats proposed a strong windfall tax over a year ago, yet the Conservatives have only attempted an incredibly weak version. Clearly, they’ve been too busy with their own chaos to act.

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31 October 2022 – today’s press releases

  • COP27: Boris Johnson embarrassing Rishi Sunak into attendance
  • Braverman: One rule for Conservative Ministers and another rule for everyone else
  • Scandal-ridden Home Secretary has no credibility left
  • Suella Braverman Risks Inciting Violence – Jane Dodds

COP27: Boris Johnson embarrassing Rishi Sunak into attendance

As Rishi Sunak refuses to confirm his attendance at COP27, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change, Wera Hobhouse MP said:

It shouldn’t take Boris Johnson going to COP to embarrass Rishi Sunak into doing the right thing.

He must immediately confirm his attendance at COP27 and appoint a climate minister to the Cabinet.

We cannot wait another second to tackle the climate crisis. Rishi Sunak must act before he destroys our country’s reputation and the planet even more.

Braverman: One rule for Conservative Ministers and another rule for everyone else

Responding to the Home Secretary’s letter to the Home Affairs Committee, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Wendy Chamberlain MP, said:

This was not a one-off error, the Home Secretary has admitted breaking the rules on an industrial scale. Deliberately sending a sensitive government document to a friend without clearance is completely beyond the pale.

If the Home Secretary wants to maintain even a shred of her dignity and credibility, she must resign now and apologise for her violations of the public’s trust.

Unless Suella Braverman resigns for the second time, the Conservatives will be putting their own party ahead of this country’s security. By reappointing her, Rishi Sunak showed there is one rule for Conservative Ministers and another rule for everyone else.

Posted in News and Press releases | Tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments

31 October – 3 November – this week in the Lords

I used to do this regularly, primarily because the party’s press releases seldom mention the work of the Lords Parliamentary Party. Perhaps it is time to reincarnate this feature…

Time once again to return to the red benches at the more dignified end of the Palace of Westminster, for a preview of events this week, and in particular the Liberal Democrat highlights.

Monday is a relatively low-profile day for the Liberal Democrat peers, with the Third Reading of the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill and the more controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill reaching its Committee Stage. Incidentally, it’s a sign of the rapidly changing makeup of the Government that the sponsoring Minister in the Commons on behalf of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is someone called Elizabeth Truss. Whatever happened to her, I wonder?

There is also a debate on plans to review the powers and functions of Police and Crime Commissioners, something that Liberal Democrats opposed at the time of their introduction. Brian Paddick, unsurprisingly, will be speaking from the Liberal Democrat benches.

In Grand Committee, the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill starts its Committee Stage, intended to enable the sort of people that you’d cross the street to avoid to have the freedom to be unpleasant on campuses. Think of it as part of the culture war that some people think we really need.

Posted in News and Parliament | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

Welcome to my day: 31 October 2022 – whatever happened to Grigori Zinoviev, anyway?…

Historians amongst our readers might recall the “Zinoviev letter”, published on 25 October 1924, just four days before the General Election of that year, in which the Daily Mail suggested that the normalisation of UK relations with the Soviet Union under a Labour government would radicalise the British working class and put the Communist Party of Great Britain in a favourable position to pursue a Bolshevik-style revolution. It was, of course, a hoax but did its job, leading to a huge Conservative win and, in the process, the crushing of the Liberals.

The notion that Labour might be the opportunity that the Soviet Union needed was sufficiently credible to allow the hoax to work.

And here we are, nearly one hundred years later, in a situation where the Russian Government has infiltrated a British political party at the highest level. You wouldn’t have predicted that a decade ago, would you? And, whilst there is no suggestion that the Conservative Party is acting for the Putin regime, it is a mystery that Conservative and other right-wing politicians have been so welcoming towards Russian influence.

The receipt of significant sums of money from Russian donors, the welcome mat put down for Russian oligarchs, the willingness to be seen in public with said oligarchs, the appointment of one of their number to the House of Lords, all of these would have been unthinkable for the anti-communist warriors of the Conservative Party in the eighties.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

28-30 October 2022 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Lib Dems call for Suella Braverman to hand over texts and emails for future inquiry
  • Jane Dodds – The Housing Sector in Wales is Broken
  • COP27: Nadine Dorries as the voice of reason?
  • Liz Truss phone hacking story: Urgent investigation needed
  • Suella Braverman: Government must publish legal advice on detention of asylum seekers

Lib Dems call for Suella Braverman to hand over texts and emails for future inquiry

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Home Office Permanent Secretary, asking him to facilitate the handover of Suella Braverman’s text messages, WhatsApps, and emails for use in any future inquiry into her misconduct.

Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael raised concerns that the embattled Home Secretary could take advantage of a loophole exploited by Boris Johnson during an inquiry into the funding of the refurbishment of the Downing Street flat. The former Prime Minister claimed that he had been unable to hand over important messages because he had changed his phone.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael said:

We need an independent inquiry with access to all the relevant evidence, to establish the true scale of Suella Braverman’s rule breaking.

We saw how Boris Johnson and other Conservative ministers have tried time and again to duck accountability and cover up the truth.

Suella Braverman must be required to hand over all relevant evidence now before it is too late.

It took less than a day for Rishi Sunak’s government to be mired in the same old Conservative sleaze. His promise of ‘integrity’ was broken within hours of entering Downing Street. If he was serious about integrity he would commit to an independent inquiry now.

Posted in News and Press releases | Tagged , , , , , , , , and | 13 Comments
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