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…

10-11 January 2024 – this week in the Lords

Whilst the Commons returned today, the Lords has a little longer to recover from any Christmas/New Year excesses, resuming its work on Wednesday.

There are three items of particular interest as far as the Liberal Democrat benches are concerned, all of which are scheduled for Thursday.

Wednesday, however, sees Oral Questions on levels of mould in social housing, HMRC’s processing of tax returns (a topical one, I’d suggest), NatWest branch closures and account terminations, and, most topically of all, potential Government proposals to reverse convictions of sub-postmasters linked to the failed Horizon software.

The Automated Vehicles Bill reaches Day 1 of its Committee Stage, with Sharon Bowles leading from our Benches.

As already noted, Thursday sees a rather strong Liberal Democrat influence with an Oral Question from Mike German, seeking an answer from the Government as to what consideration they have given to the findings of the Brook House Inquiry, published on 19 September 2023, in particular its recommendation for a 28-day time limit on immigration detention.

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House of Lords calls for better use of community sentences

Whilst the House of Lords doesn’t return to formal action until Wednesday, the work of its committees continues. And, between Christmas and the New Year, the Justice and Home Affairs Committee published its report “Cutting crime: better community sentences“.

With our prisons overcrowded to the extent that inmates are being sent home early, and with the Probation Service still recovering from a botched and wholly unnecessary reorganisation, the Committee’s timely call for better use of community sentences, with their required punitive element, will hopefully receive a welcome from an incoming administration following …

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Support your local Parish Council, Minister…

Recently, the “great and the good” of the Town and Parish Council sector gathered in London for the Star Council Awards, our annual celebration of the work done across England in our sector, and an opportunity to lobby MPs, Peers and, probably most importantly, the Minister, for our key “asks”.

I was there in my capacity as a member of the National Assembly of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), and I took the opportunity to ask the new Minister, Simon Hoare, for £1,000,000. Not for me, you understand, although I’d happily carry out some study visits to see how equivalent bodies work in, say, St Lucia. But, unlike the “trade body” for principal authorities, the Local Government Association, NALC receives no funding to support its work. I am of the view that, as unitary authorities are formed across England, replacing Districts and Counties, there’s a need to upskill those Town and Parish Councils who are taking on, or might want to take on, services that the principal authorities can no longer afford.

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Welcome to my day: 11 December 2023 – the loss of innocence…

With the Government apparently determined to spend what remaining energy it has in victimising the poor, the vulnerable and the different in its remaining time in office, we’ve all come to expect the worst from any announcement that comes from a minister. And, in fairness, they make no pretence that they’re being anything other than what they appear to be.

But we’re forever hearing about unhappiness on the back benches, and yesterday was no different, with Damian Green writing in the Observer that “the UK’s deal with Rwanda must stay within the rule of law”. Now you and I might find ourselves wondering how it should be newsworthy that a Conservative MP is calling for his own Government to behave in a way consistent with the rule of law, but we are, it seems, where we are.

But, what will Damian and his friends do about it?

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Welcome to my day: 27 November 2023 – there’s no need to burn down Parliament given what some MPs are doing to it…

I’m visiting Parliament this week, in my capacity as a member of the National Assembly of the National Association of Local Councils, and it looks like I’ll be entering something of a controversy. Not me, I hasten to add, or anything to do with the event, but the building itself. For, whilst the building is in an increasingly dangerous state, leading figures in both Houses of Parliament appear determined to delay any decision that would allow the major works needed to be completed in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Indeed, a promised debate on which of two options was to be adopted has been postponed until next year.

Whilst you can argue about the value of refurbishing a building which suffers from so many shortcomings, or indeed, whether Parliament should remain on that site or even in London, as a metaphor for the shortcomings of the Government and our democracy, the Palace of Westminster takes some beating. An aging structure containing obsolete infrastructure, with an increasing risk of disaster… need I go on?

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23 November 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Autumn Statement: NHS budget slashed by £5bn next year
  • Net migration figures: Conservatives need to accept that their approach isn’t working
  • Welsh Lib Dems leader calls for funding of the arts in Wales

Autumn Statement: NHS budget slashed by £5bn next year

The Conservative Government is cutting annual NHS spending by almost £5 billion in real-terms, figures buried in the small print of today’s Autumn Statement have revealed.

Jeremy Hunt has cut day-to-day spending in cash terms for NHS England in 2024-25 from £165.9bn in his March Budget to £162.5bn in the Autumn Statement, a cut of £3.4 billion.

In real-terms, that will leave the NHS budget £4.7 billion (2.9%) lower compared to 2022-23. It comes despite the Conservative government handing £3.8bn a year of tax cuts to the banks.

Jeremy Hunt also failed to mention GPs, dentists or ambulances once in his Autumn Statement today, despite the crisis facing patients and local health services across the country.

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP:

It beggars belief that this Conservative government is slashing funding for the NHS while giving billions of pounds of tax giveaways to the banks. It just shows they have got their priorities completely wrong.

Jeremy Hunt failed to mention GPs, dentists or ambulances once in his Autumn Statement, showing just how out of touch he is.

Patients around the country are waiting months in pain for treatment and weeks to get an appointment with their GP. You can’t fix the damage the Conservative Party has done to our economy without fixing the damage they have done to our NHS.

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22 November 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Cameron HMRC scrutiny: Zahawi scandal mark two
  • Autumn Statement a deception after years of Conservative tax hikes
  • Ed Davey slams “Hunt hoax” over £200bn stealth tax grab
  • Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Gov to make sure that building remediation costs aren’t being forced on residents
  • Conservative giveaway to big banks set to cost taxpayers £22 billion

Cameron HMRC scrutiny: Zahawi scandal mark two

The Liberal Democrats are calling for an ethics advisor probe after reports that David Cameron is being looked into by HMRC.

The party said it is important to know whether this reported scrutiny was disclosed when Rishi Sunak appointed him to the Lords and throughout the vetting process.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

This looks like the Zahawi scandal mark two. Yet again, it appears Sunak has appointed a cabinet minister being looked into by HMRC.

The Prime Minister must ask the ethics advisor to investigate these reports as a matter of urgency. Serious questions need answering over whether this reported HMRC scrutiny was disclosed as part of the appointment and vetting process for Cameron’s seat in the Lords, and whether Sunak was aware when he appointed him.

Far from looking to kick sleaze out of the Cabinet, the Prime Minister seems to have sought to bring even more in from the outside.

Autumn Statement a deception after years of Conservative tax hikes

Responding to the Autumn Statement, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This is a deception from Jeremy Hunt after years of cruel tax hikes on hard-working families from this government.

Conservative chaos has sent mortgages and tax bills soaring, today’s announcements won’t even touch the sides.

Worse still was the deafening silence on health. These dismal forecasts show the economy is on life support and reducing NHS waiting lists is the shot in the arm needed.

It is a no-brainer that we need people off waiting lists and back to work, yet this Conservative government simply doesn’t care.

Today has been more stale nonsense from a Conservative government out of touch and out of ideas.

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21 November 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Surfers against Sewage Report: “Shameful” that people are falling sick from swimming in sewage
  • 400,000 patients waiting for NHS treatment since last Autumn Statement
  • Sexual harassment survey: Comment on BTP findings
  • Welsh Lib Dems urge speed up of Net Zero Plan
  • Welsh Lib Dems call more for ambitious clean air target
  • Welsh Lib Dems lay down their demands for Wales from upcoming Autumn statement

Surfers against Sewage Report: “Shameful” that people are falling sick from swimming in sewage

Responding to the Surfers Against Sewage report which has found bathing sites in the UK are failing to meet minimum safety levels, while hundreds of people are falling sick due to sewage pollution, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

It is shameful that so many popular swimming spots are being ruined and people are getting seriously ill because of filthy sewage dumping. Water companies are being allowed to get away with committing environmental vandalism on a huge scale while pocketing huge bonuses.

This is an insult to families across the country who just want to swim at their local river or beach without worrying about falling sick because of disgusting sewage. It’s about time Conservative ministers cracked down on sewage dumping, starting with banning bonuses for water company bosses until this filthy practice is brought to an end.

400,000 patients waiting for NHS treatment since last Autumn Statement

  • The NHS backlog has grown to 7.8 million since last year’s Autumn Statement, with almost 400,000 waiting for treatment since before November 2022
  • Liberal Democrat Leader calls on the Chancellor to bring down NHS waiting lists to get people back to work and boost economic growth
  • Ed Davey: “Any plan for economic growth needs a plan for urgent NHS action. Without a new NHS plan, tens of thousands of people will be left out of work, in pain, desperate for treatment.”

Nearly 400,000 patients have been on a waiting list to start NHS treatment since before last year’s Autumn Statement, research by the Liberal Democrats has been revealed.

This new analysis of NHS figures shows a staggering 391,122 patients have been stuck in a backlog waiting for consultant-led treatment since before last November’s Autumn Statement. Meanwhile, the number of patients stuck on NHS waiting lists has increased to 7.8 million, up 700,000 compared to last year.

It comes as new polling by the Liberal Democrats found that one in seven working age adults (15%) say they’ve had to take a significant length of time off work in the past year as they wait for NHS treatment or surgery for a health condition.

The Liberal Democrats are warning that these treatment backlogs are damaging economic growth and will continue to impact both the economy and people’s quality of life without a significant rescue package.

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20 November 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak removes NHS from top 5 pledges
  • Ethics advisor must investigate David Cameron’s appointment
  • Lib Dem Peer’s Bill to end conversion therapy

Sunak removes NHS from top 5 pledges

Responding to Rishi Sunak’s speech this morning, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

By officially de-prioritising the NHS and omitting it from his top 5 priorities, Rishi Sunak has shown yet again just how out of touch he is.

The Prime Minister clearly doesn’t care about the millions of people across the country on hospital waiting lists or the families and pensioners struggling to get appointments with a GP or dentist.

Shockingly, the Prime Minister doesn’t even understand the link between a better health service and a stronger economy.

Any strategy for economic growth must have a strategy for better healthcare, yet the Conservatives clearly don’t understand that.

Ethics advisor must investigate David Cameron’s appointment

The Liberal Democrats have written to Rishi Sunak’s ethics adviser, calling on him to launch an investigation into David Cameron’s appointment as Foreign Secretary.

It comes as Cameron is set to officially take up his peerage in the House of Lords today.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain has raised five key questions in a letter to the ethics adviser Laurie Magnus. These include whether David Cameron will be publishing a full list of ministerial interests as soon as he is appointed, and if he will be placing his investments into a blind trust to prevent conflicts of interest. Currently it is expected that David Cameron won’t have to publish his register of interests until January.

Failure to prevent any conflicts of interests would risk breaching the ministerial code, which requires ministers to be transparent about their private financial interests to avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest.

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Welcome, belatedly, to my day: 20 November 2023 – perhaps Bhutan might have a useful suggestion on levelling up…

Greetings from a sunny Ipswich, East Anglia’s Waterfront Town – yes, I know, but…

Nice, crisp autumn days like these are a useful reminder of the value of happiness, a sometimes underrated notion unless your life is not that good. And I was reminded that, if levelling up was intended to make people outside London better off, and therefore happier, couldn’t you instead start from the notion of making people happier and thus levelling them up?

Bhutan adopted the idea of “gross national happiness” more than forty years ago and, whilst the idea has been given lip service by politicians since then, it hasn’t been mainstreamed into policy making. Perhaps it should.

The Bhutanese index uses nine core indicators:

  • Community Vitality
  • Cultural Diversity and Resilience
  • Ecological Diversity and Resilience
  • Education
  • Good Governance
  • Health
  • Living Standards
  • Psychological Wellbeing
  • Time Use

and these seem like a list of core themes that suit Liberal Democrats, especially given the increasing concerns about a perceived lack of philosophical heft in our public campaigning.

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Israel-Gaza conflict: Liberal Democrats call for immediate bilateral ceasefire

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey and Lib Dem Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran MP have today called for an immediate bilateral ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The purpose of such a ceasefire, which must apply to both Israel and Hamas, would be to get aid in, get the hostages out, and provide space to realise a political solution, ultimately with two states and a lasting peace.

Ed Davey has set out this proposal in full here.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran MP commented:

A lasting peace and a two-state solution is the only way to guarantee

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10 November 2023 – today’s press releases

  • GDP Stats: On the no growth path
  • 72 billion litres of sewage pumped into the River Thames in just two years
  • Welsh Lib Dem leader honours the fallen

GDP Stats: On the no growth path

Responding to the latest ONS figures which shows the UK economy stopped growing between July and September, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Conservative chaos has delivered a hammer blow to our economy leading us down a no growth path.

Hard-working families shouldn’t be paying the price of the Conservative party’s economic vandalism.

The Autumn Statement should deliver a proper plan to grow the economy, fix our NHS and help with the cost-of-living crisis. Instead we’re set to see more of this Government’s failed approach.

72 billion litres of sewage pumped into the River Thames in just two years

  • Liberal Democrats uncover “horrifying revelations” from Information Request to Thames Water
  • Twickenham site suffers from almost 1 billion litres of sewage in just one day
  • Local Liberal Democrat MP slams “environmental crime” and demands Thames Water is “ripped up” to form new company

The River Thames has suffered from at least 72 billion litres of sewage discharges since 2020, the Liberal Democrats have discovered.

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9 November 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Sharp rise in mortgage arrears should “ring alarm bells in Downing Street”
  • NHS waiting lists: Sunak’s pledge lies in tatters
  • Welsh Lib Dem leader gives her reason for voting for Senedd Gaza ceasefire motion
  • Braverman: What on earth will it take for Sunak to do the right thing?

Sharp rise in mortgage arrears should “ring alarm bells in Downing Street”

There has been an 18% rise in homeowners in mortgage arrears over the past year, the latest UK Finance figures have revealed.

The data shows there were 87,930 homeowners in mortgage arrears worth at least 2.5% of their outstanding loan in the third quarter of 2023, up from 74,420 in the same period last year.

The Liberal Democrats said the figures show families are facing “mortgage misery” and reiterated their calls for a Mortgage Protection Fund, with targeted support to prevent people losing their home, funded through scrapping tax cuts for the banks.

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This sharp rise in mortgage arrears should be ringing alarm bells in Downing Street.

The Conservative Party crashed the economy and is now forcing ordinary families to pick up the tab.

Homeowners facing mortgage misery should be offered a rescue scheme, with targeted support to protect those most at risk of losing their home. It is the least this government could do after the economic damage they have caused.

NHS waiting lists: Sunak’s pledge lies in tatters

NHS waiting lists have reached a new record high of 7.8 million. It means that the waiting lists have grown every month since Rishi Sunak made his pledge in January that they would fall.

Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson, Daisy Cooper MP said:

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8 November 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Ofwat on exec pay: Toothless regulator needs to ban bonuses
  • Health Secretary must be accountable for mouth cancer link to lack of dental care
  • Braverman article: Home Sec is running a leadership campaign, not her department

Ofwat on exec pay: Toothless regulator needs to ban bonuses

Responding to the latest announcement by the water industry regulator Ofwat, which rules out banning executive bonuses despite the sewage scandal, Liberal Democrat Environment spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

The British public will be reading this and screaming at regulators to just get on with banning these insulting bonuses.

Every penny spent on exec bonuses is less money being used

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30 October 2023 – today’s press releases

  • HSBC profits: Govt cut taxes for big banks over protecting people’s mortgages
  • Reynolds: Number 10 Culture of Chaos laid bare

HSBC profits: Govt cut taxes for big banks over protecting people’s mortgages

Responding to HSBC announcing it made quarterly profits of £6.35 billion, boosted by higher interest rates, and more than double what they were through the same period last year, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

It was the Conservative party’s economic vandalism that crashed the economy and now the big banks are raking in massive profits off the back of working people’s spiralling mortgage payments.

To add insult to injury, this

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Welcome to my day: 30 October 2023 – rules, regulation… and enforcement

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another Monday.

It’s a quiet week at Westminster, as we await what is likely to be the last King’s Speech before the General Election. In terms of content, I suspect that we’ll see more “culture war” legislation proposals but what will say a lot is any legislation which smacks of “sowing the ground with salt” – actions proposed to limit the actions of an incoming Labour government. Given the Government’s actions to make the completion of HS2 “difficult” if not impossible, it isn’t hard to envisage similar acts of “legislative vandalism”. It’s just another …

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ALDE Party Council – give ‘em the old razzle dazzle…

Escaping Storm Babet, albeit not by much, Thursday saw me heading to the Paris of the East, and capital of Romania, Bucharest. After the various travelling calamities that befell the delegation to Stockholm in June, I wasn’t taking any chances on arriving on the day of the meeting, and reached my destination to find the sun shining and the temperature pleasantly warm. Perhaps it was a good omen…

In truth, the most controversial item on the agenda was always going to be the urgency resolution on the situation in Israel and Palestine, given that European liberals have quite divergent views on who is to blame and what should be done. However, our delegation leader, and Chair of Federal International Relations Committee, David Chalmers, had decided that the best way forward was to draft something which might attract majority support in advance and, after some discussion amongst our delegation, with valued input from our Parliamentary Foreign Affairs team, we had been able to circulate something to our sister parties that, I thought, had a real chance of success.

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Welcome to my day: 23 October – Focus, Focus, Focus?

I’ve been a bit busy for the past few days, as you’ll see later, although I have noticed that the comments thread on my early Friday morning post of the results from Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth has been busy – and I only really wrote that because, with a two hour time difference in my favour, I could at least write it with the benefit of some sleep.

There is always a danger of over-reaction to what was a bit of a disappointment. After all, after recent successes, it was too easy to believe that we could fly. But, we have hopefully learned some valuable lessons which, if properly applied, will make our General Election campaign more focused and more effective. It may also act to remind some of us that, just because one of our opponents is in utter disarray, that doesn’t mean that all we need to do is merely turn up to knock off a Tory MP. And, if you haven’t done the work yet, you might struggle to persuade others that you’re worth investing precious resources in.

I am reminded of “Cleggmania” in 2010, when our targeting discipline weakened in the face of promising poll numbers, and I’d rather prefer our final result next year to be seen as a success rather than something of a letdown.

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Another disastrous night for the Tories, but Emma comes up short in Mid Bedfordshire

The results are in and it’s another day not to be the Conservative spokesperson, as Labour have won both of yesterday’s by-elections.

In Mid Bedfordshire, Alistair Strathern will go down in the record books as having overturned a near 25,000 majority:

  • Labour 13,872 (34.1%, +12.4%)
  • Conservatives 12,680 (31.1%, -28.6%)
  • Liberal Democrats 9,420 (23.1%, 10.5%)

It’s the first by-election of this Parliament in which voters had a choice between three alternatives with a credible chance of winning but it appears at first glance that, on the day, wavering voters opted for Labour rather than us as the means to defeat Nadine Dorries’s stand-in.

However, as Daisy Cooper put it:

We nearly doubled our share of the vote which would see the Lib Dems win dozens of seats off the Conservatives in a general election.

The Liberal Democrats played a crucial role in defeating the Conservatives in Mid Bedfordshire, and we can play a crucial role in getting rid of this Conservative government at the next election.

I’m so proud of Emma Holland-Lindsay and her campaign which convinced thousands of lifelong Conservative voters in the villages of Mid Bedfordshire to switch to the Liberal Democrats.

Unlike in North Shropshire, where in a short campaign we were able to “make the weather” and quickly overwhelm the Labour campaign, the long phoney war between the somewhat petulant announcement of Nadine Dorries’s resignation and the actual one meant that Labour had the time to organise a strong campaign. But nonetheless, it’s a good win for Labour, a decent result for us, and an awful one for the Conservatives, albeit they’ll probably expect to win it back in a General Election.

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12 October 2023 – today’s press releases

  • NHS waiting list: Public are tired of waiting on this government that has given up
  • London Assembly Liberal Democrats Back Motion to Condemn Hamas Terrorist Attacks

NHS waiting list: Public are tired of waiting on this government that has given up

Responding to the news that the NHS waiting list has risen to 7.7 million, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson, Daisy Cooper MP said:

This is yet another damning indictment of this Conservative government’s record on the NHS.

They broke their promise to recruit 6000 GPs, broke their promise to build 40 hospitals and now they’ve broken their promise to bring down

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Lord Paddick to join the Metropolitan Police as a Non Executive Advisor

Metropolitan Police have announced that Lord Brian Paddick is joining them as a Non Executive Advisor.

As a result he is stepping back from his position as a Liberal Democrat Peer to a non-affiliated Peer for the duration of the appointment.

Lord Paddick said:

It is with some sadness that I am leaving the Liberal Democrat Group in the Lords, but I know that they will continue to work as an extraordinary force within Parliament to represent the very best of Liberal Democrat values in this House.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

I wanted to personally thank Lord Paddick for all his incredible

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Welcome to my day: 9 October 2023 – “the train now arriving on platform 2 is an aspiration…”

It’s one of the most obvious things about a Government attempting to be populist that the things it does should be vaguely popular. There’s also an implication that they should get their messaging right as well.

And yet, this Government doesn’t seem to be terribly good at even something so simple, as demonstrated by this week’s announcement that HS2 was to be abandoned beyond Birmingham and the £36 billion supposedly saved would be spent on other projects. In principle, given that HS2 has been easy to attack due to overspends and a false prospectus – speed was merely a benefit, the …

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5 October 2023 – the overnight press release

IFS Report: Schools are paying for “Government’s economic incompetence”

Commenting on the IFS report being published tomorrow showing that schools costs are growing faster than economy-wide inflation, particularly support staff pay, energy and food costs, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:

Today’s IFS report mirrors what I am being told by head teachers day-in and day-out. Schools are struggling to make ends meet.

School trips are being axed, teaching assistants are being laid off and urgent classroom repairs are being ignored as buildings crumble. The lack of proper funding means pupils with additional needs won’t get the

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4 October 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Ed Davey on Sunak speech: PM has lost control of his party and lost the trust of the country
  • 10 things Rishi Sunak didn’t mention in his conference speech

Ed Davey on Sunak speech: PM has lost control of his party and lost the trust of the country

Responding to Rishi Sunak’s conference speech, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

This chaotic conference shows Rishi Sunak has lost control of his party and lost the trust of the country.

Every bungled announcement confirms that this shambles of a Conservative Party is not fit to govern.

Sunak had no answers on how to fix our crumbling health services or help people seeing their bills go through the roof. Instead we got just more empty rhetoric from a lame-duck Prime Minister who is running scared of a general election.

It’s time to give the British people the chance to kick Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party out of government.

10 things Rishi Sunak didn’t mention in his conference speech

The Liberal Democrats have accused Rishi Sunak of being so out of touch he may as well be living on another planet, after highlighting ten pressing issues facing families which the PM didn’t mention once in his speech.

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3 October 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Twenty’s plenty: 20 Conservative politicians and Councils who backed 20 mph zones
  • Ed Davey slams Sunak over Conservative conference chaos on visit to Mid Bedfordshire

Twenty’s plenty: 20 Conservative politicians and Councils who backed 20 mph zones

The Liberal Democrats have accused Rishi Sunak of “rank hypocrisy” and “playing politics with road safety” for criticising 20 mph zones, despite Conservative politicians across the country backing them.

It comes as analysis by the party reveals a list of 20 Conservative MPs and Councils, including three Cabinet Ministers, that have backed 20 mph speed limits.

Among those who have previously backed 20 mph zones is Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who pledged his support to a 20’s Plenty campaign saying that “dropping your speed by merely 10 mph can make all the difference in preventing potentially fatal accidents.”

Other Cabinet Ministers who have expressed support for 20 mph speed limits include the Welsh Secretary David Davies and Justice Secretary Alex Chalk.

Health Minister, Helen Whately, has backed the expansion of 20 mph speed limits in her constituency saying “there are benefits for everyone from a lower speed limit – safer roads, cleaner air, and better quality of life.”

And even in Rishi Sunak’s own backyard, Conservative run North Yorkshire Council has proposed the ‘the most significant 20 mph zone the council has ever introduced’ as they believe they are ‘safer’.

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2 October 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Hunt rules out tax cuts as Conservative soap opera continues
  • Water bill hike: Bosses paid £41m in bonuses while customers asked to pay for upgrades
  • Liz Truss’s £18,000 golden goodbye same as five-year mortgage hit for typical Blue Wall family
  • HS2: Rishi Sunak makes Liz Truss look like a political genius
  • Covid Inquiry: Sunak’s failure to send messages is another “Conservative cover up”

Hunt rules out tax cuts as Conservative soap opera continues

Responding to Jeremy Hunt’s latest comments this morning ruling out tax cuts this year, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

The Conservative Party are fighting like rats in a sack, while

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Welcome to my day: 2 October 2023 – autumn has come…

It’s October already, and despite the rather pleasant September that we’ve had, today offered a sense that the seasons are turning. And whilst the Conservatives are still in Manchester, engaged in what the Economist described as “magical thinking” (paywall, I’m afraid), the rest of us have moved on to what will happen in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Tamworth and, of most interest to Liberal Democrats, Mid Bedfordshire.

If the polls are accurate, Labour should win in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, but Tamworth is supposedly neck and neck, despite Labour’s recent performance in local elections there, and Mid Bedfordshire is being claimed by all three major parties. Should the Conservatives hold either or both, it will be a confidence boost for them, even if it persuades them to keep going as they are – in the face of the national polling data. Thus, it’s important that we keep pushing in Mid Bedfordshire, and I’m perpetually impressed by the reports of activists converging on the area from across the country.

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29 September 2023 – today’s press releases

  • IFS comment: People are sick and tired of this unfair, irresponsible government
  • Sunak scrapping winter fuel allowance a “slap in the face” for pensioners

IFS comment: People are sick and tired of this unfair, irresponsible government

Responding to the IFS’s comments that this will be the biggest tax-raising Parliament on record, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, Sarah Olney MP said:

This Conservative government crashed the economy and is making the public pay the price. This is the same party which promised not to raise people’s taxes and is now taxing families through the nose.

Despite this, Ministers have given tax cuts to the big banks, failed

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22 September 2023 – today’s press release

Families in Blue Wall hit with £3,000 “Truss tax” in year since mini-budget

New research reveals homeowners in London and the South East have seen their mortgage payments rise by £3,000 in year since mini budget

The two ‘Blue Wall’ regions are the hardest hit, compared to an average hit of £2,000 across the country

Those on a 2-year deal who remortgaged in the wake of the mini budget saw their mortgage rate jump by average of 1.69% to 5.17%

Homeowners in London and the South East have seen their mortgage payments rise by a staggering £3,000 in the year since Liz Truss’ shambolic mini budget, new research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The party said it showed that homeowners are still paying a “Truss tax” on their mortgages and suffering the consequences of years of Conservative chaos.

According to figures provided by the House of Commons Library, typical homeowners coming out of a two-year deal in the week after the mini budget last September would have seen their rate shoot up from 1.69% to 5.17%.

Posted in News and Press releases | Tagged and | 25 Comments

Liberal Democrat conference will “fire starting pistol” on General Election campaign

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper has said the party will be using their Autumn Conference in Bournemouth this weekend to “fire the starting pistol” on its General Election campaign.

The Liberal Democrats are looking to build on their four historic by-election wins and major local election gains in formerly safe Conservative areas.

Liberal Democrat MPs will today hold a Blue Wall summit in Bournemouth with top candidates in marginal seats, discussing their strategy to win more Conservative seats and elect MPs who will act as local champions for their communities.

On Sunday, the Liberal Democrats will become the first party to adopt …

Posted in News and Press releases | Tagged and | 3 Comments
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