Author Archives: Mark Valladares

Lord (Geoff) Tordoff (1928-2019)

Sad news has reached the Liberal Democrat Voice team that Geoff Tordoff, a former President of the Liberal Party, and a retired member of the House of Lords, passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning after a short illness.

Geoff was elevated to the Lords in 1981, having played a significant part in the rebuilding of the Liberal Party through the 1960s and 1970s, culminating in four years as Chairman of the Party, as well as a term as President during the Alliance years.

He was highly respected in the Lords, and rose to become Chairman of Committees for a time not long after the Millennium. A patient, kindly man, he tended to avoid hyperbole and could be relied upon to manage the business of the House with tact and courtesy.

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Chris Davies reselected in Brecon and Radnorshire: Welsh Lib Dems respond

Responding to the the news that the Brecon and Radnorshire Conservative Association have reselected Chris Davies as their candidate, a Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson said:

Over 10,000 people signed the recall petition and decisively rejected Chris Davies because they had enough of an MP putting Brecon and Radnorshire on the map for all the wrong reasons.

By adopting Chris Davies again the Conservatives have demonstrated they can offer nothing more than an MP embroiled in controversy. People deserve better.

This by-election is a clear choice between the same old broken politics from the Conservatives, or a chance to demand better for our communities

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22 June 2019 – the overnight press release

Tory leadership contenders must reverse school cuts

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran will today use a speech at the ‘Together for Education Rally’ in Westminster to call on the Conservative Party leadership contenders to reverse cuts to schools.

According to the campaign, 91% of schools have suffered per-pupil funding cuts in real terms since 2015. It would cost £2.2 billion to bring funding back up to 2015 levels.

In a bid to reverse these cuts, parents, MPs, councillors and trade unionists will meet in London this Saturday for the Together for Education rally.

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran …

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19 June 2019 – the overnight press release

Vagrancy report shows why we need to scrap the Act

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran will today urge the Government to repeal the Vagrancy Act at the launch of Crisis’ report into the case for repealing.

The MP for Oxford West and Abingdon held a debate in the House of Commons in January on her campaign to repeal the Vagrancy Act, which criminalises rough sleeping in England and Wales. Ms Moran also introduced a Bill to repeal it in February 2018.

The report says that the Act “does not tackle the problems people have, and there is evidence that it can also push …

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18 June 2019 – today’s press releases

Cable: Looks like Boris will lie down and let Heathrow expansion happen

Responding to the publication of Heathrow’s plan for a third runway which will include diverting rivers, moving roads and rerouting the M25 through a tunnel under the new runway, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Twickenham MP Vince Cable said:

Expanding Heathrow is the wrong decision for the country and for South West London, where air pollution, air traffic noise, and congestion are already a blight. Heathrow’s plan all but confirms this.

The economics of Heathrow expansion also look questionable at best while it will do nothing for regional economies. Above

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13 June 2019 – today’s press releases

For obvious reasons, I’m leaving out today’s big story, but otherwise…

Failed Tory policies lead to nine-year knife crime high

Responding to the Ministry of Justice’s latest knife and offensive weapon sentencing statistics, published today, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The UK is facing an epidemic of knife crime, but the Conservative’s cack-handed response is to repeat policies that have completely failed in the past.

Branding young people as criminals – whether by locking them up on destructive short prison sentences or giving them one of Sajid Javid’s gimmicky new knife ASBOs – traps them in a cycle

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12 June 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Leaked memo confirms no-deal Brexit medicine fears
  • Farron calls for new deal to fix broken social care system at PMQs
  • Lords pass Lib Dem law to raise age of criminal responsibility
  • Lib Dems: We must ensure next PM cannot shutdown Parliament

Leaked memo confirms no-deal Brexit medicine fears

Responding to a leaked Cabinet note revealing the UK will not be ready for a no-deal Brexit by October 31st because is will take “six to eight months” to build up supplies of medicines, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said:

This Government document will be extremely concerning to people who rely on medicines like insulin to stay

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12 June 2019 – the overnight press release

Missed waiting time targets put lives at risk

Responding to a report conducted by the Public Accounts Committee which concludes that the failure to meet waiting time targets is putting lives at risk, PAC member and Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

This report provides a vital contribution at a time when the Government is reviewing waiting time standards. The delays we are seeing not only put lives in danger, but extend the time patients and families are struggling with worry, stress and pain.

With waiting times being missed on this scale, the Conservative Government must not scrap waiting times, but ensure

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11 June 2019 – today’s press releases

Regular readers may wonder where this feature disappeared to over the past week or so. The answer, North Macedonia and Georgia, and fascinating both countries were too. But there’s always a point where you have to come home…

Davey: MI5 revelations “a shocking breach of civil liberties”

Responding to today’s High Court hearing over MI5’s collection and storage of bulk data, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

These revelations represent a shocking breach of civil liberties by one of the agencies tasked with safeguarding them.

The Liberal Democrats have consistently opposed giving MI5 powers to collect bulk communications data,

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30 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems urge ‘No to No-Deal’ coalition

The Liberal Democrats have today reached out to MPs from across the political spectrum in a bid to form a ‘No to No-Deal’ coalition ahead of the Conservative Party leadership contest.

The move comes as a host of Conservative Party leadership hopefuls, including Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, have said they would be willing to leave the EU without a deal if they become Prime Minister.

Tom Brake MP, the Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson, has written to MPs representing the Conservatives, Labour, SNP, Change UK, Plaid Cymru and the Greens in order to form a …

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30 May 2019 – the overnight press releases

Davey: Stopping Brexit only solution on citizens’ rights

Responding to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s report on the EU Settled Status scheme, published today , Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The Liberal Democrats have long been warning that Brexit will create a new Windrush Scandal.

No one really believes that the Home Office will successfully grant Settled Status to all 3.6 million EU citizens before the arbitrary 2021 deadline. And no one should be reliant on a Home Office IT system to prove their right to live and work in the UK.

We support any efforts to improve the scheme, but

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28 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Winning is, it has to be admitted, so much better than losing, but the ramifications of the European Parliamentary elections keep coming. A block of sixteen MEPs are a significant factor in choosing who leads Europe for the next five years, and Liberal Democrats have an opportunity to be heard at the top table, with seven Liberal members of the European Council.

And today’s press releases give you a flavour of the possibilities…

  • Corbyn remains a block to Labour support for a People’s Vote
  • Catherine Bearder elected to lead Lib Dem MEPs
  • Prime Ministers meet to discuss election result

Corbyn remains a block to Labour

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European Elections 2019: results from across the sea… (part 2)

For earlier results, check out part 1…

First, an update. The BBC have got the Latvian result wrong, and our sister Party, Attistibai, have retained their seat. Unexpected that, the BBC getting it wrong…

Time to look at some of the bigger stories, and we start with Romania, where the USR have gained eight seats as the main element of the Coalition Alliance 2020. The collapse of the ruling Social Democrats has been followed almost immediately by the news that the Prime Minister, Liviu Dragnea, has lost his appeal against a prison sentence for corruption. He’s already been transferred into captivity…

In France, …

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European Elections 2019: results from across the sea… (part 1)

Overnight, we’ve had some of the results come in, and we’ll start with the bad news first, with none of our ALDE sister parties gaining seats in Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Malta or Portugal. We had only held seats in Portugal (two), but the combined vote of the three liberal parties totalled just 2.41%.

Little change in the Baltics thus far, although in Estonia, the opposition Reform Party gained voting share and won overall, retaining their two seats, whilst the Centre Party lost significant voting share having gone into coalition with the far-right and nationalists. They retained their solitary seat in …

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European Elections 2019: Scotland and Northern Ireland declare, and the inquests begin…

19.39 And it’s really all over, with Naomi Long successfully elected…

It’s a truly historic day in Northern Irish politics, and congratulations to everyone in the Alliance Party for a quite astonishing advance.

Thanks to everyone who has commented here, and that brings our coverage of the European Parliamentary elections to a close…

18.44 STV can be quite dramatic sometimes, with candidates seemingly dead and buried, coming back to snatch victory. It hasn’t been like that here, as Naomi Long has gradually pulled away to make it certain victory. Here’s the result at the end of the fourth count…

What this means is that, …

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European Elections 2019: the results…

Exciting, isn’t it? The anticipation of election results where we’re almost bound to improve on last time. And with the wind in our sails. Now, I’ve been around long enough to expect disappointment, but let’s see, shall we?

00.51 So, with only Scotland and Northern Ireland to report, here’s the current picture;

  • Brexit Party – 28 seats (up 28)
  • Liberal Democrats – 15 seats (up 14)
  • Labour – 10 seats (down 8)
  • Greens – 7 seats (up 4)
  • Conservatives – 3 seats (down 15)
  • Plaid Cymru – 1 seat (no change)
  • UKIP – no seats (down 23)

The Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party is pretty much gender balanced, seven men, …

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European Elections 2019: meanwhile, on a continent far away…

Welcome to Liberal Democrat Voice’s coverage of the results from the other 678 seats in the European Parliament. I’m your host, Mark Valladares, a member of the Party’s Federal International Relations Committee, and I’ll be highlighting some of the interesting results from across Europe. Stay tuned for the drama to come… I’ll be adding to the piece at the top, i.e. read upwards from the bottom…

01.00 We’re still awaiting final results from across most of Europe, given that they mostly voted today. But we can summarise thus. It’s been a good night for liberals, Greens and, unfortunately, the disruptive right. …

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24 May 2019 – today’s (other) press release

Swinson demands Electoral Commission investigate EU election debacle

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson has written to the Electoral Commission demanding an investigation after countless EU citizens were unable to vote in the Euro elections this week.

In a letter to Sir John Holmes, Chair of the Electoral Commission, the Liberal Democrat MP said “it is an outrage that so many people were denied the right to vote in yesterday’s European elections.”

She added: “Not only were European citizens turned away at polling stations, but many UK citizens abroad were also disenfranchised due to breakdowns in the postal …

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23 May 2019 – today’s press release

Turning EU citizens away feels like a deliberate attempt to silence voices

Responding to reports that EU citizens are being turned away from polling stations and denied a vote, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

It is an utter disgrace that so many EU citizens have been unable to vote in these historic elections.

This feels like a deliberate attempt by the Conservatives to silence the voices of our fellow Europeans.

Liberal Democrats will hold the government to account for this bureaucratic shambles and ensure that the voices of EU citizens are heard.

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22 May 2019 – today’s press releases

It’s not easy being in a political party’s Press Team when the governing party is in meltdown. After all, Theresa May is seemingly holed up in 10 Downing Street, a chair wedged under the door handle to prevent anyone from getting in. The Leader of the House is gone, and who knows if she’s merely the first of many?

And all this on the eve of European Parliamentary elections in which the Conservatives are expected to take a kicking not dissimilar to that the Liberal Democrats took in 2015…

  • Lib Dems: Botched Apprenticeship Levy implementation hurting most disadvantaged
  • Gove clutching at straws with

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21 May 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Moran: Let’s hope more Universities follow Oxford’s diversity drive
  • Hobhouse: End short prison sentences to cut crime
  • Cable: Stop Brexit altogether to end turmoil for British business
  • Chancellor’s warning must trigger No Deal U-turn
  • Cable: Lib Dems “now indisputably the strongest remain party”
  • Lamb: Govt must end abuse of our most vulnerable
  • With no guarantee of a People’s Vote the PM will get no support from the Lib Dems
  • Jenny Randerson: Brexit endangers devolution settlement

Moran: Let’s hope more Universities follow Oxford’s diversity drive

Responding to the news that Oxford University is set to overhaul its recruitment processes, and will commit that at least 25% of students will be …

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21 May 2019 – the overnight press release

No-Deal Brexit will cause continental travel chaos

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson has warned that a no-deal Brexit will cause travel misery for thousands of motorists following the publication of a damning report from the Lords’ Committee on the EU internal market.

The report “Brexit: road, rail and maritime transport report” warns that private motorists will be required to apply for an International Driving Permit and Green Card if they wish to drive on the continent if the UK leaves the EU without a deal in place. The IDP and Green Card can only be applied for at a Post Office, …

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20 May 2019 – today’s press release

  • Prime Minister’s Deal is dead – Tom Brake
  • Further Gender Identity Clinic delays unacceptable
  • Davey: Govt is failing in its duty to protect the public
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats only chance for 2nd remain seat

Prime Minister’s Deal is dead – Tom Brake

Responding to comments made by Matthew Hancock, the Health Secretary, on the Today Programme, that the Government will bring forward its bill on exiting the EU, Tom Brake, Lib Dem Brexit Spokesperson said:

The Prime Minister’s deal is dead. They can bring forward votes on that deal and a speculative bill every week, for the rest of the year – it will still fail

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18-19 May 2019 – the weekend’s press release

Cable: We are the stop Brexit party

Speaking on the Andrew Marr show this morning, ahead of this weeks European elections, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

I think it is now quite likely we will get the People’s Vote that we are fighting for and it can be done by October.

We are talking about having a referendum on the terms of Brexit, now knowing what it entails.

It’s absolutely clear that no Brexit at all is the best option and that is what a vote for the Liberal Democrats is for.

We are the stop Brexit party.

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17 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Vince Cable visits Gibraltar ahead of EU Elections

Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, is visiting Gibraltar today as part of the Liberal Democrats’ EU Election campaign.

Mr Cable will be meeting trade unions and businesses from both sides of the border as well as Gibraltarian politicians, including the Chief Minister of Gibraltar.

Ahead of the visit, Vince Cable said:

The folly of Brexit could hardly be more starkly obvious or more keenly felt than in Gibraltar. By leaving the European Union, we enable Spain to make ever more outrageous demands about Gibraltar with no British voice at the table to speak for

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17 May 2019 – the overnight press release

Lib Dems demand same-sex marriage for Northern Ireland on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Today on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Liberal Democrats have demanded that the Government legislate for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Responding to reports that the Conservative Government, propped up by the anti-equal marriage party the DUP, is considering legislating to allow longer licensing hours for the Open Golf Championship taking place in Northern Ireland this July, Alistair Carmichael said:

It is ridiculous that the Conservatives would even consider legislating for the British Open to have slightly longer licensing hours while they are

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16 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Another slightly startling day, with today’s BMG Research poll showing the Liberal Democrats with 18% if a General Election were to take place today, up ten percentage points in just five weeks… Don’t get vertigo, everyone…

  • Lib Dems call for EU-wide fracking ban
  • Lib Dems call for creation of youth council
  • Chris Grayling botched his probation reforms just like he botches everything
  • Brexit threatens UK’s ability to monitor climate change
  • Welsh Lib Dems condemn praise for Tommy Robinson

Lib Dems call for EU-wide fracking ban

The Liberal Democrats have today committed to campaigning for an EU-wide ban on fracking because of its negative impacts on climate …

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15 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: Brexit vote shows Tory and Labour talks are pointless

Responding to the announcement from Downing Street that MPs will vote on Brexit legislation in June, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

It is now clear that nothing whatsoever has come of the Tory and Labour Brexit talks. These negotiations are yet another example of pointless and irresponsible time-wasting by both the government and the official opposition.

The Liberal Democrats have been fighting Brexit for nearly three years and are the strongest party who support remaining in the EU.

To get our country out of this mess, orchestrated by Theresa May

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What European liberals have done over the past five years – EU budget and defence

Having taken a day off, I’m back with more ALDE achievements…

Reform of the European Union’s system of own resources

ALDE has sought to increase the transparency of the current financing system of the EU budget, in order to reduce national contributions by EU Member States, by introducing new own resources income streams and ending rebates and corrections, without increasing tax burden on the citizens.

Following the Parliament’s position and the recommendations of the High Level Group on Own Resources, the Commission proposed a basket of new own resources, structured around European public goods linked to EU’s strategic policy objectives. This basket thus includes new resources based on the EU Emission Trading System and on plastic waste, reinforcing the climate action priority, and a simplified VAT based resource as well as new corporate tax-based resource, consolidating the Single Market and reducing financial speculation.

A greener, modernised and more flexible EU budget

ALDE were successful in focusing the 2019 EU budget on resources for research, innovation, competitiveness and SMEs. ALDE initiated the Parliament’s call for doubling the budget of Erasmus+ to enhance opportunities for young people, which was an instrumental step in obtaining a substantial partial increase in the 2019 budget. ALDE also pushed for substantial allocation to climate spending to meet the EU’s long-term climate goals of 20% climate spending target in the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020. Specifically, ALDE increased the ambition for EU-funded cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy within the MFF Connecting Europe Facility. Our Group made a distinctive contribution especially in the areas of internal security and investment in managing borders, fighting terrorism, radicalisation and organised crime and called on Member States to take responsibility for the management of migration in accordance with the principle of burden-sharing and the Geneva Conventions. On the initiative of our shadow rapporteur, the relevant Parliament’s budgetary reports call on the Commission to present a proposal, which would provide for the expression of financial solidarity at EU level to victims of acts of terrorism and their families.

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14 May 2019 – today’s press release

Corbyn a friend to Tories, not to Remainers

The Liberal Democrats today unveiled an election poster slamming Jeremy Corbyn for spending time helping the Tories deliver Brexit rather than doing anything to Stop Brexit.

According to analysis of the parliamentary record by the Liberal Democrats, the Labour party whipped either to abstain or to vote with the Conservative Government on a total of 29 key Brexit votes.

The poster, launched by Liberal Democrat MPs Jo Swinson and Ed Davey, comes as the Labour party descended into another row over its Brexit position.

Liberal Democrat …

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