Author Archives: NewsHound

‘Elections Bill makes it harder to vote and undermines our democratic rights’ – Alistair Carmichael

The BBC reports:

MPs have backed proposals to introduce mandatory voter ID for elections, a major change to the electoral process in the UK.

Voters will be required to show photo ID at polling stations under measures in the Elections Bill.

Labour says the plan could reduce turnout at elections and discriminate against marginalised groups.

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Government loses 14 further votes on Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill

BBC News reports:

The government has suffered a series of defeats in the House of Lords over its plans to clamp down on disruptive and noisy protesters.

Opposition peers voted against a range of measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, with Labour calling some of the plans “outrageous”.

Peers also voted to make misogyny a hate crime in England and Wales in another government defeat.

Baroness (Liz) Barker tweeted:

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Wera Hobhouse on cyber-flashing and the Online Safety Bill

The Lib Dem MP for Bath, Wera Hobhouse addressed the Commons on Thursday on online safety. She told MPs that “gendered harms are endemic” and any bill that does not address misogynistic abuse would not be credible. All too often the trauma that women experience is trivialised. She called for cyber-flashing to be made illegal saying it is a particularly prevalent form of online violence against women and disproportionately affects young women and girls. She called on the government to act without delay on tackle cyber-flashing without consent.

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Ed Davey: Boris why would you even want to party when people were dying

Writing in the Express, Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said: “Boris Johnson is a man without shame, or scruples. That is, in many ways, how he managed to ascend the greasy pole.”

Explaining why he had written to Cressida Dick asking her to investigate Boris Johnson’s involvement in the continuing Partygate scandal, Davey asked how anyone of sound judgement can – let alone the prime minister – think it is somehow okay to get out the party hats and knock back the wine on the very day that the government ordered everyone to stay indoors and avoid all human contact that isn’t strictly necessary.

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Daisy Cooper: Boris Johnson must resign #bbcqt

In a confident performance on BBC Question Time on Thursday night, Daisy Cooper tackled the question of the day. Should Boris Johnson resign?

She was forthright. The prime minister has broken the law. He has lied to parliament and the public. He must resign and the police should investigate.

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Dentist staffing crisis as almost 1,000 walk away

Data acquired by the Liberal Democrats has revealed a growing dentist staffing crisis as almost 1,000 practitioners have walked away from the profession in the past twelve months.

Official figures show there were 23,733 dental practitioners in 2021 – 951 fewer than the previous year, leaving more patients struggling to get the dental care they need.

The information, first covered in the Express, was published in response to a Parliamentary Question by Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey, who is calling for urgent action to ensure people can get the treatment they need.

Commenting, Ed Davey MP said:

The lack of NHS dentists across the

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Jane Dodds: Welsh Farmers feel sold down the river by the Conservatives

Jane Dodds has said that the Welsh Council elections in May offer an opportunity for voters who feel let down by the Conservatives to send them a message by electing hard-working Liberal Democrats, just like they did in North Shropshire.

Writing in the County Times, she highlighted the failure of the Conservative Government to meet the needs of farmers and highlights growing support for the Liberal Democrats.

Time and time again on the doorstep we heard the sheer anger of voters, many of whom had voted Conservative for decades, that the Government simply doesn’t care about rural areas.

In contrast to the Government’s ‘levelling up’ mantra, many of these communities feel they are being levelled down.

This feeling was particularly strong among North Shropshire’s farming community and their concerns echo that I’ve heard across Powys.

Whether it’s on their failure to engage with the industry over concerns over the Australian and New Zealand trade deals, a failure to solve problems on the UK-EU veterinary agreement or a failure to help address labour shortages, the Conservatives are repeatedly failing to address the problems faced by our farmers.

Many feel as if they have been sold down the river for quick trade deals designed to benefit big bankers in the City with little regard for rural communities.

In contrast, the Liberal Democrats have a lot to offer the rural communities they have always understood and served:

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WATCH: Daisy Cooper call for greater help for “innocent leaseholders caught in living nightmare”

Daisy Cooper has devoted a huge amount of time to pushing the Government to doing more to help leaseholders who have been caught in an impossible situation since the Grenfell Tower fire which killed 72 people. They face massive bills for additional fire safety measures, including insulation, firebreaks, balcony safety as well as cladding and the Government is doing precious little to support them.

Yesterday she spoke to Sky News about this after a leaked letter from Michael Gove suggested that the Government might introduce a limited grant scheme for cladding replacement. She made clear that this was inadequate.

She is also quoted in an Evening Standard article on the subject.

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Helen Morgan: “Anger at Conservative Party like nothing I’ve heard”

The first Lib Dem MP elected to the North Shropshire seat, held by the Conservatives since 1832, has been writing in the Independent today. Helen Morgan says:

The result has been described by many as a “shock” and “totally unexpected”. Yet when you heard the anger and frustration that I heard on the doorstep each day, the result should have shocked nobody.

Helen speaks of her arrival at Westminster expecting to find a prime minister and a government willing to listen to voters in North Shropshire.

How wrong I was. The anger at Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was like nothing I’ve ever heard before… It begs the question, why won’t Boris Johnson and his Conservative colleagues listen to voters?

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Boris Johnson’s stealth tax to cost families £10.9 billion by 2026

The Conservative government’s stealth tax raid will cost the average family in England and Wales £430 a year by 2026, or a total of £10.9 billion, research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The figures reveal the scale of the cost to families of the government’s decision to freeze the personal tax allowance and higher rate tax threshold until 2025/26, compounding the growing cost of living crisis.

The new analysis by the House of Commons Library has found the freeze will mean an additional 1.5 million people on low pay will be dragged into paying income tax by 2026, while a further 1.25 million people will fall into the higher rate tax bracket. The research is based on modelling using the latest inflation forecasts from the Office of Budgetary Responsibility.

The Liberal Democrats are demanding that the government drops their planned stealth tax raid that will “clobber families who are already feeling the pinch,” amid soaring energy bills and the rising cost of living.

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Liberal Democrats demand “Robin Hood tax” on oil and gas super-profits

Liberal Democrat Leader and former Energy Secretary Ed Davey has called for a “Robin Hood” tax on the super-profits of oil and gas firms to raise money to support millions of families facing soaring energy costs.

The proposed one-off levy would raise an estimated £5 billion from companies that are making record profits from soaring energy prices. This would be used to support vulnerable families facing a crippling 50% increase to their energy bills.

Earlier this week it emerged that Russian energy giant Gazprom’s trading arm, based in London, has cashed in a £179 million dividend. Meanwhile, the boss of BP has described his company as a ‘cash machine’ after soaring oil and gas prices boosted its profits to £2.4 billion in the third quarter of 2021 alone.

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Christine Jardine calls for British Sign Language to be taught in schools

Christine Jardine has called for British Sign Language to be taught in schools.

Writing in the Scotsman, she said:

Surely we could and should have BSL as part of the curriculum in our schools?

How much would it cost to simply teach it along with the alphabet when our children are at their most receptive?

Many years ago, I remember a friend teaching her toddler sign language as he was learning to speak. She explained that it is the point in our lives when we are a blank canvass and learn most easily.

I was embarrassed that I had not been able to do the same, or thought to try.

And it frustrates me that while our children can rightly choose to learn French, Spanish, German, Italian and even Gaelic in their classroom, they do not have access to a language that could improve their ability to communicate with members of their own community, and improve their quality of life.

She described that incredibly powerful and stunningly beautiful moment on Strictly during Rose Ayling-Ellis’s dance when the music stopped and she and her partner Giovanni continued to dance as her stand out moment of 2021.

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North Shropshire: It wasn’t a fluke says Helen Morgan

Interviewed by the Guardian, Helen Morgan said the Liberal Democrats’ win, which overturned a Conservative majority of nearly 23,000, was not a fluke. Morgan said her election builds on the party’s success in the Chesham and Amersham byelection in June and the Lib Dems are capable of winning over more voters than people expect and the Lib Dems have proved their popularity is no longer confined to parts of the country which voted Remain.

We’ve won two big byelections in just over six months. We’ve now proved the Chesham and Amersham result wasn’t a fluke.

Everyone said that was about HS2, but in North Shropshire it was about issues that affect everyone in the country. I think it proves we can make a difference across a much wider area than people thought we might be able to.

She said there was anger at ambulance waiting times and concerns in the farming community about trade deals but Brexit is no longer an issue.

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Lib Dem MPs demand action on ambulance waiting times

Helen Morgan, the new MP for North Shropshire, started her first working day since the by-election win by demanding action on local ambulance waiting times. Helen Morgan, along with Lib Dem health spokesperson Daisy Cooper yesterday called for an urgent review into the ambulance crisis which leaves thousands in Shropshire waiting too long for emergency treatment.

The letter to the Health Secretary calls for a Care Quality Commission (CQC) review into ambulance services in England, with all ambulance services across the country now at REAP level 4 – the highest level meaning that ambulance services are under “Extreme Pressure”. With Covid rates rising, there is now a fear the ambulance crisis in Shropshire will worsen. The region already has one of the worst performing ambulance services, with new figures released over the weekend revealing 52% of patients at Royal Shrewsbury are left waiting more than 30 minutes in an ambulance before being handed over to A&E. The backlog in A&E, and shortages of ambulances, leaves those in need of emergency care left waiting dangerously long amounts of times before receiving care.

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Daisy Cooper is named one of top 20 backbencher MPs – vote now

Congratulations to Daisy Cooper who has been named as one the more influential backbench MPs in the House of Commons by communications consultancy Pagefield. The company is running a vote to select the top backbench MP. Vote here for Daisy. Voting is open until Friday 7 January.

Pagefield says:

Many expect Cooper to make her own bid for the party leadership, especially if she can help lead the strategic growth of the party within the southern Conservative ‘blue wall’. With over 700 parliamentary contributions… she displays a wide range of expertise and an oratorical talent that reflects her increasing ambition and influence.

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North Shropshire: Helen Morgan says health crisis is first priority

We can’t have enough of Helen Morgan here on Lib Dem Voice. What a Christmas present! With Sarah Green’s win in Chesham and Amersham, we are beginning to build our strength on the national political scene. This morning, Helen spoke to Adam Green and Joanne Gallagher on BBC Radio Shropshire.

It was a very human interview covering the practicalities everyone faces on the first day in a new job. Helen said that one of her first priorities will be to write to Sajid Javid about the health crisis, which is nationwide but worse here in Shropshire. She promised to work on the casework that came up during the campaign and to focus on local issues.

Here are some extracts from the interview.

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North Shropshire: Helen Morgan talks to Midlands Politics (video)

This morning Helen spoke to BBC Midlands politics.

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Davey: North Shropshire now a “coin toss” between Lib Dems and Conservatives

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has said the crucial North Shropshire by-election tomorrow (Thursday 16 December) is now a “coin toss” between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.

The once ultra-safe Conservative seat is now under serious threat, amid local anger about ambulance waiting times, farmers being let down and rural communities feeling taken for granted by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrats knocked on over 23,000 doors last weekend with over 1,000 volunteers on the ground during the final week. On eve of the poll today, Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Morgan was joined on the campaign trail by five of the party’s MPs.

Even a close second for the party would deal a major further blow to Boris Johnson’s authority in what should be one of the safest Conservative seats in the country.

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Javid snubs meeting with West Midlands ambulance trust – highlighting Tory neglect of North Shropshire NHS services

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The Health Secretary Sajid Javid has ignored requests for a meeting with his local ambulance trust in the West Midlands, despite warnings that record delays are posing a “catastrophic risk” to patients in the region.

Board documents from the trust reveal that the Health Secretary was invited to a meeting over four months ago but has still not replied. It comes despite the local trust warning that record handover delays at the region’s hospitals are putting patients at risk of severe harm or even death, as it moved its risk rating to the highest possible level for the first time ever. The trust recently apologised to one 95-year old woman who was left waiting for 11 hours on the floor of her home for an ambulance with a suspected broken leg.

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Lib Dems call for hospitality summit amid “unprecedented” level of Christmas cancellations

Daisy Cooper and Sarah Olney have joined with Paul Scully Conservative MP for Sutton and Cheam in a letter to the government calling for urgent support for hospitality firms impacted by plan B measures.

Concern has been mounting in pubs and restaurants in city centres about a drop off in trade during what is usually their busiest time of year after Boris Johnson issued new work-from-home guidance. The MPs say hospitality businesses are experiencing “unprecedented rates of booking cancellations” this Christmas.

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Lib Dems demand full statutory inquiry into Prime Minister’s flat refurbishment

Boris Johnson continues to battle his way through the maelstrom of criticism over government partying while most of the rest of the country obeyed the social distancing rules at the cost of a happy Christmas. But as so often happens when one skeleton is found in the closet, another is found under the floorboards.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain today called for an independent public inquiry into the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s flat, after new leaked messages show the PM knew more than previously alleged.

The party believes an independent, statutory public inquiry is needed to get to the bottom of the allegations. The inquiry would have the power to summon witnesses and require them to give evidence under oath, including current and former government ministers and officials, and demand the disclosure of any relevant official documents and communications.

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Ed Davey says Lib Dems challenging Tories hard in North Shropshire

With just 12 days to go before the by-election, called after Owen Paterson resigned amid allegations that he had used his parliamentary position to lobby for companies that paid him, Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey spoke to BBC Midlands Today yesterday from Oswestry.

We are getting a sense that it is very close between us and the Conservatives. We are clearly challenging them very hard and Helen Morgan, our candidate, is going on really well. We are focussing on the issues people really care about like ambulance waiting times. Frankly, people feel taken for granted by the Conservatives. So, we

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Tim Farron proposes bill to protect farmers from poor trade deals

The Lib Dems have proposed new legislation to protect Welsh farmers from being undercut by food trade deals that do not meet the UK’s environment and animal welfare standards.

A private member’s bill from Spokesperson for Rural Affairs Tim Farron MP would require the government’s Trade and Agriculture Commission to assess the impact of any new trade deal on UK farmers, and guarantee that MPs had the final say on trade deals initiated by the government. This would include an assessment of the impact of new trade deals on farming communities in each region and nation of the UK.

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Ed Davey says Tories show utter disregard for small businesses and calls for tax cut

It is Small Business Saturday. Writing in City AM, Lib Dem leader Ed Davey says the Peppa Pig episode showed that Boris Johnson does not take the business community seriously. He says small businesses need help fast and calls for tax cuts which would benefit the smallest companies by an average of £5,000 each. He also wants the Employment Allowance to be quadrupled to £16,000, allowing a small business to employ five people without national insurance contributions.

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Johnson panic visit to North Shropshire a cynical attempt to gloss over decades of neglect

Commenting on Boris Johnson’s visit to North Shropshire today, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

The Prime Minister turning up in North Shropshire is nothing less than a panic visit, two weeks out from the election because he’s scared of an upset.

His visit will be seen for what it is – a cynical attempt to gloss over the fact that people are worried sick about ambulance wait times and feel taken for granted.

The people of North Shropshire are ready to send a message to Johnson’s government: their local health services have been failed, local farmers are being

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Ed Davey: Sajid Javid care package for unpaid carers “insulting”

Cash for unpaid carers amounts to 87p a year, Ed Davey told the Independent yesterday. This comment followed the publication of the government’s long delayed white paper on reforming funding for social care.

Ed Davey said that the funding on offer over a three-year period was an “insulting” response to the sacrifices made by millions of people who have cared for disabled or ill family members and other loved ones during the pandemic. They are now at “breaking point” after months without respite.

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LibLink: Christine Jardine Government looks heartless and out of ideas as migrants keep dying

In her Scotsman column this week, Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine accuses the Government of trashing our country’s long tradition of providing sanctuary to those who need it.

It is as if the Government does not know that the word and concept of refugees was created by this country.

Its origins are in the creation of a safe haven, a refuge in London for Huguenots fleeing persecution in 17th century France.

They became known as refugees.

That was the start of a long, proud tradition of this country providing sanctuary for those fleeing persecution or poverty and willing to contribute to our society.

Perhaps the proudest episode was the kinder transports of the second world war which allowed so many youngsters who might otherwise have perished in Hitler’s death camps to build happy, prosperous lives in this country.

She outlined how this current Government is failing in its obligations:

I know individual members of the cabinet will be as shocked and upset as any of us at the horror of what has happened this past few days.

But collectively their response to the issue to date looks heartless and devoid of any compassion.

At best it is incompetence that has led the Home Secretary to announce hopeless policies like the dangerous ‘push-back’ of refugee boats to French waters or the ludicrous proposal to process arrivals in Albania.

There seems to be little if any understanding of what the problem is or any creativity in addressing it.

The cruel and counterproductive Anti-Refugee Bill serves as proof of that and is a nasty piece of legislation that only makes problems worse.

She highlighted the awful conditions of refugees around Calais:

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Scrapping of crony committee – Wendy Chamberlain hails a “victory for democracy”

Responding to the government tabling a motion to scrap its proposed new standards committee, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain, who led yesterday’s emergency Commons debate on standards, said:

“It is a victory for democracy and decency that the government has finally scrapped their crony committee for good.

“This reflects the strength of feeling shown by MPs across the political spectrum at yesterday’s emergency debate.

“But this U-turn comes too late to undo the damage done to Boris Johnson and his government’s reputation. People won’t easily forget that the Tories tried to …

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Sewage vote: Government ignores millions of people

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Liberal Democrat MPs last night voted against the Government’s weak proposal to tackling sewage in local rivers. Commenting after the vote Liberal Democrat Communities & Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

Today, the government ignored millions of people who demanded action to save our treasured rivers and lakes. This is a slap in the face for what has been one of the boldest and more inspiring environmental campaigns in recent years.

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Paterson: Lib Dem MPs debate calamitous events of last week

Yesterday, the debate moved on from the behaviour of Owen Paterson to the behaviour of the government, especially prime minister Boris Johnson. Wendy Chamberlain who had requested the debate and said actions of the Government had tarnished the Common’s reputation. Layla Moran said the government had distracted attention from the more important business of COP26. Tim Farron said ministers had undermined trust in democracy at every level and Alistair Carmichael said the decision to whip Conservative MPs was a seriously colossal error of judgment. Closing the debate, Wendy Chamberlain told MPs that the government’s actions last week a clear executive overreach, and the Prime Minister has serious questions to answer. The prime minister did not however attend the debate.

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Recent Comments

  • Helen Dudden
    The steady destroying of the NHS is a serious situation that will need to be addressed. Many, have found life so difficult with the shut down of medical treat...
  • Charley
    Bit of a straw man there Mick given at no point was anyone seeking to force their views on anyone else. Asking someone what their views are is not the same as i...
  • Lorenzo Cherin
    Andrew Appreciate your response. I understand. My view though is your opinion and mine, or Mick's, is as valid as any other. Young middle aged, middle aged, ...
  • matt
    As much as I want to see Boris go for his blatant disregard for the rules and failing to stand in solidarity with the Public. And the fact that he is a weak Pr...
  • Andrew Hickey
    Michael Taylor: "FGM could never be tolerated in our party, This clearly violates the harm principle." So does forced pregnancy. So does taking away the rig...