Author Archives: NewsHound

Observer: Lib Dems pose biggest threat to high profile Tories

Andrew Rawnsley had a wee spin in Yellowhammer 1, the Lib Dem campaign bus on Friday and we must have been nice to him because he has written up a broadly positive report in the Observer which reflects well on our strategy and targets. Here are some of the highlights.

First, the stunts:

There is method in his malarkey. Much of the battle for the Lib Dems is persuading the national media to pay them any attention. If he has to play the good-for-a-laugh centrist dad to get himself on TV and in the newspapers, he reckons the pratfalls are a sacrifice worth making. You aren’t going to see Sir Keir Starmer on a paddleboard. Since no one thinks Sir Ed is going to be prime minister, he doesn’t have to do the gravitas thing. He also looks like a man who is enjoying himself, which is more than can be said for the stolid electioneering of his rivals.

Then our ambitions:

This time they have what one Lib Dem strategist calls a “small but perfectly formed” list of targets chosen with a wary eye on the party’s constrained resources and a clinical one on what it is realistic to aim for. In some previous elections, the Lib Dems have marketed themselves as the “plague on both your houses” party, equidistant between Labour and the Conservatives. Sir Ed characterises this as an “ABC election” (Anyone but the Conservatives) and is pitching his party as the “Tory removal service” in places where the Lib Dems are the principal challenger.

Our chances vs the Tories:

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Liberal Democrats pledge to reverse Conservative cuts to public health grant with £1bn a year to tackle “ticking time bomb” for NHS

  • Liberal Democrats pledge to tackle “ticking time bomb” for NHS with a major funding boost for the Public Health Grant
  • The party’s manifesto will include a commitment to increase the Public Health Grant which will help fund health checks for 40-74 year olds, health visits for infants and their mothers, and wider access to blood pressure tests
  • Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said her party’s policy will reverse the “scandalous” cuts made by the Conservatives since 2015

The Liberal Democrats will today commit to reversing Conservative cuts to the Public Health Grant which funds vital health checks for infants, children, mothers, working age adults …

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Lib Dems launch Wales General Election campaign with vow to tackle Conservatives’ “legacy of failure”

  • Ed Davey condemns Conservative “legacy of failure” as Lib Dems kick off General Election campaign in Wales
  • The party has committed £1 billion extra funding for the agriculture budget, accusing Rishi Sunak of “taking farmers for granted”
  • “This election gives Wales the opportunity of a lifetime to show the Conservatives the door”, Ed Davey will tell activists in Wales

The Liberal Democrats will today launch their general election campaign in Wales with a promise to reverse the Conservatives’ “legacy of failure” and champion British farming.

Speaking in Wales, Ed Davey will set out a rescue plan for farmers, including £1 billion in extra …

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14 billion litres of sewage pumped into the River Thames last year

  • Liberal Democrats uncover “disgusting revelation” from Information Request to Thames Water
  • South West London site suffers from over 500 million litres of sewage in just one day
  • Liberal Democrats call for Thames Water to be “ripped up”

The River Thames has suffered from at least 14.2 billion litres of sewage in 2023, the Liberal Democrats have discovered.

Environment Information Requests by the party has revealed that since 2020, at least 85.9 billion litres of sewage has been pumped into the capital’s river.

Water firms have no legal obligation to report the volume of sewage discharged, only the duration of the discharge.

However, the Liberal Democrats have now found that Thames Water do operate some sewage monitors which measure volume due to an agreement with the Environment Agency.

The capital’s water firm used volume sewage monitors whilst constructing the Thames Tideway project. These are the only known sewage monitors of their kind fitted in the country, and do not cover the entire network. The total volume of sewage discharged into the Thames is therefore likely to be significantly higher than these figures.

It was noted Thames Water also failed to provide data for the month of February.

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Ed Davey and Alex Cole-Hamilton officially launch Scottish Liberal Democrats’ election campaign with calls to save NHS dentistry

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton today officially launched the Scottish party’s campaign for the General Election.

The pair held a rally with candidates and activists in North Queensferry, beneath the iconic Forth Bridge, to set out how the party is targeting the “acid yellow wall of the SNP” to win the change Scotland desperately needs.

They also highlighted how NHS dentistry has been left to rot all across the UK, leaving millions without the care they need.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said:

Just like the Conservatives, the SNP have got to go. They have failed Scotland for far too long. They’ve shown people that they can’t be trusted with the economy, our NHS, the environment or our place in the world.

It’s clear that in many parts of Scotland it is the Scottish Liberal Democrats who can get the SNP out. This election is our chance to deliver the change Scotland desperately needs.

Our strong local champions will stand up for their communities and fight for a fair deal.

Take dentistry, where people the length and breadth of the UK are finding they can’t see an NHS dentist. It’s a national scandal that children’s teeth are left to rot and people are forced to carry out their own dental work. It’s time to end dental deserts and bring back local NHS dentists right across the UK.

Getting you fast access to an NHS dentist is at the heart of our offer to voters at this election. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to save NHS dentistry.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton told the crowd:

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Election Media Watch: The Lib Dem Strategy for the General Election

I don’t think it will come as any surprise at all to any of us that our key plan in this election is to gain seats in the “Blue Wall” where we have come second to the Tories. Not all of those seats are in the South East of England. Harrogate, Cheadle, Hazel Grove, are all up north. And then there are all the seats in the south west which came into play when we won Somerton and Frome.

Of course, as Alex Cole-Hamilton will tell you, we “have our grappling hooks” into the acid yellow wall of the SNP. We are hoping to retain our current 4 seats north of the Border and gain Susan Murray in East Dunbartonshire and Angus MacDonald in the new version of Charles Kennedy’s old seat.  If you think the latter is unlikely, you are likely not aware of the power of work that Angus has been doing. I was very pleasantly surprised last Summer to see enormous billboards with his name on them entering Inverness on the A9 from the South and on the A82 from the West.

And in Wales, it would be fantastic to regain the new Brecon, Radnor and Cym Tawe seat being fought for us by David Chadwick.

And if you are in any of those seats, you will be in no doubt that we are the challengers to the incumbent Conservatives or Nationalists. You will have been able to wallpaper your house 3 times over with the literature we have delivered over the past 4 years.

Anyway, it’s good to see some positive coverage of this in the newspapers this weekend.

The Guardian has highlighted the 2 million leaflets dropping through Blue Wall letterboxes this weekend. (Spoiler: I know how many more are coming soon and this is only the start).

Lib Dem strategists said the party had to deploy a leafleting and digital advertising blitz early on to convince voters, especially those intending to vote Labour in these seats, that Lib Dems were better placed to remove the Tory incumbent.

While they believe tactical voting has the potential to work, they want to reach voters while they are focused on the announcement of the election.

The Lib Dems are now seeking to begin a “Labour squeeze” in a collection of target seats in Tory southern heartlands, where they have been building momentum. It means the swift return of Lib Dem bar charts claiming they are the only party with a realistic chance of removing the incumbent Tory MP.

Activists have already been warned they have a “critical” job to reach voters in the opening weeks of the campaign. A series of 200 digital ads across dozens of seats where the Lib Dems are the main threat to the Tories are being sent to Labour voters.

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LibLink: Claire Tyler The time for radical reinvention is now

Our Claire Tyler has written an essay for a Make Every Adult Matter publication on the next steps for policies to tackle multiple disadvantage. These issues are important to think about as we head into the General Election on 4th July.

Claire wrote about the need for local, joined up services alongside a much stronger safety net.She set out the problem:

The accepted post-war norm has been for successive generations to experience better lives than their parents. That is not true anymore for the younger generation, as they are experiencing worse outcomes in terms of pay, security and housing. And the two-child limit for benefits continues to hold many families in poverty. The Marmot Review: 10 Years On highlighted that in the past decade, people can now expect to spend more of their lives in poor health. This is a crisis that will grow rather than fade without radical intervention.

What would the Liberal Democrats do about this?

Liberal Democrats would finally put mental health on the same footing as physical health, and invest in public health and prevention so that fewer people get ill and need treatment. We would break the cycle of reoffending by improving rehabilitation in prisons and on release. We would commit to building 150,000 social homes a year by the end of the next parliament. And we would set a target of ending deep poverty within a decade with a major anti-poverty strategy. Crucially, Liberal Democrats also understand that radical reform will take more than just good policies in each government department. We also need to reform our public services, taking a coherent, joined-up approach so that they work for those who are most in need. In tackling multiple disadvantage, this means committing to action in three key areas: leadership from the heart of government, local autonomy and co-production, and shared outcomes that endure for the long term.

And decisions being made locally is really important:

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LibLink Jo Swinson: New thinking about economics for a world in polycrisis

Economic optimism is not in plentiful supply at the moment. Former Leader, Jo Swinson, now Director for Partners for a New Economy, has managed to find some, though, in a recent blog post on WINGS, which

is a community of thought leaders and changemakers who are committed to ensuring philanthropy reaches its fullest potential as a catalyst for social progress. We are committed to end inertia, break down silos, challenge conventional wisdom and create an enabling environment for philanthropy to flourish. Our goal is to encourage collaboration and ignite potential — to rally philanthropic actors everywhere to build a more just, equitable and healthy world.

Jo wrote about the transformative impact targeted philanthropy can have in a world in a state of polycrisis:

A world in crisis is the new normal, so it’s no wonder that many people are experiencing burnout from pandemic fallout, geopolitical instability and the soaring cost of living of recent years.

No matter what your funding strategy or thematic focus is, your partners and the work you fund are certainly impacted by the ‘polycrisis’. Scanning the horizon for future trends, a return to how things were seems very unlikely. Just as many funders mobilised and adapted strategies to respond to Covid-19, or found ways to provide uplifts to grantees facing massive inflation, so philanthropy has to look ahead and prepare for a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. WINGS rightly explores this in its current four-part seminar series ‘Embracing the Unpredictable: How is Philanthropy Navigating Complex Interconnected Crises?’ as part of the Philanthropy Transformation Initiative.

Many foundations are choosing to work differently in the face of polycrisis, including:

Replacing siloed thinking with a systemic view, narrow funding streams with cross-cutting programmes and ‘multisolving’ for several problems at once
Collaborating with other donors to pool funds and learn together, instead of a ‘go it alone’ mentality

Identifying and funding action to tackle the root causes of problems, not just symptoms

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Graham Watson to stand in European Elections – in Italy

Many of us are sad that we are not participating in the elections to the European Parliament for the first time since 1979.

However, one longstanding liberal Europhile is heading up ALDE party United States of Europe’s list in North East Italy.

Our Graham Watson, formerly Lib Dem MEP for the South West between 1994 and 2014 is seeking election to the European Parliament. He has joint Italian and British nationality and his wife is Italian.

From ALDE:

On 20 April, ALDE Party members Più Europa, libdem europei and Radicali Italiani in Italy presented their joint list “Stati Uniti d’Europa” (United States of Europe) for the European elections.

At an event in Rome with other parties on the list, partners unveiled the list’s official logo and selection of lead candidates for each of the five Italian constituencies.

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Helen Morgan challenges PM on A and E waiting times in Shropshire

We reported earlier on Sarah Olney’s question to the Prime Minister today but she wasn’t the only Lib Dem called.

Helen Morgan has been pushing the Government to improve NHS services from ambulance waiting times to the time people spend in A and E.

Today, she questioned Rishi Sunak after learning that 10,000 pensioners had spent more than 24 hours waiting on trolleys and hard chairs, up from just 290 in 2019. That’s not to mention the 4200 adults who had the same fate.

She said:

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LibLInk: Christine Jardine: WASPI women offered little hope by Tories or Labour

The ink was barely dry on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s report on the DWP’s failure to warn women of changes in their State Pension age than Jeremy Hunt was popping up on Sunday’s Kuenssberg programme trying to wriggle out of the Government’s responsibilities to compensate those women.

This issue affects 6 million women born in  the 195os, many of whom had to wait 6 years longer than they had expected to get their State Pension and only found out at the last minute so they had no time to plan accordingly. This has led to them experiencing hardship, poverty and having to work much longer than they had planned.

Christine Jardine, who has been championing the cause of the WASPI (Women against State Pension Inequality) women ever since she was elected in 2017, used her Scotsman column this week to warn that neither the Tories nor Labour have a plan to put this right for the women affected.

She said:

Sadly, there is little optimism for anything other than the inaction that we have come to expect, not just in this issue but in the protracted inquiries and delayed settlements over the infected blood scandal, Hillsborough and so many others. Many of the women too seem unsurprised, if disappointed, at the lack of an immediate definitive outcome. As do those who have campaigned tirelessly for justice for them.

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LibLink: Victor Chamberlain: Local authorities still hold the key to accessible housing

Southwark Lib Dem Councillor Victor Chamberlain has written for Inside Housing about providing suitable housing for disabled people.

He sets out the problem:

It’s over a century since the ground breaking Addison Act of 1919, passed under Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George, laid the foundation for social housing in the UK. Despite significant progress since then, it’s disheartening that we still grapple with fundamental challenges of providing quality and suitable housing for everyone. This is particularly true for disabled people who lack a range of suitable housing options, especially adequate numbers of accessible and adaptable homes. 

Accessible housing is not just a matter of convenience; it is a fundamental human right that directly impacts individuals’ safety, independence, and quality of life. Accessibility features and home adaptions also prevent avoidable hospital admissions and care home placements. Every £1 invested in housing adaptations is worth in more than £2 in care savings and quality of life gains. It’s a win-win scenario that cannot be ignored, particularly at a time when social care budgets face unprecedented strain.

The Disabled Facilities Grant, intended to fund housing adaptations, is woefully insufficient to meet demand. The £30,000 cap on expenditure per home is outdated and inadequate, leaving many unable to afford the necessary modifications. Consequently, local councils are forced to cover the shortfall from overstretched social care budgets, exacerbating financial strain and limiting resources for other essential services.

He cites the example of a disabled resident who has waited 22 years for a home that meets her needs.

The solution, he argues, lies in social housing as the private rented sector cannot meet people’s needs.

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Liberal Democrats expose the impact of long GP and hospital waits on mental health

  • Around 12.5 million Brits’ mental health negatively affected by waiting too long for a GP or hospital appointment
  • Almost one in five (18%) say their physical health has been impacted by long GP or hospital waits, rising to 22% among over 65s
  • Lib Dems warn that NHS delays are causing a “mental health epidemic” and call for rescue plan in the Budget so people can access the care they need

One in four (24%) UK adults say their mental health has been negatively affected in the past month by waiting too long for a GP or hospital appointment, a survey by the …

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Sal Brinton “horrified” by lack of protection for disabled people during power cuts

We’ve seen how the storms currently battering the UK have left thousands without power.

This can have life-threatening consequences for disabled people, who need their electricity supply to power essential equipmen such as breathing machines.

The BBC spoke to one woman who reported being without mains power for 13 hours. Michaela Hollywood said that without her generator, she would not have been able to breathe:

I am incredibly lucky to have a generator – that is enough to power my equipment – so it gives a little bit of comfort for me, but that’s not the case for others,” she said.

No electricity, that obviously puts my life at risk, as well as other disabled people across the United Kingdom, and unfortunately we’ve been left to make our own crisis plans to make sure our lives are protected.

For me, it’s always about prioritising my equipment and trying to not panic even though you have that deep-seeded feeling of panic, of what are we going to do if this goes wrong?

It’s that fear of maybe not being able to breathe, maybe having to pull an all nighter and not sleep, which is very real and very dangerous.

This is something that has been on our Sal Brinton’s radar for a while. She has been pushing the Government to ensure that power companies were compelled to have a plan in place for disabled people at risk if the power supply was cut. She said she was “horrified” that the Government had decided not to do so and just to push the whole thing back to disabled people. She told the Disability News Service:

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Liberal Democrats uncover fall in funding for GP practices

GP funding slashed by £350 million since 2019 as patients left waiting weeks for an appointment

  • Funding for GP practices has seen a £350 million real terms cut in just four years
  • Average funding per GP patient has fallen by 7% in real terms to £165 a year, while worst hit areas have seen funding per patient slashed by 16%
  • 1.5 million patients waited four weeks or more for an appointment in November
  • Lib Dems warn it is “unforgivable” the government is slashing GP funding at time of rising demand

Funding for GP practices has been slashed by £350 million in real terms since 2019, House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The analysis shows NHS funding for GP practices in England was 6.9% lower in 2022/23 compared to 2018/19, once inflation is taken into account. The average funding per patient was £165 in 2022/23, a real terms cut of £12 per patient over the past four years.

The Liberal Democrats said it was “unforgivable” that the government was slashing funding for GP practices at a time of rising demand, leaving millions of people struggling to see a doctor when they need to.

The latest figures show that in November 2023, a staggering 1.5 million GP appointments took place four weeks or more after being booked, making up one in twenty (4.8%) of all appointments that month. 5.4 million people waited two weeks or more for the GP appointment in November, or over one in six (17.3%) appointments.

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Liberal Democrats name junior doctor Aidan King as candidate for North East mayor election

ChronicleLive reports:

The Liberal Democrats have chosen a junior doctor as their candidate for the North East mayoral election.

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Record 420,000 patients faced 12-hour A&E waits in 2023

  • 1,150 patients a day faced ‘trolley waits’ in A&E of 12 hours or more last year
  • Fifty fold increase in 12-hour delays compared to four years ago
  • In some areas almost one in two patients faced delays of 12 hours or more
  • Lib Dems warn funding cuts risk “pouring petrol over the fire” of NHS crisis

A record 420,000 patients waited more than 12 hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E in 2023, up 20% on the previous year, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed. It means an average of 1,150 patients a day faced waits of 12 hours more to be admitted to hospital last year.

The Liberal Democrats said the “appalling delays” were being caused by years of Conservative neglect, and warned Rishi Sunak’s plans to slash healthcare funding would “pour petrol” over the flames of the NHS crisis.

The latest data from NHS England shows how long people are left waiting after a decision to admit them to hospital – also known as “trolley waits.” The figures show there has been a staggering fifty fold rise in 12-hour delays at A&E in recent years.

In 2019, just 8,272 people waited 12 hours or more to be admitted to hospital at A&E, making up around 0.13% of all emergency admissions that year. This increased to 419,560 in 2023, with over one in fifteen (6.7%) patients at A&E waiting 12 hours or more to be admitted. It means the proportion of patients waiting 12 hours or more to be admitted is almost fifty times higher in 2023 than it was before the last general election. The number of 12 hour A&E admission delays last year was by the far the highest since records started being recorded in 2011.

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Liberal Democrats uncover nearly 4,000 cancer operations cancelled in past year

Almost 4,000 cancer-related surgeries have been cancelled in the past year, an 8% rise on the previous year, shocking figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The figures show that 3,947 cancer operations were cancelled in 2022/23, up from 3,662 the previous year. Of these, 304 were cancelled due to staff being unavailable or sick, 302 due to a lack of beds and 150 because of equipment issues. Over 13,000 cancer operations have been cancelled in the past four years, the research shows.

The figures were uncovered through Freedom of Information requests with data provided by 56 of 137 acute NHS trusts in England. meaning the true figure is likely to be far higher.

The Liberal Democrats said it was shocking that cancer patients were being so “catastrophically let down.” The party is calling for a new legal right for cancer patients to start treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral, as part of a plan to significantly improve cancer care and outcomes.

North Bristol cancelled 547 cancer operations in the past year, more than any other NHS trust in the country. This was followed by Medway NHS Foundation Trust (347), University Hospital Southampton (258) and the Isle of Wight NHS Trust (254).

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Jamie Stone and Sarah Dyke share New Year’s Resolutions

Politics Home has been asking MPs to share their New Year’s Resolutions. Two Lib Dems responded.

Jamie Stone has pledged to offer a second constituency office in the town of Wick:

“After the boundary changes my constituency will be the biggest ever in the UK,” he said.

“Constituents deserve proper representation and support from their MPs and their teams, and that is why in the future there will be not one but two constituency offices in the northernmost mainland constituency in the UK.”

Sarah Dyke wants to “work even harder” on behalf of her constituents. She only officially entered Parliament in September and in just 3 months, she’s already spoken 36 times. That is an impressive start.

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LISTEN: Ed Davey talks about his life as a carer

Ed Davey has given an interview to the Times Radio podcast What I Wish I’d Known. He talks about his life as a carer for his Mum, Nanna, son and wife.

The Times newspaper has a report on the podcast (£)

He describes how he was with his mother when she died of Cancer when he was 15, in his school uniform and how he felt afterwards:

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Mark Pack hits back at activists who called for bolder, distinctive offer to voters

Last week we brought you news that 30 senior Liberal Democrats had written to the Guardian to say that the party should have a bolder, more distinctive offer to voters.

It’s only fair that we bring you the party president’s letter to the Guardian, defending the party against these claims. Mark Pack said:

Far from being too cautious, the Liberal Democrats under Ed Davey have shown incredible boldness (Lib Dems are being too cautious, say senior party members, 29 November). We are the only party committed to 0.7% on international aid, to proportional representation and to combating climate change. Above all, we are the only party to have a real plan to transform our broken relationship with Europe.

With Ed Davey as leader, our plan to get this Conservative government out of power is working, the team is united and we are winning again. Since 2020, we have taken the fight to the Conservatives – in record-breaking byelections in former safe seats from Buckinghamshire to Shropshire. We have added swathes of councillors across the country. The Liberal Democrats are the only party that wants to radically change the system from vested powers to fairer votes. We can only achieve this change through winning elections, with more MPs, more councillors, more assembly members in Wales and more MSPs in Scotland.

However, two other letters from Liberal Democrats on the same day had a different view:

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Alistair Carmichael slams Lee Anderson’s Orkney asylum seekers plan

Lee Anderson has become notorious for saying what many right wing Conservatives think but don’t dare say out loud.

“30p Lee” is a total embarrassment to politics and public life.

Today, he suggested that asylum seekers should be sent to Orkney rather than Rwanda.

This attracted the attention of Orkney’s MP, our own Alistair Carmichael, who said:

This is not a serious proposition. I would be astonished if Lee Anderson could even find Orkney – or in his words “the Orkneys” – on a map. His remarks show inhumanity towards desperate and vulnerable people – and disdain towards island communities to boot.

Anderson has form for brainstorming Tory policy live on air. It is a novel sort of brainstorming as it does not actually involve the engagement of a brain but instead looks more like an exercise in corralling as many prejudices as possible into one space and calling it a policy.

If Rishi Sunak cannot bring his deputy chair into line then the only conclusion is that he approves of these attitudes. Yet another attempt by a Tory MP to kick up dust and distract attention from the failure of their government to manage our asylum and immigration system.

Of course, if only there was an actual solution to the asylum system. Oh wait….

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Rob Blackie: Ban on laughing gas “waste of time”

London Mayoral candidate Rob Blackie has criticised the Government’s ban on Nitrous Oxide which, as the BBC reports, has come into force

Now categorised as a class C drug, possession of laughing gas for its “psychoactive effects” will carry a sentence of up to two years in prison.

The government says the ban will combat anti-social behaviour and reduce damage to users’ health.

Experts previously warned against a ban saying it would be disproportionate to the level of harm it causes.

Nitrous oxide is regularly used as a painkiller in medicine and dentistry. When mixed with oxygen, it is known as “gas and air”, which can help reduce pain during childbirth.

But it is also one of the most commonly used recreational drugs by 16 to 24-year-olds. It causes short-term euphoria but can damage the nervous system.

Under the new rules, those found in unlawful possession of the drug could now face a prison sentence or unlimited fine, with up to 14 years for supply or production.

Rob said:

The Conservative Government’s new ban on laughing gas is just wasting the police’s time – precious time that should be spent on serious and violent crimes.

With all the exemptions, the ban is going to be pretty unenforceable. Officers are going to spend huge amounts of time on paperwork in the office having to justify their work.

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Christine Jardine writes about yet another mass shooting

Christine Jardine uses her Scotsman column this week to write about the awful shooting in Maine last week and the culture in the US which allows these tragedies to occur on an all to regular basis.

She described a trip to an American supermarket 7 years ago

Walking into a general store and seeing rifles on open display along one wall stopped me in my tracks.

In a small town in Virginia, with the cool, laid-back vibe of a Happy Days episode, lethal weapons were on sale alongside the fruit and veg.

uddenly small-town America seemed a very strange and potentially dangerous place.

I had …

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What’s the media saying about Lib Dem Conference?

Here’s a quick roundup of some of the things that the media are saying about Lib Dem Conference:

Steve Coogan and Carol Vorderman lead rally for proportional representation. Sky

Liberal Democrats face housebuilding targets row at Liberal Democrat Conference BBC

Man pleas for assisted dying reform at Lib Dem Conference Bourmemouth Echo

Lib Dems would double shared parental leave pay and increase leave Guardian

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“People out there want the Liberal Democrats to stand”

Channel 4 did a preview of the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election last night. You can watch here.  Our brilliant candidate Gloria Adebo was interviewed in her garden.

Responding to a challenge that the Liberal Democrats weren’t relevant in the seat, Gloria, filmed tending her sunflowers, said:

Why would I not run? No vote has been cast yet and there’s all to grab. We speak to people on the doorstep and there was a lady who said to me “Can you not just press the reset button. We can’t go on like this. So there are people out there who want the Liberal Democrats to stand and that for me is enough.

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Tim Farron: “Scrapping nutrient neutrality is a disgraceful act from the government”

The Guardian reports that:

Michael Gove is planning to rip up water pollution rules that builders have blamed for exacerbating England’s housing crisis but which environmental groups say are essential for protecting the country’s rivers.

The housing secretary, with Thérèse Coffey, the environment secretary, will announce the move on Tuesday, according to several people briefed on the plans, alongside hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of extra funding to mitigate the potential impact on England’s waterways.

The decision will spark anger among environmentalists, who say it will further add to water pollution, as water companies are already dumping raw sewage into rivers

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Christine Jardine: Tinker, Tailor, Tartan Trews

Christine Jardine’s tongue is stuck firmly in her cheek in her Scotsman column this week. You can tell she’s enjoying making fun of the latest nonsense advanced by a former SNP MSP – that the reason the SNP is doing so badly is that it has been infiltrated by MI5 to discredit the independence cause.

It seems that after 16 years in power, including one term with an outright majority, the failure of the SNP to persuade the Scottish people to jump ship from the UK was all because of unionist subterfuge.

Not because of dissatisfaction with the state of our NHS, anger at failing education standards or frustration at the growing cost of those ferries. Nor the results of realising during the pandemic that the strength and size of the UK Exchequer and the economy were positive reasons for the Union. Nor was it the emotional ties we all have to family in the rest of the UK that swung the argument. No, it was spooks. British spies in the nationalist camp.

A potential new spy novel, she wonders?

A sort of ‘Tinker Tailor Tartan Trews’ expose of a pro-UK cell acting as a conduit for vital information that Holyrood would prefer to keep clear of the clutches of ‘Big Brother’ in Westminster. That, in claiming the Security Service is anti-Scottish, the originator of this particular conspiracy theory – apparently a former MSP called Campbell Martin – is actually laying the groundwork for a piece of fiction.

It might feature a handful of operatives, presumably well-trained in the love of square sausage and Irn-Bru, which has infiltrated the inner sanctum of the SNP. There they have painstakingly won the trust of the leadership and encouraged them down an independence cul-de-sac, for which they will be rewarded with a cottage in the Highlands and a new identity.

The online version of the article is illustrated beautifully with a picture of Claudia Winkleman in full Traitors get up

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Sewage: Investigation reveals water firms failing to admit how much sewage is being discharged

  • Thames Water refused to hand over data despite saying publicly they do measure the volume of sewage discharged
  • Scottish Water make public how much sewage is discharged into rivers and seas
  • England’s water firms accused of “scandalous cover up”
  • Liberal Democrats demand water firms measure how much sewage they are discharging into waterways

Water firms are failing to disclose how much sewage is being discharged into rivers, lakes and coastlines, Environmental Information Requests by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The staggering admission follows public outrage at water companies destroying the environment with sewage discharges. Currently, water firms only provide the length of sewage discharges, broken …

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Lib Dems target seat gains on new boundaries

An interesting article on Politics Home highlights how our campaign team is now targeting more seats based on the new boundaries.

PoliticsHome understands that there are a number of areas across the country where Lib Dem activists are confident that the new make-up of seats could play in their favour, generally in areas where Lib Dem council wards are merging into areas that currently have Conservative MPs or have leaned Conservative in the past, and campaigners are now specifically targeting their canvassingin patches.

They talk to Victoria Collins, our candidate in the newly formed seat of  Harpenden and Berkhamstead, who told them:

Victoria Collins, who has been selected as the Lib Dems candidate for Harpenden and Berkhamsted, told PoliticsHome that there has been a “groundswell” of movement towards her party in the area, as demonstrated by local election results over the last few years as the party have made gains.

She said that she was selected before this year’s local elections and the final results of the boundary review. “We were looking forward and saying ‘actually, how do we start building a campaign for the next general election?’,” she explained.

The article also cites how our campaign in Selby and Ainsty targeted parts of the constituency that are moving into the new Harrogate and Knaresborough seat:

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