Author Archives: NewsHound

Layla slams Government for “opening floodgates to new variants” and failing to protect troops

Good work from Layla Moran in today’s press.

First, the Guardian reports the Commons Library research commissioned by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, which Layla chairs, which shows that the number of positive cases tested for variants has fallen dramatically.

The results suggest that in the three weeks to 17 March, there were an estimated 1,769 to 1,827 positive tests from people entering the UK from red list countries, of which somewhere between 63% and 68% were sequenced to determine the variant involved.

By contrast in the three weeks to 30 June, there were an estimated 445 to 507 positive tests from people entering the UK from red list countries, with estimates of the proportion sequenced ranging from 12% to 33%.

Layla highlighted the dangers of this:

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Voter ID “straight out of the Trump playbook” – Broxtowe Lib Dems win vote

Where America leads, the UK follows is an old and sometime true adage. Suppression of voter rights in the United States is becoming rampant as the Republicans push to introduce legislation that would isolate the most disadvantaged from voting. Joe Biden has said: “Never before has there been an attempt by state legislatures to take over the ability to determine who won. Not count the votes, determine who won.”

Here, the government is determined to introduce voter ID despite no evidence of widespread fraud. Broxtowe was a pilot area for voter ID and the Lib Dems have taken a stand.

Posted in News | Tagged | 14 Comments

Wera Hobhouse on 100 days to COP26

Yesterday, MPs debated COP26 Conference Priorities in a Westminster Hall debate. The debate was co-sponsored by Wera Hobhouse. Lib Dem MP for Bath. She said this is the biggest opportunity for real climate action since the 2015 Paris agreement, after which we have had a “string of incredibly disappointing COPs”. Wera called for the government to get its own house in order instead of paying to lip service to climate change. The Government has failed to set any direction on how to heat homes in the future, how to expand the electricity grid for increased electricity need, let alone on tackling emissions from heavy industry, shipping or aviation.

COP26 must be a COP of global solidarity. It is time for the Government to put their money where their mouth is. The world is watching to see whether the UK will step up to the plate.

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That 3% rise for NHS staff in England

Lib Dems have been quick to respond to pay rise of 3% to NHS staff in England. Munira Wilson is our Health & Social Care Spokesperson and here she is challenging the Government in the Commons BEFORE the pay rise was announced:

Only a hour later she was tweeting:

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LibLink: Christine Jardine: Football racism shows why those who oppose taking the knee are wrong

In her column for the Scotsman this week, Christine Jardine tackled the racism we saw against the three England footballers after the Euro 2020 final.

A young colleague told me that some black friends had abuse shouted at them while making their way home from the England-Italy game. “It’s always your kind that lets us down.” We all knew it was there, simmering amongst those who booed any team taking the knee this summer.

But watching it boil over against fans, footballers and someone who has made a real and determined difference to the well-being of vulnerable children should be a wake-up call for all of us.

She expressed her admiration for Marcus Rashford and the other players:

A young man, hugely successful, who doesn’t just remember where he came from but carries it with pride and channels his success into making a difference.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 18 Comments

Ed Davey: “The Blue Wall is game on”

In an interview with the I, Ed Davey has announced that the Lib Dems are picking candidates in “blue wall” seats like Chesham and Amersham with the aim of taking seats off the Tories at the next General Election.

Speaking in Guildford, a former Lib Dem seat held by the Tories since 2005, Sir Ed said: “We’re selecting our candidate, do it early and get them on the doorstep.”

He added: “If we get through these selections, which are now going well apace, we’ll have campaigns, we’ll have people who are going out there and knocking on doors, week in week out, listening to people, and the Tory MPs are going to find them getting worried. They’ll start feeling that at the local level but it will feed through to the national level.”

He talked about his experience of knocking on doors in Chesham and Amersham:

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Wera Hobhouse calls for Olympian steps to halt Xinjiang atrocities

In a Commons debate on Thursday, Bath MP Wera Hobhouse warned it would be unacceptable for the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, senior diplomats and officials to attend the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year. To do so would give credibility to a regime that is accused of genocide in Xinjiang. Western countries had to take a stance against China’s human rights abuses.

Hobhouse told MPs is totally unacceptable that peaceful demonstrations during protests on the field of play or in medal ceremonies are barred by the IOC under the threat of sanctions. Given the ongoing human rights abuses, is it at all justifiable for the games to go ahead?

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LibLink: Christine Jardine: A sinister sign our human rights are in peril?

In her Scotsman column this week, Christine Jardine described something worrying that took place while she took part in a protest for Hong Kong democracy in Edinburgh:

A drone. Hovering a couple of feet above the heads of the group was a small grey machine, the single eye of its mounted camera recording the event and everyone there.

This was, it is important to stress, a Covid-compliant, socially distanced, perfectly legal outdoor gathering of a small number of people in Edinburgh’s High Street. Unremarkable even in these times, save for one thing. It was about the threat to democracy in Hong Kong

She asks if we take our civil liberties for granted:

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 4 Comments

Howard Sykes condemns “appalling” arson attack on Oldham Council leader’s car

In the early hours of this morning, a car belonging to Cllr Arooj Shah was firebombed. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.

From the Oldham Times:

A force spokesman said: “Police were called just before 1:30am on Tuesday, July 13 to reports of a vehicle on fire in the Glodwick area in Oldham.

“Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service attended along with police, and it was established that the vehicle was deliberately ignited, also causing slight damage to a neighbouring property.

“The fire was extinguished, no-one was injured, and officers are investigating the circumstances.”

Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr Howard Sykes condemned the attack and called on people to stand together in the face of such appalling acts:

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Wendy Chamberlain hits out on cynical tests for overseas aid cuts

Wendy Chamberlain, MP for North East Fife attacked the government’s commitment to reducing the overseas aid budget below 0.7% in the House of Commons today.

It is a straight choice: do we return to 0.7%, as we were all elected to this place to do, or do we fail to be the global leader on this issue that the UK has been to this point?… the poorest will be hardest hit by these cuts. The reality of the covid pandemic is that no one is safe until everyone is safe… The fiscal tests for development spending presented today are the height of cynicism. They are designed never to be met.

The government, which has a majority of 80, won the vote by 35.

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Wera Hobhouse speaks out on fuel poverty

Speaking in a House of Commons debate on fuel poverty on Thursday, Wera Hobhouse, Lib Dem MP for Bath, said no one should have to make the choice between feeding their family or heating their home. The pandemic has made things even worse. People working from home faced an extra £16 a month on energy costs, adding up to £195 a year for those on poor value tariffs. She said the clearest example of the Government’s failure was the scrapping of the green homes grant only five months after it was introduced with only 6% of the budget spent.

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Sarah Teather on equal marriage – “I tied myself up in ridiculous intellectual knots”

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Sarah Teather has written the following public post on Facebook:

Next week marks 8 years since the Marriage (same sex) Act gained Royal Assent and became law. When the proposal for gay marriage came to parliament I tied myself up in ridiculous intellectual knots trying to find a way to navigate official Catholic teaching on marriage and my liberal instincts and campaigning history on gay rights. In the end, I voted against the bill. Wise friends said to me then that it didn’t fit with what they knew of me and I would regret it. They were right. In the years since as friends and acquaintances have got engaged and married I have inwardly cheered and thanked God that I was then in an irrelevant minority. I think this anniversary is a good time to say more publicly that I was wrong then and I am delighted now that gay people have the right to be married.

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Baroness Bonham-Carter condemns plans to privatise Channel 4

Jane Bonham Carter, the Lib Dem Lords Spokesperson for DCMS has attacked government plans to sell off Channel 4, which “was created to be a disruptive, innovative force in UK broadcasting.”

The Conservative plans to try and sell off Channel 4 are disgraceful and will diminish the organisation.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments

Christine Jardine condemns winddown of furlough

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Christine Jardine has warned that thousands of businesses are facing uncertainty as furlough begins to wind down and the business rates holiday ends, while restrictions remain in place.

How are businesses supposed to have confidence in a Government that promised to do whatever it takes, but is withdrawing support too soon? Now thousands of businesses are being left facing reduced support while still unable to operate fully to pay their bills.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 36 Comments

Sarah Green on her victory in Chesham and Amersham

Our newest MP has been talking to the Guardian about her landslide victory in leafy Buckinghamshire. She told political correspondent Peter Walker that the Conservative voters in Chesham and Amersham felt ignored by the Tories. They felt they could no longer relate to Boris Johnson and the Conservative party.

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Ed Davey hits right note on Matt Hancock’s dalliance and competence

According to reports across the media, Matt Hancock had an affair with an adviser to his department. This happens all the time and is barely a matter of public concern these days. Unless Gina Coladangelo had been hired, or her hiring, had been influenced by her relationship with the health secretary.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey hit it spot on in his response on Twitter this morning.

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Norman Lamb writes to the Times on solving adult social care funding crisis

Media reports suggest the Government is to hold off on announcing its plans to reform social care until at least the autumn amid continued disputes within the Cabinet. Boris Johnson this week delayed a meeting with the Chancellor and Health Secretary to discuss the reforms and is said to have ruled out using rises in income tax, VAT and national insurance to pay for social care in England.

In a letter in the Times this morning, Sir Norman Lamb, minister of state for care from 2013-15, calls for the “Dilnot cap” to be implemented and for all parties to work together to resolve funding.

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Ed Davey talks Chesham and Amersham and progressive alliances on Sunday media

Ed Davey did the Sunday morning media round today. He did look a tiny bit smug, but he’s allowed to given Sarah Green’s spectacular win in Chesham and Amersham, declared in the early hours of Friday morning.

First he appeared on Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday:

And then we went on Marr:

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LibLink: Christine Jardine – Biden has changed the narrative

Writing in the Scotsman as the G7 summit takes place in St Ives, Christine Jardine breathes a sigh of relief that we have a grown-up in the White House again and looks at how Joe Biden has been a good friend to the UK. Sometimes, she says, your best friends tell you the truth.

She compared this summit to the Atlantic Charter, Churchill and Roosevelt’s vision for the post war world:

Eighty years later, Biden referenced that moment as he cast the other leaders in his shadow to declare that the United States will donate half a billion dozes of Pfizer vaccines to 92 low and middle income countries.

“America will be the arsenal of vaccines in our fight against COVID-19, just as America was the arsenal of democracy during World War Two”, he promised.

This was the statement of intent that the world needed.

A commitment from a US President to those who had begun to doubt his country’s engagement with foreign affairs. Leadership.

The UK and others have made similar vaccine commitments but this was America’s moment to step forward and begin to lay the foundations of a post-Covid international order.

Christine also sees hope in the fact that we now have Joe Biden in power after four years of someone who inspired contempt, protests and blimps.

America got rid of Trump, and maybe we can get rid of our equivalent:

Three years ago, every utterance of the then President brought fresh waves of disillusionment bordering on despair.

Posted in Europe / International and LibLink | Tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

Moran attacks Hancock on his denial that there was a PPE shortage early in pandemic

The collective memory, the memories of the front like medical workers and the records in all manner of media outlets are wrong. The PPE shortage in the early months of the pandemic was an illusion, maybe a few shortages locally. That’s according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

He is blind to PPE shortages and the consequences. His appointment at Specsavers is overdue. Today, Layla Moran takes Hancock to task and tells of harrowing evidence she has heard from families who lost loved ones to Covid caught on wards, and from NHS and care home staff who were left without adequate PPE.

Posted in News | Tagged | 16 Comments

Baroness Sheehan leads debate on climate change targets in Lords

Yesterday afternoon, the Grand Committee of the House of Lords debated climate change targets. The debate was initiated by Shas Sheehan who emphasised the importance of grasping the nettle of collaborative action on climate change during 2021. She criticised the UK’s investment in fossil fuel projects oversees and worldwide fossil fuel subsidies totalling £3.9 billion annually.

Baroness Sheehan highlighted the planning system which is not aligned with the government’s climate change targets.

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Tim Farron on the “historic betrayal” of British farmers by Australia trade deal

Tim Farron slates the proposed trade deal with Australia in an article in The House:

So often we see Conservative MPs and ministers take to social media to tell us how much they love British farming and how they think it’s the best in the world.

But their plans for a free trade deal with Australia show that when push comes to shove they seem to have no problem whatsoever with throwing British farmers under a bus.

As a liberal I am firm believer in free trade – but only as long as it’s fair trade.

Australian animal welfare standards are lower than the UK’s which makes for lower production costs and cheaper produce. Therefore, the only way that small British family farms could compete would be to lower their own standards – which nobody except the government wants them to do.

A trade deal on these terms would be a historic betrayal of British farming and will set a dangerous precedent. If Australian farmers are given the green light to undercut British farmers then surely it’s inevitable that the government will allow Canadian, New Zealand and American farmers to do the same.

And not only is the Government betraying farmers, but going against the public’s wishes too:

A survey from the consumer watchdog Which? found that 94% of people think it’s important to maintain existing food standards, while 81% were uncomfortable eating beef reared using growth hormones – a practice which is widespread in Australian farming.

So why is the Government doing this?

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Observer: Clegg and Alexander have “sold their souls”

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Writing in the Observer, Will Hutton writes an excoriating assessment under the title: “Cameron, Alexander, Osborne, Clegg: how the austerity ‘quad’ sold their souls”.

Particularly relevant quotes include:

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Mark Pack on the Super Thursday elections

Lib Dem president Mark Pack has been writing on his blog about the outcome of the 6 May elections.

“We’ve had a huge set of elections in difficult circumstances. It was a massive combined effort of volunteers and staff, candidates and agents, helpers and donors, to get several hundred Liberal Democrats elected. Thank you to everyone who played their part in an impressive team effort…

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London results open thread

The count in London started yesterday in three very large venues across the city:  Olympia, Alexandra Palace and Excel Centre. So far results have been declared for 7 of the 14 Assembly constituencies, all with no political change – 4 Labour and 3 Conservatives. We are hoping to win our first ever constituency in South West London but it will be close.

Votes were also counted for the London Mayoral in those 7 areas and at the moment Sadiq Khan is ahead of the Conservative Shaun Bailey by 39% to 37% on first preferences. Lib Dem Luisa Porritt is lying fourth behind the Green. The Mayor is elected by the supplementary vote system, so if no-one achieves 50% in the first round the second preferences for third placed candidates and below are added to the top two. Of course, we are not expecting to get into the top two, but the first preference votes for the Mayor give us some indication of how they are stacking up in the list vote.

The party list vote is used to allocate the remaining 11 seats to the Assembly, in proportion. We have only ever gained seats through the list, and last time round we only managed one seat. We are hoping for more this time.

Posted in News | 12 Comments

Senedd Elections 2021 – the main points for Lib Dems as they come in (updated 22:30)

This post on the Senedd elections will be updated as results come in. We won’t be covering all results, just the main points. Fuller coverage will be posted on Sunday or Monday when we have the final picture.

If you want a result featured because it is a wow, email to [email protected].

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 8 Comments

LDV Scottish Elections 2021 – the highlights for Lib Dems as they come in (updated 10:00pm)

This post on the Scottish Parliamentary Elections will be updated as results come in. We won’t be covering all results, just the highlights. Fuller coverage will be posted on Sunday or Monday when we have the final picture.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments

England Local Elections 2021 – the highlights for Lib Dems as they come in (updated 19:40pm)

This post will be updated as results come in. We won’t be covering all results, just the highlights. Fuller coverage will be posted on Sunday or Monday when we have the final picture.

Please add your results in the comments. If you want them featured because they are a wow, email to [email protected].

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 47 Comments

Ed Davey’s message to voters

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Ed Davey has issued this message to everyone who will be voting tomorrow:

Covid has reminded all of us just how important our local community is, and by electing a Liberal Democrat, people will be choosing a hardworking local champion for their community.

People also appreciate now more than ever their local green spaces and their community’s wider environment so I’m proud how Liberal Democrats have always led the way in putting the environment at the heart of our campaigns.

Across the country Labour and the Conservatives too often sit on their hands while our green spaces are sold off to the highest bidder and our children breathe dangerous polluted air.

In contrast, the Liberal Democrat environment record in local government is unbeatable, whether it’s delivering the country’s first clean air zone outside of London to topping the country’s leaderboard for recycling rates.

So if you want to get things done in your community and you want your local environment protected, vote Liberal Democrat.

 

Posted in News | Tagged | 4 Comments

India COVID disaster: Layla Moran calls for UK to begin donating vaccines through COVAX immediately

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The Liberal Democrats have written to the Prime Minister calling for the UK to begin donating vaccines through the COVAX programme immediately.

The letter, co-signed by all the party’s MPs and spearheaded by Layla Moran, echoes calls the party made to join COVAX as part of a ‘parallel rollout’ back in February. With the situation in India now worsening, the urgency of the call has intensified.

It also highlighted how aid cuts are making the global situation worse and called for a number of other proactive measures such as safely accelerating approval processes in regulatory bodies.

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