Author Archives: NewsHound

Ed and Layla set out electoral reform hopes

It wouldn’t be a leadership election if we didn’t talk about PR at some point.

Layla and Ed have both written for the Electoral Reform Society setting out what they want to see in terms of changing our rubbish voting system.

Here are some highlights:

Layla

Under my leadership, the Liberal Democrats would therefore look to establish a common cross-party statement of support for legislation for PR ahead of the next elections.

The aim would be to establish a firm pre-election commitment to PR with support from across different parties. Keir Starmer has voiced his support for a fairer, proportional voting system, and it’s becoming clear that Labour is being increasingly disadvantaged by First Past the Post. This means there is an important opportunity for all those who believe in electoral reform to deliver on it.

I believe that under my leadership, the Liberal Democrats would be better placed to have these discussions with Labour and other political parties, and to help build a cross-party consensus for electoral reform.

Electing me as leader would send a strong signal that the Liberal Democrats are refreshed as a party and have put coalition behind us. That is why I am urging all those who believe strongly in electoral reform to support me at this election, so we can move forward together as a country and build a voting system in which everyone has a voice.

Ed

In respect of elections it is shameful that the United Kingdom continues to use the antiquated, First Past the Post System. I believe we should look to introduce a proportional system to both Westminster and local elections, at the earliest possible moment.

This is not just because the system is needed for both, but because the problem in some local areas is acute. There are areas which have become almost ‘one party states’ with votes for all mainstream parties being ignored and authorities left with little or no opposition scrutiny.

I am passionate about devolving power – all the more reason to make sure the scrutiny of these bodies is representative and effective. I believe there is an appetite to devolve powers from some in other parties and think making common cause on reforming our electoral process as we pursue this is a way to secure the changes we need.

Other areas around how we run elections are ripe for reform – we should introduce automatic voter registration to make it easier for people to vote and scrap the ridiculous plans to require voter ID at polling stations. The Conservatives’ desire to require ID creates another barrier and ends up with more people – likely from minority communities – not exercising their democratic right: it is indefensible.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 9 Comments

Last minute Northern lockdown is “beyond comprehension”

Responding to the Government’s change in guidance stating that separate households will not be able to meet indoors from today in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

Throughout this crisis, the Government’s communications have been an utter disaster. To announce a regional lockdown of millions of people not only just hours before it’s enforced, but with no clarity on the new rules coming into place, is beyond comprehension.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 34 Comments

New party director of strategy appointed

The Liberal Democrats have appointed Mimi Turner as the Party’s new Director of Strategy, Messaging and Research.

Mimi started her career as a journalist, and has since worked across PR, brand and strategy roles for digital and media organisations.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged and | 14 Comments

Chancellor must act to help those excluded from Government support

After the initial meeting of the APPG for ExcludedUK today, Liberal Democrat MP and Chair of the APPG Jamie Stone has joined with the other co-chairs in calling on the Chancellor to help those who have so far been left out of the financial support measures introduced by the Government.

The APPG has been set up with the help of ExcludedUK to represent the 3 million individuals who have not been entitled to the Government support in response to the coronavirus crisis. The first meeting this morning was the largest of any inaugural APPG meeting, seeing over 150 MPs join online.

In …

Posted in News and Press releases | Tagged and | 4 Comments

Caroline Pidgeon: Government must act to avoid another Grenfell

Caroline Pidgeon was on Sunday Politics London today calling for action on cladding. Three years after the Grenfell tragedy, not enough has been done to remove the  cladding that caused the fire to spread so quickly. She described how people were frightened to go to sleep in their own homes.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

Lib Dems propose support package for employers to keep workers safe as lockdown eases

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to help businesses draw up risk assessments to keep their employees safe as they return to work, and to establish a Coronavirus Safety Hotline for whistleblowers to report unsafe workplaces.

The party has emphasised that anyone who can work from home must continue to do so in line with the current public health guidance, and that this must remain the case until the Government has scaled up testing and tracing sufficiently to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The measures, set out today by Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey, are …

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

“Indefensible for statue to be standing in Bristol in 2020” – Lib Dems speak out on Colston

Leading Liberal Democrats have been speaking out on the controversy surrounding Sunday’s public removal of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol.

Wera Hobhouse, who is MP for neighbouring Bath, wrote on her website:

…it was indefensible for the statue to be standing in Bristol in 2020. Protestors literally took things into their own hands and toppled the statue. This was a symbolic act.

History is dynamic. It is not fixed. Yesterday was part of the history of race relations, not only here in the South West, but for our nation as a whole.

We must face up to, accept and learn from all aspects of our nation’s history. Not only the parts of our history that we are proud of, but the parts of our history that are corrupt and that we are ashamed of.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 26 Comments

The Bristol Liberal Democrats’ view on the Colston statue toppling

Embed from Getty Images

On their website, Bristol Lib Dems have published an article titled “Calling time on Colston statue”. With their permission, we reproduce it here in full below:

Lib Dem candidate and equal rights activist Tara Murray said:

I want people to see beyond this statue being taken down by protesters. This statue was a symbol of how Bristol as a city still venerated a slave merchant that ruined tens of thousands of African lives and made his money off the backs of these slaves to step up the financial and aristocratic ladder of his time. The actions during his lifetime should’ve been rebuked and for a city with such vigour, multiculturalism and diversity it made no sense for us to still have him at the heart of our city. The people felt they needed to do something as there was a lot of uncertainty around this topic. The history will not be lost with him being removed, what happened is ingrained in the history of the slave trade and of the city but the removal of the statue signifies us as a community ending the acceptance of these matters and growing forward as a community. This act has now added a new chapter on the history of Bristol and will hopefully educate all that don’t know and will help more people understand the comparisons from late 17th century racism and racism in today’s world.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 6 Comments

Layla Moran: Government must step up its support for people who have to self-isolate

Over on the Torch website, Layla Moran explains why the Government needs to do more to support those asked to self isolate because they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. She was prompted to do so after seeing members’ views on one of the many social media groups.

Employees who have to self-isolate under the scheme are currently only entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) of £95 a week. That is around five times less than the £460 net income a week received by a worker earning the maximum of £2,500 a month under the furlough scheme. And while the minimum isolation period is two weeks, some people may have to wait longer for their test or be asked to self-isolate several times. I’m therefore advocating for the Government to step up its financial support workers required to self-isolate under the coronavirus test and trace programme and ensure they receive the same level of support as furloughed employees.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | Leave a comment

LibLink: Christine Jardine: We need to change the Domestic Abuse Bill

Christine Jardine has written for the New Statesman (£) on why the Government’s Domestic Abuse Bill needs to be changed in order to make sure that migrant women get the support that they need to escape abusive relationships.

Imagine this. You’ve moved halfway across the world with two children, leaving behind everyone you know and love, to be with your partner in a different country. But instead of starting a new life, he starts to abuse you emotionally, financially and physically. That’s what happened to one of the women who now campaigns for others like her to have better rights and protections.

Eight months after she moved to the UK, her partner turned violent. She fled from the house with her eldest child. But when she went to the Home Office for help to return to Brazil because her visa had run out, she was told she would have to wait for seven days. She was given no financial support or accommodation and had no choice but to sleep on the street. Her situation is still precarious – living from one short-term visa to the next. Because of her immigration status, she can’t access public funds.

This is why she and the Lib Dems are supporting amendments to help those in this situation:

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 1 Comment

Wera Hobhouse sets out her plans for a progressive alliance

Wera Hobhouse has set out her plan for a progressive alliance on her website.

She wrote:

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 51 Comments

Jamie Stone MP: I have become a second-class MP due to the government’s ending of the virtual parliament

– That is a video from Jamie Stone MP which was tweeted last night. In the Guardian, he has spoken to Rajeev Syal about the invidious choice he is facing because of the Government’s move to end the House of Commons hybrid rules, which have allowed for remote voting and virtual debates during the Covid-19 crisis.

Jamie reveals poignant details of his private life which explain why he is faced with an impossible choice. His wife, Flora, is disabled and needs care. Prior, to the Covid-19 crisis, this care could be combined with Jamie’s role at Westminster. However, the pandemic has meant that Jamie has become Flora’s carer. This means that returning to Westminster, as per the Government move, will mean Jamie facing almost impossible choices:

Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Comments

Wera Hobhouse: A new direction for the Liberal Democrats

Wera Hobhouse has set out her vision for the party on her website.

It’s about making a clean break with the last decade and abandoning one key element of our strategy and reigniting another.

The time for equidistance is over:

The mistake was to see our party in the political centre, standing equally between right and left. In this day and age, the biggest threat to liberalism – not just in Britain – comes from the right.

Our reasons for entering coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 were well intended, but we ended up undermining our values. We ultimately legitimised the Conservatives’ long-term

Posted in News | Tagged and | 47 Comments

LibLink: Layla Moran A once in a generation opportunity to make our country fairer and more liberal

With the announcement of the revised leadership election timetable starting in two weeks’ time, there are three expected candidates. Ed Davey has yet to formally declare, but everyone expects him to be standing. Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse have already announced that they are standing.

LDV is, as always, neutral in these things and will report equally on all the candidates.

Layla Moran has outlined her leadership pitch in an article for the Independent (£) which you can also read on her website.

For me, the best leadership is calm, measured and purposeful. It is open, transparent and direct. Good leaders spell out what they and their parties stand for, allowing people to grasp the ideas, embrace change and move forward together.

She outlines her position in three policy areas: economy, environment and education:

When I reimagine the education system, I picture more investment in the early years, to reduce inequalities before children get into a classroom. More power for teachers to design a world-class education system, which recognises and supports children with practical skills as well as academic. And, a nationwide adult retraining programme to get people back on their feet and into work.

Our economic approach also needs urgent change. As the country recovers, we mustn’t leave anyone in our society behind. A universal basic income is necessary to support those who fall on hard times. We must invest in education, health, social care and public services, and give all frontline workers the support they deserve. And let’s prioritise our wellbeing and mental health alongside economic growth, because now more than ever, we need to move forward positively and compassionately.

We have an opportunity to steal a march on the environmental crisis, too. In the past months, travel has reduced, and the demand for coal and oil has plummeted. This presents us with a precious opportunity to flatten the climate curve.

I want to see a UK which is not just carbon neutral but carbon negative. Young people, given they will have to carry this burden for us all, should be involved in the decision-making processes for achieving this ambitious goal. We must acknowledge the part that biodiversity catastrophe plays in pandemics, and recognise that to build resilience, we need to talk about habitat as well as carbon.

And what does the party need to do?

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 14 Comments

Ed Davey: Johnson must sack Cummings now

Embed from Getty Images

Shortly after Dominic Cummings’ extraordinary media conference, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, said:

Countless people have lost loved ones and made enormous, heartbreaking sacrifices every single day since lockdown began.

Dominic Cummings has shown that these sacrifices by millions of people don’t matter to him. His refusal to have the decency to apologise is an insult to us all. It reveals the worst of his elitist arrogance.

The bond of trust between the Government and the people has well and truly been broken. The buck stops with the Prime Minister. By failing to act, he risks his Government’s ability to tackle this awful pandemic and keep people safe.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 60 Comments

Ed Davey: PM’s own judgement now in question

Responding to the Prime Minister backing his scandal-hit aide, Dominic Cummings, at today’s press conference, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Millions of people who’ve made huge sacrifices to keep to the rules will be astonished and angry at how the Prime Minister is now bending the rules for his closest aide.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

LibLink: Siobhan Benita: We can’t afford to let today’s acts of kindness become tomorrow’s memories

Lib Dem London Mayoral Candidate Siobhan Benita writes for Mental Health Awareness Week on her website.

As we went into lockdown in March, the UN released its World Happiness Report. It ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.  As in previous years, Nordic countries dominate the top slots, scoring strongly across all six measures: GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy, autonomy, generosity and absence of corruption.

Reflecting on the success of the Nordic countries, the report concludes that there is no “secret sauce” to their happiness. Instead, there is a “general recipe” that everyone can follow:  non-corrupt, high-quality state institutions able to deliver what is promised and generous in taking care of citizens.

The Covid19 pandemic is a tragedy.  Families and communities have lost loved ones to the virus and fear of contamination, financial uncertainty and social distancing are having a serious impact on the mental health of the nation. At the same time, the pandemic also creates a unique opportunity for us Brits to consider how we can create a better “recipe” for our citizens in the future.

The togetherness and community spirit we’ve seen during the pandemic must become permanent, she argues:

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

LibLink: Cllr Rabina Khan: This Eid, technology will ease loneliness and bring people together online.

Eid Mubarak to everyone who is celebrating this weekend.

To mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Cllr Rabina Khan has written about how technology will help as people who would normally be together have to spend this special time apart:

This year, under Covid-19 restrictions, Eid will mean that families and communities will not be able to come together in each other’s homes or any other public places. They will pray and eat Eid food without being together, but they can be connected to each other’s lives through technology. When I was a child, the technology to connect people worldwide through a phone or iPad did not exist, so we are incredibly fortunate today to have these tools at our disposal.

She remembers those who don’t have access to technology, though.

Muslim garment workers in Bangladesh face no pay and the prospect of begging for food after western retail giants cancelled hundreds of millions of pounds worth of orders. Some companies, however, have taken a more ethical approach and have honoured all existing contracts, such as H&M and Zara.

Without access to technology, these workers will be completely alone. This brings to mind Imam Shaykh Ahmad Faruq Siddiqi, chaplain at the Royal London Hospital, who spent the last seven weeks facilitating last farewells via Zoom for dying loved ones and their families. He may well be experiencing another difficult day.

She talks about the significance of Ramadan and hopes for the future:

Posted in LibLink | Tagged | Leave a comment

LibLink: Daisy Cooper MP: Any contact tracing app must respect privacy and maintain public trust

In an article on Politics Home, Lib Dem Culture spokesperson Daisy Cooper sets out the flaws in the Government’s plans for a contact tracing app to slow the spread of Covid-19 and highlighted LIb Dem plans for a law which would underpin safety and privacy.

The public won’t use an app if they don’t trust it, she said as she highlighted criticisms of the government’s plans.

These problems stem from the Government’s decision to reject plans for a “decentralised” app – as recommended by the Information Commissioner and many technology experts, and being implemented in many other countries – and pursue a “centralised” one instead.

Under the first system, information about the other phones you “meet” is recorded on your smartphone and the contact matching happens on your device; under the centralised system, all of that information is uploaded to a central server owned and run by the Government.

Ministers must urgently explain why they have chosen a system that many are warning will make the app less effective and less safe.

What would the Lib Dems do about it?

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , , and | 3 Comments

LibLink: Alistair Carmichael: It’s now time to consider a Universal Basic Income

Last week, Alistair Carmichael wrote an article for the Herald calling for a Universal Basic Income to be considered as a key part of the strategy for an economic recovery.

He cites practical examples of the people who are falling through the Government’s various support plans:

Thousands of families will face financial hardship in this crisis due to the current gaps in Government support.  The small building firm in Shetland that I have been trying to help in recent weeks illustrates the problem well. It is owned by the two men who started it and runs as a limited company.  The owners take most of their income though dividends. Their four employees have been furloughed and their position ought to be secure.  As things stand, however, there is no adequate help for the two owners of the business. The purpose of the furlough scheme is to protect jobs now for when productive work restarts.  Unless we find a way of helping these business owners, and thousands like them, there will be no business to which the employees can return.

While he is not yet totally convinced by UBI as a long term strategy, he thinks it needs to be properly considered as a way to remedy inequality – and says that the State Pension is essentially a form of UBI for older people:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 20 Comments

Lib Dems lead cross-party call for urgent support for airlines in return for climate action

The Liberal Democrats are leading a cross-party effort to secure Government agreement for an economic package to support the UK’s airlines in return to commitments to tackle the climate emergency.

Writing to the Chancellor, the cross-party group of parliamentarians have warned that without government support future fares may raise while “tens of thousands more will lose their jobs through no fault of their own.”

MPs from across the political spectrum have signed the letter and agreed “if public money is used to save them, they must be required by law to do more to tackle climate change.”

Liberal Democrat Transport …

Posted in Press releases | Tagged , and | 25 Comments

Lib Dems lead cross-party call for clarity on coronavirus loan scheme

The Liberal Democrats are leading a cross-party call for the Business Secretary to provide clearer guidance to lenders regarding Business Interruption Loans, following reports that lenders have been slow to approve loans to struggling businesses due to extensive due diligence processes.

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse has been joined by over 20 MPs from across the political spectrum in writing to the Business Secretary to call for the additional guidance.

The letter asks that the Government sets out the “minimum level of due diligence required” to underwrite loans, criteria which would enable lenders to process applications at a faster pace. …

Posted in Press releases | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Lib Dems lead cross party call for mental health plan in response to COVID-19 crisis

Liberal Democrats are at the forefront of cross party calls for a long-term, cross-departmental mental health plan in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Citing the “acute” impact of the pandemic on mental health, a cross party group of Parliamentarians warn that over half of adults admit the coronavirus crisis has impacted their wellbeing.

The group, led by Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson, are calling for the Government to set up:

  • An expert-led mental health taskforce to advise on the best methods to deal with the mental health impact of coronavirus.
  • A cross-departmental mental health plan to find ways to

Posted in Press releases | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Dr Phillip Lee slams government for failing to act on pandemic exercise report

Embed from Getty Images

The Guardian reports:

The government is under pressure to reveal how it responded to four key recommendations made three years ago after a major simulation exercise found the NHS would not cope in the face of a flu pandemic.

The recommendations are revealed in the June 2017 minutes of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group – Nervtag – which advises the government on pandemics.

They were made after Exercise Cygnus, a three-day simulation involving national, regional and local government bodies, conducted in October 2016. Little is known about the exercise – or the confidential recommendations that followed from it – other than it confirmed alarming gaps in the country’s preparedness.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 9 Comments

LibLink: Christine Jardine MP: Coronavirus crisis shows why the BBC is so special

Our public service broadcaster is the focus of Christine Jardine MP’s Scotsman column this week. She highlights the corporation’s role in keeping the nation informed in a way that other broadcasters simply can’t:

In this crisis more than ever in my lifetime I am aware of those two words which set the BBC and to a less extent Channel 4, apart from the purely money-making platforms of the technological explosion: public service.
How many over 75s, or low-income households would have been able to afford pay per view services to keep up to date with health advice or social services?

Would those independent

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , , and | 15 Comments

Budget reveals weakness of the UK economy – the Lib Dem reaction to the budget


Embed from Getty Images

Responding to the Budget, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

This Budget reveals the UK economy was alarmingly weak even before Coronavirus. The Government is desperate to blame anyone or anything but the reality is that it’s the Conservatives’ Brexit which is costing Britain’s economy dearly.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 35 Comments

4.4% swing to Lib Dems in Wiltshire by-election

Well done to Harry Ashcroft and the team for achieving a 4.4% to the Lib Dems from the Conservatives in the Wiltshire Council by-election today.

The by-election was caused by the resignation of the Conservative councillor, who was elected as the MP for Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire.

Posted in Council by-elections | Tagged and | 17 Comments

Wiltshire by-election today

Good luck to Harry Ashcroft and team in today’s by-election in the Till and Wylye Valley ward of Wiltshire Council.

The by-election was caused by the resignation of Conservative councillor Darren Henry, who was elected MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire in the December general election.

You can read Harry Ashcroft’s busy Facebook page here.

Posted in Council by-elections | Tagged and | Leave a comment

Government urged to take extra measures to help homeless people impacted by coronavirus

The Liberal Democrats have urged the Government to make clear what additional measures it will take to help homeless people as the COVID-19 situation continues to escalate.

Writing to the Secretary of State for Housing and the Secretary of State for Health, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran warned the homeless are “some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

The Liberal Democrat MP has asked for “an action plan” from the Government, including clarity on whether health checks be administered, especially for rough sleepers, and if emergency accommodation can be provided so that people can self-isolate.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

“We …

Posted in News | Tagged | 4 Comments

Government must announce public health grant amidst Coronavirus crisis

Today the Liberal Democrats have called on the Health Secretary to announce the public health grant amidst the Coronavirus crisis.

Having failed to tell local councils how much the public health grant will be, the Tories have made it all but impossible for councils to ensure our communities have proper healthcare.

Even if it was business as usual this would be shameful, but with the Coronavirus it is nothing short of an abdication of duty. Public health information is vital to lowering the Coronavirus peak, but even more alarming is the inability for local councils to try and address the inevitable gaps …

Posted in News | Tagged | 42 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User Avatarjohn oundle 14th Aug - 12:44am
    Mark Seaman ’ I’m sorry, but NONE of these individuals are arriving from those locations, they are coming from France… the popular tourist destination, '...
  • User Avatarrichard underhill. 13th Aug - 11:39pm
    Layla Moran MP | Thu 13th August 2020 - 5:28 pm This is no better than the previous leader, and she lost her seat. If...
  • User AvatarTom Barney 13th Aug - 10:18pm
    Well, O level music was surely more about theory and less about performance than is the case with GCSE, so equivalence to a theory exam...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 13th Aug - 8:33pm
    We have had our progressive phases and our fallings-back, I suppose, David. Anyway, whatever the phase, we don't all agree with each other all of...
  • User AvatarPeter 13th Aug - 7:53pm
    Deforestation and the destruction of habitats is indeed a very serious problem, but there are other, more direct threats to wildlife such as hunting of...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 13th Aug - 7:22pm
    Since the A level results came out I have been interested in comments like “ our students worked hard and deserved better”. The problem I...