Author Archives: NewsHound

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 | 24 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

Layla Moran stands for the leadership of the party

Layla Moran has announced she is running to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.

On her website Layla said:

It’s time for our Party to move forwards and build a positive vision for our future. I want to fight to ensure education and equality of opportunity. To properly tackle the climate crisis, and to better engage in cooperative, progressive politics. I’m listening to members and voters, and I want to work with them to build a vision for the future of our party and country. With your support, I can lead this change.

Posted in Leadership Election | Tagged and | 62 Comments

Lib Dems on the march in Ayrshire

The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald reports:

The Scottish Lib Dems say they have now relaunched the Ayrshire party with residents now volunteering to stand as candidates.

The Scottish Lib Dems say membership has trebled in Ayrshire with residents now volunteering stand as candidates and the party ‘on the march’.

At the constituency event, Scottish Convenor Sheila Ritchie said: “The Liberal Democrats are on a big upwards trajectory in Ayrshire. The local party membership has trebled in the last two years. We have realistic hopes for the Scottish elections next year and to get candidates volunteering for council seats in 2021 this early is a major boost.

Posted in Local government | Tagged and | Leave a comment

International Women’s Week events

There have been well-attended events to celebrate International Women’s Week, with culminates with International Women’s Day this Sunday:

And something coming up on Sunday…

Posted in London | Tagged | Leave a comment

Liberal Democrats act to stop airport expansions

Embed from Getty Images

The photo above was widely used in the media. It features two of our MPs, Munira Wilson and Sarah Olney, plus our London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, celebrating Royal Courts of Justice in London last Thursday, after a decision by the Court of Appeal on legal challenges to the UK government’s approval of plans to expand capacity at Heathrow airport.

The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of green campaigners who oppose a third runway at London’s Heathrow airport, Europe’s busiest. The court said the UK government that had given the Heathrow extension the green light in 2018 had failed to take into account the Paris Agreement to limit climate warming.

A Lib Dem press release on that day said:

This ruling is a victory for common sense. At a time when we should be promoting greener transport, we cannot allow the expansion of the country’s single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 10 Comments

Siobhan Benita and team are working full-on in London

This weekend our London Mayoral candidate, Siobhan Benita and her team have been campaigning very hard all over the city:

Posted in News | Tagged , and | Leave a comment

Being homeless shouldn’t be a crime

The party is quite rightly campaigning to change the Vagrancy Act so that homelessness is not a crime. This is an initiative that has been spear-headed by Layla Moran:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 22 Comments

Tories lose control of Surrey Heath council

The following is a press release from Councillor Sashi Mylvaganam, Lib Dem Group Leader on Surrey Heath Borough Council:

Following the resignations of Councillors Richard Brooks and Charlotte Morley (former Leader and Deputy Leader) from their political group, Surrey Heath Conservatives have lost control of Surrey Heath Borough Council.

The council is comprised of 35 councillors. The opposition has 18 members whilst the Conservatives now have only 16. There is a vacancy following the tragic death of Councillor Sam Kay earlier this month.

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Business leaders back Lib Dems in open letter

Senior figures from such companies as the New Covent Garden Soup Company, Superdry and Lovefilm are among business leaders who have endorsed the Liberal Democrats in a letter published in the I newspaper. It says:

Business is at the heart of our economy, providing the jobs that millions depend on, the prosperity that pays for public services, and the means by which we bring together our enterprise, ambition and creativity to find new solutions and opportunities.

We also know there is a big task ahead if we are to build a prosperous, fair, inclusive and sustainable economy fit for the 21st century. We must do more to address social and geographical inequalities. We need to act boldly and urgently to tackle the climate emergency. And we must create more quality jobs and investment if the UK is to truly prosper from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Success will require government and business working together in partnership.This means commitment to investing in the education, skills, innovation, infrastructure and regional development critical to building an inclusive, world-class digital and green economy. We need support for small and growing businesses; and commitment to fostering responsibility and sustainability.

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

Dan Snow and Deborah Meaden back the Lib Dems

Two well kent faces from the world of television have backed the Liberal Democrats in the General Election.

Historian and broadcaster Dan Snow says:

And Dragon’s Den’s Deborah Meaden is also voting for us this time:

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

LISTEN: to Sarah Wollaston on Any Questions

Sarah Wollaston has been another wonderful addition to the Liberal Democrats. A former GP, whose passion for the NHS is matched by her knowledge and authority on it, she’s fighting to retain her Totnes seat as a Liberal Democrat.

She was on Any Questions? on Friday night.

Listen here. 

Posted in News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Jo Swinson says her constituents are proud she’s taking on Boris Johnson

Jo Swinson has given two major press interviews in the past two days – one to Scotland on Sunday talking about her fight to retain her East Dunbartonshire seat and one to The Times (£) which is more about what she and the Liberal Democrats offer nationally – an open hearted, open minded outward-looking liberal country.

In the Times piece, she talks about the unique Lib Dem offer:

The 39-year-old leader of the Liberal Democrats is from a different generation to Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn (16 years younger than the prime minister and 31 years younger than the Labour leader) with a baby and a five-year-old to juggle on the campaign trail while her husband is away on business. She brought a bubble machine and popcorn maker to the Lib Dems’ election launch. “I think I am quite different to the other leaders,” she says. “They’ve all got an outlook which is very much harking back to the past, whether that’s the 1870s or the 1970s, and I’m very focused on the future we build, one that is open-hearted, open-minded, outward-looking, internationalist and liberal.”

And she tackles the issue of this week, which has been attacks from Labour for not standing down in their favour:

For those still in the Labour Party, many are conflicted but ultimately they are standing on a platform to get the hard left and Jeremy Corbyn into No 10 . . . Labour is not a party of Remain.” As for the Brexit Party standing down candidates in Tory-held seats, she says: “It sends a very clear message to moderate One Nation Conservatives about where Boris Johnson is — he is at one with Nigel Farage and there are a lot of Conservative voters who are very unhappy at that.”

She also describes the challenges of returning to work as a minister after maternity leave.

In the Scotland on Sunday piece, she talked about how she was on the side of most people in her East Dunbartonshire seat:

“Both are live issues – and that’s different to 2017 when it was much more about the prospect of an indyref. Now, with where the Brexit process has got to, people are much more concerned about that.

“This is a constituency where around two-thirds of people voted to stay in the UK, and are around three-quarters voted to stay in the EU. It’s very clear that people in East Dunbartonshire want Scotland to stay in the UK and the UK to be in the EU. It’s only the Liberal Democrats that are standing up for that position.”

And when she’s going round the doors, her constituents like her new role as leader:

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , and | 8 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Martin 6th Jun - 6:27am
    @ Alex, I do remember the Lib Dems being enthusiastic about the Mansion tax at one time. According to wiki, a motion in support at...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 6th Jun - 12:04am
    @Peter Martin: The practice among Labour hard lefties of constantly digging up the increasinly distant past in priority to attacking the current government is not...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 5th Jun - 11:48pm
    @ Alex, It's your point not mine. You're right in saying "with a post-Coalition leader we can move on from it because the leader would...
  • User AvatarSean Hagan 5th Jun - 11:37pm
    As the above comments amply demonstrate, no good can come from endless re-examination of the Lib Dems’ record in the 2010-15 Coalition Government - or...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 5th Jun - 10:45pm
    Ed Davey became the MP for Kingston in 1997. Paddy Ashdown tasked him with the job of the party's spokesman on Treasury Affairs, adding the...
  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 5th Jun - 10:39pm
    @David Raw 'My memory of American Presidents goes way back to Harry.S. Truman' I too hope that D Trump will get his comeuppance in November....