Author Archives: NewsHound

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.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 14 Comments

LibLink: Alistair Carmichael: Independence would do even more damage than Brexit

In an article in the Scotsman, Alistair Carmichael has pointed out the similarities between Scottish independence and Brexit. He said a hard border between Scotland and England would be inevitable:

Just as it is uncontested that ursine mammals defecate in forested areas, it is not a matter of debate that, under SNP plans, an independent Scotland would have a hard border with the rest of the United Kingdom.

He points out the harsh realties of independence:

The reality is that if Scotland separates from the rest of the UK and cuts itself off from its “single market” then there will have to be customs posts and officials, checks and barriers between Scots, our businesses and our biggest trading partners.

It is a simple matter of common sense – and for those lacking in common sense it is also a fact affirmed by experts in international trade and economics, the same experts who voiced the same concerns about Brexit and are in the process of being proven correct.

He compares Sturgeon’s language to that of Farage and Johnson over Brexit:

It speaks volumes that Nicola Sturgeon’s statements around independence and trade barriers mimic almost to the word the arguments of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson – that we would somehow be re-engaging with the wider world by building yet another hard border.

And an SNP candidate’s claims that a hard border would create jobs was no barrier to a campaign visit from Sturgeon:

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 41 Comments

Welsh Lib Dems pledge to make every town in Wales a “Tree Town”

Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced plans to make every town in Wales a Tree Town. This would see every council preparing a long term Tree and Woodland Strategy to deliver and sustain a minimum of 20% tree cover in urban areas and 30% tree cover for all new developments.

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Layla speaks out on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe decision


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The BBC reports:

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been sentenced to a further year in prison and a one-year travel ban after being found guilty of propaganda against the regime in Iran.

Her lawyer said she was accused of taking part in a protest in London 12 years ago and speaking to the BBC Persian service.

The prime minister said the UK would “redouble” efforts to free her.

The British-Iranian charity worker was first jailed in Tehran in 2016.

She has always denied the spying charges levelled against her.

Confirming the latest sentence, her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said the court’s decision was a bad sign and “clearly a negotiating tactic” by the Iranian authorities – who are in the middle of discussions over the country’s nuclear activities.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Ed and Tim angry at “callous” statement by PM

Both Ed Davey and Tim Farron have been quick to show their anger about the reported “Let the bodies pile high” remark by PM Johnson:

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 28 Comments

Liberal Democrats put clean air at heart of offer for 6 May council polls

Ed Davey has announced plans for a £20bn fund to fight the “invisible enemy” of pollution in England’s communities. The money will be part of the Lib Dems’ flagship £150bn Green Recovery Fund, which will pump £5.5bn into new walking and cycling routes, £4.5bn into light rail and tram projects, £5bn for the expansion of bus routes and £2bn to convert bus fleets to hydrogen fuel.

Davey is due to launch the policy in Watford today.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Lib Dems warn against return to damaging Whitehall police targets

In a letter to the Home Secretary today, the party’s Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael and 27 Lib Dem candidates for Mayor or Police and Crime Commissioner write that “the police need to be responsive and accountable to their local communities, not micromanaged by Ministers in Whitehall.”

The Liberal Democrats argue that the Government should instead be focusing on “ensuring that police forces can restore proper community policing, where officers are more visible, trusted and known personally to local people.”

Posted in News | Tagged and | 2 Comments

Daisy Cooper challenges the government on return of students to university

Daisy Cooper, MP for St Albans, Deputy Leader and spokesperson for education has just been challenging ministers in the Commons on the problem students have been experiencing during the pandemic. She said that students felt forgotten, that their mental health had deteriorated and government funds for students facing hardship should be doubled.

Posted in education and News | Tagged and | 22 Comments

All female Party Political Broadcast is a first for Wales


The Welsh Liberal Democrats made television history last night with this party political broadcast (above) comprising solely of women.

The broadcast shown on ITV Wales at 18:25 (to be repeated on Friday on BBC1 at 22:35) features Party Leader Jane Dodds, education minister Kirsty Williams and three female candidates who are all running for Parliament for the first time.

Speaking about the broadcast, Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds said:

Too often politics is seen as an all-male club. I’m proud to be a leading my party in this election, and I’m equally proud to be joined in this broadcast by Kirsty Williams who’s done an incredible job as Education Minister.

Posted in News, TV and film and Wales | Tagged , and | 18 Comments

Rennie marks 10,000 deaths of people with Covid-19 in Scotland

Responding to Scotland having passed 10,000 deaths from covid-19, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

“When I think of 10,000 deaths, I think of 10,000 broken families and friends. I think of the pain and the loss. 

“For their sake we must learn the lessons of what went right and what went wrong.   

“With one of the highest numbers of people dead in Europe, Scotland has a special responsibility to conduct an early public inquiry. That inquiry must look at the lack of testing for new care home residents, the lack of preparation in the summer for

Posted in News | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Future councillors scheme launched by Young Liberals

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Hartlepool Lib Dems select Andy Hagon for by-election

Andy Hagon will stand for the Liberal Democrats in the forthcoming Hartlepool by-election.

Andy, a teacher who stood in the seat in 2017 and 2019, said that he was honoured to be standing for Hartlepool again:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 44 Comments

Willie Rennie gets up too darned early

Willie Rennie has taken to running up a hill and recording a campaign video each morning. He’d be running up the hill anyway, but he’s decided to show off to us all that he can do that and still have the breath left to speak to us.

So, at a more civilised hour, here are this week’s offerings:

Monday: Trying to take the heat out of the poisonous atmosphere

Tuesday: Reflections on the pandemic one year on and the harassment complaints

And today contrasting the fact that the SNP is publishing an independence bill while the attainment gap in the education system it is responsible for grows.

Posted in News | Tagged | 14 Comments

Ed Davey uses the Sun to call for national insurance cuts for small high street businesses

Ed Davey is today calling for the ministers to take action to prevent many of Britain’s high streets being lost forever after a year of lockdown. Speaking to the Sun, he said the Employment Allowance should quadruple from £4,000 to £16,000.

The cut would help 1.2 million firms struggling to stay afloat by lower tax bills and lifting them out of the requirement to pay National Insurance Contributions.

Davey tells the newspaper his plan is aimed at helping struggling hairdressers, chippies, cafes and local pubs.

Newshound hopes dog groomers are included. And like all dogs, he is a fan of chippies, cafes …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Lib Dems challenge ministers on local government funding

With local council elections less than eight weeks away in England, Lib Dems are getting the message out local government funding.

John Marriott, a former Liberal Democrat councillor in Lincolnshire, writes on the Guardian’s letter page:

“Local government funding has been… the victim of the totally inadequate council tax for decades, and an ever-reducing central grant…

Posted in News | Tagged | 24 Comments

LGBT+ people across Wales need answers from Plaid over trans rights, say Welsh Lib Dems

A press release from Welsh Lib Dems.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats challenged Plaid Cymru on the eve of their conference to provide clarity on their position on LGBT+ rights and equality.

Last week a young trans woman of colour was removed from a hustings meeting after protesting about her inability to question a panel member and sitting Plaid Cymru Senedd Member Helen Mary Jones, over her previous comments on trans rights. The young woman has since blogged about her experience.

Posted in Wales | Tagged | 6 Comments

Win for women’s pensions after Steve Webb and media campaign

After a campaign by the former Lib Dem pensions minister Steve Webb, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has agreed to investigate underpayments of state pensions over the last 20 years. That could lead to back-payments averaging about £13,500. The problem is thought to affect 200,000 women who retired before 6 April 2016 and received the old state pension.

Posted in LibLink and News | 1 Comment

Newshound: Lib Dem peer Baroness Barker challenges the Lords on transgender issues

Yesterday afternoon, Baroness Barker spoke on the Ministerial and other Maternity Allowances Bill.

It was a short and powerful statement on how minority groups have been discriminated against, ignored and marginalised in past decades. That was “what happened to migrant communities in the UK in the 1970s and, in the 1980s, it was lesbians and gay men.” Today, she said, it is the turn of trans people.

Posted in News | Tagged | 3 Comments

Newshound: Local elections threatened by staff and polling station shortages

The Guardian reports today that staff shortages and a lack of available polling stations risk bringing chaos to May’s local elections in England. Schools have been all but ruled out and many established venues are in use for testing or vaccinating.

There are concerns that some counts could take so long they contravene the law which says the count must be conducted within four days.

Newshound is currently recruiting fellow hounds prepared to offer their kennel at the price of one biscuit a voter if polling officers get desperate.

Hounds For …

Posted in News | Tagged | 13 Comments

Liberal Democrat Council Leaders across England call for Universal Credit boost

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Over 30 Liberal Democrat Council Leaders in England have written to the government calling for the £20 increase in Universal Credit, introduced in March 2020, to be made permanent.

The letter follows a vote in Parliament held on Monday 18th January 2021 and in which the government abstained, with all Liberal Democrat MPs attending and voting in favour. The motion to increase Universal Credit was carried by 278 votes to nil.

Cllr Howard Sykes MBE, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at the Local Government Association, said:

Millions of people are suffering in this country as a result of the pandemic and the uplift in Universal Credit has been a lifeline to them. We should be increasing support to unemployed people and their families at this time, not reducing it, so the government should listen to what Parliament overwhelmingly told them on 18th January and make this £20 a week uplift permanent.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 4 Comments

Kirsty Williams on long term planning for schools during pandemic

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Kirsty Williams, the Liberal Democrat Education Minister for Wales, has today been explaining the plans for the re-opening of schools in Wales. The youngest children will return after the half term break this month, joining the children of key workers and a few other groups of pupils who have continued to attend during lockdowns.

She is also quoted in the Guardian:

I think it’s important we try to take a longer term view that allows us to plan more effectively. We know if we can take those decisions in advance it gives more time for professionals and families to plan. We do need to have those discussions. There is a seasonality element to Covid-19. Therefore, we have to think about what the autumn and winter will look like.

It is refreshing to see some longer term vision, rather than short term reactions. As part of her thinking Kirsty is exploring shorter breaks during the summer months in Welsh schools to balance possible restrictions next winter.

Posted in News | Tagged | 11 Comments

Gloucestershire Police reverse their decision and say that leafleting by individual political party activists is illegal

Further to our article yesterday, Gloucestershire Police have now reversed their position and have said:

On further review of information, we can clarify that the Government has stated this activity does not constitute an exemption in law and that it does not support door to door campaigning or leafleting by individual political party activists.

We will engage with any party or individual that adopts this approach to campaigning and encourage them to seek alternative methods of public contact.

Individuals could be liable to fixed penalty notices if they persist.

I can confirm we have spoken to the councillor involved in this case and

Posted in News | Tagged | 22 Comments

Gloucestershire police spokeswoman: “the activity of delivering leaflets does not contravene Covid Legislation”

Gloucestershire Live today quotes a Gloucestershire police spokeswoman as follows:

Last week we received a report from a member of the public about people dropping leaflets through residents’ letterboxes.

There was no suggestion that they were knocking on doors or engaging directly with the homeowners.

Covid legislation states that there are exemptions that allow people to leave their homes. One of these exemptions is for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it isn’t reasonably possible to do so from their home.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 20 Comments

Campaign to stand up for carers

The party is running a campaign to increase the Carer’s Allowance by £1,000 a year:

During this terrible pandemic, our carers have been more important than ever. Yet carers are still often forgotten or ignored by those in power.

Back our campaign to stand up for carers – starting by raising the Carer’s Allowance by £1,000 a year 👇

Carers – paid and unpaid, young and old – do a remarkable and important job.

They deserve our support but are far too often forgotten and ignored. Liberal Democrats will stand up for carers and lead the way to a more caring society as

Posted in Campaign Corner | Tagged and | 2 Comments

Families of those of who have died from Covid-19 deserve answers – Ed Davey

Ed Davey has responded to Boris Johnson’s refusal to lay out a timeline for a public inquiry into his Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis:

Boris Johnson says there will come a time to learn the lessons of the pandemic, but the public will rightly ask, if not now, then when? The best time to learn lessons and prevent the most deaths is today.

The Prime Minister can’t tell us exactly when schools will return safely, can’t tell us when most of the country will be offered a vaccine and can’t tell us when the current lockdown will end.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

Layla Moran: Myanmar’s military must step back from the brink

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Layla Moran, our spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, has spoken out against the coup unfolding in Myanmar:

Myanmar’s military must step back from the brink, end this coup and release all civilian leaders immediately.

The UK should step up and lead the world in shining a spotlight on the plight of democracy and human rights in Myanmar

Democracy and the rule of law need to be respected.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 7 Comments

LibLink: Ed Davey – The Liberal Democrats are the most pro-European party in British politics

It is fair to say that quite a lot of Liberal Democrats were a bit worried by Ed Davey’s comments on Andrew Marr at the weekend that “we are not a rejoin party.”

In an article on the party website, he sets out his thinking. Rejoin is not an issue for now, but the Lib Dems will make the pro-European arguments and hope to persuade people that we can rejoin in the longer term.

He also warns against Scotland repeating the mistake of Brexit with independence.

The Liberal Democrats are the most pro-European party in British politics. We truly believe that we are stronger together, and internationalism will always be one of our core values.

That hasn’t changed now that we have left the European Union.

I am proud how we Liberal Democrats campaigned tirelessly against Brexit, and proud that last month all Liberal Democrat MPs voted against Johnson’s dreadful EU Trade Deal – already proving so disastrous to small businesses, fishermen and the wider economy.

And I’m determined the Liberal Democrats remain a pro-European party committed to the UK being members of the European Union again.

But we are realistic. We get that we lost the battle to stop Brexit.

It’s also a simple fact that the UK won’t be rejoining in the immediate future because the Conservative Government has a majority of 80.

So for now we must make the case for a close relationship with the EU and for the merits of free movement of people and highlight the huge problems caused by the chaotic Brexit.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 29 Comments

LibLink: Alistair Carmichael Scotland’s fishermen have been used by opportunists

In a hard-hitting and justifiably furious article in the Sunday Herald, Alistair Carmichael highlights the betrayal of those working in the seafood industry whose livelihood has been ruined by Brexit enhnced by the incompetence of UK Government ministers.

He sets out what is wrong with the deal:

Having made a great pantomime of holding out to get the best deal for fishermen, Johnson folded. Instead we found a deal that the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation described this week as “desperately poor” and “the worst of both worlds”.

On close scrutiny the deal leaves our fishermen able to catch fewer fish in most key species, “wins” us shoals of “paper fish” (which we have no economic interest in catching) and leaves us locked into a deal that we barely control and will only be able to leave in 2026 if we are prepared to pay a heavy political and economic price.

It’s already having a devastating impact:

Traditionally, the first week of the new year is a bumper one for exports before trade quietens down for a couple of months.

This year, red-faced Scottish traders were unable to meet their orders as the lorries carrying their slowly deteriorating stock sat idling in Larkhall – unable to penetrate the new fog of bureaucracy in Johnson’s deal.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

Alison Alexander selected as Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate for Montgomeryshire

Montgomeryshire Liberal Democrats have selected local councillor Alison Alexander as their candidate to contest the Montgomeryshire seat at next year’s Senedd Election.

Alison lives in rural northern Montgomeryshire with husband Alastair where she is a Llanfyllin Town Councillor.

Alison has degrees in botanical horticulture from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and in Mandarin Chinese, French and Spanish from the University of Durham and is currently completing a Masters degree in Ecology. She paused her career in horticulture and community education to raise their son, who now attends the nearby village school.

Alison is co-founder of Repair Café Oswestry and Borders, a board member of the inclusive environmental group BRACE and a parent governor at her local school.

Posted in Selection news | Tagged , , and | Leave a comment

William Powell selected as Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire

The Brecon & Radnorshire Liberal Democrats have selected William Powell as their candidate to contest the Brecon & Radnorshire constituency at the Senedd Election due to be held on 6th May 2021

Cllr Powell, who grew up and lives in the constituency, has served as the Welsh Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Talgarth since 2004 and was Assembly Member for the Mid and West Wales region from 2011-2016. During this period, he was the Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on the Environment, Sustainable Development and Rural Affairs and chaired the Assembly Petitions Committee.

Before entering politics, he was a secondary modern languages teacher …

Posted in Selection news and Wales | Tagged , , , and | 4 Comments
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