Author Archives: The Voice

++ Breaking news: Siobhan Benita stands down as candidate for London Mayor

With the London elections postponed until May 2021, members in the capital have today received an email from Siobhan Benita, the Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor.

She writes:

I am writing to let you know that, after much consideration and with sadness, I am standing down as the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Mayor of London.

The demands of being a candidate are significant, particularly for an election of this scale, The nature of the role, which is unpaid, makes it very difficult to combine with other work. Sadly, at this stage, I’m simply not able to commit to another full year of

Posted in News | Tagged | 33 Comments

Layla and Ed: The Iain Dale interviews

Over the last couple of weeks, leadership candidates Ed Davey and Layla Moran have taken part in hour long interviews with LBC presenter Iain Dale.

He certainly put them through their paces. Compare and contrast both interviews here:

First up, Ed from 16th July

And Layla from 21st July

Posted in Op-eds | 1 Comment

Stephen Williams selected to fight West of England mayoral election

Great news from the West of England. Former MP for Bristol West Stephen Williams will be the Liberal Democrats candidate for mayor of the West of England Combined Authority:

The election takes place in May 2021.

His selection was covered in Bristol Live

In a statement announcing his bid, he said: “This election really matters to people’s everyday lives because the mayor decides where a lot of money is spent to improve buses, cycling and other ways to get around, new housing and creating new jobs.

“I know our area well because before I went into politics I had jobs in all three parts of the West of England.”

He added: “Many residents won’t know much about the current mayor because he is completely invisible.

“I’m completely different because I love meeting local people, listening to them and then getting on with delivering what they need.

“I have a strong record of local action and know how to get results.”

Posted in News | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Where to see Ed and Layla this weekend

It’s the last weekend in the leadership election before the ballot papers go out. Already there has been a good mix of regional and themed hustings to put the two candidates, Layla Moran and Ed Davey, through their paces.

There are five opportunities to see them in action over the next two days.

First up, the London hustings between 3 and 4:30 this afternoon.

Tonight, between 7 and 8:30, it’s the Welsh event and tomorrow the Scottish hustings take place between 2 and 3:30 pm.

What these three areas have in common is that they all have mayoral, Parliament or Senedd elections next May so it’s a chance to see how well the candidates understand the political environments in those very different parts of the UK.

The final hustings of the weekend, the North East, takes place tomorrow evening between 7 and 8:30 pm.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 1 Comment

UPDATED: Watch Ed and Layla at hustings

This post will be regularly updated with links to recordings of  Ed and Layla at the many hustings events that are taking place.

I’ll update it and re-post it whenever there is something new to add.

First up, the very first formal hustings, with the Social Liberal Forum on Saturday 11th July.

The most recent hustings took place on 1st August – the Norfolk County

Also this week, the Yorkshire and the Humber event

 

And a themed hustings – the Green Agenda, from Wednesday 29th July

The first of the party’s big set piece hustings, on jobs and the economy took place on Wednesday 15th July:

More events under the cut. First South Central from 11 July

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 10 Comments

Leadership election 2020: Watch Ed and Layla at hustings

This post will be regularly updated with links to recordings of  Ed and Layla at the many hustings events that are taking place.

I’ll update it and re-post it whenever there is something new to add.

First up, the very first formal hustings, with the Social Liberal Forum on Saturday 11th July.

The first of the party’s big set piece hustings, on jobs and the economy took place on Wedmesday 15th July:

More events under the cut. First South Central from 11 July

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Final nomination totals for leadership candidates


These are the final figures for the nominations for the next Leader of the Liberal Democrats – more details here.

You can see both candidates in action at the many hustings meetings (all via Zoom or YouTube, of course). Some are regional in character, others focus on specific policy areas or strategy.

Everyone who was a party member by yesterday will be able to vote in the election, which will run from 30th July to 26th August, with the results expected to be declared on 27th August.

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Two candidates confirmed for Lib Dem leadership race

Liberal Democrat MPs Ed Davey and Layla Moran will be the two candidates contesting the latest Liberal Democrat leadership contest, the Party has confirmed.

At the close of nominations today both Ed Davey and Layla Moran secured the support required to appear on the ballot.

Voting will open on the 30th July and close on the 26th August, after which the Party will announce the next leader.

Liberal Democrat Party President Mark Pack said:

With two fantastic candidates, I am really excited for the contest for who will lead the Liberal Democrats and champion our vision for an outward-looking, caring country that celebrates

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Jo Swinson appointed as Director of PN4E

Partners for a New Economy (P4NE) have announced that they have appointed Jo Swinson as their new Director.

P4NE is a philanthropic donor organisation that makes grants to projects that support new economic thinking. As they say:

At P4NE, we fund innovative projects and build communities that bring new thinking and approaches to traditional economics. These “change catalysts” play a pivotal role in helping to repurpose our economic system, and together they’re helping to build a movement for an economic system that’s fit for the challenges of the 21st Century.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 13 Comments

South Lakeland District Council: Climate Action Plan

I very much favour articles that are about climate change, biodiversity etc. and I had a write up from Cllr. Dyan Jones from South Lakeland District council, on climate change, that I thought I would share with LDV readers

Tahir Maher

Wednesday Editor

————————————————————————————————-

Here in Cumbria, South Lakeland District Council takes the business of climate change seriously, and sustainability underpins everything we seek to do.

Declaring our position last year; recognising the emergency, committing to action and unanimously agreeing to make this a public commitment, we set out to inform, influence and implement actions to address this emergency in all areas under our direct …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 23 Comments

Lib Dem Jobwatch – ALDC special

Our friends at ALDC are hiring. They have one job in Wales up for grabs and another two in Salford with closing dates in the next 12 days.  If you fancy them, don’t delay – send off for an application pack.

Development Officer (Wales)

Full Time, Cardiff (with significant travel) £24.000-£28,000     (plus 8% pension contribution after 3 months).

This is a new post, jointly funded by the Welsh Liberal Democrats and ALDC. The postholder will work with council groups, councillors and local parties across Wales in the run up to major elections in 2021 and 2022. This is an exciting opportunity to work with both the Welsh Party and ALDC.

The post holder will be part of a new team whose aim is to ensure more Liberal Democrats are elected to both the Senedd and Welsh councils. To do that you will develop effective local campaigning by Liberal Democrats right across Wales, and for the local elections, deliver a considerable increase in the number of Welsh Liberal Democrat candidates.

Closing date – 5pm Friday 10 July
Interview date – Thursday 16 July (via video conference).

More information and application pack www.aldc.org/about/our-jobs-work-experience-opps/

Office and Events Organiser
Full Time. Salford (Greater Manchester)
£18,795.00 to £21,166.00 (plus 8% pension contribution after 3 months).

Responsible for the smooth running of our office, office systems and our busy programme of events.

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Liberal Democrats mark Windrush Day

To mark Windrush Day today, Lib Dem Vice President Isabelle Parasram talks about why this day is significant for her.

The acting leader had this to say:

Other Lib Dem Parliamentarians marked the event

Over on the party website, Floella Benjamin wrote about the structural racism that still blights our society:

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments

The challenges of social distancing when you are blind

The Royal National Institute for the Blind has launched a video today, highlighting the ways in which we can support blind and partially sighted people as they negotiate social distancing.

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Kirsty Williams on re-opening schools in Wales

It was good to see Welsh Education minister, Kirsty Williams, fronting a press conference yesterday on the re-opening of schools in Wales.

In contrast to Boris Johnson’s plans for England, which have generated widespread concern, Wales is taking a more cautious and devolved approach. All schools there will re-open on 29th June, staggering attendance to ensure that only a third of pupils will be on site at any one time. Schools and councils will decide how that is to be implemented locally, phasing in the scheme to suit local conditions.

Term dates will be adjusted, with a week’s extension to the summer term and a two week half term break in October.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 1 Comment

Ed Davey launches his leadership campaign

Ed Davey has today launched his bid to be Leader of the Liberal Democrats with this video:

Nominations close on 9th July and voting will take place in August with the result expected on 27th August.

Posted in Leadership Election | Tagged and | 96 Comments

Wendy Chamberlain recounts her first experience of violence against Police Officers

This week, the Commons debated a Statutory Instrument which introduces Police Restitution Orders in Scotland. This means that fines can be levied and the money from those will be used to finance extra support for Police officers who suffer from the effects of those assaults.

Wendy used to be a Police Officer, as were her father and husband. All of them suffered violent assault. Wendy described the first time it happened to her:

I, my father and my husband have all served, and I have other family members currently serving in Police Scotland. All of us were assaulted during our police careers. My husband was knocked unconscious during the policing of a football match. My father was head-butted by a prisoner in the police cells and required stitches.

My own most vivid memory is from early in my police career—within months of leaving initial training at the police college in Tulliallan in fact. It relates to attending a call about a report of a domestic dispute in a high-rise block of flats in Edinburgh. On arrival at the landing in question, my tutor and I could hear a loud argument and decided to call for additional officers to make their way to support us in case they were required. I am glad we did so. The door was answered by a man who, after telling us where to go, was then attacked by his girlfriend, but from behind with a knife. A toddler was visible at the back of the flat hallway. My colleague managed to baton the knife from the women’s grasp, and in anger both of them then turned on us, and a violent struggle ensued.​

Luckily for us, colleagues came quickly, and both people were arrested. The man, in particular, struggled violently throughout the arrest and attempted to spit at all the officers, claiming that he was HIV-positive. It then transpired that he had been responsible for an assault and robbery nearby earlier that evening. Other than bruising, my colleague and I were unharmed, but it was a salutary lesson to me in being prepared for any eventuality and in being responsive to events.

Her whole speech follows:

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Lib Dems call for young refugees to have equal access to education

Senior Lib Dems have backed a call from newly elected Lib Dem Councillor Anton Georgiou for young refugees to be given computer equipment and support to enable them to access education during the pandemic.

Lib Dems at all levels, from MPs to Councillors, to London mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita and London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, LDCRE Chair Roderick Lynch and Cllr Rabina Khan supported the initiative and signed Anton’s letter to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

Upon investigating Cllr Georgiou found that while some vulnerable school pupils will be receiving free computer equipment to assist them with home learning, young refugee children and students learning English have so far been excluded from this much needed support.

Organisations like Young Roots, Refugee Support Network are concerned that these vulnerable young people will fall even further behind and not be able to keep up with their classmates.

In urging the Government to expand the support required, Anton highlights the excellent work being carried out by organisations like SocialBox.Biz, who are leading the way with initiatives like ‘Laptops for the Homeless and Vulnerable’.

Anton said:

Good education is a crucial stepping stone to allow young people to achieve their full potential. In the present crisis we must do everything possible to support young and vulnerable people to get access to the necessary equipment to enable them to continue with their education and contribute to our community.

Everyone deserves access to the tools to enable them to achieve their potential.

The text of the letter in full is below:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 6 Comments

Sal Brinton on Government “lie” on care homes and Covid-19

Lie is not a word anyone in politics uses lightly. But Lib Dems Lords Health and Social Care spokesperson Sal Brinton used it today in response to Michael Gove’s interview on the Andrew Marr Show .

On Friday, Ed Davey said that the Government had to “get a grip” on the crisis in our care homes:

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

Layla: We need reassurance and clarity before schools can re-open

Lib Dem Education spokesperson Layla Moran was on LBC this morning talking about getting children back to school.

Listen here:

Earlier on Sky News, she reiterated the importance of transparency in the Government’s communications:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Lib Dems bid to pave the way for safe street cafe culture in Scotland

Scottish Liberal Democrats have proposed an amendment to the latest coronavirus emergency legislation to help pave the way for more cafes, restaurants and bars to use closed roads to enable social distancing between customers, once they are permitted to re-open. Alex Cole-Hamilton will lead on this when the vote takes place on Tuesday.

The amendment confirms that it shall not be an offence to place tables and chairs in the road outside a premises, provided it is done with the local authority’s consent and doesn’t cause an obstruction to disabled people.

Scottish Liberal Democrats will also ask the Scottish Government to publish advice to alert businesses to these possibilities and help local authorities prepare their own plans for the reopening of these businesses when the time comes.
This comes as Lithuanian capital Vilnius is to be turned into an ‘open-air cafe’, with businesses allowed to use nearby plazas, squares and streets free of charge.

Australia this week allowed restaurants and cafes to open but have initially limited the number of people dining inside to 10, causing some to reportedly say it isn’t worth their while to re-open at this stage.

Alex said:

Once it is safe and they are permitted to reopen, it seems inevitable that cafes, restaurants and bars will need to operate at a much reduced capacity to enable social distancing.

Embracing a new street cafe culture with more covers outside could for many make the difference between their business being viable or not.

Temporarily allowing these businesses to use nearby streets and other open-air spaces would help them lift the shutters when the time is right, protecting jobs and keeping people safe.

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++Breaking news: General Election Review

In an email to all members, Mark Pack, the party President, writes:

… today our independent review of the general election has published its report.

We asked for this, to be frank, thorough and challenging – and it is. More than 20,000 of you contributed your views to Dorothy Thornhill and her team. Thank you to everyone involved.

This review challenges us to change as a party and to change the country for the better.

It makes a series of clear recommendations about how we can improve our campaigning, plan better, build on what worked well locally, and win more votes and seats. You

Posted in News | Tagged | 77 Comments

Non-publication of SAGE minutes could mean that the government are taking decisions contrary to the scientific advice and we won’t know it until it is too late


Embed from Getty Images

Over on the Debated Podcast there is an excellent interview with Judith Bunting, a scientist by training, who was PPC for us in Newbury and West Berkshire in 2015 and 2017, and also MEP for the South-East of England from 2019-2020. Will Barber Taylor engages with Judith on the following topics:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 15 Comments

Wendy Chamberlain MP: Census must reflect diversity to make sure all people count

This week, Parliament debated the Census which will take place next year. Wendy Chamberlain highlighted the need to ask the right questions to make sure that all people are taken into consideration when planning future public services. She also talked about the need for everyone to be able to take part. As the census moves online, how will people who don’t have access to computers take part?

She also took the opportunity to challenge Liz Truss’s remarks on health care for transgender people, saying how important it is for members of the government to watch that their language does not exclude people.

Watch her speech here. The text is below.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Lib Dem Councillor calls for gay and bi men to be allowed to participate in Covid-19 trials

“Discriminatory, arbitrary and regressive.” Those are the words used by Liberal Democrat Councillor Victor Chamberlain to describe the decision to exclude the plasma of gay and bi men being used in the trial to try to find a treatment for Covid-19.

Victor has written to the Health Secretary to ask him to reverse this ban. He cites a similar trial in the Netherlands which doesn’t mention sexuality at all.

It’s great to see a Liberal Democrat councillor taking a leading role in this.

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Rennie calls for UBI summit to help those who can’t get government support

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today called for an intergovernmental summit on a universal basic income to take place to ensure that support is urgently made available for those who have fallen through cracks of the current furlough and income support measures.

He highlighted the plight of self-employed workers who were not trading for the entirety of the last tax year, PAYE freelancers,  self-employed workers who are paid in dividends, people who work from home and those who have recently changed jobs as examples of people who have experienced a sudden and dramatic loss of income as well as those struggling to access existing anti-poverty measures.

Across the UK, the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimate that roughly 675,000 people will be ineligible for the government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which mirrors the 80% wage subsidy scheme for the employed.

The IFS says another 1.3 million people with some self-employment income are likely to be ineligible because they received less than half of their income from self-employment last year.

His call comes as the The Poverty Alliance, Scotland’s anti-poverty network, has identified a number of shortcomings in the current crisis responses, including a lack of targeted social security support for families with children at either the UK or Scottish level, limited access to community care grants and gaps in employment protection programmes.

Willie said:

I fully understood and supported the decision to use the existing tax and spend apparatus to help people financially. Time was short and we needed to act fast. Now that those schemes are getting into place we need to take the next steps.

With economic uncertainty destined to loom for the foreseeable future, we need to ensure that everyone can afford to keep a roof over their head and a meal on the table.

We should be adopting the principles of a universal basic income: no one should be left behind. The UK Government has acted swiftly to back businesses and support furloughed workers but too many are slipping through the cracks and there’s a real risk that furloughed staff will lose their jobs when the current scheme ends.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 16 Comments

Dick Newby: Individual stories of Windrush victims shame politicians who use pejorative language and stoke up resentment

In the Lords recently, Dick Newby talked about the lives of Windrush Generation people damaged because of the actions of the Home Office and the need for a compensation scheme.

His whole speech is below:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 5 Comments

Christine Jardine won’t stand for Lib Dem leadership

In a post on Facebook on Thursday, Christine Jardine told Scottish Lib Dem activists that she wasn’t going to go for the Lib Dem leadership.

The Edinburgh West MP’s remarks were reported in the New Statesman:

“After considering all the suggestions and requests, I have opted not to go for the leadership,” Jardine wrote. “Perhaps it’s lockdown but I realise my personal and family life has taken quite a hit in the past three years, and perhaps the people around me deserve a wee bit more of my time. I also don’t have a burning desire to be leader. I got into this to make a difference and I don’t have to be leader to do that.”

The current declared candidates are Wera Hobhouse and Layla Moran with current interim co-leader Ed Davey also expected to stand.
Posted in News | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Our President welcomes new and renewed members

Our Party President, Mark Pack, has posted the following upbeat message on Instagram today:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Lib Dem peers highlight problems with social care

The House of Lords debated how Covid-19 affected social care this week and Lib Dem peers made several contributions on such issues as DNRs being inappropriately proposed to local authority financing and the needs of charities helping seriously ill children and PPE in care homes.

Sal Brinton as Health and Social Care spokesperson summed up the Lib Dem stance on these important issues.

Here is her speech in full:

On behalf of the Liberal Democrat Benches, I also thank all the staff and volunteers working across the wider social care and community sector. Frequently low paid but definitely not low skilled, these amazing people show us their professionalism and big hearts, day after day.

Back in mid-February, we on these Benches asked the Minister repeatedly about care. On 26 February, the noble Lord, Lord Bethell, said in Hansard that

“we are planning … a massive communications campaign on how to protect people, particularly vulnerable people, in our population.”—

The evidence of recent weeks shows that those most vulnerable in our communities and care homes have been seriously and tragically let down.

Others have covered plenty of the detail, which is symptomatic of the centralised way in which Whitehall, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the NHS have treated anything not in hospitals as a second or even third order of priority. My noble friend Lord Shipley explained the problems that have arisen since Whitehall took over the supply chain for the social care sector and then decided to create a separate system, known as Clipper, that we were told was due to come online on 6 April, but yesterday discovered is still three to four weeks away from going operational.

Worse, where providers and local resilience forums have ordered their own PPE, it has been confiscated by government and rerouted centrally for hospitals first, leaving community settings high and dry. This includes lorries being stopped at border ports and drivers being rerouted. Consequently, a lack of PPE and a policy of moving patients from hospital into care homes without any testing has meant that Covid-19 has spread rapidly in the social care sector.

I support my noble friend Lady Jolly’s call for clarity on DNRs and echo her concerns about GPs asking disabled and learning-disabled people completely inappropriate questions. It is very clear from the government advice, NICE advice and all good palliative care advice that the way in which this happened was inappropriate. I hope that this DNR factor will be examined as part of any inevitable public inquiry. It seemed to happen in groups. Were CCGs asking GPs to ring their patients and find out whether they wanted to go to hospital? To do it all in one conversation is completely inappropriate. For many disabled people, it was completely inappropriate to even ask them this, if they do not have the clinical frailty that my noble friend Lady Jolly spoke of.

However, the Government’s lack of understanding of the wide range of other disabled people, and extremely fragile people, living within our community extends ​completely in the opposite direction. As a result, people who have ventilators or tracheostomies, for example, have found that their care support is entitled to only the most simple and flimsy face masks, because they are regarded as exactly the same as the standard care in residential homes. The Government’s PPE for the social care sector is almost always designed for the elderly.

Matt Hancock said last week that health and social care workers should not overuse PPE. The gasp that went through the social care community when he said that could be heard across the country. Most community orders are receiving a tiny fraction of what is ordered and needed. My noble friend Lady Barker summarised well the problem between the department and local government.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 19 Comments

WATCH: Kingston Lib Dem councillors supporting their community

Kingston’s Lib Dem councillors have put out a wonderful video showing what they are doing during lockdown to support local residents and to get through these very stressful times.

Enjoy.

It’s lovely to watch – emphasises the importance of staying at home, but has lots of suggestions for ways to get – and give – help.

And our councillors have some really, really cute animals.

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