Author Archives: The Voice

Excitement builds ahead of pro EU march

They’re coming from all over the country to London to make their voices heard. Have an amazing day, everyone!

Welcome to the party, Clifford.

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What happened when Vince went to Brussels

While Theresa May spoke to EU leaders, Vince met fellow Liberal leaders from across Europe in Brussels today .

Here he is with Catherine Bearder afterwards:

Over on the party website, Vince wrote about last night’s meeting with Theresa May and other leaders except Jeremy Corbyn, whose fit of pique he described. He then takes us through his conversations in Brussels, including the applause when talk of revoking Article 50 was mentioned.

I emphasised to the danger the Prime Minister is placing both the UK and Europe in, by arguing for a short extension which simply postpones the cliff edge we have been facing. What is needed now is a long extension to Article 50, to permit a real rethink and a final public say on the deal.

It is very important on these occasions that we get the chance to remind liberals in Europe that the Brexit story is far from over domestically: government ministers will always say they are ‘delivering the will of the people’. In truth, the ‘no deal’ exit Theresa May is threatening us with would be a total distortion of that result, abandoning many Leave voters as well as the 16.1 million who voted Remain. Now, around 60% say they would vote for Remain rather than the deal or ‘no deal’, so the will of the people is changing.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for my European counterparts was when I articulated our own position – agreed at conference just last weekend. If there is no extension, and we are approaching the ‘No Deal’ cliff edge, Liberal Democrats are clear: we should revoke Article 50 rather than crash out. There was a ripple of applause in the room when I said as much. Revocation would be a major step, causing huge unrest, but it is preferable to leaving without a deal.

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Supporters Pack now available

Voice received the following from HQ:

On Saturday at our conference, members voted to create an registered supporter’s scheme for the Liberal Democrats.

In the first 24 hours after we launched the scheme, more than 2,000 people joined in almost every single Westminster constituency in Britain.

More supporters are joining every hour.

To help you make the most of these new supporters, the Membership team at HQ have produced some resources for you – which you can access here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/supporters-local-party-guide

The launch pack covers everything you’ll need – from an explanation of what supporters are to template emails and social media graphics to help recruit even more supporters.

It also includes how to find the people that have become registered supporters in your area.

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Vince and other (non Labour) opposition leaders play hardball with May

Vince Cable, Liz Saville-Roberts, Ian Blackford and Caroline Lucas have been meeting the Prime Minister this evening. And they went in with intent to argue with her pretty robustly.

They basically said that Parliament should sit in continuous session until they can sort this out. MPs would not be bullied into making a choice between a disaster and a catastrophe.

And they added that they would bring forward a vote to revoke Article 50 “as a last resort”.

They issued a joint statement before going in to No 10.

The Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Green Party have been working together and meeting regularly for the past two years since the EU referendum.

“We agree that the House of Commons must formulate a plan that will give the EU Council the confidence to agree a longer extension beyond 30th June, so that by the end of next week legislation can be in place to prevent a No Deal exit.

“Parliament should now sit in continuous session until it can reach a decision and set out a clear plan.

“We will be pushing for the House of Commons to support a referendum on remaining in the EU, others will put forward their own positions. If the Commons cannot agree, as a last resort we would be prepared to take steps to secure a parliamentary vote on the revocation of Article 50.

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19 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

‘Govt treating EU citizens appallingly’ with Settled Status call charges

Responding to reports that thousands of EU citizens are being forced to pay for calls to the Home Office’s Settlement Resolution Centre for help with their Settled Status applications, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

EU citizens in the UK are our neighbours and our colleagues, our families and our friends. But ever since the Brexit referendum, they have been treated appallingly by this Conservative Government.

Making them pay up to 40p per minute to get help navigating the complex Home Office system for applying for Settled Status is just

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18 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Swinson: Tories posturing over UK aid is shameless

Following the Taxpayers’ Alliance launch of their report attacking elements of UK aid, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Jo Swinson MP said:

The UK should be incredibly proud of what our aid budget has achieved across the world. Between April 2015 and March 2018 alone, UK aid provided humanitarian assistance to a staggering 26.8 million people, including at least 8.2 million women and girls.

Through the Department for International Development and its work with multilateral organisations, UK aid not only changes lives but does so in a transparent and effective way: DFID is

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16-17 March 2019 – the weekend’s press releases (part 2)

Lib Dems: Revoke Article 50 if a deal isn’t agreed

The Liberal Democrats have today called for the Government to revoke Article 50 if no Brexit deal can be agreed a week before departure date.

The proposal, debated and passed by delegates at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in York today, comes after a week of key Brexit votes in the House of Commons in which MPs again rejected Theresa May’s deal, ruled out no-deal and voted to extend Article 50.

Speaking after the debate, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake MP said:

It is absolutely clear that Brexit will hit

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Vince Cable’s Leader address to Lib Dem Spring Conference

It is a sobering thought that just under 2,000 years ago there were people gathered on this spot no doubt complaining about a treaty from Rome.

…with tiresome regulations about daily baths and straight roads; muttering under their breath that these legionnaires should go back to Gaul or Carthage.

And you would have heard lots of people saying Interum sumo inferium. For those amongst you who don’t converse in classical languages, that means: take back control!

It then took them over 300 years to get their ’Rexit, when the Romans went home.

That’s the kind of timescale Theresa May seems to …

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16-17 March 2019 – the weekend’s press releases (part 1)

Liberal Democrats demand a Clean Air Act

The Liberal Democrats have today demanded the Conservative Government bring forward a Clean Air Act enshrining the legal right to unpolluted air.

The proposals, set out at the Liberal Democrat conference in York, are based on World Health Organisation guidelines and would be enforced by a new Air Quality Agency.

If successful, the Clean Air Act would also demand air pollution testing took place more widely and frequently, with warning signs displayed in pollution hotspots and sensitive areas, such as near schools.

Speaking after the debate, Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

The

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In full: Christine Jardine’s keynote speech

The first keynote speech of Comference came from Christine Jardine.

She covered the pink tax, called for an end to the benefits freeze and condemned the government for marginalised asylum seekers and not letting them work.

Here is her speech in full.

Its fantastic to be back here in York. And a bit eerie for me.

You see making a speech on this stage to all of you was the very last thing I did before my selection process in Edinburgh West.

A lot of things have changed since then… and there is a lot more we want to change.

Some of them are about the party. Some are about the country.

And then there’s Brexit. But lets not bring the mood down.

Certainly that is one of the things we are working to change.

But on a personal level Ive been focussing on three things.

Asylum seekers. DWP. And the thing Ive had most fun with:

The Pink Tax.

Taking multi-national corporations to task for thinking its ok to charge women and girls more for everything from deodorant and disposable razors to clothes and services.

Over the next few weeks Ill be lining up meetings with some of the big manufacturers and retailers to persuade them that they really

Want to act now. Fix the Pink Tax themselves.

They’ve seen what we did to the Gender Pay Gap and well if they don’t fic the Pink Tax.

Ill set Jo Swinson on them.

That’ll teach them.

I didn’t think Id be fighting the big corporations the last time I was in York.

So its all very different from the last time I was in York.

But it is wonderful to be back here in York.

I was going to make a joke about Vikings. Or maybe Rowntrees Fruit pastilles. I do love them

But isn’t it strange for us

Liberal Democrats.

To be holding our conference so close to Theresa May’s spiritual home and the area from which her Government must be drawing its guiding principles.

The Shambles…

Well actually Im being too kind to them.

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15 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Lib Dems call on retailers to scrap the gender price gap

To mark World Consumers Rights Day, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has written to major cosmetic manufacturers and retailers across the UK as part of her campaign to scrap the gender price gap.

Commenting on her campaign, Ms Jardine said:

We are a quarter of the way through 2019 and still men and women pay different prices for the same basic products. This is entirely unacceptable.

For World Consumer Rights Day I am writing to the most prominent cosmetic manufacturers and retailers across the UK to ask them to change their outdated

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Lord Steel’s membership suspended over evidence to child abuse inquiry

Late last night, former Liberal leader David Steel’s membership was suspended by the Scottish Liberal Democrats last night pending an investigation into the evidence he gave to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Scottish Party said:

Following the evidence concerning Cyril Smith given by Lord Steel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on 13th March 2019 the office bearers of the Scottish Liberal Democrats have met and agreed that an investigation is needed.

The party membership of Lord Steel has been suspended pending the outcome of that investigation. That work will now commence.

It is important that everyone in the party, and in wider society, understands the importance of vigilance and safeguarding to protect people from abuse, and that everyone has confidence in the seriousness with which we take it.

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Opportunities for fundraisers and administrators

News of volunteering opportunities in fundraising, employment, IT and partnership building from our friends at the Federal Finance and Resources Committee

A NEW ROLE FOR SUPER-FUNDRAISERS: THE TREASURER’S AMBASSADOR 

The party must prioritise fundraising to ensure we can make a powerful electoral impact, creating a level playing field with other parties. The Federal Treasurer, Lord (Mike) German, is keen to bring in the professional fundraising expertise which we know some members have and are able to offer on a flexible volunteer basis.

We’re seeking a small number of skilled and practised fundraisers who are confident with major donor relationship-management and raising five-figure sums.  Mike will lead and advise, agreeing discussion with you where and how best you can help, but the thrust of the role will be working across your local area to suggest techniques and tactics, mentor candidates and develop prospects and new donors.  

The role is voluntary and part-time but travel costs can be recovered. Volunteers will benefit greatly from what they learn about fundraising culture and know-how in a role central to helping deliver the party’s strategy – as well as acquiring skills that can help support CVs. Volunteers will also be invited to the Treasurer’s Dinner at Conference and other federal events.

If you are interested in this important role please email [email protected].

VOLUNTEER FOR THE FEDERAL FINANCE AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE (FFRC)

The Federal Finance and Resources Committee (FFRC) is seeking volunteers to help provide specialist expertise as part of working groups looking at the following areas:

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9-10 March 2019 – the weekend’s press releases (part 2)

And, as promised…

  • Lib Dems: Labour must stop making excuses on a People’s Vote
  • PM must back independent investigation into Qatar World Cup bid
  • Home Counties knife crime rise shows crime epidemic is sweeping the UK

Lib Dems: Labour must stop making excuses on a People’s Vote

Responding to Keir Starmer’s announcement that Labour will not force a vote in favour of a People’s Vote on Tuesday, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Labour’s apparent belated support for a People’s Vote needs to be put to the test very soon. If not Tuesday, when? And their commitment must go hand in hand with a three

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9-10 March 2019 – the weekend’s press releases (part 1)

There’s no doubt that the Press Team have been busy over the weekend, and we’ll spread the press releases over two posts accordingly…

  • Lib Dems: Javid’s judgement has had tragic consequences
  • Lib Dems: We must now eradicate period poverty from society
  • Swinson: UK must help secure release of Egyptian woman Amal Fathy
  • Jardine reveals “embarrassing” gender balance of the Privy Council

Lib Dems: Javid’s judgement has had tragic consequences

Responding to the reports that the baby son of Shamima Begum has died, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The news that a little baby has died will touch the vast majority of people’s hearts –

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Mark Williams re-selected to contest Ceredigion

Former MP Mark Williams has been re-selected as the Welsh Liberal Democrat Westminster candidate for Ceredigion.

Mark was the MP for Ceredigion from 2005 to 2017 and has remained an active local campaigner since, leading the protests against the closure of the Bodlondeb Care Home in Aberystwyth.

In 2017 the Welsh Liberal Democrats were just 104 votes behind Plaid Cymru, and the Party are determined to win the seat back.

Commenting on his selection Mark Williams said:

It’s truly humbling that party members have chosen me to contest the Ceredigion constituency once more and I am

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Women’s rights are human rights

The Lib Dem Campaign for Racial Equality put out a super short video for International Women’s Day.

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Celebrating International Women’s Day, Chelmsford style

We love this, from Chelmssford Lib Dems, celebrating their women candidates.

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It’s International Women’s Day, but 1/365 isn’t enough

Today, it’s International Women’s Day when everyone remembers that women exist and face daily discrimination. And just to pre-empt the first half dozen comments, yes, there is an International Men’s Day. It’s on November 19th. This is the day to follow Richard Herring’s very funny responses to those who ask that question on Twitter. And if you like what he does, consider making a donation to his Crowdfunder to raise money for Refuge. 

Liberal Democrats are demanding that the Conservative Government do more to improve the lives of women and girls across the UK and address the gendered inequalities that persist throughout society.

Lib Dem women MPs have been busy this week. Christine Jardine’s attempts to outlaw the “Pink Tax”, the gender price gap faced by women, Layla Moran’s bid for gender neutral school uniforms and Wera Hobhouse’s bill to ensure mental health postnatal checks hit the headlines. For heaven’s sake, Christine even made it into Vogue! 


In a joint statement Liberal Democrat MPs Christine Jardine, Jo Swinson, Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse said:

It is frustrating and unacceptable that in the UK in 2019, women and girls continue to face so many everyday barriers.

The Conservative Government have passed the role of Minister for Women and Equalities around like a hot potato, whilst many of the issues that still disproportionately impact women and girls are failing to be addressed.

Liberal Democrats demand better for women and girls. Last year Liberal Democrats introduced legislation to make upskirting a specific offence and now it’s illegal. For International Women’s Day 2019 we’re fighting to improve the lives of women and girls in other ways: by banning the pink tax so that women do not pay more for the same products, introducing gender neutral school uniforms, and improving mental health care for postnatal women.

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Welsh Lib Dems Announce Ryan Jones as Candidate for Newport West

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced Ryan Jones as their candidate for the Newport West Parliamentary by-election on April 4th.

Ryan Jones, 32, lives in The Gaer, having been brought up in Cwmbran. He runs his own construction business in Newport employing 30 people in the city. As a local employer, Ryan is very keen on supporting young people who aren’t fulfilled within the traditional workforce.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Candidate for Newport West Ryan Jones said:

It’s an honour to be selected as the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for this Newport West by-election.

I look forward to opposing our Conservative UK Government, a government

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Swinson slams Javid over student visas

Jo Swinson has slammed Home Secretary over his inflexible 3 year student visas for EU nationals in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

For a start, Scottish degree courses last four years.

From The Herald:

The Russell Group of elite universities, which includes Glasgow and Edinburgh, urged UK ministers to scrap the European Temporary Leave to Remain (ELTR) visa.

The Home Office has proposed that if there is a no-deal Brexit, EU citizens would only be able to stay in the UK for three months before being required to obtain an ELTR.

This would let them to live, work and study in the UK for 36 months but would be “non-extendable”.

Although the Government says a new visa system would be devised by 2021, there are no details, leading to fears the ELTR could act as a deterrent to would-be students.

Jo said:

The Scottish University system is a world leader in part because it attracts students from all over the globe who enrich our culture and help grow our economy, but the Government’s new visa plan risks damaging that reputation.

The Home Secretary is asking students who want to study in Scotland to commit to a four-year course with only a guarantee of a non-extendable three-year visa. He has a degree in economics, so he doesn’t need me to tell him that four into three just doesn’t work.

The Home Secretary likes to talk about building an immigration system that attracts the best and the brightest, but what message does it send to students looking to come here when we won’t even guarantee them a visa long enough to cover their studies?

The Government need to urgently rethink their plans and guarantee these students leave to remain to not just complete their studies, but to potentially stay here and contribute to our economy in the years after they graduate.

Jo wrote to Sajid Javid to set out her concernsThe full text of her letter is below:

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Lib Dem Lords vs Brexit – Dick Newby “Purgatory has its limits”

Yesterday, the Lords debated the Brexit shambles. Here is our Dick Newby’s contribution.

This is the 11th debate or statement on the Government’s withdrawal bill and political declaration. During the three months which these debates have spanned not a single ting has changed. ML, the purgatory continues. 

For a number of months, when my colleagues have become exasperated that Jeremy Corbyn appeared to set his face against supporting a referendum on the Brexit deal, I have sought to reassure them by using the analogy of the 5-year-old schoolboy, who doesn’t want to go to school. As he is being dragged to school by his parent, he stamps his foot and says, “I don’t want to go to school”, “it’s not fair”, “I’m not going to school”. He knows, of course, that he will have to go to school but his amour propre won’t allow him to admit it. Only when he crosses the school threshold does he stop his wailing and runs to join his schoolmates. Mr Corbyn has now crossed the threshold.

I think that the analogy is a fair description of what Jeremy Corbyn has done, but until yesterday I didn’t think of applying it equally to the Prime Minister. Yet, this is exactly what she has done in relation to an extension of Article 50. She has said publicly all along that 29 March was a sacrosanct departure date. She has stamped her foot – as late as the weekend – to repeat this mantra. But she has now proposed giving the Commons a vote to extend Article 50 for an unspecified number of months.

She must have known for some time that she was going to have to shift her position, but she has done so with the greatest reluctance and in a manner which will enable her to blame the Commons for the decision, which she will have flunked.

She should herself be advocating a short extension, on the basis of her conviction that her deal will succeed, for without one it is simply impossible to get the necessary legislation through in an orderly fashion

When I debated this with Brexit Minister Chris Heaton-Harris at the end of last week, he said that everything would be on the statute book on time, but apparently only by dropping half the primary legislation which we had previously been told was necessary, and the by implying the use of emergency powers to get the rest through. Could the Noble Lord Lord Callanan tell the House in his wind-up which pieces of legislation the Government believes it will need to pass before 29 March, if the Government’s deal is approved by the Commons. Specifically, does it include the Agriculture Bill, the Fisheries Bill, the Trade Bill and the Immigration Bill?

Yesterday the Noble Lord the Leader of the House said that, in col 148, in respect of Brexit -related primary legislation, we “need to ensure that this House has adequate time to scrutinise it in the usual manner”. Could the Noble Lord  the Minister explain how we are going to be able to scrutinise the Withdrawal No 2 Bill in the usual manner? We will not know until 12 March whether the Government’s deal has been approved, which gives the Bill a mere two weeks to pass all its Parliamentary stages. Will he acknowledge that we would have to break our normal rules in considering legislation if we were to get this Bill through on time? And will he apologise to the House on behalf of his colleague the Leader for giving a misleading impression yesterday?

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Lib Dem led Sutton Council trials On Demand bus service

ALDC flagged a story this week here, telling us about how Lib Dem-led Sutton Council has decided to trial an On Demand bus service.

Users will be able to use an app to request a bus to stop for them. The benefits are not just for the user – getting more people out of cars and onto buses and public transport reduces congestion and will improve air quality. Sutton Council is working with Transport for London on this trial, with more info on that partnership here.

Lack of bus services, and cuts to bus services, concern many communities up and down the country. Well done to Lib Dem Cllr Manuel Abellan and the team for leading by example. We’ll be keen to know how it all works out!

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LibLink: David Boyle – The Lib Dems should act decisively – and join the Independent Group now

Embed from Getty Images

Over on the Guardian’s Comment is Free, David Boyle uses his first-hand experience of the Liberal party/SDP merger to reflect on the new situation with the Independent Group of MPs:

…this is what I believe Vince Cable should do. As soon as possible, the Lib Dems should join the Independent Group in parliament. I suggest this partly for the good of the independents. Joining the 11 Lib Dems (plus Stephen Lloyd, who resigned the whip recently, but who would surely then follow suit) would double their size and give them momentum. The new group would then be almost two-thirds of the way to becoming the third largest party (currently the SNP with 35 seats), and closer to the public funding attached for policymaking.

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Layla: I’m thinking of standing for leader..

We know that there is going to be a leadership election at some point in the not too distant future. Vince said as much last year when he launched his plans for a supporters scheme.

He said:

Once Brexit is resolved or stopped, that will be the time to conduct a leadership election under the new rules.

Those new rules will be voted upon by the York Conference next month.

We’re not going to get a leadership election imminently and of course nobody has yet announced their candidacy. But we can make an educated guess about likely front-runners.

In 2017, both Ed Davey and Jo Swinson decided against standing.  It’s interesting that they have joint billing with Vince at the Conference rally in York. Or maybe that’s down to Federal Conference Committee’s diplomatic skills.

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No deal Brexit causing panic for people with diabetes

Our Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West, Christine Jardine, wrote passionately in August about the worry facing many about provision of life-saving medicines in the case of a hard Brexit.

Today she has backed charities’ calls for the Government to provide urgent information on how supplies of life saving drugs, like insulin, will be safeguarded if the UK crashes out of the EU.

Christine says:

This goes far beyond politics. This is about people’s lives.

It is unimaginable that this Tory Government is prepared to let people suffer the anxiety of not knowing how or even whether they will be able to get the medicines they need.

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Welsh Lib Dems select Lead Candidate for South Wales West

The Welsh Liberal Democrats launched their campaign to retake the Assembly seat they lost in 2016 to UKIP, with the selection of Sheila Kingston-Jones as the party’s lead candidate for the South Wales West region for the next National Assembly for Wales elections.

Sheila was selected by Welsh Liberal Democrats living in Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot, Maesteg and Bridgend and will be carrying the hopes of the party locally in the Assembly elections in 2021.

Swansea University Student Education Officer, Chloe Hutchinson was chosen as the second-placed candidate on the list, whilst Porthcawl-based businessman, …

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Lynne Featherstone writes on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM

Today is the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM.

As a minister in the Department of International Development, Lynne Featherstone did so much to tackle this practice – work that is now starting to have results, with the first prosecution under the measures she introduced taking place recently.

Over on the party website, she writes about her work – and how the current Government is even continuing it.

Back in 2013 when I was a DFID minister, together with campaigners like Nimco Ali and Efua Dorkeeno, we kicked off the original government campaign on FGM. We succeeded in securing the biggest ever spending commitment in the world of £35 million to work towards eradicating FGM worldwide.

I am delighted to let you know that legacy has continued.

The current Secretary of State for the Department of International Development recently announced that an extra £50 million will go towards eradicating FGM worldwide.

On this occasion, I am delighted to be overtaken.

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Spring Conference agenda published

It’s that time of year again. Today the Spring Conference agenda has been published.

So, if you are sensible, you can start planning your way through the weekend, working out when you want to be in the hall, which fringe meetings (hint: LDV’s homelessness and Universal Credit on Saturday at 1pm in the Walmgate Room at the Hilton) to attend, when you’re going to fit in the exhibition, which training sessions you need to go to. You can work out when you are going to catch up with your friends.

If you’re like most people, you’ll start off with good intentions and then end up doing most of it on the train to Conference.

But there are advantages to doing it early. Looking at the policy motions now means that you have nearly a month – until 4th March at 1pm – to come up with a suitable amendment. 

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Celia Thomas: Every disabled person should be able to live a life of dignity and respect

Last week, the House of Lords debated the future essential services run by local authorities. As local government is so important to Liberal Democrats, it’s no surprise that several Lib Dems took part in the debate.

Celia Thomas talked about two critical issues – social care and, first the provision of public toilets and the impact that cuts have on isolation of people with continence problems.

She warned against the idea that we need to provide support for disabled people so that they can work as this can promulgate the idea that there are deserving and undeserving disabled people. Every disabled person, she said, should be able to live a life of dignity and respect:

My Lords, I shall concentrate on the provision of social care but, before that, I want to mention something that I would call an essential service but which turns out to be discretionary. Here I shall lower the tone of the debate so I hope noble Lords will not mind; I am talking about the provision of public conveniences, lavatories, toilets or loos throughout the country. Those that are left are now often maintained by town or parish councils, but for how long? In 2010, there were over 5,000 public toilets; now, there are 4,486. Is it right that fast-food chains, supermarkets and coffee shops have now virtually taken the place of public toilets? What happens when these places are closed, when managers are reluctant to let everyone use their facilities or when there are no accessible toilets? We should not forget the silent number of people trapped in their homes because of continence problems.

I turn now to social care. As the noble Lord, Lord Kerslake, said, we are no nearer to seeing the Government’s Green Paper; as late as October, we were told it would be with us by the end of the year. The funding issue is a fiendishly difficult problem because social care encompasses so much and is so little understood. We need a different term; I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Patten, about language. The word “social”, according to the dictionary, means,

“marked by friendly companionship with others”.

But, in local government terms, it has a much sterner face to cover the state’s obligation to help care for children, including those with mild or severe learning difficulties, as well as disabled and elderly adults. It may have to cover playschemes for disabled children, personal assistants, aids and equipment, care at home and residential care.

Not only are we all living longer, but there is now a better survival rate for people with serious health conditions. I believe that the dictionary definition of the word “social” is one reason why so many people think the service is free for council taxpayers rather ​than means-tested, or partly means-tested. Anyone who thinks the answer for even quite severely disabled people is NHS continuing care should think again as it is very difficult to get. As for delays in hospital discharges, these are still causing a problem due to care packages having to be negotiated or re-negotiated. Can the Minister say how the Government have evaluated the impact of health and well-being boards in tackling the increasing number of these delays?

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    Notoriety gets you on the media but does not win constituency parliamentary elections.
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    It isn't just the media that seem to have 'lost interest' in the LibDem party it is the leadership. Both Cable and Parron missed vital...
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    Jayne I never said anything about fish. I don't care what the EU does or doesn't do. I'm against it as a political concept on...
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    David you have obviously not met my wife. It would be a foolish man or woman who tries to coerce my wife. Like us all...
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