Author Archives: The Voice

So, no abolition of the 45p rate after all…

45p tax cut U-turn: Now scrap corporation tax cut and bankers bonuses too

Responding to Kwasi Kwarteng’s U-turn on abolishing the 45p rate of tax, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

This humiliating U-turn comes too late for the millions seeing their mortgage rates soar because of this botched budget.

The Conservatives must now cancel their conference and recall Parliament, to sort out this mess for the sake of the country.

The corporation tax cut and the bankers bonus rise need to be scrapped and we need a clear plan to help mortgage borrowers cope with eye-watering interest rate rises. It can’t be

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Lib Dems mark Black History Month

Black History Month starts today and this year its theme is “Time for Change: Action not words”

From the Black History Month UK website:

To get to a better tomorrow, we can’t just focus on the past. The past is in the past. We can acknowledge and learn from it, but to improve the future, we need action, not words. We need to come together around a shared common goal to achieve a better world for everyone.

This year’s Black History Month in October is more important than ever. It’s not just a month to celebrate the continued achievements and contributions of Black people to the UK and around the world. It’s also a time for continued action to tackle racism, reclaim Black history, and ensure Black history is represented and celebrated all year round.

For those of us looking to be better allies, the message is clear:

Being an ally means moving beyond short-term or performative gestures and taking real, long-term action. In the workplace, in places of education and learning, and in the public sphere, this means having policies in place that achieve real outcomes.  As an individual, it means actually practising what you preach. In the wake of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests, many organisations and individuals committed to tackling racism.

This was done around the world by taking the time to learn about the black experience and additionally, in the UK, this included learning about the historical legacy of colonialism and slavery. That was an important step forward, but it won’t fundamentally change institutional racism today.A number of recent reports have called out racism across a range of sectors, from international aid and education to healthcare and policing. As a society, we all know there is a problem with institutional racism. Now we need to work together to tackle it.

Stonewall have produced a really good guide on being a good ally to black LGBT+ people.

Lib Dem AM Hina Bokhari set out what Black History Month means to her:

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Lib Dem social media ad calls on Conservatives to cancel conference and sort out their mess

On Thursday we reported on Ed Davey’s call for the Conservatives to cancel their Conference and get on with sorting out the mess they have created in the economy. We will all feel the effects of their recklessness in the months and years to come.

The party’s comms teams have backed this up with this social media ad. If you haven’t seen it in your feeds, that’s probably a good thing as party members and supporters aren’t usually the target audience of our campaigns.

Conferences are supposed to be a moment to showcase the best your party has to offer, to make the most of that spot in the media. The sight of Conservatives drinking champagne while people face soaring bills and find it increasingly difficult to get a mortgage will not, we suspect, go down particularly well with voters.

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Labour backs PR? Don’t hold your breath

Yesterday, Labour’s conference a motion calling for its next manifesto to include a commitment to introduce Proportional representation for parliamentary elections.

On one hand, it’s good to see the Labour conference finally catch up with us. We have long supported giving voters the Parliament they ask for.

Labour have, of course, introduced proportional voting systems before, in the Welsh and Scottish assemblies. Directly elected mayors are also elected by supplementary voting.  However, they have stuck with first past the post for Westminster because why wouldn’t they when it benefitted them.

Yesterday’s vote is significant in that it shows that the voices calling for change are growing. However, Keir Starmer and the Labour leadership have basically made it clear that it has as much chance of appearing in the manifesto as handing out a free unicorn to every 7 year old.

From The Guardian:

Before the vote, a senior Labour source downplayed the prospect of electoral reform even if Starmer wins the next election. “Anyone who thinks this would be a priority for the first term of a Labour government is kidding themselves,” they said.

However, what happens if, after the next General Election, Labour is short of a majority in the House of Commons. Obviously it depends on the exact numbers, but it is something we and the Greens could demand as the price of our support. From the Times Red Box this morning:

But Lara Spirit hears that those behind yesterday’s vote are jubilant. They don’t care, one admitted to her, about PR being in the manifesto, where its likely omission is currently considered fatal.

They wager that, should Labour win without a majority or with a slim and unstable one, Liberal Democrats and/or Greens will demand support for PR. And Labour will be forced to give it. In the eyes of those she spoke to celebrating yesterday, it’s now official Labour policy. In that scenario, how could they not?

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Liberal Democrats Select David Chadwick as Candidate for Top Welsh target seat of Brecon & Radnorshire

  • David Chadwick selected as the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate in the party’s top Welsh target seat of Brecon & Radnorshire.
  • The Selection follows major gains made by the Welsh Liberal Democrats in the Conservative/Liberal Democrat battleground of Powys during this year’s local elections, where the Conservatives were left with just a single councillor in Brecon & Radnorshire

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have selected their first General Election candidate to stand in their top Welsh target seat.

David Chadwick was selected by local party members as the Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire. David currently works as a cyber security consultant and has family ties to Builth Wells. David became interested in politics when his grandfather took him to see the steelworks in Port Talbot to see what it was like to work in a blast furnace stating it gave him an early insight into how politics, industry and communities are intrinsically linked.

In recent months, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have made major gains in Powys, becoming the largest group on Powys County Council and in Brecon and Radnorshire they topped the polls with 15 councillors compared to the Conservatives who were left with just a single councillor.

The seat of Brecon and Radnorshire has long been considered a Conservative-Liberal Democrat battleground with the area’s MPs and Senedd Members coming from one of the two parties since 1979. The Liberal Democrats would need a swing of just 8% to take back the seat.

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Jane Dodds: Cost-Of-Living, the NHS and Housing Should Be This Senedd’s Priorities

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS has today outlined her key priorities for the Senedd to address during its new term. These priorities are:

  • Addressing the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Tackling backlogs in the NHS and NHS dentistry.
  • Fixing problems in the Welsh housing sector.

Jane Dodds warned that the Welsh Labour-Plaid Cymru partnership in Cardiff Bay was failing to tackle these key issues and emphasised that strong action needed to be taken immediately.

Despite an announcement of an energy price freeze by UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, energy bills are still expected to be double that of last winter for most families and businesses in …

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William Wallace: Social change during the Queen’s Reign

Next in our series of tributes to the Queen from Lib Dem parliamentarians is from William Wallace. He has a unique perspective. Like Mary Reid, he remembers the death of her father and as a Westminster Abbey chorister sang when his coffin arrived in Westminster Hall and at the Queen’s coronation. He talks about the social change that the Queen helped along during her reign.

My Lords, I am conscious that admitting that I can remember the monarchy before Queen Elizabeth is to admit that I am well over the average age, even in this House. My first image of the monarchy was, indeed, of the Queen’s grandmother, Queen Mary, who used to come to listen to sermons in Westminster Abbey whenever a particularly radical canon, Canon Marriott, was preaching the social gospel—something which would now be considered far too left-wing for any current bishop to talk about. I learned a little more when, as a junior chorister, I sang when the coffin of George VI arrived at Westminster Hall for the lying-in-state, and rather more about the symbolic importance of the monarchy when, as a more senior chorister, I sang at the Coronation.

People have talked a lot about how much the country has changed since then. When I think back to that period, it is astonishing what sort of change we have been through. As I walked past the abbey this morning, I remembered that it was black in 1952, covered in soot. Outside, a gallery had been built for people to watch from over a bomb site, which is now the Queen Elizabeth II Centre. Inside, nearly a thousand Peers were in the north transept, in their full robes and with their coronets, and nearly a thousand Peeresses were in the south transept. In a few months’ time, when the ballot for perhaps 100 of us who wish to attend the next Coronation arrives, we should remember that social deference has ended and the social order in this country is different from what it was then.

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Joan Walmsley: The Queen was on my side and your side

The next in our series of tributes to the Queen from our parliamentarians comes from Joan Walmsley.

My Lords, I shall say a few words from these Benches on behalf of myself and my co-deputy leader, my noble friend Lord Dholakia, who is unable to be with us today.

Her late Majesty, like many women, was thrown into a difficult role at a time when she least expected it, yet, like many women, she pulled herself together despite her grief and got on with her job—or her calling, as she saw it. She did it in her own way, as I am sure our new King, King Charles, will also do, adapting her approach as appropriate over the years. As the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, just said, she managed to achieve a balance between consistency and flexibility, and she did it with grace, charm, dignity and dedication. She was at the heart of her family and the nation, and supported us all in good times and in bad. We will miss her among us, as she has so often been.

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Brian Paddick: The servant Queen

We are publishing tributes to the Queen from Liberal Democrat parliamentarians across the UK in the run-up to her funeral tomorrow. This is from Brian Paddick.

My Lords, I have been trying to make sense of all this, as someone who never met Her late Majesty. My mother was seven years older than Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II, but when I lost my own personal life anchor, when my mother died, I felt that I still had Her Majesty the Queen.

Her late Majesty was the safest of a safe pair of hands. She was the most reliable of the people upon whom we relied; she was the greatest example of duty and dedication. I was concerned in recent years that the Queen could not possibly continue to the very end without having to abdicate as old age took its toll, yet she served to the very end—something that I feel sure she would have been very happy to achieve. Our Lord Jesus Christ is sometimes described as the servant king. Her late Majesty was surely the servant Queen. May she rest in peace.

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Jane Dodds: She was a stateswoman like no other

Jane Dodds paid tribute to the Queen in the Senedd.

The text is below:

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Christine Jardine: The Queen shared our thoughts, our memories and our pain

Our parliamentarians paid tribute to The Queen in debates held last weekend. Here is Christine Jardine’s speech:

The text, from Hansard, is below:

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Refunds for Autumn Conference

Everyone who has registered for Conference should have received an email from Nick Da Costa, Chair of the Federal Conference Committee.

Here is an updated version of his email:

Dear All,

Rail and Accommodation update

Those of you registered from Conference will shortly receive the below email following updates from National Rail and Visit Brighton. Visit Brighton have also reached out directly to people who have booked hotels.

The Conference Team will also be reaching out soon regarding registrations, but I wanted to give you an update on this items in the first instance. There will be more updates from the team when we can

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Alistair Carmichael recounts being told off by the Queen over horse show clash

Next up in our Parliamentarians’ tributes to the Queen is Alistair Carmichael who has some very funny stories to tell about the Queen, including the time when she expressed disapproval about the State Opening of Parliament clashing with the first day of the Windsor Horse Show:

The text is below:

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Tim Farron tells of the top tip the Queen gave him

MPs and peers have been paying tribute to HM the Queen. We’ll post the videos and text over the next few days. Here is Tim Farron’s in which he tells of a good piece of advice the Queen gave him when he was a new MP.

The full text is below:

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Ed Davey’s tribute in the House of Commons today

Ed Davey spoke movingly in the Commons today.

 

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HM Queen Elizabeth II 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022

It is a moment that we all knew was going to come at some point in the not too distant future. Even so, the announcement of the Queen’s passing comes as a shock. It’s hard to take in that someone whose face you have seen every day of your life in some form is no longer with us.

Senior Liberal Democrats have remarked on her passing.

Ed Davey said:

We are all deeply mourning the profound loss of a great monarch, who served our country so faithfully all her life and who was loved the world over.

“For many people, including myself, The Queen was an ever-fixed mark in our lives. As the world changed around us and politicians came and went, The Queen was our nation’s constant.

“The Queen represented duty and courage, as well as warmth and compassion. She was a living reminder of our collective past, of the greatest generation and their sacrifices for our freedom.

“My thoughts and prayers today go especially to the Royal Family. And they also go to people in every corner of the world whose lives she touched. Today our family of nations is in mourning, as we also remember the steadfastness, resolve and love Queen Elizabeth brought to the world.”

Welsh Lib Dem Leader Jane Dodds said:

I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. My thoughts are with the King, her majesty’s other children, grandchildren and all those close to her at this difficult time.

“Her Majesty’s passing, without a doubt, does mark the end of a very long, and indeed a seminal chapter in the history of our nations and for most people her presence has been one of the few constants throughout their lives.

“Throughout her life, Her Majesty served the country with the absolute greatest dedication, honour and dignity. From serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War Two, to taking the time to speak to local schoolchildren at the opening of the Senedd last year, she never once shied away from public duty.

“Her life will forever be interlinked with that of a period of great change within the UK and although many today would struggle to recognise the world she had been born into, she always seemed to belong very much here today in the present.

“Her Majesty was always a great friend to Wales and she will be deeply missed within the UK, the Commonwealth and further afield. I pray that her journey into the next stage has been peaceful and that she is at rest.”

Scottish Lib Dem Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

Queen Elizabeth II represented perhaps the greatest life of public service in the history of our country. Our family of nations is in mourning.

“For seven decades she has been our country’s most recognisable ambassador. Whether it be her wartime service, her patronage of more than 600 charities or her Covid-19 broadcast to the nation, she has been a beacon for so many people. The Queen was loved and touched lives the world over.

“She will be remembered not only as the longest reigning monarch these isles have ever seen but as a steadfast and loyal sovereign, devoted to the wellbeing of her people,

“In 1947, the 21-year-old Princess Elizabeth declared to the British Commonwealth that her whole life, whether it be long or short, would be devoted to its service. By any measure that promise has been more than fulfilled.

“The thoughts of myself, my family and all of the Scottish Liberal Democrats are with the Queen’s family and friends at this time.

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Liam McArthur lodges Assisted Dying Bill

Liam McArthur, MSP for Orkney,  will today lodge a final proposal in the Scottish Parliament for his Members Bill  which would enable assisted dying in Scotland if passed.

A report detailing the responses to the public consultation on the bill’s proposals will also be published. In total, 14,038 consultation responses were received – the highest number of responses received to date for a consultation on a proposed Members Bill.

The report’s findings include:

  • A clear majority of respondents, 76%, were fully supportive of the proposal, with a further 2% partially supportive.
  • Many respondents gave first-hand experiences of living with, and caring for, family, friends and patients with a terminal illness who had experienced great pain and suffered what was often described as a “bad death”.
  • The majority of respondents believe that assisted dying should be available for terminally ill people in Scotland, as it is in other parts of the world, and that a humane society should make provision to spare its dying people from unbearable pain and suffering and allow them the autonomy to legally choose to end their lives in a safe and regulated manner.
  • Many supportive respondents believe the proposal is an improvement on previous attempts to legislate for assisted dying and are fully satisfied with the proposed safeguards. Many believe that the proposal successfully balances the provision of a right to assisted death for competent terminally ill adults with a clear and appropriate set of safeguards built in to every step of the process, together with a right for health professionals involved to conscientiously object.

Liam said:

The public consultation received an overwhelming response and I am grateful to everyone who took the time to engage in this vitally important process.

It is clear that a majority of people who responded are in favour of a new assisted dying law in Scotland and that the choices we have around how we die is an issue that needs addressing.

As well as thoughtful perspectives on how an assisted dying law would work in Scotland, I have heard from dying people who would very much like to have this choice available to them as their illness progresses. People who, right now, face a series of unimaginable choices and would have peace of mind in their final months knowing that if they need it when the time comes they can have a peaceful death that is right for them.

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Daisy Cooper slams Truss speech and Ed Davey calls for General Election

Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper has absolutely slammed Liz Truss’s speech on the steps of Number 10.

It did nothing, she said, for the business owners who were scared that they might have to close their businesses in days if not weeks.

She criticised the reported Truss plan on energy bills, saying that she should pay for it by taxing the energy companies’ massive profits rather than through general taxation.

Ed Davey was up early this morning. A friend of mine on Twitter saw him keeping warm with a Pret coffee. He explained to BBC Breakfast why the Government should tax energy firms:

 

Ed also called for a General Election to get the Tories out of power once and for all:

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Why Brighton conference should be in your diary

Mark Pack writes on the party website:

It’s thirty years since my first autumn federal conference, appropriately also in Brighton. That 1992 conference was the start of the most successful electoral run in our party’s history – record-breaking Parliamentary by-election wins, sweeping local government gains and then a huge leap in the size of the Parliamentary Party as a tired, discredited, scandal-riven Conservative Party lost office.

As part of that run of success, two years later, we were back in Brighton again, as you may have seen from the recently rediscovered BBC footage of a younger version of me (more curls, larger

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Welsh Liberal Democrats pay tribute to former Assembly Member Mick Bates

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have paid tribute to former Welsh Assembly Member Mick Bates following the news that he has passed away following a battle with cancer.

Mick Bates was elected as the Liberal Democrat member for Montgomeryshire constituency in the inaugural Welsh Assembly elections in 1999 and continued to serve as its member until 2011.

Prior to becoming the Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire Mick had worked as a teacher, as a farmer and as a Liberal Democrat County Councillor.

Mick was well known for being a tireless campaigner for rural communities, but also for being decades ahead of his time on the need to tackle climate change advocating for action to save the environment years before it entered the political mainstream.

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Seaside sewage monitors revealed to be faulty or not even installed

Monitors which are supposed to measure the amount of sewage being pumped into popular seaside spots found to be broken or not even installed.

As many as one in eight southern sewage monitors installed for designated swimming areas are either faulty or not installed.

Sewage monitors along popular Cornish and Sussex coastlines not even installed – Lib Dem MP slams the water companies: “This is a national scandal and these new figures stink of a cover-up.”

New analysis of Environment Agency data by the Liberal Democrats has revealed water companies are failing to monitor sewage discharges at popular British seaside resorts. …

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Cole-Hamilton calls for action to stop spread of Monkeypox

Alex Cole-Hamilton has urged the Scottish Government to do more to deal with the Monkeypox outbreak which has so far infected 71 people in Scotland.

  • Whether the First Minister or Health Secretary has discussed Monkeypox with the JCVI;
  • What briefings ministers have had from health officials;
  • Whether it is intending to offer vaccination to all those most at risk of contracting monkeypox;
  • What conversations have been had with Health ministers and officials in other parts of the UK;
  • How many doses of the MVA smallpox vaccine it has access to and whether it will be ordering more.

Alex said:

During the Covid crisis we saw that government policy was better when precautions were explained to people, contingency plans laid out in public and scrutiny encouraged.

It was when the government chose to make decisions behind closed doors and failed to take the public with them that many of the worst decisions of the pandemic were made.

This is an opportunity to show that lessons have been learned from the Covid crisis. The WHO says that this is an emergency so while caseloads are still low, it’s important that ministers act.

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Young Liberals affirm support for trade unions

A motion passed at the Young Liberals Summer Conference yesterday criticises Lib Dem MPs for their comments over the RMT strike action. YL believe that the action was justified.

Their motion said:

(Conference notes)…

The recent industrial action taken by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) was aimed at, amongst other things:

Tackling fire and rehire;
Protecting against compulsory redundancies;
Seeking to protect the safe running of the railway by maintaining staffing
levels;

The industrial action was held with the support by 89% of members balloted.
There has been a recent controversial response to the RMT strikes by the Federal Party, including:

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Sarah Olney: GDP figures are proof that the Government is missing in action

Lib Dem Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney has demanded that the Government take action  to avoid a recession immediately after the announcement of the fall in GDP

She said:

The warning lights are flashing red but the government is missing in action.

There’s no time to waste, ministers must act now to boost confidence and avoid a recession.

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Shropshire Lib Dems welcome former Labour Mayor Jon Tandy

Our efforts in Shropshire have not gone unnoticed.

This week former Labour Mayor and parliamentary candidate for Shrewsbury joined the Lib Dems and was welcomed by local councillor Alex Wagner.

From Shropshire Live:

Jon Tandy said: “I was a Labour Councillor for 16 years, and served Shrewsbury as Mayor. I even ran to be our Labour MP. Joining another party is not a decision I take lightly, and has played on my mind for some time.

“Ultimately, the Labour Party I joined 35 years ago is gone. The influence of Corbyn and Momentum is still present like a nasty hangover, especially in Shrewsbury and Atcham. I can’t sit by and stick with them when there are other strong alternatives locally.

I’m born and bred in Shrewsbury, I love this town. The Liberal Democrats are providing the community leadership that we need to keep making Shrewsbury a better place to live for everyone. They really care about our town, and I’m going to be backing the Lib Dems all the way to win votes and seats from both the Tories and Labour.”

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Davey: A cosy meeting with energy companies isn’t enough

 

Ed Davey has warned that tomorrow’s meeting between government ministers and energy companies risks becoming “a pointless talking shop” unless a tougher windfall tax is confirmed.

He demanded that the Business Secretary and Chancellor impose a tougher windfall tax on energy companies to fund the scrapping of October’s energy price rise. He wants the rate raised from 25% to 30% and its scope increased to include profits since October 2021.

He thinks this could raise around £20 billion, four times more than the government’s weaker levy is currently expected to generate.

Ed said:

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Ed Davey: Cancel energy price rise to avoid a social catastrophe

Here’s Ed Davey on yesterday’s Good Morning Britain  talking about his radical call for the Government to cancel the energy price cap rise planned for October, paying for it by a windfall tax on energy companies and increased VAT receipts.

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Richard Foord: Sunak and Truss have learned nothing from Tiverton and Honiton

It’s just over a month since Richard Foord achieved one of the best results in by-election history. Last night the Conservative leadership candidates continued their race to the bottom at a hustings in Exeter.

Richard reflected on their performance, saying that they had learned nothing from his win:

Tonight’s debate showed that Sunak and Truss have learned absolutely nothing from their Tiverton and Honiton by-election defeat.

This is a dismal contest between the former Chancellor who repeatedly hiked taxes and a Foreign Secretary who sold out West Country farmers with botched trade deals.

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Alex Cole-Hamilton banned from Russia

The Liberal Democrats have long been vocal in their support for Ukraine against Russian aggression. However no Liberal Democrat MPs were included in the 287 MPs banned from entering the Russian Federation in April.

However, Scottish Lib Dem Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton found himself at number 14 on a list of UK politicians and journalists, including Keir Starmer and David Cameron,who were banned yesterday. According to the Russian Foreign Minisry they “contribute to London’s hostile course aimed at the demonization of our country and its international isolation.”

Alex was pretty chuffed by the news that he is no longer allowed to enter the Russian Federation:

He added:

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Munira Wilson shortlisted for Ethnicity Awards: Please vote for her

Congratulations to Munira for being shortlisted in the public service or campaigner category of the 2022 Ethnicity Awards. She faces stiff competition. You can vote for her here. The citation reads:

Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson has been serving as the Lib Dem Spokesperson for Education since 2021, using her political platform to campaign against violence, advocate for mental health services, and speak out on behalf of refugee rights. Her own mother fled her homeland of Zanzibar during the revolution, becoming stateless. Munira stated that ‘I couldn’t have become an MP without their hard work and I don’t see why I should turn around and deny that opportunity to other people who want to come do that.’

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