Author Archives: The Voice

Lib Dem success on sewage in Commons

Yesterday, the Conservatives caved into the Liberal Democrat campaign to end sewage discharges into rivers, by accepting the party’s amendment which stops taxpayers money going to water companies unless the discharges stop.

Liberal Democrat MP Richard Foord tabled the amendment to the UK Infrastructure Bank Bill, which originally allowed water companies to benefit from loans from the bank, even though they are paying their executives huge bonuses and giving shareholders generous dividends while allowing sewerage to be discharged into rivers and coastal waters.

The change to the Bill means the UK Infrastructure Bank can only fund water companies if they produce a costed and timed plan for ending sewage discharges into rivers.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | Leave a comment

Ed Davey on kinship care and his experience

Ed Davey spoke to Jason Farrell, Sky News’ home editor about his own experience of kinship caring. Ed explained his grandparent’s involvement in his own upbringing and how his maternal grandfather and mother were critical to looking after him after the death of this father when he was just four. Ed spoke movingly, at times tearfully, about his mother’s illness and how that created strain between his mother and grandmother. When his mother died 11 years later, his grandparents looked after him full-time while living with the loss of their only child. Kinship care, where grandparents are supported and encouraged in looking after grandchildren alongside foster or adoptive parents, is the best form of care he says.

 

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 8 Comments

++ Breaking news ++ Commons backs Lib Dem amendment on sewage dumping

In a rare Lib Dem success, Richard Foord’s amendment to the Infrastructure Bank Bill has been passed by MPs. It’s actually about sewage, as he explains.

A more detailed analysis to follow tomorrow.

Posted in News | Tagged and | Leave a comment

ULEZ victory for Lib Dem Assembly Members

It’s just seven months till London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone expands across all boroughs, making millions more of the capital’s residents liable for charges. For a small vehicle like a car, the daily charge is £12.50.

This week, London’s Liberal Democrat Assembly members passed an amendment to the scheme which aims to help residents with the impact, including providing more buses:

Our amendment would:

  •  double the scrappage scheme with an additional £100 million and to allow Blue Badge holders to apply
  •  invest £25 million in bus services in Outer London, including demand-responsive buses such as Go Sutton Bus

You can see Caroline Pidgeon’s speech proposing it here:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 17 Comments

Zahawi sacking: Cooper calls for inquiry into what PM knew

As Nadhim Zahawi finally and inevitably gets the boot, Lib Dem Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper has called for an inquiry into what Rishi Sunak knew and when. She also said Zahawi should quit as an MP.

Rishi Sunak has finally acted after spending days defending the indefensible on Nadhim Zahawi. It should never have taken him this long to act. Sunak’s first 100 days in office have been tarnished by endless Conservative sleaze and scandals.

Serious questions remain about what Sunak knew about Zahawi’s tax affairs when he appointed him. We need a proper independent inquiry to establish the facts and hold the Prime Minister to account.

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Richard Foord tables bill on wild camping in national parks

Dartmoor was the only area of England and Wales where under a local law there had been an assumed right to wild camp without the landowner’s permission. However a High Court judge ruled earlier this month that this was legally wrong and permission was needed. That affects not only casual wild campers but also schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme.

A limited agreement for camping access with some landowners on has been agreed. But concern remains that an already restricted right of access to camp is being restricted further. Following the decision, wild camping outside of a designated campsite without the landowner’s permission is no longer legal anywhere in England and Wales.

Yesterday, Richard Foord, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, tabled a bill in the House of Commons – the National Parks (Camping) Bill.

 

Posted in News | Tagged | 3 Comments

Bath & North East Somerset adopts net zero housing policy

Liberal Democrat controlled Bath and North East Somerset Council has become the first council in England to adopt an energy-based net zero housing policy as part of its commitment to tackling the climate emergency.

The new housing development policy will ensure the energy use of any proposed development is measured and meets a specified target — setting a limit on the total energy use and demand for space heating. It will also require sufficient on-site renewable energy generation to match the total energy consumption of the buildings — ensuring the development is 100% self-sufficient.

New policies will also address building emissions such as a policy to limit carbon emissions resulting from the materials used in the construction of large-scale developments. These ‘upfront’ embodied carbon emissions will be limited to 900kg CO2 e/m2.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

Record 350,000 patients waited over 12 hours at A&E last year

  • Figures reveal 1,000 patients left waiting 12 hours or more in A&E every day in 2022
  • Analysis shows shocking rise in long A&E delays since 2015, when just 1,300 people waited 12 hours or more
  • Lib Dems set out plan to tackle NHS crisis including recruiting more GPs and allowing pharmacists to prescribe more medicines

A record 350,000 patients, equivalent to the population of Leicester, waited more than 12 hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E in 2022.

The figures were uncovered in new analysis by the Liberal Democrats showing a staggering rise in 12 hour delays at A&E since 2015.

Liberal …

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

Lib Dem Mathew Hulbert says Church of England giving in to its conservatives on same sex marriage

Lib Dem Councillor Mathew Hulbert has been taking to the airwaves to criticise the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury for giving into the Conservative side of the Anglican Communion. Yesterday, the Church announced that, while it would not allow same sex marriages in Church, they would allow blessings. However, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said that he personally would not conduct them. He said:

But because of my pastoral care and responsibility of being a focus of unity for the whole communion I will – while being extremely joyfully celebratory of these new resources – I will not personally use them in order to compromise that pastoral care

The Church is also apologising for not being inclusive to LGBT+ people in the past.

Yesterday, Mathew tweeted:

This led to a few requests for interviews.

Here’s a brief clip from his Talk TV appearance.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 4 Comments

WATCH: Floella Benjamin press Government on Windrush leaks

On Tuesday we reported that Baroness Floella Benjamin had written to the Prime Minister to ask for an assurance that the Government will not renege on its pledge to implement the recommendations of Wendy Williams in her Lessons Learned Review of the Windrush Scandal. 

Today, Floella sought the same commitment in a Lords question:

The reply was not exactly a robust commitment:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | Leave a comment

WATCH: Wera Hobhouse asks PM to support her bill to tackle workplace sexual harassment

Yesterday, Wera Hobhouse asked the Prime Minister to ensure her bill aimed at tackling workplace sexual harassment has a safe passage through Parliament. The Government has already agreed to support it, but it needs to free up the parliamentary time for it to complete its stages before the end of the session in the Spring.

Watch her here:

In response, the Prime Minister’s words were warm but he didn’t actually give a specific commitment:

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

Baroness Floella Benjamin writes to Rishi Sunak about Windrush fears

Floella Benjamin is Chair of the UK government’s Windrush Commemoration Committee. She has written to Rishi Sunak over concerns that the government is planning to renege on pledges made after the Windrush scandal.

Posted in News | Tagged and | Leave a comment

“A wholly preventable NHS crisis”

Embed from Getty Images

For weeks now, our Health spokesperson, Daisy Cooper, has been energetically raising the issue of the crisis in the NHS on a daily basis. She has been calling for the Prime Minister to declare a major incident and to recall Parliament.

Here is today’s tweet.

 

In a press release she has outlined the Liberal Democrat’s Winter Plan for Ambulances.

Posted in News | Tagged | 24 Comments

Reminder: Conference motions deadlines on 11th January

One great thing about being a member of the Liberal Democrats is that you can submit motions to be considered for debate at our two Conferences.

Scottish Spring Conference takes place in Dundee from 10-11 March and Federal Spring Conference is in York the weekend after. Both motions deadlines are this coming Wednesday, 11th January.

For Scottish Conference, all the info you need on how to submit motions is here. You need 10 members, or a party body, or local party to support you.

For Federal Conference, the motion submission form is here.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 6 Comments

MBE for James Kempton, former leader of Islington Borough Council

Embed from Getty Images

Many congratulations to James Kempton, who has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.

James was the first out LGBTQ+ Leader of Islington Council (2006-09) and Islington’s first LGBTQ+ LibDem councillor. He is an education and leadership consultant. The Islington Humap site says about him:

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Alex Cole-Hamilton’s New Year Message

Alex Cole-Hamilton committed the Scottish Liberal Democrats to fighting for the issues the Scottish people care about, such as the climate emergency and violence against women and girls, and help for those suffering from Long Covid in 2023. He paid tribute to health workers and said that Scots would overcome the challenges we face.

Here is his message in full:

As we approach the end of another year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the twelve months that have just passed.

A year ago, while we were allowed to spend the holidays with our families and loved ones, we were still facing the emergence of Omicron and accessing pubs and bars still required ineffective Covid ID cards.

Now, thanks to the dedicated staff of our National Health Service and all those who served as vaccinators we have seen real progress both in Scotland and across the world in our fight against the pandemic and it is this which has allowed us to get back to some kind of normality.

This year has been a trying one for healthcare workers around the world, and we are incredibly grateful for their tireless efforts to keep us safe and healthy. Your hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed, and Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to support you and campaign for investment in the NHS and its staff to ensure it has the resources it needs to continue serving our communities.

In the new year, my party will continue to work across party lines to help find a way forward for our country. From tackling domestic violence to mental health to the climate emergency, the biggest issues facing the people of Scotland need to be give the time and attention they deserve.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 1 Comment

Season’s Greetings

The Lib Dem Voice team will be taking a break until Thursday 29th December, and we will not be moderating comments or replying to emails until then.

In the meantime we wish you days of peace and love.

Posted in Site news | 1 Comment

Alex Cole-Hamilton’s Christmas Message

Scottish Lib Dem Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has released his Christmas message:

Christmas is a time for reflection, and I think it’s important to take stock of the challenges we’ve faced over the last year.

In February we saw the return of war to Europe for the first time in decades. The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has rewritten international relationships and prompted an astonishing wave of generosity from Scots opening their homes to take in those fleeing Putin’s war.

The soaring cost of energy bills and inflation has bitten into household finances, and our health service has faced unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and more than a decade of SNP mismanagement.

On each of these issues Scottish Liberal Democrats have sought to offer considered and constructive solutions, from pressing the government to support refugees, to an emergency national insultation programme and new support for mental health.

Despite these challenges, I remain optimistic about the future of our country. The spirit of Christmas reminds us that no matter how difficult things may seem, we can always find hope in the love and support of our friends, family, and community.

It would be strange to end any reflection on the year gone by without mentioning the death of Queen Elizabeth II. For many she has been a symbol of constancy in our lives and it will be strange for a Christmas to pass without her address to the nation.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | Leave a comment

Lib Dem Hat-Trick at PMQs

Rishi Sunak faced questions from 3 Lib Dem MPs today.

First up as Ed Davey, giving voice to so many people’s fears as Cancer waiting times soar:

Next came Sarah Olney, who asked for a ban on evictions over the festive period:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Lib Dem attempt to kill off voter id regulations for May elections fails

Lib Dem peers, ably led by Kath Pinnock, tried to get rid of the Government’s regulations for Voter ID last night. If Labour had voted with us, we might have had a chance of defeating the Government, but they abstained and the so-called fatal motion was defeated by 210 votes to 63.

While Kath Pinnock conceded that the principle of voter ID had been passed in the deeply flawed elections Bill, she found quite a few devils in the detail that could cause problems for voters. She told her fellow peers:

There are 240 pages of regulations in this statutory instrument. They must have plenty of time to be introduced and understood so that, when it comes to elections, they can be done fairly. This is not just about communications to electors. It is about the training of the staff: how do you determine whether the likeness of a photo is acceptable? Those are decisions that polling staff will have to make, and they need to be trained properly so that there is consistency across the country. There is a lot more to it than communications.

I remind the House that those who do the practical delivery of elections are very anxious and concerned, and some of them are opposed to the implementation of these regulations for the May elections. The Electoral Commission has grave concerns: it wants six months and will get under four. The Association of Electoral Administrators—the returning officers and elections officers—is very anxious that it will not have time to properly prepare for delivery in May. From local councils, as we have heard, the Conservative chair of the Local Government Association gave a very strongly worded statement, unusually so, expressing grave concerns about the delivery of this measure fairly and equitably across the piece.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 23 Comments

Naomi Long is on the BBC’s 100 Women list for 2022


Alliance party leader, Naomi Long, has been named as one of the BBC’s 100 Women list for 2022.

The list “celebrates the achievements of women internationally, from grassroots volunteers to global leaders”. It includes women from a wide variety of backgrounds including sports, culture, human rights activism, politics, sports, arts etc. It is accompanied by a series of documentaries and intervews across the BBC internationally.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 1 Comment

LibLink – Vince Cable: ‘Why don’t you speak up about Brexit ?’

Over on Medium, Vince Cable has written on the political ups and downs of talking about Brexit:

Aside from narrow, short-term, electoral calculus there is a deeper challenge to parties to define, in broad terms, their picture of the country’s identity and role in the world. The Labour Party was rescued from irrelevance when its leaders, especially under Blair and Brown, located Britain amongst the European Social Democracies. The Lib Dems were long at ease with being European. No alternative has emerged since Brexit. In many ways the country appears lost,

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 46 Comments

Does your hospital have dedicated baby loss facilities?

Imagine you have just heard the news that every parent to be dreads – that you are losing your much wanted baby.

Then, you have to give birth, or support your partner giving birth on the labour ward in your hospital. You can hear the sounds of newborn babies crying and the associated sounds of joy, intensifying the agony you are going through.

When that happened to Louise Caldwell from Lanarkshire, she determined to change things. Her campaign for dedicated baby loss facilities has already been successful in her local hospital and the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Shetland where she also experienced the loss of a baby.  The Scottish Government has said that all hospitals will have these facilities within two years.

Next week she’ll be in Westminster talking to MPs about her experience and her campaign in the hope that such facilities will be introduced across the UK?

From the Daily Record:

Louise, from East Kilbride, told Lanarkshire Live : “I never imagined when I started the campaign that I, a mum from East Kilbride, would be speaking to MPs at Westminster.

“To achieve the new unit at Wishaw – which will hopefully open in the coming months – is a fantastic achievement but there is still so much to do – and I can’t do it on my own.

“I want to see the promise by the Scottish Government to have these facilities in hospitals elsewhere fulfilled and I want to see them replicated across the UK.

Shetland’s Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart was the first to raise this issue in the Scottish Parliament and she recently talked about it during Baby Loss Awareness Week.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Sal Brinton and Paul Scriven defeat Government in Lords over NHS procurement

Lib Dem Peers Sal Brinton and Paul Scriven helped inflict a defeat on the Government in the House of Lords last night.

Their amendment to the Procurement Bill would ensure that the NHS came under the provisions of the Bill and would not give the Health Secretary the power to make up their own rules at their whim.

Sal told Peers:

The Health and Care Act adds new Section 12ZB to the National Health Service Act, which says:

“Regulations may make provision in relation to the processes to be followed and objectives to be pursued … in the procurement of (a) health care services … and (b) other goods or services”.

The problem is that the new section goes on to say:

“Regulations under subsection (1) must, in relation to the procurement of all health care services … make provision for the purposes of ensuring transparency; ensuring fairness; ensuring that compliance can be verified; managing conflicts of interest”.

That is a very different bar of compliance than the Government want to see for every other part of the public sector covered by the Bill.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

29 November 2022 – the overnight press release

Sunak China speech is remarkably tone deaf

Responding to Rishi Sunak’s speech on China, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Layla Moran said:

In the summer, Sunak talked tough on China – now he’s U-turned at the first possible opportunity. Rowing back on his previous stance is remarkably tone deaf given it comes just days after a British journalist was subject to disturbing treatment at the hands of the Chinese authorities.

The British public will be rightly concerned that the Conservative Government looks set to continue its record of failure when it comes to holding China accountable on everything from

Posted in News and Press releases | Tagged and | 1 Comment

Sewage dumped on Wales’ Blue Flag beaches 579 times, lasting 6,757 hours

A new analysis of Environment Agency data by the Welsh Liberal Democrats have revealed that Welsh Water has dumped sewage onto our Blue Flag beaches 579 times, lasting an astonishing 6,757 hours

The worst incident was on Poppit Sands Beach near Cardigan with sewage dumped 79 times lasting 1,518 hours. South Beach in Aberystwyth had the highest number of incidents at 142.

Preseli Pembrokeshire ranks as the constituency with the highest number of sewage dumps in the whole of England and Wales with 6754 dumps in 2021 (79,501 hours). Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and Dwyfor Meirionnydd come a close second and third.

The …

Posted in News, Press releases and Wales | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Wera Hobhouse’s bill to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace passes Committee stage

We’re now into the annual 16 days of activism against gender based violence which runs from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November through to International Human Rights Day on 10th December.

We will be bringing you a series of articles to mark this important annual event, including a horrific story of the death of a young woman in Scotland after she was let own by all of the services who should have been there to protect her.

Today we report on the Committee Stage of Wera Hobhouse’s Bill to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace, which took place on Wednesday. It would make employers liable for sexual harassment of their employers by third parties, eg contractors, as well as their co-workers.

Introducing the Bill, Wera said:

Workplace sexual harassment is a blight on our society. It remains widespread and vastly under-reported. Half of British women and a fifth of men have been sexually harassed at work or a place of study. Too many people have been left to suffer for too long. The question of whether employers have taken adequate steps to prevent sexual harassment arises only as a defence if an incident of sexual harassment has already occurred. Employers are therefore not required to take actions to prevent sexual harassment. That leaves individuals with the burden of challenging it.

The Bill, which passed its Second Reading last month, introduces two new measures to strengthen protections for employees against harassment. The first is the introduction of explicit protections for employees from workplace harassment by third parties, such as customers and clients. The second is the introduction of a duty on employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent their employees from experiencing sexual harassment.

Fellow Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine emphasised why the Bill was needed:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Rodney Berman announced as Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Cardiff Central

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced Rodney Berman as their candidate for Cardiff Central for the next General Election.

Cardiff Central is currently held by Labour but was previously held by the Liberal Democrats from 2005-2015.

Rodney Berman is a Cardiff Councillor in Penylan and served as Leader of Cardiff Council for eight years between 2004 and 2012, during which he oversaw a massive increase in the recycling rate and the money given to schools. He is proud to have been awarded an OBE for his services to local government and the community in Cardiff in 2013.

Rodney has lived in Cardiff for most of his life after taking up a research role at the university in the early 90s.

Currently working in health policy, Rodney represented the interests of doctors during Covid-19 and provides advice on public health issues and is passionate about reducing health inequalities.

Rodney Berman and the Welsh Liberal Democrats have stated that Labour has taken Cardiff for granted over recent years at all levels, presiding over failures in the healthcare system, the cladding crisis and public transport. The party believes that it can offer a positive alternative to both a Labour-dominated Wales and the chaotic mismanagement of the economy by the Conservatives.

Posted in Selection news | Tagged and | 1 Comment

The Party in England Responds to the Change in the Party’s Definition of Transphobia

No regular visitor to LDV can have missed the growing debate over trans gender issues. Here we publish the response from the English Party to recent events in full. Given the sensitivity of the subject we will be pre-moderating all comments in line with our editorial policies.

The English Council Executive, meeting last weekend, have agreed two motions in support of trans rights and in response to the Federal Board changing the Party’s definition of transphobia.

  1. A motion of censure for the appalling communications calling for an apology and a plan to make sure nothing like this happens again.
  2. A motion calling on the Board to seek further advice, in consultation with LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, and suspend changing the definition until that advice is received and/or Federal Conference can vote.

The motions were passed with strong support from everyone who spoke, and no one spoke or voted against. This represents a wide consensus from regional chairs and members across the country.

Just under two weeks ago, the Federal Board met for the last time and, with Federal elections still under way, chose to amend the Party’s definition of Transphobia.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 72 Comments

Registration opens for Scottish and Federal Spring Conferences

It was lovely to wake up to an email from Federal Conference Committee Chair Nick Da Costa announcing that registration was open for Spring Conference which takes place from 17-19 March in York.

It will be the first time the federal party has gathered in person since September 2019 in Bournemouth. Back then, Wendy Chamberlain was the PPC for North East Fife and Jo Swinson had just taken over as leader.

Federal Conference is simply the most fun you can ever have as a Liberal Democrat. It’s intense, passionate, exhilarating and this time will have the added joy of seeing everyone again. We’ll have lots to debate in a beautiful Lib Dem run city.

If you can’t go, you can register to watch and vote online.

All the information you could possibly want about registration is here – and note that there is a hefty discount if you are a first timer.

And the relevant deadlines for submitting items for debate follow.

Drafting advice deadline (motions): 16 December at 13.00

Motions deadline: 11 January at 13.00

Amendments drafting advice deadline (emergency motions and amendments): 14 February at 13.00

Amendments and Emergency Motions deadline and deadline for Appeals against non-selection of motions: 6 March at 13.00

Appeals deadline for Amendments and Emergency Motions: 16 March at 13.00

Yesterday, the Scottish Party announced that Scottish Spring Conference would take place the week before, on 10-11 March in the lovely city of Dundee. You can register here.

Posted in News | Tagged and | Leave a comment
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Paul WalterPaul Walter
    Come on, Ed has poured his heart out in the most extraordinary way and the response is mainly mean-spirited stuff with no acknowledgement of the human side of E...
  • Russell
    If the tories have trashed the economy it's due to brexit, and more particularly the hard brexit imposed. Truss's mini budget certainly hurt the tories reputati...
  • Steve Trevethan
    Might the frequent/consistent use of overt and unstated “Austerity” be an indicator of the power of Neo-Liberal Socio-Economics? Ditto the policy of redu...
  • Mel Borthwaite
    Strange figures in this article - Shell made profits of £32.2 billion in 2022 (and not the £68 billion quoted). Worth pointing out that only 5% of Shell’s...
  • Andy Daer
    Regulators of the privatised utilities set allowed revenues (the price they can charge customers) for the water companies, but these are conditional on meeting ...