Author Archives: The Voice

Carmichael: Put Boris on gardening leave during Met investigation into parties

Alistair Carmichael has called for Boris Johnson to be placed on gardening leave and removed from Number 10 while the Metropolitan Police investigate the numerous rule-breaking parties that took place.

In many work settings, people under investigation are placed on leave whilst the proceedings are ongoing. This is to prevent them from attempting to prevent a fair investigation from being carried out by influencing witnesses or destroying evidence.

It’s been reported in recent weeks that Downing Street staff have been advised to delete emails or texts pertaining to parties, ahead of the Sue Gray investigation.

Whilst Boris Johnson is on leave, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab would be expected to take over running the day-to-day affairs of the Government.

Alistair said:

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Wendy Chamberlain smashes it at PMQs with call for PM to resign

Wendy Chamberlain made a brilliant start to PMQs today:

And there has been loads of praise:

https://twitter.com/NairnMcD/status/1483772201866342404?s=20

 

Keir Starmer, buoyed by Tory defector Christian Wakeford sitting behind him, was both serious and funny as he repeatedly blasted the PM’s failures.

But it was David Davis, former Brexit Secretary, who struck what may be a politically fatal blow:

You could hear the gasps of surprise at his savage denouncement. I was reminded of the blow that Geoffrey Howe struck to Margaret Thatcher back in 1990. She didn’t last long after that.

Earlier, Wendy spoke to Nicky Campbell about the PM’s position:

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16 January 2022 – yesterday’s press releases

  • Dowden defence of No10 parties ‘pathetic’ say Lib Dems
  • ‘Back off our BBC!’ say Lib Dems

Dowden defence of No10 parties ‘pathetic’ say Lib Dems

Responding to Oliver Dowden’s appearance on BBC Sunday Morning, where he defended the Prime Minister and blamed an ‘underlying culture’ for the Downing Street parties, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

This pathetic attempt to defend Boris Johnson will just fan the flames of public anger against this rotten Conservative government.

Boris Johnson is once again blaming those around him instead of taking responsibility.

If he really is angry about these parties, he must be furious with

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Welsh Lib Dems secure £20 million to support most vulnerable children

The mark of a civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable people. Ours could do a lot better.

Jane Dodds, as leader of the Welsh LIb Dems and the party’s only Member of the Senedd, announced this week that she had secured an extra £20 million for care leavers, who are often just dropped and left to get on with it when they turn 16.

Jane outlined what this extra money would mean in practical terms:

The pandemic has been difficult for young people the length and breadth of Wales. That is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats used our influence in the Senedd to champion children and young people.

“As a result of Welsh Liberal Democrat influence in the Senedd, we will see the establishment of a £20 million fund to be used over the course of this Senedd term to reform services for looked after children and care leavers making sure that children and young people in care have the best start in life.

“We will also see an increase in funding for mental health services over the coming years, which was a key priority for my Party during the election.

“I am also glad to see £20 million extra will be put into the Pupil Development Grant, expanding the programme that was a key part of former Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Secretary Kirsty William’s previous agreement with Welsh Labour.”

“It can only be a good thing when politicians work together to find areas of common ground. That is when we can deliver tangible change to people’s lives.

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Beatrice Wishart: We need to do better at tackling Endometriosis

This week, the Scottish Parliament debated the horrible, painful, debilitating condition Endometriosis.

Shetland’s Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart highlighted the distress this condition can cause and the impact it can have on women’s whole lives – and says that we must do better than the misogynistic dismissal of this condition that we so often see. Here is her speech in full:

I congratulate Rachael Hamilton on securing this important debate. So much has already been said about the impact that endometriosis has across all aspects of life, but I make no apology for repeating some of what has already been highlighted today.

I want to start by outlining exactly what is at the heart of this discussion: the lives of women and girls. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to that in the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as ovaries and the fallopian tubes. Symptoms include, among others, painful or heavy periods, painful bowel movements and pelvic pain. An estimated 1.5 million women in the United Kingdom are affected, which is similar to the number of women who have diabetes.

However, as we have heard, it takes an average of eight and a half years to receive a diagnosis, which means eight and a half years of pain, of missing out, of uncertainty and of explaining. How tiring must all of that be? Relationships break down because the pain and struggle are too hard to comprehend. There is the misogynistic dismissal of so-called women’s issues and people saying that it is just painful periods or, even worse, that it is perfectly normal for women to experience pain.

There are long waiting lists and a postcode lottery for treatment. There is a serious problem with delays in getting an initial appointment with a consultant, and Covid has only made the long waits even longer. Non-urgent appointments have been delayed because of Covid, but, for patients, endometriosis is not non-urgent.

One person told me that, although their GP has been good, before being referred to a consultant, their daughter had to go through various other options to rule out cysts, irritable bowel syndrome and food intolerances. More than a year after their GP’s referral, they are still to receive an appointment.

I have also been told by women that endometriosis has made them infertile, and how the inability to have children has affected their marriages. As many as 30 to 50 per cent of women who are affected by infertility have endometriosis.

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Changes to comments and posting policies on Lib Dem Voice

We are from today making changes to the comments policy on Lib Dem Voice. We also will more proactively encourage female voices on LDV, both in making comments and in authoring posts.

This change comes after a meeting of editors (online as we are scattered around the country) to discuss where we are on LDV and where we want to go.

We are concerned that LDV posts and comments are dominated by men. In recent weeks, three quarters of posts have been authored by men and nine in ten comments were by men.

We intend to change that gender balance and make LDV more representative of the Lib Dems and liberal values.

We will be proactively managing the comments debate to prevent it being dominated by a small number of individuals. They are nearly always men and seem to want to slug it out to the end between themselves – to win a debate that LDV readers have long lost interest in. Too often that debate is tangential to the subject of the article. Too often it is a debate that should take place elsewhere.

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Ed Davey: Boris Johnson must resign

Ed Davey has said that Boris Johnson must resign over the Downing Street parties. He said:

“Boris Johnson has broken the law and lied to Parliament and the country, and he must now go.
“Millions of people obeyed the lockdown rules, often at huge personal cost. They missed funerals, cancelled weddings and said goodbye to dying loved ones on video calls – some on the very day that Number Ten illegally hosted a garden party.
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Tim Farron on Cumbria’s rural housing crisis

Tourism is the lifeblood of many of our most spectacular rural communities. Nut there is a downside for the people who live there all year round. Second homes and holiday lets mean that it can be difficult for local people to find somewhere to live.

Tim Farron raised this in a debate in Parliament this week. Here is is opening speech.

It is a huge privilege to serve our communities in Cumbria—our towns, villages lakes and dales, among the rugged beauty of England’s finest landscapes—yet the people who live in our communities are even more precious than the places themselves. We welcome those who see Cumbria as a holiday destination: a place for leisure and relaxation, and a place of peaceful serenity and exhilarating extremes. It is our collective privilege to be the stewards of such a spectacular environment for the country, yet our full-time local communities face an existential threat unlike any other in the UK. I am immensely grateful to have secured this debate, because the housing crisis that has faced our communities in Cumbria and elsewhere in rural Britain for decades has rapidly become a catastrophe during the two years of the pandemic.

For the last few decades, we have seen an erosion in the number of properties in Cumbria that are available and affordable for local people to buy or rent. What little I know of geology tells me that although erosion usually takes place over huge passages of time, sometimes a whole rockface may collapse or a whole piece of a cliff might drop into the sea in a single instant. That is what has happened to our housing stock during the pandemic. In the space of less than two years, a bad situation has become utterly disastrous.

I have been calling for the Government to take action from the very beginning, so I confess to being frustrated and angry that Ministers have yet to do anything meaningful to tackle the problem. As a result, many of us living in rural communities feel ignored, abandoned and taken for granted by the Government, and we stand together today as rural communities to declare that we will not be taken for granted one moment longer.

In South Lakeland, the average house price is 11 times greater than the average household income. Families on low or middle incomes, and even those on reasonably good incomes, are completely excluded from the possibility of buying a home. Although the local council in South Lakeland has enabled the building of more than 1,000 new social rented properties, there are still more than 3,000 families languishing on the housing waiting list. Even before the pandemic, at least one in seven houses in my constituency was a second home—a bolthole or an investment for people whose main home is somewhere else.

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Helen Morgan MP sworn in after stunning by-election win

Helen Morgan has arrived in Westminster to take her seat after her stunning by-election win in North Shropshire.

Here she is with some of her new parliamentary colleagues:


In her first act as North Shropshire’s new MP, Helen will write to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid calling for an urgent meeting with the West Midlands Ambulance Trust, which asked to see him over four months ago.

The Trust asked to meet with Sajid Javid after declaring long waiting times posed a “catastrophic risk” to patients. Patients have been left waiting hours for ambulances to arrive, and in one case, a 95 year-old woman in Shropshire was left waiting 11 hours for an ambulance to take her to hospital.

In recent months, four local ambulance stations have closed in Shropshire despite the crisis.

The crisis has also been worsened by the surge in Covid cases due to the Omicron variant, which has seen ambulances being taken off the road across the country due to staff absences.

Ahead of her swearing in,Helen said:

I am here in Westminster to make sure the people of Shropshire are no longer taken for granted by this Conservative government.

The ambulance crisis is a life and death situation in Shropshire. I can’t think of many other meetings which are more important than this one. The Health Secretary cannot ignore this request any longer.

Despite thousands of local people signing petitions warning against local health cuts and distressing stories from those in need of emergency care, we have seen no action from this Government.

I am determined to hit the ground running on my first day and ensure the concerns of people in our local community are no longer ignored.

Ed Davey MP, said:

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Ed Davey’s New Year Message 2022

Ed Davey publihsed his New Year message just before the New Year.

The text is below.

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Ed Davey: Lib Dems will turn the blue wall yellow


Ed Davey has put Conservative MPs like Dominic Raab (majority over Lib Dems 2743), Steven Brine (majority over Lib Dems 985) and William Wragg  (majority over Lib Dems 4423) on notice that the Liberal Democrats are coming after their seats at the next General Election.

He set out what we are doing to turn the blue wall of Conservative seats in the south west yellow and emphasised our importance in getting the Tories out of office. As we are the sole challengers in these areas, he said, we are a key part of depriving the Tories of a majority.

The party is beefing up its ground campaigning ability in areas including Dominic Raab’s constituency of Esher and Walton in Surrey, Steven Brine’s seat in Winchester, and William Wragg’s Hazel Grove, all areas where Conservative MPs are defending wafer-thin majorities.

The party’s campaigning blitz will include a new fighting fund being launched this week, which will take donations to expand ground operations in key marginal Conservative seats.

The party has also set up a crack team of battle-hardened activists who played a key role in both the Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire by-election wins. The activists are being sent to key ‘Blue Wall’ seats to train up fellow campaigners ahead of the next election. The top campaigners, some of whom knocked on over 1,000 doors each during the North Shropshire by-election, will also regularly feedback to senior figures in the party on key issues coming up on the doorstep.

Finally the party is holding a ‘Blue Wall summit’ this year with activists from around the country, to learn from its campaign by-election successes and how to repeat them in marginal Conservative seats across the country.

Ed Davey said:

The North Shropshire by-election confirmed the Liberal Democrats are back as a formidable campaigning force in British politics, and that millions of disaffected Conservative voters are looking to us as an alternative.

We are now on battle stations and getting ready to turn the Blue Wall yellow at the next election.

Our thousands of campaigners are buoyed by our stunning wins in former Conservative heartlands, from Shropshire to Buckinghamshire.

We will now be looking carefully at how to replicate these stunning wins in dozens of marginal Conservative seats across the country.

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WATCH: Alex Cole-Hamilton’s New Year Message

Alex Cole-Hamilton has recorded his first New Year Message as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

The text is below:

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Season’s Greetings!

We are all taking a break over the festive season, with only occasional postings, so we may not be able to respond to emails or moderate comments.

Hope you all enjoy a happy and safe time.

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Ed Davey’s Christmas message

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Alex Cole-Hamilton’s Christmas message

Alex Cole-Hamilton has released his first Christmas Message as Scottish Lib Dem Leader.

He said:

“I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas after another tough year. Looking back to the restrictions of last Christmas, our army of vaccinators have given us a more normal festive season this year, but Covid is still very much part of our lives.

“I was honoured to take over the leadership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats this summer and I have sought to follow Willie Rennie’s example of constructive opposition and being prepared to lay politics aside when it comes to finding our way out of the pandemic.

“This year Scottish Liberal Democrats have led calls for the Government to do more to help Scotland’s 100,000 long Covid sufferers and those suffering heightened mental ill health as a result of the pandemic.

“We have fought for your right to medical privacy, by challenging the government on the reach of their vaccine passport scheme, while using scientific evidence to press the government to move to a system of lateral flow testing for large scale events.

“We have called for the introduction of a permanent vaccine workforce, made up of a new class of healthcare professionals, to cope with the ongoing requirement for Covid boosters while allowing current vaccinators to get back to their day jobs in other parts of the NHS. At the same time, we’ve added our voice to international calls for the redistribution of vaccine surpluses to the developing world to help stop the emergence of new variants.

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Daisy Cooper: PM ‘moving the goalposts’ on booster jabs

Responding to the Department of Health rowing back on the Prime Minister’s promise for everyone to ‘get their booster before the New Year’, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

Boris Johnson’s panicked announcement has once again caused chaos and confusion. Last night he promised people they could get a booster before the New Year, now ministers are moving the goalposts and saying people will only be offered one by then.

Their failure to prepare properly now means that NHS websites have crashed, lateral flow tests are running out, and everyone working to get people vaccinated have been left scrambling to

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Daisy Cooper: Boris Johnson needs to go

The constant drip feed of stories of Government Covid rule breaking continues, most recently with the picture of Boris Johnson taking part in a quiz as the Daily Mirror reports:

After this latest revelation, Lib Dem Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said that the Prime Minister was undermining the ongoing fight against Covid and needs to go.

She said:

This slew of rule-breaking revelations leaves Boris Johnson with nowhere left to hide.

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Daisy Cooper outlines Lib Dems’ 5 point plan for clinically extremely vulnerable people

As the world’s scientists try to work out the extent of the danger posed by new Covid variant Omicron and Governments grapple with with what it might mean for the Winter ahead and Christmas in particular, Lib Dem Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper has set out a 5 point plan to address the needs of one group of people let down by the Government.

In the first lockdown, those who were clinically extremely vulnerable had to completely isolate. Our Mary Reid wrote a brilliant Isolation Diary which she later expanded into a book.

The impact on those who had to shield was profound but in recent months they have been forgotten. In fact, the Observer reports that over 100,000 people with compromised immune systems have yet to have their booster.

The emergence of Omicron will no doubt be yet another moment of anxiety for those who were shielding and those who love them.

Daisy said that the Government needs to do much more for the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable:

It’s often said that how a society treats its most vulnerable is the measure of its humanity, but if that’s the case, then this Government does not measure up.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable and their families are incredibly worried about the news of a new variant on our shores. For too long, the Government has ignored these people, their concerns around the vaccine programme and the lack of guidance and support.

The Government must not ignore them any longer: it must be proactive in tackling this new variant and protect those most at risk. The clinically vulnerable deserve clear guidance and support from ministers instead of being treated as an afterthought.

The decision to end the shielding programme – when many continued to shield – left our most vulnerable feeling like the rug had been pulled out from underneath them. It’s high time the Government put support measures back in place, including getting on top of the utter mess surrounding third primary doses and introducing a shielding programme that genuinely supports those who need it.

The five point plan is as follows:

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Daisy Cooper: Ambulances are on high alert across England

A month ago Daisy Cooper submitted a question to the Government, and she has only just received a reply. Her question was:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many ambulance trusts have moved into REAP Level 4 in the last six weeks; and how many in total are at REAP Level 4 as at 22 October 2021.

REAP = Resource Escalation Action Plan. Level 4 is the highest level and indicates Extreme Pressure.

The response did arrive after this prompt:

In the last six weeks, all 11 English ambulance trusts have been at or moved to REAP Level 4. On 22 October 2021, all 11 ambulance trusts were at REAP Level 4.

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Helen Morgan stands for Lib Dems in North Shropshire

Helen Morgan has been selected as the Lib Dem candidate in the North Shropshire by-election, called after the resignation of Conservative Owen Paterson amid allegations of sleaze.

The campaign in North Shropshire has been underway for a week-and-a-half. Last Saturday Sarah Green, who was elected as MP for Chesham and Amersham in June, opened our campaign HQ near Wem in North Shropshire.

Helen said this morning her top campaigning priority will be to demand a better deal for the constituency’s local health services, which have been taken for granted by the Conservatives for years. It comes with the closure of both of North Shropshire’s ambulance stations, GP services in crisis and A&E wait times on the rise. Helen is also passionate about getting a fair deal for Shropshire’s farmers who are at risk as the Conservatives continue to let them down with disappointing trade deals.

You can donate to the campaign here.

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Why you might want to wait before casting your vote for Vice President

Over the past few days, information on how to vote in the Party’s vice presidential election have been emailed and posted to members.

The Vice President is responsible for working with ethnic minority communities. This is the first time there has been an all-member ballot for the election. The Federal Board chose the first VP – Isabelle Parasram, who has stepped down to take a politically restricted role.

There are six candidates in this election, listed in alphabetical order of surname. If you click on their name it will take you to their manifesto.

Amna Ahmad

Roderick Lynch

Tahir Maher

Julliet Makhapila

Rabi Martins

Marisha Ray

Voting is open until 10th December. I would recommend holding off casting your ballot until you have seen the candidates in action at one of the hustings events. Conference chose to impose a zero spending limit on candidates for their campaigns. The Federal Board had offered conference a choice and the arguments in favour of a zero limit prevailed. These were based on making the contest more accessible.

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WATCH: Wendy and Ed take part in cross party Make Votes Matter video

Wendy Chamberlain and Ed Davey represent the Liberal Democrats in a new video for the Make Votes Matter campaign:

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Josh Babarinde selected as Lib Dem candidate for Eastbourne

Josh Babarinde OBE has been selected as the Lib Dem candidate for Eastbourne. This seat was held by Stephen Lloyd from 2010-2015 and 2017-2019 and had been a Lib Dem seat between 1990-92.

In an email to subscribers, former MP Stephen Lloyd praised Josh:

I’ve known Josh for well over a decade, first meeting him when he was Head Boy at Cavendish School in Old Town. Josh impressed me then and he’s impressed me even more over the ensuing years.

Josh is an accomplished entrepreneur. He founded and ran an award-winning social enterprise company in London, supporting gang members and ex-offenders out of crime and into work.

For those of you who won’t know Josh as well as I do, I’ve listed below just a few of the successes he’s already had in his career:

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Three days left to apply for Working Group on a Fairer Society

The deadline to apply for the Federal Policy Committee’s new working group on a fairer society is 6pm on Wednesday, 3rd November.

The party’s Head of Policy Christian Moon emailed members this week:

The group will consider a wide range of issues affecting society, including our approach to social security, Universal Basic Income, skills, tax, industrial policy and regional development – with the clear aim of building a fairer, more liberal society.

The group will start work as soon as possible, with a view to producing a consultation paper for discussion at Spring Conference 2022 and a final paper for debate at Autumn Conference 2022.

As a member of a working group you will work with other members to take evidence, identify the main challenges and develop distinctively Liberal Democrat policy that will appeal to voters and that would be effective in solving the identified problems.

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Lib Dem MPs react to the Budget

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NALC appoints new cross-party President and Vice-Presidents

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has appointed a cross-party group of parliamentarians in its presidential roles at its Annual General Meeting today.

Baroness Ros Scott of Needham Market has become the new President of NALC. The Liberal Democrat peer took up the role, which became vacant when Conservative peer Baroness Jane Scott stood down after becoming a government whip.

NALC has also changed its rules to introduce the new position of Parliamentary Vice-President. Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (Green), Andrew Gwynne MP (Labour), Lord O’Shaughnessy (Conservative) and Lord Lytton (cross-bencher) were appointed to this role.

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Lib Dems oppose new oil drilling site

Ed Davey is quoted extensively in the Independent on the plans to build a new oil drilling site in Surrey at Horse Hill, which is not far from Gatwick Airport.

Surrey County Council’s decision to permit the development will be reviewed in the Court of Appeal next month after challenges by local residents. The Government is expected to defend the decision – just days before COP26.

Ed has written to Alok Sharma, the climate minister:

This new oil field is the equivalent to ministerial colleagues breaking your cricket bat just as you walk out to the crease at Cop26.

Your job is to hold China to account for their new oil infrastructure – how can you do that when your government is building its own?

As the minister responsible for Cop26, you must put party allegiances aside, and call for the government to oppose this new oil field and immediately call in the planning application.

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Munira Wilson: Ministers are burying their heads in the sand over rising Covid cases

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that the Government hold an emergency SAGE meeting to discuss surging Covid cases, and what measures may be needed to curb infections and protect the NHS and schools this winter.

It comes as it emerges that Government scientists have not met to discuss Covid for weeks and cases are running at nearly 50,000 a day.

Health Spokesperson, Munira Wilson MP said:

Covid cases are surging and millions of vulnerable people are yet to receive their booster jabs, yet ministers are burying their heads in the sand.

The Government cannot simply ignore the scientific advice and act as though this pandemic is over.

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LibLink: Christine Jardine on MPs’ safety

In the Scotsman, Christine Jardine MP has written about MPs’ safety in the light of the murder of Sir David Amess:

It is a risk which we must minimise, but continue to take for the sake of our democracy.

(Last Friday) was one of those days that you hope never to see, or that anyone you know will have to endure.

Christine goes on to write:

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WATCH: Sir Ed Davey pays a moving tribute to Sir David Amess

During yesterday’s House of Commons tributes to Sir David Amess, our leader Sir Ed Davey made this moving speech.

To a hushed chamber, Ed showed great sympathy to David Amess’ Concervative colleagues. He quoted from local Lib Dem councillors in Southend constituency. And he recalled the killing of Andrew Pennington and the injuring of Nigel Jones.

It is a very moving, dignified and heartfelt tribute.

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