Author Archives: The Voice

Greg Dyke urges Remainers to vote Lib Dem

Greg Dyke, television executive, broadcaster and former Director-General of the BBC, has endorsed the Lib Dems as the party of Remain. He is encouraging all Remainers to vote Lib Dem.

Greg says:

I strongly believe that Britain is better off inside than outside the European Union and will therefore be backing the Liberal Democrats – the leading pro-European party, and the one that has fought longest and hardest against Brexit – in this week’s European election.

If you too oppose Brexit, and favour the UK Remaining in the EU at this crucial moment in our country’s history, I would urge you to vote Lib Dem on Thursday too.

This follows a series of celebrity endorsements calling for remain voters to vote Lib Dem in the European Elections on Thursday. Bamber Gascoigne, Katy Brand, Emma Kennedy and Simon Callow have pledged their support, urging voters to support the Liberal Democrats as the party of Remain.

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Vince: Lib Dems snapping at heels of Brexit Party

Vince Cable was on the BBC News Channel’s Ask This last night talking about how the Lib Dems would have liked to have been part of a Remain Alliance but it didn’t work out. He said we were best placed to stop Farage’s Brexit Party from winning the election. Watch here:

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Liberal Democrats storm the Rock (very genteelly)

As part of the European election campaign, Vince Cable visited Gibraltar a few days ago, accompanied by our lead candidate in the South West and Gibraltar, Caroline Voaden, former MEP Sir Graham Watson, and Luke Stagnetto, the Gibraltar-based list candidate.

Here’s how the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation covered it…

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Michael Heseltine to vote Lib Dem to stop Brexit

If you have voted one way for almost 70 years, it’s hard to do anything differently. But former Tory Cabinet Minister Michael Heseltine is doing just that on Thursday.

His passionate internationalism and support of the European Union means that he will be supporting the Liberal Democrats.

Heseltine famously fell out with Margaret Thatcher over Europe and it was his challenge that led to her downfall in another Tory fight over Europe.

From the Observer:

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Scottish Lib Dems’ PEB: A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote to stop Brexit and against independence

The Scottish Lib Dem version of the European Elections PEB is a thing of beauty.

Narrated by Party Manager Jenny Wilson, it features Willie Rennie, Vince Cable, Borders candidate Jenny Marr and European candidates John Edward and Vita Zaporozcenko.

Enjoy.

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Katy Brand and Emma Kennedy back Lib Dems for European elections

Celebrity endorsement for the Lib Dems in the European elections:

And Emma Kennedy joined in:

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David Steel’s membership reinstated

Former leader David Steel’s membership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has been reinstated following an investigation by the Scottish Party Executive.

Willie Rennie issued a statement today outlining the conclusion, according to the BBC:

The party’s executive group has now determined that there are “no grounds for action” against the former MSP and Holyrood presiding officer.

Mr Rennie said: “We take the issue of vigilance and safeguarding incredibly seriously, so it was important to investigate following the evidence that David Steel gave to the independent public inquiry. In part because of a hearing difficulty and a lack of precision in providing some answers it was necessary to seek further information from him for clarification.

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Layla: I’m not standing for leader this time

A statement this morning from Layla Moran:

I am very grateful to the large number of constituents, supporters, party members and elected representatives who have encouraged me to throw my hat into the ring in the forthcoming Liberal Democrat Leadership contest.

As a relatively new MP, however, my first priority has to be to serve my constituents to the best of my ability.

I hope they consider that I am doing a good job so far, but I do not believe that I would be able to continue to do so to the standard they have the right to expect if I took on the busy role of Party Leader as well.

For this reason, I wrote to local party members last week to let them know that I would not be standing for the Leadership this time.

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WATCH: North East Lib Dems Stop Brexit video – featuring Bail Out Barry and Lib Dem Fiona Hall

The North East Lib Dems have produced a brilliant campaign video – a brilliant contrast between Labour chaos (starring Barry “Bail the Tories out” Gardiner) and what the Lib Dems offer for the north east – the NHS, the countryside, the environment.

Don’t put our future at risk, they say. Vote Lib Dem to stop Brexit says Fiona Hall.

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Poll surge for Lib Dems in European elections

Well, this is interesting. Clearly people are seeing that Lib Dems are the biggest and best Remain Party based on our spectacular local elections results where we gained 704 candidates.

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Lib Dem Beki Sellick to fight Peterborough by-election after efforts to find single remain candidate falter

There had been some speculation in the media that there would be one single Remain candidate in the Peterborough by-election, which will take place on June 6th following the recall of MP Fiona Onasanya.

However, nominations closed today and that didn’t happen. Lib Dem Beki Sellick was duly nominated to fight the by-election for us:

The official party line is as follows:

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Listen: Alistair Carmichael MP is first guest of new podcast series

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael took some time to speak to the new team behind Debated, Will Barber Taylor and Conrad Lewandowski .

Alistair talks about the resurgence of the Lib Dems, the success of the local elections, the impact of Brexit on that vote, and what is next.

Have a listen!

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Vince Cable’s message for a peaceful Ramadan

Over on the Lib Dem website, Vince Cable has wished Muslims a peaceful Ramadan:

Across the country, British Muslim communities will be taking time aside to engage in acts of charity, prayer and self-reflection.

The contributions of British Muslims to Britain are ever-growing; adding to the richness and diversity of our nation. However, we are witnessing a worldwide resurgence of exclusionary, right-wing nationalism that has led to acts of terror against the Muslim community. We demand better.

The attack in Christchurch earlier this year was a reminder that we must do all we can challenge those who seek to erase or limit religious freedoms. As a party we have adopted the APPG on British Muslim’s definition of Islamophobia: we all have a shared duty to challenge hate and intolerance.

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Your last chance to register to vote in the European elections

At 23:59 tonight, it will be too late to register for the European elections.

So if you know anyone who isn’t registered, you might like to direct them here. And if they are an EU citizen, they will have to fill in this form and deliver it personally to their local electoral registration office by close of business today.

This is such a crucial election and the future of our country depends on it. It is our chance to send a message to the Government that this deeply flawed Brexit process must be stopped.

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Election results status: “Conservatives ☹️…Labour ☹️ Lib Dems 😁” – open thread

**6:33 summary: The Lib Dems have gained control of eight councils (two from NOC) and held two. We’ve won 177 extra council seats – making a total of 384 including seats held. The Tories have lost 11 councils and 254 seats. Labour have lost 2 councils and 45 seats. We’ve gained control of:

FROM THE TORIES:

CHELMSFORD
SOMERSET WEST AND TAUNTON
HINCKLEY AND BOSWORTH
BATH AND NORTH EAST SOMERSET
COTSWOLD
WINCHESTER

FROM NOC:

NORTH NORFOLK
NORTH DEVON

We’ve also held South Lakeland and Eastleigh.

Layla Moran has summarised this as “the best @LibDems local election results since 2003 – right in the aftermath of the Iraq war”. Ed Davey has described this news as “the best results in a generation”.**

7:07 ++The Lib Dems have won control of the Vale of the White Horse district council from the Tories after winning 20 out of 38 seats with several results still to come.

6:53 The Guardian Live results tracker has us on 259 gained seats and 253 held. They have the Tories with 377 lost seats and Labour with 63 lost seats.

6:44 The Press Association report:

The Conservatives have failed to take control of Torbay, after winning 15 seats of the 35 declared with just one result to come.

6:42: Our Bath and North East Somerset victory includes a win in ward where Jacob Rees-Mogg lives! Here’s a great quote from defeated former Conservative council leader Tim Warren, who lost to Lib Dem David Wood:

The guy who took my seat did a great campaign and when you are running a council you have to work full-time, and I didn’t have the time to match him.

The above title quote is from the BBC’s Nick Eardley.

Well done everyone for all your hard work! It’s great to see some really good news this morning. Look at this snapshot!:

The Guardian online front page is a treat:

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Cable calls for criminal investigation into Williamson’s conduct

Embed from Getty Images

Following the sacking of Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary over the Huawei leak, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable has called for a thorough criminal investigation into breaches of the Official Secrets Act. He said:

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30 April 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Four Seasons collapse shows social care crisis unfolding on Tory’s watch
  • Gosport investigation vital to ensure justice is done – Lamb
  • Free sanitary products to be available in Welsh colleges
  • Lib Dems: A vote for Labour is a vote for Brexit

Four Seasons collapse shows social care crisis unfolding on Tory’s watch

Responding to the news that one of Britain’s largest care home groups, Four Seasons Health Care, is on the brink of administration, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

For the many thousands of residents and staff at the Four Seasons Health Care, the news that the group is set to go into administration

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Marking 20 years since the London bombings.

At this exact moment 20 years ago, the third of three nail bombs in two weeks exploded in London. The Admiral Duncan was deliberately targeted in a homophobic hate crime. Three people lost their lives and many more were injured. The attack followed on from two others, in Brixton and Brick Lane, which targeted black and Bangladeshi people.

The racist, homophobic murderer was arrested shortly after and eventually sentenced to life imprisonment.

The BBC has interviews with some of the survivors.

Liberal Democrat London Mayoral Candidate Siobhan Benita summed up her feelings in this tweet:

There is so much more to do to eradicate racism and homophobia from our society.

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Lib Dem MEP candidate Caroline Voaden on the liberal values Lib Dem MEPs would bring to Europe

In a few weeks’ time, we hope that Caroline Voaden will be a Liberal Democrat MEP for the South West. Her interview on Sky News today shows why she would do a fantastic job.

She talked about a vote for the Lib Dems being a vote to stop Brexit, why the Lib Dems have the advantage as the biggest, strongest pro Remain party in the UK, and the traditions of liberalism, internationalism and freedom that Lib Dem MEPs would bring to Brussels.

Enjoy.

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In full: Cable and Brake’s letter to Corbyn calling for Labour to back a People’s Vote

Vince Cable and Tom Brake have written to Jeremy Corbyn ahead of today’s NEC meeting urging Labour to back a People’s Vote in their European Elections manifesto.

There has so far been little enthusiasm for a confirmatory ballot from Labour’s leadership, although the vas majority of their members and many of their MPs back it.

One thing worth mentioning, though – even if Labour grudgingly agrees to some sort of confirmatory referendum, they are unlikely under Corbyn’s leadership to back Remain. In contrast, the Liberal Democrats will enthusiastically and unequivocally campaign to stay in the EU. So, if that is what you want, Labour Remainers, you need to vote for us both in the locals and especially in the European elections.

Here is Vince and Tom’s letter.

 

29/4/2019

Dear Jeremy,

Tomorrow the NEC will be debating Labour’s European election manifesto.

We are sure that you would acknowledge that Brexit has been the single most divisive issue the country has faced since the Iraq War, if not before. Brexit continues to split the country North and South and young and old.

The Liberal Democrats believe that a confirmatory referendum is our only hope of getting closure on this issue and starting to heal this rift. The result would establish once and for all whether the ‘will of the people’ is really to leave the EU with the PM’s deal (which one poll suggested only 1 person in 7 supports) or any other deal agreed with the EU or instead to remain in the EU.

For this reason, we urge you to push for the inclusion a confirmatory public referendum in your European manifesto. We believe this would also be supported by a majority of Labour MPs, trade unions and Labour members.

We would of course work with the Labour party, other parties and individual MPs to facilitate the passage of the relevant legislation.

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29 April 2019 – today’s press release

Govt must be more ambitious in greenhouse gases 2050 target

Responding to the expected announcement that the Climate Change Committee has recommended 2050 as the date the UK becomes a net-zero greenhouse gas emitter, Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

This report tells us the very minimum we need to do to cut our greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero, but this Tory Government must be more ambitious. We have a responsibility as a country in the face of a climate emergency facing the entire world.

We saw only last week that some in the cabinet are refusing to

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Jo Swinson on Marr tomorrow

Lib Dem Deputy Leader Jo Swinson will be on The Andrew Marr Show (which will be presented by Mishal Hussein) at 9am tomorrow on BBC1.

This is a critical weekend for the party in the run-up to the critical local elections. A good performance will be a superb launchpad in our quest to establish ourselves as the Stop Brexit party to vote for in the European elections.

 

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Press Release: Cross-Party Climate Change Statement

On Tuesday 23rd April 2019, sparked by the visit of Greta Thunberg to the UK, the Westminster leaders of the UK political parties, except for the Prime Minister and the DUP (both invited), took part in a private round-table with a number of the leaders of the youth climate strikes to discuss the UK’s response to the deteriorating ecological crises.

At that meeting, the Westminster Leaders present agreed to three actions. These actions mark a significant cross-party response to Greta’s visit to the UK; the UK youth climate strikes and ongoing climate protests; the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5 Degrees; the upcoming Committee on Climate Change report on a net-zero greenhouse gas target for the UK on May 2nd; and above all, the knowledge that it is young people across the world who will bear the brunt of the climate crisis.

There is an open invitation for the Government, and all other political parties, to sign-up to these cross-party actions.

Ongoing Cross-Party Cooperation & Dialogue with Young People

By working together collaboratively, political parties, even without the Government, can start to build the bold solutions and public consent needed to ensure young people are guaranteed a secure, safe and prosperous future.

Westminster party leaders therefore agree to ongoing cross-party roundtables with the youth climate strikers – and to increased cross-party collaboration on climate change, including an agreement to issue a statement endorsing the UK’s bid to host COP26 in 2020.

Supporting the UK Youth Climate Assemblies

Over the coming months, the UK youth climate strikers will continue to expand and build their movement – and it is essential that the views of young people are incorporated into the decision-making of politicians and political parties and that politicians have chance to engage directly with young people across the UK.

Westminster party leaders therefore agree to actively support and engage with youth climate assemblies in towns and cities across the UK.

Stress-Test UK Climate Policy

The United Kingdom has signed and ratified the Paris Climate Agreement – the international treaty negotiated in 2015 part of the United Nations’ climate framework – which places a commitment on the UK to meet the targets in the Paris Agreement, including efforts to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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Lib Dems mark Passover and Easter

This weekend sees two important religious festivals. On Friday, jewish communities marked Passover, which marks the Israelites’ freedom from slavery and bondage and today Christians celebrate one of the most important days of the year for them, Easter Sunday.

On the Lib Dem website, Lib Dem Peer Monroe Palmer writes about the significance of Passover:

Across the world, Jewish families will sit around the Seder table to share food and recount the tale of how Moses led the Jewish people to their emancipation and deliverance. In retelling the story of the Exodus, we are reminded that the forces of oppression, hate and tyranny are not insurmountable. The traditions we observe are symbolic reminders of both the hardships endured by the Israelites as well as the triumph of faith.

let us all come together to choose unity over division, understanding over intolerance and faith over fear.

Across the world, we are witnessing worrying increases in acts of terror and hate targeted at religious communities. It’s hard to believe that even in 2019 anti-Semitism is still prevalent and growing- even in the UK. However, even in the face of intensifying anti-Semitic sentiment, Jewish communities continue to persevere in challenging bigotry and prejudice. In this growing anti-Semitic climate, festivals such as Passover are timely reminders of the strength of community and power of resistance.

The UK has long been a home for people of all backgrounds, and we are a shining example that different faiths, identities and ethnicities can thrive and co-exist. The history of Jewish people in the UK goes back centuries and British Jewish communities are undoubtedly an integral part of our society. At moments like this, we ought to take the opportunity to recognise the tremendous and invaluable contributions of these communities to our great country.

And Lizzie Jewkes, whose idea to raise the tax threshold was one of the flagship policies during the coalition years, writes about what Easter means to her.

As a Christian, I find a great deal of overlap between my faith and Liberal Democracy. In both, we are encouraged to think of others, to value everyone equally and to work for the greater good of all. Likewise, in both, people are seen as individuals. Jesus came in for a great deal of criticism during his lifetime from those who objected to the way he challenged vested interests, societal norms, privilege and injustice where ever he found them. He treated everyone as equals – women, foreigners, Roman soldiers, the disabled, divorcees, those who collaborated with the occupying forces and children, despite the mores of the age. Following his resurrection, he appeared first to women and told them to tell the men, even though the testimony of women was not considered reliable in Roman society.

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The best combination of names on a Lib Dem joint ticket ever?

Standing for the Bridge ward of Lewes Town Council, we have:

Just glorious.

Janet was the first BaME mayor of Lewes last year.

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19 April 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: We must reject violence in Northern Ireland

Responding to reports that journalist Lyra McKee has been killed during violence in Londonderry, Liberal Democrat Northern Ireland spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

I never met Lyra McKee but by all accounts she was a young woman of great talent, courage and humanity. These are all talents that we need now more than ever so we should all mourn her passing.

My condolences go to all her family and friends who are having to come to terms with their loss today. Unlike Lyra, those who bring violence to the streets of Northern Ireland have nothing

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Sheila Ritchie heads Scottish European list

As he launched the Scottish Liberal Democrats list of candidates or the European election, Willie Rennie stressed that every vote for a Lib Dem MEP will help stop the division and damage imposed by Brexit.

The list includes a partner in an Aberdeen law firm who has spent 20 years supporting start-up businesses and entrepreneurs in the North East, the former head of the European Parliament’s office in Scotland, and an EU citizen who represents the hundreds of thousands of people who have made their home in Scotland but whose futures are put at risk by Brexit.

The list is as follows:

  1. Sheila Ritchie
  2. Fred Mackintosh
  3. Catriona Bhatia
  4. Vita Zaporozcenko
  5. John Edward
  6. Clive Sneddon

Willie said:

I am delighted to announce our list of candidates for the European elections. We have a strong group of people who are committed to protecting our place in Europe.

This election gives voters an opportunity to demand an end to the constitutional chaos we’ve endured for years. People are fed up with Brexit and listening to all the arguments. It has divided our country and damaged our economy for long enough.

A vote for Scottish Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit and will send a message to the SNP on their unwanted independence plans. Every MEP we gain in Scotland will help make the division and damage stop.

Sheila Ritchie said:

I am thrilled to be leading the fight to secure Lib Dem seats in Brussels and a chance to stop the chaos of Brexit dead in its tracks. This election provides us with a tremendous opportunity.

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18 April 2019 – the overnight press releases

Tories’ high-stakes testing culture pushing children out of school

Responding to the EPI report revealing that over 50,000 pupils who took their GCSEs in 2017 were removed from the school roll for unexplained reasons during their time at secondary school, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

This is yet more worrying evidence that the Conservatives’ high-stakes testing culture is letting down our most vulnerable children.

The desperate drive to secure a better Ofsted grade or climb up the league tables has given schools a perverse incentive to push children they regard as difficult on to other schools, alternative providers, or let

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17 April 2019 – today’s press release

Govt forced to act on requirement to disclose minor childhood offences

Responding to reports that Sajid Javid is considering changing the rules on criminal record disclosure, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

It’s odd to hear Sajid Javid now suggesting changing the rules that require people to disclose minor childhood convictions throughout their lives, given that he and other Tory Ministers recently fought against a court judgement saying exactly that all the way to the Supreme Court.

Javid’s change of heart is welcome, but he should be honest about it. This is not some great brainchild of the Home

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The Liberal Democrats’ class of 2022: who they are and what they think

The New Statesman gives a sympathetic account of the selection of Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidates in an article headed “The Liberal Democrats’ class of 2022: who they are and what they think“, focusing on our target seats.

It includes a paragraph about Lib Dem Voice editor Kirsten Johnson:

Kirsten Johnson, a pianist who is contesting North Devon, said she entered politics to push for more money for mental health services and reduce the gap between rich and poor. “The Liberal Democrats stand for equality across all sections of society, whether economic, gender or any other equality. I think we need to have more people from all walks of life.”

And another about Daisy Cooper:

Daisy Cooper, who has a background in international affairs and is standing in St Albans, described herself as the anti-Brexit, pro-People’s Vote candidate. “I’m internationalist, pro-business, pro-environment – increasingly these are the values that will guide the future of the country.”

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  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 23rd May - 8:27am
    The PM's statement on her Brexit bill did not include publication of the details. She intends to bring it to the Commons after the recess....
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 23rd May - 8:12am
    Interesting that most of the glitterati, who intend to desert their normal parties, Heseltine, Parris, Callow, Cashman, to name just a few, appear to be...
  • User AvatarChristian 23rd May - 8:05am
    I’d be amazed if Change UK carry on after this election. There simply isn’t room in our political system to accommodate them and surely MPs...
  • User AvatarYeovil Yokel 23rd May - 8:02am
    For me it's been a bloody awful 5 years, not 3 - it was the surge by UKIP and the loss of our LD MEP...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 23rd May - 7:38am
    TonyH - that is a very helpful and politically wise statement by Behr. There are good tactical reasons in many regions/nations to vote Lib Dem....
  • User AvatarThomas 23rd May - 6:16am
    John Marriott - this is not about competing with China for global steel market leadership, which is a pipe dream. This is about protecting *what...