Author Archives: The Voice

Rally tonight, Parliament Square, to demand a Final Say

An email has just gone around announcing a rally tonight in London from 6 pm to demand a Final Say on the proposed Brexit deal. More info here.

There have also been a flurry of press briefings and reactions to May’s proposals going out, here are some highlights.

Brexit chaos hitting UK businesses hard

Responding to reports that UK- focused firms have been hit hard by the PM’s proposed Brexit deal, with RBS, Lloyds, Barclays, Marks and Spencer, Barratt, Berkeley and EasyJet all seeing falls in their share prices, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Ministerial resignations and Brexit chaos are hitting UK-based businesses hard. But the short-term damage caused by a rudderless Government will be nothing compared to the permanent harm the PM’s bad deal or catastrophic No Deal would inflict on UK Plc. That is why we need a People’s Vote to get us out of this mess and secure an exit from Brexit.

PM’s incompetence leaves UK unprepared for all options

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has today criticised Theresa May for failing to prepare for no Brexit, despite admitting it was an option.

Speaking in response to the Prime Minister’s Brexit statement in the House of Commons today, Vince Cable said:

The Prime Minister rightly asserts that there are two alternatives to her plan, no deal and no Brexit. The Government is investing considerably in contingency planning for no deal. What contingency planning is she doing for no Brexit? Including, for example, advising the Commission that Article 50 may have to be withdrawn? And is she herself preparing for the fact, however much she hates it, that the House may instruct her to carry out a People’s Vote?

In response, the Prime Minister confirmed the Conservative Government was making no plans for no Brexit.

Following the exchange, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said: 

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Press Release: Brexit Deal

No deal was ever going to better than the deal we have as EU members and this is a very bad deal for the United Kingdom.  We are left rule takers not rule makers.

The Liberal Democrats won’t stand idly by and watch a Tory Brexit destroy our businesses, service sector, and our economy. Far from creating a ‘Global Britain’, this deal will leave the UK as an insignificant vassal state, tied loosely to Europe but with no influence, and shunned by the rest of the world.

Rather than wasting time, money and effort on delivering a Brexit deal which no one, whether they …

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WATCH: Vince Cable tell Europe’s Liberals that Brexit can be reversed

Here’s Vince Cable’s speech to the ALDE Congress in Madrid.

The text follows:

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Press Release – 7th November 2018

Pharma leaders call for urgent action to protect medicine supply

A group including representatives of major pharmaceutical companies have written a joint letter to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, to state that if urgent action is not taken the UK will not have a medicine supply that will suffice in a no deal Brexit.

A letter has been sent to the Health Secretary from organisations including the ABPI, the Brexit Health Alliance, and the ABHI urging the Government to raise the warning level to ‘red’ in regards widespread shortages of medicines and device supply in no deal Brexit.

In the joint …

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Press Release for 7th November

Tory Minister slammed for accusing police of exaggerating pressures

A lot of Tories seem to have taken an approach that when their backs are against the wall say what you need to get away and deal with the consequence later. This is just another example.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has today slammed Policing Minister Nick Hurd for accusing police chiefs of routinely exaggerating the pressures they face.

Speaking in Parliament today, Ed Davey warned “Police chiefs say the pension deficit, if it’s filled, could cost up to 10,000 police officers.” He asked the Minister “Does he agree with them?”

Responding to Ed Davey, the Minister said: “No I don’t. I think the number is exaggerated, which is not unusual for the police.”

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Police chiefs are warning of huge further cuts to police numbers, and the Conservatives’ response is simply to accuse them of exaggerating. It’s deeply alarming.

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Vince: The Commonwealth wants us to stay in the EU

Last month Vince gave a lecture to the Institute of Commonwealth Studies on the subject of Brexit and how it would affect the Commonwealth.

You know how you get Tory Brexiteers looking to the Commonwealth as a whole new opportunity for us? Well, the commonwealth leaders themselves would prefer we stayed in. Vince pointed out:

The first thing that struck me as I started looking through some of the comments on BREXIT and the Commonwealth was the enormous contrast between the tone of the comments coming from the UK, and particularly from the advocates of BREXIT, and those coming from the Commonwealth governments themselves. I think Patricia Scotland summarised the debate on this subject by saying that most of the Commonwealth leaders were hoping that Britain would stay in. It was very clear, that statement. I suspect she understated the argument but there was a very clear preference that most Commonwealth countries have more influence as a result of being in the European Union than being outside. I contrast that with a strangely, almost euphoric attitude of a lot of people in the UK who see the Commonwealth in terms of a big new opportunity opening up.

So why are commonwealth countries so anxious?

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WATCH: Christine Jardine rip into the Tory Budget

On Politics Scotland this week, Christine Jardine shredded the entire budget red book with a few carefully chosen words and some gestures which would make a very fine gif if any of you are so inclined.

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Best wishes to Paddy

Paddy Ashdown revealed to Somerset Live today that he is being treated for bladder cancer:

Yes, I’m afraid I can confirm that. I have known for about three weeks that I am suffering from a cancer of the bladder.

I’m being effectively and wonderfully looked after by everyone at Yeovil Hospital, in whom I have complete confidence.

We must see about the outcome, which as always with things like this, is unpredictable.

I’ve fought a lot of battles in my life.

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How to get Lib Dem Voice by email

Why not join hundreds of other Lib Dem Voice readers in getting our latest headlines by email?

Some people like regularly visiting a site to see if there’s new stories of interest. But if you prefer email, you can instead sign up to get a daily early morning email with a summary of the previous day’s posts from Lib Dem Voice, complete with a note of how many comments each post has got and convenient links to click on if any take your fancy and you want to take a read.

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The Budget – Lib Dems react

Senior Lib Dems have attacked the Budget as insufficient to end austerity. In a post on the party website, Vince set out what Lib Dems want to see in a “People’s Budget”:

We would:

  • Secure the future of our NHS, focusing on social care and mental health with an extra £6bn per year, funded through a penny in the pound on income tax.
  • Improve living standards for 9.6m parents and children, by reversing George Osborne’s cuts to the “work allowance” under Universal Credit, costing £3bn.
  • Invest an extra £2.8bn in to the schools budget, by reversing the Government’s proposed cuts to school funding.
  • Scrap business rates – replacing them with a tax on land values known as the Commercial Landowner Levy.  The reformed system would increase incentives to invest in new equipment and renovations, and cut taxes for businesses in nine out of ten English local authorities.
  • Reverse Conservative cuts to Corporations Tax – still leaving the UK with the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G7.
  • Work with the EU to crack down on tax avoidance by the tech titans, and working to secure agreement on taxing multi-nationals’ profits.
  • Reform wealth taxation – bringing capital gains and dividend taxes into line with income taxes, removing the most generous pension tax reliefs from the highest earners, and replacing the inheritance tax system with a fairer lifetime transfer tax.

Vince has been doing the media round, telling LBC:

And here he is on the BBC:

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ALDE Party expel Catalan member party

At an Extraordinary Council Meeting, held in Brussels, the ALDE Party announced the expulsion of its Catalan member party, PDeCAT, issuing the following press release;

Delegates from more than one third of the ALDE Party full members convened in Brussels on 27 October 2018 for an extraordinary Council Meeting.

With a majority of 2/3 of the votes cast, the Council took the decision to expel PDeCAT (Parti Democratica, Catalonia) from ALDE Party membership, effective immediately.

This decision does not imply any position of the ALDE Party on internal Spanish political affairs.

The ALDE Party keeps its door open to any new liberal and democratic

Posted in Europe / International and News | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Three things we can all do to help secure a People’s Vote

We can win this thing one conversation at a time, but that means every one of us has to pull a shift.

I suggest 3 simple things that everyone in here can do right now.

1. Write to your MP and tell them you want a Peoples Vote. It doesn’t matter who they are or what party or what they’ve said on this. Write to them as a voter. A short, polite email is fine.

2. Now go to the People’s Vote website and sign the petition. Also check out the briefings and other material there.

3. Think of 5 people in your …

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New Labour ‘Brexit Fudge’ unveiled

To mark Jeremy Corbyn’s wishy-washy policy on Brexit, a new Labour ‘Brexit Fudge’ has been launched.

The Labour ‘Brexit Fudge’, which will be handed to activists at the ‘People’s Vote’ march in London today, is expected to be a bittersweet reminder of Jeremy Corbyn’s party fudging their position on giving the people a final say on Brexit.

Labour ‘Brexit Fudge’ has been described as a soft, dense sweet, handmade by the Labour leadership. The product will be on a limited release, exclusively for voters between now and March 29th 2019.

Tom Brake said:

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership have defied us all with their ‘Brexit fudge’. Inspired by Willy Wonka himself, the Labour’s opposition to Brexit is just ‘pure imagination’.

This ‘Brexit fudge’ will stick in the throat of most Labour voters. Given the damage Brexit will cause, Labour’s failure to oppose this Tory mess will be difficult to stomach.

But for Brexiters, Chef Corbyn’s ‘Brexit fudge’ will have them salivating. It will make their Brexit dreams that much sweeter. Indeed, it will go well with a glass of Raab’s confusing concoction and the Eton mess being served up by Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

While we know Corbyn likes a fudge, the number of Labour supporters marching for a People’s Vote should give him something else to chew on.

Liberal Democrats demand better. Only the Liberal Democrats are united in fighting Brexit and giving the people the final say, including the option to remain in the EU.

We’re told that the ingredients for 1kg of ‘Brexit Fudge’ include:

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Dutch Liberal Leader tells Britain: We want you back for good

The new leader of the Dutch social liberal party D66 channelled Take That in a speech in Westminster about Brexit this week. Rob Jetten, who at 31 is the second youngest political leader in Dutch history, met MPs and peers – and impressed them too.

The speech is worth reading in full because this guy not only has some good political instincts, but he’s really funny and knows how to use sarcasm. He jokes about Theresa May’s dance moves, his habit of repeating things in speeches, his and Vince’s relative age and all sorts. But his summing up of the “epic tragedy” of Brexit is incredibly well observed communicated.

The word Brexit evokes an image of a Britain that has to endure confinement in some kind of enclosure. An enclosure from which it can escape by simply moving through an opening marked ‘exit’. It can get up and go. A simple, single act of will. You just have to say yes or no. Piece of cake. In or out. All you have to do is tick the box.

The attraction of the image the word Brexit evokes is obvious. Standing up and going for the “exit” has the flavour of decisiveness, independence, change and action. Much more attractive than being passive. Sitting on your hands. Keeping things as they are, afraid of what is outside the door. And then, of course, there is the unfortunate rubbery capacity of the word for it to be shaped into all kinds of attractive sounding derivations. Such as “brexiteer”.

Who would want to be something as stuffy and boring sounding as a “remainer” when you can be something as new-fangled and exciting as a “brexiteer”, dashing fearlessly through the exit to the great outdoors.

He explains why the process of Brexit is so bloody difficult:

There is no simple “exit” that can be taken. There is no simple separation. There is only tearing. Cutting. Destruction. Every single element, every tiny strand is connected. The mightiest riddles, such as the customs union and the Irish border, dominate the political conversation. But the truth is that it’s nitty-gritty tiny strands of fabric all the way down.

During its 45 years in the EU, Britain has imported many tens of thousands of European laws and regulations. Many thousands more have direct effect. EU law has had absolute supremacy over British law ever since British accession. A little understood legal reality. The fabric of Europe’s legal framework is the fabric of the UK’s political life.

And he reckons we can get out of this mess:

My visit here today, I’m ready to admit, is fuelled by what some might characterize as blind optimism. A blind optimism that says Britain can still escape this mess. Naturally I have no real hope of making a dent in the national discussion today. But I believe Barack Obama—one famous foreigner who unsuccessfully intervened in the Brexit debate—when he says that optimism is never blind if it is rooted in tradition.

And you do know a thing or two about tradition. You do have a tradition of escaping at the last minute. It is no coincidence Harry Houdini spent his best years in Britain. It is equally less surprising that the great escape artist Sherlock Holmes is a British literary figure.

Nor is it at all strange that the most memorable of JK Rowling’s writing involves Harry Potter escaping disaster. What is necessary for this great country to make its greatest escape? I’m no expert, which is good, because I’ve heard you’ve had quite enough of them. But I would hazard to guess that it would take a last minute miracle. And I’m here to say that we will welcome miracles as befits miracles: with biblical comprehension.

The full text of his speech is below:

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Encourage Christine and Layla to stay on track with Go Sober effort

Lib Dem MPs Christine Jardine and Layla Moran are facing their third weekend without any booze. They are doing Go Sober for October to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

So far, they have raised nearly £650 between them.

It’s not always been easy. Last week, poor Christine had to serve whisky to guests at Edinburgh West’s whisky tasting. Her face says it all.

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Not thin enough for treatment – Wera Hobhouse highlights stigma around eating disorders

In a parliamentary debate on Tuesday, Wera Hobhouse outlined how sufferers of eating disorders are being failed by health and support services. Lack of training can mean that doctors make things worse. She told the story of a young woman in her constituency who suffered for three years and never received the help that she needed.

Her aim was to look at the stigma around eating disorders and suggest solutions – one of which was the Lib Dem policy of giving young people access to child and adolescent mental health services until the age of 25. Here’s her speech in full:

We probably all know at least one sufferer or ex-sufferer of an eating disorder. As one put it to me, eating disorders are the easiest thing to get into and the hardest to get out of. We have come a long way in recent years, but we are nowhere near to providing lasting, successful treatments for hundreds of thousands of people. Many people are suffering alone and in silence, without a support network. We are failing as a society to support people in their deeply personal battles.

This debate is about stigma. There are two stigmas around eating disorders—that from outside and that which sufferers feel themselves. The result is that people often wait a long time before asking for help.

It takes an average of 58 weeks from someone realising that they have a problem to them seeking help from a GP. That is more than a year of self-doubt, self-loathing and self-harm. On average, it is a further 27 weeks until the start of treatment. Add to that the time that the person has suffered with a disorder before admitting that there is a problem and we start to see the real picture.

Anybody who has had a close family member in such a situation will understand the hon. Gentleman’s point, but families are often pretty helpless too, if they do not really understand what can be done and how they can help their family member to get out of the problem. It is a form of addiction, and like with any other addiction, family members are co-sufferers. They want to help but do not really understand the deep-seated problems. Family members are important, but we need the professionals and their understanding to help families get through together. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that families are incredibly important.

Eating disorders define large periods of people’s lives. How can we shorten that time? We need people to be okay with saying, “I’m not okay.” We need to tackle the stigma around eating disorders, and the message needs to get through to a lot of people. More than 1 million people in the UK have an eating disorder; three quarters are women and one quarter are men. That is a very large number, plus there are the friends and family who suffer with them. So many people with conditions such as anorexia and bulimia blame themselves. It is not their fault and we need to make sure that they know that.

When I announced on Twitter that I was holding this debate, I received a wave of emotional responses and personal stories. Yesterday, a local doctor dropped into my office a book that she had written, which described her fight with eating disorders since the age of 13. That shows how early it can start.​

I also got an email from a young woman called Lorna, who experienced serious anorexia while studying in my constituency in Bath. This is what she told me:

“I ended up with an initial diagnosis of anxiety and depression, and was started on antidepressants. I suspended my studies and worked as a carer in my local village, living at home with my mum and brother. People I’d known all my life began commenting on the weight I’d lost, and telling me how good I looked. This is when my anorexia began to take full hold.

I stopped eating completely, lying to my mum and saying I’d eaten at work, began over-exercising compulsively, and remember pacing the corridors at work to burn extra calories. I became obsessed. I weighed myself up to 12 times a day.

My mum was terrified, and didn’t know what to do. Eventually she came with me to my GP and I told him everything. I told him I was petrified of putting on weight, exercising excessively and skipping nearly every meal. His response was ‘Oh, that’ll be your antidepressants.’ He took me off a high dose, there and then. Cold turkey.

Each time…I told him how out of control I felt with my eating. He’d force me onto the scales, shaking and crying, and then tell me my BMI was ‘healthy’ and I didn’t meet the diagnostic criteria. I was devastated. I had opened up and was denied help. I never got diagnosed with anorexia, despite going from a size 16 to a size 8 in less than a year.

I went through the monthly humiliation of being dragged onto scales and told I wasn’t thin enough to be helped yet. And not having that formal diagnosis is hard. When I tell people I was anorexic, they never quite believe me, as even doctors didn’t. I think they always assume I was being dramatic, or ‘it wasn’t that bad then’. Today, I am weight-restored, although struggle with now being overweight.

It took me 3 years to recover. 3 years of misery and obsession. I was dangerously unwell, but not sick enough to get an ounce of support.”

When I read that story, I am amazed by how brave Lorna is. She was brave to ask for treatment and even braver to put her trust into the medical system a second time, even after she did not receive the treatment that she really needed. She was very brave to tell her story. Lorna has gone on to campaign for proper treatment for eating disorders. She is here in the Chamber, and I want to thank her personally for letting me share her story—Lorna, thank you. I am so sorry that you had to go through such an awful experience. I know your words will help others, and I desperately hope that together we can improve the treatment and care of those with eating disorders and end the stigma for good.

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The roadmap to a People’s Vote

Today the People’s Vote campaign set out how we get to a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal.

In a report, they set out that Article 50 is revocable, that Parliament has several ways of securing a People’s Vote and discuss what would be on the ballot paper.

It’s really important that people understand that we can get out of this mess so it’s good that they have set out how exactly it could be done.

They set out options for a straight deal vs no deal or deal vs remain or no deal vs remain or all of the above in different stages.

So tell everyone you know how easily this can be sorted out. Don’t let people resign themselves to the inevitability of a rubbish Brexit.

As John Kerr, the author of Article 50, says:

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How you can have your say on Vince’s proposals for party reform

Over the next 10 days, there will be a number of opportunities for party members to express their views about Vince’s ideas about party reform.

These are:

To set up a registered supporters’ scheme and give those supporters the right to vote in leadership elections

To allow non MPs to stand for Leader

To allow people to stand for election as soon as they join the party, subject to approval.

There has already been one session in London  and another takes place tomorrow.

Other events take place in Edinburgh, York, Birmingham, Lancaster, Tiverton, Wokingham and Aberystwyth. You can find full details of times and places here.

If you can’t get to any of them, there is a webinar on Wednesday night for which you can register here.

The consultation booklet is available here.  It contains 13 questions and you need to respond by 14th October. Federal Board then meets on 15th and 22nd October to discuss what to do next.

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Olly Grender and Alison Suttie to sleep out for World Homelessness Day

It’s World Homelessness Day next Wednesday. To mark the occasion and highlight the plight of young people forced to sleep on the streets, Lib Dem peers Alison Suttie and Olly Grender will be sleeping out overnight. They are raising money for De Paul, a charity which helps young people who are affected by homelessness.

Already they have raised more than £1000 for De Paul. On their Just Giving page, they explain why they are doing this:

This will be our third year of sleeping out just once a year for this charity. Depaul UK is a fantastic youth homelessness charity providing housing and support to 16-25 year olds who do not have a safe place to sleep.

According to government figures, the number of young people sleeping rough in England increased by 28 per cent, between 2016 and 2017. No young person should find themselves sleeping on the streets.

Depaul UK believe that every young person deserves a home and a stake in their community, which is why they work tirelessly to provide the stability and support young people need to progress beyond homelessness.

In 2017, they supported 3,763 young people empowering them to lead better, more independent lives.

This year, to raise vital funds for the emergency and preventative services they provide nationally, Alison and I will team up again and will be sleeping out at the Kia Oval on Wednesday 10th October. That evening before the sleep out we will hear from Depaul staff about the great work they’ve been doing. We will then buy some cardboard from Depaul and bed down for the night.

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WATCH: Hina Bokhari describes the reality of Islamophobic abuse

Cllr Hina Bokhari is a newly elected councillor from Merton. She wrote about her first 100 days as a councillor for us here. I met her at Conference and was blown away by her commitment to diversity.

“Saying hello is not difficult.” she said in an article on the party website for National Inclusion Week as she described how she engaged with the Tamil community in the run up to the election in May. In fact, she put a lot of effort into learning and listening.

It wasn’t long before I learnt key phrases, important festivals and some

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Brian Paddick’s tells of death of former boyfriend in heartbreaking and personal interview

Lib Dem peer and Home Affairs spokesperson has talked to Buzzfeed about the death of his former boyfriend from an accidental overdose of the drug GHB.

In an emotional and candid interview, he described how he and Michael had been in a relationship, which, after they split up, became a very close and enduring friendship.

In 2013, Brian received a call from Michael’s brother with the horrific news that Michael was on life support. He rushed to the Intensive Care Unit to say goodbye.

At the inquest into Michael’s death, the Coroner pointed out the key sign that he had been in …

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Well done, Jo! Swinson gets major employers to be more transparent on parental leave…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/4860335535/in/photolist-8puuqx-nH9KhK-x5gkW-a2Yx4D-8putCp-a32qpS-a2YbjP-9kJJvt-7b8177-8puprR-6SKbQG-6SKbZG-oKCWvp-dkaUyr-v2EDLi-r1tFvY-r1tFHm-9kNUaq-4Mph7K-ChcB23-8puqfH-8pxBCE-8pxDRo-9kJHqK-aWwhx4-9VBBzN-5WEQZB-a2Ybz8-9kJLQR-9kP8co-4icUAV-9kMMvL-9kMSBb-9kMNwd-bYafLo-8purhr-9kKZfe-nzKQ2n-yNYtG-8pup2p-8purRn-hKv96Z-8pupSi-8pust2-bZPiEm-9kP7hq-a32p7J-8upwDg-5MSyss-9kMKy9Jo Swinson, Lib Dem Deputy Leader, has announced nine major employers have agreed to publish their parental leave and pay policies.

Representing around 150,000 employees, the nine companies are:

  • Accenture
  • Addleshaw Goddard
  • Direct Line Group
  • EY
  • KPMG
  • Linklaters
  • PwC
  • RBS
  • Santander

Jo has been campaigning tirelessly for greater transparency on parental leave and pay. Getting these large companies to agree to disclose their parental pay and leave policies sets a standard that other companies will feel more pressure to follow.

Jo praised these employers for “setting an excellent example, demonstrating to others they can …

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Why bi-visibility day is important

Today is Bisexual Visibility Day. Even now, bisexuals come in for a fair bit of prejudice even from other parts of the LGBT community. LGBT+ Lib Dems have put out a statement to mark the day:

Today we are marking the twentieth annual Bi Visibility day, which aims to raise the profile and visibility of bisexual people within our society – a society which so often overlooks them. Whilst great progress has been made in advancing rights and acceptance for gay and lesbian people (although of course, there is more to be done), bisexual people often suffer from assumptions based on the gender of their current (or last) partner and the prejudices of their peers. Media portrayals can trivialise their experiences, treat them as curiosities, or suggest that their sexual appetites are greedy and promiscuous. In such a climate, young bisexuals can feel pressured to “pick a side” and this is part of the reason why bi people suffer from far worse rates of mental illness than either gay or straight people. On top of this, the needs of bisexuals are often overlooked in the provision of health and social services.

Their chair Jennie Rigg added:

As Liberals, we stand against conformity and judging people based on their gender or the gender of their sexual or romantic partners. As a bisexual woman, I refuse to be put into a box by others because of the gender of the person, or people, I form relationships with. Today I celebrate Bi Visibility day by being even more visible than I normally am, and stand up for my bi siblings who do not yet feel able to be as visible as I am. My fellow bis are valuable and valid whether they are out or closeted, and I will continue to fight for their rights.

Follow the LGBT+ Lib Dems Twitter account for useful resources throughout the day. Here are some other Lib Dems marking the occasion on Twitter:

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Lib Dems call for recall of Parliament, Jane Dodds calls for PM to go and Rennie challenges Scottish Tories on People’s Vote

Here’s a quick summary of the Lib Dems’ reaction to Theresa May’s statement on the Brexit negotiations yesterday:

Tom Brake called for Parliament to be recalled:

The Prime Minister has had the most humiliating European summit in recent memory and returned with a tattered Chequers deal, making a no deal Brexit more likely than ever.

Two years down the line and the only consensus the PM has made across Parliament and the EU is that Chequers is unworkable.

Instead of pontificating to television cameras, May must now recall Parliament to explain how she got the country into this terrible mess, what her plan is to get us out of it, and when we can have a people’s vote and an exit from Brexit.

Welsh Leader Jane Dodds reckons we need a change of PM:

Theresa May pledged to the country to get the best deal possible but her unwillingness to compromise has left her isolated and now she’s doubling down on her fantasy Chequers deal. You cannot simply keep trying negotiate a deal which has already been ruled out by almost everyone involved and expect an eventual success, politics does not give marks for effort.

Brexit did not, and should not, mean whatever the PM decides it means. It took us 18 months to get the Chequers paper and her religious support of it shows the PM has no realistic plan for Brexit, that’s why she must resign. She has failed to listen to the people, failed to listen to the EU and never quite accepted she lost the General Election. I fully understand the difficulties she faces within her own party, but the buck must stop with her as PM and party leader.

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Watch: Ian Kearns tell Conference why he joined the Lib Dems from Labour




On Saturday, Ian Kearns electrified the Conference rally with a brilliant speech explaining why, in June, he left the Labour Party and joined the Liberal Democrats.

You can watch his speech above and the text is below.

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What’s happening at Conference today? The debates and speeches

Who knows what emergency motions we’ll be discussing today? Will we even have a Government by that stage? Will Theresa May still be PM?

The day starts without expectation of controversy but you never know in a party business session as we look at recognising the new Lib Dem Campaign for Racial Equality.

Policy debates today include promoting a fairer distribution of wealth, and a motion that sets out our demands for a better Britain.

And there will be keynote speeches from Scottish Leader Willie Rennie and Vince Cable.

09.00–09.20 Business motion: Renewal of Recognition of SAOs
Business motion: Recognition of AOs and SAOs

9:20-10:25 Emergency motions or topical issue discussions

10:25-11:30 Policy motion: Promoting a Fairer Distribution of Wealth

11.30–12.30 Policy motion: Demand Better: Liberal Democrat Priorities for a Better Britain

12.30–12.50 Speech: Willie Rennie MSP

12.50–14.10 Lunch

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What’s on at Conference today? The debates and speeches

Europe, housing, the economy, land tax and sustainable development are on the policy agenda today.

Anti Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, not even a party member, will be giving a keynote speech. She’s had some attention as a future leader of the party despite not being a member so her remarks are bound to spark media interest.

The other keynote speaker is Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds.

And there will, of course, be the debate on membership subscriptions which, with a big increase in the Federal Levy, may actually prove more controversial than usual.

09.00–10.00 Policy motion: An Affordable, Secure Home for All

10.00–11.00 Policy motion: Europe

11.00–11.20 Speech: Gina Miller

11.20–14.10 Lunch

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What’s on at Conference today? The debates and speeches

The controversial migration paper is the most likely opportunity to upset the leadership today. Many Liberal Democrats have expressed alarm at its negative language. Expect passion.

Other debates include ending discrimination in mental health provision, a longstanding Lib Dem priority and a paper on foreign affairs.

Also up today, Vince takes to the stage for the first time for his annual Q & A session. What other party leader would submit to genuine, unscripted questions from members for an hour in public?

There are keynote speeches from Sal Brinton and Jo Swinson.

As far as accountability is concerned, the Campaign for Gender Balance and the Parliamentary Parties come up for scrutiny.

09.00–10.00 Report: Campaign for Gender Balance
Report: Parliamentary Parties

10.00–11.00 Policy motion: Ending Discrimination in Mental
Health Provision

11.00–12.30 Policy motion: A Fair Deal for Everyone: Prosperity
and Dignity in Migration

12.30–12.50 Speech: Jo Swinson MP

12.50–14.10 Lunch

Posted in Conference and News | Tagged | 3 Comments

That Lib Dem Disco setlist

It’s nearly time for the Lib Dem Disco to get underway.

Lib Dem Voice can reveal the setlists that our intrepid DJs will play. And they are amazing. And conducive to some serious dancing.

And we can also reveal the the compere for the evening will be our editor, Caron Lindsay.

So, without further ado, here we go:

Christine Jardine

 

Posted in News | Tagged and | 20 Comments

Vince invites progressives to join us ahead of Conference

Vince Cable will use his speech at the rally at the opening of Autumn Conference to make an open pitch to progressives to back us as the only movement in UK politics for them.

The intervention follows THAT speech in which he set out his ideas for reforming the party. Apparently, since then over 10,000 people have pre-registered their interest to become a party supporter – an average of over 1000 per day.

Vince said:

I want to make an open pitch to the people of this country who are fed up with the extremes of the current Conservative and Labour parties.

Whether you

Posted in News | Tagged and | 8 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Evans 16th Nov - 12:41pm
    Simply the best leader we ever had.
  • User AvatarChristopher Haigh 16th Nov - 11:54am
    There is a sinister organisation within the Tory party called the European Reform Group which is presumably coordinating a hatchet job on Mrs May. As...
  • User Avatarnigel hunter 16th Nov - 11:28am
    First thought .David Beckets comments should be put on all our focus leaflets!! (If that is ok)
  • User AvatarDon Manley 16th Nov - 11:24am
    It is very uncharitable to portray our PM as a common enemy, and I speak as a Remainer LibDem member. She has, at great cost...
  • User AvatarMick Taylor 16th Nov - 10:33am
    Three brief points. 1. Gove is just poseur. If he is going to resign, he juts get on with it. 2. Whilst there may not...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 16th Nov - 10:01am
    On summing up the failures of the Tory and Labour parties today the "I" concludes "A curse on your houses. This country and its people...