Category Archives: London

1 May 2024 – yesterday’s other press releases

  • Sadiq Khan’s record of failure exposed
  • Fiefdoms of filth: Scottish Lib Dems unveil new sewage league table
  • Lib Dems on verge of historic breakthrough in London
  • “Bringing truth back into politics”- Welsh Lib Dems back anti-deception proposal
  • Rennie speaks in motion of no confidence in Scottish Government

Sadiq Khan’s record of failure exposed

Sadiq Khan has once again failed to deliver on key manifesto promises, says Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate Rob Blackie.

On the eve of the elections he listed 2021 manifesto pledges that the London Mayor failed to implement:

  • Deliver a ferry at Hammersmith Bridge
  • End rough sleeping
  • Pilot a new City Hall housing developer to directly build

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30 April 2024 – yesterday’s (other) press releases

  • Suspected drug deaths up by 11%
  • Welsh Lib Dems criticise Tata’s “heavy handed” approach to steel workers concerns
  • Cole-Hamilton speaks in abortion safe access zones debate
  • UK Governments Rwanda plans are “cold and callous”- Welsh Lib Dems
  • Blackie: scrap business rates, boost our high streets

Suspected drug deaths up by 11%

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned that the country’s drugs crisis continues to “end lives and blight communities”, as new quarterly statistics revealed that suspected drug deaths have increased by 11%.

Figures published today show that between December 2023 and February 2024, the total number of suspected drug deaths was 278, which is 11% higher than the previous quarter in which 267 suspected drug deaths were recorded.

Public Health Scotland also confirmed that: “Based on the latest post-mortem toxicology testing, nitazenes were detected in 38 deaths (from the first detection in June 2022 to 31 December 2023).”

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

Scotland’s drug deaths emergency continues to end lives and blight communities.

We are also seeing increasing evidence of nitazenes, a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin, contributing significantly to that crisis.

I have joined with campaigners in warning that these substances represent a growing part of the drugs death crisis, highlighting that their presence in Scotland will require an immediate response. That’s why I asked Humza Yousaf about nitazenes during First Minister’s Questions in early January.

Despite these emerging threats, the Scottish Government have delivered a brutal real-terms cut to drug services.

Well-meaning words and promises just won’t cut it. As well as delivering radical and transformational action to help all those suffering, I want ministers to protect and strengthen the drug and alcohol budget so that everyone can access care when they need it.

Welsh Lib Dems criticise Tata’s “heavy handed” approach to steel workers concerns

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called out Tata Steel for threatening to withdraw redundancy packages from workers at their Port Talbot site if they decide to go on strike over potential job losses.

The company also rejected plans submitted by the unions which would have kept at least one of the blast furnaces running at the site.

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20-21 April 2024 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Lord Cameron urged to answer questions in the House of Commons amid global conflicts
  • Long Covid may have reduced Scotland’s GDP by £120m and cost 11,000 jobs
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats attack Government over GP closures
  • Blackie: Abolish London’s bedtime

Lord Cameron urged to answer questions in the House of Commons amid global conflicts

  • Liberal Democrats call on “unelected and unaccountable Foreign Secretary” to take questions from MPs
  • Layla Moran MP writes directly to the Foreign Secretary demanding accountability

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Layla Moran MP, has written to the Foreign Secretary urging him to appear in the House of Commons this week.

The letter to Lord Cameron follows escalation of the conflict in the Middle East, a G7 Summit, and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Last week, the government blocked a request by cross-party MPs which called on Lord Cameron to be accountable for the question.

In the letter, Layla Moran MP writes:

The public are demanding answers from you about the government’s response to these situations.

Every day thousands of people write to their MPs, wanting to know what the government is doing to ensure aid can reach the people of Gaza, why we haven’t proscribed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or wanting to know how we are combatting Russia’s expansionist exploits into our allies’ territory.

In the 21st century, it should not be the case that our Foreign Secretary is both unelected and unaccountable.

You speak on behalf of the United Kingdom as our most senior diplomat. Yet you refuse to speak to your own elected Members of Parliament.

Our constituents must have the ability to have their concerns put directly to the Foreign Secretary.

Long Covid may have reduced Scotland’s GDP by £120m and cost 11,000 jobs

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today called on the Scottish Government to develop a long-term plan for tackling Long Covid after a new economic report indicated that the condition may have reduced Scotland’s GDP by a massive £120m.

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18 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Police taking up to 17 and a half hours to respond to anti-social behaviour calls
  • Thames Water: This corporate clown show must end
  • “Flushed away”- Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Government to support maintenance of public toilets
  • Scot Lib Dems respond to SNP and Greens ditching climate change targets
  • Khan manifesto launch
  • Cole-Hamilton speaks after more days of turmoil for Humza Yousaf

Police taking up to 17 and a half hours to respond to anti-social behaviour calls

Average police response times to anti-social behaviour incidents have increased by 37% since 2021, with some forces taking an average of 17 and a half hours to arrive at the scene, shocking new figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The figures were obtained through a series of Freedom of Information requests to all police forces in England. 27 forces provided full responses.

In 2023, it took an average of 3 hours and 40 minutes across police forces for an officer to turn up to the scene of anti-social behaviour incidents. This is an increase of 34% compared to average wait times across police forces in 2021, which stood at 2 hours and 44 minutes.

The figures revealed a disturbing postcode lottery, with huge differences in average response times between police forces.

Suffolk had the longest wait times in England last year, with police taking an average of 17 and a half hours to attend anti-social behaviour reports, followed closely behind by Norfolk where wait times were 17 hours and 29 minutes. Cambridgeshire also had extremely long wait times, which stood at 11 and a half hours.

Meanwhile, anti-social behaviour calls in Essex were attended to in less than 8 minutes on average.

In recent years, some forces also experienced huge deteriorations in wait times. In Surrey, where Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey will be making a campaigning visit today, wait times have increased by 281% since 2021, up to nearly 5 and a half hours.

London wait times have more than tripled in that same time period, up a staggering 353%.

The shocking figures come just months after the Crime Survey for England and Wales found that in the year ending September 2023, more than one third of people had experienced or witnessed some type of anti-social behaviour, with the police recording 1 million incidents.

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservative Government for these figures, arguing that years of ineffective resourcing have left local police forces overstretched, under-resourced and unable to effectively respond to local crime. This includes taking more than 4,500 community officers (PCSOs) off the streets since 2015.

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17 April 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Lib Dem comment on Sadiq Khan’s latest pre-election pledge on women’s safety
  • McArthur welcomes assisted dying bill being assigned to health committee
  • “Cultural vandalism”- Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh government to save National Museum
  • Cole-Hamilton urges SNP Government to deliver transparency on Russian land ownership
  • “Families are being cut off” -Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Gov to lift immigration status barriers on school grants

Lib Dem comment on Sadiq Khan’s latest pre-election pledge on women’s safety

Commenting on Sadiq Khan’s promise to fund a free, independent legal advice pilot service for survivors of rape and serious sexual offences, if re-elected, Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Rob Blackie said:

Under Sadiq Khan, the police are catching rapists and sexual offenders half as often as they did when he became Mayor in 2016. This is a scandal. But in last night’s debate the Mayor would not even say that he is sorry for this.

The Mayor’s plan does not promise to catch significantly more sexual offenders. It even includes policies that were promised last year.

McArthur welcomes assisted dying bill being assigned to health committee

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur has welcomed the news that the Scottish Parliament’s health committee has been assigned as the lead committee for scrutinising his Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill.

The decision to assign a bill a lead committee is taken by the Scottish Parliament business bureau. The bill is also expected to be scrutinised by the Finance committee and Delegated Powers committee.

The committee will now decide how it wishes to proceed, which is likely to start with call for the submission of written evidence followed by oral evidence sessions with a wide range of witnesses and stakeholders, concluding with Mr McArthur, appearing before the committee.

The Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill was published on 28th March, alongside polling from Dignity in Dying showing strong support for assisted dying in every constituency and region of Scotland.

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11 April 2024 -today’s press releases

  • Sunak in “parallel universe” as NHS waiting lists grow by 330,000 since he pledged to cut them
  • Nick Fletcher endorses Lee Anderson: Sunak should kick him out of Conservative Party
  • Donelan libel costs: Donelan must pay this money back now
  • Lib Dems to create London Housing Company – Blackie: “I will get London building again”

Sunak in “parallel universe” as NHS waiting lists grow by 330,000 since he pledged to cut them

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has said Rishi Sunak is living in a “parallel universe,” after today’s figures reveal NHS targets are being missed while waiting lists have grown by 330,000 since the Prime Minister pledged to cut them.

NHS targets missed include:

  • NHS waiting lists: NHS waiting lists stood at 7.54 million outstanding treatments in February 2024, up from 7.21 million in January 2023 when Rishi Sunak pledged to cut them. This is an increase of 330,000 (NHS England).
  • 65 week waits: There were 75,000 65-weeks for treatment in February, despite a target to eliminate them by March 2024 (NHS England).
  • A&E: 71.3% of patients were seen within 4 hours in all A&E in February, against a target of 76% (NHS England).
  • Cancer: 63.9% of people treated began cancer treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral in February 2024, against a target of 85% (NHS England).

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

This week we uncovered that over 150,000 people waited over 24 hours in A&E last year. Now we find that waiting lists have gone up by 330,000 after Rishi Sunak pledged to cut them.

To add insult to injury, the Conservatives have cut NHS spending while millions of patients are suffering in pain on endless waiting lists.

Rishi Sunak is living in a parallel universe if he thinks our National Health Service is recovering. The Conservative Party and the Prime Minister are out of touch, out of ideas and deserve to be kicked out of office.

Nick Fletcher endorses Lee Anderson: Sunak should kick him out of Conservative Party

Responding to Nick Fletcher, Conservative MP for Don Valley, telling voters in Ashfield that Reform UK MP Lee Anderson is the area’s “greatest champion” and that he needs to be back in Westminster, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

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9 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Hospital’s spend £3million on pest control as patients suffer from rats and insects
  • Cameron and Trump: European leaders’ summit needed to seize frozen Russian assets
  • Cole-Hamilton: SNP have failed to help A&E recover
  • Lib Dems launch London Transport Policy – Blackie: “No more bus cuts”

Hospital’s spend £3million on pest control as patients suffer from rats and insects

  • Staff report being bitten by bugs as rats roam maternity and emergency wards
  • Freedom of Information requests reveal NHS Hospitals coping with 18,000 pest incidents since 2021
  • Liberal Democrat Leader demands urgent repair fund for crumbling hospitals

Freedom of Information Requests by the Liberal Democrats have revealed the extent of pests roaming NHS Hospitals. As the NHS repair backlog reaches record levels, these new revelations show staff and patients subjected to poor conditions.

Since 2021, over 60 NHS Trusts have reported £3.7 million spent on pest control at their hospitals. Imperial College NHS Trust, which includes St.Mary’s Hospital London, spent a staggering £383,597 on pest control, including dealing with 748 pest incidents last year alone.

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust spent £119,199 to deal with mice in the kitchen, maggots in the mortuary and rat droppings in a corpse bag, amongst many other pests.

The most shocking incidents were reported by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust, which includes Colchester Hospital and Ipswich Hospital. Staff reported:

  • Black insects are biting the legs of staff
  • Ants and fly infestations
  • Rats in the ambulance area

At Ashford NHS Trust, dead headless pigeons and dead rabbits, as well as slug and ants were reported. Royal United Hospitals Bath reported pests in the children’s ward and breast clinic.

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5 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • NICs: Prime Minister is still peddling this deception
  • Chamberlains’s Carer’s Leave Bill to come into force
  • 91,000 people call 999 or turn to A&E after struggling to get GP appointment
  • Rennie: Fall in modern languages teachers jeopardises vision for Scotland
  • Blackie: ‘My top priority: fix the Met’

NICs: Prime Minister is still peddling this deception

Responding to the changes to National Insurance (NI) and freezing of income tax thresholds coming into force tomorrow, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, Sarah Olney MP said:

The Prime Minister is still peddling this deception and voters will see straight through it.

Hammering the public with unfair stealth taxes and then claiming people will be taking home more in their pay packets is frankly offensive.

This is an out of touch Prime Minister leading a directionless Conservative government with his party more interested in clinging on to power than ensuring people are better off. They do not deserve to be in power for a moment longer.

Chamberlains’s Carer’s Leave Bill to come into force

The “landmark” Carer’s Leave Bill introduced by North East Fife MP and Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain will come into force on Saturday 6th April.

The Bill will give an estimated 2.4 million carers across the UK a statutory right to take five days of unpaid leave per year. Carer’s UK have described this as a ‘landmark’ piece of legislation which would help carers to better balance work and care.

Wendy Chamberlain introduced the Carer’s Leave Bill in June 2022 after winning a place in the Private Member’s Bill lottery. The Bill enjoyed cross-party support and was passed on 19 May 2023. The legislation comes into effect on 6th April 2024

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3 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Aid worker deaths: Davey calls on government to suspend arms sales to Israel
  • Royal Mail proposal to cut second class deliveries: Another slap in the face
  • London Lib Dems response to Khan economic announcement
  • Worst hit rivers for sewage dumps revealed as Lib Dems call for new Blue Flag status
  • Rennie responds to CalMac boss stepping down

Aid worker deaths: Davey calls on government to suspend arms sales to Israel

The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to suspend arms sales to Israel, following the deaths of seven aid workers including three British nationals in an Israeli air strike in Gaza.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

The deaths of these British aid workers in Gaza is an absolute disgrace. These brave people were trying to help starving families in Gaza.

Clearly, the thought that British-made arms could have been used in strikes such as these is completely unacceptable.

The government must take swift action to suspend arms exports to Israel. We must redouble our efforts to secure an immediate bilateral ceasefire.

Royal Mail proposal to cut second class deliveries: Another slap in the face

Responding to the news that Royal Mail wants to reduce second class deliveries to three days a week, Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

These plans are a slap in the face for families being asked to pay more for less.

The cost of first and second class stamps has gone up sharply in recent years. It risks creating a cost of postage crisis, as people feel forced to pay for first class stamps because second class delivery days are being slashed.

People shouldn’t have to pay the price for Royal Mail’s failure, after executives missed their delivery targets and paid themselves eye-watering bonuses.

London Lib Dems response to Khan economic announcement

Responding to Sadiq Khan’s joint economic announcement with Rachel Reeves today (Weds), Rob Blackie, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, said:

Labour’s plan ignores London’s biggest economic problem – Brexit. Labour are too scared to say that Brexit has damaged London’s economy, making us poorer and costing us jobs.

For instance, technology companies now have to spend time and money complying with two data laws, one each from the EU and the UK. And too many European citizens in London are made to feel unwelcome.

As Liberal Democrat Mayor I will campaign to fix the damage done by Brexit, and bring in a London passport to protect London’s EU citizen rights.

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30-31 March 2024 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Revealed: 31,000 sewage discharges into bathing areas last year
  • Water firms committing “environmental cover up” as one in seven sewage monitors are faulty
  • Khan quietly ditches ‘Track My Crime’ victim tool

Revealed: 31,000 sewage discharges into bathing areas last year

  • Sewage dumped average of 86 times a day last year into bathing water sites, up 47% on previous year
  • Lib Dems warn families visiting seaside over Easter bank holiday will be “horrified” that popular beaches are being ruined by rise in sewage dumping
  • Allonby in Cumbria the worst hit bathing site with 4,500 hours of sewage dumped last year

The Liberal Democrats have accused water companies of committing “environmental vandalism” after the party’s analysis has revealed that there were 31,000 sewage discharges in bathing areas last year, an increase of 47% compared to 2022.

Shockingly this amounts to sewage being dumped an average of 86 times a day into bathing water areas last year, subjecting swimmers to potential serious health risks. The Liberal Democrats warned that families visiting the seaside over the Easter Bank holiday would be horrified that popular beaches are being ruined by sewage.

The analysis looks at the amount of sewage dumped into beaches officially classified as bathing waters, meaning they should be protected from pollution. In total sewage was discharged for 228,000 hours into bathing areas across England in 2023, an increase of 80% on the previous year.

The worst bathing area for sewage dumping last year was in Allonby where United Utilities dumped over 4,500 hours worth of sewage. This was followed by Haverigg where United Utilities dumped 3,600 hours of sewage into bathing spots, then Middleton-on-sea where 3,500 hours of sewage was dumped by Southern Water.

United Utilities were also the worst offending company overall with 10,467 sewage spills over 76,259 hours dumped into bathing sites. South West Water dumped the second largest amount of sewage into bathing sites last year with 8,500 spills over 59,000 hours. This was followed by Southern Water, Wessex Water, and Thames Water respectively who were all responsible for dumping over 11,000 hours worth of sewage into bathing spots last year.

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28 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • GDP stats: Rishi’s recession confirmed
  • Thames Water: Broken firm needs to be taken into special administration
  • McArthur’s Assisted Dying Bill published by Scottish Parliament
  • Blackie unveils plan to “Green” the Silvertown Tunnel

GDP stats: Rishi’s recession confirmed

Responding to this morning’s ONS figures confirming the UK economy did go into recession last year, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

These damning figures confirm the damage done to the UK economy by Rishi’s recession. This Conservative government has no plan for growth or to help families paying the price for years of economic chaos through soaring mortgages and rents.

The Liberal Democrats have a bold plan to get the economy growing again, fix our broken trading relationship with Europe and support small businesses on the brink. It’s clear the best thing for the economy would be a general election, so we can kick the Conservative Party out of power and offer the real change the country needs.

Thames Water: Broken firm needs to be taken into special administration

Responding to the news that Thames Water’s shareholders will not be injecting the first £500 million of funding that was agreed last summer, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson and MP for Richmond Park Sarah Olney said:

Thames Water is a broken firm. It is teetering on the brink of collapse and it is clear that things cannot go on as they are.

Drastic action is needed to keep the taps running for millions of customers. Execs have pocketed sky-high bonuses, given billions to overseas investors whilst watching their infrastructure crumble. The board should hang their heads in shame.

No longer should this firm be allowed to mistreat customers and destroy our environment with their filthy sewage.

That is why ministers must use their powers to put Thames Water into special administration immediately, to then be reformed into a public benefit company. Only that way can we ensure this polluting giant will begin working for its customers again.

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27 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Ed Davey warns Sunak facing sewage local elections backlash on campaign visit to Dorset
  • Khan already failing on Met recruitment
  • Sewage spills rise: 21,660 “disgusting” sewage dumps in 2023
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats respond to Housing Bill
  • Cole-Hamilton responds to hackers’ threat of publishing NHS stolen data
  • Rennie: Ministers’ fingerprints all over Tydeman sacking

Ed Davey warns Sunak facing sewage local elections backlash on campaign visit to Dorset

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will today warn that Rishi Sunak is facing a “sewage backlash” at the ballot box in May’s local elections, on a visit to West Dorset as part of his campaign tour of the West Country.

Ed Davey will be meeting CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, Giles Bristow, and visiting West Bay beach, a popular tourist destination where pollution alerts were put in place after raw sewage was discharged last year.

The Liberal Democrats have led the campaign in Westminster to tackle the sewage scandal since 2021, and it’s been a key issue in their big victories in previous local election campaigns and four parliamentary by-election wins.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the water industry to be “ripped up from top to bottom” to ensure profit is no longer put above environmental goals, and the creation of a new tougher regulator to replace Ofwat. Since the Liberal Democrats were the first party to call for a ban on water firm executive bonuses over two years ago, a number of water CEOs have given theirs up.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Rishi Sunak and Conservative MPs are facing a sewage backlash after years of blocking tough measures to crack down on water firms. The water industry needs to be ripped up from top to bottom, to stop profits and shareholders’ dividends driving everything. It is time to start again.

Sunak may have bottled a General Election, but he cannot hide from voters in the local elections where communities will voice real anger at this environmental scandal.

From Dorset to Yorkshire, lifelong Conservative voters across the country are switching to the Liberal Democrats because they’re fed up with seeing their rivers and beaches ruined by sewage.

Under this Conservative government both sewage in our rivers and water company profits have increased hand in hand. Enough is enough: it is clear the only way to end this sewage scandal is to boot the Conservatives out of government.

Khan already failing on Met recruitment

Responding to Sadiq Khan’s announcement that a possible Labour Government would give London more resources to recruit police officers, Lib Dem Mayoral Candidate Rob Blackie said:

This smacks of another pre-election gimmick from the Mayor. Surely any future Government wouldn’t deny London the resources it needs if it decides to elect a different party into the Mayoralty?

In any case, the Mayor is already failing on police recruitment. Numbers are going backwards and he has had to hand money back to the Government for his lack of success. So Londoners will be sceptical. Sadiq Khan has made similar promises before and not delivered.

Under Sadiq Khan’s leadership, a police officer told the Casey enquiry into the Met police that detection rates for sexual offences and rape had fallen so low that ‘it may as well be legal’ in London.

Today the Metropolitan police are catching rapists half as often as when Sadiq Khan became Mayor in 2016. And 6,000 police are stuck in the back office instead of the frontline.

This is not a policing record to be proud of. The Liberal Democrats’ top priority will be to fix the Met.

Sewage spills rise: 21,660 “disgusting” sewage dumps in 2023

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today demanded that the SNP and Greens stop defending outdated sewage standards as new Scottish Water figures revealed a 10% increase in the number of sewage dumps in 2023.

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27 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • NHS satisfaction survey: Govt can’t be trusted with NHS
  • Sewage spills rise: Ed Davey calls for national environmental emergency to be declared
  • Lib Dem comment on E.coli in Thames
  • Scotland’s sewage crisis 40% worse than previously thought
  • Bus journeys plummet by 31%

NHS satisfaction survey: Govt can’t be trusted with NHS

Responding to the British Social Attitudes survey on NHS satisfaction, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

This is a damning assessment of the Government’s management of the NHS. Years and years of neglect and incompetence has run our NHS into the ground.

NHS staff work around the clock to see thousands and thousands of patients but the public are understandably frustrated that they’re often waiting too long to see a GP, or to get a hospital appointments for diagnosis and treatment.

The public know this Conservative Government cannot be trusted with our NHS, and they will want to deliver their verdict at the next general election.

Sewage spills rise: Ed Davey calls for national environmental emergency to be declared

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called on the government to declare a national environmental emergency after the number of sewage spills in 2023 increased by 54% on the previous year, putting ecosystems already at breaking point on the brink of collapse.

As part of this national environmental emergency, the Liberal Democrats are calling for an urgent meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to review the impact of sewage spills on human health – for river and sea swimmers in particular. Campaign group Surfers Against Sewage released a report last year showing almost 2,000 people reported getting sick last year after swimming in the sea or rivers.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

The Liberal Democrats have been warning this Conservative government for years that the sewage scandal is ruining the country’s rivers and beaches and pushing ecosystems to the brink of collapse.

Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party have failed to listen and as a result sewage spills are increasing, our precious countryside is being destroyed and swimmers are falling sick.

It is time for this Conservative government to finally deal with this disgraceful situation and declare a national environmental emergency. That must include convening an urgent SAGE meeting to look into the impact of sewage spills on people’s health.

Only by treating the sewage scandal with the urgency it demands can we save our rivers and beaches for future generations to enjoy.

Lib Dem comment on E.coli in Thames

Commenting on findings of high E.coli levels in the Thames by River Action today, Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Rob Blackie said:

This is the consequence of 72 billion litres of raw sewage pumped into the Thames in London since 2020.

It amounts to an environment catastrophe in the capital.

The Conservative government have let water companies get away with polluting for too long. It must crack down on Thames Water.

Instead of action, we have seen huge increases in sewage dumped into the river.

If elected I will work to stop sewage being dumped into our rivers and campaign to make water companies pay for the damage they’ve done.

Scotland’s sewage crisis 40% worse than previously thought

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today accused the Scottish Government of being “defenders of outdated sewage standards” as figures published by Scottish Water revealed that that there were an additional 5,668 sewage dumps in Scotland in 2022, on top of the initial 14,008 that were reported in March.

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22 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Ed Davey statement regarding The Princess of Wales
  • “The system failed Kaylea, we cannot allow it to happen again”- Mid and West Wales MS Jane Dodds
  • Tory support in freefall – Rob offers London liberal choice
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats respond to publication of Fair Fares Review

Ed Davey statement regarding The Princess of Wales

Responding to the Princess of Wales’ video statement, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

What sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with the Princess of Wales tonight.

Liberal Democrats join the whole country in wishing her a speedy recovery and hope the Royal Family will be given space and privacy at this difficult time.

“The system failed Kaylea, we cannot allow it to happen again”- Mid and West Wales MS Jane Dodds

This week in the Senedd, the Mid and West Wales MS Jane Dodds urged the Welsh Government to learn from the tragic case of Kaylea Titford and improve the child safeguarding system here in Wales.

The disabled 16-year-old passed away in 2020 after being found in conditions that were described as “unsuitable for an animal”.

Kalyea’s parents were both charged with manslaughter by gross negligence and are currently serving a combined total of 18 years behind bars.

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21 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Interest rates: Families are still facing a mortgage cliff edge
  • Khan ‘failing’ on Met Police reform – Lib Dems slam mayor’s record on first anniversary of Casey report
  • Cole-Hamilton challenges Yousaf on SNP Government’s climate record
  • Rennie responds to poverty statistics
  • Water Industry Commission for Scotland branded an embarrassment

Interest rates: Families are still facing a mortgage cliff edge

Responding to the Bank of England’s decision to keep interest rates at 5.25%, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This is cold comfort for millions of homeowners who still face massive hikes in their mortgage bills after Liz Truss crashed the economy. Many families still face a mortgage cliff edge despite this news.

Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget and the Conservative party’s economic vandalism has put intolerable pressure on people’s finances.

This Conservative government has no good story to tell on the economy.

The only way to break this cycle of stagnation and financial hardship is to kick this out of touch government out of office. Rishi Sunak needs to stop his desperate attempt to cling on to power and call an election.

Khan ‘failing’ on Met Police reform – Lib Dems slam mayor’s record on first anniversary of Casey report

A year on from the publication of Baroness Casey’s damning report on the Met police, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has made “no or only slow progress on key issues”, according to analysis by the Lib Dems.

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19 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • London Lib Dem Launch – Blackie slams Khan record on crime
  • Cole-Hamilton: Patients deserve better than the SNP’s new normal
  • “Our Welsh workers are not collateral damage”-Welsh Lib Dems call for clarification on jobs following Tata Steel oven closure
  • Cole-Hamilton attacks SNP ministers as opioids continue to blight Scotland

London Lib Dem Launch – Blackie slams Khan record on crime

Mayoral Candidate, Rob Blackie, has launched the London Liberal Democrat today with a pledge to ‘fix the Met’.

The party launched its campaign at Pop Brixton, located in the neighbourhood Rob has spent much of the past 20 years raising his family.

Blackie told the media and a group of close supporters that Sadiq Khan does “not deserve” a third term due to his record on crime. He also dismissed the Conservative chances, accusing the party of giving up on London after selecting a Trump-backing candidate.

Blackie said Sadiq Khan’s failure on crime is the reason he is standing as mayor.

Seasoned campaigner, Blackie, 50, described how he became a victim of crime himself. His neck was broken in a vicious gang mugging in Vauxhall, and he now has a titanium neck.

Speaking to journalists in Brixton this morning (Tuesday), Blackie said:

My top priority is crime and policing.

Sadiq Khan’s failure on those issues is the main reason I am standing against him.

Violent crime has risen by 30 percent in London since Mr Khan has been in office.

Sexual offence clear-up rates have halved in the last eight years.

Let me just read one shocking sentence from Baroness Casey’s report on the Met Police, published last year – the account of a serving police officer, who said: ‘If you look at our performance around rape, serious sexual offences, the detection rate is so low you may as well say it’s legal in London.’

Just let that sink in… ‘You may as well say it’s legal in London.’

It is just shameful.

Sadiq Khan blames everyone else for this but himself. The buck stops with him and we will call him out in this campaign.

In his speech, Blackie described how he grew up in London playing on the street with neighbouring children from all over the world. He added:

I love living and working in the most cosmopolitan city on the planet.

That is the London I love, and the London we want to ‘get back’.

He also took a swipe at the London Conservatives, describing Susan Hall as “beyond the pale”. He said:

Far from embracing London, she attacks it. Liking tweets that call our city Londonistan and venerate Enoch Powell.

Does she even like London? She certainly doesn’t love our great city. When the Conservatives chose her as their candidate, they gave up on this election.

Cole-Hamilton: Patients deserve better than the SNP’s new normal

Responding to new figures showing only 65.2% of people attending A&E were seen within the 4 hour target in the week ending 10th March, while 2,943 people waited over 8 hours, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

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12 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Stuart’s failure to call out racist Hester comments “jaw-dropping”
  • 1,197 suspected drug deaths in 2023
  • Firefighters face risks as government fails to deliver RAAC register
  • Welsh Lib Dems call for more support for childcare sector in Wales
  • Care leavers shouldn’t be forced to “bear burden of proof” when it comes to accessing housing support
  • Blackie calls on Susan Hall to disown racist Frank Hester remarks

Stuart’s failure to call out racist Hester comments “jaw-dropping”

Responding to Graham Stuarts’ comments this morning on Times Radio where he refused to say Frank Hester’s alleged comments were racist and refused to say the money should be returned, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Graham Stuart’s refusal to call out these racist comments was simply jaw-dropping.

The Conservative Party has flat out refused to return these donations despite these comments being inexcusable. How low can you go?

Rishi Sunak can bunker down and hide in Downing Street as long as he wants but every day he doesn’t return this money is another damning blow to the Conservative Party’s credibility.

1,197 suspected drug deaths in 2023

Responding to new Police Scotland figures showing that there were 1,197 suspected drug deaths between January and December 2023, which is a 10% increase compared to 2022, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

When 100 people a month are dying in Scotland’s drugs deaths emergency, we need to be open to anything that will save them. Each represents a life cut short and a family torn apart by grief.

These numbers are already going in the wrong direction and with the SNP and Greens having pushed through a budget that delivers a real-terms cut to drug services, I am extremely concerned that problems will simply get worse.

Every tool at our disposal needs to be used to reduce harm and save lives. That includes protecting the drug and alcohol budget, integrated drug checking facilities and preparing now for a network of safe consumption rooms because help can’t just be limited to Glasgow.

Well-meaning words won’t stop people dying. Humza Yousaf and his government must deliver swift change and ensure they never take their eye off the ball again.

Firefighters face risks as government fails to deliver RAAC register

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today urged the Scottish Government to compile a complete list of buildings where the dangerous bubbly concrete known as RAAC is present, as a minister conceded that the presence of the material could present safety implications for firefighters responding to incidents.

In response to a parliamentary question from Mr Cole-Hamilton, community safety minister Siobhian Brown admitting that “Where the material is in poor condition there could be greater risk of weakness or collapse”.

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8 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Keegan remarks: Hardly surprising from gaffe prone minister
  • Khan’s Friday fares cut branded ‘pre-election gimmick’
  • McArthur writes to MSPs about timeline for assisted dying bill

Keegan remarks: Hardly surprising from gaffe prone minister

Responding to Gillian Keegan’s remarks at the Association of School and College Leaders conference, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:

A Secretary of State talking about assaulting someone should be shocking, but for Gillian Keegan it’s just another day at the microphone.

Gillian Keegan has form and this is the latest gaff from a minister who has a potty mouth, an obviously quick temper and still thinks she is doing a good job. Hardly the qualities we should be instilling in our children.

Khan’s Friday fares cut branded ‘pre-election gimmick’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Friday fares reduction trial has been branded a pre-election gimmick.

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6 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • Liberal Democrats call for health spending in forthcoming budget
  • Donelan legal payments: Lib Dems demand Cabinet Office inquiry
  • Budget: ‘nothing for London’ says Lib Dem mayoral candidate
  • Donelan must pay libel action costs herself

Liberal Democrats call for health spending in forthcoming budget

Speaking ahead of the budget, Liberal Democrat Scottish Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

All Rishi is doing is prolonging the agony for all of us.

Families are fed up picking up the tab for his economic mismanagement.

Conservatives have been bad for the economy and bad for the country’s health.

The Conservatives must put the NHS at the heart of the budget. It is no wonder the economy isn’t growing when millions of people are stuck on NHS waiting lists, unable to work.

More funding for the NHS in England means an increase in Barnett consequentials, which can then be spent on ensuring that patients can finally get access to their GP in Scotland.

Lifelong Conservative voters are rejecting Rishi Sunak’s Government just as long-term SNP voters are seeing that Humza Yousaf’s government has no plan for rescuing the NHS. They are out of touch and out of ideas about how to bring down waiting lists.

The only way out of this mess is a General Election to deliver the change this country desperately needs.

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5 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • More than 1,800 people stuck in hospital
  • Cole-Hamilton: SNP cut £30m from mental health despite missing targets yet again
  • Lib Dems reveal some of the biggest nationalist failures on the international stage
  • Lib Dem Mayoral candidate beats cancer

More than 1,800 people stuck in hospital

Responding to new Public Health Scotland figures which show 1,860 people were stuck in hospital due to their discharge being delayed, with 57,860 days being spent in hospital by people waiting to be discharged, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

Amid a chaotic turnover of SNP health secretaries, the Scottish Government has completely failed to tackle core problems that are leaving far too many languishing in hospital wards.

People should never have to wait weeks or months in hospital for a care home place or help to return home.

The SNP’s ill-fated centralisation of social care will do absolutely nothing to ease pressures. This billion-pound bureaucracy must be scrapped, not salved.

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1 March 2024 – today’s (other) press releases

  • Urgent theft from vehicle reports in London up 31%
  • Welsh Lib Dems look ahead towards Cardiff Spring conference

Urgent theft from vehicle reports in London up 31%

London is facing an epidemic of thefts from vehicles, new figures show.

Data obtained by Lib Dem London Mayoral candidate Rob Blackie, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), show that there has been a 31% increase in 999 calls relating to theft from vehicles since 2015 – the year before Sadiq Khan took office.

There were 27,584 theft from vehicle emergency reports in the capital in 2023 – up from 21,009 in 2015.

Lib Dem Mayoral Candidate, Rob Blackie, said:

This is yet another damning indictment of Sadiq Khan’s record as Mayor over the last eight years. Londoners tell me they are worried about cars being broken into on their street. They want the police to act because the problem is getting so much worse.

We need every officer out there investigating crime and focusing on what’s important to Londoners. That’s why I will be ensuring that the Met spends less time wasting effort on stop and searches for cannabis and more time on tackling serious crime.

Fixing the Met will be my top priority and the Liberal Democrats will give it the funding and focus it needs.

Welsh Lib Dems look ahead towards Cardiff Spring conference

The Welsh Liberal Democrats will be hosting their annual Spring conference this weekend in Cardiff.

Over a two-day period (Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of March), party members are expected to be debating motions on Childcare, Local Government funding and providing a Fair Deal for Wales amongst others.

The conference will be opened by the Rt.Hon. The Mayor of Cardiff, Cllr Bablin Molik, the first woman of colour to be appointed as the Lord Mayor of the Welsh capital.

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Everard Report: Khan still failing on women’s safety

Following the publication of the first report by The Angiolini Inquiry into the murder of Sarah Everard, Lib Dem Mayoral candidate, Rob Blackie, has criticised the Mayor for his continued failures on London’s women’s safety.

Three years after the murder of Sarah Everard by a rogue Metropolitan Police officer, Blackie cites how sex offences have surged, recruitment of officers focused on sexual crime is failing, and public trust in the police has collapsed during Sadiq Khan’s time in office.

Sexual offences reported to the police in London rose from 16,147 in 2015 to 24,958 in 2023 – a rise of 54%. …

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23 January 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Davey on Houthi strikes: Vital Parliament has its say
  • Simon Clarke and Sunak soap opera: A fourth PM without an election would be “ludicrous”
  • Operation Onyx One Year On – 1,400 Met Officers Still Under Investigation for Sexual Abuse
  • Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Government to make good on promise to “prioritise care not profit”
  • Mid and West Wales MS Jane Dodds calls on Welsh Government to protect businesses from floods

Davey on Houthi strikes: Vital Parliament has its say

Responding to the latest set of strikes on the Houthi rebels, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Liberal Democrats are concerned about the Houthis’ attacks in the Red Sea and so we support the case for limited strikes, so long as they remain limited.

However, it is absolutely vital that Parliament has an opportunity to have its say, via a debate and a vote. The Prime Minister has so far failed to grant either. It is deeply disappointing that elected representatives are being bypassed on an issue as important as military action.

Simon Clarke and Sunak soap opera: A fourth PM without an election would be “ludicrous”

Responding to Simon Clarke calling on Rishi Sunak to be replaced as Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

It is utterly ludicrous that the Conservative Party is even discussing installing a fourth Prime Minister without giving voters a say.

The Conservatives are once again fighting like rats in a sack while families face soaring bills and an NHS crisis.

People are sick and tired of this never-ending Conservative Party soap opera. It’s time for Rishi Sunak to give voters the chance to put an end to this farce and call a general election.

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22 January 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Panorama Report: Crumbling schools left in the cold
  • Lucy Frazer: Attack on BBC a desperate distraction
  • New: Met Police Officer numbers fall again

Panorama Report: Crumbling schools left in the cold

Responding to the BBC Panorama report which revealed that crumbling schools are plagued by leaks and the cold, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:

Thousands and thousands of school buildings across the country are in dire need of investment after years of neglect from this Conservative government.

The lack of Government action is shockingly leaving children in extremely cold classrooms having to wear gloves and hats while attempting to learn.

The Liberal Democrats know that investment in education boosts our children’s futures. The Treasury needs to urgently look at increasing the funding for clearing the backlog of school repairs.

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19 January 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Rob Blackie: Flashy Fares Freeze Fools No One
  • Welsh Lib Dems push for Senedd reform

Rob Blackie: Flashy Fares Freeze Fools No One

Following Sadiq Khan’s announcement he is freezing fares for a year, Lib Dem Candidate for London Mayor, Rob Blackie, said:

Sadiq Khan’s flashy fare freeze fools no one. It is typical of a Mayor who prefers delivering headlines to delivering for Londoners.

We all know the state of Transport for London’s finances and so the Mayor will simply claw this back through other means – most likely after votes have been cast. It is simply an election year gimmick.

After eight years of mismanagement, the Mayor has repeatedly cancelled investments like the Sutton tram – only now to find money down the back of the sofa for an election campaign sweetener.

Khan can’t be trusted to run Transport for London.

Welsh Lib Dems push for Senedd reform

The Senedd Reform Bill Committee today published its report ahead of the introduction of the Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Bill.

Jane Dodds MS sits as a member of the committee and has played a fundamental role in the scrutiny of the electoral method proposed by the Welsh Government.

Ahead of the upcoming Senedd reforms, the party have set out their position to see the Senedd expanded in terms of its members whilst also pushing for the fairest electoral system possible with the introduction of the Single Transferable Vote system.

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Liberal Democrats announce London Mayoral shortlist

The Liberal Democrats have announced their shortlisted candidates for next year’s London Mayoral election. Rob Blackie and Chris French have been shortlisted and will now have the summer to win the support of London Liberal Democrat members. The result will be announced in September.

Rob Blackie advises startup technology companies, working on challenges such as accelerating cancer treatments and tackling climate change. In 2022 Rob founded the award-winning Breaking Putin’s Censorship Campaign – fighting Russian propaganda about the Ukraine war. Rob is number 2 on the Liberal Democrats London Assembly List for the 2024 elections.

Chris French is a community …

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Liberal Democrat Councillor speaks out about stalking experience

Brent Councillor Anton Georgiou spoke to the Kilburn Times and the Local Democracy Reporting Service recently about his experience of being stalked and called for better support for victims of stalking and especially those in public life.

Councillor Georgiou spoke candidly about his experiences – from receiving threatening messages and constant phone calls to his stalker sending him feces, emails containing pictures of himself covered in ejaculate and death threats. He talked candidly about the impact the messages and calls had on him personally and professionally as well as on his family and how this only increased when his stalker told him he’d moved to London from Ireland and how Anton could “run into him at any time.” leaving him afraid to leave the house.

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London members vote to choose the top of the list for the Greater London Assembly

Ballot e-mails will be going out shortly for members in London to decide the order of our candidates for the List election for the Greater London Assembly in May 2024. The Assembly has fourteen constituency members and eleven elected on Party lists. So, if our share of the vote gives us four people to be elected on the List, the top four on our list will become Assembly members.

We currently have two GLA members – Caroline Pidgeon and Hina Bokhari, though Caroline has announced she is not standing again.

There are eleven members competing:

  • Chris Annous
  • Rob Blackie
  • Cllr Hina Bokhari
  • Michael

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Met police found to be institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic – Now what?

The Baroness Casey Review into the Met Police makes for very grim reading for all Londoners. The contents outline some horrific attitudes and behaviours towards minorities, women and LGBTQ+ people across the city it polices as well as within its own ranks. Baroness Casey has simply held a mirror up to this organisation and stated very clearly this has to change.

What makes reading the report even more depressing is that these same issues within the Met were identified back in 1999 in another independent review – the MacPherson report. This report only arose from years of campaigning by the Lawrence family seeking justice for their son Stephen. Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racist attack in Eltham in 1993. The Macpherson report concluded the investigation into Stephen’s murder was “marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership”

I grew up in Lewisham in a ‘tough neighbourhood’ not far from Eltham within miles of the racist attitudes that prevailed at the time. My local pub, the Golden Lion, was the scene of the unsolved Daniel Morgan murder in 1987. Daniel’s family still wait for a justice that may never come and can only take some comfort the  Independent Panel enquiry they campaigned for established the Met was “institutionally corrupt” and  Britain’s biggest police force engaged in “the denial of the failings in investigation, including a failure to acknowledge professional incompetence, individual’s venal behaviour, and managerial and organisational failures”

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My New Year Resolution: Let’s give London its Liberal voice

London has always felt like a Liberal city. We are welcoming, diverse, creative and tolerant. We are an internationalist world-class city open for learning and innovative business in or out of the EU. Recent research by the political scientist, Sir John Curtice*, concluded “London looks very different from the rest of the country”. A third of Londoners (34%) are socially liberal, compared with just 19% of those in urban areas outside the capital.

So now is the time for a Liberal surge in the city. We had one after the referendum when London voted 59.9% to remain and the LibDems topped the tables in the next European elections. We can do it again.

And now with London’s Business and Economic leaders openly highlighting the problems with Brexit it only seems right that London is ready for a stronger, Liberal voice who will fight for better relations with Europe.

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Recent Comments

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