Category Archives: News

+++Breaking: The new Party President is…

The new President of the Liberal Democrats is….

 

Mark Pack

Many congratulations to him on his election and commiserations to Christine Jardine. Both were superb candidates and fought an election in the best traditions of Liberal Democrat internal elections.

I’d also like to give my thanks also to the staff and volunteers who have been counting in Liberal Democrat HQ since early this morning and who have run this set of elections whilst also preparing for and playing their part in the General Election campaign.

The result in full can be found here:

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Jo Swinson speech following General Election

This winter election has been dark in more ways than one.

Leaders evading scrutiny, whether it was Corbyn ducking phone-ins or Johnson hiding in a fridge.

Voters feeling forced to choose the least worst option, squeezing out positivity.

Even before it started, we saw an exodus of MPs, especially women, ground down by abuse, intimidation and threats.

I’m proud that the Liberal Democrats provided a welcoming home for those abandoned by their parties, those who were hounded out, like Luciana Berger.

sadly the results have seen us lose Luciana from Parliament and many other talented MPs such as Tom Brake, Sam Gyimah, Chuka Umunna, Jane …

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9am update

This email has come into members’ inboxes from Shaun Roberts, the party’s Director of Campaigns and Elections:

I’m tired, I’m sad and I’m frustrated, (member).

In 6 seats, we were less than a thousand votes away from winning. That is agonising. Some of these campaigns saw increases in vote share of 20-30% – an extraordinary leap forward, achieved by hard work from fantastic teams.

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5am update

Party members have just received this email from James Gurling, Chair of the Federal Communications and Elections committee:

…This is not the email I had hoped to be sending you.

We wake this morning to a double blow. A Conservative majority Government, hell bent on pushing Brexit through, and the loss of our Leader, Jo Swinson from Parliament.

30 Comments

11 December 2019 – today’s press releases

It’s the final batch before polling day… Good luck to everyone tomorrow, and thank you for everything that you’ve done for the cause…

  • Lib Dems: Disgraced Brexit Party founder backing Johnson shows how far the Tories have sunk
  • Welsh Lib Dems: We can secure a brighter future for Wales
  • Lib Dems: Barnier’s comments show Johnson’s campaign slogan is just another Tory fib

Lib Dems: Disgraced Brexit Party founder backing Johnson shows how far the Tories have sunk

Responding to the news that Catherine Blaiklock, the disgraced Brexit Party founder who quit over her Islamophobic public statements, is backing Boris Johnson, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Ed …

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Bamber Gascoigne supports Sarah Olney in Richmond Park

University Challenge legend Bamber Gascoigne has thrown his support behind Lib Dem candidate Sarah Olney in Richmond Park.

“It’s very important that we win back Richmond,” says Bamber who presented the hit TV quiz show for 25 years.

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11 December 2019 – the overnight press releases

  • Swinson: One day left to stop Boris Johnson and stop Brexit
  • Welsh Lib Dems: Put a penny on income tax to transform mental healthcare

Swinson: One day left to stop Boris Johnson and stop Brexit

Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson will today (Wednesday 11th December) deliver her final speech of the election campaign in Esher and Walton, urging voters to back the Liberal Democrats to stop Boris Johnson getting a majority and stop Brexit.

Jo will be attending a series of rallies with activists throughout to the day including in the Conservative-held seats of Esher and Walton, Guildford and Wimbledon.

Jo Swinson is expected …

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10 November 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Tories’ plans on health tourism enforcement unit is the latest example of dog-whistle politics
  • Lib Dems: GDP figures show economy is grinding to a halt under the Tories
  • Lib Dem launch poster urging Remainers to stop Boris Johnson
  • Lib Dems: Boris Johnson is lying on a bulldozer instead of in front of one
  • Lib Dems: Johnson attack on international aid will destroy our global credibility

Tories’ plans on health tourism enforcement unit is the latest example of dog-whistle politics

The Liberal Democrats have today branded the Tories pledge to double the budget of the ‘health tourism enforcement unit’ as dog-whistle politics.

The Conservative manifesto states that …

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10 December 2019 – the overnight press releases

  • Lib Dems: Brexit is already costing our public services more than £350 million a week
  • Swinson warns of Johnson threat to human rights
  • Business backs the Liberal Democrats
  • Lib Dems are listening to Gen Z’s climate emergency fears

Lib Dems: Brexit is already costing our public services more than £350 million a week

The Liberal Democrats have revealed that Brexit is already costing the government £380–470 million a week – money that could have been spent on the NHS instead.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has estimated that GDP is £55–66 billion lower this year than it would have been without Brexit, mainly …

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9 December 2019 – today’s press releases

Apologies to our regular readers for the temporary disappearance of this regular feature – I was away and had some surprisingly poor internet access. Anyway, on with the show…

  • Liberal Democrats set out ambitious spending plans to tackle the climate emergency
  • Lib Dems: Brexit leak on Northern Ireland checks shows Johnson is lying to the public
  • Lib Dems: Johnson refusing to look at picture of sick child shows mask has slipped
  • Question Time debate shows Jo Swinson is a next generation leader

Liberal Democrats set out ambitious spending plans to tackle the climate emergency

The Liberal Democrats have …

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Jo Swinson on brilliant form on transgender rights

If you haven’t seen this clip, it’s worth watching. Jo is on brilliant form as she responds to an LBC caller who criticised boys wearing skirts. As Nick Ferrari wades in about “national security” and risks for British citizens in Saudi Arabia, Jo is passionate and concludes:

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Observations of an ex pat: Whither NATO?

“The most successful military alliance in history” is one description. Another is “brain dead.” And a third is “obsolete.”

The fact is that all the above descriptions of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are correct in varying degrees along with “guarantor of peace in Europe” and the “military heart of the Western Alliance.”

It is also true to say that the alliance is in crisis. To paraphrase Dean Acheson’s description of post-imperial Britain, NATO won the Cold War and has yet to find a new role in the world.

If one starts from the assumption that NATO is a force for good than it is essential that the alliance re-discover its role in the world. To do that it needs to re-evaluate the circumstances and values that led to its formation 70 years ago; examine how the world has stayed the same; how it has changed; and then change and adapt.

In 1949, the world was only four years out of a world war. America had emerged enormously wealthy, militarily powerful and armed with the world’s first true weapon of mass destruction. Its ideological enemy the Soviet Union had absorbed Eastern Europe and seemed poised to send its steamroller army across the rest of the devastated continent. It was four months away from detonating its first atomic bomb. Britain—which had been charged with the responsibility of protecting post war Europe—was broke and broken, and appealed to America to fill the vacuum. China was soon to “fall” to Mao’s communists and slip behind a bamboo curtain for 30 years. Former enemies Germany and Japan were as distrusted as the Soviet Union. There were only 59 members of the United Nations as most of the future 193-strong membership was still colonies.

NATO had a clear purpose: To protect the democracies of Western Europe from Soviet aggression so that they could recover from a devastating world war; preserve the shared values of economic and political liberalism; protect traditional markets and prevent a third world war. Lord Ismay, NATO’s first Secretary General, declared that the purpose of the alliance was to “keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down.”

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Hugh Grant on the frustrating lack of progress in combatting press abuses since the Leveson Inquiry

When I interviewed Hugh Grant on Monday, I started by asking him a couple of questions about his work with the pressure group Hacked Off on press abuse.

Firstly, I asked how he thinks the campaign to curb press abuse issue is looking at the moment. Here’s his reply:

Well, it’s extremely frustrating that we got as far as we did. Hacked Off campaigned for a judicial enquiry. We got it. Leveson’s recommendations at the end of that were very mild really, on the spectrum of what he could have recommended. It was then a struggle to get them into law but finally, as you’ll remember, they were passed by the entire House. There was the Royal Charter, and then there was Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, which I assumed, if the whole of Parliament has given it the thumbs up, must become law. It turns out there’s a technical glitch called “commencement”, which the Tory government managed to exploit, and they never pressed that commencement button.

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Jo Swinson shines in Andrew Neil interview

Jo Swinson was 3 when Jeremy Corbyn became an MP in 1983. That longer experience did not help him when he faced Andrew Neil last week. He was tin-eared, evasive and failed to connect with the audience.

Boris Johnson can’t even be bothered to show up.

In contrast, Jo was amazing tonight. Neil didn’t hold back, asking her some very tough questions. She answered every single one with clarity, competence and candour. She was very clear that she hadn’t got it right on everything  in the coalition and said the word that politicians so rarely use – sorry.

At the same time, she articulated a proper, liberal, internationalist message, showing how we are open, generous spirited and inclusive.

I have known Jo for long enough to know that she never gives up. Our election campaign has not seen the rise in the polls we deserve, given that we have a manifesto that is more redistributive than Labour’s, is the most economically competent and is much better on social justice than anyone else’s. A lesser leader could have turned their face to the wall. That is not Jo’s style. She and we will keep fighting for every single vote right up until 10pm next Thursday night.

Here are her best bits:

And we can stop Brexit We did it twice and we can do it for good:

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Jo Swinson is impressive under the Andrew Neil grilling

Jo Swinson gave a very impressive performance under the grilling of Andrew Neil this evening on primetime BBC1. (You can view it here).

She was confident, offering contrition on the mistakes of the coalition and outlining the Liberal Democrat positions clearly.

There are plenty of past examples of car crash interviews with Andrew Neil at the helm. Jo did very well under his forensic questioning.

Here’s a selection of tweets reacting to tonight’s programme:

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Dom Joly: I’m backing Lib Dem Max Wilkinson in Cheltenham

Dom Joly, the TV comedian, is throwing his support behind the Lib Dem candidate in Cheltenham, Max Wilkinson:

For so long, due to our ridiculously unfair first-past-the-post electoral system, my vote has meant nothing when cast in a constituency with a massive majority for the sitting MP.

This is why I’m so excited, having just moved to Cheltenham, to feel that my vote really can make a difference in this Lib-Dem/Tory marginal. I am putting all my support behind the Lib-Dem candidate, Max Wilkinson, as I think he will make a superb local MP.

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Traditional Tory voters in London are coming across to the LibDems

Siobhan Benita, our London spokesperson and 2020 mayoral candidate (right), has been campaigning for LibDem candidates all over London. Yesterday she spoke to me about how things are going. This was her assessment:

I think it is going really well. We’re definitely seeing, in some of our key target seats, what we’ve heard here (in City of London and Westminster), which is (that) especially traditional Conservative voters, are (coming across to the LibDems). (This is) not just about Brexit – what we were hearing in Kensington yesterday, for example with Sam’s team, and a lot of the older voters there who have only ever voted Conservative, were saying they don’t associate with Boris Johnson’s Conservative party – they don’t like him – they don’t like the lies he is saying – and for the first time ever – some of them had already postal voted – they’d already given us their vote. So I think we are definitely seeing that across the capital. The nice thing for me, I think as well, is that I know we are obviously strong in parts of London – say south-west London – we have traditionally been strong. I’m definitely getting that sense in the north as well, in Finchley and Golders Green it’s going to be really really exciting there too. So I am hoping that we can – you know – change the map across London and that we’ll be seeing yellow pockets across London, other than the south-west – but I think we’ll grow there as well.

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1 December 2019 – the weekend’s press releases (part 2)

  • Jo Swinson: Boris Johnson is running scared of scrutiny
  • Lib Dems: Tory no deal Brexit would increase national debt by £220 billion
  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s comments show that he despises the poor and vulnerable in our society
  • Swinson outperforms Johnson cheerleaders
  • Farage, Trump and Johnson singing from same misogynistic hymn sheet

Jo Swinson: Boris Johnson is running scared of scrutiny

Responding to Boris Johnson’s interview with Andrew Marr, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, said:

Given Boris Johnson’s dismal performance this morning on Marr it is no wonder he is running scared of Andrew Neil and refusing to be held to account in debates.

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30 November 2019 – the weekend’s press releases (part 1)

  • Ed Davey: Only the Conservatives would think it is the right policy to put rail fares up now
  • Swinson statement ahead of World AIDS Day

Ed Davey: Only the Conservatives would think it is the right policy to put rail fares up now

Responding to the news that rail fares will increase by 2.7% for millions of commuters on the 2nd January next year, Liberal Democrats Shadow Chancellor Ed Davey said:

With the railways in crisis and passengers continuing to suffer delays and cancellations on a daily basis, only the Conservatives would think it is the right policy to put fares up now.

It’s time

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Hugh Grant goes canvassing for Luciana today, Chuka tomorrow

It was great to see actor Hugh Grant out canvassing for Luciana Berger today.

In the first of a series of visits to Lib Dem, Labour and Independent remain supporting candidates who could deny Boris Johnson a majority, he canvassed with Luciana then attended a packed rally.

The best tweet has to come from Gabriel Rozenberg, quoting that great line of Andie McDowell’s from that last scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral – still an incredibly funny film, if you haven’t seen it.

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Business leaders back Lib Dems in open letter

Senior figures from such companies as the New Covent Garden Soup Company, Superdry and Lovefilm are among business leaders who have endorsed the Liberal Democrats in a letter published in the I newspaper. It says:

Business is at the heart of our economy, providing the jobs that millions depend on, the prosperity that pays for public services, and the means by which we bring together our enterprise, ambition and creativity to find new solutions and opportunities.

We also know there is a big task ahead if we are to build a prosperous, fair, inclusive and sustainable economy fit for the 21st century. We must do more to address social and geographical inequalities. We need to act boldly and urgently to tackle the climate emergency. And we must create more quality jobs and investment if the UK is to truly prosper from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Success will require government and business working together in partnership.This means commitment to investing in the education, skills, innovation, infrastructure and regional development critical to building an inclusive, world-class digital and green economy. We need support for small and growing businesses; and commitment to fostering responsibility and sustainability.

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Jo’s best bits from the BBC Debate

Seven leading figures from the various parties competing in the election took part in a televised debate from the National Assembly of Wales.

We are a site made up of Lib Dem supporters. Of course we are going to back our leader. But she surpassed even our expectations.

Her opening statement offered hope, and a country where everyone is valued regardless of religion, who they love or the colour of their skin, working with our closest friends to save the planet, nurturing the bonds in our family of nations, protecting the vulnerable.  A proper liberal vision.

She had the line of the debate.

She didn’t mention that it was a horror show, though…

And here’s her closing statement:

She highlighted why Lib Dem spending plans were not only effective, but added up.

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30 November 2019 – the overnight press release

Lib Dems respond to Tory announcement on free movement and schools

Responding to the Conservative Party’s claim that continued free movement would lead to 363,000 more children in state schools, Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran said:

After demonising EU citizens as benefit tourists two days ago, Boris Johnson has now shamefully turned his attack on their children.

This attack is straight out of the Farage-Trump playbook. Not only is it cruel, it’s completely absurd.

The Government’s own Migration Advisory Committee has shown that there is ‘no evidence that migration has reduced school choice or the educational attainment of

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29 November 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Boris Johnson admits no deal still on the table
  • Chuka Umunna: Boris Johnson continues to let down Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
  • Statement on Lib Dem campaign following London Bridge attack
  • Lib Dems are the only party that can stop the Conservatives

Boris Johnson admits no deal still on the table

Responding to this morning’s joint press conference with Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Gisela Stuart, in which Johnson admitted that no deal preparations will continue, Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said:

Seeing Johnson, Stuart and Gove back on stage together will give people flashbacks to the lies of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign. But, after

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Jo Swinson’s statement on the London Bridge attacks: Those who seek to terrorise or divide us will never succeed

Jo has issued the following statement on the London Bridge attacks:

Our emergency services have once again displayed the courage and professionalism that keeps us safe everyday. I am hugely grateful to each and every one of them.

My thoughts are with the people who were injured and all those affected by this appalling display of violence.

Today’s incident reminds us that we can never take our security for granted. We must never forget the vital work that our police and security services do to keep us safe.

Those who seek to terrorise us, divide us or undermine our freedoms will never succeed.

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Dan Snow and Deborah Meaden back the Lib Dems

Two well kent faces from the world of television have backed the Liberal Democrats in the General Election.

Historian and broadcaster Dan Snow says:

And Dragon’s Den’s Deborah Meaden is also voting for us this time:

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One by-election gain and one hold for the Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have two new councillors this morning.

Cllr Liz Withington held the Sheringham North seat in North Norfolk.

And in Wiltshire, a spectacular gain for Cllr Jo Trigg in Trowbridge Lambrok.

Well done to both Liz and Jo and their teams.

In the third and final contest of the night, there was no Liberal Democrat candidate but the Greens took the seat from an independent.

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29 November 2019 – the overnight press releases

  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s Brexit plans would let thousands of criminals off the hook
  • Liberal Democrats will invest £1 billion a year to restore community policing
  • Lib Dems: Ofsted stats reveal Tory failure on school standards

Lib Dems: Johnson’s Brexit plans would let thousands of criminals off the hook

  • Estimated 6,000 criminals could evade justice if Johnson’s Brexit goes ahead
  • UK police to be locked out of EU crime database used 1.6 million times a day
  • Brexit would undermine UK’s ability to tackle terrorism and organised crime

The Liberal Democrats have warned Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans risk enabling thousands of criminals to escape justice, after analysis revealed the …

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28 November 2019 – today’s press releases (part 2)

And here are the rest…

  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s comments show he is no champion of women’s rights
  • Sarah Wollaston: Number of GP practices falls to record low as winter crisis approaches
  • Lib Dems won’t let your future melt away
  • Tory threat to Channel 4 is attempt to cover up Johnson’s cowardice

Lib Dems: Johnson’s comments show he is no champion of women’s rights

Responding to Boris Johnson’s comments on single mothers, Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson Christine Jardine, said:

So many of us in this country know the reality of the sacrifice and effort made by single parents. But yet again these comments show Boris Johnson is

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28 November 2019 – today’s press releases (part 1)

It’s been a very busy day today, so these are split into two parts…

  • Leaked documents reveal Trump trade deal threat to UK farming
  • Lib Dems: NHS staff shortages worsen under Tories
  • Lib Dems: neither the Tories or Labour have a credible plan for the economy
  • Lib Dems would halt ‘Brexodus’

Leaked documents reveal Trump trade deal threat to UK farming

Leaked documents from US-UK trade deal talks reveal the threat posed to British farmers from a trade deal with Donald Trump, the Liberal Democrats have warned.

The detailed documents reveal years of talks between UK and US trade negotiators, with American officials pushing to allow …

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    “The Lib Dems will have a period of difficult adjustment as some of the army of fervent Remainers melt away" Given a period of sustained...
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