Category Archives: News

22 May 2019 – today’s press releases

It’s not easy being in a political party’s Press Team when the governing party is in meltdown. After all, Theresa May is seemingly holed up in 10 Downing Street, a chair wedged under the door handle to prevent anyone from getting in. The Leader of the House is gone, and who knows if she’s merely the first of many?

And all this on the eve of European Parliamentary elections in which the Conservatives are expected to take a kicking not dissimilar to that the Liberal Democrats took in 2015…

  • Lib Dems: Botched Apprenticeship Levy implementation hurting most disadvantaged
  • Gove clutching at straws with

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Leadsom’s resignation – is history repeating itself?

Ten years ago, as polls closed in the local and  European elections, it looked like a coup against the unpopular Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown was underway. At 10pm, James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary resigned.

Peter Mandelson, the Prince of Darkness himself, came back from the sidelines to knock heads together and take the temperature of the resentment against Brown down to merely simmering for the remainder of his time in office.

I did wonder if we were about to see history repeating itself when Andrea Leadsom resigned this evening.

We shall see how many of the Cabinet are left in post at the end of Friday. Although if there was a good time for a government to implode on eve of poll, when they are in single digits in some polls and facing a hoofing is probably it.

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Voting Liberal Democrat tomorrow: Lord Michael Cashman, former Labour MEP and actor in first British soap opera gay kiss

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Lord Michael Cashman CBE, former Labour MEP who has been very active for decades in the Labour party, Stonewall and Equity, has said he will be voting Lib Dem tomorrow because of our “absolute consistency”. As an actor, he played Colin Russell in EastEnders, a character who was a particpant in the first gay kiss on a British soap opera.

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Former top civil servant Gus O’Donnell explains why he’s voting Lib Dem in the European elections

It’s been really lovely to have all the celebrity endorsements we’ve had in recent days – Katy Brand, Emma Kennedy, Susan Penhaligon, Bamber Gascoigne, Greg Dyke and Simon Callow.

However, when people who know exactly how government works urge a Liberal Democrat vote, then it’s really getting serious.

For six years, Gus O’Donnell served as Cabinet Secretary, the highest ranked civil servant in the country, under three Prime Ministers, Blair, Brown and Cameron.

He now sits in the House of Lords.

In an unprecedented article for Times Red Box (£), he explains why he feels it is his “civil duty” to vote Liberal Democrat on Thursday:

I have made clear that since the executive and parliament have so far failed to find an acceptable form of Brexit, I reluctantly believe the only way to bring the country together is to give the people the chance to approve any final deal in a referendum. My view remains that leaving the EU is on balance bad for the country for economic reasons and because of its impact on our global influence.

So I would be supporting Remain in such a vote, which brings us to the European elections. I am extremely disappointed that while the Brexit party is an obvious choice for dedicated Leavers the Remain vote is potentially spread across many parties.

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Greg Dyke urges Remainers to vote Lib Dem

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

Greg says:

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

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

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

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21 May 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Moran: Let’s hope more Universities follow Oxford’s diversity drive
  • Hobhouse: End short prison sentences to cut crime
  • Cable: Stop Brexit altogether to end turmoil for British business
  • Chancellor’s warning must trigger No Deal U-turn
  • Cable: Lib Dems “now indisputably the strongest remain party”
  • Lamb: Govt must end abuse of our most vulnerable
  • With no guarantee of a People’s Vote the PM will get no support from the Lib Dems
  • Jenny Randerson: Brexit endangers devolution settlement

Moran: Let’s hope more Universities follow Oxford’s diversity drive

Responding to the news that Oxford University is set to overhaul its recruitment processes, and will commit that at least 25% of students will be …

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Susan Penhaligon backing the Lib Dems this Thursday

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More than four decades on, I can still remember Susan Penhaligon’s performance as Prue Sorenson in Bouquet of Barbed Wire. I watched it far too young and didn’t get most of it as the themes were way too adult but she is up there with Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who as far as I am concerned.

Susan is the cousin of Liberal MP David Penhaligon who was killed in a car crash in 1986. The shock of that day is another strong memory in my life.

She stopped supporting the party during the coalition years, but, in a tweet tonight, Vince announced that she is voting Lib Dem on Thursday.

Vince had also noticed our earlier post about Simon Callow:

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Two thirds of Tory members want a no deal Brexit so voting Lib Dem to stop Brexit on Thursday is more important than ever

There are many reasons to vote Lib Dem on Thursday, but sending an indisputable “Stop Brexit” message, showing that the country has changed its mind, is even more important when you consider the recent YouGov poll of Tory members. 

These people, and these people alone, get to choose the next Prime Minister.

And two thirds of them want to visit on us the catastrophe of a no deal Brexit.

84% of them want to deny us our say on the final Brexit deal.

These mostly affluent, older people are quite happy to play Russian Roulette with all of our lives and there are plenty leadership candidates prepared to promise them what they want.

We’ve been saying all along that a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote to stop Brexit. It sends an indisputable message to the Government. It can’t be confused with Scottish independence. And if you want to Remain, why would you even vote for the Brexit Labour Party?

It is worth dropping everything and doing whatever you can to secure a huge Lib Dem vote in your area.

This election is not just about getting lots of MEPs for us, it is about the future direction of our country. It’s about showing that the public is absolutely and irrevocably opposed to the course Tory members want to take.

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Vince: Lib Dems snapping at heels of Brexit Party

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

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Bamber Gascoigne: This is the essential moment to support the Lib Dems

Last week, Katy Brand and Emma Kennedy backed the Lib Dems in the European elections. .

Last night, award winning star of stage and screen Simon Callow said he was backing us as the only party to have offered leadership and clarity on remaining in the EU.

And today, University Challenge legend Bamber Gascoigne adds his voice to the growing list of people saying that they are voting Lib Dem this time – a list that also includes former Tory Cabinet Minister Michael Heseltine and Times columnist and former Tory MP Matthew Parris.

Bamber said:

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21 May 2019 – the overnight press release

No-Deal Brexit will cause continental travel chaos

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson has warned that a no-deal Brexit will cause travel misery for thousands of motorists following the publication of a damning report from the Lords’ Committee on the EU internal market.

The report “Brexit: road, rail and maritime transport report” warns that private motorists will be required to apply for an International Driving Permit and Green Card if they wish to drive on the continent if the UK leaves the EU without a deal in place. The IDP and Green Card can only be applied for at a Post Office, …

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20 May 2019 – today’s press release

  • Prime Minister’s Deal is dead – Tom Brake
  • Further Gender Identity Clinic delays unacceptable
  • Davey: Govt is failing in its duty to protect the public
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats only chance for 2nd remain seat

Prime Minister’s Deal is dead – Tom Brake

Responding to comments made by Matthew Hancock, the Health Secretary, on the Today Programme, that the Government will bring forward its bill on exiting the EU, Tom Brake, Lib Dem Brexit Spokesperson said:

The Prime Minister’s deal is dead. They can bring forward votes on that deal and a speculative bill every week, for the rest of the year – it will still fail

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Simon Callow backs Lib Dems in European elections as “only party to have offered leadership and clarity on remaining in EU”

Simon Callow by Mark, Flick CCL

One of Britain’s finest actors has backed the Lib Dems in the European election.

Simon Callow, whose performances include Gareth in Four Weddings and a Funeral, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA, Sir Edward Tilney in Shakespeare in Love and a role which will appeal to many Lib Dems – Charles Dickens in two episodes of Doctor Who – said:

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Liberal Democrats storm the Rock (very genteelly)

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

Here’s how the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation covered it…

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18-19 May 2019 – the weekend’s press release

Cable: We are the stop Brexit party

Speaking on the Andrew Marr show this morning, ahead of this weeks European elections, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

I think it is now quite likely we will get the People’s Vote that we are fighting for and it can be done by October.

We are talking about having a referendum on the terms of Brexit, now knowing what it entails.

It’s absolutely clear that no Brexit at all is the best option and that is what a vote for the Liberal Democrats is for.

We are the stop Brexit party.

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Michael Heseltine to vote Lib Dem to stop Brexit

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

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

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

From the Observer:

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Keynote speech from Tony Greaves and climate change feature at SLF AGM

All are welcome at the Social Liberal Forum AGM, in Manchester on Saturday 25th May with Tony Greaves, Jane Brophy, John Pugh, Louise Harris, John Leech.

I need a new pair of shoes. We have all been on the campaign trail for a long time-local elections followed by the European vote. The Social Liberal Forum AGM in Manchester on 25th  May provides an ideal opportunity to reflect and take stock before we set out for the next challenges. Personally I am looking forward to going back Brecon and Radnor, I was last there in 1985 for Richard Livsey’s outstanding by-election triumph. There seems every chance that 2019 will see another Brecon and Radnor by-election. 

We kick off at 1.00pm with a key note speech from Tony Greaves. I think we can guarantee that he will provide a stimulating commentary on the political situation. The Euro votes will have been counted and we will be awaiting the declarations. Jane Brophy, one of our leading NW candidates, will be joining us. During the afternoon there will plenty of opportunities for everyone to contribute with breakout sessions, one of which Jane will lead focussing on Climate Change.

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17 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Vince Cable visits Gibraltar ahead of EU Elections

Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, is visiting Gibraltar today as part of the Liberal Democrats’ EU Election campaign.

Mr Cable will be meeting trade unions and businesses from both sides of the border as well as Gibraltarian politicians, including the Chief Minister of Gibraltar.

Ahead of the visit, Vince Cable said:

The folly of Brexit could hardly be more starkly obvious or more keenly felt than in Gibraltar. By leaving the European Union, we enable Spain to make ever more outrageous demands about Gibraltar with no British voice at the table to speak for

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Patchwork Foundation’s Party Conference programme now open for applications!

The Patchwork Foundation was founded in 2013 to encourage Young people from marginalised and minority backgrounds to get involved in public life and make politics more accessible. Over the years it has grown from strength to strength and is something I am incredibly proud to be a part of. 

Patchwork runs the Masterclass Programme, the MP of the Year Awards and the #GetInvolved programme as well as other events and sessions throughout the year. As part of the #GetInvolved programme we take groups of young people aged from 18-30 to the three main party conferences every Autumn and this is now open for applications.

Participants receive a free pass to Labour, Conservative or (most importantly!) Liberal Democrat Federal conference. We provide briefing before the conference and special events for participants during the conference, last year we had an excellent masterclass with Baroness Barker and (nearly) front row seats for the leader’s speech at the Lib Dem conference. But past Liberal Democrat Conference programmes have had sessions with Jo Swinson MP, Nick Clegg and Caroline Pidgeon AM among others.

For many of our participants it’s their first experience of how political parties work on the inside and even people who are already members of political parties tell us how much they gain from the experience. We’re also really proud of the fact it opens politics up to people who otherwise might not be able to come to conference at all and many of our conference participants go on to get more involved in the Patchwork Foundation’s Masterclass Programme and #GetInvolved campaigning and training sessions which have seen us take young people all over the place to campaign for candidates in several elections.

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Get your Bollocks to Brexit t-shirts

 

So I have actually been out in public wearing this.

It’s the most on message I’ve been in years.

The t-shirts were designed by the amazing Jennie Rigg and are available here. 

They are good quality and I ordered mine last weekend and it arrived on Tuesday.

Any money Jennie makes from the site gets put into Pride materials for LGBT+ Lib Dems – although it does cost her to run the site as well.

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European elections poll puts Lib Dems in second ahead of Labour

The most recent YouGov opinion poll puts us in second place in the European elections ahead of Labour.

From a sample of over 7000 people, YouGov (for The Times) found::

From The Times (£)

The Lib Dems appear to be picking up support from Labour and Green voters after Sir Vince Cable argued that opponents of Brexit should vote for his party.

YouGov interviewed 7,192 British adults between Sunday and Thursday this week. When asked whom they would support in the European elections, 35 per cent said the Brexit Party, up 1 point on the week before.

Lib Dems were on 16 per cent, up 1, Labour on 15 per cent, down 1, Greens on 10 per cent, down 1, Conservatives on 9 per cent, down 1, Change UK unchanged on 5 per cent and Ukip unchanged on 3 per cent.

The decline of the Conservatives into single figures is likely to increase the panic in the party’s high command, with 62 per cent of Tory voters in the 2017 general election now saying that they will vote for the Brexit Party in the European elections. Only one in five who backed the party at the last general election is sticking with the Tories in the European elections.

It’s only one poll, though. To go along with the couple at the weekend the one that had us on 19% and the other couple this week.

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17 May 2019 – the overnight press release

Lib Dems demand same-sex marriage for Northern Ireland on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Today on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Liberal Democrats have demanded that the Government legislate for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Responding to reports that the Conservative Government, propped up by the anti-equal marriage party the DUP, is considering legislating to allow longer licensing hours for the Open Golf Championship taking place in Northern Ireland this July, Alistair Carmichael said:

It is ridiculous that the Conservatives would even consider legislating for the British Open to have slightly longer licensing hours while they are

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16 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Another slightly startling day, with today’s BMG Research poll showing the Liberal Democrats with 18% if a General Election were to take place today, up ten percentage points in just five weeks… Don’t get vertigo, everyone…

  • Lib Dems call for EU-wide fracking ban
  • Lib Dems call for creation of youth council
  • Chris Grayling botched his probation reforms just like he botches everything
  • Brexit threatens UK’s ability to monitor climate change
  • Welsh Lib Dems condemn praise for Tommy Robinson

Lib Dems call for EU-wide fracking ban

The Liberal Democrats have today committed to campaigning for an EU-wide ban on fracking because of its negative impacts on climate …

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Christine Jardine on Question Time tonight…how you can join in the fun and spread the Lib Dem message

We have a Lib Dem MP on Question Time tonight!

Christine Jardine is heading to Elgin, a city about 40 miles south east of Inverness. It’s in the heart of the Moray constituency. Typically, the BBC, finds the most Brexity place in Scotland to go to. Remain squeaked home with 50.1% of the vote. Every constituency in Scotland voted to Remain, most of them by a much larger margin.

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

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

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

Enjoy.

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LibLink: Christine Jardine We all deserve the same quality of mental health care as my late husband

Christine Jardine’s column is a bit different this week. She writes about how her late husband, Calum, was affected by Bipolar Disorder. Calum Macdonald was a brilliant journalist, working for the Herald in Glasgow for many years. Although they were separated at the time of his death from a heart attack during the 2017 election campaign, they remained close.

Christine described how the quality of care Calum received helped him so much. Sadly, others aren’t so fortunate.

When we needed it, our GP was there straight away and offered daily support.

Calum had a consultation within 24 hours and the help he needed, from that moment for the next 22 years.

I will be forever grateful that we had that time, and that medical support allowed my daughter to know the affable, tolerant Calum.

But the fact that she also saw, at times, the problems her father faced has also, in some way, brought its own benefits. When I ask her, she says that she has learned to never make a concrete judgement on anyone. There may be a fuller story than the one we see.

What she argues is that the fragility of mental health can affect any of us and should be regarded with the same understanding as if it were a broken leg.

She recounted how it had first become apparent that Calum was ill:

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Katy Brand and Emma Kennedy back Lib Dems for European elections

Celebrity endorsement for the Lib Dems in the European elections:

And Emma Kennedy joined in:

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15 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: Brexit vote shows Tory and Labour talks are pointless

Responding to the announcement from Downing Street that MPs will vote on Brexit legislation in June, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

It is now clear that nothing whatsoever has come of the Tory and Labour Brexit talks. These negotiations are yet another example of pointless and irresponsible time-wasting by both the government and the official opposition.

The Liberal Democrats have been fighting Brexit for nearly three years and are the strongest party who support remaining in the EU.

To get our country out of this mess, orchestrated by Theresa May

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What European liberals have done over the past five years – EU budget and defence

Having taken a day off, I’m back with more ALDE achievements…

Reform of the European Union’s system of own resources

ALDE has sought to increase the transparency of the current financing system of the EU budget, in order to reduce national contributions by EU Member States, by introducing new own resources income streams and ending rebates and corrections, without increasing tax burden on the citizens.

Following the Parliament’s position and the recommendations of the High Level Group on Own Resources, the Commission proposed a basket of new own resources, structured around European public goods linked to EU’s strategic policy objectives. This basket thus includes new resources based on the EU Emission Trading System and on plastic waste, reinforcing the climate action priority, and a simplified VAT based resource as well as new corporate tax-based resource, consolidating the Single Market and reducing financial speculation.

A greener, modernised and more flexible EU budget

ALDE were successful in focusing the 2019 EU budget on resources for research, innovation, competitiveness and SMEs. ALDE initiated the Parliament’s call for doubling the budget of Erasmus+ to enhance opportunities for young people, which was an instrumental step in obtaining a substantial partial increase in the 2019 budget. ALDE also pushed for substantial allocation to climate spending to meet the EU’s long-term climate goals of 20% climate spending target in the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020. Specifically, ALDE increased the ambition for EU-funded cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy within the MFF Connecting Europe Facility. Our Group made a distinctive contribution especially in the areas of internal security and investment in managing borders, fighting terrorism, radicalisation and organised crime and called on Member States to take responsibility for the management of migration in accordance with the principle of burden-sharing and the Geneva Conventions. On the initiative of our shadow rapporteur, the relevant Parliament’s budgetary reports call on the Commission to present a proposal, which would provide for the expression of financial solidarity at EU level to victims of acts of terrorism and their families.

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14 May 2019 – today’s press release

Corbyn a friend to Tories, not to Remainers

The Liberal Democrats today unveiled an election poster slamming Jeremy Corbyn for spending time helping the Tories deliver Brexit rather than doing anything to Stop Brexit.

According to analysis of the parliamentary record by the Liberal Democrats, the Labour party whipped either to abstain or to vote with the Conservative Government on a total of 29 key Brexit votes.

The poster, launched by Liberal Democrat MPs Jo Swinson and Ed Davey, comes as the Labour party descended into another row over its Brexit position.

Liberal Democrat …

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Recent Comments

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