Category Archives: News

13 December 2018 – (not just) today’s press releases

You’d think that putting the day’s piece to bed after 11.30 p.m. should cover everything. But no, the Press Teams both in London and Cardiff had one last shot in the dying moments of yesterday, so I’m including them with today’s batch. Enjoy…

  • Theresa May Must Give the People the Final Say – Welsh Lib Dems
  • PM must now change course and offer people the final say
  • Soaring numbers of children trapped in temporary accommodation is shameful
  • Welsh Lib Dems Welcome Prostate Cancer MRI Scans
  • Govt must set out plans to avoid NHS winter crisis
  • Lib Dems demand MPs holidays are cancelled to vote on Brexit
  • Cable:

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If you were PM….

An interesting quiz popped into my inbox from those nice people at Unlock Democracy.  You have to imagine that you are PM – after all, that job may well be up for grabs in the near future.

You are presented with a series of policy dilemmas – would you rather do x or y? Actually, in some cases, I was a bit “NEITHER” or “NOT QUITE LIKE THAT” or “BOTH” but that is part of the fun.

It has a serious point:

Every day decisions affecting millions are made by a handful of ministers, while the rest of us struggle to have a voice. By taking the quiz and sharing it afterwards, we can spread the word about the need to bring power closer to the people.

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Why “Global Britain” must be rooted in our liberal democratic values

The world has changed a lot over the past 30 years, becoming both more open and democratic and more prosperous. Well-being indicators of those most in need, especially in terms of health and education, have improved dramatically. But we still confront tremendous challenges, ranging from climate change to growing inequalities, especially within countries, and from conflict and fragility to migration. In addition, a profound dissatisfaction with liberal democracy and perceptions about the way it works has set in, not only in the developing world but also in countries that have traditionally been considered the cradles of democracy.

So despite the progress, it can often feel like we are confronting the greatest period of uncertainty and instability we have experienced since the second world war. As happened after World War II, the collective problems we face today require collective ways to address them. The United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the European Union itself, are all founded in the experience of what happens when the world fragments. Coming together to create rules-based regional and global communities was the answer in the post-War era. This is why it feels strangely anachronistic for the UK to press on with Brexit now – especially when considering that the EU has been the single most successful multilateral effort of peace- and state building and the promotion of development and prosperity we have known.

Prime Minister May launched the idea of a “Global Britain” in October 2016 to counter fears that the UK would become inward-looking after Brexit. The UK has been a powerful and influential player in the world stage, playing among other things a leading role in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals. But it is also the case that the EU has been a major multiplier for UK development and foreign policy – just as the UK has been a multiplier for EU development and foreign policy – and both risk losing significant leverage. So regardless of whether Britain stays inside or leaves the EU, making “Global Britain” more than a slogan will require sustained leadership and continued investment and engagement in crucial international relationships and commitments, both with(in) the EU and beyond.

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12 December 2018 – today’s press releases

So, another day when much has happened, but little has obviously changed. It’s a bit like ‘Waiting for Godot’, in that Brexit is supposedly coming, but never actually seems to turn up…

  • Cable: Conservative spat won’t resolve deepening divisions
  • Agreement Reached Between new First Minister and Kirsty Williams
  • Lamb: Labour’s abstention on cannabis vote ‘deeply depressing’

Cable: Conservative spat won’t resolve deepening divisions

Responding to the reports that the Prime Minister will face a vote of confidence in her leadership, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Theresa May’s deal is a total mess and is the latest backdrop for yet another Conservative meltdown over

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The hunt for certainty

Theresa May has been telling MPs that they need to vote for her deal to give certainty.

That has always been hogwash because the Withdrawal Agreement kicks so much about our future relationship with the EU down the road as to be virtually meaningless. In fact, the very existence of the much maligned backstop is proof that it resolves very little and leaves us worse off.

But now, Theresa May’s quest to get her deal through the Commons is even more blighted. When she told Conservative MPs that she intended to step down ahead of the next election, she was probably thinking maybe sometime in 2021. The way some of her MPs, even those who supported her, are talking tonight, she’s got until March.

That adds even more uncertainty into the mix. We have no idea who will lead the negotiations shaping our future relations with the EU. Just imagine that Tory members elect Boris who thinks the chaos of no deal is just what this country needs? At least now we can revert to our membership of the EU but after March 29th we won’t have that safety net.

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PM Confidence vote – open thread

I’m going to call it now. Theresa May is going to win and win big tonight. That is not going to mean that all is peace, harmony and love in the Conservative Party. Today’s extraordinary scene between James Cleverly and Andrew Budgen showed the toxicity of the atmosphere.

Even if Theresa May was going to limp home, winning by one vote, she would stay on. Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t even have the confidence of half of his MPs and he manages it. I just hope that the Tory Remainers have extracted some concessions – maybe even a commitment to a People’s Vote – in return for their support. A convincing win would mean that she didn’t have to pander to the ERG anymore and could seek to build bridges across the House. If she’s told Tory MPs tonight that she isn’t going to contest the 2022 election and she can’t be challenged, then she has nothing to lose by going for a much softer Brexit, perhaps EEA, than she had envisaged. Whether she will take that course, because she’s not known for her flexibility, remains to be seen.

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December 12th: Today’s Announcements

 

Announcements as at 12th December

  • Lib Dems demand more action on ‘dangerous’ short prison sentences
  • ‘Gold-plated’ visa chaos shows Home Office can’t take back control
  • Cable: Conservative spat won’t resolve deepening divisions

 

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CHRISTMAS COMPETITION: LOCAL ELECTION MESSAGES FOR 2019

I for one am hopeful that we can make gains not least because the last cycle of these particular elections coincided with the last General Election and we all know how that turned out.

So what are the critical messages that Liberal Democrats must attempt to get across between now and next May?

Well, firstly the obvious one is to emphasise our commitment to community politics particularly in wards and districts where we are trying to build up support for the first time.

The slogan ‘Working all Year round not just at Election Time’ is one that sums up our approach and needs to feature prominently in our campaigns in 2019.

Our message to residents is that if they vote for a Liberal Democrat councillor, they will get a representative devoted to doing what is best for them and their area. A familiar message but one that only we as Liberals can say with conviction.

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 18 Comments

A People’s Vote: What is the Question?

I have just attended my first anti-Brexit protest, a rally where MPs from all the main parties except the SNP called for a People’s Vote.

The call fell on sympathetic ears, but the speakers were pretty vague about the question “the people” were to answer.

Lib Dems were the first to demand that, given the impossible promises made in the Brexit campaign, once a deal had been negotiated voters should be given a chance to say whether that was a version of Brexit that they wanted, and whether, in the light of the outcome of negotiations, they wanted to change their mind on whether to leave the EU or not. Others have been slower to catch up, but it looks as if an ‘endorsing’ referendum might now be the only way forward.

In that case, what should the question(s) be?  I had assumed that “People’s Vote” with all its resources might have a preferred answer, but (presumably to hold their alliance together) their website is not yet specific.

Lib Dems are not so constrained, and we are in a position now to decide where we stand, so that we can continue to take the lead.

The apparent difficulty is that there are three possible ways forward: no deal, May’s deal, and no Brexit.

Also posted in Op-eds | 19 Comments

Brexit: The forgotten option

Now, I am not normally the person to rush to the front of the queue offering ideas to help the conservative government bail itself out from an inevitable political meltdown. However, in a deep-felt belief that we all need to put the needs of the country before our political self-interest, I wish to suggest an option that not only offers a lifeline to Theresa May but also provides the hope for a brighter future for our country: Albania Plus.

Think about it. At a stroke, we would do away with all the problems of an advanced economy. We would phase out high-tech industries, scientific advancement and all that nasty complicated stuff associated with the ‘supply chain’. Once we stop trading as an advanced international economy, we will no longer have endless streams of imports and exports travelling the highways and byways of the country.  This will not only reduce congestion on our roads, but it will also avoid the need to turn the M20 into a lorry park. Problem solved.

In the lead up to the referendum we were told that Brixit would bring multiple benefits: improvements to the NHS, reduced immigration and we would ‘take back control’ our laws.  No more meddling by bureaucrats in Brussels!

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 32 Comments

Christmas Competition: Why Be A Liberal Democrat?

The answer is simple: we are the only party centered on people who trust people to change their lives, their communities, and their government. This message resonates with millions, and it united the Radicals, Liberals, Social Democrats, Whigs and Peelites that form the rich tapestry and history of our party.

We trust people to know best what their conception of the good life is. We believe that consenting adults can chase their happiness – our only role is to enable them to do so and get out of the way. Whether that meant legislating for same-sex marriage so consenting adults can make choices about their lives or creating the Start-Up Loans programme, so entrepreneurs can access finance to launch their businesses and change the world – that’s where we are about.

We don’t see local authorities as administrative bodies that exist to deliver schemes agreed in Whitehall. We believe that truly local government is a way for people to take control of their communities, to shape and transform them. It is why we created City Deals giving local government powers to invest in schemes that will revitalise their areas and create badly needed jobs. It is why we made it easier to create town and parish councils – to give residents a framework through which to organise and run their towns and parishes; to bring to life the community politics that Lord Greaves and Gordon Lishman pioneered.

It was our belief in people that led the Whigs to fight for the Reform Act 1832, why the radical wing of the Liberal Party rose up to fight for the Reform Act 1867, why our movement agitated for universal suffrage, and why the SDP-Liberal Alliance continued a decades-long struggle for voting reform. It’s why the Liberal Democrats today stand as the biggest party fighting for Votes at 16 and for fairer votes. It is why we back devolution on demand – so communities can take control of services and stand on their own two feet, but only if they choose to.

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11 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Amidst the chaos that is Westminster at the moment, at least somebody was trying to do something liberal. Admittedly, it wasn’t successful, but as another step towards a more liberal drugs policy, it was certainly worth the effort. Otherwise, another day of national humiliation for our country, as Theresa May found herself child-locked into a limousine. It’s a metaphor for something, isn’t it?…

So, what has gone out in the name of the Party today…

  • Lamb: Prohibition of cannabis is causing harm across the country
  • Cable: Govt economic analysis on Brexit misleading
  • EU confirms May has no room to renegotiate Brexit
  • Lamb: It is

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Reminder: Christmas Competition

To celebrate and get in the mood for the festive season I thought that we could have a writing competition.  As many of you (on average at least 4,500 members visit the Lib Dem Voice site every day) write articles, read them or comment I propose a Christmas Article Competition.

The proposed Competition Rules are:

  • An Article should not be more than 550 words;
  • The article in each of the specified areas will be jointly judged by representatives identified as experts in that area by Lib Dem Voice and Lib Dem editors;
  • The starting date for the competition starts as of 28th November to 17th December;
  • The title of your article for the competition should start with the words “Competition: … followed by the title of your article”

Basic criteria when assessing each article will be:

  • The originality of the article;
  • That the article is within the stipulated maximise length required (550 words);
  • Generally, how well has the article presented its argument on the subject matter;
  • We will only accept one submission for each subject area per person (as stated below);
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10 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Well, that was the day that was, wasn’t it? Or was it? Theresa May has managed to get away again, somewhat in the style of a squid, squirting ink at its attacker and making for cover in the confusion.

By avoiding a vote she seemed certain to lose, she keeps her plan alive and, perhaps, if she can keep doing that long enough, she may reason that she can eliminate other options so that, as Sherlock Holmes famously surmised, if all other options are ruled out, what remains, regardless of how unlikely it might otherwise seem, is the solution.

It needs someone

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Bottle it Day: Lib Dems react

Rather than face certain defeat now, Theresa May shelves plans for a Commons vote on her Brexit deal in order to try to stave of likely defeat in a few weeks’ time.

Lib Dems have been reacting to developments.

Vince Cable confirmed that we would support Labour in the unlikely event that our so-called opposition actually decided to move a motion of no-confidence in the Government.

The Prime Minister’s authority has drained away. It is the duty of Jeremy Corbyn to call a vote of no confidence in the Government, which Liberal Democrats would support.

After that Liberal Democrats will continue to press for a People’s Vote. MPs from all parties should join us in giving the people a final say, with the option to remain in the EU.

Welsh leaderJane Dodds said that the only way to resolve the Brexit embarrassment was a People’s Vote:

Brexit has become a national embarrassment. Negotiations with the EU have been chaotic since day one, but this is a new low. The fact Theresa May has postponed the vote on her deal to avoid defeat shows there is no support for her Brexit deal in Parliament.

Delaying the vote on her Brexit deal is an unprecedented blow to Theresa May’s authority, but it solves nothing. There is no majority for any Brexit deal in Parliament and now no majority for Brexit at all amongst the public. Whilst this remains the case, no Brexit deal will get through Parliament.

The only solution to the ongoing Brexit crisis is going back to the people. We must give the people the final say and the opportunity to choose an Exit from Brexit. This is the only solution and the Prime Minister should immediately back it.

Christine Jardine asked the PM why, if she could change her mind over the backstop, the people couldn’t be given the chance to vote again:

Wera Hobhouse asked how many of the people who voted to leave in 2016 voted for her deal:

Tim Farron was unimpressed with the Labour Party:

And on a lighter note, the Lib Dem Press Office has been on form today:

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Brexit – so what happens now?

Being your Day Editor today is a bit like trying to hit a rapidly moving, erratically directed small object… with a crossbow. So, where are we?

  • Theresa May intends to postpone the meaningful vote
  • There will be a Statement to the House of Commons from Theresa May at 3.30 p.m.
  • The European Court of Justice has ruled that the United Kingdom can unilaterally withdraw its Article 50 letter
  • The House of Lords is still scheduled to wind up its Brexit debate this evening with a symbolic vote

But is it as simple as that. One Tory MP thinks not;

The next steps aren’t obvious – a …

Also posted in Europe / International and Parliament | 21 Comments

WATCH: Vince Cable speak at People’s Vote rally in London, slams “insane, inflammatory and dangerous” talk of riots if Brexit doesn’t happen

After all the earlier discussion about the People’s Vote campaign, Vince actually ended up speaking at their big rally at the Excel Centre this afternoon. 2500 people turned up at the rally which was co-hosted with Best for Britain.

Vince called Jeremy Hunt’s comments that there would be riots if we didn’t leave the EU “insane, inflammatory and dangerous.”

He said that we were moving closer to a People’s Vote, which was now even been talked about by Cabinet Ministers as a possibility.

Watch the whole event here – Vince is on at 8 minutes in.

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9 December 2018 – today’s press release

ECJ ruling expected to make clear it is the deal or remain

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake has called on Theresa May to “stop scaremongering about a no-deal Brexit” ahead of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on whether the UK can halt Brexit by unilaterally revoking Article 50.

The ECJ ruling on this case, which Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake and Labour MP Chris Leslie were parties to is expected to come at 8am tomorrow morning (10th Dec).

The Advocate General for the ECJ, Campos Sanchez-Bordona, told the ECJ last week that it should allow the UK …

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8 December 2018 – today’s (absence of) press releases

Another day without press releases, I’m afraid, so instead, some music…

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ALDC commentary on last Thursday’s by-elections


We’re back after a busy couple of weeks including our biggest ever Kickstart training weekend. Four by-elections took place yesterday across the UK with Lib Dem candidates standing in all. Two seats were being defended by Lib Dem candidates, one by Labour and one by the Conservatives.

Oxford BC, Wolvercote
LD Liz Wade 998
Con 404
Lab 162
Green 86
Turnout 35.6%
LD Hold
Percentage change from 2018

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Brexit would put the brakes on Britain, F1 bosses warn

Embed from Getty Images

Following concerns from Formula 1 team bosses, reported by Autosport magazine, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has warned that Brexit would “put Britain into the gravel trap”.

Seven of the ten current F1 teams, including world champions Mercedes, are based in the UK.

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The Economist backs a People’s Vote

A Leader article in this week’s Economist argues for a referendum on Theresa May’s proposed deal:

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7 December 2018 – today’s press releases

I’ve spent my evening helping Colchester Liberal Democrats to select their new PPC, which is why this is a bit late in the day. I’m hoping that we’ll have their press release tomorrow, which is why I’m not telling you who won… So, without further ado, here are today’s press releases…

  • Davey: Brexit gambling UK’s safety and security
  • Liberal Democrats lead the march to a people’s vote
  • Labour must guarantee a people’s vote
  • The Economist backs a people’s vote
  • Brexit would put the brakes on Britain, F1 bosses warn

Davey: Brexit gambling UK’s safety and security

Responding to the Home Affairs Select Committee Report on the Home …

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Don’t forget: Early bird rates for Spring Conference end one week from today

The York Conference will be one of the most historic in our 30 year history, taking place just 2 weeks before we are scheduled to leave the EU.

A lot could happen between now and then, up to and including a General Election or a People’s Vote on the deal.

Whatever happens it is an important opportunity for us to get together and work out what our next steps are.

It is also where the leader’s plans to extend the franchise for leadership elections to a new supporter class will be debated. There are many strong views on both sides of this but one thing that unites us is surely the desire to debate them as cheaply as possible.

So make sure you register by next Friday.

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6 December 2018 – today’s press releases

You begin to sense the uncertainty emanating from Whitehall, but there’s plenty going on elsewhere in the governance jungle…

  • Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal
  • Mental Health Review must lead to more investment
  • Universal Credit Causing Housing Crisis – Welsh Lib Dems

Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal

Responding to the Department for Exiting the EU’s policy paper on Citizens’ Rights, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs Ed Davey said:

The Government has finally admitted that free movement of labour won’t end this March.

The fact they tried to sneak this out shows yet again that people can’t trust anything this

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Rennie, Cole-Hamilton and a racing car. What could possibly go wrong?

When Willie Rennie and Alex Cole-Hamilton get together in a car, fun and mayhem usually result. Their General Election stunt in a De Lorean was just such an example.

Today they were both at the Scottish Parliament when double Formula One World Champion Mika Häkkinen, showed up with a racing car to launch a festive campaign to encourage Scots to never drink and drive known as #JointhePact. The initiative encourages people to make a commitment never to get behind the wheel if they’ve had a drink. In the 10 years it has been running, 14 million people have apparently signed up around the world.

Willie and Alex were quick to take over the car.

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Stephen Lloyd resigns Lib Dem whip over Brexit deal

According to BBC South East’s Helen Catt.

It’s because of what he called “irreconcilable differences” between what he sees as his obligations to his Eastbourne constituents and the party’s anti Brexit position.

Stephen promised his constituents, a majority of whom voted to leave that he wouldn’t block Brexit. Perhaps the party’s mistake was allowing him to stand on that basis in 2017.

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Roger Roberts: Are we to be known as the Canutes of History?

Here is Roger Roberts’ speech to the House of Lords on the Brexit deal. His theme was what sort of life are we setting up for future generations?

Leave and Brexit are about   my seven grandchildren, all your Lordships’ grandchildren and all the children in our country. Will it be better for them to have fewer benefits than we have had, or should we think first of them when we vote on this deal?

Just after the Second World War, the community of Llangollen in north Wales established the international musical festival, which has brought people from many countries together. It still goes on; I spoke only this morning to its press office. This past year it brought applications from 3,919 competitors from 64 locations; it brought together people who had been at enmity ​with one another. As people who have been fighting each other, we suddenly find ourselves in a situation where we either stretch out to one another in friendship or say we want to carry on building a wall.

When the first eisteddfod was held, one choir hitchhiked from Hungary to reach Llangollen—I find it difficult to think of a choir hitchhiking. The following time, a German choir from Lübeck came over to Llangollen. Members of the choir were not sure what sort of reception they would get because we had been at war. They were going to sing to those who had been their enemies and they were very uncertain. But the compère at the eisteddfod on that day was Hywel Roberts, who greeted them by saying, “We are now going to hear from our German friends”. It has taken a long time to build this: to build relationships and get over the enmity of the past. But it has been done, in many different ways. Will we continue with these feelings of friendship? Will we continue building bridges and not walls?

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Layla, Christine and Ed honoured by the Patchwork Foundation

Every year, the Patchwork Foundation holds its MPs of the Year awards ceremony.

The Patchwork Foundation believes in promoting and highlighting best practice. Each year MPs across the country work closely with diverse communities, with many MPs delivering excellent representation and coverage to otherwise underrepresented segments of society. The Patchwork Foundation rewards those winning MPs – nominated by members of the public or grassroots community organisations and selected by an independent panel of judges – by acknowledging them as the MPs of the Year.

Three Lib Dems, Layla Moran, Christine Jardine and Ed Davey, received awards.

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5 December 2018 – today’s press releases

I see that one of my colleagues has gotten here first… but here’s the list in full…

  • Govt plan to trap Britain on a never-ending Brexit hamster wheel (as published here)
  • Lib Dems: Asylum seekers need action, not a review of rights
  • Corbyn too in pockets of the unions to back a People’s Vote

Lib Dems: Asylum seekers need action, not a review of rights

In the Chamber this afternoon, Home Secretary Sajid Javid was asked about lifting the ban on asylum seekers working in the UK.

He said “We currently have no plans to change that arrangement but it is one of the …

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    Frankie Spell my name right and learn what a nuanced response is. The term hardliner refers to someone with unbending beliefs and a refusal to...
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