Category Archives: News

Richard Foord selected as candidate in Tiverton and Honiton by-election

Congratulations to Richard Foord who has been selected as our candidate in the Tiverton and Honiton by-election on 23rd June!

Richard lives in the constituency and is a former Army Major who served as a UN peacekeeper in Kosovo. He currently works for a University and volunteers for the Scout movement. He has also run the London marathon for the Royal British Legion.

You can read more about him on his personal website here and on the Liberal Democrat website here.

Ed Davey said:

Richard is an incredible candidate, whose dedication to others has shone not only through his career, but also in his voluntary roles in the community.

This by-election will be a two-horse race between Boris Johnson’s Conservatives and hard-working Liberal Democrat local champion, Richard Foord. This Conservative government has taken Devon for granted with local health services being neglected and botched and with trade deals undercutting farmers at every turn.

The Liberal Democrats are the clear challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton & Honiton. On 23rd June, you can elect a strong local champion who will stand up for our communities and help kick Boris Johnson out of Number 10.

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Partygate: Is that all there is?

After 11 months of investigation involving 12 full time dedicated police officers, with other support and oversight as required, Operation Hillman has concluded at a cost of £460,000. During the inquiry 126 referrals for fixed penalty notices were made. Boris Johnson and his wife will not receive any further fines.

The Met said today:

“A team of twelve detectives worked through 345 documents, including emails, door logs, diary entries and witness statements, 510 photographs and CCTV images and 204 questionnaires as part of a careful and thorough enquiry.”

We now wait for the Sue Gray report.

 

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Southwark Elects LGBTQ+ Campaigner as Leader of the Opposition

The Southwark Liberal Democrats elected LGBTQ+ campaigner Councillor Victor Chamberlain as their new group leader on Monday night.

Councillor Chamberlain is now Southwark Council’s leader of the opposition after his predecessor Councillor Hamish McCallum stood down from the position.

Southwark’s new group leader is an active LGBTQ+ campaigner. He fought to save famous gay bar XXL and helped secure a new LGTBQ+ community centre in in its place at Bankside Yards.

Councillor Chamberlain also campaigned to award British diver Tom Daley the Freedom of the Borough for Southwark.

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Eastbourne declares cost of living emergency

The Independent reports that, at a Council meeting today, Lib Dem run Eastbourne Council will be the first to declare a cost of living emergency.

You may well know Eastbourne as a prosperous south coast town, but much of the local economy derives from tourism, so it has been particularly badly hit by the pandemic.

According to the article:

Eastbourne Foodbank has been the busiest in the UK over the past year – distributing more parcels per head than any other food bank, according to the Trussell Trust network.

Councillor Josh Babarinde said the emergency declaration would help Eastbourne Borough Council work more effectively with charities, as well as offering a “wake-up call” to Boris Johnson’s government.

“We need immediate action from the government – they have to realise that this cost of crisis has become an emergency because of their inaction,” said the Lib Dem councillor.

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Roger Roberts on the Queen’s Speech

Yesterday Roger Roberts, Lord Roberts of Llandudno, spoke in the Lords debate on the Queen’s Speech. It’s not often that Glee Club gets a mention in Westminster, if indirectly.

He said:

My Lords, if we are not able to rely on Ministers and other parliamentarians to tell the truth, then reliable and acceptable government is impossible. The recent police notices to those who had previously denied breaking the pandemic control laws lead millions of people to question the truth on matters of greater importance like, perhaps, the crises in Ukraine or Afghanistan – those that are matters of life and death.

We all know of broken promises. Putin was adamant: “We are not going to invade Ukraine” – we remember that – in spite of a procession of tanks stretching 40 miles, the distance from Chester to Colwyn Bay. Ukraine is in the midst of being invaded in spite of Putin’s denial, creating a hell for millions of children, men, and women. Putin’s assurances are as meaningless as denying being at gatherings that broke Covid laws. Government and the safeguarding of democracy cannot continue if those who lead cannot be trusted or believed. Mr Rees-Mogg tweeted over the Easter weekend, “Christ is risen, Alleluia”, a greeting of hope, while at the same time supporting deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda – a destruction of hope.

The consequences of these lies are the distancing of millions of ordinary people from government. If you cannot believe a word they say, there is no use voting for any of them. Turnout at general elections has fallen from 83% in the 1950s to less than 67% in 2019. We have grown increasingly apathetic about the democratic process, and nature abhors a vacuum.

The Government must change in order to show the British people that the Government can be believed and are engaged in the democratic process. Failing to do so will only increase apathy and sow distrust—something which, because of the unbelievability of the present time, continues to do immense harm. The United Kingdom can serve as an example to others, but not by refusing parliamentary scrutiny—for example, of the deal with Rwanda regarding asylum seekers or the continued lying about parties in gardens during the pandemic. We undermine democracy itself.

At the Liberal Party conference I used to sing the “Land Song”, which goes: “Why should we be beggars with the ballot in our hand?” and “God gave the land to the people!”

Now we have to restore this trust. We must restore the value of ordinary people and their worth and influence in what is a democratic society.

Finally, Paddy Ashdown said:

“The one thing that unfailingly gives me satisfaction in politics is to watch those who have been taught they are the subject of others’ power, rise to meet the challenge of power in their own hands—and then be unbelieving at what they are able to do. To believe in this and make it happen is, for me, the great passion of politics.”

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17 May 2022- today’s press releases

  • The Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton and Honiton
  • NI Protocol Changes: Risks starting a trade war with our largest trading partner
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats call for 24/7 mental health service

The Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton and Honiton

Responding to the announcement that the Tiverton & Honiton by-election will take place on Thursday 23rd June, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey MP said:

People in rural communities like Devon have had enough of being neglected by this Conservative government.

The Conservatives’ failure to tackle the cost of living crisis has left millions struggling to pay their bills, while people wait hours for an ambulance and weeks for a GP or dentist appointment.

The Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton and Honiton. On the 23rd June voters can send Boris Johnson’s government a message they cannot ignore – and elect a strong local champion who will stand up for them.

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Tiverton and Honiton by-election to take place on 23rd June

The Writ has been moved for the Tiverton and Honiton by-election to take place on 23rd June.

The by-election was caused by the resignation of Neil Parish after he was discovered watching pornographic videos during  parliamentary meetings on two occasions.

Ed Davey said that the by-election gave voters the chance to send Boris Johnson’s Government a message they cannot ignore and elect a local Lib Dem champion to fight for them:

People in rural communities like Devon have had enough of being neglected by this Conservative government.

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Farron: Planning changes needed for second homes

Second homes are a growing issue in many rural areas of the country. Although visitors with second homes bring economic benefits, they also reduce local housing stock and drive up house prices by making offers that most locals can’t match. The squeeze on housing availability drives up rents as well as prices.

Yet when second home owners arrive for the weekend, for the week or for a holiday, they rely on local people for their services in shops, pubs and bars. But many people can’t afford to live in a settlement where second homes are popular.

In 2018/19, an estimated 772,000 households reported having second homes.

Speaking during questions on Levelling Up in the Commons yesterday, Tim Farron said:

It is… vital that houses that are given planning permission are then used for the purposes agreed on when the permission was granted. I am talking about second home ownership. Homes that are built for local families become second homes, and that leads to communities being hollowed out. Will the Minister look again at bringing in new change of use rules through the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill, so that second homes and holiday lets fall under a separate category of planning use, and homes in Cumbria can remain for local families, and do not become part of ghost towns?

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Welcome to my day: 16 May 2022 – the cat is, so to speak, out of the bag…

I spent part of my weekend in strangely familiar territory, with leaflets in hand. Honiton feels a bit like Stowmarket, my neighbouring town here in mid-Suffolk. For, whilst the surrounding countryside is agricultural, the town itself is not obviously prosperous – we’re not talking “touristy” here. Indeed, a bit like mid-Suffolk, any tourists are likely to heading onwards.

And, whilst the Guardian has discovered that a campaign has already broken out – really, guys, was that a surprise? – Liberal Democrat social media is abuzz with people either in Tiverton and Honiton or working out how to get there and when.

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Sarah Dyke Selected as Lib Dem Candidate for Somerset and Frome

The Liberal Democrats have selected Cllr Sarah Dyke as their candidate for the Somerton and Frome constituency.

Sarah lives in the constituency and is from a Somerset farming family which can be traced back over 250 years to the local area. Sarah worked in the agricultural industry and is Portfolio Holder for the Environment on South Somerset District Council where she is spearheading rewilding programmes, investment in electric vehicle charging points and the council’s zero-carbon targets.

Last week Sarah was elected to Somerset County Council to represent Blackmoor Vale, beating the head of the Conservatives’ dedicated anti-Lib Dem unit.

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West Oxfordshire Alliance to be led by Lib Dems

West Oxfordshire District Council is to be led by a coalition of the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green parties after the Conservatives lost their majority last week for the first time in 22 years.

This marks a continuing trend in Oxfordshire, once a true blue wall outside the City of Oxford which remains solidly Labour. The Tories only holdout is now Cherwell in the north of the county.

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Ed Davey: Queen’s Speech shows Conservatives are neglecting rural communities

Ed Davey has said that the Queen’s Speech does nothing to help rural communities:

This Queen’s Speech does nothing to help the millions of families and pensioners facing soaring bills and eye watering inflation. The Conservatives have failed to deliver a cut to VAT that would have saved families an average of £600, failed to help pensioners and failed to help the most vulnerable in our society.

“The Conservatives are continuing to neglect rural communities. There was nothing in these plans to support farmers on the brink, to tackle soaring ambulance waiting times and GP shortages, or to stop the dumping of filthy sewage into our river and seas.

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Ed, Daisy and Amna on Lib Dems’ local election success

Leader Ed Davey, Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper and Vice President Amna Ahmad have all been commenting on the Lib Dems fantastic election results this weekend.

Ed and Daisy were both on the Sunday morning shows.

On Sunday Morning, Ed said that Lib Dems wanted to get rid of this Conservative Government and the results show we can beat them. Watch the whole interview here from 22 minutes in.

Meanwhile, Daisy was on Sophy Ridge, hailing our fantastic results:

On Friday, Vice President Amna Ahmad was part of a Guardian panel analysing the elections. She said:

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East of England – let joy be somewhat unconfined…

Greetings from an election-free Gipping Valley, where it gives me great pleasure to report on events in the East of England. In truth, you can pretty much divide the region into two halves today. In Norfolk and Suffolk, only the county towns saw election action, and Bedfordshire sat this one out altogether. That left Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire to fight, and the results have been pretty good.

We’ll start with Essex, which saw gains in Brentwood (2), Colchester (2), Rochford (2), Epping Forest and Southend-on-Sea, as half of the councils were up, which indicates that progress is being made. The Conservative/Independent coalition running Colchester is expected to be replaced with a Liberal Democrat/Labour coalition of partners, with the Liberal Democrats holding one more seat than Labour. Will Quince, no replacement for Bob Russell in truth, should be looking over his shoulder for next time, although the split opposition might be his salvation.

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Ed Davey : Lib Dems are winning again

As of 7:45pm, the Liberal Democrats accordinf to the BBC, have gained 190 councillors in today’s elections in England,  20 in Scotland and 11 in Wales. It’s fair to say that this way exceeds our expectations.

In Ed Davey’s home patch in Kingston, our Council must be doing something right. We achieved 41 seats compared to 3 Tories and an Independent. The final ward is subject to a deferred election because of the sad death of one of the candidates.  This is even better than the Richmond result where we won 48 seats (up 9) with just 6 opposition seats.

As if that wasn’t enough, we then go and gain 20, yes that is 20 not 2.0 seats in St Albans.

We now control 16 councils which is up 3.

And Peter Taylor was healthily re-elected as Mayor of Watford.

We are undoubtedly the big winners of the election across the country.

Ed Davey has been touring the country meeting our new Councillors. Here he is on the BBC with a beautifully arranged backdrop of Somerset councillors:

Earlier in the day, he told a crowd of Wimbledon Lib Dems, fresh from their 12 gains in the ultra marginal seat:

What began as a tremor in Chesham and Amersham, became an earthquake in North Shropshire, and is now an almighty shockwave that will bring this Conservative Government tumbling down.

It is the movement of millions of people who are saying loud and clear: “We have had enough.”

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Scotland’s results – a story of Lib Dem GAINS

There has been very encouraging news from Scotland today. If you had told us at the start of the campaign that we would gain TWENTY seats, we would accused you of being wildly optimistic.

So far we are up 6 seats in Edinburgh, doubling the size of our group.

Sanne Djikstra-Downie wins in Forth ward in Edinburgh:

Longstanding councillor Dobbie Aldridge is joined by Ed Thornley in Drum Brae/Gyle.

It was pretty audacious to put up 3 candidates in a 4 member ward, even if in 2017 Kevin Lang won with the highest ever vote of any councillor in Scotland. But it paid off and Kevin and his sister Louise Young are now joined by Lewis Younie who takes a seat from the Tories.

And we get two in the three member ward of Corstorphine/Murrayfield  with two new councillors, Al Beal and Euan Davidson.

Wins for Jack Caldwell in Leith Walk and Pauline Flannery in Southside/Newington complete our sextet of gains.

In Dunfermline, Aude Boubaker-Calder regained the Dunfermline Central and Crossford ward. She had come so close in a by-election in 2019, losing out by a handful of votes. Her husband James regained his Dunfermline South seat and they both topped the poll.

Elsewhere in Fife, we gained councillors in both St Andrews and the Howe of Fife. Al Clark and Gaz Holt join Jane Ann Liston and Donald Lothian. We’ve also gained Eugene Clark in Leven Kennoway and Largo. Fiona Corps and Sean Dillon make it two in East Neuk and Landward. The total number of gains in Fife increased to 6 with John Caffrey joining Mags Kennedy in Cupar.

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Baroness Kramer on Lib Dem local election wins

In the early hours today, it became clear that the Lib Dems have made substantial gains across the country, including taking control of Hull. Baroness Susan Kramer to spoke to the BBC’s Huw Edwards about the party’s successes.

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Election results open thread – Lib Dems biggest winners in England

As Andy has already said, it’s been a good night for the Liberal Democrats so far, regaining control of Hull after 11 years and gaining from the Conservatives in places like Colchester and West Oxfordshire.

ALDC has done a great job in getting many of its staff members elected. Its Chief Exec Tim Pickstone has left Bury and won a seat on the new Cumberland Council. Frankie Singleton, Chris Twells, Alex Warren and Tim Verboven are among others who have won.

Today we wait for results from Scotland and Wales, English councils and the rest of London.  And we are off to a healthy start:

The Tories are expected to suffer substantial casualties in Scotland. They won many of their seats under STV on the first count last time. They might struggle to pick up a lot of transfers if their vote falls. If it falls by as much as it did in Tweeddale West in the Borders, 16%, they are in trouble.

Lib Dems held that seat with a new Councillor, Dr Drummond Begg.

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The voting is over. The results are coming in.

We’ll be bringing updates through the night and through to Saturday. In the small hours, it is looking good for the Lib Dems. But it is early yet and some counts won’t begin until the morning.

This was a state of play at 5am. Labour are making some gains now. The Conservatives are doing badly but not as badly as excepted (hoped for). And the big news so far. The Lib Dems have gained 42 new seats and have taken control of Hull Council.

This post is no longer being updated. We’ll publish more news and comment shortly.

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Ed Davey calls for Windfall Tax on energy companies to help people cope with rising prices

Ed Davey went on BBC Breakfast this morning to call for a windfall tax on energy companies as BP announced soaring profits for the first three months on this year. Funds raised would be used to give people who are struggling with high bills “a really big tax cut.” Ed said that the Conservatives were totally out of touch with what was going on in the country.

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Davey on tax cuts, the non-existent pact with Labour and nuclear disarmament

Ed Davey appeared on BBC One Sunday Morning yesterday. Interviewed by Sophie Raworth, he spoke about the cost of living, the need for tax cuts, keeping our nuclear deterrent until multilateral disarmament can be agreed and the forthcoming local elections and by-elections. He firmly denied the Lib Dems have a deal with Labour to squeeze the Tories out of some seats.

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Welcome to my day: 2 May 2022 – “take the last train to Honiton, and I’ll meet you at the station…”

I’m old enough to remember the 1992-97 Major administration, which fell apart amidst scandal, misfortune and incompetence. Admittedly, it was incompetence which paled in comparison to that of the current mob, but many are beginning to draw the same conclusion, i.e. that this is a rotten government, simply needing a hard enough push to fall apart.

Unfortunately, I’m also old enough to remember 1992, when it looked like the Conservatives would lose, only for the electorate to conclude that they weren’t quite ready to do the deed.

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Daisy Cooper: PM must tell Neil Parish to resign

Lib Dem Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper has called on Boris Johnson to tell Neil Parish, the Conservative MP alleged to have watched adult content on his phone in the Commons Chamber, to resign as MP for Tiverton and Honiton in Devon.

While Parish himself has said that he will do so if an enquiry into his behaviour finds against him, Daisy says that in any other workplace, an issue like this would be resolved speedily.

If Boris Johnson had any shred of decency left, he would tell Neil Parish to resign immediately.

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Carmichael: PM can’t be allowed to rewrite election law in his favour

In the Times Red Box yesterday, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Alastair Carmichael said a functioning liberal democracy relies just as much on self-restraint as on the wielding of power while in government.

Recently found to have hypocritically broken his own laws, a populist authoritarian leader now seeks to curb the right to protest and rewrite election law to favour his party.

No, it’s not the latest press filing out of Hungary or Venezuela – it is the rushed final week of parliament before prorogation, as the lawbreaking prime minister Boris Johnson looks to rewrite the law to his own benefit.

Amongst a rogues’ gallery of questionable measures in contention, one of the most egregious is the government plan to bend the Electoral Commission to its will, by imposing Conservative-mandated priorities. This would utterly undermine the independence of our elections regulator.

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Dents in the blue wall?

There are stirrings in Dominic Raab’s constituency of Esher & Walton.

You might imagine this to be solid blue wall territory, but trouble started for him in the 2019 General Election when he scraped in with just 49% of the vote, closely followed by Liberal Democrat Monica Harding on 45%.

Raab’s constituency lies entirely within the Borough of Elmbridge, which is currently run by a coalition of Liberal Democrats, Residents and Independents. Indeed all but three of the wards in Elmbridge lie in the Esher & Walton constituency, so any changes in Elmbridge on 5th May could be quite significant for him. Note that elections here are by thirds.

Looking at the 39 Borough ward seats that actually make up the constituency of Esher & Walton, only 14 are currently held by Conservatives. There were 16 Conservatives, but in February Councillors Christine Richardson and Alan Kopitko resigned from the party and now stand as Independents.

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Dodds: GPs could be forced to leave Wales

Yesterday in the Senedd, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds requested that the Welsh Government issues a statement on the possibility that 80 or 160 overseas trainee GPs in Wales may be forced to leave the country.

The request came as the Lib Dems revealed that across the border in England, 6.2 million people waited over eight days for a GP appointment in February, up 9 per cent on the previous month.

A report by the Welsh BMA GPs committee earlier this year highlighted that current Home Office rules implemented by Priti Patel and the Conservatives mean that individuals must have worked for five years under a Skilled Workers Visa in order to be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILTR).

This could result in 80 out of this year’s 160 GP trainees in Wales not being eligible to stay in the country under ILTR because of limited work opportunities at Welsh GP practices that serve as established Skilled Worker visa sponsors.

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Last chance to develop Lib Dem policy on food and farming, international security and training

The Federal Policy Committee is in the process of setting up 3 policy working groups, to report to Autumn Conference in 2023. Any party member can apply to join them. But you need to hurry – the deadline is tomorrow.

The groups will update policy on Food and Farming, Opportunity, Skills and Training and International Security.

In an email to party members, FPC Vice Chair Lucy Nethsingha said:

Below you can see the aims of each working group:

  • Food and Farming
    This group will consider how we can improve our approach to food and farming, including looking at the future of farming and fishing, food security and supply chains, food poverty, nutrition and healthy eating, food production and animal welfare.
  • Opportunity, Skills and Training
    This group will look at giving people the skills to be successful in their lives. This will include vocational education from ages 14-19, careers advice, further education, tackling the Post-Brexit skills crisis, adult education and lifelong learning.
  • International Security
    This group will look at how the UK can strengthen its international security, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This group will address the International Security Institutional Architecture, UK Defence Policy, European Security and Defence Cooperation, Environment and Security (inc Energy Security), Economic security (eg vulnerabilities of supply chains), Combatting International terrorism, Novel threats e.g. Cyber Warfare and Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution.

The groups will start work as soon as possible, with a view to producing consultation papers for discussion at Spring Conference 2023 and final papers for debate at Autumn Conference 2023.

As a member of a working group you’ll work with other members to take evidence, identify the main challenges and develop distinctively Liberal Democrat policy that will appeal to voters and that would be effective in solving the identified problems.

You’re expected to attend regular meetings, contribute to discussion and help write papers (either through drafting or through commenting on drafts). The meetings are currently mostly taking place online, with some meetings in person in London (but with opportunity for online participation). The role is voluntary and the time commitment averages around two hours per week.

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Welcome to my day: 25 April 2022 – perhaps it doesn’t need to be so bad?

It’s always nice to see some positive news, and the re-election of Emmanuel Macron to the French Presidency yesterday was reassuringly clear cut. Mind you, given that 42% of those who voted chose such an overt friend who of Vladimir Putin, one should remain alert in terms of what happens after Macron’s second term ends, especially given the current weakness of France’s traditional “big two” political parties. But that’s a problem for another day.

Slovenia also had elections yesterday, and a political party formed only a year ago, the Freedom Movement has swept to power, defeating the outgoing Prime Minister, Janez Janša and his Social Democrats. The Party names might give the impression that this is not good news, but whilst the Social Democrats lean very much towards a Victor Orban style of politics, the Freedom Movement are social/Green liberals.

So, not a bad night for liberals across Europe.

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Leaseholders still at risk of having to pay huge sums for cladding replacement

We don’t often reference the Daily Mail here on LDV. But this week they published a generally supportive article (with photos of both Ed Davey and Hina Bokhari): Campaigners call for more help for cladding-hit flat owners and a proper overhaul of leaseholds after latest vote on Building Safety Bill.

Leaseholders across the country, particularly in cities with high rise blocks of flats, are concerned that they will have to pay for the replacement of dangerous cladding.

The Government insists that leaseholders are protected from the costs of dangerous buildings.

Earlier this year, the Secretary of State for Housing Michael Gove said leaseholders ‘are blameless, and it is morally wrong that they should be the ones asked to pay the price’.

However, recent Government amendments to the Building Safety Bill include some caveats, meaning many leaseholders could still have to pay life-changing sums for the remediation work.

A recent survey by the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign of more than 2,200 properties in buildings over 11 metres suggested that 64 per cent of leaseholders outside of London and 83 per cent of leaseholders in London will not be protected from all costs to fix non-cladding fire safety defects.

The item includes a photo of Ed Davey addressing the rally outside Parliament earlier this week and two further ones of London Assembly member Hina Bokhari with protesters. Hina is quoted at length:

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Strengthening – and extending – London’s yellow wall

In exactly two weeks from today, 32 London boroughs will be holding their four year all-in/all-out elections. (The City of London has already done its own thing).

And this is what it looked like in 2018:

As you can see we do have our own yellow wall in the southwest corner of Greater London where Lib Dems control the three adjacent boroughs of Richmond, Kingston and Sutton, all with substantial majorities. In Richmond we currently hold 39 seats out of 54, in Kingston 37 out of 48 and in Sutton 32 out of 50. All three are Tory facing.

Our first priority is, of course, to retain control of those Councils.

I spoke with Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, and this is what she told me:

Things are going well in Sutton. After 36 years of running the Council, we’re quietly confident (but never complacent!) that we’ll reach our fourth decade, We have exciting plans for the future and are determined to ensure we can see them through. We have lots of new, enthusiastic and diverse council candidates and we can’t wait to see them elected to Sutton Council.

There will be some media attention on Kingston, given that Ed Davey’s constituency of Kingston & Surbiton lies with the borough.  (It’s confusing but Kingston functions both as the name of a London borough and also as one of the old towns within it, alongside New Malden, Surbiton, Tolworth and Chessington). But we also want to extend outwards and develop new patches of yellow in other parts of the capital.

For example, Merton Borough is adjacent to Richmond, Kingston and Sutton, and has a lively local party who are keen to develop.  They currently hold 6 seats out of 59. They face Conservatives, Labour and Independent Residents in different wards.

Hina Bokhari is a councillor in Merton and also a London Assembly member. She told me:

There’s no denying there’s plenty of excitement in Merton for a good result here for the LibDems. I have had Conservative voters so utterly appalled by the government and Johnson that they cannot bear to vote for them anymore.

And as it was reported recently in the Guardian, Tory activists have had a “a bit of a disastrous reception” at the doors here in Merton. Voters are very aware of what happened here in the 2019 General Election. Even Labour Party members are telling me that “Labour can’t win here”.

Over in Bromley the local Lib Dems are looking for a breakthrough – at present the Council is dominated by Tories, which presents them with a number of opportunities to (as Paddy said) “Pick a ward and win it”. Wendy Taylor told us how her father Brian did just that and won the first ever Liberal seat in Bromley in the 50s.

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