Category Archives: News

Great hold in Durham with increased vote share

I’m on by-election duty for ALDC tonight. And the first result of the night’s six by-elections was a cracker.

Nicely done, Bev. Congratulations to you and your team.

And in Southend on Sea, there was an advance of nearly 10% for Carol White:

And great to be standing a candidate in Thurroci:

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Supporters Pack now available

Voice received the following from HQ:

On Saturday at our conference, members voted to create an registered supporter’s scheme for the Liberal Democrats.

In the first 24 hours after we launched the scheme, more than 2,000 people joined in almost every single Westminster constituency in Britain.

More supporters are joining every hour.

To help you make the most of these new supporters, the Membership team at HQ have produced some resources for you – which you can access here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/supporters-local-party-guide

The launch pack covers everything you’ll need – from an explanation of what supporters are to template emails and social media graphics to help recruit even more supporters.

It also includes how to find the people that have become registered supporters in your area.

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May statement open thread.

Well, the crest is still on the lectern. So no General Election then.

But…

And she said absolutely nothing new. Blaming anyone but herself for the mess.

Basically, no say for the people, no participation in the European elections. She wants to be out by June 30th.

She says that MPs haven’t said what they want. Not sure how much clearer our lot could have been – People’s vote…That at least is achievable, even if the Labour unicorns are not.

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Vince tells Sky that Corbyn walked out of meeting with PM because TIG were there

Vince Cable has just been on Sky News to say that the opposition leaders’ meeting with Theresa May was courteous but just went round in circles.

She was not willing to move at all.

So far so unsurprising.

But what was incredible was his revelation that Jeremy Corbyn was going to meet her with them. But as soon as he saw Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry there, he legged it.

So the country is in crisis and he is not prepared to behave like a grown up. I remember this sort of game playing in student politics days but not when the country is about to crash and burn.

It’s unbelievable.

I can’t actually believe the horrors that we have as PM and Leader of the Opposition.

I could not believe it when Theresa May said at Prime Minister’s Questions today that the Commons should stop indulging itself on Europe. Without a trace of irony.

It’s almost as if she had forgotten that we are in this mess purely because of the self indulgence of her party on Europe. David Cameron called the referendum to face own the right of his party and now we are all paying the price.

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Vince and other (non Labour) opposition leaders play hardball with May

Vince Cable, Liz Saville-Roberts, Ian Blackford and Caroline Lucas have been meeting the Prime Minister this evening. And they went in with intent to argue with her pretty robustly.

They basically said that Parliament should sit in continuous session until they can sort this out. MPs would not be bullied into making a choice between a disaster and a catastrophe.

And they added that they would bring forward a vote to revoke Article 50 “as a last resort”.

They issued a joint statement before going in to No 10.

The Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Green Party have been working together and meeting regularly for the past two years since the EU referendum.

“We agree that the House of Commons must formulate a plan that will give the EU Council the confidence to agree a longer extension beyond 30th June, so that by the end of next week legislation can be in place to prevent a No Deal exit.

“Parliament should now sit in continuous session until it can reach a decision and set out a clear plan.

“We will be pushing for the House of Commons to support a referendum on remaining in the EU, others will put forward their own positions. If the Commons cannot agree, as a last resort we would be prepared to take steps to secure a parliamentary vote on the revocation of Article 50.

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A fairer share for all – ending poverty in the UK. Part Three

On Friday afternoon at our Federal conference, there was a consultation session on A Fairer Share for All – consultation paper. The consultation period continues until Sunday 31st March. I think members should email their comments rather than answer the questions the working group asks as I don’t think the questions cover all the areas that need commenting on.

The consultation paper doesn’t talk about levels of benefits (which I have done mainly in a-fairer-share-for-all-ending-poverty-in-the-UK-part-two-60199. The working group asks about reforming or scrapping Universal Credit. I think Universal Credit should be scrapped and replaced with a Working Credit for people of working age in work and all the old benefits kept. This new benefit should keep the 63% taper of Universal Credit but apply it to the new rates of benefit I set out in part two, where for every pound of net income a person loses 63 pence in benefit. However, the “work allowances” should be replaced with disregards and they should be the same for people no matter if they are receiving housing benefit. Instead of restoring the three ‘higher work allowance’ rates of £734, £536 and £647 a month I would replace both the higher and lower rates with £140 a week for claimants with children and those receiving Employment and Support Allowance.

Moreover, instead of the £110 a month for those without children, I would set it at £50 a week for each adult who is in work (therefore if both parents were in work they would have a weekly disregard of £190 a week. I wonder if the taper on housing benefit which would be the last element to be reduced should be higher. A very complicated system would be to apply to say a 70% taper to the first £70 of housing benefit a week, 80% of the next £70 and 90% of the rest (over £140 a week). The new Working Credit could be calculated every two weeks or every month as chosen by the claimant.

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This weekend’s march is about so much more than a vote on the Brexit deal

Brexit March Brexit March

In Parliament, MPs have been debating on (and rejecting) this botched Tory deal. Beyond Parliament, young people have been watching on in horror and disbelief. As a wealthy Brexit elite, red in the face, tell themselves to hold their nerve, it’s clear that they’ve got no regard for our future.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn? They just aren’t listening – they are completely detached from reality. They’re causing embarrassment on an international scale, the world over the country we love is a laughing stock. It’s shameful, and history will look harshly on the perpetrators of this chaotic mess.

I’m 20 years old, less than a month off of voting on the 23rd of June 2016. There are almost 2 million like me who can now vote. The fact is that the UK does not want Brexit anymore, and young people just like me deserve a say on our future. The British people deserve the right to a final say now we’ve got a deal on the table, and not some fanciful, wildly unrealistic ideal.

Before our very eyes, my generation is seeing jobs and investment sapped out of the UK. We’re seeing our futures – lives that should be spent with the right to live, love and work freely across 28 nations, the largest free trade area in human history – all being snatched away from us. It would be dystopian if the last three years hadn’t numbed us all to this warped reality.

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Isabelle Parasram elected as Lib Dems’ first Vice President BAME

Barrister Isabelle Parasram has been elected by the Federal Board as the party’s first Vice President BAME.

I was delighted by this result because I voted for her and encouraged others to do so as I had been really impressed by her clear vision for the role. She talked a lot of sense about how to change the party’s culture. I’ve seen that her previous work, the report into dealing with complaints of sexual impropriety,  has been thorough, clear and fair.

In an email to members, Miranda Roberts, Chair of the Federal People Development Committee, welcomed Isabelle’s appointment.

At our Spring Conference over the weekend, Party President Sal Brinton announced that Isabelle Parasram has been elected as our new Vice President BaME.

This position has been created to encourage more BaME representation and participation across the party.

I am delighted that Isabelle is taking on this new role. Her election is an exciting and important step towards building a more inclusive and diverse party.

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ALDC advice: filling in and submitting nomination forms

We advise that you fill in your nomination forms at the earliest opportunity possible. You’re able to submit them from March 27 onwards and the deadline for returning them is 4pm on Wednesday 3 April.

The following paperwork needs to be completed correctly and submitted on time:

  • Nomination papers
  • Candidate’s consent to nomination
  • Candidates address form
  • Deposit (not for locals)
  • Form for the appointment of the agent
  • Delegated Nominating Officer (DNO) paperwork (for use of the party name and logo on the ballot paper)

Most Returning Officers will supply forms, but some may expect you to supply your own from the Electoral Commission’s website. You should always use the Party’s own DNO paperwork – download it.

Find more information on filling in your forms correctly.

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We must make sure they weren’t just empty words

On Sunday I was delighted that Conference overwhelmingly passed the emergency motion on knife crime and youth work that I was so pleased to propose.

The excellent motion, drafted by our lead member on the LGA Children’s Board, Cllr Lucy Nethsinga, made clear the clear link between the dramatic cut in youth services across the country and the subsequent increase in knife crime.

In passing the motion, Conference reaffirmed the Party’s commitment to invest in both universal and targeted youth work. However, we need this affirmation to lead to more than just empty words, words that sound good in the conference hall but never appear in the manifesto.

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19 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

‘Govt treating EU citizens appallingly’ with Settled Status call charges

Responding to reports that thousands of EU citizens are being forced to pay for calls to the Home Office’s Settlement Resolution Centre for help with their Settled Status applications, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

EU citizens in the UK are our neighbours and our colleagues, our families and our friends. But ever since the Brexit referendum, they have been treated appallingly by this Conservative Government.

Making them pay up to 40p per minute to get help navigating the complex Home Office system for applying for Settled Status is just

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By Friday, we should be talking about revoking Article 50

Dangerous moments are like buses. You have decades free of them and then loads come along all at once. And every day our country’s future is in the hands of a gruesome coalition of extreme right and left  – the ERG, DUP and the Corbynistas – it gets more and more dangerous as Brexit day just a week on Friday looms.

We’ve kind of running out of road as far as Brexit is concerned. As things currently stand, we crash out without a deal in 10 days’ time.

That’s right. The biggest economic catastrophe ever will be underway next week unless someone does something.

We have constantly been demanding a People’s Vote pretty much since the referendum.

Theresa May has made it clear that isn’t happening.

Our policy passed in York last Saturday was clear:

Conference calls for the Government to revoke the Article 50 notification if the House of Commons has not passed a resolution approving (relating to) the negotiated withdrawal agreement one week ahead of the date on which the UK is due to leave the EU.

So, this Friday, we have to start talking about revocation, assuming nothing else changes.

And we have to be quite loud about it. It is a nuclear option, but we’re in the most dangerous moment for our country in 80 years.

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London Region recruiting a Development officer to boost local campaigns

Looking back to last May, there was much to celebrate in London’s election results. Winning back control of Kingston and Richmond was very welcome , as was retaining our control of Sutton. And then there were excellent results in Haringey – our group grew from 9 to 15 – and Merton leapt up from just a single Lib Dem councillor to 6!

Looking closely at the areas that make such great progress, we can see how beneficial it is to have full time staff – and volunteers – working on our campaigns over a long period. Their hard work and skills correlates with good results.

The other side of this particular coin is in 22 out of London’s 32 boroughs we don’t currently have any Lib Dem councillors, alongside 4 boroughs with less than a handful. In many boroughs we have keen and enthusiastic campaigners, but many people have full time jobs, family responsibilities and maybe long commutes. There may be little time in the evening to prepare for a weekend activity although actually quite amazing stuff does get done! But It’s clear that it’s very difficult to compete when our opponents have more in the way of resources than we do. We feel that if we make things a bit easier we can help those keen campaigners achieve more.

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18 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Swinson: Tories posturing over UK aid is shameless

Following the Taxpayers’ Alliance launch of their report attacking elements of UK aid, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Jo Swinson MP said:

The UK should be incredibly proud of what our aid budget has achieved across the world. Between April 2015 and March 2018 alone, UK aid provided humanitarian assistance to a staggering 26.8 million people, including at least 8.2 million women and girls.

Through the Department for International Development and its work with multilateral organisations, UK aid not only changes lives but does so in a transparent and effective way: DFID is

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UPDATED: Bercow rules out a third attempt by Theresa May to get her Brexit deal passed – how should the Liberal Democrats respond?

In dramatic scenes in the House of Commons, The Speaker, John Bercow, has ruled that Theresa May can’t hold a third vote on her Brexit deal without major changes to it. This appears to leave only five options;

  • No deal;
  • No Brexit;
  • Seek a long extension to allow time to negotiate a new deal;
  • Prorogue Parliament to allow a new session in which the deal can be brought back, and;
  • A General Election

Here’s some early reaction from the Party…

UPDATE – we’ve now received the official press comment…

Responding to the decision by Commons Speaker John Bercow to rule out the Conservative Government holding another vote on …

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16-17 March 2019 – the weekend’s press releases (part 2)

Lib Dems: Revoke Article 50 if a deal isn’t agreed

The Liberal Democrats have today called for the Government to revoke Article 50 if no Brexit deal can be agreed a week before departure date.

The proposal, debated and passed by delegates at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in York today, comes after a week of key Brexit votes in the House of Commons in which MPs again rejected Theresa May’s deal, ruled out no-deal and voted to extend Article 50.

Speaking after the debate, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake MP said:

It is absolutely clear that Brexit will hit

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Vince Cable’s Leader address to Lib Dem Spring Conference

It is a sobering thought that just under 2,000 years ago there were people gathered on this spot no doubt complaining about a treaty from Rome.

…with tiresome regulations about daily baths and straight roads; muttering under their breath that these legionnaires should go back to Gaul or Carthage.

And you would have heard lots of people saying Interum sumo inferium. For those amongst you who don’t converse in classical languages, that means: take back control!

It then took them over 300 years to get their ’Rexit, when the Romans went home.

That’s the kind of timescale Theresa May seems to …

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16-17 March 2019 – the weekend’s press releases (part 1)

Liberal Democrats demand a Clean Air Act

The Liberal Democrats have today demanded the Conservative Government bring forward a Clean Air Act enshrining the legal right to unpolluted air.

The proposals, set out at the Liberal Democrat conference in York, are based on World Health Organisation guidelines and would be enforced by a new Air Quality Agency.

If successful, the Clean Air Act would also demand air pollution testing took place more widely and frequently, with warning signs displayed in pollution hotspots and sensitive areas, such as near schools.

Speaking after the debate, Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

The

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What’s on at Spring Conference today?

Today is going to be quite sad because it will be Vince’s last speech to Conference as Leader. He’s been the grown-up of British politics and he’s served us well these past two years. He deserves to be cheered to the rafters for stepping up as he did in 2017.

The Federal Board report at 9:45 is likely to prove controversial. There are some very awkward questions in part thanks to Gareth Epps not being politically restricted any more. He’s making up for lost time.

09.00-09.45 F12 Policy motion: Access to Justice for All

09.45-10.00 F13 Report: Federal Board

10.00-10.45 F14 Emergency motion or topical issue

10.45-11.30 F15 Policy motion: Town Centres for the Future

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In full: Christine Jardine’s keynote speech

The first keynote speech of Comference came from Christine Jardine.

She covered the pink tax, called for an end to the benefits freeze and condemned the government for marginalised asylum seekers and not letting them work.

Here is her speech in full.

Its fantastic to be back here in York. And a bit eerie for me.

You see making a speech on this stage to all of you was the very last thing I did before my selection process in Edinburgh West.

A lot of things have changed since then… and there is a lot more we want to change.

Some of them are about the party. Some are about the country.

And then there’s Brexit. But lets not bring the mood down.

Certainly that is one of the things we are working to change.

But on a personal level Ive been focussing on three things.

Asylum seekers. DWP. And the thing Ive had most fun with:

The Pink Tax.

Taking multi-national corporations to task for thinking its ok to charge women and girls more for everything from deodorant and disposable razors to clothes and services.

Over the next few weeks Ill be lining up meetings with some of the big manufacturers and retailers to persuade them that they really

Want to act now. Fix the Pink Tax themselves.

They’ve seen what we did to the Gender Pay Gap and well if they don’t fic the Pink Tax.

Ill set Jo Swinson on them.

That’ll teach them.

I didn’t think Id be fighting the big corporations the last time I was in York.

So its all very different from the last time I was in York.

But it is wonderful to be back here in York.

I was going to make a joke about Vikings. Or maybe Rowntrees Fruit pastilles. I do love them

But isn’t it strange for us

Liberal Democrats.

To be holding our conference so close to Theresa May’s spiritual home and the area from which her Government must be drawing its guiding principles.

The Shambles…

Well actually Im being too kind to them.

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15 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Lib Dems call on retailers to scrap the gender price gap

To mark World Consumers Rights Day, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has written to major cosmetic manufacturers and retailers across the UK as part of her campaign to scrap the gender price gap.

Commenting on her campaign, Ms Jardine said:

We are a quarter of the way through 2019 and still men and women pay different prices for the same basic products. This is entirely unacceptable.

For World Consumer Rights Day I am writing to the most prominent cosmetic manufacturers and retailers across the UK to ask them to change their outdated

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What’s on at Spring Conference today?

Well, the most important thing, of course, is the Lib Dem Voice fringe meeting on the impact of homelessness and Universal Credit which is taking place in the Walmgate Room and the Hilton. Join us for a spot of lunch and discussion. I’ll be speaking alongside Dan Dumoulin of Saint Vincent de Paul, our Housing Spokesperson Lord Shipley and there will be plenty of opportunity for questions. Kirsten Johnson is chairing. This week SAMH published a report highlighting the detrimental impact of Universal Credit on mental health

In the main hall, Vince’s party reforms will be the most controversial item of the day. The constitutional amendments need a two thirds majority to pass. That debate happens at the end of the day. You’re going to have to concentrate to keep up with a complex series of votes. I’ll be voting No to most of them. I think the Federal People Development Committee has done a great job in putting the nuts and bolts together but I think there are ways of spending the money in a more efficient and effective way – like on training or winning elections or developing better messaging.

Conference also debates Europe, race equality, clean air and hears from Christine Jardine and gets the chance to question Vince Cable.

Here’s the timetable.

09.00-09.10 F1 Opening of Conference 35

09.10-09.30 F2 Report: Federal Conference Committee 35

F3 Report: Federal Policy Committee

09.30-10.45 F4 Policy motion: Eradicating Race Inequality (Race
Equality Policy Paper)

10.45-11.05 F5 Speech: Christine Jardine MP

11.05-12.50 F6 Policy motion: Europe

12.50-14.10 Lunch

14.10-14.55 F7 Q & A session: Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable MP

14.55-15.55 F8 Policy motion: Cleaning Up the Air We Breathe How to Tackle Road Pollution

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What’s on at Spring Conference today?

Friday 15 March

15.00-17.30 Consultative sessions:

A Fairer Share for All

Crime and Policing

Health and Social Care

You can read the consultation papers here.

If you are thirsty after that, there is a Civic reception at the Barbican at 5:15 and then the rally at 6:30.

Now I was going to ditch the rally and go to the pub with my friends because I was feeling like a bit of a rebel. However, I then discovered that my wonderful friend, Borders candidate Jenny Marr is speaking. Now, when she introduced Willie at Scottish Conference a few weeks ago, she let slip that she’d seen him in his Superman pyjamas… On an exceptionally cold Winter’s day canvassing in the North East a few years back, apparently, Willie showed the assembled crowd that he had pyjamas on under his clothes to keep warm.

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Party Reforms – My Unanswered Questions

Back in September, I wrote on the subject of the proposed party reforms here on Lib Dem voice. In my article, I raised a number of questions over how balloting of these new supporters would work and what was being put in place to create a robust internal democracy based on full and comprehensive debate, accessible from across the liberal movement. Well, I’m here to tell you how many of my questions have been answered in the intervening months. The answer is, precisely, none of them.

Others have written better than myself on the possibility of entryism and the lack of consistent, detailed safeguarding proposals – I wish to focus here, as I did then, on the issue of member democracy and engagement with the supporters scheme across the party. I believed then, and still believe now (no supporter of the scheme has even tried to convince me otherwise) that engaging supporters with decision making power whilst only exposing them to a single source of information within the party risks creating a centralised system in which vague initiatives could be put to the “supporter base” for indicative votes and the results of such polls used to “gently persuade” conference to back a particular specific motion. If that sounds a familiar worry, dear reader, you’re not alone in the disconcerting sense of déjà vu. 

Access to information on what people are really voting for is a crucial issue in any democracy, and our internal democracy must be no exception. In my previous article I asked whether the party’s internal member organisations would have any way of engaging with supporters to help bring them into internal debates and ensure that supporters could form meaningful opinions on the major internal issues of the day – to the best of my knowledge, it’s still not clear beyond a vague promise in the motion to “provide guidance” how and whether our core Specified Associated Organisations would be able to interact with them, let alone many of the policy activism groups which are wholly unmentioned despite often providing the lifeblood of member engagement in policymaking. The potential spectre of HQ going to the supporters saying “we’ve got a fantastic idea, don’t you think it’s good” and the supporters saying “yes”, with nobody having the right to give an alternative viewpoint, would not create a useful polling exercise let alone a useful democratic one.

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14 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

It’s another trying day, with the ghastly news from New Zealand overnight, and one does despair at the ability of human beings to do inhuman things, but politics rolls inevitably onwards. So, here are yesterday’s releases…

Lib Dems: Short prison sentences for knives don’t work

Responding to the figures showing the number of crimes related to knives and other offensive weapons dealt with by the courts has reached a nine year high, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse:

Both the Justice Secretary and the Prisons Minister have admitted that short prison sentences don’t work and actually increase the risk of re-offending. So why

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Lord Steel’s membership suspended over evidence to child abuse inquiry

Late last night, former Liberal leader David Steel’s membership was suspended by the Scottish Liberal Democrats last night pending an investigation into the evidence he gave to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Scottish Party said:

Following the evidence concerning Cyril Smith given by Lord Steel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on 13th March 2019 the office bearers of the Scottish Liberal Democrats have met and agreed that an investigation is needed.

The party membership of Lord Steel has been suspended pending the outcome of that investigation. That work will now commence.

It is important that everyone in the party, and in wider society, understands the importance of vigilance and safeguarding to protect people from abuse, and that everyone has confidence in the seriousness with which we take it.

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Breaking…Vince to step down in May

Sir Vince said he was announcing his departure now to pave the way for a leadership contest so a 12-week leadership contest can begin in May.

‘I wanted to set it out so that there’s an orderly process of succession and the next generation can come through rather than chaotic power struggles you’re seeing inside the Tory party and Labour party so I wanted us to do better than that,’ he said.

His decision to step down will mean he is able to spend more time with his family, he said, adding: ‘My wife Rachel has been very supportive and doesn’t mind me doing it and has come round the country with me, but she would like to spend more time with me. I think she will see it as a bonus that she sees me more.’

He added: ‘I’ll be continuing as an MP. I want to get back to writing books again in my spare time.’

Sir Vince said he was planning a follow-up to his political thriller Open Arms which was published in 2017, and a non-fiction book about politicians who have changed the way we look at economics, from the US founding father Alexander Hamilton to Margaret Thatcher.

 

Party members got an email at the exact same moment the tweet was posted.

This has been a dramatic week in Parliament with Theresa May’s Brexit proposals heavily defeated, and a very clear statement that a ‘no deal’ Brexit must be avoided. It is now clear that Brexit will be postponed, and very possibly stopped.

The future is very uncertain but despite Labour’s continued prevarication, there is still a real chance of securing a People’s Vote and, indeed, of stopping Brexit.

The fact that these possibilities are still alive is a great tribute to our Party. Unlike the Tories and Labour, we never saw it as our duty to ‘deliver Brexit’.

The tribute is primarily to you as members, for marching and campaigning so energetically. Thank you for securing the progress we have made.

I indicated last year that once the Brexit story had moved on, and we had fought this year’s crucial local elections in 9,000 seats across England, it would be time for me to make way for a new generation. I set considerable store by having an orderly, business-like, succession unlike the power struggles in the other parties.

So I wanted you, our members, to know that, assuming Parliament does not collapse into an early General Election, I will ask the party to begin a leadership contest in May.

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Opportunities for fundraisers and administrators

News of volunteering opportunities in fundraising, employment, IT and partnership building from our friends at the Federal Finance and Resources Committee

A NEW ROLE FOR SUPER-FUNDRAISERS: THE TREASURER’S AMBASSADOR 

The party must prioritise fundraising to ensure we can make a powerful electoral impact, creating a level playing field with other parties. The Federal Treasurer, Lord (Mike) German, is keen to bring in the professional fundraising expertise which we know some members have and are able to offer on a flexible volunteer basis.

We’re seeking a small number of skilled and practised fundraisers who are confident with major donor relationship-management and raising five-figure sums.  Mike will lead and advise, agreeing discussion with you where and how best you can help, but the thrust of the role will be working across your local area to suggest techniques and tactics, mentor candidates and develop prospects and new donors.  

The role is voluntary and part-time but travel costs can be recovered. Volunteers will benefit greatly from what they learn about fundraising culture and know-how in a role central to helping deliver the party’s strategy – as well as acquiring skills that can help support CVs. Volunteers will also be invited to the Treasurer’s Dinner at Conference and other federal events.

If you are interested in this important role please email [email protected].

VOLUNTEER FOR THE FEDERAL FINANCE AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE (FFRC)

The Federal Finance and Resources Committee (FFRC) is seeking volunteers to help provide specialist expertise as part of working groups looking at the following areas:

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A fairer share for all – ending poverty in the UK Part Two

In part one I set out some of the things missing from our consultation paper https://www.libdems.org.uk/sconf19-consultation-paper-137. In this part, I will set out what we could do mostly for children and adults to remove them from poverty.

Returning to Local Housing Allowance, when introduced the rate was supposed to be the 30th percentile of the local market rates for private rented accommodation. This means that only the 30% cheapest properties in the area are affordable to those claiming housing benefit. Therefore only increasing LHAs in line with local rents does not restore it to the 30th percentile. Restoring it to the 30th percentile is a start, but I think the rates should be increased to the 50th percentile so all properties below the average would be available for people to live in when they receive housing benefit without forcing them into poverty.

Another problem with LHA is the rule which states that single people under 35 are expected to live in shared accommodation as a first step we should reduce this age down to 25.

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A fairer share for all – Ending Poverty in the UK – Part One

A fairer share for all – ending poverty in the UK Part One

In our consultation paper https://www.libdems.org.uk/sconf19-consultation-paper-137  A Fairer Share for all, we have a section on “reducing poverty and increasing opportunity” which mentions the UN Special Rapporteur “damning statement on the level of poverty in the UK today”.

It doesn’t mention the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s latest report, “UK Poverty 2018” (https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/uk-poverty-2018” which states the following as the poverty line for different household types in 2016/17 (amounts per week):

Single person no children £148
A single person with two children £306
Couple with no children £255
Couple with two children £413.

These are from April 2016. The CPI rates which benefits should have been increased by were 1% for April 2017, 3% for April 2018 and 2.4% for April 2019 cumulatively making 6.5% https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8458  House of Commons Briefing Paper CBP.

Therefore the rates after being increased by inflation (CPI) for April 2019 are:

Single person no children £157.62
A single person with two children £325.88
Couple with no children £271.58
Couple with two children £439.84.

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  • User AvatarDavid-1 23rd Mar - 12:20am
    It is worth pointing out (however obvious it may be) that revoking Article 50 does not intrinsically mean No Brexit. It does, however, mean No...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 22nd Mar - 11:41pm
    In fact Parliaments elected under the Septennial Act almost never reached their maximum seven-year span. In the nineteenth century, the average was about four, two...
  • User Avatarfrankie 22nd Mar - 11:04pm
    Matt, You are not doing facts, you are doing a mixture of vague facts with a whole load of conjecture. The facts are these Small...
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 22nd Mar - 10:51pm
    I agree with James. The end does not justify the means, and if we have to revoke then we have to put it to the...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 22nd Mar - 10:40pm
    This was a seven year parliament with a large government majority and allies. It was nevertheless forced into a general election in 1910, and then...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 22nd Mar - 10:34pm
    The PM has written to all MPs saying that if there is insufficient support Meaningful Vote 3 ay not be moved. She creates a further...