Category Archives: News

Our President on the timetable for the leadership election

Our party President and Co-leader, Mark Pack has just commented on the leadership election timetable on his blog:

The Board discussed in some detail different possible options for the timetable, and we carefully considered the pros and cons of, for example, having a leadership election that took place sooner. Considerations such as wanting to get our review of last year’s elections done first and also avoiding distracting key activists from the May elections were weighed against the benefits of having a new leader sooner.

The close of nominations date will also

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Lib Dems pay tribute to Lord Robert Maclennan

The Liberal Democrats have today led tributes following the death of Lord Robert Maclennan.

Lord Robert Maclennan of Rogart, known as Bob Maclennan, was the last leader of the Social Democrat Party before it merged with the Liberal Party. He then became joint interim leader of the new party.

Bob Maclennan was a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001. Upon stepping down as MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Bob Maclennan was elevated to the House of Lords.

Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey said:

It

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+++Timetable to elect new leader set out

The Liberal Democrats have today agreed the timetable to elect the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.

At a meeting today of the party’s Federal Board in London, the party agreed to open nominations for candidates on the 11th of May and close them on the 28th of May.

The ballot will then open on the 18th of June and close on the 15th of July, after which the party will announce the next leader.

In the meantime, Ed Davey MP and Party President Mark Pack will continue as joint acting leaders of the Liberal Democrats.

Speaking after the meeting, Liberal Democrat Party …

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Annoyance of LibDem MPs over power of “new sexy people” in 2019 election decisions – Five candidates ready for party leadership contest – Timetable today

Ailbhe Rea has written a long article on the Liberal Democrats for the New Statesman.

There are some interesting points about the 2019 election covered, based on reported conversations with our MPs:

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17 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems oppose Johnson’s Parliamentary agenda
  • Fall in retail sales demands a radical rethink
  • PM should seek to bring the country together

Lib Dems oppose Johnson’s Parliamentary agenda

The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to the Queen’s Speech for debate on Monday 19 January. The amendment details the key reasons why Liberal Democrat MPs will oppose Boris Johnson’s agenda for government, including:

  • failure to introduce ambitious plans to tackle the climate emergency;
  • failure to set out measures to tackle poverty and inequality;
  • failure to protect human rights or to strengthen the voice of citizens.

The amendment also urges Government to introduce a system of proportional representation. …

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Sir John Curtice on the Lib Dem general election performance


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Jonathan Fryer has blogged about this week’s presentation at the National Liberal Club by Sir John Curtice entitled: “The 2019 Election: A Tale of Hope and Disappointment”.

Jonathan notes the following points about the drop-off of Lib Dem support during the election campaign itself:

Many commentators at the time also attributed the fall in LibDem support to (1) Jo Swinson’s call to Revoke Article 50, rather than pitching wholeheartedly for a second EU Referendum, and (2) her claim to be a potential PM in waiting, despite the modest number of LibDem MPs (albeit supplemented by both Labour and Conservative defections). However, Professor Curtice said polling, notably from YouGov, did not support that assumption. Instead, he highlighted three conclusions about the election result based on his research:

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Vote share increase for Tara Murray in Bristol

Well done to Tara Murray and team (above with Ed Davey) for an impressive vote share increase in the Brislington East by-election in Bristol yesterday.

The result was:

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16 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems call on PM to back automatic rights for EU citizens
  • Lib Dems: Tories have failed on knife crime
  • Lib Dems demand more action on gambling addiction

Lib Dems call on PM to back automatic rights for EU citizens

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Conservative Government to back legislation to guarantee automatic rights for EU citizens, as new official statistics show the number not granted permanent Settled Status has risen to more than 1 million.

Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates this week tabled amendments to the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill to automatically guarantee EU citizens’ rights in law.

The latest EU …

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15 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems question FlyBe bailout
  • Tory minister wrong to promote flying in the face of climate emergency
  • Ed Davey calls for better support for bereaved families at PMQs
  • Government must repeal unlawful Snoopers’ Charter
  • Lib Dems: Prime Minister must now keep his promise to protect Erasmus
  • Lib Dems: PM agrees to work with Lib Dems on human rights abuses in Syria

Lib Dems question FlyBe bailout

Responding to news that the Government intends to bail out Flybe, Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson, Munira Wilson MP, said:

Flybe provides a vital service in connecting many regions of the UK which are otherwise hard to travel between, not least

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14 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Tories should be cutting emissions, not air passenger duty
  • Lib Dems call out Johnson duplicity on Iran Nuclear Deal
  • Home Office cover up slammed by Lib Dems

Tories should be cutting emissions, not air passenger duty

Following the reports that the Conservative government is considering cutting air passenger duty on domestic flights as part of a plan to save regional airline Flybe from collapse, Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

Flybe looks set to follow Thomas Cook, despite only being “rescued” last year. The way to ensure our businesses stay afloat is to provide certainty, rather than the chaos the Conservatives have presided over

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14 January 2020 – the overnight press release

Tories failing to keep people safe

Responding to the HM Inspectorate of Probation report, which has found that the National Probation Service (NPS) is hampered by staff shortages, stretched middle managers and poor facilities, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

This Conservative Government is failing in its most important duty: keeping people safe. Staff shortages in the Probation Service mean that high-risk individuals in our communities are not being properly supervised.

This alarming report shows that ending private probation contracts and unifying the system, while clearly necessary, will not be nearly enough to fix the major problems in probation.

Liberal Democrats are calling

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13 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Treasury must act on rural ATM charges
  • UK facing worst slowdown since aftermath of financial crisis

Treasury must act on rural ATM charges

Jane Dodds has joined Kirsty Williams AM and Cllr James Gibson-Watt in calling for the UK Treasury to take action to abolish transaction charges at rural ATMs.

Transactional charges are becoming increasingly common across Wales as more and more banks cut back on support to ATM providers, meaning the running costs are being passed onto the customers. The ATM at Hay Post Office is the most recent local example of this, with customers now being charged 99p per transaction.

Jane Dodds, Leader …

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13 January 2020 – the overnight press release

Welsh Lib Dems reducing infant class sizes

The Welsh Liberal Democrats’ Infant Class Sizes Fund has been found to be ‘making a real difference’ a new report published today has shown.

The £36m Infant Class Sizes Fund is a Welsh Lib Dem policy that was implemented as part of the Progressive Agreement between Kirsty Williams and the First Minister. The policy targets schools that would most benefit from smaller classes, such as those with high levels of deprivation.

The report shows that the percentage of all infant classes and learners in classes over 30 has reduced since the introduction of the grant, with …

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11-12 January 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Govt must back Lib Dem bill for family reunion rights for child refugees
  • Lib Dems demand statement on arrest of British ambassador to Iran
  • Lib Dems demand reform to protect High Street retailers

Govt must back Lib Dem bill for family reunion rights for child refugees

Responding to an NGO report calling for child refugees to be given the right to sponsor close family members to join them, the Liberal Democrats have urged the Government to support their bill that would do just that.

Without My Family, a report published today by Amnesty International, the Refugee Council and Save the Children, criticises the …

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10 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Fight against upskirting is far from over
  • Nine prisons overcapacity by more than 50%

Lib Dems: Fight against upskirting is far from over

Responding to data revealing that incidents of upskirting have been reported to the police at a rate of almost one a day since it became a specific sexual offence, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, who originally proposed the Bill, said:

This horrifying statistic serves to show how necessary a change in the law was. Victims across the UK were failing to get justice and perpetrators of the crime were walking free.

The change to make upskirting a specific sexual offence

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Rumour: Jo Swinson set to be awarded a peerage

This fortnight’s edition of Private Eye is proving to be quite a goldmine. I thoroughly recommend buying a copy at your local newsagent or similar outlet.

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“Her disastrous miscalculation” – Sir Nick Harvey’s view on Jo Swinson’s support for December election

Former North Devon MP, Sir Nick Harvey stood down as Liberal Democrat party chief executive shortly before 20th October last year.

In this fortnight’s Private Eye, a letter from Nick is published which severely criticises a decision made by the then party leader, Jo Swinson, soon after he left the role on 28th October.

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10 January 2020 – the overnight press releases

  • Govt must stop young people falling prey to ‘county lines’ gangs
  • Tories failing children’s mental health

Govt must stop young people falling prey to ‘county lines’ gangs

Responding to a report released today by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services into ‘county lines’ gangs, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

When children as young as 12 are being exploited by drug gangs, the Government’s approach clearly needs to change. We need to stop both the supply and demand of illegal hard drugs.

Unnecessary Tory cuts to the police have made it easier for organised criminal networks to spread. Cuts to

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9 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Transport Secretary needs to sack Northern
  • A&E waiting times will be worse with Tories’ extreme Brexit
  • Jardine secures Govt commitment to introduce Domestic Abuse Bill by Easter
  • Lib Dems continue to oppose dangerous Withdrawal Bill

Transport Secretary needs to sack Northern

The Liberal Democrats have called for the Transport Secretary to “sack Northern” following the announcement that the Government is considering awarding Northern a short-term contract.

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Tim Farron said:

The Conservative Government’s big announcement on Northern is just more delay, something that rail passengers in the North are all too familiar with.

It’s completely unthinkable that the Secretary of State is prepared to award

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9 January 2020 – the overnight press release

Moran: Govt must invest to end crisis in children’s social care

Responding to analysis by the Local Government Association, revealing that the number of children in care has risen by 28% in the last 10 years, Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

While councils struggle, hundreds of children are missing out on on a suitable children’s home near to their family and friends. The more councils’ budgets are squeezed, the less is being invested to prevent young people getting into crisis in the first place.

Every child, no matter their circumstances, deserves the best start in life. Conservative Ministers

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8 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Iran’s actions on US airbases “unacceptable”
  • Johnson’s hard negotiation deadline is unrealistic
  • Farron: Child refugees vote reveals Tory MPs’ true colours
  • Johnson’s govt must stand up to use of death penalty abroad
  • UK Govt must not abandon Iran Nuclear Treaty

Iran’s actions on US airbases “unacceptable”

Responding to Iran’s missile strikes on US airbases in Iraq, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Iran’s actions against US airbases last night were unacceptable and should be unequivocally condemned.

It is vital Boris Johnson does all he can to ensure dialogue and a de-escalation of this intensifying situation.

The Prime Minister must also take every step

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Ed Davey: We must not allow President Trump to drag the UK into yet another war, like Iraq


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Ed Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, has just written to Liberal Democrat members summarising the party’s position on the Iran crisis:

We are living in dangerous times.

The assassination of a key Iranian leader, General Suleinami, ordered by President Trump, has raised tensions across the Middle East.

It’s too early to know if today’s inevitable if unacceptable Iranian response will lead to further US retaliation but huge diplomatic efforts must be made now to de-escalate.

Britain must continue to work with European allies to lead that diplomacy.

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Alastair Campbell plays his annual bagpipe lament to Charles Kennedy at his graveside

This is quite something. Handkerchieves at the ready. Thank you to @JohnPugh2017 who retweeted this.

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Ed Davey announces new Liberal Democrat front bench team in the House of Commons

Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, has today announced the new Lib Dem team in the House of Commons.

The new team will speak up for the millions of people who voted for the party in the recent general election and the millions more who are dismayed with the current Conservative government.

Speaking on the announcement, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

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Lib Dems: Raab defence of Trump not in UK’s interests

Following Dominic Raab’s appearance on the Andrew Marr show yesterday morning, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

Dominic Raab’s lapdog defence of Donald Trump’s reckless action against Iran is seriously misguided and not in Britain’s best interests.

The United States’ so-called strategy with Iran and across the Middle East is so incoherent and inconsistent that it is making the search for peace and security far more problematic. So it is a huge mistake for the Foreign Secretary to give Trump a blank cheque of unequivocal support, especially when the Government was not even consulted before this action and this could backfire

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3 January 2020 – today’s press release

Lib Dems respond to Iran Crisis

Responding to reports of the death of General Qasem Soleimani by a US Air Strike, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

Iran is governed by a brutal regime which has been openly hostile to the west.

Donald Trump has yet again radically and recklessly escalated tensions in an area where peace-keeping was already on a knife edge.

There is a real danger this will stoke further conflict, undermining peace and stability in the region. Given the severity of the crisis, the Prime Minister must make a statement about the UK’s position immediately.

The UK should

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Willie Rennie’s New Year Message

This is Willie Rennie’s New Year message:

Around the globe, dark currents have buffeted liberal democracy. Boris Johnson’s Brexit threatens to cut us off from our European neighbours, while Donald Trump’s trade wars and Twitter tirades threaten to undo America’s status as a global leader. Meanwhile from Hong Kong to Xinjiang, protestors and activists face brutal clampdowns. These are the challenges we must face up to over the next twelve months.

Closer to home there are huge challenges too. From long waits for mental health treatment to the bungled rollout of the new childcare entitlement, Liberal Democrats will highlight, debate and scrutinise the government so that everyone can rely on great public services that help them to build a brighter future.

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Layla Moran “in love with a wonderful woman”

A lovely tweet from Lib Dem MP Layla Moran tonight:

She talked to Pink News about her relationship with former Lib Dem Press Officer Rosy Cobb:

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Happy New Year!

Not going to lie, I’m still reeling from the rollercoaster we’ve been on this year. The physical exhaustion of the general election campaign is slowly diminishing, but, for me, the emotional effect is still weighing heavy.

In January 2019, we were starting to make a tiny step forward and were in double figures in the polls most of the time. We had 12 MPs who were doing their damnedest to make sure we didn’t leave the EU on 29th March. Jo Swinson was just about to come back to full time work after her maternity leave.

We had high hopes that we might gain 300 or so seats on a good night in the local elections in May.

We all kind of dreaded Theresa May getting her Withdrawal Agreement through with the help of Labour votes.

And then she didn’t. And a million people at least took to the streets to call for a People’s Vote.

We gained over 700 councillors o that first Thursday in May. Our success was a springboard into a vibrant and uncompromising European election campaign where our Bollocks to Brexit message resonated.  Although the Brexit party won more seats, more votes were cast for remain parties and the Liberal Democrats won an unprecedented 16 MEPs, 20.3% and 3.3 million votes. Between them, the Conservatives and Labour Party didn’t get much more than that.

For a time, we thought sense would  prevail after all and we might be able to stop Brexit.

We had a friendly and uplifting leadership contest between Jo Swinson and Ed Davey and, to our surprise, our poll ratings hovered around the 20% mark.

Our parliamentary ranks swelled as, first, Chuka Umunna joined us in June and Sarah Wollaston, Angela Smith, Phillip Lee, Luciana Berger, Sam Gyimah, Antoinette Sandbach followed suit.

In the Summer, we’d decamped to the gorgeous Welsh constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire where a by-election had been called following a successful recall of the Conservative MP. We were thrilled when, in the early hours of 2nd August, Welsh Leader Jane Dodds triumphed.

We had a brilliant new leader, we had maintained our high poll rating and, in fact, there were four parties in the 20% range.

As we end the year after a brutal general election which saw us one seat down from our 2017 total and minus a brilliant leader, we have to ask where it all went wrong. There will be a formal review of the General Election – this takes place after every election – and all the decisions we took, from deciding to vote for the election to the targeting decisions we made during the campaign will be subject to scrutiny. Did we deliver enough/too many leaflets? Did we sell ourselves well enough?

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Ed Davey’s New Year Message – Liberalism in action

I’ve made a New Year’s Resolution.

I want to show my community better than ever what liberalism means in action.

So I’ll be working harder than ever in my constituency advice surgeries, helping local people with their financial problems, with their housing issues and working with local people to strengthen our communities, that we’re privileged to serve.

If that sounds like old-fashioned, grassroots, community politics, you’re hearing me.

Last December’s election was, on several levels, deeply depressing.

But flip it over. There’s actually a huge opportunity here for us, the Liberal Democrats.

Of course, we’ve a job to do, continuing to oppose Brexit. To remain Britain’s leading pro-European, internationalist party.

Yet that’s never been our sole purpose, has it? Liberalism is so much more.

We’ve always been a party determined to shake up the system.

Socially. Economically. Politically. Environmentally.

We know Liberal Democrats care passionately about tackling social injustice, creating opportunity, beating climate change.

The question for 2020 is can we show all that to the rest of the UK – our full Liberal purpose?

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 19th Jan - 8:33pm
    Talking about changing voter behaviour, I just loved this James Cleverly comment today linking democracy with the unelected Upper Chamber. "The government is examining whether...
  • User AvatarDavid Warren 19th Jan - 8:22pm
    Thanks for this Alex. I am hoping Elizabeth Warren wins the nomination and goes onto be elected President.
  • User AvatarMichael Beckett 19th Jan - 8:13pm
    So no cheap sock puppet manipulating public perception and no automated bots or those that don't care enough about their digital identity to reveal it....
  • User AvatarSteve Trevethan 19th Jan - 8:11pm
    Don't despair! Analyse! Might it also be of help to also analyse the attitudes and behaviours of the corporate or mainstream media around the election?...
  • User AvatarHywel 19th Jan - 7:56pm
    Looking at that another question worth asking is whether Hywel can competently use a keyboard! Hopefully what I meant is just about intelligible!
  • User AvatarHywel 19th Jan - 7:38pm
    "Our response to that was to say that Corbyn was dangerous and that we wouldn’t let him be Prime Minister. This tactic was an utter...