Category Archives: News

Lords defeat a victory for common-sense

The Government have received their eleventh defeat in the House of Lords during the Report stage of the EU Withdrawal Bill. The vote on an amendment to ensure our future interaction with EU law and agencies was passed by a cross-bench majority of 298 to 227

Commenting on the victory, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords, Lord Newby said:
This vote was a victory for common-sense. Of course if the UK wishes to remain in specific agencies, such as Euratom, it should be able to. This allows us to replicate EU law and means that we can continue our role in

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Layla Moran: Country in need of long term care plan

Today a Commons report highlights how much the adult social care sector is underfunded.

Layla Moran said that this had to change:

Care workers work tirelessly but instead of getting the support they need they face low pay, falling morale and a high turnover of staff.

The country is in desperate need for a long-term plan to fund the increasing demand for care. That is why the Liberal Democrats propose putting a penny on income tax to raise the transformational investment needed to support care workers and protect the future of care services.

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Tom Brake: Trump “reckless and short-sighted” on Iran nuclear deal

Even Boris Johnson can see the sense in sticking with the Iran nuclear deal.

Unfortunately, his tv diplomacy over the weekend seems to have come to nought as Trump has decided to withdraw the US from it. This news is not going to come as the biggest surprise we’ve ever had but it still makes the world just a bit more unstable.

Tom Brake called the decision short-sighted and reckless, and looks to the EU for leadership, saying:

Trump’s decision to scrap US participation in the Iran nuclear deal is reckless and short-sighted. The deal is far from perfect, but

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A massive shoutout for Thursday’s winners N-Z

Part 1 here. The dust has settled from last Thursday, and Liberal Democrats have posted 75 net gains on the day. But a mere number hardly does justice to all the teams behind each result. So here are some shoutouts. In alphabetical order. Well done everyone, brilliant work.

Apologies for any errors – this is coming from local council websites, some of which are easier to use than others. If it isn’t clear which seats are gains are I’ve just given a total, but please shoutout in the comments if you know.

North Hertfordshire +3

6 wins with 3 net gains.

Oxford +1

5 wins with 1 net gain.

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A massive shoutout for Thursday’s winners A-M

The dust has settled from last Thursday, and Liberal Democrats have posted 75 net gains on the day. But a mere number hardly does justice to all the teams behind each result. So here are some shoutouts. In alphabetical order. Well done everyone, brilliant work.

Apologies for any errors – this is coming from local council websites, some of which are easier to use than others. If it isn’t clear which seats are gains are I’ve just given a total, but please shoutout in the comments if you know.

Barnsley +1

The marvellous Hannah Kitching becomes the first Liberal Democrat on Barnsley council for a decade. To win from a standing start to win with a majority of 778 is remarkable. I confess to helping. Hannah also polled a creditable 10.6% in the south yorkshire mayoral election on the same day, beating my 10.05% in the Police Commissioner election of 2016.

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Lib Dems can heal divides with useful answers to people’s problems

Between the two big parties, the Liberal Democrats are significant now, uniquely placed to be able to work for the health and healing of our divided and unhappy nation, having proved our capacity in the local government elections.

In these elections, Labour and the Conservatives reached stalemate again, neither being able to see how these results could foretell sufficient success in the next General Election. Their divisions are deep and their failings clearer than ever, the one tainted by the Windrush scandal, the other by voters’ lack of confidence that they could tackle anti-semitism amongst their members.

The divisions in the country are just as lamentable. Whether it is town versus country in the voting, old versus young, Leavers versus Remainers, British people are head to head in pointless confrontation, 

It is our job to show how the country can come together again. For what everybody wants is for our country to be successful. For our people to thrive, our jobs and businesses to flourish, and our country to continue to occupy a proud place in the world.

Nobody wants our economy to grow at a lesser rate than in the leading countries of the G7, for industry and services to face uncertainty and obstruction, for our place in great international co-operative ventures to be at risk, or for our people to see their standard of living in decline. 

Yet Government is stuck, unable to decide on how a customs arrangement to keep trade flowing freely between Britain and the EU can be made without preventing new deals with the rest of the world and threatening the open Irish border. Opposition is equally stuck in wanting the deal that only remaining in the EU can provide while refusing to oppose Brexit. Both fear the Brexiters as well as each other.

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Local Elections 2018: Enjoy the success and build on it

Here are some pictures of happy, successful Liberal Democrats from all over the country. Enjoy – and then then get out there and build on the good results.

Whether you think of the 2018 as our best local elections showing in 15 years or the second biggest rise in councillor numbers for this set of elections in our history, there are lots of exuberantly joyful moments to savour:

We made 6 gains in Haringey!

Happy hugs in Liverpool

And a happy dance in South Cambridgeshire

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Finally, a little bit of sunshine

Before I say anything else, I just want to send a virtual hug to all those valiant Lib Dem campaigners who put their heart and soul into their wards and didn’t win.   Unlike many others in recent years, though, you can see a glimmer of hope for the future. I hope you can see that you’ll get it next  time. There will be many who like Claire who lost by 2 and Elspeth who lost by 90 ish for whom there is a way in.

Even in my wildest moments of optimism, I didn’t envisage us gaining quite as many seats as we have today.  The results prove that people are ready, not just to talk to us again, but to head down the polling station and vote for us again. Everyone’s talking about us doing well. As I pointed out last night, anything over 43 gains would be our second best result in our entire existence as a party for this particular set of elections. We actually got 75. Now that doesn’t rebuild the 440 we’ve lost since 2010, but it gives us a foothold.

Look at what we’ve done. I’d heard good things about South Cambridgeshire and was pleased when they absolutely smashed it. One of my people of the day is Bridget Smith, the new Council Leader, who has exactly the right attitude for that sort of thing:

There were amazing results in Kingston and Richmond and Three Rivers too. We held off the Tories in Sutton – that caused me a few palpitations about 3am, I’ll tell you. John Leech has a partner to back him up in Manchester. Gains in Hull, Oxfordshire, holding on to South Lakeland, getting back Three Rivers, Peter Taylor winning the Watford mayoralty. Holding on to Eastleigh and Cheltenham.

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Dr Michael Thrasher: “The Lib Dems have a strong basis for saying they are back.”


Dr Michael Thrasher has said on Sky News:

You would have to say the Lib Dems have done well.. The Lib Dems have a strong basis for saying they are back.

Hat-tip: Commenter, Michael1.


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+++We’re now up 75 seats and four councils!




From the BBC summary at 18:21 with 149 of 150 councils declared:
Labour 2296 up 55
Tories 1330 down 26
Lib Dems 536 up 75
Greens 39 up 8
UKIP 3 down 123
Others 142 up 11

We have gained control of Richmond, Kingston, Three Rivers and South Cambridgeshire and won the Mayoralty of Watford.

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+++Lib Dems gain control of Kingston!



As intimated in my earlier post, it has now been confirmed that the Lib Dems have taken control of Kingston from the Tories – we won 39 seats to their 9!


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+++Lib Dems gain control of Kingston

As intimated in my earlier post, it has now been confirmed that the Lib Dems have taken control of Kingston from the Tories – we won 39 seats to their 9!

As we reported earlier, we have also taken control of Three Rivers, South Cambridgeshire and Richmond.

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+++ We’re now 76 seats up


The BBC now have these results after 146/150 councils declared:

Labour 2239 seats – up 58
Conservative 1319 seats – down 21 (no wonder they got their celebration in early)
Liberal Democrats 516 seats – up 69
Greens 35 seats – up 5
UKIP 3 seats – down 123
Other 142 seats – up 12

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Last night it looked good, today it’s not looking bad either :-)


The BBC summarises the local election results so far as follows:

Labour 1837 seats – up 58
Conservative 1230 seats – up 7
Liberal Democrats 444 seats – up 49
Greens 34 seats – up 5
UKIP 3 seats – down 121
Other 142 seats – up 16

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Former Conservative Councillor joins Liberal Democrats

Former Torbay Conservative Councillor Mark King has joined the Liberal Democrats. He left the Conservative group on the Council 6 months ago and has now joined us. From Devon Live:

He said: “It is about the failures of the Conservatives to understand the impact of their policies on the bay and the fresh start the Liberal Democrats promise in Torbay and across the UK. I want to see them take control of the bay in 2019.

“I am very concerned about the increasing economic decline of the resort, the increased poverty and deprivation and the growing housing crisis I have tried hard to counter in an Executive role.

“The Liberal Democrats understand the need to generate business and build economic success from the grassroots while ensuring council services meet community needs with the protection of the vulnerable being paramount.

“Anyone who agrees that Torbay needs to see change will know that only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Conservatives under our electoral system. Votes for anyone else just help the Conservatives win.”

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8 am update: “The Lib Dems are the only ones to have won on the night”

So said the BBC News website first thing this morning.

I’m become very used to writing “Oh my days, how awful” posts after local elections. This morning, the picture is much more positive.

We’ve ended the night, with two thirds of results in, on +41 councillors which compares to 31 for Labour and 3 for the Tories.

We’ve retained control in places like Cheltenham, Eastleigh and, after a few wobbles, Sutton.

We gained Richmond on Thames pretty handsomely. I was being told in the run-up to the election that it was on a knife edge. We ended up gaining …

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Brilliant result in Richmond – and high hopes for Kingston

Liberal Democrats have gained control in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, leaping from 15 seats to 39. This is in spite of the deal with the Greens which allowed them to take 4 seats.


Historically we controlled Richmond from 1986 to 2002, then from 2006 to 2010.

Meanwhile, in nearby Sutton, which we have controlled for the last 28 years, we retained control, though with fewer seats than before, dropping from 45 to 33 out of 54.

Liberal Democrats: 33 (-12)
Conservatives: 18 (+9)
Independents: 3 (+3)

Attention now turns to Kingston upon Thames which lies between Richmond and Sutton. Their count starts at 10am today, and we have hopes of taking back control there as well.

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2 am update – Lib Dems making steady gains all across the country

Just a quick update of where we are at 2am. We are currently on +14 seats and generally doing a little better than expected.

Every English local election night since the formation of the Coalition has been an absolute nightmare to sit through. Tonight is much more pleasant.

John Curtice says that we are having our best night at local elections since the formation of the coalition.

We look like we might gain Richmond, though it’s going to be close.

We’ll take a bit of a hit in Sutton and party sources are less sure than they were earlier that …

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Local elections open thread

Well, there’s nothing more we can do. The polls have closed. Knackered candidates and their teams who have been up since dawn now head to their counts. A massive thanks to everyone who has been involved in the campaigns – the literature writers, data whizzes, organisers, deliverers, canvassers, candidates, poster people, agents, people who keep the Lib Dem army marching on its stomach, people who allow their homes to be used as temporary HQ

We know that this isn’t going to be a massively brilliant night for us. This one in the electoral cycle has been historically brutal. The best we’ve done in the last 20 years is a net gain of 43 seats and we have to go back to 2002 when Charles Kennedy was leader to find that.

Let’s look in more detail.

In 1990. when we were pretty low in the polls, we lost 78 seats

Our best night ever came in 1994, a pretty good year for us after we’d won a fair few seats off the Tories, we gained a whopping 428 councillors

In 1998 we lost 7 seats

In 2002, we gained 43 seats

In 2006, bearing in mind we were at the height of our powers post Iraq and had won the Dunfermline by-election a few months previously, we had the massive net gain of 2 seats. 

In 2010, bearing in mind we did not so badly in the General Election that day (not brilliantly, but not badly), we lost 132 councillors.

2014 was an absolute horlicks. I went back and read the posts I’d written at the time and they made me want to cry as I remembered how bruised and battered we all felt then. We lost 310 fantastic councillors. 

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Wera Hobhouse secures PM’s backing for her call to make upskirting a criminal offence

Today, Wera Hobhouse secured the backing of the Prime Minister for her quest to make the awful practice of up skirting an offence.

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Manchester: Your children are watching….

You certainly can’t accuse Lib Dems in Manchester of shirking in this election campaign.

The party hopes to build on its one councillor, former Withington MP John Leech, who has provided the sole opposition to Labour’s 95 councillors since his election in 2016.

They’ve produced a hard-hitting film highlighting the worst of Labour’s excesses and offering a better way forward for the city.

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LibLink: Christine Jardine: Creative industries face serious threat from Brexit

Edinburgh relies on the creative industries. For a month a year, the city is home to all sorts of weird and wonderful productions from all over the world during its iconic Festival and accompanying Fringe. It’s not surprising that the city’s Lib Dem MP is a massive supporter of the creative industries. Christine Jardine has written for the Scotsman about the damage Brexit stands to do to evens like the Festival.

She outlines the threat to the creative industries:

UK Music has warned that touring and live events will be at risk because of the potential loss of technical talent from the EU. And all events will lose a valuable stream of talent from the EU. Talent which is its life blood.

But it’s not just the impact on culture. It will have an impact on the tourism it supports. Tourism is worth around £127 billion a year to the UK. That’s about 9 per cent of GDP. Across the UK, it supports approximately 3.1 million jobs. It incorporates about quarter of a million small and medium-sized enterprises. Its growth is on a par with the digital sector we hear so much about.

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Pauline Pearce: People can still knock on my door if I become Mayor

Our Pauline Pearce is running an energetic campaign to be Mayor of Hackney.

On Monday night, she appeared at a hustings, outlining her plan to cut knife crime – an evidence based Violence Reduction Unit which has been successful in Scotland. She also emphasised that she really is at the heart of her community. From the Hackney Citizen:

Pauline Pearce, who is also standing in Brownswood ward, said: “I have no mass of qualifications, but what I do have is common sense.

“Everyone out there who knows Pauline knows they can knock on my door. And if I become mayor, nothing will change. That door is still always open.

Pearce, who has put knife crime at the top of her camaign, said: “I’m here because of passion, because I care.

“I have to be here to stand up for those who are disenfranchised and need a chance to have a voice that speaks out for them. So please consider me on the third of May.”

Sal Brinton has been to help her campaign:

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Roger Roberts attacked on front page of Daily Mail

Most Lib Dems would feel a bit worried if the Daily Mail expressed any admiration for them, let’s be honest.

Today, many of us felt huge pride in our amazing 82 year old Welsh peer – and frequent LDV contributor – Roger Roberts when he was attacked on the front page of the Fail. His son Gareth lauded him on Twitter:

Roger is one of the kindest, most compassionate advocates for the most vulnerable people in our society. He speaks up for the rights of refugees, for the right of young people to be given a say in their own future, for a fair system of social security, for treating people with dignity and respect and humanity.

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Ed and Vince appeal to Sajid Javid to retain people’s rights to access Home Office data about them

Sajid Javid has been urged to dump the controversial Immigration Exemption Clause from the Data Protection Bill when it returns to the Commons next week.

Vince Cable and  Ed Davey have written to the new Home Secretary to urge him to protect people’s fundamental rights when their data is being processed for immigration purposes.

Many immigration decisions are overturned at appeal because the Home Office has made mistakes. But the bill puts at risk the right for individuals to see what information the Home Office holds on them and the Lib Dems are pressuring the government to make a concession on this point.

The letter says:

Congratulations on taking up your new post. As you have acknowledged, the task facing you is immense.

Further to exchanges in the House yesterday, can we urge you to clear the air by publishing any report made by Philip Hammond as Foreign Secretary in 2016 to the Home Office about deportations of the Windrush generation, following his meetings with Caribbean ministers and their representations to him? In the chamber you only said you would ‘consider’ publication in the House of Commons library. We hope you will agree that the House should know whether the Prime Minister knew these deportations were happening and what actions she took as Home Secretary to stop them.

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@ALDEParty Council Report: and now, the end is near?…

The sun was beating down in Sofia, the sky was blue, there wasn’t a cloud to spoil the view. But there was Brexit in our hearts…

Yes, it was time for the Spring Council meeting of the ALDE Party, hosted by our Bulgarian sister party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. The key items of business were the continuing work towards the 2019 European Parliamentary election manifesto and the adoption of the 2017 audit. In truth, the latter was never going to be an issue – finances are healthy, and likely to become …

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60 years of women in the House of Lords

The Mother of Parliaments had seen many fine sons, not least those who sat on the Liberal benches, but the number of daughters was far too few for the health of the nation.

Elizabeth Shields, Liberal MP for Ryedale (1986-87)

Today is the 60th anniversary of the Life Peerages Bill, which enabled women to sit in the House of Lords. Since that time 250+ women have sat on the red benches in Parliament, this represents something like 18% of all life peer appointments since 1958. The House of Lords is currently 26% female, so things are (slowly) improving, but the House …

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Jo Swinson: I’ll take my baby in a sling to protest Trump

When Donald Trump visits the UK on Friday 13th July, many Liberal Democrats will take to the streets to protest against the racist, misogynist, transphobic, views he holds and the actions he has taken in Government to undermine human rights.

On today’s Peston on Sunday, Lib Dem Deputy Leader Jo Swinson said that, if she’s able, she’ll be among them, just as she was on the Women’s March last year the day after the inauguration.

Her baby will be just weeks old at that time and she says that she’ll take the wee one to the march in a sling because he is anathema to British values of respect for others.

She also talked about our prospects in the local elections. Vince had been quite modest about it on Marr and Jo continued in the same vein. She said that we were looking to get a foothold back in areas where we had been wiped out four years ago. She added what we are all experiencing – that our reception on the doorsteps is much friendlier and enthusiastic than it was then.

On Amber Rudd, she was clear that if the Home Secretary had misled Parliament, then she would need to go. She also said that Cabinet Ministers don’t see every memo and what we really needed to do was to have a positive debate on the benefits of immigration.

She was on Sunday Politics later on with Brexiteer Bernard Jenkin talking about the customs union.

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Vince: Supermarket mega-merger must be referred to competition watchdog.

The news that two of the big four supermarkets in this country were in merger talks was greeted with concern with many people.

If this goes ahead, the new company would control 30% of the market which is in few enough hands as it is.

Vince Cable basically said that it was a no-brainer that this should be fully investigated before it was allowed. He said:

The grocery market – and the British shopper – already suffers from the mid-market being dominated by just a handful of big players. What the merger of the second and third biggest supermarkets threatens is the creation of

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The Friday the Thirteenth horror franchise continues

To be fair, I don’t watch horror films. In fact I rarely watch anything more upsetting than Fraulein Maria going back to the abbey in The Sound of Music. However, Donald Trump’s visit to the UK on July 13th is pretty horrific, more because it seems like a rather desperate attempt to pretend that we are going to be relevant as a country once we’re in not very splendid post Brexit isolation.

We should not be pandering to someone who uses his keyboard to lambast people from marginalised groups on Twitter and, worse, his pen to sign executive orders which make …

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