Category Archives: News

Hancock out, Javid in

Under relentless pressure after he was pictured in a romantic clinch in breach of coronavirus restrictions, Matt Hancock last night resigned as secretary of state for health. He told Boris Johnson:

The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis… We owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down as I have done by breaching the guidance.

He is replaced by former home secretary and chancellor, Sajid Javid.

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Ed Davey hits right note on Matt Hancock’s dalliance and competence

According to reports across the media, Matt Hancock had an affair with an adviser to his department. This happens all the time and is barely a matter of public concern these days. Unless Gina Coladangelo had been hired, or her hiring, had been influenced by her relationship with the health secretary.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey hit it spot on in his response on Twitter this morning.

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Lib Dem Bounce beginning to show nationally and locally

Congratulations to Bill Brisbane who took Chichester Eastward for the Lib Dems yesterday with a swing of 25%

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Daisy Cooper slams “barmy brainwashing” One Britain event

When I heard that some schoolchildren in the UK are going to be asked to sing a song saying how great Britain is on Friday, to be honest, I thought someone was just having a laugh. Surely nobody could be so crass?

I was wrong. As The Independent reports,

The Department for Education this week announced it would encourage schools to celebrate One Britain One Nation Day on 25 June.

Celebrations for the event include singing a song called the “OBON Day Anthem 2021”, which ends with the children repeatedly chanting, “Strong Britain, great nation”.

It also includes the chorus: “We are Britain and we have one dream, to unite all people in one great team.”

I find the whole thing nauseating.

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Key dates for Scottish Autumn Conference

Yesterday Scottish Conference Convener Paul McGarry announced in an email to members that our online Autumn conference will take place online on 8th and 9th October.

So the key deadlines are:

Drafting advice: 16th July at noon

Constitutional amendments: 16th July at noon

Motions deadline: 12th August at noon

You can get your ticket here. And the first timer rate for Scottish members is but a mere pound.

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Norman Lamb writes to the Times on solving adult social care funding crisis

Media reports suggest the Government is to hold off on announcing its plans to reform social care until at least the autumn amid continued disputes within the Cabinet. Boris Johnson this week delayed a meeting with the Chancellor and Health Secretary to discuss the reforms and is said to have ruled out using rises in income tax, VAT and national insurance to pay for social care in England.

In a letter in the Times this morning, Sir Norman Lamb, minister of state for care from 2013-15, calls for the “Dilnot cap” to be implemented and for all parties to work together to resolve funding.

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Ed Davey talks Chesham and Amersham and progressive alliances on Sunday media

Ed Davey did the Sunday morning media round today. He did look a tiny bit smug, but he’s allowed to given Sarah Green’s spectacular win in Chesham and Amersham, declared in the early hours of Friday morning.

First he appeared on Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday:

And then we went on Marr:

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Chesham & Amersham: what the Spectator said on Monday

Nick Tyrone – that’s T-Y-R-O-N-E – concludes the article as follows:

Instead, the Lib Dems will lose on Thursday, most likely fairly badly, and they will have no one to blame but themselves. If they want to get back to being the by-election masters of old, they will have to do a lot better than this.

You can read the full article here: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-lib-dems-are-utterly-lost

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Chesham and Amersham: the swing was 25.1%

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Chesham & Amersham: the fine print result

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Chesham & Amersham: Ed Davey hails huge victory

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Chesham & Amersham election results since the seat was created

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Chesham & Amersham: Sarah Green’s victory speech

In a confident speech earlier this morning, Sarah Green said she was humbled by the faith the people of Chesham and Amersham had placed in her.

Together, we have said enough is enough. We will be heard. And this government will listen.

No matter how safe the seat, you can have a Lib Dem representative.

Sarah had a message for young women. Don’t let people put you down or block your way. You can. You must. You will.

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Chesham & Amersham: This isn’t a dream is it?

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Chesham & Amersham: Video from the count

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Chesham & Amersham: Thank you!

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Chesham & Amersham: That stunning, historic result in full

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Chesham & Amersham: a Lib Dem WIN we’ll be talking about for years

Sarah Green MP.

That sounds so good.

Who would have thought that we would have turned a a huge Conservative majority and to one of over 8000 for us?

I am sitting here blubbing like anything. My first thought went back to Murray Walker’s comment about having to stop because he had a lump in his throat when Damon Hill won the F1 world championship back in the day.

I am not just ecstatic that we have won the most audacious and spectacular by-election win for generations. I am thrilled to bits that Sarah, who is pretty much where I am on most issues, is going to be a brilliant addition to our parliamentary team.

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Chesham & Amersham: Majority is 8,028!!!!!!!!!!! – ITV news

From ITV News:

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Chesham & Amersham: Congrats Sarah Green MP!!!!!

Let’s just say that this has woken me up!

8K!!!!! I’ll be saying that in my sleep for the next six months!!

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+++++Chesham & Amersham: Lib Dems win the by-election!!

Sky News have just said this.

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And first the Council by-elections

The first of six council by-elections declaring tonight was a good start – a hold, albeit by a mere 6 votes in Somerset West and Taunton’s Old Cleeve and District

Great news from Somerset – Lib Dems HOLD Somerset West and Taunton Old Cleeve and District: Lib Dem Steve Griffith 500 44.9%
Conservative 494 44.3%
Independent 120 10.8%

And so close in Devon

Thanks to Helen Arundell for standing in these two postponed elections in Norwich:

 

There should be another result from Tandridge but I can’t find it anywhere right now. We’ll update this post tomorrow with that, the Kent result and East Garioch (pronounced Geary) …

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Priti Patel failing on legal routes for refugees

As Refugee Week begins, the Liberal Democrats have tabled a motion in Parliament calling on the Government to establish safe and legal routes for refugees to come to the UK.

The motion, tabled by the party’s Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP, calls on the Government to resettle 10,000 refugees each year, as well as a further 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children from elsewhere in Europe over the next 10 years.

It follows Home Office data showing that just 353 refugees were brought to the UK last year, compared with 4,968 the year before.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but now the Conservative Government is turning its back on refugees.

Priti Patel is threatening to punish refugees who don’t come here by safe and legal routes, but at the same time she is failing to provide those routes.

Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to make an ambitious, ten-year commitment to resettle 10,000 vulnerable refugees a year from Syria and other dangerous conflict areas.

That is the best way to combat people smuggling and human trafficking, and to prevent people from making dangerous attempts to cross the Channel.

The full text of the motion is as follows;

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ALDE Party Congress online or, how to juggle four screens and a print-out

At the weekend we met with old friends and new from our European sister parties for ALDE Congress, albeit via a Zoom link, as the Congress was online for the first time. It was my privilege to lead a diverse Lib Dem delegation of around forty, which in addition to the official categories for diversity, included several UK nationals resident in the EU and a few EU citizens resident in the UK.

Ahead of the Congress we had met to propose amendments and again to discuss the amendments tabled by other delegations. These are negotiated in the “Working Groups”, which usually take place onsite at the beginning of Congress. Online they were held several days in advance of Congress and a high proportion of delegates were unavailable. Some were unaware that this was the real forum for debate. The procedure is not unlike the European Parliament Committee stage where the political groups negotiate compromise amendments. At the final plenary voting session there is no debate and delegations work to voting lists.

The Working Groups did not go to plan, as the scheduled sessions of two and a half hours each ran to six and five hours respectively. Even delegates who started the sessions were often not there by the end. I was sat with original text on one screen, amendments on another, proceedings on my iPad, delegation WhatsApp and the voting platform both on my iPhone plus a print-out of our voting line.

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Tom Arms’ World Review: China and the US, democracy and Brexit fallout

There has been an acute outbreak of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill. It has been brought about by an even more acute outbreak of Sinophobia. It appears that the one—and possibly only—thing that upon which Democrats and Republicans can agree is their common fear of the rise of China. But most of all, they worry about they worry about defeat in the technology race which provides the essential tools for all the above. That is why the Senate this week voted by an overwhelming majority of 68 to 32 to pump $250 billion over five years into and development in America’s high-tech industries. It needs it. They worry about losing the values debate, the economic competition and the military debate. At the core of the technology business is semi-conductors and America’s global share of production of semi-conductors has dropped from 37 percent in 1990 to 12 percent in 2021. Meanwhile, China, this year surpassed America’s spending (private and public) on R and D spending in high-tech. Xi Jinping has said that he aims to have China self-sufficient in the production of semi-conductors and other high-tech products and services by 2025. It is a short jump from self-sufficiency to global dominance. US and Chinese competition in this field should be great news for the rest of the world because the likely result is more and better technology services for the rest of us. It should also spur other countries to follow suit for fear of falling behind. Israel and South Korea already invest more of their GDP’s on research and development than anyone else—4.6 percent according to the latest available figures. Britain has recently announced that its R and D investment will rise to more than $250 million a year to turn the country into a “science super power.”

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And the new chair of Federal Conference Committee is…..

… Cllr Nick Da Costa.

Nick was one of the Committee’s Vice-Chairs and is also a Councillor in Haringey.

In a post on Facebook, he said:

I am delighted to have been elected as Chair of the Federal Conference Committee taking over from the brilliant Geoff Payne who stood down as Chair at the end of May.

Firstly, a massive thanks to Geoff for his hard work for this party as member, Vice Chair and then Chair of the Federal Conference Committee. He has always championed the importance and sovereignty of Conference in our party and will be sorely missed as he moves onto his next exciting work.

My previous position as Vice Chair of FCC will be filled at the next meeting of the Federal Conference Committee on 11th July, which will also be the agenda setting meeting for Autumn Conference.

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Moran attacks Hancock on his denial that there was a PPE shortage early in pandemic

The collective memory, the memories of the front like medical workers and the records in all manner of media outlets are wrong. The PPE shortage in the early months of the pandemic was an illusion, maybe a few shortages locally. That’s according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

He is blind to PPE shortages and the consequences. His appointment at Specsavers is overdue. Today, Layla Moran takes Hancock to task and tells of harrowing evidence she has heard from families who lost loved ones to Covid caught on wards, and from NHS and care home staff who were left without adequate PPE.

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Simon Hughes wins damages from the Sun

The publisher of the Sun has paid an (undisclosed) substantial sum to Simon Hughes over phone hacking. According to The Guardian:

Hughes claimed “he had been the victim of unlawful information gathering by various journalists and executives at the Sun” who were intent on publishing details of his past relationships with men.

Speaking outside the court, Hughes said: “It went to the top in the Sun – senior editorial people, senior people at the top were clearly involved.”

Asked if he thought Rebekah Brooks, who was editor of the Sun in 2006, knew about how his private information had been obtained, Hughes said: “I have been very clear that we have not named names, but it is clear from all I have seen that it went to the top of the Sun. I think I will have to leave you to draw your own conclusions about that.”

The former MP, who describes himself as bisexual, said he now believes this “private and sensitive information was obtained through unlawful information-gathering techniques and was used with the knowledge and approval of key senior executives at the newspaper”.

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Tories worried about Chesham and Amersham

With so many Lib Dems heading over to Chesham and Amersham to support Sarah Green, it was interesting to read a letter published today in The Guardian. Dr Peter Dawson, a voter in the constituency, writes:

This has long been an ultra-safe Conservative seat, but there appears to be some anxiety among Tories, locally and nationally, about a possible Liberal Democrat win. Boris Johnson has made an appearance here and canvassers have been drafted in from London.

Apparently Rishi Sunak has written to all voters encouraging them to vote for a candidate “who can work with me”. As Dr Dawson says:

Now, I am not a Lib Dem supporter, but I recognise that the Lib Dem candidate is not some beyond-the-pale extremist, so I see no reason why Sarah Green and Sunak could not work together. But perhaps Sunak is not that kind of politician, and perhaps this is not that kind of government.

Most party members will by now have received emails (possibly more than one!) explaining how to get involved.

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Jane Dodds questions First Minister on preventing violence against women

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds used her first question as a Member of the Senedd to the First Minister to demand action on ending violence against women and girls.

This comes at a time when Operation Encompass, an initiative set up to notify schools if domestic abuse has taken place in pupils’ homes, report that there has been a huge rise in Public Protection Notices to do with domestic abuse to 2254 from September 2020 to March 2021 compared to 1043 during the same period in the previous year. The impact of Covid-19 appears to be severe.

What actions, Jane asked,  will the Welsh Government take to end violence against women and girls, particularly within black, Asian and minority ethnic communities?

After Mark Drakeford talked about an increase in funding that the Government had put in place, she followed up with:

Can I just follow that through with a focus on what’s been happening in this COVID time? We all know that there’s been a significant increase in the need for refuge places, in the need for services, and better, more focused responses to those women and children who are coming forward after these lockdown periods. I’m particularly interested to hear what issues and services will be targeted into rural areas, where we know that there are particular shortages of those effective responses and services.

You can watch the exchange here at about  32 minutes in.

Afterwards, Jane said:

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