Category Archives: News

30 September 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

I allowed myself to be distracted yesterday… you know how it can be sometimes, so it’s time to catch up…

  • ‘Out of touch’ Tories plough money into roads despite people and planet crying out for public transport investment
  • Brexit renders spending promises impossible – Davey

‘Out of touch’ Tories plough money into roads despite people and planet crying out for public transport investment

Following Sajid Javids announcement of £25bn investment in roads, Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport, said:

Just as people are starting to become aware of the damage we’re doing to our planet, the Conservatives have committed to spending £25

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Jo Swinson’s message for Black History Month

Today sees the start of Black History Month.

Over on the Black History month website, Jo Swinson celebrates the achievements of black women, whose achievements, she ways, are often massively diminished.

The contributions of black Britons are rich and varied, yet for too long we have ignored the legacy of black pioneers and accepted a narrative that confines the history of black people to that of slaves and colonial subjects. This is not good enough.

Worse still, when we do celebrate black Britons, the contributions of black women are massively diminished. Yet, despite having to contend with both racial and gender oppression black women continue to drive social, political and cultural change. This year let us celebrate the women of the past, such as Olive Morris, a feminist who dedicated her life to equality and activism. The women of the present, like Olivette Otele, who in 2018 became the UK’s first black female history professor. And let us empower the next generation of activists and trailblazers and do all we can to ensure that their achievements will never be absent from the history books.

The Liberal Democrats will never be silent or indifferent in the face of discrimination. It is our goal to fight for a country where every person, regardless of their background, is able to live freely and fulfil their potential without fear of hate or prejudice. That’s the world we strive for and that’s the world we must work every day to make possible.

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Narcissm – Democracy’s Nemesis?

Jacinda Ardern’s empathic response to the bombing of a mosque in New Zealand in March this year made international headlines. The press went into a frenzy over her sensitive and visibly moved reactions to those affected by the tragedy.

It’s really telling of our age, that Ardern herself became the subject of the news when she was doing what any decent leader should be doing. We elect politicians to represent us, so surely the ability to sympathise and to imagine who we, the electorate are, what our needs, aspirations and vulnerabilities are, is a basic requirement of the job?

Why are we putting up with Johnson and Trump when we could have Ardern? We are living through an epidemic of manipulation on a global scale and there is a pattern to how we got to this point. It didn’t happen over night.

While some of my Brexit-weary friends are turning to G&T, baking or prayer, my pick me up has been Ramani Durvasala. Durvasala has been studying Trump’s seemingly erratic behaviour and is finding that it follows a set pattern. Each time Trump gets away with something outrageous, he goes one step further and the next unthinkable thing happens. Liberals are in a permanent state of shock and disbelief.

Trump, like his friends Johnston and Farage are narcissists. We hear the word bandied about quite a lot at the moment and while each of us has some degree of narcissism, at their most extreme, sociopathic narcissist have key behaviours in common. They:-

• lack empathy and compassion.
• are manipulative and will distort the truth to suit themselves
• think the law and rules are for others, not them
• are highly critical of others but don’t take criticism well themselves • are entitled and often pompous
• are quick to anger, rage and outbursts
• are superficial and shallow

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Where we are – Lib Dem morning briefing

The Lib Dem press office has provided an excellent summary of where we are this morning, together with the agenda for Parliament today:

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WATCH: Jo Swinson say that a vote of no confidence would play into Boris Johnson’s hands

Opposition parties met today to talk strategy for the next stage of the Brexit Drama.

Over the weekend we had seen talk of a potential vote of no confidence this week.

Matthew D’Ancona explained yesterday on Twitter why this would be a mistake.

Jo Swinson has always been clear we can’t risk an election until we are certain that the threat of no deal on 31st October has been gone and it appears that she won the day.

Lib Dem MPs held a photocall outside the Commons and this is what Jo had to say:

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Tower Hamlets Candidates Ready to Fight Snap Election

Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats have selected two new Parliamentary Candidates: Josh Babarinde for Bethnal Green & Bow, and Andrew Cregan for Poplar & Limehouse in preparation for a snap General Election.

Josh Babarinde is the founder of Cracked It, a social enterprise based in the borough that supports young ex-offenders away from crime and towards employment. In 2019, the Evening Standard named Cracked It the Social Enterprise of the Year.

Josh said:

Tower Hamlets has among the greatest crime and anti-social behaviour challenges in London. My frontline experience working to tackle knife crime locally

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Radix and the Liberal ecosystem

One of the huge successes of Blairism was creating an ecosystem of thinkers around new Labour who set the tone for political debate throughout the 90s and beyond. Left of centre think tanks had a symbiotic relationship with the party and the centre left media, who could be relied upon to be sympathetic. When Blair eventually took power the party recruited many policy advisers and senior staff from this ecosystem: Campbell and Mandelson, Patricia Hewitt from the IPPR and Geoff Mulgan from Demos, who became the Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit.

The political centre ground – including …

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Party President, internal elections update

Today is the deadline for nominations for the Party Presidential contest, for the various Federal committees and for the ALDE Party Council delegation so, if you haven’t got your forms and artwork in, time is running out (the deadline is 5 p.m., just to save you looking it up).

As far as we know, there remain six candidates for the Party Presidency, and you can click on each name to see their initial statement.

And, for a view on what the Party Presidency entails, here are my thoughts from

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30 September 2019 – the overnight press release

It’s been very quiet over the past few days, but I tend to put that down to the convention not to distract from other political conferences. However, our Press team are still working away…

Lib Dems: ‘School Cuts’ data shows funding still an emergency

Responding to the relaunch of the National Education Union’s ‘School Cuts’ website, which reveals that more than 15,000 schools will have less money per pupil in real terms in 2020 than they did in 2015, Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran said:

The Conservatives continue to fail our children. This data removes the wool that Boris Johnson

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Reigate Liberal Democrats select John Vincent to be their PPC

Reigate Liberal Democrats have selected John Vincent, an aviation safety expert, as their candidate in the next general election.

Mr Vincent beat four other candidates in a vote of local party members at a hustings held on Friday evening at Reigate College.

Speaking after his success, John Vincent said:

I’m thrilled to be selected for Reigate. People here deserve so much better than the current set-up. We need to move from despair to hope. We need to build a better future for everyone in our community.

On the national political situation Mr Vincent said:

We are

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Doctor who tackled Jacob Rees-Mogg on no deal to fight Javid as Liberal Democrat

Earlier this Summer, Dr David Nicholl tackled Jacob Rees-Mogg on LBC on preparations for a no deal Brexit, particularly on shortages of medicines. He asked Rees-Mogg what mortality rate he would be ok with in the event of no deal.

Rees-Mogg later compared him to the disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield whose flawed claims about the MMR are still causing problems with vaccine uptake today.

At the time the BMA described this comparison as “utterly disgraceful and totally irresponsible.”

Over the weekend it has been announced that Dr Nicholl will stand for the Liberal Democrats in Bromsgrove, against Chancellor Sajid Javid.

From The Guardian:

He faces an almost impossible task to unseat Javid.The chancellor took 62% of the vote in Bromsgrove in the 2017 election, up 8% on 2015. The Lib Dems came a poor third with fewer than 2,500 votes, a share of just 4.6%.

But Nicholl is confident he will pick up disenfranchised Tories.

“Things are completely different to 2017. I think when you have a prime minister who is prepared to mislead the Queen, you will have many people who vote Tory, not people in the Tory party, in Bromsgrove, who will be utterly appalled with what is going on and will be looking for a new home,” he said.

Nicholl joined the Lib Dems earlier this summer. He left the Labour party after Owen Smith, the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, was sacked, considering it a decision with damaging consequences for the region.

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Jo Swinson’s message for Rosh Hashanah

Here is Jo Swinson’s message for the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashanah, emphasising that the Liberal Democrats stand with those facing hatred and discrimination.

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New seats for our new MPs

This afternoon it’s been announced that Phillip Lee will be taking on John Redwood for the Liberal Democrats at the General Election. He will move from his current seat in Bracknell to Wokingham, which is considered winnable for the party.

According to the Wokingham Paper:

THE Liberal Democrats have announced that their candidate for Wokingham will be one of its newest MPs, Dr Phillip Lee. It sets up a Leave v Remain contest against the incumbent, Sir John Redwood.

Sir Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrats deputy leader, announced the news to a packed meeting of Wokingham party members held at the Hilton St Anne’s Manor hotel in London Road.

The seat is one that polling by ComRes suggests could switch to the Lib Dems.

A projection suggests that the party would have a 37% vote share, compared to 33% for the Conservatives and 14% for Labour.

However, it also lists the Brexit party as 9% – the party is unlikely to field a candidate in Wokingham constituency as Sir John Redwood is a committed Leaver.

This move will be more controversial than Chuka Umunna moving to Cities of London and Westminster or Luciana Berger moving to Finchley and Golders Green. Both of these moves were widely welcomed in the party.

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Christine Jardine: why I’m running to be Party President

Ok. I know I said that I wasn’t going to do it.

And as recently as conference I was adamant that I was not going to change my mind.

But I have.

The first thing of course that I have to say is that I am sorry for the delay and to explain that it was a family thing.

It’s well known that my husband died during the General Election in circumstances which were difficult, particularly for my daughter and the people close to me.

I’m sure you all appreciate that without her support I would have found it impossible to put the time, energy and commitment into this that the members deserve.

And those are three things that this role will need. In spades.

At a time when we have become the rallying point for the vast numbers of people in this country looking for an open, diverse, forward looking party, we need a President who has the status and authority to speak to that image publicly.

Just as importantly they will have to commit the time to listening to what the members have to say, and then ensure it is heard. Personal contact and availability will be key.

But members also need the right support and encouragement. The Alderdice report challenged us to create a culture that is inclusive. That is more important now than ever.

We cannot allow any possibility of retreating to what was comfortable and easy for some members and excluded others.

The President will have to lead, with all the committees and SAOs, on reaching out to those new members and build relationships which will sustain the next generation of activists, councillors and parliamentarians.

As a member of Federal Board, an MP and previously a member of the executive of the Scottish party, I know how hard Sal has worked and exactly what it takes to be a strong president.

I have no illusions about what it entails.

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Party Presidential election update – Prue Bray and Richard Kemp withdraw

Liberal Democrat Voice has been advised by Prue Bray and Richard Kemp that they are withdrawing from the contest to succeed Sal Brinton as Party President. Prue writes;

This is confirmation that, with regret, I am withdrawing from the election for Party President, despite having been successfully nominated. Unfortunately, the amount of work I am having to do as English Candidates Chair to prepare for the coming General Election simply does not allow enough time for me to simultaneously commit to campaign to become Party President.

Richard has sent us a statement as well;

I have announced that I am no

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Lib Dems surge ahead in by-elections

There were some good results in last night’s by-elections  with double figure increases for the Liberal Democrats.

And in Rochford

And in Crawley, a 6.3% rise in vote share from a standing start.

That was up from just 164 votes in a much bigger turnout in 2017.

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27 September 2019 – the overnight press releases

  • No-deal prep for health supplies shows Brexit must stop
  • Boris Johnson is the champion of the well-off, not the people – Davey

No-deal prep for health supplies shows Brexit must stop

Responding to the National Audit Office’s report on the Government’s preparations on health and social care supplies under a no deal Brexit, Liberal Democrats Health and Social Care Secretary, Sir Vince Cable MP, said:

This report reinforces what we already knew from the Yellowhammer documents. We know that a no-deal Brexit would have a devastating impact on the UK’s health and social care supplies.

The risk is very real that traders may not

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26 September 2019 – today’s press releases

I’d like to start by thanking TonyH for his comment. I’ve generally provided a list at the beginning of these pieces when there are three or more press releases, but he’s right to note that, given how pieces are prevented on our “front page”, it’s better if I do it if there’s more than one. So, I will going forward. We’ve only got one today though…

Lib Dems welcome NHS England’s Cross-Party Plans for Reform

The Liberal Democrats have today welcomed NHS England’s plans to reform the NHS and significantly curb the privatisation of NHS care.

The plans, agreed on a consensus …

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Renew Europe sets criteria for Commissioner hearings

Ahead of the hearings of the Commissioner Designates, the Renew Europe Group, of which Liberal Democrat MEPs are a part, has outlined a common approach to be followed in order to guarantee a fair, transparent and objective evaluation process.

The hearings are a vital process to ensure that the future College will be in the position to deliver on the commitment made by President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, before the Parliament and reflected in the mission letters given to each Commissioner.

Dacian Cioloș, President of Renew Europe Group, speaking in Strasbourg said:

We will analyse the future Commissioners on

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Emily Thornberry apologises for comparing the Lib Dems to the Taliban

In the House if Commons last night, Labour’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Emily Thornberry has apologised for comparing the Liberal Democrat’s to the Taliban:

She said at the start of her speech tonight:

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25 September 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: Johnson rides roughshod with the law again

Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture Secretary Layla Moran today questioned Ministers on payments made by the Government to Hacker House, a company owned by Jennifer Arcuri.

The Sunday Times alleged that the company was incorrectly registered in the UK.

The paper also alleges that Ms Arcuri, a friend of Boris Johnson, benefitted from preferential treatment for public money and access to overseas trade missions when the Prime Minister was Mayor of London. These are now subject to an investigation by the London Assembly’s Oversight Committee.

Speaking after her Urgent Questionn in the House …

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Former Lib Dem Islington Council leader Steve Hitchins has died

Steve Hitchins, who transformed the lives of so many people for the better in Islington when he was Council Leader, has died very suddenly at the age of 68.

In a heartbreaking tweet, his wife, Lib Dem Peer Sarah Ludford announced her loss.

Many of us saw him last week in Bournemouth. I managed a quick hello as we passed in that great whirlwind.

You can see the difference he made to people from the replies to Sarah’s tweets.

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24 September 2019 – today’s press releases

Chancellor must answer for black hole in the country’s finances

Responding to news that part of Corporation Tax revenue has been double-counted by HMRC, revising down the take for 2018-2019 by more than £4bn, Liberal Democrat shadow Chancellor Ed Davey said:

Today’s data from HMRC reveals a concerning black hole in the country’s public finances. Since this Conservative Government took office, an astounding £12.86 billion was mistakenly accounted for in the exchequer’s books – money that was never actually there. This is a potentially dangerous oversight for which the Conservative Chancellor is responsible.

Moreover, this highlights the Government’s irresponsibility in slashing corporation tax

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Lizzie Jewkes – why I am standing for Party President

We are in hugely exciting times for the party. Our membership is higher than ever before. We need a President who is capable of meeting the challenge of valuing each and every one of our members and ensuring that whatever their reason for joining, we meet their expectations and encourage them to play an active role in our party. As an employer, I understand the importance of valuing people. I often work with voluntary organisation and always encourage them to value their volunteers more. As a volunteer myself, I know how important it is to be valued. Members join the …

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Lib Dems condemn Home Office treatment of LGBT Christians

One of the Laws of the Universe is that, just when you think the Home Office can’t get any worse, any less humane, it does.

This weekend, Pink News reported on the appalling treatment of LGBT Christian asylum seekers.

One respondent said Home Office officials asked her questions including: “How can you be lesbian and Christian?,” “Isn’t the Bible against being gay?”, and “Doesn’t that contradict with your Christian belief or your belief?”

The report was based on 33 interviews with LGBT+ asylum seekers – 31 of these came from a Christian background and two were Muslims.

Another participant said: “‘In the application process, in my case, everything that I was doing I was doing it in secret, so I got to a point that Home Office is asking me ‘Where’s the proof?’ And it’s very difficult for me to come out with proof, because I’m doing this in a way that my will not find out who I am… I don’t have the right to work.

LGBT+ Lib Dems, Lib Dems 4 Seekers of Sanctuary, the Lib Dem Christian Forum and Lib Dem Immigrants issued a joint statement:

We condemn this ignorance and insensitivity of the Home Office.

We also note that the Home Office’s culture of disbelief has impacted both Christian people and LGBT+ people in the past and that this in turn is just a small part of the injustices that have led to the Liberal Democrats to call for the Home Office to be stripped of all immigration and asylum responsibility.

And Christine Jardine was furious in a piece on the Lib Dem website. 

Earlier this month, Liberal Democrats revealed that over the last three years the Home Office has refused over 3,100 asylum claims on the basis of sexuality, even though the people making them were from countries where consensual same-sex acts are criminalised.

Now, a report on LGBT African asylum seekers has found some being accused of “contradiction” by Home Office interviewers, because they are LGBT and Christian. One person even reported being asked, “How can you be lesbian and Christian?”

This Conservative Government is letting down every LGBT+ person

Imagine being forced to leave your home and making it to the UK, only to be told by Home Office officials that your very identity is a “contradiction”. Imagine having your religion used against you, to discredit your claim to asylum.

That is the culture of disbelief that both LGBT+ people and Christian converts face in the Home Office. Officials too often deny them asylum without any evidence; they simply assume that they are lying about who they are.

This Conservative Government is letting down every LGBT+ person and every individual in this country who cares about human rights.

The UK should be leading the campaign across the world against homophobia and transphobia. Instead, we have a Government that is turning its back and looking the other way.

Liberal Democrats demand better for LGBT+ people wherever they live.

We will establish a new, dedicated unit to handle asylum claims, free of political interference and without the Home Office’s culture of disbelief.

Liberal Democrats will fix our asylum system so that the UK provides sanctuary to those who need it.

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Swinson: Parliament should be sitting so we can question PM

Responding to the Supreme Court ruling that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

The court have found what we all knew all along, Boris Johnson has again proven he is not fit to be Prime Minister.

This shutdown was an unlawful act designed to stop Parliament doing its job and holding the Government to account. Given this verdict, Parliament should be sitting so that we can continue to question the Conservative Government on their disastrous Brexit plans.

This verdict has been unanimously agreed by experienced judges who have considered the

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+++Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament unlawful, supreme court rules

Embed from Getty Images

A stunning judgment, with huge constitutional importance, which is a massive rebuke to Boris Johnson. Johnson has only succeeded in stirring up a hornets’ nest!

The Guardian reports:

The supreme court has ruled that Boris Johnson’s advice to the Queen that parliament should be prorogued for five weeks at the height of the Brexit crisis was unlawful.

The judgment from 11 justices on the UK’s highest court follows an emergency three-day hearing last week that exposed fundamental legal differences over interpreting the country’s unwritten constitution.

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Labour’s own polling suggests losses in London and wipeout in Scotland

I think the Lib Dems need to declare the cost of staging Labour Conference as an election expense

So said a Labour friend of mine on Twitter in deep frustration at his party’s failure to unequivocally back Remain in chaotic scenes yesterday.

I genuinely feel for my friends in Labour who are horrified at what their party is doing. Some, like Alastair Campbell, voted Lib Dem in the European elections. I hope that they will feel able to do so at the forthcoming General Election, even  if they don’t want to say so out loud.

When a party gets it as badly wrong on the major issue of the day, the chances are that it will be punished at the ballot box and two reports suggest that this is exactly the fate awaiting Labour candidates.

And what is more bizarre is that it’s Labour’s own internal polling that is predicting the disaster.

The Scotsman reports that we and the SNP will be the beneficiaries of a Labour wipeout in Scotland:

Across the UK, only 58.7 per cent of 2017 Labour voters would stick with the party under those circumstances. The Lib Dems would take 19 per cent of the 2017 Labour vote, with 7.4 per cent going to the Greens, 3.5 per cent to the SNP, and 0.7 per cent to Plaid Cymru.

The figures are even worse in Scotland, where just 49.2 per cent of 2017 Labour voters would stick with the party. The SNP would take a fifth of Labour’s vote at the last election, with 15% going to the Lib Dems, 6% to the Brexit Party, and 3% to the Conservatives.

And the Evening Standard suggests that we will benefit from Labour’s losses in London:

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23 September 2019 – today’s press release

Swinson: Corbyn is a Brexiteer at heart

Responding to the news from Labour Party conference that it would not back Remain in a People’s Vote, under the guidance of Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

Jeremy Corbyn has again shown a total lack of leadership on Brexit and settled on yet another fudge on the biggest issue facing our country. Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly had the opportunity to put the full force of the Labour behind a Remain position, but he has once again shown today that he is a Brexiteer at heart.

He is determined to negotiate a Brexit deal if Labour win an election, despite all the evidence that there is no Brexit deal that is good for our economy, our NHS and our security. By refusing to say how the Labour Party would campaign in a second referendum, Jeremy Corbyn is letting down the millions of people who want to see the UK remain in the EU.

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WATCH: Sal Brinton marks the International Day of Sign Languages

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