Category Archives: News

Results of internal party elections

We have already reported on the re-election of Mark Park as Party President, and the remaining election results have now been announced.

You can read them in full here.

Vice President

  • Amna Ahmad

Federal Board

  • Joyce Onstad
  • Lucy Nethsingha
  • Neil Fawcett
  • Chris White (Councillor rep)

Federal Council

  • Alison Eden
  • Alison Jenner
  • Anton Georgiou
  • Callum Robertson
  • Candy Piercy
  • Chloe Hutchinson
  • Chris Northwood
  • Clare Delderfield
  • Gareth Lewis Shelton
  • Gordon Lishman
  • Hannah Perkin
  • James Gurling
  • Lisa-Maria Bornemann
  • Mark Johnston
  • Sally Povolotsky
  • Sarah Cheung Johnson
  • Simon McGrath
  • Stephen Robinson
  • Terry Stacy
  • Tim Brett
  • Zoe Hollowood
  • Antony Hook (Councillor rep)
  • Alex Warren (Councillor rep)
  • Aidan Van de Weyer (Councillor rep)
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Mark Pack comfortably re-elected as President

It’s a day of internal election results at Lib Dem HQ today.

First to be declared is the Presidential election. which is subject to an appeal.

Mark Pack won a second term easily.

The result in full is:

Mark Pack            4969

Lucy Nethsingha 2194

Liz Webster          1936

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15 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • ONS earnings figures: Economic mismanagement is leaving pay packets stretched further than ever
  • Vaughan Gething Qatar Press Briefing – More Soundbites Rather than Real Solidarity
  • Liberal Democrats Raise Concerns Over the Impact of Australian and New Zealand Trade Deals on Wales
  • Conservatives failing to count cost of windfall tax loophole

ONS earnings figures: Economic mismanagement is leaving pay packets stretched further than ever

Responding to the latest ONS labour market and earnings figures which show pay falling in real terms, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This Government’s economic mismanagement is leaving pay packets stretched further than ever before just as bills spiral out of control.

This is the worst cost of living crisis in a generation and Thursday is judgement day for the latest Conservative Chancellor in post. He cannot make the same mistakes as his predecessors who crashed the economy and left families to pick up the bill.

Thanks to the Conservative party’s botched budget and reckless mismanagement of the economy, homeowners are being forced to pay hundreds of pounds more a month on their mortgage whilst their take home pay is eaten away by inflation. The public will never forgive Conservative MPs for this.

Vaughan Gething Qatar Press Briefing – More Soundbites Rather than Real Solidarity

Responding to Vaughan Gething’s press conference where he continued to defend the Welsh Labour Government sending a delegation to Qatar during the World Cup, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

I am not convinced by the arguments set out today by Vaughan Gething nor previous arguments from the Welsh Labour Government seeking to justify this morally unjustifiable trip.

The Welsh Government should be upfront about its intentions going to Qatar, it is not to ‘support Team Wales’ but is to seek investment.

These tainted investment opportunities are going to come at the cost of providing diplomatic legitimacy to Qatar’s hosting of this tournament despite the country’s atrocious human rights record that has left over 6,500 migrant workers dead, punishes being gay with execution or imprisonment and treats women as lesser human beings.

Vaughan Gething has stated that the Welsh Government will “proactively use Wales’ place in the World Cup in Qatar to promote our strong Welsh values”, yet today has again not provided any evidence on how the Government will do this.

The last time I checked, unless the three ministers have been promote to Team Cymru itself and are going to be on that pitch, their presence isn’t going to affect how our national team performs and our national team are already upholding our values.

If Labour actually wanted to show solidarity with those living under Qatar‘s poor human rights record, or the families of the victims that have died during the construction of World Cup stadiums, they would cancel their unjustifiable trip immediately and instead join the vast majority of fans who will be watching the games from home, and to show some consistency on “saving them air miles” that was used to justify the Welsh Government not attending COP27 last week.

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Tom Arms’ World Review

Ukraine

The Ukrainians are advancing – slowly. They don’t trust the Russians. Vladimir Putin has given his troops the order to abandon the western half of the key city of Kherson. Civilians and medical staff have been evacuated from both the eastern and western halves of the city divided by the river Dnieper.

But the Ukrainians are not rushing in to fill the vacuum. They are concerned that the Russians have covered their retreat with land mines and other explosives and have trained their artillery on the deserted streets. Furthermore, that they are preparing for deadly street-to-street, house-to-house fighting in the eastern half of the city.

In the meantime, the Kremlin rumour mill continues to churn out stories about the imminent overthrow of President Putin. The left anti-war wants peace and an end to the war while the right nationalist wing is demanding that more resources – including, if necessary, tactical nuclear weapons, be thrown into the fight. The latest opinion polls, however, show that 78 percent continue to support Putin personally, although support for the war is slipping.

2022 World Cup

Someone should have warned the Qataris about being careful about what you wish for before they started bribing officials to secure the 2022 World Cup. The sporting event is second only to the Olympics in the pantheon of international sporting events and usually brings economic and political benefits to the host country.

In the case of Qatar’s ruling al-Thani family, they are spending $30 billion on hosting the football event. This involves building half a dozen stadiums, roads, a state-of-the-art metro and a number of hotels. They can afford it. Qatar is the smallest nation ever to host the World Cup, but it is among the top ten wealthiest in the world. The per capita income of the oil and gas-rich Gulf emirate is $61,000 a year and it has a sovereign wealth fund of $450 billion. It can afford to show off its wealth.

But at the same time, it would rather not have the spotlight turned on its human rights record – especially as regards migrant labour and LGBTQ rights. Tens of thousands of construction workers were recruited from South Asia to build the World Cup infrastructure. They worked in searing heat, were paid abysmally low wages and lived in squalid dormitory conditions. If they wanted to return home they had to apply for an exit visa which was rarely granted. The Guardian reported that 6,500 of them died. This figure been disputed, but the newspaper says it is based on reports from South Asian embassies in Qatar.

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Caroline Pidgeon to step down as London Assembly Member in 2024

Lib Dem London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon announced today at the London Regional Conference that she will not stand for re-election in 2024. Later she tweeted:

Caroline will be greatly missed by colleagues from all parties, including London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, whom she stood against when he was first elected in 2016:

Similar praise came from Conservative and Green Assembly members;

And Liberal Democrats were keen to thank her for all she has done over the years:

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Liberal Democrats pay tribute to Lib Dem peer Nigel Jones

We are sad to learn that Lib Dem Peer and former MP for Cheltenham Nigel Jones died on Monday during heart surgery.

The BBC reports:

During his parliamentary career, he served as the Liberal Democrat spokesman on housing and local government, and later as spokesman for science and technology.

He also served in the Select Committee on Standards and Privileges.

The body was set up by John Major in 1994 after a number of scandals rocked his government, that came to be known as the “sleaze-busters”.

Lord Jones of Cheltenham passed away on 7 November during heart surgery. He is survived by his wife Katy, son Sam and twin daughters Lucy and Amy.

Liberal Democrats have paid tribute to Nigel:

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11 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Welsh Liberal Democrats Statement for Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday
  • GDP stats: People will never forgive this Government for crashing our economy during a cost-of-living crisis
  • Conservative stealth cuts leave up to 110,000 children without a free lunch
  • Dominic Raab behaviour: Cabinet Office must investigate immediately

Welsh Liberal Democrats Statement for Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

Today and on Sunday we pay tribute to all who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country during its darkest hours.

Their sacrifice has allowed us to live in a society based on both freedom and liberty.

Today we think of not only the lives that were lost, but of the wish of survivors of both World Wars that we should strive to build a world free of war and violence.

This year as we remember those who fought for freedom and liberty during previous conflicts, many of us will also be thinking of the brave men and women of Ukraine, who are at this very moment standing in face of tyranny with winter approaching.

We remain ever thankful to those who stood to protect our country. We will remember them.

GDP stats: People will never forgive this Government for crashing our economy during a cost-of-living crisis

Responding to the latest GDP figures which reveal the UK economy contracted 0.2% in the third quarter, marking the first step towards recession, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Today’s figures show the Conservative Government is leaving our economy smaller and all of us poorer.

People will never forgive this Government for crashing our economy during a cost-of-living crisis and putting up their mortgages by hundreds of pounds a month. The Conservative party can never again claim that they are the party of sound money.

Ministers must now do whatever it takes to protect households from the economic downturn they have caused, starting with a mortgage protection fund to ensure nobody loses their home this winter.

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9-10 November 2022 – the press releases…

Apologies, press release fans, as I got rather caught up in the drama of the US midterms yesterday. So, without further ado…

  • Gavin Williamson anti-bullying video exposes ‘rank hypocrisy’ of Conservative Government
  • Lib Dems: Strip Gavin Williamson of his knighthood if found guilty of bullying
  • Sunak failing the next generation as he refuses to protect education budgets
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats respond to Nurse Strike Action
  • The Government have failed cancer patients
  • Home repossessions increase significantly as budget sets off a mortgage ticking time bomb

Gavin Williamson anti-bullying video exposes ‘rank hypocrisy’ of Conservative Government

Responding to the resurfaced Government anti-bullying video recorded by Gavin Williamson MP during his time as Secretary of State for Education, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Education, Munira Wilson MP, said:

This exposes the rank hypocrisy and double standards at the heart of this Conservative government.

Gavin Williamson himself admitted that bullying is never acceptable.

Schools rightly have a zero tolerance approach to bullying. But once again it seems it’s one rule for Conservative ministers and another for everyone else.

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Morgan and Farron speak on rural levelling up

Rural issues are often sidelined in the Commons and in public policy. Yesterday, Tim Farron and Helen Morgan made significant contributions to the rural levelling up debate in the Commons chamber.

The debate, secured Selaine Saxby Conservative MP for North Devon, was sparsely attended but there were some strong speeches (Hansard).

Helen Morgan and Tim Farron highlighted the way that farming is being treated under the Conservative government, though the botched introduction of the Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMS) and trade deals. Rural transport was a major issue, trains, buses and access to rail stations. Hospitals of course featured. Ambulance delays. Bed blocking. The inability to attract staff because there is nowhere local and affordable to live. And the ever difficulty of getting a decent broadband connection in rural areas to allow businesses to thrive (I might add education and medical services to that list also).

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US Midterms: Democrats defy the odds in the House contests

Going into yesterday’s elections, the expectation was that the Democrats would be hard pressed to repel the five seat swing required by the Republicans to win control of the House. But, as it turned out, the task is made easier if you have extremist candidates carrying the red banner, and you threaten abortion rights in a country where the majority favour abortion rights with some, usually mainstream, restrictions.

And so far, that’s how it seems to be playing. Of the sixty-four seats judged to be in play by the Cook Political Report, forty-five Democrat-held to just nineteen Republican-held, as I write …

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Sarah Olney (and other Lib Dems) on the problem of night flights

Sarah Olney was granted an adjournment debate yesterday, so took the opportunity to visit an issue that plagues her constituency – aircraft noise, especially at night. She was joined by her neighbouring MP, Munira Wilson, whose Twickenham constituency is affected even more. Christine Jardine and Wera Hobhouse also chipped in. Who knew so many Lib Dem constituencies had this problem?

You can read the full debate in Hansard, but here are some highlights.

Sarah Olney:

Night flights are the most intrusive form of aircraft noise and there is clear evidence that they harm both the physical and mental health of residents who live under flightpaths. This summer, the delays and chaos at Heathrow airport resulted in an increased number of flights landing through the night. For my constituents and for many others across west and south-west London, that disturbance resulted in countless sleepless nights.

This disturbance is completely avoidable. Night flights are by no means essential for airport operations. These flights can and should be moved and it is within the Government’s remit to ensure that that happens.

I therefore have two asks of the Department for Transport. My primary call is for a ban on scheduled flights at Heathrow airport between 11 pm and 6 am.  That is the only way we can be sure that residents will not continue to suffer from noise disruption. If the Government will not commit to that, they must commission a full independent analysis of the impact of night flights on the health of local communities, the environment and the UK economy to inform future policy development.

Munira Wilson:

My constituency of Twickenham is, of course, that bit closer to Heathrow and further along the flightpath, so I wholeheartedly welcome and support the two asks that she is making of the Minister today about trying to balance the economic benefits of night flights against the health risks and the distress that they cause to constituents. Does she agree that the Government could start by looking at extending the night-time restriction to 10 pm, from 11.30 pm, given the large number of frequent late-night departures that are blighting my constituents’ sleep?

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US Midterms – we’re probably not going to know the Senate result for a while yet…

Good morning, and welcome to our further coverage of the critical US midterm elections. Many thanks to Paul Walter, who set the scene yesterday.

On the plus side, it looks as though the ‘red tsunami’ only just made it to the shoreline, but the prospects still look on the gloomy side. We’ll start with the knife edge that is the Senate, where just one flipped seat (net) would hand control to the Republicans. Starting with Paul’s ‘five to watch’:

New Hampshire was, traditionally, a Republican bastion in New England but, as the southern part of the state has seen a population shift from Massachusetts in search of lower housing costs and lower taxes, voting patterns have shifted. The preferred Republican candidate was Governor Chris Sununu, the son of John Sununu, a former Governor and George Bush’s Chief of Staff, but he chose to seek re-election. That left the Republicans with Don Bolduc, a retired US Army Brigadier-General, whose primary victory was founded on a strong anti-abortion stance and a belief that the 2020 Presidential election was “stolen”. The fact that, having won the primary, he then almost immediately started rowing away from both positions probably explained his subsequent lack of success, as incumbent Maggie Hassan is currently 50,000 votes ahead with about 120,000 left to be counted.

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8 November 2022 – today’s press releases

It’s been another day in which the apparent total lack of understanding of governance has been the undoing of another Conservative minister, and today’s press releases reflect how quickly that can play out…

  • Williamson comments: Independent Cabinet Office investigation needed now
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats Only Party in the Senedd Making a Stand on Human Rights
  • Gavin Williamson resigns: Sunak’s integrity left in tatters

Williamson comments: Independent Cabinet Office investigation needed now

The Liberal Democrats have demanded an immediate independent Cabinet Office inquiry into remarks made by Gavin Williamson, in which he told a senior civil servant to “slit his throat.”

It comes after Number 10 confirmed today Rishi Sunak has full confidence in Gavin Williamson.

The Liberal Democrats said a full and independent inquiry must be carried out immediately by the Cabinet Office Propriety and Ethics team, and the findings must be made public.

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The Conservatives must not be allowed to mark their own homework. We need an independent inquiry now to address these damning allegations about Gavin Williamson’s conduct.

Anything less would be an abdication of leadership from Number 10, and make a mockery of Sunak’s promise to govern with integrity.

The findings must be made public – if the Conservatives have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear.

Every day this scandal drags on means more endless infighting while the Conservatives fail to tackle the pressing issues facing the country.

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++Gavin Williamson resigns from the cabinet

The Guardian reports:

Gavin Williamson dramatically quit Rishi Sunak’s cabinet on Tuesday night after the Guardian revealed claims that he told a senior civil servant they should “slit your throat” while he was defence secretary.

The Cabinet Office minister stepped down after the former Whitehall aide put in a formal complaint to parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), piling more pressure on Sunak over his decision to reappoint his ally.

Responding to the news, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

This should be the third and final time Gavin Williamson is forced out of the Cabinet.

Rishi Sunak has serious questions

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7 November 2022 – today’s press release

‘Full Confidence’ in Williamson shows same old Conservative sleaze

Responding to the news that Rishi Sunak has ‘full confidence in Gavin Williamson despite knowing about the complaint made, Liberal Democrat Cheif Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Different Prime Minister, same old Conservative sleaze.

If Rishi Sunak, had any sense of public duty, he would sack Gavin Williamson now. In any other workplace, someone who behaved as he did would have been rightly dismissed for gross misconduct.

Instead Williamson is being let off the hook by a Prime Minister happy to let his integrity be brought into question on a

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Welcome to my day: 7 November 2022 – the hypocrisy of a “free market”

With the news that nurses have voted to take strike action – and it should be borne in mind that the result of the strike ballot isn’t official yet, merely rumoured – the Sunak administration faces an early test of its popularity (or lack thereof).

Offering 4% would, in most recent years, have been seen as rather good given the ongoing squeeze on public sector pay since 2010. But, with inflation hovering above 10% and effectively higher for those on lower salaries, it comes as another blow to a workforce which knows that it’s running to stand still. Of course, a private sector operation in such a position would have the choice of cutting services or increasing pay to address shortages such as the NHS has – 40,000 nursing vacancies, exacerbated by the loss of EU freedom of movement and the additional costs now incurred by foreign nurses who might think of working here.

Sadly, the Government appears not to understand that the free market applies to public sector jobs too. If you don’t pay competitive salaries, and you require staff to effectively compromise standards in order to achieve throughput, you shouldn’t be surprised when recruitment and retention become a problem. And there comes a point when blackmailing them with “but think of the customers!” doesn’t cut it any more.

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7 November 2022 – the overnight press release

One in four mortgage borrowers fear losing their homes due to unpaid bills

  • New poll reveals homeowners expect their mortgage bills to rise and are worried about losing their home, defaulting on a payment or cutting down on food bills
  • Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called for a Mortgage Protection Fund, to offer grants to struggling homeowners who risk financial ruin whilst interest rates soar

New polling commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has found over one in four mortgage holders (27%) are worried about losing their home due to unpaid bills as interest rates rise. Almost half of mortgage holders (47%) …

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4-6 November 2022 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Philp’s refusal to apologise shows contempt for the public
  • Lib Dems call for legal right to see a GP within 7 days as millions of patients face delays
  • Philp’s Manston comments show “shocking and callous complacency”
  • Liberal Democrats to Back Bill to Protect Powers of the Senedd
  • PM must sack Williamson

Philp’s refusal to apologise shows contempt for the public

Responding to Chris Philp’s refusal to apologise for his role in the mini-budget this morning, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

Chris Philp has shown huge arrogance by refusing to recognise his role in crashing the economy while second in command at the treasury. His legacy will be higher taxes and cuts to public services for years to come.

The British public deserve an apology for the pain he and his colleagues put them through. That he refuses to give one shows the contempt with which he holds us all.

Lib Dems call for legal right to see a GP within 7 days as millions of patients face delays

  • Ed Davey announces plans to give patients a legal right to see their GP within a week, or within 24 hours if in urgent need.
  • New figures reveal a stark postcode lottery with one in four people in some areas waiting over two weeks for a GP appointment
  • Lib Dem Leader says the Govt must increase recruitment and retention of GPs, introduce a 24/7 booking line and cut bureaucracy to free up appointments

The Liberal Democrats have set out plans to give patients a legal right to see a GP within seven days, or within 24 hours if in urgent need.

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President Xi’s next five years – What should Europe’s strategy be?

For readers interested in geopolitics, an event organised by the Federal International Relations Committee may be attractive.

The online webinar starts at 6.30 p.m. on Tuesday evening (8th November) and will be opened by Lord Jeremy Purvis.

George Cunningham, the panel’s moderator, will welcome:

  • renowned sinologist Prof Kerry Brown of King’s College London;
  • Vera Kranenberg, a researcher at the Clingendael China Centre
  • Reinhard Bütikofer MEP, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with China
  • Ms Meia Nouwens, Senior Fellow for Chinese Defence Policy and Military Modernisation at International Institute for Strategic Studies

Anyone interested is asked to register in advance here.

The Federal International Relations …

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Ed Davey’s Autumn Speech in full

Here is the full text of Ed Davey’s speech, given at 1pm today.

Good afternoon friends.

It was an enormous privilege to represent our party, and my Kingston and Surbiton constituents, at the funeral of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Beneath the splendour of Westminster Abbey, surrounded by dignitaries from nations around the world – It was a beautiful memorial to a life of faith, devoted to our country and our Commonwealth. And a poignant celebration of values we all hold dear:

Patriotism. Compassion. Service. Values embodied by Her Majesty.

We thank her again. And we welcome her son, King Charles III, to the

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Watch Ed Davey’s Autumn speech

This post has been deleted.

For Ed Davey’s speech go to www.libdemvoice.org/ed-daveys-autumn-speech-71887.html

 

 

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Autumn Leader’s Speech

We missed our usual Leader’s Speech in September when conference was cancelled following the death of the Queen. So instead Ed Davey will be delivering a major speech tomorrow (Sunday 6th November) from 12.50pm.

You can watch the speech live here.

Whilst most of the speech is under wraps until tomorrow, we have had some trailers, most notably in his proposal to make it a legal right for patients to see a GP within a week.

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Ed Davey calls for legal right to see GP within 7 days

Getting a doctor’s appointment is becoming more and more of a challenge. Whether it means explaining in detail to a non-qualified receptionist who triages requests, or having to grapple with an inflexible online booking system, or having to join a phone queue at 8am exactly, or even filling in an online form just to be put in another triage queue – the processes seem designed to make you think it’s not worth it. They are particularly trying for anyone who is elderly, sick or in pain, or who has a chronic medical condition, and these, after all, take up a large proportion of appointments.

During the pandemic we got used to phone and video consultations, but we all knew these were not the most effective way to make a diagnosis, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that serious conditions were missed. It may still make sense for a doctor to hold an initial remote conversation, but only if an in-person appointment can be made speedily if needed.

But the delays in getting appointments is very real. Years ago no-one would have been offered a GP appointment in two weeks’ time for a new condition, and yet that is what is happening now.

Ed Davey is announcing plans to give us all the legal right to see a GP within a week (or 24 hours if urgent). It is certainly an indicator of the stresses within the NHS if a week’s delay is seen as an improvement. He has unearthed data which shows that 25% of people in some areas have to wait over two weeks for an appointment.  This is in the context of the two week target for suspected cancer cases to be seen by a specialist, where the clock only starts once someone has actually seen their GP. That wait could be doubled if they can’t get a GP appointment immediately.

The proposal is that this right would be enshrined in law, thus putting a duty on the Government to ensure that it happens.  Of course, it can only be achieved if the recruitment and retention of GPs is improved, and that requires action at the highest level.

So watch out for the announcement in Ed’s major speech at the weekend – designed to replace the missed Conference speech. Ahead of that he has said:

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I’m a Westminster celebrity – get me out of here!

Former MPs have livened up reality shows – think Ed Balls on Strictly, Edwina Currie on I’m a Celebrity and Ann Widdecombe on just about everything. And dare I mention that Lembit Öpik became a Pointless Celebrity? All of those had left Westminster behind when they were invited to appear in the shows, so they were free to build their careers in other directions, however bizarre.

However, some were still serving MPs when they were lured into the world of constructed reality. George Galloway famously gave us a cringeworthy performance of a cat on Celebrity Big Brother. Penny Mordaunt belly-flopped in Splash! Nadine Dorries ate unmentionable things in the I’m a Celebrity jungle.

So were they disciplined in the same way as Matt Hancock has been for taking off for a spell in the back yard of a hotel in Australia? George Galloway represented the Respect Party at the time of his embarrassing entry into reality TV – not a party known for its internal discipline. The Conservative whip was removed from Nadine Dorries for some months after her appearance, but her misdemeanour didn’t stand in the way of her becoming Culture Secretary. Penny Mordaunt was criticised by the Opposition but was not penalised by her party, probably because Splash! was not so much of an … immersive … experience.

Tim Farron reveals that he has been asked to appear in a number of similar shows.

(Tim Farron) said the TV appearances would have been great fun but that his job was to serve his constituents and not swan off for weeks on end doing reality TV.

If you do, by any chance, tend to watch I’m a Celebrity I think you know who to vote for the Bushtucker trials this year.

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3 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Bank of England rate rise: Chancellor must address the country
  • Asylum seekers abandoned – Braverman failing in her duty as Home Secretary
  • Elin Jones Wrong to Defend Mark Drakeford’s Qatar Trip Say Lib Dems
  • Number of GPs and GP Practices in Wales Fall
  • Interest rates: Chancellor must address the country with a plan to save homeowners
  • Davey: Recession warning a “badge of shame” for Rishi Sunak and Conservative government

Bank of England rate rise: Chancellor must address the country

Commenting ahead of today’s interest rate decision from the Bank of England, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

The Chancellor must address the country immediately after the rate rise decision to spell out a plan to save homeowners on the brink. He should either come to Parliament or hold a press conference to announce support for families facing mortgage bill rises worth hundreds of pounds a month.

Hardworking families are being left to pay the price for weeks of Conservative chaos. People are desperately worried about how they are going to pay these frightening mortgage payments after tomorrow.

The Government cannot hide away, especially after their long list of economic failures.

Asylum seekers abandoned – Braverman failing in her duty as Home Secretary

The Liberal Democrats have warned that Home Secretary Suella Braverman is “failing in her duty” as Home Secretary, after reports asylum seekers have been left stranded in central London by the Home Office.

It comes after Robert Jenrick emphasised last night on ITV’s Peston that the Home Secretary has a duty not to release asylum seekers into destitution.

Suella Braverman also assured Parliament on Monday that she had refused to release people into local communities “without having anywhere for them to stay”.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Asylum seekers being abandoned with no place to stay in central London is the most blatant sign that the system is completely broken.

Suella Braverman is failing in her basic duty as Home Secretary. She needs to urgently explain how this has been allowed to happen, despite the assurances given to Parliament earlier this week.

It’s intolerable that vulnerable people are being left without help because of the endless chaos and incompetence of this government.

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Ed Davey on Peston: Braverman, carer support and getting elected

Sir Ed Davey appeared on ITV’s Peston last night.

Peston suggested that since Rishi Sunak had arrived in No 10, the Lib Dems had been in reverse in the polls. Rejecting that and talking about the three by-election wins in Chesham and Amersham, Tiverton and Honiton and North Shropshire, Ed said:

A lot of people said we won because people were turning away from Boris Johnson… I knocked on doors. I talked to people. What we found that they were rejecting the Conservative Party. They were doing it because of health matters, like ambulances, huge delays in getting access to GPs or NHS dentists. They felt the Conservatives had taken them for granted and were just out of touch… We found lifelong Conservatives rejecting the Conservative Party. Whether its Sunak or Johnson it doesn’t really matter.

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2 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak at COP27: PM embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance
  • Welsh Government Must Do More to Combat Fuel Poverty
  • Matt Hancock should resign and trigger by-election
  • Welsh Conservatives Dysfunctional, Divided and Ineffective
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats – Welsh Government Must Change Their Mind on COVID Inquiry

Sunak at COP27: PM embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance

Responding to the news that Rishi Sunak will now be attending COP, Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said:

This whole debacle has shown the environment is simply not a priority for Rishi Sunak. He’s only going after being embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance.

We need action rather than just attendance from the Prime Minister. Building more renewables, the cheapest and most popular form of energy, and insulating our cold and draughty homes will accelerate progress towards net-zero, cut energy bills and increase the UK’s energy security.

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Wendy Chamberlain to lead Policy Commission on ending men’s violence against women

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has asked his Deputy Wendy Chamberlain to lead a Policy Commission on ending men’s violence against women and girls. Wendy, as the only former woman police officer in the House of Commons, is best placed to lead this work.

Back in March 2021, in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder, Scottish Liberal Democrats called on the Scottish Government to create such a Commission to look at all aspects of tackling this scourge on our society.

Since then the Government has made little progress.

Alex said:

In 1623 John Donne wrote, “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind”. I’ve always found that to be such a Liberal sentiment.

Well Conference, any woman’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in womankind.

And right now, in the villages and cities of Iran, we see women fighting for their lives against the vicious morality police, fighting against the twisted interpretation of Islam used to justify and normalise the brutality of men.

They are casting off hijabs and cutting their hair in the name and in the memory of Mahsa Amini.

And Conference, whether it is in faraway Isfahan or nearby Clapham Common, that brutality is still far too normal an aspect of modern life.It’s why the phrase, ‘she was only walking home’, has now become an epitaph. 

Conference, we cannot go on like this. I am tired of waiting for the Scottish Government to act on Liberal Democrat proposals, led by Caron Lindsay, to establish a taskforce to better shape our policy response to this grim reality.

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We should be talking about Lib Dem Councils Building new homes 

One of the achievements of Lib Dem controlled  Councils  has been a focus on building social and affordable housing – but it’s not one the Party has made much of. Given that access to housing is one of the key issues in our society that seems a  pity.

In York for example the Lib Dem run council is focused  on increasing the number of  affordable homes  – 447 have been delivered in the last 3 years – and the numbers are increasing year or year. The Council is planning to have delivered  no less than 600 affordable  homes in it’s 4 years term and to have done so while protecting the local Green Belt.

Even better many of these are being delivered to ‘Passivhaus ‘ standards meaning that they are  much  better for the environment.

In Kingston we are doing something most Labour councils say is impossible – building new council  housing – and new housing build to the highest environment standards. .As the Portfolio Holder for Housing , Clr Emily  Davey says -“providing homes which meet our residents needs is a priority for us.”

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1 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • BP profits demonstrate utter incompetence of government
  • Hotels for migrants in non-Tory areas is “party first, country last” approach
  • Matt Hancock should lose his MP salary while he’s in the jungle

BP profits demonstrate utter incompetence of government

Responding to the news this morning that BP has announced £7.1bn in underlying profit, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

These profits demonstrate the complete and utter incompetence of this Conservative government. As families and pensioners across the country struggle to pay their energy bills, BP are posting unimaginable profits raking off the backs of hard-working people.

Liberal Democrats proposed a strong windfall tax over a year ago, yet the Conservatives have only attempted an incredibly weak version. Clearly, they’ve been too busy with their own chaos to act.

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