Category Archives: News

Tiverton and Honiton: Hurford comes out of the cold

The battle is hotting up in Devon. The Conservative candidate Helen Hurford has this week come out from hiding and has been allowed to speak to the national media. The i has the story.

I couldn’t help raising a smile when Hurford started talking about herself in the third person: “Helen Hurford has a six-point plan to deliver… and she will fight with all the gusto and passion that she has.” That sounds like she was reading from one of her own leaflets or a script from CCHQ, only she had forgotten that it was about her.

In contrast to Hurford’s somewhat stilted comments, Richard Foord comes across as quietly confident. Maybe I am biased, but as this juncture in a by-election we can win, I think we are entitled to be a bit biased.

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Ambulance response targets for life-threatening calls missed in all Devon

Devonlive reports today that the target for ambulances responding to life-threatening calls is now being missed in all of Devon’s seven local districts. Patients in Mid Devon waited an average of over 15 minutes for life-threatening calls in 2021, longer than anywhere else in the county. Category 1 calls cover the most serious incidents such as a cardiac arrest or heavy bleeding and should be responded to within an average of seven minutes.

The average waiting time for Category 2 calls in the county has more than doubled over the past year to 49 minutes, way above the target of 19 minutes.

The data was obtained by the Liberal Democrats from the South West Ambulance Trust through a Freedom of Information request.

Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper called for urgent action from the government to support ambulance services in rural areas like Devon. She said the Lib Dems have set out a rescue plan including more investment in local ambulance services, enabling trusts to bring back community ambulance stations in rural areas and launching a campaign to recruit and retain more paramedics.

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Welsh Lib Dems call for end to Cardiff Airport £210m black hole

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Labour Government to outline plans to end what it describes as Cardiff Airport’s blackhole on taxpayers’ money.

Figures released by the Welsh Government yesterday show that passenger numbers at the airport continued to decline in 2021 from 2022, despite less travel restriction being in place. According to the data released, passenger numbers declined by 44 per cent in 2021 to 123,000.

The Welsh Government bought Cardiff Airport in 2013, despite former Assembly Member Eluned Parrott and the Welsh Liberal Democrats warning of the massive risk the purchase posed to Welsh taxpayers.

Since then, passenger numbers have never met the Welsh Government’s own targets and the airport was valued as just £15 million despite being purchased for £52 million in 2013.

Overall, over £210 million of Welsh taxpayers’ money has now been spent on the airport with various Government loans, cash injections and debt forgiveness being introduced. The airport’s high expenditure has caused the Welsh Liberal Democrats to label the project Welsh Labour’s biggest white elephant. The party also argues that the Welsh Government owning and subsidising an airport is incompatible with its climate goals.

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Gove approves gas drilling alongside Surrey Hills

Surrey Hills is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and yet this Government, in the person of Michael Gove, has just given planning permission for oil and gas drilling adjacent to it.

The report by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities states that “there are significant harms to the character and appearance of the landscape from the proposal,” and that it would “degrade the quality of the setting of the AONB.” But it dismisses these concerns and claims they are outweighed by the benefits of gas exploration.

Where to begin? Are we or are we not in the middle of a climate emergency? Oil and gas drilling should not be permitted even in the ugliest of industrial landscapes, but to allow it here, in a precious and unique landscape, is simply vandalism.

Ed also said:

The best way to improve energy security is to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, by investing in renewables and insulating people’s homes. Instead this Conservative government is trashing our environment by allowing oil drilling in green fields for years to come.

He is joined in condemnation by our two Parliamentary candidates in the area:

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Lib Dems to table motion of no confidence in Johnson (updated)

Early this afternoon, Lib Dem MPs will table an Early Day Motion of no confidence in the prime minister Boris Johnson.

Earlier Davey tweeted:

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Johnson survives… for now… Liberal Democrats respond

211-148 does not make for a secure mandate, especially given the scale of the payroll vote. But, at least for the time being, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson continues as Prime Minister.

Liberal Democrat President Mark Pack probably best sums up the outcome from a Liberal Democrat perspective;

Deputy Leader, Daisy Cooper, expresses what many will be thinking;

Tim Farron makes the point that Boris doesn’t believe in the same rules that the rest of us do;

But whilst there is almost certainly political advantage to be had, the country will continue to suffer under his chaotic, dishonest leadership. Anyone who believes in good …

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That Tory memo calling for “Conservative Corbyn” Johnson to go

Over the weekend, a memo circulated among Tory backbenchers setting out the case for Boris Johnson to go. It is striking how scared the Conservatives have become of the Lib Dems, with the memo writers predicting that we could take seats with Conservative majorities of up to 20,000 in the Blue Wall.

The memo writers also suggest that if Johnson survives by a slim majority, he will call an early general election to restore his personal mandate.

We should make the Conservatives paranoia a reality by ensuring we win in Tiverton and Honiton. Please help this weekend if you can. We must ensure that Richard Foord is elected on 25 June and drive home the message that the Tories are not fit to govern. There are both volunteer activities in the constituency and regular Maraphone sessions.

The full Tory memo is below.

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It’s on! Conservative MPs to vote on Boris’s future this evening

Well, that didn’t take long…

So, what is a good result for Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, how much of a margin does he need to feel safe? And what does it mean for the Opposition parties?

Here’s what Ed Davey has to say;

Every Conservative MP must do the right thing and kick out this dishonest Prime Minister from Number 10.

There is simply no excuse for backing Boris Johnson. He broke the law and partied while millions of people did the right thing and followed the rules during the pandemic, even when it meant being unable to see their loved ones.

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Carmichael: SNP’s selfishness over windfall tax shows they are not a progressive, centre-left party

Writing in The Scotsman yesterday, Alistair Carmichael said:

Kirsty Blackman MP, speaking on the BBC earlier this week, made clear the SNP’s outrage that North Sea oil and gas profits might be used to support the wrong sort of struggling family – that is, struggling families who live south of the River Tweed.

Scotland’s self-proclaimed “progressive” party of government has decided that solidarity and support for hard-up people across the country during the current crisis is a bridge too far. In doing so, the SNP have reminded us all of a fundamental truth – nationalism and progressive politics simply do not mix.

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Alex Cole-Hamilton’s Platinum Jubilee tribute to the Queen

Today Scottish political leaders paid tribute to the Queen’s 70 year reign. This is what Alex Cole-Hamilton had to say:

During the Queen’s reign she has seen 14 Prime Ministers come and go and has met with 13 out of the last 14 US Presidents. She has represented this country and the Commonwealth around the world with unfaltering poise and distinction.

In a world that can sometimes seem sadly and increasingly defined by shallow self-interest, Her Majesty has long served as an exquisite example of the best of Britishness: humility, service, dedication to duty, dignity, and forbearance.

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Ed Davey’s Platinum Jubilee Message

As the nation gets ready to either throw themselves into bunting and street parties or steadfastly ignore what is going on, Ed Davey paid tribute to the Queen:

I would like to pay tribute to Her Majesty’s remarkable reign which has been the bedrock of our country for the past 70 years. The Queen has led our country through both good and challenging times, and for that we owe Her Majesty a great gratitude.

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Queen’s Birthday Honours

We have scanned the Honours List but couldn’t spot any Lib Dems this time.

Of course, members may be honoured for their professional  as well as their political achievements, so do please tell us of anyone we should be congratulating. Drop an email to [email protected] and we’ll add them to this post.

 

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Ed Davey on Queen Elizabeth, jubilees and parachuting monarchs

A week ago, Lib Dem leader Ed Davey joined members of the House of Commons in paying tribute to the Queen.

Davey said: “The whole country will agree that our Queen has more than fulfilled her promises made to our nation. With her sense of selflessness and her steadfast commitment to the nation, these values and her service have defined Her Majesty’s seven-decade reign and will continue to define her. The unwavering nature of her service and duty is made all the more remarkable by the length of Her Majesty’s reign.”

Reminiscing about the silver jubilee, he said: “My strongest memory of 1977 is the Queen’s smile and personal delight as Virginia Wade won Wimbledon. My fingers are crossed that Emma Raducanu might serve up something similar later this year.”

Davey said the highlight of the diamond jubilee in 2012 was watching the Queen parachute down to the opening ceremony of the summer Olympics. Asking Queen Margrethe of Denmark when she was taking up parachuting. She replied: “When I’m over 80.”

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Stuck at the airport?

The scenes at the airports this week have been rather worrying.

OK, so in the grand scheme of things arriving a day late at a holiday destination may not appear to be a serious matter, but for the families involved it can be very challenging. Some are trying to have their first family holiday since the pandemic, and in many cases this has involved some belt-tightening as the cost of living spirals upwards.

Anyone who has travelled with young children will know how frustrating it can be when plans are upset. Amongst those caught up in the chaos are people with disabilities, children on the autistic spectrum and elderly people, all of whom will not find the delay and long queues easy.

Sarah Olney is our Transport spokesperson and she issued this statement yesterday:

The scenes at our airports are nothing short of a disgrace. Families are being left marooned for hours on end with no guidance from airlines or Ministers.

We need action now to break the deadlock and to save families from yet more travel carnage.

Yet travellers haven’t even heard a peep from Grant Shapps this week. The Transport Secretary has gone missing in action when the public will be looking to him for help. This is nothing short of a failure of leadership on his part.

It’s about time he fronts up for that failure with an apology to those who have had their travel plans derailed, and finally begins giving daily press conferences on the situation. Hiding away isn’t good enough – Shapps must face the music and scrutiny about his lack of preparedness for the Jubilee Bank Holiday logjam.

Since then Shapps has popped up and made some comments, mainly blaming the travel companies for overselling holidays. He has asked for a meeting with the leaders in the travel industry.  He said:

Despite government warnings, operators seriously oversold flights and holidays relative to their capacity to deliver. This must not happen again and all efforts should be directed at there being no repeat of this over the summer – the first post-Covid summer season.

Sarah has made this suggestion:

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Four ways you can help us win Tiverton & Honiton

As you might be aware, there is a ridiculously important by-election going on in Tiverton and Honiton, in our former heartlands of the West Country.

More than that, we can win it and deliver the death knells to Boris Johnson’s premiership and get our country back from the quasi-mob outfit currently running the show.

However, to get a decent government of the United Kingdom back that doesn’t deport refugees to Rwanda, we badly need to get down and volunteer in Tiverton and Honiton.

Here are four ways you can help:

  1. Get down yourself, there are members willing to host volunteers, so your cost of

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UK and Europe: Offshore island or part of the main

It is back! The Social Liberal Forum Conference will be held in London after a two year gap. It will be held at Resource for London, 356 Holloway Rd, London N7 6PA and online on 25th June 2022.

We are delighted to be able to give you a first glimpse of the programme. An impressive list of speakers will lead off our discussions on Britain’s role in Europe. We are concentrating on three key areas

  • Environment
  • Economy
  • Security

Although Brexit has allegedly happened and Boris Johnson pretends the UK’s focus is on the “Indo-Pacific”, wherever that may be, and the government sees trading with Australia and the USA as the future, we remain part of the continent of Europe and must not throw away the history of peace, prosperity and environmental protection built by the European Union.  This conference asks the question, how are we to continue to co-operate with our close friends and allies in Europe and who are those friends?

Speakers include former Liberal Democrat MEPs Phil Bennion, Jane Brophy and Rebecca Taylor, leaders of our Social Liberal Dutch colleagues D66, Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP and Gijs de Vries – who formerly was State Secretary of the Interior in the government of The Netherlands and the EU’s first Counter Terrorism Co-ordinator.

The economy session speakers are Professor Chris Grey (author of the ‘must read’ Brexit & Beyond blog) and Will Hutton of the Observer and the author of “The State We’re in” – the biggest selling politico-economic work since the Second World War.

In addition we will be joined by our own Duncan Brack, Wendy Taylor, Denali Boisot, Gordon Lishman, Louise Harris and Baroness Julie Smith.

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Welcome to my day: 30 May 2022 – “what do you mean, it’s not a bank holiday?”

Not much tends to happen here on a Bank Holiday, which makes the job of a Day Editor a mite easier. And then the Queen has a platinum jubilee and the usual schedule gets disrupted…

And I ought to wish Her Majesty the very best on her big day – it really is remarkable that she has reigned for seventy years, demonstrating her sense of duty and adherence to a code of behaviour and decorum alien to her Prime Minister. She’ll be a difficult act to follow and I do wonder what role a new monarch will have in a post-Elizabethan age.

Mind you, you have to wonder what will be left of ethical governance by the time Johnson has left office. The Gray Report hardly demonstrated any sense of adherence to a moral or ethical code and the reports that, far from being a true reflection of events, it was doctored in order to prevent exposure of the failings and misdeeds of key players at the heart of this administration, suggests that there is no level to which they will not stoop.

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Davey: We’ll work with others to out this indecent government

In a podcast interview for Politics Home, Ed Davey said there is no formal pact with Labour but it was simply rational behaviour for both parties to put their resources where they have the best chance of winning.

He said the Lib Dems intend to take on Labour in areas where we can think we can beat them.

The interview also covered Partygate, the economy and the cost of living crisis, Tiverton and Honiton, and Lib Dem values.

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Farron: Farmers at sharp end of cost of living crisis need support

Writing in The House yesterday, Tim Farron said:

British farming communities are a crucial cog in the cost of living fighting machine. But farming families themselves are facing an even more acute cost of living emergency.

He said input costs are spiralling making crops and livestock more expensive to produce. In 12 months, the price of animal feed has shot up by 60 per cent. In some cases, fertiliser prices have quadrupled because production uses gas. Twelve months ago, a tonne of ammonium nitrate fertiliser cost £280 – it now costs £1,000.

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Independent View: Lib Dems are turning heads in the Tories’ rural heartlands. Here’s how they can win over countryside voters for good

The recent local election results continue to demonstrate that rural support for the Conservatives is dwindling.

Their loss was, by all appearances, the Liberal Democrats’ gain. Where the Conservatives faltered, the Lib Dems thrived: in newly created council Westmorland and Furness, they took 36 seats compared to just 11 for the Tories, and in the Conservative stronghold of Somerset, they won 65 seats compared to a meagre 36.

Our recent opinion poll could well have predicted this Conservative downfall in the countryside. Published just weeks before locals took to the ballots, it indicated a 7.5% drop in support for the Conservatives.

Should the governing party continue on this downward trajectory, the results could be an indication of more big wins to come for the Lib Dems.

This is by no means a foregone conclusion, however. To ensure local election wins are converted into seats at the next General Election, there is no room for complacency.

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Ed Davey highlights “Sunak Scam” and other Lib Dems respond to Chancellor’s statement

Ed Davey was unimpressed with the package announced by Rishi Sunak aimed at helping people with the soaring cost of living.

He described it as the “Sunak Scam.”

The Chancellor is hammering families with a £800 tax hike this year, more than wiping out what he announced today.

It is the Sunak scam, promising you help but picking your pockets while you’re not looking.

Soaring inflation and devastating tax rises have left proud families who never dreamed they would find themselves in trouble struggling to pay the bills.

The British people need help right now, but instead have been left abandoned again for months on end.

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Progressive Lib Dem Labour Partnership takes helm in Powys

Powys County Council is to be led by the Welsh Liberal Democrats for the first time since its creation, in a partnership with Welsh Labour. Previous administrations have been led by independents.

James Gibson-Watt, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Group Leader on Powys Council, was elected as Leader of the Council at the Council’s AGM this morning, becoming the first Welsh Liberal Democrat Council leader since 2012.

The agreement between the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Welsh Labour will focus on delivering a fresh and distinctive path to meet the serious challenges the county faces. A Green Party councillor is expected to join the partnership.

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Reactions to the Sue Gray report

Ed Davey spoke in the Commons following the Prime Minister’s statement on the Sue Gray report.

As you might expect, other Lib Dem MPs also expressed their anger.

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Partygate – what advice?

We are expecting Sue Gray’s report today, so I thought you might like to be reminded of the advice we were being given by the Prime Minister during the pandemic.

For example, this was from the very early days of lockdown.

Ans this one was a few days before the party in the garden at Number 10.

And this one, just two days before a gathering at Number 10 to say farewell to two members of staff, which the Police have said did breach the rules.

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Ed Davey: Call COBRA meeting over further Ofgem cap rise

As if people weren’t already struggling with just about everything going up very steeply in price, Ofgem said today that further pain is on the way. A further rise in the energy price cap means that households could be paying another £900 per year come October. This would be an almost doubling of the cap in 6 months and would be disastrous for people who were finding impossible to afford the basics before April’s rise.

Ed Davey has called on the Government to declare a national emergency and convene a special energy COBRA meeting to chart a way forward.

He said:

It is now or never to save families and pensioners on the brink. The government must declare the cost of living crisis a national emergency.  Boris Johnson has sat on his hands for months, he cannot waste a single second longer.

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Lib Dems table motion to publish minutes of Johnson and Sue Gray meeting

The Liberal Democrats will today table a motion in Parliament to force the Government to release the minutes of Boris Johnson’s meeting with Sue Gray.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain will lay a Humble Address motion in Parliament, calling on the Government to publish the details of the meeting, including who was responsible for arranging it.

The motion will also call for the publication of all contact between Johnson and Gray during the course of the inquiry into breaches of coronavirus regulations in Downing Street.

This step comes following speculation over the origin and contents of the meeting between …

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Welsh Government seriously out of step with the rest of the UK on building safety scandal

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have accused the Welsh Government of being “seriously out of step” with the rest of the UK when it comes to addressing the building safety scandal. The accusation comes after the Scottish Government announced that some of the country’s largest housing developers have agreed to work with the Scottish Government towards the remediation of buildings affected by cladding and fire safety issues.

The announcement follows one by the UK Government last month that major developers will contribute towards remediation costs in England. This leaves Wales as the only GB nation where major developers have not …

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Welcome to my day: 23 May 2022 – g’day everyone!

An unpopular right-wing administration against a rather bland Labour leader results in a collapse of the Government’s vote and, potentially, a change in direction… for Australia. Is it a portent for what might come to pass here at some point between now and 2024? Ah, well that’s the 64,000 dollar question, isn’t it?

Mind you, at the rate at which Conservative MPs are being accused, or in some cases found guilty, of illegal or unwise behaviour, the Government may run out of supporters. And who could have predicted that, in a week in which the Prime Minister focussed on crime at a Cabinet away day, that most of the news would be about him not being fined despite being at parties for which others were fined. Or that a Conservative MP would be arrested over claims of rape, indecent assault, sexual assault, abuse of a position of trust and misconduct in public office and another accused of the use of date rape drugs in Parliament? And what is the Government response to these stories? Silence.

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WATCH: Lib Dem campaign launch in Tiverton and Honiton

Yesterday, Ed Davey went to Honiton to eat ice cream, wield some oranges and launch Richard Foord’s campaign to win the Tiverton and Honiton by-election. There were lots of activists there to help.

Local Devon Live reporter Lewis Clarke posted a long video including chats with Ed, Richard and Lib Dem activists on the doorsteps. It’s a lovely watch. And there is a cute dog. What more encouragement could you want to help Richard?

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Richard Foord selected as candidate in Tiverton and Honiton by-election

Congratulations to Richard Foord who has been selected as our candidate in the Tiverton and Honiton by-election on 23rd June!

Richard lives in the constituency and is a former Army Major who served as a UN peacekeeper in Kosovo. He currently works for a University and volunteers for the Scout movement. He has also run the London marathon for the Royal British Legion.

You can read more about him on his personal website here and on the Liberal Democrat website here.

Ed Davey said:

Richard is an incredible candidate, whose dedication to others has shone not only through his career, but also in his voluntary roles in the community.

This by-election will be a two-horse race between Boris Johnson’s Conservatives and hard-working Liberal Democrat local champion, Richard Foord. This Conservative government has taken Devon for granted with local health services being neglected and botched and with trade deals undercutting farmers at every turn.

The Liberal Democrats are the clear challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton & Honiton. On 23rd June, you can elect a strong local champion who will stand up for our communities and help kick Boris Johnson out of Number 10.

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