Category Archives: Press releases

23 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Government refuse to address evictions loophole leaving 55,000 households at risk
  • Short-term plans no replacement for full Budget

Government refuse to address evictions loophole leaving 55,000 households at risk

Today, the Conservatives blocked the Liberal Democrats’ attempt to close the loophole in the Government’s legislation to end the eviction ban, which has left an estimated 55,000 households at risk of being evicted since Monday.

The motion, put forward by the Liberal Democrat Housing spokesperson in the House of Lords, Baroness Grender, would have effectively abolished the Government’s Statutory Instrument, forcing Ministers to address the issue.

The motion was defeated 126 votes to 266.

Following the vote, …

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22 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Government must make more help available to pubs and restaurants
  • Liberal Democrats secure urgent question to challenge Government on eviction loophole
  • PM must take responsibility for failings in test and trace system

Government must make more help available to pubs and restaurants

Responding to reports that the PM will set a 10pm closing time and only allow table service in restaurants and pubs, leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

For millions of people this will feel like a step backwards. After months of disruption to our daily lives many will feel anxious and worried about this latest development.

The Government must immediately put forward a detailed plan to fix the track and trace system, which is the only way to avoid further measures being necessary.

The Prime Minister must also financially help pubs and restaurants who will inevitably lose business. After people have already been through so much hardship, we cannot allow thousands of jobs to disappear overnight.

Liberal Democrats secure urgent question to challenge Government on eviction loophole

Today, Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson Tim Farron has secured an Urgent Question in the House of Commons following a loophole in the Government’s legislation to end the eviction ban, which has left an estimated 55,000 households at risk of being evicted since Monday.

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22 September 2020 – the overnight press release

Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for the rule of law

Speaking after tonight’s votes on the Internal Market Bill, where 255 MPs voted against the Government breaking international law, Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

Liberal Democrat and Alliance MPs took a clear stand for the rule of law and for stability in Northern Ireland against Boris Johnson’s tactics to violate the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

With members across the house joining to stand for what’s right and voting against the Government, Boris Johnson must take this as a clear message: there is no consensus in Parliament about his disregard for the

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21 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Ministers must put energy into fixing test and trace to “get a grip” on virus
  • PM must fix the test and trace system

Ministers must put energy into fixing test and trace to “get a grip” on virus

Following today’s briefing from Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, warning of “significant rates of transmission” of coronavirus in parts of the UK, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

People right across the country will be alarmed to hear that, despite the heartbreaking sacrifices of these past six months, we are now facing a second wave of this dreadful virus. It’s clear that there will be difficult times ahead.

There is no excuse for the fact that our test and trace system has been barely functional for weeks. Rather than talking up their “moonshot” plans for future testing, Ministers should be putting all their energy into getting the system sorted right now to get a grip on the virus.

Equally, given the rapid changes in regulations, Ministers must also ensure crystal clear communication about new lockdown restrictions. This is about making sure people know the best ways to protect themselves and their loved ones, and that our hospitals, care homes and schools have all the equipment and resources they need to reduce the risk of transmission.

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18 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • “Overpromising but underdelivering” on testing will damage public trust in Government
  • Davey: PM must protect lives and livelihoods ahead of second wave

“Overpromising but underdelivering” on testing will damage public trust in Government

Responding to reports that the R rate has risen to between 1.1 and 1.4 in the UK, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:

Figures showing the rapid spread of COVID will cause untold worry to families across the UK. Many will be disheartened to see the return of necessary restrictions on their daily lives.

We were promised a “world-beating” test and trace system to prevent a second wave.

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16 September 2020 – the overnight press release

Bill introduced to restore scrutiny of international aid

The Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support for a Bill being introduced today which would create a new select committee to scrutinise Overseas Development Assistance expenditure by the Government.

The move, supported by former International Development Committee Sarah Champion and former DFID Minister Harriett Baldwin, follows the Prime Minister’s decision to abolish the Department for International Aid and rumours the Chancellor now intends to scrap foreign aid.

Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain, who is bringing in the Bill, has stressed the need to ensure “that where UK aid is delivered, it …

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15 September 2020 – today’s press release

Staggering job losses show need to extend furlough

Responding to ONS figures showing that the economy shed 695,000 jobs between March and August this year, Liberal Democrat Economy Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

These staggering job losses are yet more evidence of why the Chancellor should be extending the furlough scheme, which has so far protected 10 million jobs, until the middle of next year.

People have a right to expect that their Government will stand by them in exactly the way that Rishi Sunak promised when he said he would “do whatever it takes.

The Liberal Democrats’ are clear that the Government must

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14 September 2020 – today’s press release

With UK reputation on the line, the fight is far from over

Responding to votes tonight in the House of Commons on the Internal Market Bill, Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

With our reputation around the world on the line, the fight is far from over.

The excuses we have heard for breaking international law from the mouth of the Prime Minister show the depths to which the Conservative party has plummeted.

Backbench Conservative MPs have a duty to follow their conscious and show Boris Johnson that his reckless approach will not be tolerated.

The Liberal Democrats will continue the fight to remove

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11-13 September 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Long-term furlough extension essential to protect jobs
  • Economic contribution of UK-Japan trade deal will be “drop in the ocean”
  • COVID-19 testing falling dangerously short of expectations
  • New Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader commits to building “winning campaign machine”
  • Accepting rule of law appears optional for Ministers under Boris Johnson

Long-term furlough extension essential to protect jobs

Responding to ONS figures showing that UK GDP grew by 6.6% in July 2020, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

We mustn’t let these figures disguise the fact that the economic crisis caused by coronavirus is far from over. As we approach winter, countless people are worrying about their jobs and livelihoods.

The current increase in COVID-19 cases means the danger of more restrictions and job losses is very real. The Government must announce a long-term extension to the furlough scheme into 2021 to protect jobs and begin to rebuild our economy.

And to be breaking international law and indulging in brinkmanship with the EU in the current economic climate is irresponsible and shows a recklessness with all our futures. The Prime Minister must immediately row back on plans to breach international law and work for the best possible deal for UK workers and businesses.

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10 September 2020 – today’s press release

PM must stop playing fast and loose with rule of law

Responding to the statement by the European Commission confirming that, if adopted as it stands, the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill would “put at risk the ongoing future relationship negotiations”, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

No one can really be surprised that the measures the UK Government have brought forward have put the likelihood of a trade deal in jeopardy.

This proposal undermines trust and the UK’s standing on the world stage. The Government must now act swiftly to erase anything that violates international law or that could undermine

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9 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats call out PM’s “brazen hypocrisy” on rule of law
  • Liberal Democrats call on Govt to extend furlough to boost economic recovery
  • Government must make Covid test available to all that need one

Liberal Democrats call out PM’s “brazen hypocrisy” on rule of law

The Liberal Democrats have demanded the Prime Minister explain his “brazen hypocrisy” given his Government’s readiness to break international law with the Internal Market Bill, while expecting “everybody in this country to obey the law.”

The accusation follows an exchange at Prime Minister’s Questions today where Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson asked “If Ministers think it is acceptable for this Government to not obey the law, how on earth can the Prime Minister expect the public at home to do so?”

Despite confirmation yesterday from the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis that the proposed Northern Ireland customs legislation “does break international law”, the Prime Minister told the House of Commons that he expects “everybody in this country to obey the law.”

The Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham has called on the Prime Minister to make a statement clarifying his Government’s “precise position” when it comes to upholding the rule of law.

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson said:

Testing one’s eyesight, natural justice, and only breaking the law in a limited and specific way. All excuses used by this Government for their disregard for the rule of law.

It seems it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us. At a time when the coronavirus crisis is taking an enormous toll, following guidelines is saving lives. Instead of showing leadership, this Government is setting all the wrong examples and in doing so risking lives.

This brazen hypocrisy has to stop. The Prime Minister must come forward and clarify his precise position when it comes to upholding the rule of law, here in the UK and internationally.

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8 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Latest resignation shows damaging consequences of PM’s Brexit approach
  • Liberal Democrats condemn Government for “destroying” UK reputation on the world stage

Latest resignation shows damaging consequences of PM’s Brexit approach

Responding to news that Sir Jonathan Jones, head of the UK Government’s legal department, has resigned following the Government’s decision to introduce legislation which would undermine key aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The head of the Government’s legal department quitting over Boris Johnson’s approach to Brexit should signal how serious a situation this is.

For Johnson to think it is acceptable to row back on international agreements

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5-6 September 2020 – the weekend’s press release

Government must support local councils instead of imposing top down reorganisation

Ahead of the Government’s motion on the Local Government Boundary Commission tomorrow, Liberal Democrat Local Government spokesperson Tim Farron said:

The Chair of the Local Government Boundary Commissions looks like they’re going to have a lot on their plate. Just last week the Tories proposed abolishing nearly every council and replacing them with larger, less accountable, ‘super-councils.’

At a time when local authorities and the government are struggling to tackle the pandemic, it is not the time for a reorganisation of deckchairs on the titanic.

Liberal Democrats believe change should come from the

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4 September 2020 – today’s press release

NAO report shows Government has made a dog’s dinner of Brexit

Responding to a National Audit Office report on the Government handling of Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

With the combination of coronavirus creating uncertainty for people’s lives coupled with this Brexit shambles, we cannot afford for the Prime Minister to continue playing politics.

How Boris Johnson ever thought he could get a deal by the end of July with the chaos behind the scenes in Whitehall is beyond me. Even he must realise the dog’s dinner he has made of Brexit.

Now is the time to put people first.

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3 September 2020 – today’s press release

3 in 10 still not being contacted to isolate

Responding to the Government missing its 80% target for a tenth consecutive week, with more than 3 in 10 close contacts of people testing positive for COVID-19 not being contacted, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

With children going back to school, the priority has to be keeping people safe. Instead, Ministers have failed to deliver a comprehensive strategy to test, trace and isolate every case of coronavirus.

It is utterly unacceptable. The public deserves to know what is going wrong. That’s why the Liberal Democrats are calling for an independent inquiry

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2 September 2020 – today’s press release

Education Secretary must come clean about what he knew, and when

Speaking after the Chair of Ofqual told MPs today that it was a “fundamental mistake” to believe a controversial algorithm initially used for A-level and GCSE results would “ever be acceptable to the public”, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

The A level scandal caused untold distress and anguish for too many young people.

It is now clear as day that the Education Secretary stubbornly refused to heed warnings about this approach and that the decisions which led to this fiasco were firmly in his hands.

Pupils and parents need

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2 September 2020 – the overnight press release

Liberal Democrats join health organisations in warning about PHE shake-up

Responding to a joint statement by 70 health organisations and alliances expressing concerns about the reorganisation of public health now underway, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

By scrapping the body at the core of our public health response to this global pandemic shows the Government has simply got its priorities all wrong.

There are no two ways about it, Ministers are attempting to deflect responsibility from their own mistakes with a top-down reorganisation.

Now is not the time to rearrange the deckchairs. Now is the time to listen to the experts who

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1 September 2020 – the overnight press release

Bill introduced to give health and care workers right to remain

The Liberal Democrats will today introduce a Bill calling on the Government to offer indefinite leave to remain to foreign nationals currently working in the health and social care sectors.

Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine, who is moving the Ten Minute Rule Bill, has warned it is unacceptable that people who put their lives on the line during Covid-19 should not be welcome to stay.

The Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support from Labour, Conservative, SNP, Green, Plaid, DUP and Alliance MPs.

Ahead of the Bill’s reading on Tuesday, Christine

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29-31 August 2020 – the Bank Holiday weekend’s press release

Scrapping foreign aid shows Government abandoning world stage

Responding to reports that the Chancellor is set to scrap Foreign Aid, Liberal Democrat International Development spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said:

For too many vulnerable people in need around the world, UK foreign aid has made the difference between life and death.

Despite previous assurances, the mask has now slipped and we can see the callous Tories for who they really are.

By scrapping foreign aid, the Government is abandoning the world stage and turning a blind eye to the crippling poverty children face around the world.

Now more than ever we need oversight and

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22-28 August 2020 – the week’s press releases

It’s summertime, not much happening at Westminster, and most attention on the Liberal Democrats was focussed on the leadership contest. Time to catch up with what you might have missed…

  • Cost of tackling food crime soars more than 1000% due to Brexit, Liberal Democrats reveal
  • Boris Johnson put saving his advisor above the national interest
  • Williamson allowing someone else to take the blame for exam fiasco
  • Liberal Democrats: Missed test and trace targets show need for inquiry

Cost of tackling food crime soars more than 1000% due to Brexit, Liberal Democrats reveal

The Liberal Democrats have revealed the cost of the National Food Crime Unit, vital in making sure food sold in the UK is safe, has seen costs soar by more than 1000% in the past five years as a direct result of Brexit.

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron warned the cost of Brexit is “increasingly clear” and urged Ministers to uphold high food safety standards and prevent the UK being “flooded with cheap imports that put our health at risk.”

Figures uncovered by a Liberal Democrat freedom of information request have revealed the NFCU budget has gone from a budget of just £420,739 since it’s creation in 2015 to more than £5.7m in 2020/21.

The extra funding comes via the expanded Food Standards Agency budget, in order to facilitate NFCU readiness for “any risks or opportunities presented by the UK’s exit from the EU.”

Liberal Democrat Food and Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron:

We all want to know what’s in every product we consume, and have faith that it’s correctly labelled.

While it is right the Government provides essential funding to tackle food crime, we cannot ignore the fact that the costs have gone up more than 1000% as a result of Brexit.

The true cost of falling out of the EU is increasingly clear. As Ministers struggle to cut trade deals, we are set to lose access to many protections that will cost millions to replicate here in the UK.

To end the uncertainty and prevent soaring costs, the Government must commit to upholding our high food safety standards, supporting British producers and ensuring our markets are not flooded with cheap imports that put our health at risk in the future.

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Liberal Democrats call for a rail fare freeze

Liberal Democrats call for a rail fare freeze

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a freeze on rail fares following the announcement that the Retail Price Index rose by 1.6% in July, which will be used to calculate the increase in fares at the end of the year.

The Liberal Democrats suggest that any increase in fares would be “a slap in the face” for consumers. Given the significant drop in passenger numbers due to COVID-19, the Party is calling for fare freezes to help restore confidence in the railways.

The Party want to see additional funding to increase capacity and build a …

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21 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • The Chancellor needs an ambitious plan to save the economy
  • Government continue to threaten economic recovery
  • “Shameful” that bereaved families of NHS and care workers risk losing access to welfare benefits
  • Extending eviction ban nothing more than kicking the can down the road
  • Brexit reality falls short of rhetoric again as “no deal” threat looms

The Chancellor needs an ambitious plan to save the economy

Responding to reports that debt has increased to over 100% of GDP for the first time since 1961, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

This news must not be used as a reason for the Government to make cuts or return the country to austerity.

We know that borrowing is historically incredibly cheap, so it is absolutely clear that borrowing money to boost the economy is the best way to get public finances back on track.

The Chancellor must be far more ambitious in his plans to rescue the economy. The Liberal Democrats have called for a £150bn Green recovery plan to boost the economy and create thousands of new jobs.

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20 August 2020 – the day’s press release

Homelessness figures demand urgent need to extend eviction ban

The Liberal Democrats have urged the Government to extend the eviction ban, after official figures revealed thousands of families in private rented accommodation were deemed at risk of homelessness.

According to official statistics, 38,450 households were assessed as being threatened with homelessness, with another 36,690 were assessed as homeless from January to March 2020.

Around a fifth of households who were homeless or threatened with homelessness cited the end of a private rented tenancy as the reason for losing their last settled home.

The figures also revealed that 2,320 households were rough sleeping in …

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19 August 2020 – the day’s press releases

  • Government must publish DfE’s correspondence with Ofqual
  • Moran: Government bumbling from one crisis to the next

Government must publish DfE’s correspondence with Ofqual

Responding to reports that the Education Secretary has conceded it was Ofqual’s decision to scrap the algorithm and move to teacher assessments, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

It appears that the decision to scrap the deeply unjust grading by postcode system came from Ofqual, not Gavin Williamson. Yet just days ago the Education Secretary claimed credit for this U-turn and attempted to throw the regulator under the bus.

The Government has serious questions to answer over what looks like a

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18 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats call on PM to sack Gavin Williamson for “slow-motion car crash” on exams
  • Rise in depression demands urgent action
  • Decision to scrap PHE shows Government has got its priorities “all wrong”

Liberal Democrats call on PM to sack Gavin Williamson for “slow-motion car crash” on exams

The Liberal Democrats have called on Boris Johnson to sack Gavin Williamson, criticising attempts to pass the buck onto Ofqual for the exams grading fiasco.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran has called on the Prime Minister to personally apologise to students and warned that the Government’s failure to take responsibility …

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17 August 2020 – today’s press release

PM must apologise over grade award “shambles”

Ahead of the expected announcement that all A level and GCSE pupils in England are to get their teacher assessed grade, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Despite the warnings, the Education Secretary’s botched handling of grade awards has left countless young people stressed and anxious. The Prime Minister must show leadership and personally apologise for his Government’s shambles.

This expected U-turn is victory for common sense and rightly answers calls from Liberal Democrats and others, but it should never have gotten this far.

While it is embarrassing for the Government, it has been excruciating for

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15-16 August 2020 – the weekend’s press release

Algorithm used for A-Levels and GCSEs should be scrapped

Responding to reports that the exams regulator is reviewing its guidance on how to appeal A-level and GCSE grades using mock exam results, just hours after publishing it, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Young people are being let down, and the confusion and uncertainty emanating from the Government is only making the situation worse. Things are getting ridiculous.

There has been mistake after mistake after mistake with Gavin Williamson over the last few of months.

The algorithm used for A-Level grades has clearly not worked and therefore should be scrapped with teacher grades

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15 August 2020 – the overnight press release

Appeals cost u-turn alone will be cold comfort, Liberal Democrats warn

Responding to reports that the Government will cover costs of all appeals after thousands of students have not secured places at their first choice universities due to downgraded results, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

For the young people who have worked so hard to not get the results they deserve, through no fault of their own, this annoucement alone will be cold comfort.

While this should never have been needed, it is right the Government has listened to the Liberal Democrats and others and u-turned.

Ministers must also now ensure that

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14 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats call on Williamson to resign in the face of grades chaos
  • Plummeting health visitor numbers demand action, Liberal Democrats warn

Liberal Democrats call on Williamson to resign in the face of grades chaos

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran has described Gavin Williamson as “out of his depth” and said that he must go in the wake of yesterday’s “shambolic” grade outcomes.

Moran’s push for Williamson to resign follows criticism of the Secretary of State’s errors through the COVID-19 crisis, from the failure to ensure disadvantaged pupils had access to remote learning devices to botched efforts to open schools more widely before the pandemic was under control.

The Party are calling for all pupils to have a right to appeal their grade awards with no charge, and the chance to sit the examinations at the earliest possible date at no cost. They are further demanding that the Government urge universities to be lenient in admissions requirements.

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The shambolic handling of A-level results has left many young people in crisis. Despite the warning signs from Scotland, the Education Secretary pushed ahead with plans which ignored teachers’ advice and have disproportionately affected pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. With this unfair system, he has created untold confusion and distress.

Gavin Williamson is an Education Secretary out of his depth and out of excuses. He must take responsibility for his mistakes and step down with immediate effect. Our young people and our country cannot afford these blunders to continue into September, ahead of a potential second wave.

If the Government continue to refuse to put their trust in teachers predictions, they must ensure every pupil has the right to appeal free of charge, and the opportunity to sit these examinations should they wish. We also need to see clear guidance from the Government to universities to ensure greater leniency in admissions decisions.

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14 August 2020 – the overnight press releases

  • Rise in discrimination towards BAME people since lockdown must be tackled
  • Government must compensate people forced to miss work in order to quarantine

Rise in discrimination towards BAME people since lockdown must be tackled

Responding to a University College London study that found BAME groups were most likely to report facing discrimination since lockdown began, Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Everyone should be free to live their lives without fear of discrimination, abuse or violence. Reports that Black, Asian and minority ethnic people have been most likely to experience discrimination since lockdown began is deeply alarming.

All of us with a public platform must stand up to those whose language and actions spread hate – whether based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or anything else.

The Home Secretary must step up and tackle this appalling trend head-on. That work must be part of a wider effort to tackle systemic racial inequality, which is why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to implement a Race Equality Strategy.

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