Ed Davey on Kuenssberg: Lib Dems could make real gains at this election

It was Ed Davey’s turn to be interviewed by Laura Kuenssberg this morning.

Her first question was from a sub post master who actually compared Ed to Boris Johnson because of the various attention grabbing stunts. How can this encourage trust?

Ed replied that all these stunts have engaged people.

We’re talking about social care and cost of living and the environment. I am determined in all the seats we can win that people hear about what the Lib Dems stand for from our local champions. We could make real gains at this election.

We are taking the voters’ concerns really seriously. I don’t take my self too seriously but we don’t take ourselves too seriosly. When I came down that slide, we were talking about our policy on improving mental health for children. We want to see a qualified mental health professional in every school, paid for by rise in Digital Services Tax.

Kuenssberg asked him about the protections for whistleblowers in the Lib Dem manifesto and pressed him (again) on his actions when he was Post Office minister. Those proposals are:

Ensure justice for the victims of scandals and prevent future scandals, including
by:
• Providing full and fair compensation to all victims of the Horizon Post Office
scandal and the Infected Blood scandal as quickly as possible.
• Protecting whistleblowers by establishing a new Office of the Whistleblower,
creating new legal protections, and promoting greater public awareness of
their rights.
• Introducing the Hillsborough Law: a statutory duty of candour on police
officers and all public officials, including during all forms of public inquiry and criminal investigation.

Ed responded that it was vital to protect whistleblowers because it was the
whistleblower from Fujitsu whose evidence in 2015 provided a huge step forward for the sub-postmasters getting justice. Their revelation that the Post OFfice was lying to ministers was crucial to getting this sorted.

He said that he took Alan Bates’ issues really seriously and was the only one who put his concerns to the Post Office in any level of detail but he was lied to.

We need to change the system – we have seen it in contaminated blood and Hillsborough. You can’t run a system if people are lied to. Lib Dems have led on whistleblower protection and duty of candour.

Kuenssberg then turned to the issue of carers, and acknowledged how Ed had talked of his own caring experience.

However, she challenged him on the Coalition Government’s record. During 2010-15, social care spending had been cut in real terms. Did he regret that?

Ed could point to the Care Act of 2014 which, he said, would have improved care for people from 2015-16 as something we had contributed to that made life better for carers and those they care for. He added that we had stopped the Conservatives making the exact cuts to the social security budget that they made with indecent haste when we were out of the picture.

He said he was proud that we are taking forward plans to improve care which were hugely important to help the health service. It’s worth pointing out that Labour’s Wes Streeting had earlier described our plans as good. Let’s hope he is in listening mode if he becomes Health Secretary if Labour win.

Ed said:

I have a whole lifetime of caring. My experience and that of millions of carers out there shows that family carers are critical. I want to help family carers. We have had a really strong response from carers who see that we get what they are going through.

Kuenssberg then challenged him on the tax rises set out in our manifesto. Ed said that all we were dong was taking tax on big banks back to where it was in 2016 and the changes to Capital Gains Tax would affect the richest billionaires.

Are we to left of Labour, Kuenssberg asked? The answer was clear.

We are the Lib Dems. The more people look at us the more they know they can get a local champion who will take forward the issues they care about.

Watch here from about 52 minutes in.

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6 Comments

  • Peter Martin 16th Jun '24 - 12:07pm

    I’d say Lib Dems would make even more gains if they pointed out the flaws in Labour’s policy and also drew attention to the inconsistency, and integrity, of Keir Starmer. What he’s been saying since he won the Labour leadership is quite different from what he said beforehand and when he was a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet.

    It looks like Labour is on course for a huge majority. The Labour right will no doubt be crowing that it was an abandonment of socialism which has enabled their great triumph.

    Not so fast. The latest polling shows that Labour support is also falling sharply but their lead is being maintained because the Tories’ support is falling even faster.
    A better comparison will be the % of the vote won by Starmer next month and the 40% won by Jeremy Corbyn in 2017. It won’t be an ideal comparison because even Theresa May’s campaign was nowhere near as bad as Sunak’s has been this time. If he’s wrong footed anyone by calling the election much earlier than he had to it has been mainly those who were organising his own campaign.

    It does remain to be seen whether Starmer will beat the 40% “pass mark”. My guess is that he won’t.

  • I care for my disabled brother who is blind and severely autistic, with no help from anyone .WHY,when I received my basic state pension,did the government automatically take away my carer’s allowance.It is so unfair.I have worked all my life,it is NOT a benefit.All I can claim now is Pension credit.£39.95 per week.How is that acceptable? If he was in a care home it would cost the government £1500 per week, yet I am supposed to care for him 24 hours a day,7 days a week for £39.95. That equals 31 pence per hour.
    Recently I had a cataract operation at King’s College hospital.I had noone to leave him with so phoned social services and asked if someone could sit with him for the afternoon….this was the manager’s reply. ” You are a very strong carer and your brother is verbal, we have absolutely noone available unless you have a total mental breakdown.”
    I am exhausted and no politician EVER mentions this.Thousands of older carers are in my situation and are just dismissed and the problem is swept under the carpet.

  • Chris Moore 17th Jun '24 - 8:07am

    This is precisely why Ed Davey is making caring the focus of our campaign.

    As someone who was cared for with chronic health problems in my 20s and later has been a carer to sick older relatives, it’s about time a party took carers seriously.

  • Christopher Haigh 17th Jun '24 - 11:59am

    Jacky Webb, I can empathise with you completely. Having. to become a carer is horrendous from a financial aspect justt at a time when your emotions are shot. The DWP is very unhelpful in terms of advice. If you are dependant on your own resources as a widower say the situation is not good.

  • James Fowler 18th Jun '24 - 8:47am

    If we make appreciable gains at this election, and it seems that we will, what are we going to do with them?

    At the moment not being the Tories is enough, but, if we do sustain a party of 30-50 MPs, sooner or later we’ll be back to 2010 and having to make a choice about who we are in coalition with.

    The most important thing to acknowledge is that Labour will be no easier than the Conservatives. The moment that we do have 30-50 MPs, we need to start planning and setting down the principles of how a future coalition would work.

  • David Blake 18th Jun '24 - 2:12pm

    I’ve just watched today’s Politics Live. Yet again it’s had a Conservative candidate (former MP) and a former Conservative adviser on a 4 person panel. They spent the entire programme shouting their heads off, condemning Labour’s policies, or what they thought were Labour’s policies and saying very little about their own. It was a disgrace. It’s getting to the point where this programme is so biased that it’s beginning to sound a little like GB News. And throughout the entire programme the words Liberal Democrat’, ‘Green’ and ‘Reform’ were not heard at all. I despair.

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