Press Briefing – 25th March 2020

Davey: We must urgently put in place remote working for Parliament

Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has called on political parties and parliamentary authorities to work together to urgently put in place remote working for Parliament in response to the Covid-19 crisis. He said:

“It is right that Parliament physically closes to keep people safe, including parliamentary staff, but this cannot mean an end to scrutiny of the Government.

“The political parties and parliamentary authorities must now work together to urgently put in place remote working for parliament – so MPs can continue to represent our constituents, raise urgent issues with Ministers and hold the Government to account for its response to this crisis.

“Businesses of all sizes have found ways to keep going through video conferencing and other technology, so it cannot be beyond the wit of Parliament to do the same.

“Parliamentary scrutiny is more important than ever during a national emergency, especially given the emergency powers needed to keep people safe. Liberal Democrats will be carefully scrutinising the Government’s use of these powers to make sure they do not curtail individuals’ rights and freedoms any further than necessary.”

ENDS.

Govt unlawfully undermined UK’s commitment to eradicate death penalty

 

Responding to the Supreme Court judgment against the government in Elgizouli v Secretary of State for the Home Department, handed down today, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said:

“The UK has long had a proud commitment to eradicating the death penalty across the world. An important part of that is securing assurances that the death penalty will not be used when we help other countries prosecute criminals.

“It is shameful that this Conservative Government has undermined that commitment by unlawfully providing evidence to prosecutors in the US without even seeking death penalty assurances. We must not allow Conservative Ministers to compromise our values because of pressure from Donald Trump’s administration.

“The UK must oppose the death penalty in all circumstances and all countries. Liberal Democrats have been calling for an end to Ministers’ power to decide not to seek death penalty assurances, and today’s judgment makes clear why that is necessary.”

ENDS

Govt should turn day-one Universal Credit loans into grants immediately

Responding to reports that that the Government has refused to axe the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments despite an additional 500,000 claims in 9 days, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

“The Coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat with millions of families facing financial hardship.

“There are therefore legitimate questions that the Prime Minister must answer over his Government’s failure to act more quickly and compassionately for the huge numbers of people now facing a sudden financial crisis.

“With more and more people needing to apply to universal credit, we must ensure all who are eligible and need support are getting it – and quickly.

“A five week wait has always been too slow and frankly unacceptable.

“That is why Liberal Democrats have been calling on the Government to turn day-one Universal Credit loans into grants immediately and guarantee anyone who is laid off receives at least 20 days of full pay, starting now.”

ENDS.

 

 

 

* Cllr. Tahir Maher is a member of the LDV editorial team (Wednesday's). I would like to encourage members to write more articles on climate change 🙂

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3 Comments

  • David Evans 25th Mar '20 - 2:24pm

    Very sensible. We know the Conservatives cannot be trusted and we cannot allow democratic accountability to be dumped simply because the old fashioned ways of working are dangerous.

    Out with the old and in with the new!

    P.S. No disrespect David Raw, John Marriott et al 😉

  • Agree entirely that there should be remote working of parliament, and note the comment that the technology already exists. I see, thanks to the government that they are asking governing bodies of schools to meet remotely at present. I have to say how much the information from the government has improved, so there must be the expertise there already.
    I also believe that this should be looked on a long term project. In other words at for meeting there should be a justification given for a traditional meeting rather than a remote one.
    The party needs to look at this too. How can their meetings be held remotely, and allow for members to watch? This is something that members could be asked to share any expertise. Especially if they in a position to suggest the most cost effective means, and demonstrate it. If there are trials then members can help to evaluate arrangements.

  • There is a danger that this crisis accelerates an already alarming rate of reduction of inter-personal connection and prefers remote ones. A fear of receiving and giving infections gives ample reason not to socialise to a society already preferring the ease of social media interactions. The government must conduct a campaign of physical interaction, preferably in nature to bring us back to our origins.

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