Tag Archives: Alex Cole-Hamilton

24 July 2024 – yesterday’s press releases

  • Crime Stats: Conservative failures mean victims of crime don’t know if they will see justice
  • Conservative Leadership: a group of arsonists asking for a new box of matches
  • Scot Lib Dems issue warning over worst hit rivers for sewage dumps
  • SNP Government dodges question of its backing for Heathrow third runway
  • Welsh Lib Dems call on new Welsh Labour leader to “restore trust in Welsh Politics”
  • Councils agree to seek meeting with Government over pay deals and bin strikes

Crime Stats: Conservative failures mean victims of crime don’t know if they will see justice

Responding to the latest crime statistics showing that an average of 5,829 crimes went unsolved every day in the year ending March 2024, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

Years of Conservative neglect and failure to give the police the resources they need and put bobbies on the beat mean that now victims do not know if they will ever see justice after facing these invasive crimes.

The former Home Secretary now wants to run for Conservative party leader, yet he couldn’t even get the basics of his last job right.

Cleverly’s crime catastrophe shows how utterly unfit the Conservatives were for government and why the country voted so decisively for change with a record number of Liberal Democrat MPs elected.

The new Labour government must now address these Conservative failures, put more police on the streets, make communities feel safe again and ensure victims get the justice they deserve.

Conservative Leadership: a group of arsonists asking for a new box of matches

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23 July 2024 – yesterday’s press releases

  • Lib Dem amendment to the King’s Speech selected for vote
  • NAO Health Report: Heart of govt’s agenda must be rescuing the NHS
  • EA Annual Report: public sick to the back teeth of polluting firms
  • Cleverly: A failed Conservative minister with a tarnished legacy
  • New figures show sewage dumping higher in 2023 than previously known

Lib Dem amendment to the King’s Speech selected for vote

The Liberal Democrat amendment to the King’s Speech has been selected for a vote expected around 7pm this evening.

The amendment calls for a range of measures including free personal care in England, better support for carers and a cross-party commission on social care to provide the desperately needed long-term reforms to the sector. It also calls for the scrapping of the two child benefit cap.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

I am proud the Liberal Democrats have tabled this amendment to the King’s Speech to stand up for care and carers. We will be the voice of carers in this Parliament and work with others to find solutions to the big challenge of social care.”

Millions of people voted for the Liberal Democrats because they wanted us to deliver change and a fair deal. Now, from our plan to tackle the sewage scandal to more support to fix our NHS and care, Liberal Democrat MPs are making the case for just that in Parliament today.

NAO Health Report: Heart of govt’s agenda must be rescuing the NHS

Responding to the National Audit Office report which said that the ‘scale of the challenges facing the NHS today and foreseeable in the years ahead is unprecedented’, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

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18 July 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Covid Inquiry Report must be a moment for change
  • Chamberlain tables two child benefit cap parliamentary motion
  • Sadiq Khan refuses to back removing the two-child benefit cap
  • Cole-Hamilton: Scotland badly let down by SNP Government’s pandemic planning

Covid Inquiry Report must be a moment for change

Commenting on the first Covid Inquiry Report, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

Today’s damning findings confirm in black and white what we unfortunately already knew.

Our hearts go out to all those who lost loved ones during the pandemic, yet sadly these findings of systematic and political failings will provide little comfort for thousands of grieving families.

Today must be a moment for change. The country was badly let down during the pandemic and this new government must ensure that lessons are learnt swiftly.

The Liberal Democrats called for an inquiry in 2020, and we will continue to demand that the full facts are known about every aspect of this catastrophic failure.

Chamberlain tables two child benefit cap parliamentary motion

Wendy Chamberlain MP for North East Fife, has tabled a Parliamentary motion calling on the Government to remove the two-child limit on social payments in the first Budget.

Statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions state that 1.6 million children are affected by the two-child benefit cap. The cap also imposed employment barriers on parents who have less income available for childcare costs as a result.

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A “herbivorous showpony” – behind the scenes of the Scottish Manifesto launch

As we reported yesterday, the Scottish Lib Dems launched their manifesto at the beautiful Craigie’s Farm near South Queensferry. If you are in the area, do pop in for a visit, pick some fruit, enjoy the gorgeous views and buy some lovely food and drink from the shop and cafe. You can even order online.

The event looked great. There were a couple of hiccups though.

Frankly, Wendy Chamberlain should get danger money for appearing with leaders. In 2021, Willie Rennie accidentally hit her with a shinty ball during a photo opportunity for the Holyrrod Elections.

Yesterday, they let Alex Cole-Hamilton loose with a tractor. When Ed Davey did similar for the local elections last year, he demolished a mock up of a blue wall. Alex nearly demolished his deputy leader, not once, but twice.

The BBC have a video here.

Thankfully Wendy survived and she was much more forgiving than we would have been. Later she and Alex recorded a video about the event:

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Cole-Hamilton and Chamberlain launch Scottish Manifesto with focus on carers, warm homes and agriculture

 

Alex Cole-Hamilton and Wendy Chamberlain have launched the Scottish version of our manifesto.  

At a farm inAlex’s Edinburgh constituency (photo of Alex driving a tractor to follow), they set out plans to fix the broken care system, invest in Scottish agriculture and ensure everyone has a warm home.

At the heart of the proposals is a £500 million rescue package for care, enabling people to be released from hospital, relieving pressure on the NHS and giving a fair deal to family carers. It will:

  • Create a new Carer’s Minimum Wage, boosting the minimum wage for care workers by £2 an hour;
  • Give unpaid carers a fair deal, lifting Carer’s Allowance/Carer Support Payment by £1,040 a year and removing the earnings cliff-edge.

Other key proposals include:

  • Establish the world-class mental health services Scotland needs, meaning every school pupil has fast access to a mental health counsellor, new mental health staff working alongside GPs and A&Es, and extra help for businesses, backed by £150m from taxing social media companies;
  • Deliver £170m more for Scottish agriculture;
  • Generate an extra £1 billion in capital funding for Scotland which  could be used to build new local health facilities, tackle the housing emergency, end the scandal of crumbling concrete in public buildings, and stop sewage dumping.
  • Make homes warmer and cheaper to heat with a ten-year emergency upgrade programme, starting with free insulation and heat pumps for those on low incomes.

At the launch, Alex said:

Every vote for the Liberal Democrats at this election is a vote to elect a strong local champion focused on getting you fast access to GPs and dentists, and giving our nation’s carers a fair deal.

We will stop sewage being dumped in our rivers, lift up Scottish education, and deliver warm homes that insulate you from the cost of living crisis.

Our vision is of a better Britain where we work in partnership, restoring your faith in politics and fixing our broken relationship with Europe.

Just like they Conservatives, the SNP have got to go. Only the Scottish Liberal Democrats can beat the nationalists in huge swathes of Scotland.

Hope and change are just around the corner, you only need to vote for them. Back the Liberal Democrats for a fair deal for you, your family, and for Scotland.

On the plans to fix care and the NHS, Alex added:

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WATCH: Our new Party Election Broadcast featuring health and carers

A “Young Carer’s Premium” to help young carers in school is just one of the measures the Lib Dems would implement to help and support carers. In the latest video he talks to a young woman, in the middle of her A levels, who cares for her autistic brother.

Ed said:

When I speak to young carers and listen to their experiences, it’s clear they have so many skills and so much to offer. But many just aren’t getting the support they need to balance their education with caring for loved ones.

“We need to support those who give so much of their time to caring. No young carer should fall behind the rest of their class.

“Our plans for a Young Carers Pupil Premium would help these fantastic young people fulfil their potential. I am proud that the Liberal Democrats are putting a fair deal for young carers at the heart of our plans.

Here’s the broadcast in which he talks to people across the UK with experience of caring and cancer services.

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11 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems call for “Clean Water Authority” to tackle sewage dumping and overhaul failing water industry
  • Conservative manifesto: no one will believe what they’re promising
  • Suspected drug deaths increase by 10%

Lib Dems call for “Clean Water Authority” to tackle sewage dumping and overhaul failing water industry

  • Ed Davey announced plan to launch the Clean Water Authority, a tough new regulator with powers to tackle sewage dumping and reform the water industry in England and Wales
  • Water companies would be required to publish real-time data on the volume of sewage they dump into rivers
  • Analysis reveals Conservative MPs voted over 1,600 times against tougher measures to tackle sewage dumping in last Parliament
  • Leader Ed Davey said the bold proposals “will end the Conservative sewage scandal once and for all” and clean up our waterways

The Liberal Democrats have today announced plans to launch the Clean Water Authority, a tough new regulator with powers to take decisive action against failing water companies over the sewage scandal.

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7 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Davey: Sunak leaving D-Day early a “dereliction of duty”
  • Lib Dems pledge to create new National Parks
  • D-Day: Lib Dems call on Sunak to donate Hester £5 million to a veterans’ charity
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats commit to returning UK to Erasmus
  • Lib Dems call for new protections for rivers and coastlines as sewage dumped over 83,000 times in Welsh waters last year

Davey: Sunak leaving D-Day early a “dereliction of duty”

Responding to reports that Rishi Sunak left D-Day commemorations in Normandy early, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

One of the greatest privileges of the office of Prime Minister is to be there to honour those who served, yet Rishi Sunak abandoned them on the beaches of Normandy. He has brought shame to that office and let down our country.

I am thinking right now of all those veterans and their families he left behind and the hurt they must be feeling. It is a total dereliction of duty and shows why this Conservative government just has to go.

Lib Dems pledge to create new National Parks

  • The Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a pledge to create at least three new National Parks, with additional funding to boost the National Parks budget
  • Ed Davey said that the proposals would help “protect our beautiful countryside for the next generation” and make good on the “broken promises of the Conservative Party”
  • The party sets out plans where the Chilterns, Surrey Hills, and North Downs could be among the first new National Parks created in 14 years

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to create new National Parks across England, Ed Davey will announce today.

The policy would lead to an expansion of National Parks by adding at least three new parks to the existing ten in England, with new funding of £50m a year for new and existing National Parks.

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6 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems pledge to transform parental leave with £2.4 billion investment including doubling of statutory maternity pay
  • Hester: How low can the Conservatives go?
  • Conservative announcement “not worth the paper it’s written on”
  • Welsh Lib Dems commemorate 80th anniversary of D-Day
  • Temporary NHS staff spend reaches record high under SNP
  • Cole-Hamilton: SNP Government must accept failures on M9 crash

Lib Dems pledge to transform parental leave with £2.4 billion investment including doubling of statutory maternity pay

  • The Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a plan to transform parental leave, including doubling Statutory Maternity Pay to £350 a month
  • Proposals also include increasing paternity pay and creating an extra use-it-or-lose-it “dad month”, to encourage more fathers to take parental leave
  • Ed Davey says Lib Dem proposals would give parents “the choice and flexibility they need”

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has announced his party’s manifesto will include an ambitious plan to transform parental leave, including doubling Statutory Maternity Pay to £350 a week and introducing a use-it-or-lose-it “dad month” of paid leave for new fathers.

The party’s bold plans for reform also include making paid parental leave day-one-rights at work, rather than the current 26 week period which means those in new jobs don’t qualify, and extending them to self-employed parents.

As well as raising Statutory Maternity Pay, the Liberal Democrats would increase paternity pay to 90% of earnings and create a new use-it-or-lose-it “dad month,” encouraging more fathers to take parental leave. The party argues this would increase choice for families and help more new fathers take time off work to spend time with their child in those crucial first weeks and months, in turn helping Mums to stay in their chosen careers.

Currently, low rates of statutory maternity and paternity pay are not high enough to give parents a real choice, while the UK’s two weeks of statutory paternity leave lags far behind most advanced economies. Around a quarter of fathers are not eligible for paternity pay, either because they are self-employed or because they have not been with their employer continuously for six months.

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5 June 2024 – the Scottish and Welsh press releases

  • Scottish Liberal Democrats launch plans to end SNP’s sewage scandal
  • Rennie responds to SNP’s national education agency announcement
  • “Vaughan Gething must go” – Welsh Lib Dems react to no confidence result

Scottish Liberal Democrats launch plans to end SNP’s sewage scandal

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain have today said the SNP Government is “neck-deep in failure” as they launched their party’s plans to clamp down on sewage dumping in Scotland’s rivers during a campaign visit to the River Almond.

Research by the party shows that sewage was dumped in the River Almond for a total of 148 hours in 2023 alone. This figure could be much higher as only one part of the river is monitored for sewage overflows. Residents living near the Almond claim that the water has become discoloured, stating that “foaming and fungus” had appeared in its surface.

Across Scotland, there were more than 21,000 sewage dumps logged in 2023 alone, up from 19,676 in 2022. However, the problem is likely to be far worse because only a small fraction of sewage discharges are monitored.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have launched plans for a Clean Water Act that would see:

  • Scotland’s Victorian sewage network updated;
  • Every sewage dump monitored and published with binding targets for their reduction;
  • A blue flag system for Scotland’s rivers;
  • A complete ban on the release of sewage in protected areas such as bathing waters.

The proposals for Scotland are part of a UK-wide campaign by the Liberal Democrats to clean up waterways and get governments to take action.

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4 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Long-term sickness risks £18 billion black hole under Conservatives as Lib Dems call for mental health MOTs
  • Debate: The country deserved better than that
  • Cole-Hamilton: SNP’s mishandling of health costing the economy
  • Welsh Lib Dems react to school year announcement
  • Cole-Hamilton: SNP have failed to get to grips with A&E crisis
  • Mental health treatment targets missed again
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats: SNP must go further and faster with rail travel

Long-term sickness risks £18 billion black hole under Conservatives as Lib Dems call for mental health MOTs

  • The Liberal Democrats announce regular mental health ‘MOT’ checks at key points in people’s lives including for new parents and retirees
  • Ed Davey said the Prime Minister’s “failure to cut NHS waiting lists is damaging the economy” and party’s new commitment would “help people get back to work”
  • Analysis reveals that over the course of the next Parliament long-term sickness could cost the economy £18.3 billion

Record levels of long-term sickness under the Conservatives are set to blow an £18.3 billion black hole in the public finances over the next Parliament, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The party said it shows that Rishi Sunak’s failure to bring down NHS waiting lists is holding the economy back and costing taxpayers billions.

Each person out of work due to long-term illness costs an average of £5,200 in lost tax revenue, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility. The latest figures show a shocking 2.8 million people were out of work due to ill health in February 2024, up around 700,000 compared to the start of this Parliament in 2019. It means the rise in long-term sickness under the Conservative Party is leading to a staggering loss of almost £3.7 billion in lost tax revenue per year, or £18.3 billion over the next parliament.

Rishi Sunak recently admitted the government has failed to cut NHS waiting lists with 6.3 million people still waiting for treatment, double the number since 2015. Over 1.35 million (53%) of those inactive because of long-term sickness reported that they had a mental health condition such as depression, bad nerves or anxiety.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the introduction of regular mental health check-ups at key points in people’s lives when they are most vulnerable, to help tackle the root causes of the mental health crisis. This would include new parents, children and young people, men in their 40s, carers and retirees, all of whom are at high risk of mental ill health.

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3 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Ed Davey launches plan for free personal care to end hospital crisis and help people stay in their own homes
  • Chamberlain: Liberal Democrats will restore public service to our politics
  • McArthur responds to SNP Government scrapping recycling target
  • Alex Cole-Hamilton’s opening statement in STV Leaders’ Debate

Ed Davey launches plan for free personal care to end hospital crisis and help people stay in their own homes

  • Liberal Democrats announce groundbreaking plans to offer free personal care to all those who need it
  • Ed Davey will put care at the heart of the Liberal Democrats’ plan for the country, becoming the first ever party to have a dedicated chapter in manifesto on care
  • Latest figures show over 12,700 hospital beds taken up by patients ready to be discharged with some waiting months
  • The party’s flagship social care announcement will be funded by reversing tax cuts given to big banks by the Conservatives

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will today launch a bold plan to fix the social care crisis, including providing free personal care to help elderly people stay in their own homes for longer.

The groundbreaking policy would revolutionise the care system in England and alleviate pressure on the NHS, by providing free personal care for everyone who needs it. The plan would help more people to receive the care they need in their own homes and prevent people having to sell their house to pay for personal care.

Personal care covers nursing care, help with mobility, hygiene and medication, whether people are in their own home or a care home. Those needing residential care would still have to contribute towards their accommodation.

Ed Davey, who has been a carer himself throughout his life, said that too often family carers were being left to “pick up the pieces” because the care system wasn’t there for them. He added that fixing the care crisis is fundamental to tackling the crisis facing the NHS.

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2 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems call for new protections for rivers and coastlines as sewage dumped over 100,000 times in bathing water areas
  • Rennie writes to Justice Secretary following FAI report on M9 crash
  • Cole-Hamilton responds to £450m EU funding revelation
  • Cole-Hamilton speaks ahead of first Scottish leaders’ debate

Lib Dems call for new protections for rivers and coastlines as sewage dumped over 100,000 times in bathing water areas

  • Rivers to be given new protected status against sewage discharges with current government scheme branded “toothless”
  • Party uncovers water firms have discharged sewage over 100,000 times in current bathing water status areas
  • Lib Dems set out “boldest manifesto on cleaning up our rivers and coastlines”

The Liberal Democrats have announced a massive expansion of marine protected areas and a new Blue Flag status for rivers will be included in their general election manifesto.

In response to sewage being pumped into bathing water status rivers, the party has announced plans for new Blue Flag rivers, setting legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping in those sites. Blue Flag rivers would give special protected status for swimmers and wildlife.

The current government bathing water scheme has failed to protect waterways from sewage discharges by only requiring increased water quality testing. Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found since 2020, water companies have discharged sewage into bathing water areas 105,347 times, equating to a staggering 694,487 hours worth of sewage.

The two worst offending companies were United Utilities, which dumped sewage into the Lake District, and South West Water, found to be polluting beaches in Cornwall and Devon.

The Liberal Democrats are also announcing new plans to protect coastal marine wildlife, which would see the expansion of the blue belt of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to cover at least 50% of the UK territorial waters by 2030.

Marine environments are currently in a state of crisis due to sewage and plastic pollution. The new target on MPAs would be achieved by working in partnership with UK Overseas Territories, as well as mandating the government to monitor the sites.

The latest announcement on water quality follows the party announcing its plans to abolish Ofwat, introducing a new regulator with greater powers, as well as a ban on water company executive bonuses.

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1 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • 100,000 households face mortgage rate hike by polling day as Conservatives face ‘blue wall reckoning’
  • Conservative community care annoucement papering over NHS cracks
  • Pride Month: Welsh Liberal Democrats pledge to keep fighting for a more inclusive society
  • Welsh Lib Dems call for more trains on Heart of Wales line
  • Cole-Hamilton: Liberal Democrats will deliver a fair deal for local communities

100,000 households face mortgage rate hike by polling day as Conservatives face ‘blue wall reckoning’

  • A typical mortgage holder will see their payments rise by £240 a month
  • Over 3,300 households a day set to see their mortgages rise between now and polling day on 4th July
  • Liberal Democrats warn that Rishi Sunak faces a “blue wall reckoning” with mortgage holders in key battleground seats among the hardest hit

100,000 households will face a mortgage increase between now and polling day on 4th July, House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has found.

This amounts to an average of 3,333 households a day being hit with higher mortgage rates. It comes as the Bank of England maintained interest rates at 5.25% earlier this month. A typical mortgage holder will see their payments rise by £240 a month.

The Lib Dem-commissioned analysis by the House of Commons Library, based on data from the Financial Conduct Authority, found that households will face an increase to their mortgages ahead of General Election polling day on 4th July.

The Lib Dems said Rishi Sunak’s claim that his economic plan is working shows he is living in a “parallel universe,” at a time when families are saddled with hundreds of pounds a month more on their mortgage.

The party said the Prime Minister is set for a “blue wall reckoning” with the data showing Liberal Democrat – Conservative battlegrounds such as Taunton Deane, Tewkesbury and Steve Barclay’s seat of North East Cambridgeshire among the worst affected.

In total, households coming off fixed rate mortgages ahead of polling day will pay an additional £290 million in mortgage costs over the next year.

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson, Sarah Olney said:

This Conservative government crashed the economy and now they are condemning hard-working households to a mortgage nightmare.

Rishi Sunak’s claim that the government’s plan is working shows he is living in a parallel universe, as every day thousands of families are seeing their mortgage go up by eye-watering amounts.

The Prime Minister is set for a blue wall reckoning in key battleground seats where fed up voters are ready to say enough is enough with this out-of-touch Conservative Government on 4th July.

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31 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems announce plans for free school meals for all primary school children
  • NHS Confederation survey: Conservatives have run our health service into the ground
  • Premier League season tickets spiral as Lib Dems call for free-to-air football
  • Towns funding: Conservatives aren’t fooling anyone
  • Rennie responds to M9 crash after “unforgiveable” wait for findings
  • Cole-Hamilton commits to keeping triple lock on pensions

Lib Dems announce plans for free school meals for all primary school children

  • The Liberal Democrats have announced their ambition to extend free school meals to all primary school children, beginning with all children in poverty.
  • The party will fund their manifesto policy by introducing a share buyback tax, inspired by a similar tax introduced by Joe Biden in the US.
  • Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey slams Conservative government for “letting children go hungry in the worst cost of living crisis in a generation”.

The Liberal Democrats have launched their ambition to extend free school meals to all primary school children, funded by a new share buyback tax.

The party’s plan includes an immediate extension of free school meals to all 900,000 children living in poverty who currently miss out. The second phase would see all primary school children receiving free school meals as the public finances stabilise.

Analysis by PWC found that every £1 spent on free school meals for the poorest children generates £1.38 in health and earnings benefits, including improvements to children’s health, education and future working life opportunities.

The new policy will make the Liberal Democrats the most ambitious party on free school meals. The government currently only provides meals for all children in reception, year 1 and year 2. In year 3 and above, the government has set stringent conditions on family income for children receiving free school meals.

The manifesto pledge would be funded by a 4% levy on the share buybacks of FTSE 100 listed corporations, similar to the excise tax on buybacks implemented by President Biden in the US, which could raise around £1.4bn a year.

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30 May 2024 – today’s press releases

I really couldn’t do today’s summary without covering Ed Davey’s adventures in Somerset.

Whilst I’m sure that there are those out there who think that it’s all a bit silly, I’d suggest that it does two things:

  • Gets out the message that, actually, Ed is kind of fun, and:
  • Allows him to get across two messages in an easy soundbite when he’s got media attention.

And, that attention is spread further, to voters who might otherwise not hear our message, as Shelter have demonstrated:

There weren’t that many press releases today, strangely, but here are the ones we’ve received:

  • Conservatives have “legalised littering”
  • Cole-Hamilton: Liberal Democrats stand ready to fix broken politics
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats welcome Edinburgh Jazz Bar re-opening as social enterprise

Conservatives have “legalised littering”

Responding to the Conservative’s announcement that fly-tippers face driving licence points, Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Helen Morgan said:

The Conservatives have effectively legalised littering. Under their government, fines for littering and fly-tipping are so low that people are being let off scot-free up and down the country.

The fact that fly-tipping is going unpunished is simply appalling. If people aren’t being fined, it’s no wonder that they think they can dump their rubbish on the streets without consequence.

The Conservatives have had years to get tough on fly-tippers and litterers but have failed at every turn. The Liberal Democrats are calling for real action against fly-tippers by increasing fines and using the profits to crack down on this anti-social crime.

Cole-Hamilton: Liberal Democrats stand ready to fix broken politics

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton today outlined how the party will fix our broken politics, as he unveiled its plan for cleaning up the sleaze and scandal created by both the SNP and Conservatives.

Alex Cole-Hamilton took to the campaign trail in central Edinburgh to unveil the plans to put power into the hands of voters, end the sleaze and cronyism and make politics work for you again.

His party’s plan includes:

  • Making every vote count by introducing proportional representation for electing MPs;
  • Ending the WhatsApp deletion scandals;
  • Reforming the House of Lords;
  • A written constitution for the UK;
  • A right to recall your MSP.
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28 May 2024 – today’s press releases, the Scottish edition

  • Cole-Hamilton meets anti-sewage campaigners as he reveals Scotland’s worst affected rivers
  • Equivalent of more than 1 in 7 Scots are on a waiting list
  • Cole-Hamilton: Urgent action needed on A&E waiting times

Cole-Hamilton meets anti-sewage campaigners as he reveals Scotland’s worst affected rivers

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton today met anti-sewage campaigners in Edinburgh as the party published new analysis which reveals the worst rivers in Scotland for sewage dumping.

Sewage was dumped into Scotland’s rivers for a shocking 183,832 hours last year, with 16,010 sewage spills in total. This is equivalent to an average of over 44 sewage dumps into rivers every single day.

The 10 worst rivers for duration of sewage dumping in 2023 were:

  • River Carron
  • Clyde Estuary
  • River Clyde
  • Biggar Burn
  • River Nith
  • Clyde Estuary/Firth of Clyde
  • Cluden Water
  • River Ayr
  • Leader Water
  • Ladywell Burn

Sewage was dumped into the River Carron for 17,781 hours in 2023, and the Clyde Estuary saw the most individual sewage dumps with 2,090.

Alex met local anti-sewage campaigners Jack Caldwell and Hal Osler at the picturesque Shore in Leith where sewage is dumped directly into the Water of Leith by the government-owned water company.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

On doorstep after doorstep, people are telling me how disgusted they are that sewage is being pumped into their rivers.

Last year there were an average of 44 sewage dumps into rivers across Scotland every single day, but even this disgusting figure may be an underestimate as the vast majority of sewage dumps are not monitored.

The Water of Leith, where I am today, is one of many rivers where there is absolutely no monitoring of sewage dumping, even though we know it is happening.

Communities all across Scotland are rightly furious that their local rivers are being spoiled while they face huge price rises from the government-owned water company and its executives are pocketing bumper bonuses. SNP ministers are spin doctors for outdated sewage standards.

Liberal Democrats have led the campaign to turn the tide on the sewage scandal. If you elect a Liberal Democrat MP you will get a hardworking local champion who is focused on getting the sewage out of our rivers and winning the change our country desperately needs.

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Ed Davey and Alex Cole-Hamilton officially launch Scottish Liberal Democrats’ election campaign with calls to save NHS dentistry

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton today officially launched the Scottish party’s campaign for the General Election.

The pair held a rally with candidates and activists in North Queensferry, beneath the iconic Forth Bridge, to set out how the party is targeting the “acid yellow wall of the SNP” to win the change Scotland desperately needs.

They also highlighted how NHS dentistry has been left to rot all across the UK, leaving millions without the care they need.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said:

Just like the Conservatives, the SNP have got to go. They have failed Scotland for far too long. They’ve shown people that they can’t be trusted with the economy, our NHS, the environment or our place in the world.

It’s clear that in many parts of Scotland it is the Scottish Liberal Democrats who can get the SNP out. This election is our chance to deliver the change Scotland desperately needs.

Our strong local champions will stand up for their communities and fight for a fair deal.

Take dentistry, where people the length and breadth of the UK are finding they can’t see an NHS dentist. It’s a national scandal that children’s teeth are left to rot and people are forced to carry out their own dental work. It’s time to end dental deserts and bring back local NHS dentists right across the UK.

Getting you fast access to an NHS dentist is at the heart of our offer to voters at this election. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to save NHS dentistry.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton told the crowd:

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And we’re off: Lib Dems welcome the 4th July General Election!

Who would have known when I booked my dentist appointment for 5:30 tonight that the Prime Minister would choose 5pm on a wet Wednesday in May to make the most farcical General Election launch announcement I have ever known.

It could have come straight from The Thick of It. The Prime Minister standing in the pouring rain, his suit getting shinier by the second, his words drowned out by anti Brexit campaigner Steve Bray blasting “Things can only get better” by D:Ream, Labour’s campaign anthem from 1997.

Our Press Office tweeted: “Things can only get wetter.”

Ed Davey welcomed the General Election as a chance to kick out the Tories and deliver the change the country needs. He said:

This General Election is a chance to kick Rishi Sunak’s appalling Conservative government out of office and deliver the change the public is crying out for.

For years the Conservative Party has taken voters for granted and lurched from crisis to crisis while the problems facing the country are getting so much worse.

The NHS has been brought to its knees, people’s mortgages and rents have soared by hundreds of pounds a month, and water companies have got away with pumping filthy sewage into our rivers and beaches. All because this Conservative Government is more interested in fighting between themselves than standing up for the needs of the country.

Every vote for the Liberal Democrats at this election is a vote for a strong local champion who will stand up for your community and health services. It’s clear that in many seats across the country, the best way to beat the Conservatives is to vote for the Liberal Democrats.

Scottish Lib Dem Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton highlighted his ambition to see liberals replace nationalists as the third party in the House of Commons.

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WATCH: Alex Cole-Hamilton’s speech to Scottish Conference

Susan Murray will, we all hope, be the MP for Mid Dunbartonshire in a few months’ time. So she was the right person to introduce Alex Cole-Hamilton ahead of his leader’s speech to Scottish Conference on Sunday.

Alex talked about our future relationship with the SNP Government – working with them in a grown up fashion where we could make a difference for our constituents, but looking forward to being able to get rid of them in an election.

He looked forward to replacing them as the third party in the House of Commons too and set out our plans to improve mental health, give people access to GP appointments and deal with sewage. He also spoke about his support for Liam McArthur’s bill which would allow assisted dying in limited circumstances. The next great social reform, he called it, while also acknowledging that not everyone in the party felt like that and that no Lib Dem would be compelled to vote for it.

Watch the speech in full here.

The text is below:

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16 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Mortgage repossession claims reach five-year high as families risk losing their homes to Conservative chaos
  • Carer’s Allowance report: Government cannot bury its head in the sand
  • Scottish Liberal Democrat conference to call on Swinney to ditch SNP’s takeover of social care
  • Welsh Lib Dems call for foster carer salary
  • Cole-Hamilton urges First Minister to tackle rural healthcare crisis

Mortgage repossession claims reach five-year high as families risk losing their homes to Conservative chaos

Mortgage possession claims have reached their highest level since 2019 as soaring mortgage rates since the mini budget hit homeowners, figures published by the Ministry of Justice today have revealed.

Mortgage possession claims occur when banks or lenders take homeowners to court before repossessing their home. The latest figures show there were 5,182 mortgage repossession claims in the first quarter of 2024, the highest number since 2019.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

These deeply worrying figures show a steep rise in families at risk of losing their homes due to soaring mortgage rates.

This Conservative government crashed the economy with their disastrous mini budget and sent mortgage rates spiralling. But now Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have failed to lift a finger to help those impacted by this Conservative chaos.

It is unforgivable and shows just how out of touch the Conservative Party is with people struggling to get by.

Carer’s Allowance report: Government cannot bury its head in the sand

Responding to a Government report on the experiences of those claiming and receiving Carer’s Allowance which said that there was ‘room for improvement’ in preventing overpayments, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Thousands of carers are caught up in the overpayment scandal, and we’ve heard many heart-breaking stories about the fear and distress it is causing.

The Government cannot bury its head in the sand and pretend this is a minor issue. It is an outrageous national scandal and Ministers must act now: writing off old overpayments and reforming their flawed and failing system.

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14 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Unemployment rising: Govt is playing economic whack-a-mole
  • Lib Dems report Sunak to the Ethics Adviser over improper use of government resources at speech
  • Rees-Mogg Farage comments: Sunak must suspend the whip
  • Cole-Hamilton: A&E must not keep being ignored
  • Cole-Hamilton responds to breast cancer screening inequalities
  • “Lack of leadership”- Welsh Lib Dems call for new minister needed to eradicate child poverty

Unemployment rising: Govt is playing economic whack-a-mole

Responding to the latest labour market figures showing a rise in unemployment, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

After years of economic chaos, these are concerning figures.

The Conservative government has played economic whack-a-mole for too long, unable to grow the economy, and now too many face the prospect of losing their job.

The public has lost all faith in the Conservative party to manage the British economy. Our economy desperately needs a General Election.

Lib Dems report Sunak to the Ethics Adviser over improper use of government resources at speech

The Liberal Democrats have reported the Prime Minister to the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests for using the government crest at his party political speech yesterday.

In his speech at Policy Exchange, the Prime Minister gave an overtly party political speech in which he framed from the start as being about the choice voters will face come the next General Election. The speech was deemed so party political that on the government’s own website much of the speech was redacted.

Despite this, the Prime Minister spoke from a lectern bearing the Royal Coat of Arms which the Liberal Democrats have said is a clear breach of the Ministerial Code as it states that: “Ministers must not use government resources for party political purposes”.

The Liberal Democrats have asked the Ethics Adviser to investigate this apparent breach of the Code, saying that “Rishi Sunak must be taking the public for fools if he thinks that the speech he gave was anything other than a politically charged rant.”

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office spokesperson, Christine Jardine MP said:

The Prime Minister’s party political speech earlier today appears to be a clear breach of the Ministerial code. Taxpayers should not have to fund the lectern he gives this from.

Rishi Sunak must be taking the public for fools if he thinks that the speech he gave was anything other than a politically charged rant. The pathetic excuses he made for his own party’s failures will fall on deaf ears.

The country has stopped listening to the Prime Minister and the Conservative party. They want a General Election and to finally see the back of this awful government that has trashed our NHS, let water companies off the hook, and has forced far too many to choose between heating and eating.

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14 May 2024 – the overnight press releases

  • IFS: Conservative party broken promises and neglect of NHS “unforgivable”
  • Parliament backs Lib Dem amendment to exclude MPs arrested for serious offences
  • Scot Lib Dems call for parliament to scrutinise government handling of baby deaths

IFS: Conservative party broken promises and neglect of NHS “unforgivable”

Responding to the IFS report showing that NHS spending will rise less quickly than the Conservative party planned in their 2019 General Election manifesto, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

The Conservative party has left patients and staff to bear the brunt of rising demand, endless waiting lists, and deadly A&E delays.

Their neglect of

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Alex Cole-Hamilton stands for First Minister

Alex Cole-Hamilton’s bid to become Scotland’s First Minister was never going to end in success, unfortunately. It was important that he did it though. The MSPs in the Chamber were not his audience. That snippet on Reporting Scotland where he got the chance to be on the record, speaking to the people of Scotland, was an important part in Liberal Democrats setting out our stall.  Hope, he said, was at the heart of everything the Scottish Liberal Democrats stood for as he outlined our vision for better healthcare, education and giving power back to communities.

Watch here:

The text is below

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The Scottish Parliament Election – 25 years on

Election night 1997. The tv room at the count in Chesterfield. Two people in the room – me and Tony Benn who was eating a white chocolate magnum and ignoring me. He might have been ignoring me because I was blubbing a bit because I was so happy that we were finally, after years of campaigning, going to have a Scottish Parliament.

The cross-party co-operation that had built the case for that Parliament across political and civil society was a great model. The Conservatives opposed the idea but even the SNP were eventually persuaded to come on board.

Fast forward two years to 6 May 1999 when the first elections to the new Parliament took place, with a nice shiny new proportional electoral system. 129 MSPs, 73 representing constituencies and 56 on regional lists were elected. The campaign had seen Alex Salmond and the SNP get into disfavour for not backing the NATO airstrikes on Kosovo aimed at stopping the humanitarian disaster and ethnic cleaning.  Paddy Ashdown and the Lib Dems were strongly in favour of this action.

Our big issue was tuition fees – we opposed Labour’s plans to introduce them and were very clear about our position on that. And we honoured that.

I couldn’t vote in this election because I lived in England. In fact, on election day, I was, at 37 weeks pregnant,  running a committee room in Chesterfield whee we boosted our Councillor numbers from 9 to 19.  Those were very happy times.

However, I was very invested in what was happening back home. I was up at the crack of dawn watching the final results come in the next day.

The Scottish people had elected 56 Labour MSPs, 35 SNP, 18 Conservative, 17 Liberal Democrats, 2 Greens and a Socialist. The whole system was meant to encourage co-operation and no party was meant to have a majority.

The coalition that eventually emerged after a few twists and turns between us and Labour did some amazing things in its 8 years – abolition of tuition fees, free personal care, free eye and dental checks, land reform, STV for local Government among them. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a functional partnership that was prepared to wring the neck of the powers we had to get stuff done. Our Jim Wallace was Deputy First Minister and Ross Finnie became Rural Affairs Minister.

Alex Cole-Hamilton reflected on the anniversary:

I am proud of the part Scottish Liberal Democrats played in delivering a Scottish Parliament and in the successes we have delivered through it.

In government, the Scottish Liberal Democrats delivered pioneering legislation like the abolition of upfront tuition fees, the introduction of free personal care and the smoking ban. We also legislated for the building of the Borders Railway, gave communities the right to buy land, made dental and eye tests free, introduced free bus passes, and opened up the business of government to proper scrutiny through Freedom of Information law.

These are Lib Dem successes delivered because of devolution, and without which we would never have achieved them.

So what do I want to see our powerful Parliament do next?

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2 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • OECD report: This Conservative government is economically illiterate
  • Polls close: Voters want an end to this appalling Conservative government
  • Cole-Hamilton responds to SNP leadership news
  • “End this nonsense and give the money back”- Welsh Lib Dems urge First Minister to return dodgy donations

OECD report: This Conservative government is economically illiterate

Responding to the OECD report which says that the UK will have the slowest growth of the largest developed nations next year, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, Sarah Olney MP said:

This Conservative government is economically illiterate. Their no-growth policies have left the public enduring sky-high mortgage rates, the price of a weekly shop going through the roof, and stealth taxes hammering both pensioners and working people.

The only way through this quagmire of economic stagnation that the Conservative party has led us into is a general election. This Conservative government is out of touch, out of ideas and should be kicked out of office.

Polls close: Voters want an end to this appalling Conservative government

Responding to polls closing for this year’s local elections, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The message across the country today was loud and clear. Voters want an end to this appalling Conservative government.

People are sick of the Conservative party’s endless infighting, unaffordable mortgages, an NHS in freefall and filthy sewage being pumped into their rivers and seas.

They want change and they want to see the end of Rishi Sunak’s Conservative party in office. That is why, up and down the country, so many lifelong Conservative voters backed the Liberal Democrats today, because they know Liberal Democrat councillors will never take them for granted and fight for the issues they care about.

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1 May 2024 – yesterday’s other press releases

  • Sadiq Khan’s record of failure exposed
  • Fiefdoms of filth: Scottish Lib Dems unveil new sewage league table
  • Lib Dems on verge of historic breakthrough in London
  • “Bringing truth back into politics”- Welsh Lib Dems back anti-deception proposal
  • Rennie speaks in motion of no confidence in Scottish Government

Sadiq Khan’s record of failure exposed

Sadiq Khan has once again failed to deliver on key manifesto promises, says Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate Rob Blackie.

On the eve of the elections he listed 2021 manifesto pledges that the London Mayor failed to implement:

  • Deliver a ferry at Hammersmith Bridge
  • End rough sleeping
  • Pilot a new City Hall housing developer to directly build

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30 April 2024 – yesterday’s (other) press releases

  • Suspected drug deaths up by 11%
  • Welsh Lib Dems criticise Tata’s “heavy handed” approach to steel workers concerns
  • Cole-Hamilton speaks in abortion safe access zones debate
  • UK Governments Rwanda plans are “cold and callous”- Welsh Lib Dems
  • Blackie: scrap business rates, boost our high streets

Suspected drug deaths up by 11%

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned that the country’s drugs crisis continues to “end lives and blight communities”, as new quarterly statistics revealed that suspected drug deaths have increased by 11%.

Figures published today show that between December 2023 and February 2024, the total number of suspected drug deaths was 278, which is 11% higher than the previous quarter in which 267 suspected drug deaths were recorded.

Public Health Scotland also confirmed that: “Based on the latest post-mortem toxicology testing, nitazenes were detected in 38 deaths (from the first detection in June 2022 to 31 December 2023).”

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

Scotland’s drug deaths emergency continues to end lives and blight communities.

We are also seeing increasing evidence of nitazenes, a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin, contributing significantly to that crisis.

I have joined with campaigners in warning that these substances represent a growing part of the drugs death crisis, highlighting that their presence in Scotland will require an immediate response. That’s why I asked Humza Yousaf about nitazenes during First Minister’s Questions in early January.

Despite these emerging threats, the Scottish Government have delivered a brutal real-terms cut to drug services.

Well-meaning words and promises just won’t cut it. As well as delivering radical and transformational action to help all those suffering, I want ministers to protect and strengthen the drug and alcohol budget so that everyone can access care when they need it.

Welsh Lib Dems criticise Tata’s “heavy handed” approach to steel workers concerns

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called out Tata Steel for threatening to withdraw redundancy packages from workers at their Port Talbot site if they decide to go on strike over potential job losses.

The company also rejected plans submitted by the unions which would have kept at least one of the blast furnaces running at the site.

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Cole-Hamilton to Humza Yousaf: Your actions have eroded any trust you had

Scottish Lib Dem Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has declined to help Scotland’s beleaguered First Minister Humza Yousaf.

We need to remember that Yousaf’s predicament is entirely of his own making. He would not be facing a confidence vote this week had he not unceremoniously handed the Greens their jotters and booted them out of the Government on Thursday this morning, just two days after saying they were worth their weight in gold.

Alex understandably responded to Yousaf’s invitation to talks by asking him how on earth he could expect anyone to trust a word he said, given the way he had acted.

He also then outlined a few of the biggest failures of the Scottish Government before saying that the best solution would be for the First Minister to resign and for there to be a Scottish election. Here’s the text of his letter in full:

 

Dear First Minister,

Thank you for your letter. Scottish Liberal Democrats have always believed in working together in the national interest and building consensus across all political traditions. Our history speaks to that and we will continue to do so in the change that is coming for Scotland. However, I have decided to decline your offer of talks at Bute House.

Successful minority administration must be rooted in compromise and a spirit of mutual trust with other parties. However, your actions this past week have eroded entirely any remaining trust that you enjoyed across the chamber. They suggest that rather than being motivated by the national interest, you are presently motivated only by your own self-interest and by political survival.

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Drama in Scotland – could there be a Holyrood election?

Who would have thought that Scottish voters could face two national elections this year – and the first one for the Scottish Parliament before the too-long awaited Westminster poll?

If First Minister Humza Yousaf is forced to resign in the next few days, if the SNP can’t agree on a successor, if the Parliament can’t agree on a new First Minister within 28 days, then Scottish voters could be going to the polls on 4th July.

The SNP has been sharing power with the Scottish Greens for the past two and a half years with Green Co-Conveners Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater holding ministerial office. This morning Humza Yousaf handed them their jotters in an early morning meeting before announcing to the world that he had decided that the SNP would be better off going it alone as a minority Government.

You have to wonder whether he had thought through the implications for his own future. It wasn’t difficult to imagine that someone would put up a motion of no confidence and equally predictable that the party that he had just unceremoniously booted out of Government would not find it in their hearts to support him.

As things stand, his best hope is a tied vote next week, relying on the casting vote of the Presiding Officer to save him. But even that can only be achieved by doing a deal with Ash Regan, his former leadership rival who went off and joined Alex Salmond’s socially conservative, populist Alba party. And even if he survives the vote, clinging to power by your fingernails is not the best way to lead your party into a UK General Election.

You have to wonder why he let that happen.

There are undoubtedly some in the SNP who have been wanting rid of Humza since he was elected.

Last year’s SNP leadership election was so close with Humza only just beating Kate Forbes. Deep divisions were exposed within the party. Now the SNP can take a fair amount of division. They are a very broad church. But the only thing they really care about is independence and when they are divided on how to achieve that, and the prospect of it ever happening is moving further and further away, they are going to implode.  It’s hard to think of anyone in their ranks who could come close to bringing them together.

Their Government is failing at pretty much everything, as Alex Cole-Hamilton said in no uncertain terms at First Minister’s Questions today.

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