Tag Archives: Alistair Carmichael

4 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Government must act to strengthen NHS Test and Trace ahead of new school year
  • Liberal Democrats back calls for Magnitsky-style sanctions against Hong Kong human rights abusers

Government must act to strengthen NHS Test and Trace ahead of new school year

Responding to news that scientists have warned that current testing and contact tracing is inadequate to prevent a second wave of coronavirus when schools in the UK reopen, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

After months being cooped up at home, millions of children are looking forward to getting back to school in September, but safety must remain the top priority.

In the absence of a vaccine, a comprehensive test, trace and isolate system is the only way to keep people safe as we reopen schools. The Government must do everything in its power to strengthen that system if we are to have any hope of a safe start to the new school year.

Equally, the Government need to be honest about the very real risk that, if they do not get the NHS Test and Trace system in order, or in the event that we see a sharp rise in infections, children may have to go back to learning from home. Ministers must put in place safeguards now to ensure children are still able to get their education in this worst case scenario.

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28 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Davey calls for PM to put Martin Forde QC in charge of a Coronavirus Inquiry
  • Davey: PM must take second wave risk seriously
  • Government gaps in support for freelancers leaving employers to pick up the tab
  • Government must apply same human rights standards to US when it comes to exports
  • Dodds: ‘Swansea Tidal Lagoon is a vital part of our post-Covid recovery’
  • Davey calls for PM to put Martin Forde QC in charge of a Coronavirus Inquiry

    Today Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has written to the Prime Minister with a plan for an immediate inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic.

    Ed has called on the Prime Minister to appoint Martin Forde QC as the chair of an independent coronavirus inquiry and to start work immediately. Martin Forde was the independent adviser on the design of the Government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme and is chair of the independent inquiry into Labour’s report on the party’s handling of antisemitism complaints.

    Ed also released proposed Terms of Reference for the independent inquiry agreed to by the Covid19 Bereaved Families for Justice.

    A spokesperson for the Covid19 Bereaved Families for Justice said:

    Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice are relieved that Ed Davey has seen the urgent need for a rapid inquiry.

    The Government’s own ‘Preparing for a challenging winter 20/21’ report (The Academy of Medical Sciences) predicts over 119,000 excess deaths this winter if urgent action is not taken now.

    That action has to be informed by this transparent inquiry. It’s time the Prime Minister put the well-being of the nation above politics.

    Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

    The Prime Minister confirmed to me weeks ago that there would be an independent inquiry, but we have seen no action from the Government since. Bereaved families I speak to are so disappointed that the Government is yet to begin an inquiry. They just don’t want any more families to go through what they have.

    The coronavirus threat remains very real. Were a second wave to happen during the winter, it could be even more deadly and damaging than the first. The Government must immediately start an inquiry so that we can learn from mistakes and properly plan for a second wave.

    This plan has been agreed by the Covid19 Bereaved Families for Justice. I hope Boris Johnson takes it seriously and sees it as an opportunity to get an inquiry going as soon as possible.

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23 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats: Govt must stop posturing and secure a good deal
  • Liberal Democrats attempt to block renter evictions
  • Any review of our democracy must be truly independent, Liberal Democrats warn

Liberal Democrats: Govt must stop posturing and secure a good deal

Responding to Barnier’s comments that there has been no progress on key Brexit issues including fisheries and state aid, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

With just weeks to go and our country already facing the biggest economic crisis in generations, it is unthinkable that the UK would crash out of the transition period without a deal in place or with a bad

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22 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Mental health and education gap of homeschooling must be addressed
  • All Hong Kongers must be given right to live in the UK
  • £2.9 billion aid cut shows Government abandoning world stage

Mental health and education gap of homeschooling must be addressed

Responding to ONS statistics published today on the impact of homeschooling during the coronavirus pandemic, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Coronavirus has clearly impacted every aspect of life, including the wellbeing of parents and children, and the quality of education the majority of children receive. We must ensure no one is left behind.

If it wasn’t for years of cuts to our schools and government failing to consult adequately with teachers and school leaders, it wouldn’t be this way. Ministers must now increase the necessary provision of laptops and introduce a Summer Learning Fund that supports the most disadvantaged children.

Moreover, the Government must address the mental health impact of the pandemic by signposting the appropriate support services to every household, and properly funding the charities that provide those services.

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21 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Pay rises without cash mean more cuts to schools and the police – Davey
  • Government must be clear higher debt won’t mean cuts to vital public services
  • Delyn MP must end ‘saga of scandals’
  • PM must announce a full investigation into potential Russian interference of our democracy
  • Braverman must apologise for endorsing Cummings

Pay rises without cash mean more cuts to schools and the police – Davey

Responding to reports that nearly 900,000 public sector workers will receive a pay rise out of existing departmental budgets, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

Accepting the independent review body’s pay recommendations was the very least the Chancellor could do. Yet, as overall budgets remain unchanged, the reality is our schools, police and wider public services will struggle to meet this award without significant cuts elsewhere in their budgets, including redundancies.

And utterly failing to recognise the outstanding effort of social care staff during the COVID-19 crisis is simply not acceptable. Councils and the wider care sector must be properly funded.

Since the early days of this pandemic, Liberal Democrats have been the first to argue for a better deal for NHS and care staff, yet Ministers seem to think that warm words and hand claps are sufficient. Boris Johnson should be ashamed for neglecting NHS and care staff again.

Government must be clear higher debt won’t mean cuts to vital public services

Responding to ONS statistics showing that Government borrowing for June was £35.5 billion – around five times more than the same month last year – Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

In an unprecedented economic challenge like the coronavirus pandemic people must come before the numbers. Any Chancellor should go beyond normal borrowing to help protect peoples’ health and livelihoods.

What the Government must now make clear is that, after Covid, higher debt will not and must not mean cuts to vital public services or less investment for our crumbling infrastructure – especially in the parts of the UK that need it most.

Liberal Democrats stand firm that we must grow our way out of this crisis with a Green Recovery Plan that will invest billions to transform our economy, fight climate change and create millions of good-quality jobs.

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20 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Test and trace privacy fiasco yet another blunder by Ministers
  • Government’s school funding plan shows no understanding of challenges facing schools
  • Government must set up lifeboat system to ensure safe passage for Hong Kongers
  • Government silencing those who get in the way of their own political interests
  • Tories’ plan to “take back control” proves to be empty words when it comes to trade

Test and trace privacy fiasco yet another blunder by Ministers

Responding to reports that privacy campaigners have accused the Government’s test and trace programme of breaking data protection laws, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The fact that the Government have potentially broken the law is just another example of Ministers’ disastrous handling of test and trace. For the Department of Health to admit there was no consideration on the impact this would have on our privacy shows that this Government is simply walking into blunder after blunder, failing to get a grip on this crisis.

Of course mass testing, contact tracing and isolation at the community level for those who test positive, is the only safe way out of lockdown, but protecting individuals’ privacy remains of the utmost importance.

The Liberal Democrats have been clear that as long as there is absolute transparency when it comes to what information is collected, how long it is stored for, and who has access to this data, the Government can mitigate the concerns people have.

Ministers must get a grip of test and trace system if they are to keep people safe from coronavirus. They must do everything they can to not only protect people’s data and keep the public’s trust, but ensure we get an effective app up and running as soon as possible.

Government’s school funding plan shows no understanding of challenges facing schools

Responding to the publication of the Government’s funding allocations for schools in 2021-22, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The Conservatives’ spending plans show no understanding of the challenges facing schools in September. They have asked schools to open as normal when our Test and Trace system is faulty. Teachers must try to reverse the harm to children’s learning, development and mental health, when many disadvantaged children have disappeared off schools’ radars entirely during lockdown.

In the face of this crisis, spending plans announced last year are utterly unfit for purpose. All the Government has added is a catch-up premium worth just £80 per pupil per year, and a tutoring fund. It’s simply not enough to pay for the small group teaching that Ministers say our children need.

The pandemic requires us to invest in education at all levels on an unprecedented scale. That’s why Liberal Democrats have launched a five-point plan to re-open schools safely, provide laptops to those who need them and close the disadvantage gap, so that we can give every child a great start in life.

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18-19 July 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • PM must come before MPs after IfG Brexit warning
  • PM riding roughshod over our rights by restricting judicial review
  • Liberal Democrats bid to block corporate lawsuits watering down protections post-Brexit
  • Chinese treatment of Uyghurs amounts to genocide, Liberal Democrat warns

PM must come before MPs after IfG Brexit warning

Responding to a report by the Institute for Government which warns coronavirus has left UK firms unprepared for a no-deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Boris Johnson is arrogantly setting the country down a path that threatens jobs and livelihoods, and this report confirms it. People deserve better.

Now is not the time to be playing politics. Our focus must be preventing a no-deal Brexit and ensuring business has all the help it needs to protect jobs.

The Prime Minister must come before MPs before the summer recess to answer how he will address the calls for preparation support, sector specific investment and more.

PM riding roughshod over our rights by restricting judicial review

Responding to reports that the Government is planning to restrict judicial review, following a Court of Appeal decision against the Home Secretary, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

Threatening to weaken the courts because of a judgment you disagree with is the act of dictators and despots, not democrats.

With these plans, Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings are trying to enable the Government to run roughshod over people’s rights and allow Ministers to break the law with impunity.

Liberal Democrats will always defend individuals’ abilities to challenge the Government and uphold their rights. We will not stand by and allow Johnson and Cummings to undermine the rule of law, which is so fundamental to our society.

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15 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats secure PM commitment to independent inquiry
  • Consequences of Government cuts for BBC is now clear as day
  • Failing Graying has undone PM, now ISC must publish Russia report
  • PM running scared of real scrutiny from Intelligence Committee

Liberal Democrats secure PM commitment to independent inquiry

Acting Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has today secured a commitment from the Prime Minister to an independent inquiry into the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis and called for the timetable to be set out immediately.

Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions today, Ed Davey warned that under Boris Johnson’s leadership the country has suffered “one of the worst death rates in the world and Europe’s worst death rate of health and care workers.”

Making reference to Boris Johnson’s support for an independent inquiry into the Iraq War, the Liberal Democrat Acting Leader again urged the Prime Minister to “commit in principle to a future independent inquiry”.

In response, the Prime Minister accepted his Government will “learn the lessons of this pandemic” and confirmed there will be in independent inquiry.

Ed Davey was the first party leader to call for an independent inquiry, back on the 21st of April, and the Liberal Democrats have consistently made the case since.

Speaking after the exchange, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The Coronavirus crisis is taking an enormous toll on people and our country.

It is clear the Government has failed on so many fronts – failing to prepare properly for a pandemic, failing to protect care home residents and social care workers, and failing to properly communicate their plans and so much more.

With so many loved ones lost, people deserve to know what happened. After months of refusing the public that opportunity, I am pleased the Prime Minister has finally accepted Liberal Democrat demands for an independent inquiry.

The Prime Minister must now set out the timetable of this inquiry, and it must begin as soon as possible. The Government must be held to account to ensure that the same mistakes are never repeated.

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7 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Davey: we need a devolution revolution to drive the green revolution
  • Govt decision on arms sales to Saudi Arabia shows lack of humanity
  • Govt green recovery plans do not match ambition of other countries

Davey: we need a devolution revolution to drive the green revolution

Today Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has delivered a keynote speech to the Local Government Association outlining his plan for a devolution revolution to drive a green revolution.

Ed Davey called for the government to make £45bn new funding available to local authorities over three years alongside a range of new powers so that local government can …

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3 July 2020 – the day’s press releases

Govt’s claim of protective ring around care homes “completely bogus”

Responding to the latest ONS figures showing almost 20,000 care home residents have died with coronavirus, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The devastating scale of the coronavirus crisis in our care homes is heartbreaking. It shows the Government’s claim that they had a “protective ring” in place was completely bogus.

We must learn the lessons of this crisis in real time. Alongside adequate protective equipment, routine testing for residents and care workers could not be more important. The Government must ensure every care home

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2 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt making “dog’s dinner” of Brexit negotiations
  • Govt must move faster to improve NHS Test & Trace system
  • Govt woefully underprepared to ensure every young person can return to school

Govt making “dog’s dinner” of Brexit negotiations

Responding to news that the UK Chief Negotiator David Frost has stated that “significant differences” remain as the latest restricted round of talks concludes a day early, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs and Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Last month Boris Johnson asserted that he wanted a Brexit deal by the end of July.

But far from putting a tiger in the tank, David Frost appears to be making a

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1 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must not abandon Hong Kong youth
  • Govt must stop overlooking green investment to create sustainable jobs

Govt must not abandon Hong Kong youth

Following Raab’s statement that China has broken the Joint Declaration by imposing the new ‘security law’ on Hong Kong, and that the UK govt will now be offering a path to citizenship for BNO status holders, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson and Chair of the APPG on Hong Kong Alistair Carmichael said:

It is right that the UK Government are taking swift action to help protect the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, but they must go

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30 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must act swiftly in face of new law to uphold promises to Hong Kong
  • UK economy will need a Green Recovery Plan to recover
  • Johnson’s speech offers no green recovery plan and no help for vulnerable people
  • Tories’ Immigration Bill will deal enormous blow to NHS and British business

Govt must act swiftly in face of new law to uphold promises to Hong Kong

Responding to reports that China has passed a sweeping national security law giving it new powers over Hong Kong, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson and Chair of the APPG on Hong Kong Alistair Carmichael said:

This new law crushes what

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19 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Cross-party group urge Govt to “right the wrong” done to Chagos Islanders and respect the ICJ
  • Debt response must be green recovery plan
  • Govt must do more to tackle disproportionate BAME Covid-19 deaths
  • Sir Simon McDonald’s premature departure raises serious questions
  • Challenge is for Govt, not teachers

Cross-party group urge Govt to “right the wrong” done to Chagos Islanders and respect the ICJ

The Liberal Democrats are leading cross-party calls for the Government to adhere to United Nations’ calls for the Chagos islands to be returned to Mauritian control and come good on the promise of a £40m package of support for the Chagossian community.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael, who has secured the support of 29 other MPs from across the political spectrum, criticised the Government’s “arrogant” rejection of the International Court of Justice’s ruling on Chagos and warned it is jeopardising the UK’s credibility on a world stage.

The intervention comes after the UK Government issued a response to the UN Secretary General’s report on implementing Resolution 73/295 – which advised it to end the unlawful occupation of the islands – earlier this week.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the cross-party group quote the Prime Minister of Mauritius who highlighted the connections between the Chagossian struggle and the Black Lives Matter movement by warning “the occupation of the Chagos Archipelago inscribes itself in these historic wrongs.”

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

I’m saddened but not surprised at the Government’s decision to reject the International Court of Justice’s ruling on the illegal British occupation of the Chagos archipelago.

The ICJ has very clearly instructed the UK to return the island chain to Mauritian control. The Government’s refusal to do so is arrogant and jeopardises our credibility on a world stage.

The Government must abide by the ICJ’s ruling and ensure the £40m package of support promised to the Chagossian community is paid out in full.

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9 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems secure cross-party call for Govt to take up Hong Kong Bill
  • Govt must prevent disadvantaged pupils falling behind due to COVID-19
  • Govt must help businesses and people excluded from support schemes
  • Govt wrong to deny Brexit extension

Lib Dems secure cross-party call for Govt to take up Hong Kong Bill

The Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support demanding the Prime Minister take up legislation to go further in UK support for Hong Kong.

The cross-party groups of MPs, led by Alistair Carmichael MP, has secured the support of former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in calling for a UK response to Beijing’s recent attempts to force a new national security law on Hong Kong.

Amidst reports of Hong Kong police firing tear gas and water cannons at several hundred demonstrators, the Government announced last week new measures to support visa rights and a path to citizenship for current British Nationals (Overseas) holders in Hong Kong.

However, the cross-party group of over 50 MPs want the Government to go further and take up Alistair Carmichael’s Hong Kong Bill for parliamentary consideration, which would also ensure greater oversight over each party’s adherence to the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

MPs from all parties and all political persuasions are backing Hong Kong with one voice today. We are calling on the Government to take up the Hong Kong Bill on a cross-party basis for debate and amendment. This is a critical moment.

That the Government has started to take action to support BNO status holders is welcome. We can and must go further, however. Measures including targeted sanctions and a reopening of the BNO passport offer deserve a full hearing.

Beijing is on the verge of wiping out the basic freedoms of Hongkongers with its draconian law. The Government must stand with us and take up legislative action to support the people of Hong Kong.

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8 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Empty pharma stockpiles show govt must rethink transition extension
  • Covid-19 infection rate in Welsh prisons tops 20%
  • Derisory increase in asylum support is appalling
  • Testing announcement shows protective ring around care homes claim untrue
  • Rees-Mogg must follow through on promises to look at voting rights for carers

Empty pharma stockpiles show govt must rethink transition extension

Responding to reports that No Deal Brexit stockpiles “significantly reduced and/or used up entirely” by Covid pandemic, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

These reports show the recklessness of the government’s approach to Brexit negotiations and protecting our economy and NHS.

The stockpiles created to protect against the risk of a no deal Brexit have now been used up, and building them back up to safe levels by the end of the year is going to be very difficult.

So by pushing the UK into a no deal Brexit the Conservatives could be putting more lives and more jobs at risk.

The calls to extend the transition period have come from people who voted leave and remain a like. The government must put national interest ahead of Brexit ideology and extend the transition period.

Covid-19 infection rate in Welsh prisons tops 20%

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have reacted with shock at the situation of Covid-19 in Welsh Prisons, after new figures reveal an infection rate of more than 20% for inmates.

Figures published by the UK Department for Justice have shown that Wales has 165 recorded cases of Covid-19 within prisons. This represents 12.4% of cases across England & Wales, with 1,329 total cases being logged – 882 Staff, 447 Prisoners.

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8 June 2020 – the overnight press releases

  • Lib Dems to use emergency debate to warn Rees-Mogg is threatening public health
  • Covid-19 has exposed politics as not fit for purpose, Lib Dems warn

Lib Dems to use emergency debate to warn Rees-Mogg is threatening public health

The Liberal Democrats will today use an emergency debate in Parliament to warn Jacob Rees-Mogg that if an MP falls ill to COVID-19 or there is a spike in cases because of travel to and from London then he must take personal responsibility and resign.

The debate, secured by Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael MP, was agreed following alarm at Business Secretary Alok Sharma becoming …

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5 June 2020 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Tariff proposals show Johnson’s willing to break his word on Brexit yet again
  • Govt must be clear on process for regional COVID-19 lockdowns
  • Lib Dems push to strengthen support for survivors in Domestic Abuse Bill
  • Davey: Coronavirus death toll a national tragedy

Tariff proposals show Johnson’s willing to break his word on Brexit yet again

Responding to reports that the UK Government is considering accepting tariffs as part of any UK-EU transition deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit and Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

This proposal is the latest chapter in a long story of the Brexit reality failing to meet Boris Johnson’s rhetoric.

Johnson told British businesses, including farmers, they’d have tariff free access to the EU market.

But just as he promised Northern Irish businesses that there would be no checks in the Irish Sea, and consumers that we wouldn’t have chlorinated chickens on our shelves, it seems that this too is an issue he is willing to break his word on.

The Government risks selling out UK farmers and industry all for their ideological Brexit.

Govt must be clear on process for regional COVID-19 lockdowns

A Cambridge University and PHE England study has suggested the decline in the COVID-19 death rate in England may arrest by mid-June. Responding to this, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care Munira Wilson said:

Scientists and public health officials sounded the alarm when the Government eased lockdown this week, given the COVID-19 risk level is still “high”. These findings show that they were right to advise caution.

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3 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Welsh Lib Dems welcome plans for phased school re-opening
  • China is being wilfully ignorant with Hong Kong response
  • Govt not clear on legal powers to implement local lockdowns
  • Govt must not risk going backwards on containing COVID-19
  • MPs need to urgently restore the virtual Parliament

Welsh Lib Dems welcome plans for phased school re-opening

Commenting on Kirsty Williams’s announcement of a phased return to school from the end of the month, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

Once again Kirsty Williams is setting the bar with regards to how a Government should be communicating at times like this.

She has clearly laid out her plans, and the rationale behind them, in an upfront manner. This will give parents, children and teaching staff the reassurance they need.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to getting our children back in the classroom and learning as soon, but only when it is safe to do so.

I am therefore pleased to see that no child is forced to go back, especially those who are shielding themselves or who have family that are shielding.

China is being wilfully ignorant with Hong Kong response

Responding to reports that China has warned the UK to “step back from the brink” over UK criticism of Beijing’s national security law for Hong Kong, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

China’s Foreign Ministry are being wilfully ignorant. The Sino-British Joint Declaration was not a unilateral announcement but a clear joint legal text, lodged at the UN. The clue is in the name.

Both the UK and China made promises to the people of Hong Kong during the Handover. Under the Joint Declaration, Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ way of life was to be protected and enhanced.

Beijing has shown increasing contempt for the Joint Declaration and it is clear that the government must now ensure all Hong Kongers are given the right to live in the UK. Liberal Democrats will continue to urge the UK Government to expand the BNO offer they have outlined.

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2 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must review exports of security equipment to US
  • Lib Dems: PHE report fails to properly address inequalities in our society
  • Govt must extend transition given NI Assembly vote

Govt must review exports of security equipment to US

Responding to news that President Donald Trump has threatened to use military force to quell protests in the United States following the murder of George Floyd, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Today the US President threatened to use force against his own citizens. As things stand, our Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister have stood silent. Their silence is shameful.

The Prime Minister must make

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30-31 May 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Govt must follow the science when it comes to easing lockdown
  • Govt must rethink plans to shut down virtual Parliament
  • Govt must issue “crystal clear” guidance for those returning to sport
  • Ministers must explain evidence behind decision to ease lockdown
  • Foreign Secretary’s silence on Trump tweets is shameful
  • Govt decision to press on with reopening schools “deeply worrying”
  • Govt must urgently scrap Vagrancy Act as part of plan to end rough sleeping

Govt must follow the science when it comes to easing lockdown

Responding to reports that several members of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group have warned of the risk of easing the lockdown in England on Monday 1 June, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The decision by key members of SAGE to go public with their concerns shows that Ministers are no longer following the science.

The test, trace, isolate system that we need to keep people safe is not yet fully functional. The NHSX app is delayed for an unknown period. For seven days straight the Government has been unable to provide even basic data about the number of people tested. On top of these failings, public health messaging has been badly undermined as people see it’s one rule for the Tory elite and another for everyone else.

Given this chaos, measures to lift lockdown appear premature. At every stage the Liberal Democrats have been clear that the Government must listen to the experts and follow the science. Protecting public health and tackling the spread of the virus must always be the Government’s number one priority – many are questioning whether this remains the case.

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29 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must fulfil duty to protect all Hong Kongers
  • Clarity needed about 5-mile rule
  • High coronavirus threat level raises questions about Govt’s priorities
  • Davey responds to furlough scheme details

Govt must fulfil duty to protect all Hong Kongers

Responding to reports that, if China imposes its new security law on Hong Kong, the Home Office appears ready to extend visa rights for all British Nationals (Overseas) in Hong Kong, whether or not they are current BNO passport holders, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

If confirmed, this is welcome news. This move is long overdue.

I introduced legislation to give the people of Hong Kong the right to live in the UK back in February. I am glad the government is finally listening.

Beijing has repeatedly shown contempt for the Sino-British Declaration. Under that Declaration, the UK has a duty to the people of Hong Kong.

The government must now ensure all Hong Kongers are protected. Relatively few people have BNO status as the offer was closed years ago.

My cross-party Hong Kong Bill would reopen the passport offer to also give young Hong Kongers the right to live in the UK, regardless of whether they are a dependent of a BNO status holder. I am urging the government to do this immediately.

Clarity needed about 5-mile rule

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have today called on the Welsh Government to give urgent clarity around the new 5-mile rule and how it effects different areas of Wales.

In the Welsh Government announcement today First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that two individuals would be allowed to meet, so long as they maintained social distancing.

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28 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt have “moral duty” to act given Beijing’s contempt for Joint Declaration
  • Govt must look closely at conflicting guidance on risks of schools reopening
  • Davey: Either PM and Ministers lied or have no understanding of lockdown rules
  • Govt must now give all Hong Kongers BNO Passport
  • Lib Dems: PM reaches new low in attempt to keep Cummings

Govt have “moral duty” to act given Beijing’s contempt for Joint Declaration

Responding to reports that China’s legislature has approved a new security law for Hong Kong, which would make it a crime to undermine Beijing’s authority in the territory, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

This vote demonstrates Beijing’s contempt for the Joint Declaration. It is an unforgivable move that threatens the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.

The UK Government must take immediate action. We have a legal and moral duty.

It is time to urgently reopen the BNO Passport offer and extend it to give the people of Hong Kong the right to live in the UK.

Govt must look closely at conflicting guidance on risks of schools reopening

Responding to the Independent Sage Group report suggesting that reopening schools risks pushing the COVID-19 ‘R’ rate above one, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

We all want to see children back in schools as an urgent priority. But not if this risks a new COVID-19 spike. The Government must guarantee that public health will not be put at risk as a result of a premature or rushed effort to get children back into classrooms.

Boris Johnson’s Government has repeatedly claimed to be guided by science. Ministers must now look closely at this Independent report to ascertain why those involved have reached a dramatically different conclusion about the risk of reopening schools next week.

The Government is asking a lot of parents and teachers during this crisis, and parents and teachers deserve clear, honest answers in return. Ministers must provide real clarity around the reasons for their decision in order to ensure that parents and teachers alike can have confidence in their plans.

Any easing of the lockdown – including reopening schools – can only happen once the Government delivers a comprehensive strategy to test, trace and isolate to prevent a new surge.

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24 May 2020 – the day’s press releases

And here are Sunday’s press releases. You may be beginning to discern a pattern here…

  • Govt urged to give Hong Kong citizens the right to live in the UK
  • Tory MPs must back calls for Dominic Cummings to go, and put fight against Coronavirus first
  • PM’s own judgement now in question

Govt urged to give Hong Kong citizens the right to live in the UK

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to reopen the British National Overseas Passport offer and extend it to give Hong Kong citizens the right to live in the UK following renewed police violence towards protestors in the Hong …

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Alistair Carmichael questions government on ending of virtual parliament

If the Government produces guidance it should stick to it, right? After this weekend, that idea seems old-fashioned.

One of the 5 main steps of the UK Government’s guidance on safe working is about helping people to work from home.

3. Help people to work from home

You should take all reasonable steps to help people work from home by:

  • discussing home working arrangements

  • ensuring they have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems

  • including them in all necessary communications

  • looking after their physical and mental wellbeing

     

For people who are mainly office based, the guidance is clearer:

Objective: That everyone should work from home, unless they cannot work from home.

We have seen over the past few weeks that MPs have been able to work pretty well from their dining rooms, studies and kitchens. Some might say that Parliament has even come across as being a bit more mature and responsible in that time as we’ve not been subjected to the weekly pantomime of Prime Minister’s Questions at full pelt.

But Jacob Rees-Mogg has decided that MPs should all return to Westminster from next week. Unless they live within driving distance of Commons, they will have to take public transport unnecessarily. They will require on-site staffing, not necessarily from their own parliamentary staff, who can continue to work from home, but from House cleaners, security staff and clerks.

Rees-Mogg, a representative of a Government who doesn’t like being held to account at the best of times, argues that Parliament can’t operate effectively if they aren’t all there. How effective a use of people’s time is it going to be to take up to an hour carrying out votes which could be done at the touch of a button? Chris Bryant, in an article in today’s Observer, describes the bizarre procedure:

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21 May 2020 – today’s press releases (part 3)

  • Parents, children and teachers need answers before schools open
  • Securing the Midlands Manufacturing Prowess – in spite of devastating news of 9000 job cuts at Rolls-Royce
  • Hong Kong power-grab by Beijing condemned
  • Migrant NHS & social care workers must be given must be given right to remain

Parents, children and teachers need answers before schools open

Responding to reports that the scientific advice on the safety of reopening schools will be published tomorrow, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Parents, children and teaching staff are worried about the threat of coronavirus and need reassurances ahead of reopening schools.

Liberal Democrats have demanded from the outset that

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20 May 2020 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Govt risking public safety with plan to bring back Parliament
  • Davey presents bill to extend transition period
  • Lib Dems: Govt has serious questions to answer over app delays
  • Lib Dems condemn failure to properly recognise contribution of foreign nationals working in NHS and care
  • Lib Dems: Charities need a multi-billion pound package to survive

Govt risking public safety with plan to bring back Parliament

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of risking public safety and warned “everyone deserves equal representation, including those who are shielding and those with family responsibilities.”

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael MP raised these concerns with the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, having secured an Urgent Question in Parliament today.

Speaking via Zoom from Orkney, the Liberal Democrat MP accepted “none of us are blind to the inadequacies of online scrutiny,” but added “if it is a choice between that and putting the safety of members, their families and the staff of this House at risk then that is no choice at all.”

In response, despite MPs taking part in debates and ask questions via Zoom over the last few weeks, Jacob Ree-Mogg rejected the call to allow MPs to work from home and refused to acknowledge any of the concerns raised.

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said:

Tens of thousands of people have already died during this pandemic. To protect vulnerable people, we should all follow public health advice and work from home when we can. We must set the right example.

It is an insult to those who have suffered and died for Jacob Rees-Mogg to suggest that MPs should put their communities at risk by traveling hundreds of miles to London each week for the whims of the Government.

Parliament has demonstrated in recent weeks that we can scrutinise the Government while working from home and ensure communities across the United Kingdom have their voices heard. Everyone deserves equal representation, including those who are shielding and those with family responsibilities.

We should instead be looking at how we can retain the best features of the virtual system to ensure safe and equal representation for every part of the UK. The Government must think again.

Davey presents bill to extend transition period

Today, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has put forward a bill which, if passed, would force the government into a two year extension of the transition period.

An extension to the transition period is essential, ensuring that the government could focus its full attention on tackling the spread of coronavirus crisis.

Speaking ahead of the Bill’s presentation, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

It is clear the government have not made nearly enough progress on the Brexit trade talks.

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19 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must not be allowed to forget unacceptable five week wait for UC
  • Govt must get a grip on coronavirus crisis to prevent further deaths
  • Govt needs to get a grip of care home crisis
  • Govt pledges to look into Lib Dems’ Mental Health plan for NHS & care staff
  • Lib Dems oppose Govt’s Trade Bill
  • Govt must request an extension to the transition period now

Govt must not be allowed to forget unacceptable five week wait for UC

Responding to ONS statistics out today which reveal a rise in unemployment and a six fold increase in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit, Acting Leader of …

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14 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Aerospace industry needs support to avoid mass redundancies in Wales
  • Govt misled businesses over post-Brexit customs checks
  • Lib Dems oppose Govt’s Immigration Bill
  • EU Commission launch legal action against UK government’s failings over citizens’ rights
  • Govt must continue to help businesses and families

Aerospace industry needs support to avoid mass redundancies in Wales

A dire assessment of the aerospace industry’s current situation by Aerospace Wales Chief Executive John Whalley has prompted the Welsh Liberal Democrats to call for the Welsh Government to give the industry a much-needed financial lifeline.

Aerospace Wales is the umbrella organisation which represent aerospace companies in Wales. Collectively it employs around 21,000 people, …

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13 May 2020 – today’s press releases

We’ve had a bit of a glitch with press releases – it’s a long, rather dull story – but this has been fixed, and the flow of news from HQ has resumed. And so, it’s time to pick up the thread…

  • Lib Dems call for Safe Trace App Law to ensure coronavirus app is safe and effective
  • Moran: Govt must publish scientific advice for reopening schools
  • Govt must publish scientific evidence behind lockdown decisions
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg must not be allowed to undermine public safety

Lib Dems call for Safe Trace App Law to ensure coronavirus app is

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    I refer you to the Gospel of St John, Chapter 8 Verse 7. OK, who is going to be first?
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    @ Peter Martin There you go again, jumping to conclusions. Blinkers off please. Just to assist you, I'm a Yorkshireman who's lived in Scotland for...
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  • User AvatarPeter Martin 10th Aug - 8:57am
    @ David Raw, I'm looking at the UK as a whole. Any party with a 6% or so lead would be relatively happy and those...