Tag Archives: Alistair Carmichael

SNP spend more in Shetland by-election than across whole of Scotland for EU referendum

So the election spending returns from the Shetland by-election are out.

We spent £64k and won.

The SNP were right up against the limit, spending £99k.

But they only spent £90k in 2016, across the whole of Scotland on the EU Referendum.

As a Remain campaigner in West Lothian, I found it deeply frustrating that SNP activists kept saying that they were too tired from the Holyrood elections to fight the EU referendum.

If something is important, it doesn’t matter how tired you are. You get to sleep in a few weeks.

I don’t, to be honest, think that David Cameron’s insistence on holding the referendum just weeks after the Holyrood election was fair, but it was where we were.

We got out there and fought. And the SNP were tired. Even though they spent three years in the run-up to the independence referendum in 2014 hanging around on every street corner trying to persuade people to their cause.

Alistair Carmichael, MP for the Shetland Scottish Parliament seat, who welcomed so many Lib Dems up there in August, said:

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Why we need #worldmentalhealthday

“I’ve got the headache from hell.”

“I’m full of the cold”

“I feel incredibly anxious today”

“My stomach is killing me.”

One of these is not like the others.

We are generally pretty comfortable about sharing when we’re feeling physically unwell, but not so if we are feeling mentally unwell.

I’m not going to lie, I have found these last few months really difficult. I’ve often felt overwhelmed and anxious. In fact, earlier in the Summer, I thought my mental health was going to collapse completely.

The last thing I was expecting from my campaigning trip to Brecon and Radnorshire was to come back feeling restored, refreshed and energised.

I’m not better, though. More days than not, I feel anxious.

And just like many people with physical ill health, I go to work and edit this site and go about my daily life.

The Winter months are generally more difficult than the Summer ones. A fall on ice quarter of a century ago has cast a very long shadow. Going outside when it’s snowy and icy is so exhausting that I’m often fit for nothing by the time I get where I’m going. I have to get used to operating on empty and living in a near permanent state of high anxiety.

And when people diminish what that is like, and laugh about it, it makes life so much more difficult. When people tell you to pull yourself together, they have absolutely no idea how much you are already doing that.

I also think that it is getting easier to talk about things like Anxiety and Depression. Try and say you are suffering from Psychosis and you will often realise very quickly that stigma is thriving.

So that’s my take on World Mental Health Day. This year’s theme is suicide prevention, in particular the acronym WAIT, as Christine Jardine describes:

Alex Cole-Hamilton mentions the importance of listening:

Jo talked of the importance of being able to talk openly:

Jane Dodds has long championed measures to end loneliness and social isolation:

Luisa Porritt and Layla Moran shared their struggles with Anxiety and Depression:

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1 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Rise in homeless deaths demands end of Vagrancy Act
  • UK govt must not be silent on situation in Hong Kong
  • Tories cannot call themselves the law and order party
  • Cable: End ‘weaponising’ of social care

Rise in homeless deaths demands end of Vagrancy Act

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has renewed her call for the Vagrancy Act to be scrapped following the publication of new ONS statistics revealing a rise in the deaths of homeless people in 2018.

The ONS data shows that there were an estimated 726 deaths in 2018, an increase of over 20% on the previous year. The highest numbers of deaths were …

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4 September 2019 – today’s press releases

Time to put Liberal Democrat Voice to bed for the night, unlike our Parliamentary Party in the Lords, who are preparing for a long night of voting to stop Conservatives filibustering.

It’s been a dramatic day in Westminster, although there seem to be no shortage of those these days. But the media operations continues regardless…

  • Kicking the can down the road will not prevent Windrush-style scandal for EU citizens
  • Lib Dems: We have a duty to stand with the people of Hong Kong
  • Davey slams Spending Review as “fantasy figures”
  • Jane Dodds delivers maiden speech in Parliament
  • PM cannot be allowed to use an election to

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18 July 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

There was a bit of a glitch yesterday, as the press releases ended up in my spam folder for some reason. Things seem to be back to normal, so the usual service resumes here…

  • Welsh Lib Dems – time to embrace zero-carbon housing
  • Lib Dems: EU resolution a vital step in UK’s duty to stand up for people of Hong Kong
  • Davey demands urgent action as knife crime epidemic continues to spread
  • Umunna: OBR report shows No Deal Brexit would be unforgivable
  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s ‘fishy tales’ have no plaice in Number Ten
  • Lib Dems: Milestone victory to block no-deal
  • Gauke talks the talk but can’t walk

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16 July 2019 – the overnight press release

Lib Dems: Govt must stop inaction to protect British farmers and the planet

Responding to the RSA Food, Farming & Countryside Commission report outlining a transition to a more sustainable food system and a new deal for the rural economy, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael, said:

Farming has a vital role to play in tackling the climate emergency and reversing the tragic loss of biodiversity. This report presents tangible steps to help transform our farming industry to one that works with the environment to produce sustainable, healthy food for the future.

Farmers must be placed at the heart of

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3 July 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems demand new committee to assess no-deal damage
  • Lamb criticises whistleblower protections as “fundamentally inadequate”
  • Lib Dems produce bill to stop Govt’s publicity stunt approach to plastics
  • Lib Dems: Govt must tackle obesity crisis to save lives

Lib Dems demand new committee to assess no-deal damage

Today, the Liberal Democrats with a cross-party group in the House of Lords will attempt to create a a joint parliamentary committee of MPs and Peers to consider the impact of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement on 31 October 2019.

The motion not only calls for the creation of the joint committee, but that they …

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2 July 2019 – today’s press releases

Umunna: Johnson Brexit policy will result in £90bn hit to the public purse

The Chancellor has today confirmed that the Government is already having to hold back £26-27 billion of fiscal headroom to deal with the disastrous impact of a No Deal exit from the European Union, and that even more than that will be needed. Furthermore, the Government’s own analysis shows that a disruptive No Deal Brexit will hit the public purse by £90 billion as a minimum.

Commenting on the Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s remarks, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Treasury and Business, Chuka Umunna MP, said:

Boris Johnson plans to give

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18 June 2019 – today’s press releases

Cable: Looks like Boris will lie down and let Heathrow expansion happen

Responding to the publication of Heathrow’s plan for a third runway which will include diverting rivers, moving roads and rerouting the M25 through a tunnel under the new runway, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Twickenham MP Vince Cable said:

Expanding Heathrow is the wrong decision for the country and for South West London, where air pollution, air traffic noise, and congestion are already a blight. Heathrow’s plan all but confirms this.

The economics of Heathrow expansion also look questionable at best while it will do nothing for regional economies. Above

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22 May 2019 – today’s press releases

It’s not easy being in a political party’s Press Team when the governing party is in meltdown. After all, Theresa May is seemingly holed up in 10 Downing Street, a chair wedged under the door handle to prevent anyone from getting in. The Leader of the House is gone, and who knows if she’s merely the first of many?

And all this on the eve of European Parliamentary elections in which the Conservatives are expected to take a kicking not dissimilar to that the Liberal Democrats took in 2015…

  • Lib Dems: Botched Apprenticeship Levy implementation hurting most disadvantaged
  • Gove clutching at straws with

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17 May 2019 – the overnight press release

Lib Dems demand same-sex marriage for Northern Ireland on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Today on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Liberal Democrats have demanded that the Government legislate for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Responding to reports that the Conservative Government, propped up by the anti-equal marriage party the DUP, is considering legislating to allow longer licensing hours for the Open Golf Championship taking place in Northern Ireland this July, Alistair Carmichael said:

It is ridiculous that the Conservatives would even consider legislating for the British Open to have slightly longer licensing hours while they are

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19 April 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: We must reject violence in Northern Ireland

Responding to reports that journalist Lyra McKee has been killed during violence in Londonderry, Liberal Democrat Northern Ireland spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

I never met Lyra McKee but by all accounts she was a young woman of great talent, courage and humanity. These are all talents that we need now more than ever so we should all mourn her passing.

My condolences go to all her family and friends who are having to come to terms with their loss today. Unlike Lyra, those who bring violence to the streets of Northern Ireland have nothing

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18 April 2019 – the overnight press releases

Tories’ high-stakes testing culture pushing children out of school

Responding to the EPI report revealing that over 50,000 pupils who took their GCSEs in 2017 were removed from the school roll for unexplained reasons during their time at secondary school, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

This is yet more worrying evidence that the Conservatives’ high-stakes testing culture is letting down our most vulnerable children.

The desperate drive to secure a better Ofsted grade or climb up the league tables has given schools a perverse incentive to push children they regard as difficult on to other schools, alternative providers, or let

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10 April 2019 – today’s press releases

Moran: Recognition of Palestine cannot wait a moment longer

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has today called on the UK Government to recognises Palestine following the Israeli election.

Ms Moran, the first MP of Palestinian decent, previously introduced the Palestinian Statehood (Recognition) Bill which would require the UK Government to recognise the State of Palestine within 3 months of the Bill being passed. It had support from Lib Dem, Labour, SNP, Plaid and Green MPs.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

The dead heat between Gantz and Netanyahu means uncertainty for Palestinians continues. We now wait with baited breath for the

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10 April 2019 – the overnight press releases

Report proves need for a transformational investment in mental health

The Liberal Democrats have called for a “transformational investment in mental health” following a report by the Children’s Commissioner for England which shows over a third of local areas have cut real terms spending on ‘low level’ children’s mental health services.

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

The desperate lack of funding for children’s mental health services leaves young people with nowhere to turn. This is exactly why issues like depression and anxiety become worse. It doesn’t need to be this way.

The writing has been on the wall for some

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How is Alistair Carmichael switching off from Brexit?

The Times Red Box asked MPs from all parties how they are going to try to switch off from Brexit.

As if they actually could.

I mean, that cliff edge is a week and four hours away at the time of writing.

The article has a serious point though. There is so much strain on MPs at the moment. If four in ten of the general population, according to the Mental Health Foundation, are suffering from some sort of Brexit-related anxiety, how much worse is it going to be for MPs in such a febrile environment.

It is not a good atmosphere to be making decisions which will affect this country for generations. I think that they should grab as long as extension as the EU will grant and go back to first principles. Or just decide to revoke Article 50. That would free them up to talk about something else – like making sure everyone has a house that they can afford and the means to feed themselves and their families.

Anyway, two Liberal Democrats took part in Red Box’s survey.

Alistair Carmichael’s answer was predictable:

I don’t think I will get my mind off Brexit but I have a bottle of Highland Park that should help to numb the pain. Obviously other single malts are available (which is just as well as I fear that one bottle may not be enough).

Tim Farron’s was entirely unsurprising too:

I will go for a run with my famous spaniel… and fret about Blackburn Rovers’ terrible form… and watch Shetland with the kids… and go to church (praying seems especially worthwhile right now…) and knock on tonnes of doors of course!

Joking apart, I have been feeling increasingly anxious for months. I’m sure each knife edge vote in the Commons takes about a week off my life. I’m not dealing with it terribly well – more chips and wine than quinoa salad, put it this way.  There is so much at stake.

Politics has been anxiety inducing for the best part of a decade now. The coalition years were difficult, but it was the Scottish referendum, another existential threat to our peaceful way of life, that first made me feel absolutely ill. Part of that was simply because people were horrible to each other. Some families are still not speaking to each other over stances that they took at that time.

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25 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems produce Bill to properly tackle plastics crisis

Today, Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Environment, will present his Plastic Pollution Bill to Parliament.

The Bill will set targets to help fix our plastics crisis and require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for the reduction of plastic pollution.

The Bill has been backed by a cross-party group of MPs as well as Friends of the Earth and the Women’s Institute.

Ahead of presenting his Bill, Mr Carmichael said:

Plastic pollution is the scourge of our oceans. The Government must start taking action to reduce our plastic to change our

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19 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Wales Woefully Unprepared for No-Deal Brexit
  • Corbyn turns his back on manufacturing sector
  • Honda decision symbolic of Brexit Britain
  • Lib Dems: Begum should face justice for her crimes in the UK

Wales Woefully Unprepared for No-Deal Brexit

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised no-deal preparations in Wales as “woeful” following a report from the Wales Audit Office, which critcised the lack of preparations made in case Britain leaves the European Union without a deal or transition period.

The Wales Audit Office report stated, ‘Wales needs to do more to prepare for possible no-deal Brexit.’ despite the Welsh Government having begun “intensifying” their no-deal preparations as far …

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18 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Amidst the conjecture caused by the launch of The Independent Group this morning, it might have been easy to forget that there’s plenty of other stuff going on…

  • Lib Dems: Rail reform proposals signals change needed
  • Govt consultations on plastic must be followed by action
  • On short prison sentences, Tories say one thing and do another
  • Cable: Honda decision another hammer blow to the UK economy
  • Lib Dems will work with like-minded MPs – Cable
  • Statement on the death of Paul Flynn

Lib Dems: Rail reform proposals signals change needed

Responding to the release of the report containing the Rail Delivery Group’s proposals to the Williams Rail Review, …

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15 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: Tories failing on air pollution

New figures released today by the Department for the Environment show that emissions of air pollutants have not dropped significantly over the past three years, despite the Government promising to tackle air pollution as a priority.

Responding to the figures, Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson, said:

These figures show that this Tory Government is failing to tackle air pollution, which they described themselves as ‘the biggest environmental threat to public health.’

Long-term exposure to these emissions can cause heart and lung problems as well as potentially contribute to cancers, with the young and the

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9-10 February 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

It may be that Parliament is at a bit of a loose end whilst the Government argue amongst themselves over Brexit, but that isn’t to say that there is much for Liberal Democrats to be stirred by…

  • Government ferry plan hits the rocks
  • UK citizens to be left without medical cover in event of no-deal Brexit
  • No specific funding for NHS in no deal scenario
  • Stone: Immigration rules for Commonwealth soldiers are outrageous
  • Cable: PM’s meaningful vote timeline irresponsible and insulting to parliament
  • UK must support Turkey’s stand on Uyghur crisis – Carmichael

Government ferry plan hits the rocks

Responding to news that the Government has scrapped its …

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LibLink: Alistair Carmichael: A People’s Vote is the only way for our country to move forward

Alistair Carmichael emerges from the shadows of his Chief Whip’s role to make the case for a People’s Vote in the Herald in his own inimitable style. First he sets the scene.

Instead of trotting out platitudes (“Brexit means Brexit” – remember that one?) and promising the undeliverable to the insatiable on her own right wing and the DUP (we shall leave the Customs Union AND have no hard border between the North and the South AND we shall have no border in the Irish Sea) she could have built a consensus in the House of Commons.

There are two obstacles to sorting this out – one is May’s intransigence. The other is Jeremy Corbyn:

Challenged in yesterday’s confidence debate the self-styled Leader of The Opposition was unable to say whether, in the event of winning his general election he would press ahead with Brexit or not. That apparently would be up to his party.

When I asked him then if he would follow the policy endorsed by his party members at their conference in September and back a people’s vote after the confidence motion had failed his answer was also less than unequivocal.

As they might have said aboard the Starship Enterprise, “It’s leadership, Jim, but not as we know it”.

The Lib Dems first came up with the idea of a People’s Vote two years ago and it didn’t exactly catch on:

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Confidence trick

There were many times during this afternoon’s Vote of No Confidence debate when I wanted to throw something at the television. I didn’t, because the only things close by were expensive and belonged to my employer.

This country is facing the biggest crisis since World War 2 and the Government and Opposition spend the afternoon slinging insults at each other, pantomime style. When we face a no-deal fall off a cliff which will kill people. Fiddling and burning or what?

It was hardly the stuff of Gladstone, of Lloyd George, of Churchill as Jeremy Corbyn finally moved his motion of no confidence. The Government happily gave it five hours of debate. It was only obliged to give an hour and a half, but wasting time is all it’s got at the moment. The Conservative benches also got to be the most united they have been since last July.

I know that Vince signed Corbyn’s motion of no confidence. He kind of had to. I mean, if you’re asked if you have confidence in the government that brought you Windrush, the hostile environment, the rape clause, the benefit freeze, the disastrous implementation of Universal Credit and that’s before you even get to the Brexit clusterbourach, then the only possible answer is “no flipping way.”

However, I’d have amended it to say I have no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition either. I can’t actually remember a time when the Government and the Opposition have been so simultaneously useless.

Apparently, Corbyn is going to keep laying down motions of no confidence as a distraction from having to take a position on the People’s Vote and May thinks she can get away with putting tweaked versions of her deal to the Commons. Does anyone get the irony here? They are happy to keep asking the same questions while stubbornly denying the people the chance to mark the Government’s homework.

Alistair Carmichael confronted Corbyn beautifully on the issue during his speech:

What should we do if Corbyn keeps putting down vexatious motions of no confidence? Well, to be honest, we have to vote for them. If we don’t, that’ll be the one time Corbyn will have got the DUP on side. After that disaster in the Summer we simply daren’t give Labour the chance to say that we backed the Tories.

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31 December 2018 – 6 January 2019 – the week’s press releases

Right, the holiday season is over, and it’s back to something resembling normalcy tomorrow, what with Parliament resuming and all. So, here’s the press releases that you missed…

  • Govt must provide answers over forced marriage scandal
  • Javid comments on asylum seekers ‘completely unacceptable’
  • Corbyn cosies up to the Conservatives on Brexit
  • All Gove is offering farmers is uncertainty
  • Cable: PM’s publicity campaign is scaremongering
  • Cable: Govt must end brinkmanship over security in Northern Ireland
  • Lib Dems: Govt must follow airports and invest in drone protection

Govt must provide answers over forced marriage scandal

Liberal Democrats today condemned reports that the Government is charging victims of illegal forced marriages to …

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14 November 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s been a long day today, with the last press release issued after 10 p.m….

  • Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages
  • Number Ten bows to pressure on FOBT stakes
  • Failures on women’s health becoming the norm
  • DUP “punishment beating” comments unacceptable and dangerous
  • ‘No Brexit’ still a very real possibility
  • Country still none the wiser on PM’s blindfold Brexit
  • Brexit will rob UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools

Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has warned the Tories are being “unacceptably risky” as a House of Commons committee finds that failures in preparing for Brexit mean food shortages …

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7 November 2018 – (the rest of) today’s press releases

Tonight’s press releases are brought to you from Madrid, where hundreds of liberals from across Europe are gathering for the ALDE Party Congress. This feature might be rather more erratically timed than usual until Sunday…

Brexit legal advice must be published

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has called on the Government to end their “murky games” and publish all legal advice on Brexit plans for the Irish border.

Mr Brake said:

Refusing to publish legal advice on Brexit makes a mockery of the discredited mantra ‘Take Back Control’. Choosing to withhold this information from the public raises serious questions about what

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29 October 2018 – today’s press releases (part two)

As promised, part two of today’s output from the Party’s Press Team…

Fiscal Phil’s sticking plaster Budget

Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

This was all very modest stuff, with more in it for potholes than schools and the police. A standstill non-event.

With growth remaining stubbornly low and Brexit weighing down our economy, it is clear the big problems are still to be tackled. It was a sticking plaster Budget, when major surgery lies ahead.

If we are to see an end to austerity, then we need a proper injection of

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26 October 2018 – today’s press releases

A very diverse range of press releases today, it must be said…

Universal Credit causing unacceptable hardship

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has slammed the Conservative Government for refusing to listen to problems experienced by those on Universal Credit as the Public Accounts Committee urges Ministers to make fundamental changes to the scheme.

The Public Accounts Committee has today (26th October) published its report into the implementation of Universal Credit. The committee concludes that:

  • The DWP’s dismissive attitude to real-world experience is failing claimants
  • The recent announcement of delayed roll-out is not a solution
  • The Government must work with third-party organisations to shape programme

Liberal Democrat MP …

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22 October 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s been a busy day in HQ, and there’s news of a victory over the Government in the Lords…

Lib Dems: Research shows hard border for NI puts lives at risk

Research by the Liberal Democrats and PoliticsHome has shown how crucial a soft border is between Ireland and Northern Ireland, specifically in relation to emergency service call-outs.

A series of freedom of information requests has shown that 182 ambulances and 270 fire engines crossed into the Republic during 2016-17 in response to 999 calls, highlighting how a hard border could potentially leave people with far slower emergency responses if the UK …

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Whip issues apology over Trade Bill vote

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael has issued a statement following yesterday’s vote on the Taxation (Cross-border trade) Bill:

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