Tag Archives: catherine bearder

Vince: Keep fighting, keep hoping. We will win

Here’s the Lib Dem contingent at today’s People’s Vote march. There were lots of us there. It was an incredible atmosphere as we filled Parliament Square and beyond to listen to speeches from Tony Robinson (who actually said “I have a cunning plan”), David Lammy, Caroline Lucas and our own Vince Cable.

This event seemed like a real step up from previous ones. 100,000 people turned out demanding a People’s Vote. The key message was that this is not a done deal and we absolutely can get out of it.

This kicks off a Summer of campaigning across the country.

Here’s Vince speaking:

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Carry on Brussels – David Davis asks Vince Cable to ‘sack’ Catherine Bearder

Last night’s episode of ‘Carry on Brussels’ on Channel 4 featured our own MEP, Catherine Bearder. Unfortunately she was juxtaposed with UKIP Press Officer, but it makes for entertaining viewing.

Catherine is seen gathering support amongst her European allies for her Exit from Brexit campaign.

The documentary demonstrates the links that Catherine has with Guy Verhofstadt MEP, the European Parliament’s chief negotiator on Brexit. He is a former Prime Minister of Belgium, but of more importance to us, he is the Leader of ALDE, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe, which is the political group in the European Parliament to which UK Liberal Democrats are affiliated.

Catherine is shown greeting him as a friend in various meetings, including one with a UK delegation including Lindsay Northover (our Foreign Affairs spokesperson in the Lords), Sarah Ludford (former Lib Dem MEP) and Graham Tope.

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LibLink: Catherine Bearder: Brexit threatens the very fabric of the Good Friday Agreement

The Good Friday agreement works to keep the peace in Ireland and Brexit threatens it, says Catherine Bearder in an article for the New European. She illustrates the difference it has made to one community:

In the early days of the Troubles, the British Army opened a barracks in Forkhill to accommodate around 600 soldiers right next to a housing estate. Helicopters regularly took off and landed over the roofs of these homes, some even damaging them. The army controlled the television signals as well as the street lighting. It was one of the most dangerous places for British soldiers.

No one wants a return to those days.

The residents of Forkhill had been looking towards the future, not the past. On the site of the old barracks they are building a community garden and a wider project called the Peace Forest Ireland Initiative which aims to plant 4,000 trees on both sides of the border in memory of those who died during the Troubles. This is an ex-military site being redeveloped as a clear signal that the local community is moving forward, putting the past behind it.

Brexit puts all that at risk, she argues, so those who have to live with the consequences should get the chance to say if they agree with the Brexit deal:

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WATCH: Catherine Bearder and Vince Cable speak ahead of March for Europe #ExitfromBrexit

There are times when living 400 miles from London is a right pain. I’d have loved to be marching with the Liberal Democrats in the March for Europe in London today but an extra trip the week before Conference is way beyond my budget.

“We continue to oppose Brexit” says Vince, describing the Government’s strategy as “train crash in slow motion.” His language on this is becoming stronger all the time. He’s also developing a very strong message for the party that is not about Brexit – putting the reduction of inequality front and centre of the Liberal Democrat agenda

Catherine Bearder talked about how we had consistently opposed Brexit before, during and after the Referendum.

Watch both their pre-march speeches below.

The full text of Vince’s remarks is below.

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“Dear Mrs May…”, an open letter from Catherine Bearder

Dear Mrs May,

You called an election last week so that British voters can, you claim, by electing a large Conservative parliamentary majority, give you the “strongest hand” possible in the Brexit negotiations. But I am afraid Mrs May you have already decided on the direction you are taking this country in and I think you already know that.

Today the leaders of the 27 EU countries will meet to finalise their negotiating guidelines, for what Guy Verhofstadt described to Liberal MEPs this week as probably the shortest Council meeting ever. Why? Because …

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Catherine Bearder MEP: ‘Brexiteers lied to us. We want our country back’

Catherine Bearder on cracking form in the European Parliament.

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LibLink: Catherine Bearder MEP: Playing hardball on Brexit will only weaken Britain’s position, not strengthen it

From today, Britain becomes an outsider to the EU. We start to negotiate our exit with the other 27 member states. What emerges cannot possibly be as good as we have now. The cost of leaving and its effect on our children’s future is going to be substantial. How much that is remains to be seen. Much will depend on how the Government approaches the negotiations and the Article 50 letter doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. If you want to inspire goodwill, you have to throw some into the mix. Instead, the letter, if you read between the lines, is a bit of an ultimatum on security.

That is not going to go down very well in Brussels and nor should it, really.

Catherine Bearder has written an open letter to the Prime Minister. She knows exactly what she’s talking about because she knows Brussels. Doing the ultimatum stuff and throwing your weight around isn’t going to work.

Prime Minister, please reconsider your hard line – you have failed to answer some of the most pertinent of questions about this process and that fills so many of us with dread.

As one of the UK’s directly elected members of the European Parliament I can tell you that your approach has been met with incredulity by our partners across the Union. My friends and colleagues cannot understand the stance you have taken and your hard-nosed approach before the negotiations have even begun.

They are not only saddened at losing a friend but they are worried about Brexit hitting them and their countries in their pockets, and concerned about nationalist elements in their own countries.

But their main priority is keeping the EU together, stopping the tide of nationalism and preventing Brexit from stealing the next two years on the EU’s agenda.

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Article 50 invoked: Lib Dem reaction: The fight goes on

So, the deed is done, but the Liberal Democrats aren’t giving up the fight.

Here’s how senior Liberal Democrats have reacted:

Tim Farron – The people must have their say

The world needs liberal democratic values – this is something Churchill, Thatcher and others rightly decided that Britain could deliver from our place at the heart of Europe.

I believe the Prime Minister is twisting the will of the people, leaping into the abyss without any idea of where our country will end up.   In her statement the Prime Minister admitted we would lose influence as a result.

Theresa May has chosen the hardest and most divisive form of Brexit, choosing to take us out of the Single Market before she has even tried to negotiate.

Membership of the Single Market was not on the ballot paper last June, yet without a mandate she has chosen to rip Britain, our businesses and our people out of the world’s biggest market.

It is still possible for the British people to stop a hard Brexit and keep us in the Single Market. And if they want, it is still possible for the British people to choose to remain in the European Union. Democracy didn’t end on 23rd of June – and it hasn’t ended today either. The people can have their say over what comes next.

It is a tragedy that Labour are helping the Conservatives in doing this damage to our country.  They no longer deserve to be called the Official Opposition. Britain deserves better than this.

Catherine Bearder MEP: The clock is ticking – but it can be stopped

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Lib Dem councillors on a fact-finding trip to Brussels

On the 2nd March at 7.50 am I boarded a Ryanair flight from Manchester to Charleroi in Belgium. It is an hour and a half train journey from Charleroi to Brussels and the first thing that you notice is the friendliness of the people and the matter of fact way they switch from one language to another without pause. The next thing is the extent of the industrialisation of the landscape as it flashes by.

I was travelling to join Catherine Bearder at the EU Parliament in Brussels on the European Information Program in the hope of finding out how Brexit will be affecting us here in the Wirral. I was not surprised in the least to find that Brussels knows as little about Brexit as we do here in the UK.

The visit lasted two packed days and I found it very informative during the conversations I had with colleagues, from across the UK, and the question and answer sessions with MEP’s.

I found out, for instance, that the only country to have left the EU so far is Greenland who had only one treaty to negotiate (fish).  It took over seven years to complete their single negotiation, whilst here in the UK we have over four hundred agreements to unravel.

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LibLink: Catherine Bearder on World Wildlife Day

 

I’m afraid we didn’t mark World Wildlife Day on LDV last Friday. Fortunately our MEP Catherine Bearder did in an engaging post covering the top wildlife wins and losses in the past year.

She writes:

2016 was a historic year in the global fight against wildlife crime. From the ivory bans to the new CITES protection for over 500 species – there is a lot we can be proud of.

But we would be kidding ourselves if we think the work here is done. Wildlife trafficking is still a top four global criminal activity and the money streams gained from it are often used to fund other illegal operations like arms trafficking and even terrorism.

Wildlife by its nature is unsupervised and therefore vulnerable to the criminal gangs who exploit it for massive profit.

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Senior Liberal Democrats respond to Theresa May’s hard Brexit

We brought you Tim Farron’s response to Theresa May’s announcement that Britain is seeking reckless isolation, but what have other Liberal Democrats been saying about it.

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder:

This government’s pursuit of a hard Brexit and pulling Britain out of the Single Market will mean losing so much more than just free trading arrangements.

Theresa May’s hard Brexit will strip future generations of the life-changing opportunities to travel, work and study across Europe.

Millions who voted both Remain and Leave on 23rd June don’t endorse this extreme version of Brexit. It must be the people who have a say on any final Brexit deal.

The EU referendum left Britain deeply divided and it seems Theresa May is intent on stoking further discord and division.

Sooner or later this Conservative Brexit government will realise that it cannot govern for only those who endorse Nigel Farage’s vision for Europe.

 

Paddy Ashdown:

Willie Rennie: The Conservatives are hell bent on a hard Brexit that nobody voted for

Nick Clegg:

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About Nigel Farage and the British fishing industry

You may have read, seen, giggled at reports of the Leave and Remain camps taking to the Thames today. Nigel Farage led a flotilla of “fishermen for leave” from Southend to the Houses of Parliament.

This is particularly interesting because, as Catherine Bearder points out, Nigel is spending more time showboating on the Thames than he has ever spent actually standing up for the British fishing industry at the European Parliament Fisheries Committee which it’s part of his job to be on.

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Roaming charges reduced from tomorrow thanks to the EU

There is good news for smartphone users heading to the continent this bank holiday weekend. From tomorrow (April 30th), new EU rules will cap the cost of using your phone when abroad in Europe at 4p per minute, 2p per text and 4p per MB of data (excluding VAT), around four times cheaper than current limits.

Three UK’s rate is dropping from 16.6p per minute, 5.2p per text and 17.4p per MB to 4.3p per minute, 1.5p per text and 4.3p per MB. Tesco Mobile has announced it will drop roaming charges altogether in more than 30 European countries between May and September this year. From July 2016, all phone companies will be required to scrap roaming fees for phone users travelling within the EU.

That’s good news for my brother-in-law who is currently in Mallorca to compete in the marathon cycle ride, the Mallorca 312 tomorrow. That’s 312 km, a lot of it on the massive mountain ridge that covers the west of the island. I thought my leaflet delivery schedule for the next few days was punishing, but this is quite some feat of endurance, so  good luck, Jamie and team-mates.

This adds to a growing list of reasons to vote to remain in the EU. It maybe isn’t the biggest, but it does show that the EU is working to break down unnecessary barriers for the benefit of its half billion people.

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Catherine Bearder: Europe has led to great strides forward for women

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder, who sits on the European Parliament’s Gender Equality Committee, has spoken about the benefits of the EU for women ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow,

She said:

Being in Europe has led to huge strides forward for women.

Together we have banned gender discrimination in the workplace, given mothers across Europe at least fourteen weeks maternity leave and ensured victims of domestic violence are protected when abroad in the EU.

UKIP and others who want to leave the EU have made it clear they want to scrap rules that protect pregnant women and prevent discrimination.

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South Central Regional Conference- Can we muster Euro enthusiasm?

catherine bearderThe European in-out referendum dominated the South Central Regional Conference last Saturday. Speakers included Catherine Bearder, our own MEP, who spoke of the complete negativity of the large contingent of UKIP in the European Parliament.

Not everyone accepted that the EU is a force for good. As one questioner asked, how can our party muster enthusiasm to campaign for an organization that is obviously undemocratic and very deeply flawed? Perhaps the Outers are right; there really are sunlit uplands outside the EU, where the UK can benefit from truly representative democracy, run companies uninhibited by red tape and carry out extensive worldwide trade.

As a Libdem member who is lukewarm about the EU, I have found this a tricky question.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Government U-turns on EU flood funding in victory for Lib Dems

As many of you know Tim Farron and I have been fighting for months to persuade the government to apply for EU solidarity funding for flood victims. The European Commission had confirmed to me last December that this money was there for the taking, so it was flabbergasting that the government had so far refused to apply on the flimsy grounds that it would not offer immediate help (an application takes a few months to process). The real reason I suspect was that the government was worried about upsetting its eurosceptic backbenchers by asking for help from the rest of Europe in a time of need.

So it came as something of a shock to find out today that finally the Conservatives have U-turned and will be making a last-minute application. This is a huge victory for the Liberal Democrats, who have been piling the pressure on the government on this issue from day one. And of course it is fantastic news for the communities across the North of England and Scotland whose lives were turned upside-down by the floods and who will finally get the additional funding they deserve.

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Watch: Catherine Bearder explains why we have to win this Referendum

Catherine tells us that she is not lonely in Europe because she is part of a vibrant Liberal group. And tells us how the European Union protects birds of prey.

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LibLink: Catherine Bearder: The campaign to keep Britain in Europe must be based on hope not fear

Catherine Bearder has written for the New Statesman’s Staggers blog to castigate both sides of the EU Referendum debate for negativity, citing the example of Scotland:

On the one hand, Ukip and the feuding Leave campaigns have shamelessly seized on the events in Cologne at New Year to claim that British women will be at risk if the UK stays in Europe. On the other, David Cameron claims that the refugees he derides as a “bunch of migrants” in Calais will all descend on the other side of the Channel the minute Britain leaves the EU. The British public deserve better than this. Rather than constant mud-slinging and politicising of the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, we need a frank and honest debate about what is really at stake. Most importantly this should be a positive campaign, one that is fought on hope and not on fear. As we have a seen in Scotland, a referendum won through scare tactics alone risks winning the battle but losing the war.

So what’s the alternative?

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Lib Dem Remain campaign to be launched this afternoon

Tim Farron heads to the unlikely environment of a table tennis bar in London to launch the Lib Dems’ In campaign this afternoon.

Also speaking will be London Mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon and MEP Catherine Bearder:

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Bearder calls on Theresa Villiers to quit if she backs Brexit

Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder has said that Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers should resign if she wants to campaign for Britain to leave the EU. She joined Northern Irish politicians who argued that the effect of leaving the EU would be acutely felt in Northern Ireland and the peace process could be at risk.

Catherine said:

Given the disastrous impact Brexit could have on the Northern Ireland peace process, it would be highly inappropriate for Theresa Villiers to remain in her post while campaigning to leave the EU.

Leaving Europe would risk stoking sectarian tensions and undoing years of peacebuilding, much of it funded through EU peace programmes. It would also fundamentally transform the UK’s relationship with the Republic of Ireland and put at risk the open land border we currently share.

David Cameron must stop putting the interests of his party ahead of those of the country. Government ministers should not be able to campaign for an EU exit if this completely goes against their role and responsibilities.

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LibLink: Catherine Bearder: There will be no 12 days of Christmas if we lose the turtle dove

This year the turtle dove officially became an endangered species. Psssionate conservationist Catherine Bearder MEP, who’s been made the dove’s species champion by the RSPB, has written tot the Guardian about what we stand to lose:

Hunting is affecting turtle dove populations across their European breeding grounds. Every spring, hunters in Malta shoot and trap thousands of migratory birds as they fly over the island. Malta is now the only country in the EU that allows spring hunting of turtle doves. EU conservation laws ban the killing of endangered birds, but Malta still has a derogation to do so during the spring period. Several other countries also allow the hunting of turtle doves in the autumn.

Ever since he took office, I’ve been piling the pressure on the EU’s environment commissioner Karmenu Vella to demand that laws protecting turtle doves from illegal hunting are strengthened and properly enforced. These migratory birds belong to the whole of Europe. That is why we need strong EU laws to ensure they are protected at each stage of their journey. So I’m pleased that following this pressure the EU is taking Malta to court for breaking rules that protect birds.

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LibLink: Catherine Bearder says that any post-Brexit deal would be tough on the UK

 

Catherine Bearder, our only Lib Dem MEP, has been interviewed about the consequences of Brexit by the EU Observer.

She doesn’t think that an arrangement similar to Norway’s – being in the European Economic Area but not in the European Union – is achievable.

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Catherine Bearder to Nigel Lawson: Pulling out of the EU would mean losing power and influence over our future

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder has written to the Times (£) to respond to Nigel Lawson’s article which argued that the UK should leave the EU:

She wrote:

Sir, Lord Lawson’s argument for EU exit may be eloquent but it is fanciful. It is true that the 19 countries of the eurozone are going to have to move closer together. But that makes it even more imperative that Britain, as the financial capital of Europe, defends its economic interests in the EU’s single market as a whole.

Half of our exports go to the rest of Europe and even if we were

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LibLink: Catherine Bearder MEP: Cameron must wake up and join the EU’s response to the refugee crisis

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder has written for Left Foot Forward to criticise David Cameron’s decision to take Syrian refugees, as long as they aren’t already in Europe.

Plans are being drawn up to take a limited number of refugees directly from camps on Syria’s borders, but much to the dismay of our EU partners, Cameron continues to rule out taking part in an EU response to the thousands of desperate refugees arriving on Europe’s shores. This may be politically expedient, but it is strategically short-sighted. Only by working together at the EU level can we address the biggest refugee crisis since WW2.

Like Tim Farron, Catherine has now visited Calais to see the camps there for herself:

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez argues for quotas on boards – but warns that inclusive culture is also necessary

Remarkably, we’ve seen a consensus between our two leadership candidates that some for of action such as all women shortlists or zipping in list contests, is necessary to do something about the party’s shockingly poor record on diversity.

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, as reported in the International Business Times, has called for quotas on company boards:

I am a reluctant supporter of temporary quotas. Intervention, on a temporary basis, is probably the only solution to make a big change. It irritates my legal mind because obviously discrimination cannot be sorted with another discrimination, but I’ve come to the conclusion that unless you make an intervention, change will to be difficult.

She did go on to say, though, that where there must be no tokenism. Companies must allow women on their boards to play a full part:

Boards have a specific role: controlling what the situation is for shareholders and the community as a whole, that is why they were created. Too many boards are either not diverse or diverse nominally and not inclusive. They sit women around the table but they don’t participate in discussions, those boards are not fulfilling.

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Catherine Bearder MEP doesn’t need men telling her what’s important

I have to say that I am incandescent with rage at a profile of the only Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder which has appeared in the New Statesman. The implied conclusion of both the journalist and the several Liberal Democrat sources quoted seems to be that Catherine is a lightweight who needs the back-up of a group of men. She’s criticised for not pursuing their agendas and her own concerns, on massive issues like wildlife and human trafficking are dismissed by the journalist as pet projects.  Yes, that’s right, protecting vulnerable people from the brutal exploitation of modern slavery somehow is a niche issue? Not in my world.

The thing is, despite the drip-drip of patronising criticism that comes through the article Catherine comes out of it really well. What I get is an impression of a politician who, heaven forfend, is well-connected to her constituency and the people she represents. Heaven forfend! It’s hard to do that across a single UK Parliamentary seat. Across a region? That’s more challenging and Catherine does it well. That is just as important as legislative achievement.

Dave Keating, the journalist laments that the lack of political heavyweights:

The Liberal Democrats lost their Brussels heavyweights like Graham Watson, Andrew Duff and Ed McMillan-Scott.

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Bearder: Liberals must save the EU-US trade agreement, but we must ditch ISDS to do so

Writing for politics.co.uk, Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder writes a strong defence of the proposed free trade agreement between the US and EU, but takes the view that the now much-maligned Investor State Dispute Settlement proposal (which in any event has been temporarily abandoned) must be replaced with a much more accountable form of dispute resolution:

A trade deal with the US has the potential to bring major benefits to the UK economy. Currently the US is the biggest export destination for UK small businesses, with over half of all small exporting firms doing business there. But barriers to trade between the EU and the US, such as tariffs or different standards and regulations, can make it difficult for small companies to expand their businesses across the Atlantic.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Only way to make blue go green is to add yellow

Over at PoliticsHome, Tim Farron has been showing up the Tories, who voted in favour of loosening controls on air pollution. Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder opposed the plans:

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Nigel, was there something you forgot to do?

Nigel farage photo by norbert1As the net migration figures come out today, Nigel Farage has never been far from a tv camera. He’s been on the BBC News Channel. on the Daily Politics, spreading his ill-informed nonsense that we have an open door to half a billion people as if the entirety of Europe was going to pack up and come here to live.

It must have slipped his mind that he was supposed to be in Strasbourg this morning, voting down the European Commission headed by Jean-Claude Juncker. He must have also forgotten to take part in the debate on the motion on Monday. The funny thing is, he’s been in Strasbourg this week, lining up to meet the Pope.  UKIP MEPs don’t often trouble the Parliament with their presence, but you would think that Farage would have bothered to turn up to support his own motion! He and others including France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen had wasted Parliament’s time with the motion which was roundly defeated this morning.

ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt spoke against it in the debate and he didn’t mince his words:

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It’s International Day for the elimination of violence against women. Lynne Featherstone highlights need for men and boys to act. What do Liberal Democrat MPs do?

Today marks the start of 16 days of action, from today’s International Day for the elimination of violence against women to Human Rights Day on 10th December, when events all over the world will raise awareness and take action to stop violence against women.

Jo Swinson and Lynne Featherstone have been speaking to students  at an NUS event aimed at Kings College London about the importance of changing the culture and the role that men and boys need to play in that.

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