Tag Archives: catherine bearder mep

From Catherine Bearder MEP, Leader of the Lib Dem Group at the European Parliament

Wow! What a few days it has been. I wanted to write you a little message from Brussels about the incredible European election last Thursday and how we can build on from our stellar result.

First of all can I just say a huge, huge thank you to all of you. In just three weeks, our activists put in a marathon effort to deliver millions of leaflets, bang in ‘Stop Brexit’ and ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ stakeboards and knock on thousands of doors (and this was on the back of an enormous effort to get all those wonderful councillors elected!).

Now we are sixteen MEPs and I finally have some colleagues with me to fly the Lib Dem flag in Brussels and Strasbourg! There are some past MEPs coming back into our midst like Chris Davies, Phil Bennion and Bill Newton-Dunn, but there also some rising stars in the party like Irina Von Wiese, Antony Hook and Caroline Voaden and so many others who come with a whole range of skills and life experiences. It is truly a great and diverse team – over 50% are women and two MEPs are BAME.

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Catherine Bearder named MEP of the Year for championing air quality

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Tim Farron writes: ‘renegotiation not a game changer’

Thursday 18 February

Arriving at St Pancras for the Eurostar early on Thursday morning, I found myself amongst a small gaggle of lobby journalists, all clutching tickets to the same destination – Brussels, presumably with ‘open returns’ with no one being sure how long the negotiations would take.

We were, of course, heading to Brussels ahead of the summit at which David Cameron would try and thrash out the last minute ‘grand deal’ that would allow him to campaign for Britain to stay in Europe.

The substance of the deal has been held up as the greatest political settlement of our time by his more loyal supporters and dismissed as entirely irrelevant by the usual Eurosceptic suspects in the Conservative party.

Neither styling is fair. The renegotiation is not a game changer, but it shows that our European partners are open to working together to achieve reform in Europe.

I was heading to Brussels to talk to the liberal leaders and Prime Ministers from across Europe at the ALDE Pre-Summit meeting.

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LibLink: Catherine Bearder MEP: How can Britain celebrate Magna Carta and contemplate leaving ECHR in the same year?

Catherine Bearder MEP has co-written an article for the New Statesman on the Conservatives’ plans to abolish the Human Rights Act. She said:

Fundamental rights, the rule of law and democratic principles are frequently violated in nearly all EU member states. In some cases, the violations are serious and systematic.  The current Hungarian government is one of the most egregious offenders. In recent years we have seen critical media gagged, the electoral law changed to secure an absolute majority for the governing party, opposition parties weakened and the independence of the judiciary undermined. But there are many other examples across Europe: the anti-gay laws in Lithuania, the deportation of Roma people from France, the inhumane treatment of underage asylum seekers in the Netherlands and the collective disregard shown for the law and civil liberties in many countries’ counter-terrorism policies.

We lose our moral authority if we tolerate torture, secret prisons, abduction, and indefinite detention without fair trials. These ugly blots tarnish Europe’s status as a shining beacon of freedom and human rights in the world. EU governments must be held accountable for these crimes, including and especially those committed in the name of defending democracy.

That is why we need legal instruments to uphold our common values, even if this means that sometimes national authorities are overruled.  EU member states have voluntarily signed up to these supranational laws and conventions for good reason.  It is the essence of democracy that those in power are bound by laws and their powers are limited.  That may sometimes be awkward, but these checks and balances are the vital safeguards which protect us against abuse of power by the state.

These principles are not left or right-wing, nor are they alien to British culture. Quite the opposite: safeguarding citizens’ rights and the rule of law have their roots in that ancient, famous document that we are celebrating this year.

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Lib Dem MEP supports Fairtrade group in campaign to help sugar farmers after EU rule change

As Co-Ordinator of Lib Dem Fairtrade Future (LDFF) I’m proud to announce that we’ve launched a new campaign, Help Sugar Farmers, in support of a major effort from the Fairtrade Foundation (the governing body of Fairtrade in the UK) to get a fair deal for sugar farmers in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries following a European Union rule-change which-unless mitigation is provided-will likely lead to around 200,000 people being pushed into poverty.

I’m a proud pro-European but we have to be up-front when the EU makes decisions which adversely affect people both within the EU and-as in this case-beyond.

As noted by the Fairtrade Foundation, the EU has decided to do away with a cap on the amount of sugar grown in Europe which has previously helped to protect the livelihoods of sugar farmers (including around 60,000 who are part of the Fairtrade initiative) by enabling them good access to European markets.

LDFF supports the Fairtrade Foundation in calling for the EU to ‘lead a response which brings together businesses, other EU member states, governments in affected Countries, small farmers and civil society’ and to ‘provide new funding from the EU’s own development budget.’

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New Liberal Democrat Forum for Africa

The adage goes that all politics is local. And I believe it to be true – certainly local to the individual for whom specific issues are a concern. Living and working in London you can enjoy one of the most diverse and multicultural cities in the world. I can eat on any continent of the world every day of the week, you can pick virtually any country of the world and we have at least 250 from that country living near me in Kilburn, NW6. It’s just great!

Campaigning here is an education and a lesson in the rich tapestry of …

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