Tag Archives: christine jardine

Tories kill off bid to give NHS workers right to remain in UK

On Sunday we brought you the news that Christine Jardine’s Private Member’s Bill to give NHS workers the right to remain in the UK.

Sadly, today, the Tories tried to kill that hope by cancelling all sitting Fridays until the end of March. At best this postpones when the  Bill will be heard.

Christine’s Bill proposed that all health and social care staff from outside the EU would be granted indefinite leave to remain, enabling them to avoid the hellscape that is our immigration system and granting them rights enjoyed by British citizens.

Christine vowed to fight on, though:

Like the rest of our wonderful NHS and care staff, hundreds of thousands of people from other countries are on the frontlines of the Covid pandemic, putting themselves in harm’s way to make sure we get the care we need.

The UK should say, loudly and unequivocally, that those who have put their lives at risk for our country are welcome to live in it. That’s what my Bill would do, and I am deeply disappointed that the Government is not even letting it be debated in Parliament.

I am not giving up. I will urge Ministers again to make Government time available to pass this urgent legislation, which has cross-party support.

The idea that anyone who has worked so hard to save lives during this emergency might one day be forced to leave should be unthinkable.

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Christine Jardine’s Bill to give NHS staff right to stay in the UK to be debated on Friday

Our NHS is under more pressure than it has ever been. As I write, brave nurses, doctors, cleaners, porters, health care assistants are putting in superhuman effort to keep people alive, to comfort them and their families when they can’t and to treat more critically ill people than they have ever had to at the same time before.

And all the time taking the risk that they could be next to be lying there struggling to breathe.

It’s exhausting. And it comes after many of them bust a gut during the first wave. Then they barely stopped to rest before trying to catch up with the routine procedures and tests that they had not been able to do.

After ten months of relentless pressure, many are at breaking point. They are seeing suffering on a scale that they had not imagined.

Every day on my social media, I hear about at least one person who I actually know in real life being admitted to hospital.

As I think of them and hope that they will soon be restored to good health, I think about the stressed health professionals and support staff treating them.

Many of those staff are not UK nationals. Those who aren’t EU citizens with the protections of settled status have the hellscape of our horrendous immigration system to navigate. Every so often, their visas will have to be renewed. That is a hellishly stressful and expensive process.

If you came in to the country on a spouse visa, that will set you back £1500. And you’ll have to pay it again to renew it after two and a half years. You also have to pay £624 PER YEAR in NHS surcharge.

So, that’s nearly 5 grand for the first five years. Then you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. That will set you back another £2400.

We’re at pretty much £7,500. On a nurse’s salary? Are you having a laugh? And if you have kids who are not UK nationals, you have to pay for them too.

Right from the start of the pandemic, Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine has been trying to get the Government to give indefinite leave to remain to healthcare staff and their spouses and children.
This week, her Bill is debated reaches its next parliamentary stage. It says:

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Indefinite leave to remain

    1. (1)  An eligible person has indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom.
    2. (2)  The Secretary must, on request from an eligible person, issue physical documentary proof of that indefinite leave to remain as soon as reasonably practicable.

(3) No fee may be charged for issuing a proof under subsection (2)./ol>

Simple. The right to stay for free for those who have been braving the pandemic, taking that risk, and their families.

Here she is introducing the Bill back in September:

The party has released a campaign video and we can expect more in the next few days:

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Munira Wilson leads parliamentary debate on Excluded

It’s a year today since Munira Wilson was elected as MP for Twickenham. Since then, she has held one of the most stressful roles, as Health Spokesperson, holding the Government to account for its often reckless and chaotic handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Like all other MPs, though, she will have a lot of casework from people who have had the financial rug pulled from under them – owners of small businesses whose activities have been curtailed or stopped altogether during the pandemic. People who run events companies, creative industry freelancers such as make-up artists are just some examples of those who simply have had no income and no support since March. Then they were struggling. Now they are desperate.

Lib Dems have led the fight for support for this group. Jamie Stone set up an all-Party Parliamentary Group and our MPs have repeatedly pressed the Government  to do more.

This week, Munira led a parliamentary debate to highlight the plight of those 3 million people who have been excluded from the Government’s support schemes:

You can read the whole debate here.

In her opening speech, Munira highlighted the impact the Government’s failure to provide support has had:

There has, at times, been a suggestion that some of the excluded are highly paid and dodging tax in some way, especially those paid via dividends. My constituent, Fraser Wilkin, who runs a travel company in Twickenham, pays himself by dividends because of the huge fluctuation in annual income due to events outside his control, such as the coronavirus. If he had drawn a regular salary through the year, he would have been unable to fulfil his statutory and contractual obligations to his clients, in terms of prompt refunds when their holidays were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Universal credit is cited as the fall-back. A survey of more than 3,000 individuals found that almost three quarters were unable to access universal credit. Let us face it: we all know that universal credit is not meaningful support. Otherwise, the Government would not have felt the need to create the furlough scheme or the self-employed income support scheme.

We know that the mental health impacts on many of those excluded from support have been stark. There have already been eight reported suicides, and one respondent to the House of Commons digital engagement team said that she almost took her life several times, and one week spent every day in contact with the Samaritans.

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Christine Jardine introduces her puppy, Brora

It is a miserable December morning and we need something to cheer us up.

Step forward Brora, Christine Jardine’s incredibly cute 10 month old puppy. She’s featured in a  Politicians and their Pets article in this week’s Holyrood magazine.

Here she is on a Highland beach:

It’s very clear that from the article that Brora is a Very Good Dog indeed:

What can she do?

That’s quite a difficult one, but she does basically what she is told and is incredibly agile

What do you love about her?

She is a very happy dog who loves people and, it turns out, other dogs. Her coat is lovely and soft and lots of people say she is just like a teddy bear.

What special talents does she have?

She somehow manages to make people laugh at what she does. She is hugely entertaining and the way the curls around her mouth sit, she looks as if she is smiling.

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Unforgivable choices – Lib Dems respond to the Spending Review

For the second time in three days, Christine Jardine pressed the Government to do more to help those who have thus far been excluded from Government support. Three million self-employed people have had nothing since March and some have had no income at all because they work in areas that aren’t yet open. In March they were stressed. Eight months on, they are desperate.

Rishi Sunak was dismissive, but not as egregious as Boris Johnson had been the other day when Christine questioned him.

“I hope we haven’t excluded anyone” said the PM. If he doesn’t know that there is a massive All-Party Parliamentary Group fighting for these people, if he hasn’t been aware of the many questions that have been asked in Parliament, then that shows unforgivable ignorance. If he did know of the plight of the three million, his remarks show callous disregard.

Later, Christine talked to BBC News arguing against the public sector pay freeze and the abandonment of the 0,7% aid target.

On that international aid issue, Wendy Chamberlain highlighted how the Government had gone back on its word:

Ed Davey said that the Chancellor had made some unforgivable political choices:

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22 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Economic support plans made “on the hoof” are failing millions
  • Tracing failures shows Hancock needs to overhaul test and trace

Economic support plans made “on the hoof” are failing millions

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Chancellor of “making up plans on the hoof” when it comes to financial support for businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19. Responding to the Chancellor’s statement in the House of Commons today, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Yet again the Chancellor is taken by surprise by events unfolding exactly as predicted months ago. He has utterly failed to address the gravity of the economic crisis, with people and businesses facing devastating pressure across the country.

Beyond tinkering around the edges of the Job Support Scheme and correcting some of its blatant errors, he has offered nothing for those slipping into poverty. 67% of salary is just not enough for people to get by on. The Chancellor is making up plans on the hoof and is failing millions of people.

We need real leadership from Government, not a patchwork of ever-changing measures. It’s clearer than ever that the Government should have kept the furlough scheme in place as the Liberal Democrats called for, yet they are too proud to do the right thing and U-turn.

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16 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • PM’s no deal comments further reveal his incompetence
  • Davey: PM must bring back a deal that protects jobs and livelihoods

PM’s no deal comments further reveal his incompetence

Responding to reports that the Prime Minister has said it’s time to ‘get ready’ for no deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Boris Johnson’s handling of Brexit has been disastrous and these reckless comments are just further evidence of the Prime Minister’s incompetence. It has been more than four years since the referendum and yet here we are with a potential no deal and less than three months until the transition period ends.

At a time when the UK is already facing the biggest crisis in generations as a result of coronavirus, we cannot afford to crash out of the EU without a deal in place or to accept a rushed, bad deal. The Government cannot allow people’s livelihoods to be put further at risk, when so many are already struggling to get by.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to hold the Conservative Government to account as Ministers fail to deliver what they promised, and try and ensure we get the best deal available.

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13 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats: Rising unemployment shows Chancellor must do more
  • Liberal Democrats: Record high hate crimes must be combatted

Liberal Democrats: Rising unemployment shows Chancellor must do more

Responding to the statistics released this morning showing that unemployment has reached 4.5%, the highest level in over three years, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Today’s figures throw into stark and depressing relief the scale of the issues facing families and businesses and act as a reminder that the Chancellor must extend more help.

Liberal Democrats have warned that by prematurely ending the Furlough scheme, this Government is potentially leaving thousands to face ruin.

Responsibility sits squarely on the Chancellor’s shoulders. Instead of dismissing lost jobs as not viable, he should be working day and night to protect people’s livelihoods.

Generations will judge whether this Government has taken every conceivable step to protect people’s’ livelihoods and futures, or tossed them on the unemployment pile marked non-viable.

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8-9 October 2020 – yesterday and today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats: Government must grant EU citizens proof of settled status
  • Slow economic growth reinforces need for furlough extension
  • Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group at risk of collapse shows need for furlough extension
  • Liberal Democrats: Sunak’s offer does not go far enough

Liberal Democrats: Government must grant EU citizens proof of settled status

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to grant EU citizens the automatic right to stay in the UK, with the physical proof they need, as new Home Office figures reveal thousands are being refused and 1.8 million have not been granted the right to stay permanently.

The latest EU Settlement Scheme statistics, which were published this morning, revealed 16,600 people have been refused Settled Status – including 5,700 in September alone. They also revealed that 1.6 million have only been granted temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’ and 180,000 are still waiting for a decision.

On Monday, the House of Lords passed a Liberal Democrat amendment to the Government’s Immigration Bill which would require the Government to provide EU citizens with physical proof of their Settled Status. The party is urging Conservative MPs not to overturn that amendment when the Bill returns to the Commons.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

EU citizens in the UK – our families and friends – have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for far too long. They must have the right to stay.

Boris Johnson and the Conservatives promised to automatically guarantee the rights of EU citizens to stay, but they have broken that promise, as they have with so many others.

This Government’s botched scheme is anything but automatic and, without physical proof of their rights, EU citizens will be at the mercy of the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment.

To prevent a new Windrush-style scandal, Liberal Democrats are fighting for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, with the physical proof they need.

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5 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Chancellor’s speech will have disappointed millions in need
  • Lords defeat Government on Immigration Bill

Chancellor’s speech will have disappointed millions in need

The Liberal Democrats have claimed the Chancellor’s speech at the Conservative Party’s virtual conference will have “disappointed millions who were hoping to hear how he plans to help them through this crisis.”

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The Chancellor’s speech will have disappointed millions who were hoping to hear how he plans to help them through this crisis.

Instead of an extension to furlough, measures to help the millions excluded from help or a boost to universal credit, we were instead given

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1 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • PM mistaken in thinking he can break the law without consequence
  • Tories’ nasty plans for asylum seekers not the answer

PM mistaken in thinking he can break the law without consequence

Responding to reports that the European Commission has launched legal action against the UK, following the UK Government’s refusal to remove sections from the Internal Market Bill, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Contrary to the belief of senior Government figures and their families, breaking the law has consequences. It beggars belief that Boris Johnson and his Government seem to think that not only are they above the law, but they can get off scot-free when breaking it.

How can Ministers seriously condemn other countries, like Russia and China, for failing to respect international treaties if they don’t do the same when it comes to the Withdrawal Agreement?

No one should be surprised that the UK will face legal action if Boris Johnson pushes ahead with the Internal Market Bill. However, there is still time to ditch the Bill and prevent it from becoming law. We must do what we can to salvage our international reputation.

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27 September 2020 – Conference day 3 press releases

  • Liberal Democrats challenge Government’s “power grab” planning proposals
  • Liberal Democrats adopt transformative racial justice plan
  • BBC licence fee should be set by independent body, Liberal Democrats say
  • Stalled talks with EU threaten climate action, Liberal Democrats warn
  • Stopping no-deal must be the priority, Liberal Democrats say

Liberal Democrats challenge Government’s “power grab” planning proposals

In a policy motion adopted today at the Liberal Democrats’ Autumn Conference, the Party has warned that the Government’s planning proposals will “disempower” councils and allow developers to “run roughshod” over local communities’ wishes.

The motion lays bare the risks of the Government’s proposals, which the Party argue amount to a Government “power grab” that will reduce investment in affordable housing, damage public scrutiny of planning decisions, and potentially undermine climate commitments.

By supporting the motion, the Liberal Democrat members reaffirmed their commitment to challenging the move through the Government’s consultation process and reject the “reduction of local control”.

Liberal Democrat Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson Tim Farron said:

Planning decisions have incredible power to shape the places we live for the better. Local people are clearly best placed to decide what “better” looks like in their area, and to know what their community really needs.

Yet the Conservatives’ planning power grab will disempower local people and local authorities alike, and lead to even fewer affordable homes being built. Instead of addressing the root cause of the housing crisis, the Tories’ proposals serve the interests of wealthy developers, giving them carte blanche to run roughshod over local communities’ wishes.

As this motion shows, the Liberal Democrats wholeheartedly object to these proposals. We’ll be doing everything in our power to ensure our voice is heard through the consultation process. We are also calling on the Government to act now to address the housing crisis, by matching the Liberal Democrats’ ambition to build 100,000 social homes for rent every year.

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25 September 2020 – conference day 1 press releases

  • Ed Davey opens Liberal Democrat conference
  • Failure on test and trace is putting public health at risk
  • Liberal Democrats back proposals for “world class” mental health support for health and care staff
  • Liberal Democrats urge Government to tackle spread of fake news
  • Time to campaign for Universal Basic Income has come, Liberal Democrats declare

Ed Davey opens Liberal Democrat conference

Speaking on the opening of the Liberal Democrats’ first digital conference today , Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has warned the coronavirus crisis is taking an “enormous toll on people’s lives and livelihoods” and urged his Party to listen, challenge Boris Johnson’s Conservatives and …

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24 September 2020 – the day’s press release

I’ve taken a break from the press releases during conference in order to allow the story to tell itself, so to speak. But now it’s time to catch up, allowing those of us who didn’t attend conference to catch up on the main themes. But first, a piece of unfinished business…

Chancellor’s Job Support Scheme “falls short of what people need”

The Liberal Democrats have warned that the new Job Support Scheme outlined by the Chancellor “falls short of what people need” and are calling on the Chancellor to outline financial support measures for people still excluded from the Government’s schemes.

Liberal …

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23 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Government refuse to address evictions loophole leaving 55,000 households at risk
  • Short-term plans no replacement for full Budget

Government refuse to address evictions loophole leaving 55,000 households at risk

Today, the Conservatives blocked the Liberal Democrats’ attempt to close the loophole in the Government’s legislation to end the eviction ban, which has left an estimated 55,000 households at risk of being evicted since Monday.

The motion, put forward by the Liberal Democrat Housing spokesperson in the House of Lords, Baroness Grender, would have effectively abolished the Government’s Statutory Instrument, forcing Ministers to address the issue.

The motion was defeated 126 votes to 266.

Following the vote, …

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15 September 2020 – today’s press release

Staggering job losses show need to extend furlough

Responding to ONS figures showing that the economy shed 695,000 jobs between March and August this year, Liberal Democrat Economy Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

These staggering job losses are yet more evidence of why the Chancellor should be extending the furlough scheme, which has so far protected 10 million jobs, until the middle of next year.

People have a right to expect that their Government will stand by them in exactly the way that Rishi Sunak promised when he said he would “do whatever it takes.

The Liberal Democrats’ are clear that the Government must

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11-13 September 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Long-term furlough extension essential to protect jobs
  • Economic contribution of UK-Japan trade deal will be “drop in the ocean”
  • COVID-19 testing falling dangerously short of expectations
  • New Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader commits to building “winning campaign machine”
  • Accepting rule of law appears optional for Ministers under Boris Johnson

Long-term furlough extension essential to protect jobs

Responding to ONS figures showing that UK GDP grew by 6.6% in July 2020, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

We mustn’t let these figures disguise the fact that the economic crisis caused by coronavirus is far from over. As we approach winter, countless people are worrying about their jobs and livelihoods.

The current increase in COVID-19 cases means the danger of more restrictions and job losses is very real. The Government must announce a long-term extension to the furlough scheme into 2021 to protect jobs and begin to rebuild our economy.

And to be breaking international law and indulging in brinkmanship with the EU in the current economic climate is irresponsible and shows a recklessness with all our futures. The Prime Minister must immediately row back on plans to breach international law and work for the best possible deal for UK workers and businesses.

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LISTEN: Christine Jardine on Any Questions challenges government on Brexit and Covid

In a week when Boris Johnson’s government has reached “give the toddler a box of matches and a can of petrol” levels of irresponsibility, Christine Jardine challenged Employment Minister Mims Davies on both their inept handling of Covid-19 and their “specific and limited” breach of international law. They were on the BBC’s Any Questions programme last night and you can listen to the whole thing here.

“This is a treaty that your government negotiated and got through Parliament and now you’re reneging on it. How is that responsible?” she asked Ms Davies.

Christine pointed out that the Government is out of control, its moral authority inside and outside the country is plummeting and that Brexit is descending into farce.

She also attached the government for ending the furlough scheme, which has kept so many jobs going, as early as next month, pointing out that other countries are extending them for much longer. She asked the Government to extend it until next June at least.

This week in her first  Commons speech in her new Treasury brief, she highlighted why this was so important:

Earlier, on Talk Radio, Christine asked how on earth we could attack Russia and China for their nonchalant attitude to international law when we were guilty of the same thing.

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10 September 2020 – today’s press release

PM must stop playing fast and loose with rule of law

Responding to the statement by the European Commission confirming that, if adopted as it stands, the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill would “put at risk the ongoing future relationship negotiations”, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

No one can really be surprised that the measures the UK Government have brought forward have put the likelihood of a trade deal in jeopardy.

This proposal undermines trust and the UK’s standing on the world stage. The Government must now act swiftly to erase anything that violates international law or that could undermine

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9 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats call out PM’s “brazen hypocrisy” on rule of law
  • Liberal Democrats call on Govt to extend furlough to boost economic recovery
  • Government must make Covid test available to all that need one

Liberal Democrats call out PM’s “brazen hypocrisy” on rule of law

The Liberal Democrats have demanded the Prime Minister explain his “brazen hypocrisy” given his Government’s readiness to break international law with the Internal Market Bill, while expecting “everybody in this country to obey the law.”

The accusation follows an exchange at Prime Minister’s Questions today where Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson asked “If Ministers think it is acceptable for this Government to not obey the law, how on earth can the Prime Minister expect the public at home to do so?”

Despite confirmation yesterday from the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis that the proposed Northern Ireland customs legislation “does break international law”, the Prime Minister told the House of Commons that he expects “everybody in this country to obey the law.”

The Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham has called on the Prime Minister to make a statement clarifying his Government’s “precise position” when it comes to upholding the rule of law.

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson said:

Testing one’s eyesight, natural justice, and only breaking the law in a limited and specific way. All excuses used by this Government for their disregard for the rule of law.

It seems it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us. At a time when the coronavirus crisis is taking an enormous toll, following guidelines is saving lives. Instead of showing leadership, this Government is setting all the wrong examples and in doing so risking lives.

This brazen hypocrisy has to stop. The Prime Minister must come forward and clarify his precise position when it comes to upholding the rule of law, here in the UK and internationally.

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8 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Latest resignation shows damaging consequences of PM’s Brexit approach
  • Liberal Democrats condemn Government for “destroying” UK reputation on the world stage

Latest resignation shows damaging consequences of PM’s Brexit approach

Responding to news that Sir Jonathan Jones, head of the UK Government’s legal department, has resigned following the Government’s decision to introduce legislation which would undermine key aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The head of the Government’s legal department quitting over Boris Johnson’s approach to Brexit should signal how serious a situation this is.

For Johnson to think it is acceptable to row back on international agreements

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WATCH: Christine Jardine introduce her Bill to give NHS and care staff indefinite leave to remain

This week, Christine Jardine introduced her Bill to give the citizens of other countries who have been on the Covid front line indefinite leave to remain if they want it. I find it appalling that anyone is put through the expensive, stressful hellscape that is the immigration system and most especially those people who have put their own lives at risk to care for those who have been struck down by Covid. Christine’s speech was one of the highlights of my week. Watch it here. The text is below.

I beg to move,

That leave be given to bring in a Bill to grant indefinite leave to remain to health and social care staff; and for connected purposes.

It is fair to say that I did not appreciate that I would need the national health service and its medical staff to save my life until they did. When my hospital bed was surrounded by doctors and nurses in the middle of the night, talking in terms and about things that I was in too much pain and had too high a fever to understand, I did not stop to think about their visa status—and neither, fortunately, did they.

That was a while ago now, but sadly it is a feeling that has been all too common to too many people in this country—our families, our friends and even the Prime Minister—since covid-19 hit our communities this past spring. What has rightly mattered to all of us and all the staff is that people get the best care possible. I do not think it is stretching the point to say that it has felt at times that this country, like most of the world, has been at war with covid-19. Our hospitals and care homes have felt like this generation’s frontline. Again, we have not stopped to think about anyone’s visa status, and neither have they.

Our media these past few months have not been full of stories of foreign nationals in the NHS refusing to work because it is dangerous and puts their lives at risk. No; quite the opposite. What we have seen is row after row of pictures of NHS workers, many of them foreign nationals, who have lost their lives to this virus. We have seen their names; we have read their stories. The 57-year-old healthcare assistant who died on 14 April, and the 51-year-old dental nurse who trained in the Philippines before coming to Swansea and who died on the same day, were both on visas.

Earlier this summer, through the advocacy organisation EveryDoctor, I met someone who had been working on the frontline of this pandemic. A specialist in emergency medicine, he has lost colleagues and knows the daily strain of fighting to keep alive those people struggling to combat the virus, while never being completely sure whether he has been infected himself. He is a migrant. He has been working on the frontline, paying tax and national insurance to the Exchequer, working for us, contributing, but he will in time have to apply for a fresh visa and pay for it—£700.

One reason I find that difficult to accept is that I have been so immensely proud of the way our communities came out on their doorsteps every Thursday to applaud those working in our health and care sectors. I am sure that most, if not all, of us in this place took part. It was spontaneous, it was heartfelt and it was moving—but was it enough? Will it be enough if we have to suffer this winter when, as is widely predicted, the virus returns? I think we all know that the answer to that question is no, it will not. There has to be more, and that has to be down to us in this place.​

Our Government have not yet done enough, either for those born and brought in this country or for those who have come here to work. For all those working in our NHS for the past year, there must surely be more recognition and thanks for putting themselves in harm’s way. The virus has not discriminated in whom it attacks—we are all vulnerable, our black, Asian and ethnic minorities more than any other community—but what we are doing could be seen as discriminating in how we thank those who defend us. It is time we recognised properly the contributions that have been made.

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4 September 2020 – today’s press release

NAO report shows Government has made a dog’s dinner of Brexit

Responding to a National Audit Office report on the Government handling of Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

With the combination of coronavirus creating uncertainty for people’s lives coupled with this Brexit shambles, we cannot afford for the Prime Minister to continue playing politics.

How Boris Johnson ever thought he could get a deal by the end of July with the chaos behind the scenes in Whitehall is beyond me. Even he must realise the dog’s dinner he has made of Brexit.

Now is the time to put people first.

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1 September 2020 – the overnight press release

Bill introduced to give health and care workers right to remain

The Liberal Democrats will today introduce a Bill calling on the Government to offer indefinite leave to remain to foreign nationals currently working in the health and social care sectors.

Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine, who is moving the Ten Minute Rule Bill, has warned it is unacceptable that people who put their lives on the line during Covid-19 should not be welcome to stay.

The Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support from Labour, Conservative, SNP, Green, Plaid, DUP and Alliance MPs.

Ahead of the Bill’s reading on Tuesday, Christine

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Ed Davey announces key appointments on Twitter

Ed Davey has started to make his announcements of his shadow cabinet on Twitter.

Layla Moran made a huge impression during the leadership campaign and has been rewarded with a promotion to Foreign Affairs Spokesperson. https://twitter.com/LaylaMoran/status/1300410349913608194?s=20

I can see an education dimension to this as well in terms of supporting education, especially for women and girls, around the world.

Christine Jardine takes up her third major office of state in three years. She covered Jo Swinson’s maternity leave at Foreign Affairs in 2018 and has been Home Affairs spokesperson for the last year. She is now the first woman to become Treasury spokesperson. As a former journalist, she will see this role very much in terms of stories and not numbers and will be able to articulate our liberal vision for a society that is fairer and values wellbeing.

And taking on Christine’s old portfolio at Home Affairs, Alistair Carmichael emerges from his Whiply shadows. It’s not clear if he will still be Chief Whip as well. We’ll have to wait and see.

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14 August 2020 – the overnight press releases

  • Rise in discrimination towards BAME people since lockdown must be tackled
  • Government must compensate people forced to miss work in order to quarantine

Rise in discrimination towards BAME people since lockdown must be tackled

Responding to a University College London study that found BAME groups were most likely to report facing discrimination since lockdown began, Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Everyone should be free to live their lives without fear of discrimination, abuse or violence. Reports that Black, Asian and minority ethnic people have been most likely to experience discrimination since lockdown began is deeply alarming.

All of us with a public platform must stand up to those whose language and actions spread hate – whether based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or anything else.

The Home Secretary must step up and tackle this appalling trend head-on. That work must be part of a wider effort to tackle systemic racial inequality, which is why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to implement a Race Equality Strategy.

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13 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Millions of EU citizens living with uncertainty must be given right to stay
  • Appeals process critical to ensure grade awards do not “derail” students’ futures
  • Record NHS waiting lists point to another health crisis, Liberal Democrats warn

Millions of EU citizens living with uncertainty must be given right to stay

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to grant EU citizens the automatic right to stay in the UK, with the physical proof they need, as new Home Office figures reveal thousands are being refused and millions are still awaiting a final decision.

The latest EU Settlement Scheme statistics, published this morning, reveal 4,600 people have been refused Settled Status, while 1,475,500 have only been granted temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’ and 212,400 are still waiting for a decision.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

For far too long, millions of EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty. Boris Johnson cannot be allowed to continue to break his promise to them.

With so many people being refused Settled Status, granted only temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’ or still waiting for a decision, it’s clear that this Conservative Government’s scheme is anything but automatic.

And without physical proof of their rights, EU citizens will be at the mercy of the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment. They must not become the victims of a new Windrush-style scandal.

That is why Liberal Democrats have called for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, with the physical proof they need.

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11 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats call for independent equality assessment of Voter ID plan
  • Liberal Democrats: Government must halt use of facial recognition by police

Liberal Democrats call for independent equality assessment of Voter ID plan

The Liberal Democrats are calling for independent equality impact assessments into voter ID to protect “the legitimacy and integrity” of the UK electoral system as the Government looks to press ahead with voter ID legislation.

Citing evidence from around the world demonstrating that Voter ID makes it more difficult for people to vote, Liberal Democrat MPs are raising deep concerns that voter ID checks “will disproportionately impact ethnic minorities” at …

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LibLink – Christine Jardine SNP’s policies on education have failed to make the grade

It’s been a hugely stressful week for thousands of Scottish teenagers and their parents.

They did not receive the results they were expecting for their HIgher exams after marks submitted by their teachers were downgraded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. This has disproportionately affected pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. Willie Rennie supported pupil protests against the system used by the SQA.

Pupils who have worked hard for months have been marked down because of how previous students performed at their school. This is grossly unfair as it reinforces the inequity that has been growing for years.

The Education Secretary and the SQA were warned for months that their moderation process would damage the prospects of pupils for life. It’s no surprise that so many young people are out protesting. They feel as if their grades and their futures are being robbed by the SNP.

We can only hope that the appeals system is robust enough to deal with the tsunami of appeals heading its away. The funding and the resource for the appeals process must be increased to meet the considerable demand and the Scottish Government must ensure teachers have the time they need to fully support the many appeals that will be required.

Yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon apologised and today Education Secretary John Swinney faces a vote of no confidence in the Scottish Parliament.

But the problems in Scottish education go much deeper than this fiasco. Christine Jardine used her weekly Scotsman column to highlight how pupils leaving school this year have had their entire education under SNP Government – and the system is mired with problems with schools, colleges and universities.

International reports show Scottish education plummeting down the league tables which compare our schools with those abroad.

That proud boast that ours was the finest education in the world now seems empty, and out-dated.
Certainly for those at the chalk face it has long ceased to be the case, replaced by the reality that too many of our young people leave school functionally illiterate and the past few years have been to endure rather than enjoy.

Many of those who graduated from our universities this year are the same young people whose school years were disrupted by being the first to sit the new National 5 exams. Their teachers had to deliver a curriculum which was not only untried and untested but, by common consent, largely chaotic and stressful for all.

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WATCH: Christine Jardine stand up for immigrants on Channel 4 Political slot

Channel 4 runs a regular political slot and this week it was the turn of our Christine Jardine to highlight an issue close to her heart. Our Home Affairs spokesperson made a passionate case for immigration and why we need to welcome and support immigrants. This was filmed at the height of the pandemic and she did a Zoom interview with a doctor who was working long hours and taking huge risks, yet still faced exorbitant fees and visa stress to be able to work here.

You can catch up with the three minute programme here. 

 

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