Tag Archives: christine jardine

Jardine challenges Scottish Secretary over Gender Reform

Women and Equalities spokesperson Christine Jardine challenged Scottish Secretary Alister Jack to come up with a single clause in Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill which undermined the provisions of the Equality Act. Spoiler, he couldn’t. She accused him of playing fast and loose by the Union by attempting to block the Bill.  Watch her comments here.

Later he issued a flimsy Statement of Reasons for issuing the Section 35 Order. In a later speech, Christine said that to call it weak would be to flatter it. There certainly is much in the way of conjecture within it and absolutely zero evidence to back that up.

At this point it is worth remembering that, not only was a Labour amendment stating the primacy of the Equality Act on the face of the Bill, but even before that every major feminist organisation in Scotland supported it. I can’t see how they would have done if they had thought for a second that it would harm women’s rights. They have certainly not held back in criticising government legislation before. This is one of the most scrutinised pieces of legislation ever, with several consultations, a draft Bill and, finally, the Bill that has been passed.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

15 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Harper: Govt could have stopped strike misery months ago
  • Lib Dems call for Partygate conduct inquiry in ethics advisor’s ‘first test’ in post

Harper: Govt could have stopped strike misery months ago

Responding to Mark Harper on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg indicating he is hopeful for a deal to resolve the rail strikes, Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:

This Government has spent months dithering, delaying and refusing to get around the table to resolve strike action. Millions of people have suffered upheaval and still, the Government won’t set out a timetable for resolution.

All of these strikes are

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

5 December 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems Slam Unacceptable Delay in Support for Off-Grid Homes
  • Gordon Brown Review Shows a Lack of Ambition for Wales
  • Michelle Mone: Lib Dems demand publication of PPE contract

Lib Dems Slam Unacceptable Delay in Support for Off-Grid Homes

Government delays support for off-grid homes until 2023

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have slammed delays by the UK Government in rolling out a scheme designed to support people living in off-grid homes.

The Conservative minister responsible for energy bill support has announced that off-grid households will not receive any help with their spiraling bills until at least 2023, despite MPs from all parties calling for urgent action throughout 2022.

The UK Government is also yet to establish the full details of how hard-hit residents will be able to access the help they need due to taking months to develop what has been described as an “over-complicated and under-generous” scheme.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for a price cap on heating oil and LPG to ease the pressure on the many families in rural Wales living off the national gas grid.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS represents Mid & West Wales which contains areas such as Ceredigion where 74% of properties are estimated to not be connected to the gas grid. In Powys the figure is 55% while in Pembrokeshire it is 41%.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

Christine Jardine: Donald Trump is a warning, not an inspiration

Christine Jardine has been sharing her dream in her Scotsman column this week. And it isn’t pretty:

In this sleep-induced scenario, some Donald Trump sound-alike was holding court in Edinburgh, draped in tartan, surrounded by saltires and spouting endless meaningless slogans. Fortunately, they had stopped short of wearing a bright blue Tam O’Shanter bearing the motif “Make Alba Great Again”.

And people in the crowd which had gathered were not all there to cheer and applaud the separatist dream being espoused at the flag-laden centre of events. No. Many of those in the imaginary demonstration were instead calling for help for the nurses and other health workers who have to cope with long shifts looking after wards with too many patients and too few staff.

This echoes the feeling of many Scots that the Scottish Government needs to sort out the crisis in its public services instead of looking to populism to stoke up division over the constitution.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Wera Hobhouse’s bill to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace passes Committee stage

We’re now into the annual 16 days of activism against gender based violence which runs from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November through to International Human Rights Day on 10th December.

We will be bringing you a series of articles to mark this important annual event, including a horrific story of the death of a young woman in Scotland after she was let own by all of the services who should have been there to protect her.

Today we report on the Committee Stage of Wera Hobhouse’s Bill to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace, which took place on Wednesday. It would make employers liable for sexual harassment of their employers by third parties, eg contractors, as well as their co-workers.

Introducing the Bill, Wera said:

Workplace sexual harassment is a blight on our society. It remains widespread and vastly under-reported. Half of British women and a fifth of men have been sexually harassed at work or a place of study. Too many people have been left to suffer for too long. The question of whether employers have taken adequate steps to prevent sexual harassment arises only as a defence if an incident of sexual harassment has already occurred. Employers are therefore not required to take actions to prevent sexual harassment. That leaves individuals with the burden of challenging it.

The Bill, which passed its Second Reading last month, introduces two new measures to strengthen protections for employees against harassment. The first is the introduction of explicit protections for employees from workplace harassment by third parties, such as customers and clients. The second is the introduction of a duty on employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent their employees from experiencing sexual harassment.

Fellow Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine emphasised why the Bill was needed:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

24 November 2022 – today’s press release

  • Government ‘must get a grip’ as asylum backlog soars to 143,000
  • Raab emails: Lib Dems write to Cabinet Secretary demanding investigation
  • Michelle Mone: Lib Dems table amendment to scrap VIP lanes
  • Richard Foord MP raises sewage report in Parliament after his son fell sick swimming in Devon river
  • Full Review in Social Services in Wales Needed After Logan Mwangi Report

Government ‘must get a grip’ as asylum backlog soars to 143,000

Responding to new official figures showing that the asylum backlog has risen to 143,377, with 97,717 waiting more than six months, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

The Home Office is a disaster zone, and it’s clear who is to blame. By their own admission, the Conservatives have broken our asylum system and shattered public trust in it.

Tens of thousands of refugees have been waiting months for a decision, banned from working or renting their own home. The Conservative chaos at the Home Office is wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money every day.

The Government must finally get a grip. It should take asylum cases away from the discredited Home Office and set up a new independent unit to make decisions quickly and correctly.

We need a fair, effective asylum system that treats everyone with dignity, and that everyone can have confidence in.

Raab emails: Lib Dems write to Cabinet Secretary demanding investigation

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Cabinet Secretary asking for an investigation into reports that Dominic Raab has been using his personal email for Government business.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain, who wrote the letter, commented:

The public deserve answers, not more cover-ups.

The drumbeat of allegations against Dominic Raab is relentless. From reports of bullying to allegations he has followed in the footsteps of Suella Braverman by using his personal email for government business, it is obvious that investigations are needed.

The Deputy Prime Minister cannot be relaxed about national security, especially at a time when Britain’s enemies are stepping up their cyber attacks. It is only right and proper the Cabinet Office investigate these reports and determine immediately if overseas enemies could have seen national secrets sent by Dominic Raab.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | 2 Comments

Sarah Olney (and other Lib Dems) on the problem of night flights

Sarah Olney was granted an adjournment debate yesterday, so took the opportunity to visit an issue that plagues her constituency – aircraft noise, especially at night. She was joined by her neighbouring MP, Munira Wilson, whose Twickenham constituency is affected even more. Christine Jardine and Wera Hobhouse also chipped in. Who knew so many Lib Dem constituencies had this problem?

You can read the full debate in Hansard, but here are some highlights.

Sarah Olney:

Night flights are the most intrusive form of aircraft noise and there is clear evidence that they harm both the physical and mental health of residents who live under flightpaths. This summer, the delays and chaos at Heathrow airport resulted in an increased number of flights landing through the night. For my constituents and for many others across west and south-west London, that disturbance resulted in countless sleepless nights.

This disturbance is completely avoidable. Night flights are by no means essential for airport operations. These flights can and should be moved and it is within the Government’s remit to ensure that that happens.

I therefore have two asks of the Department for Transport. My primary call is for a ban on scheduled flights at Heathrow airport between 11 pm and 6 am.  That is the only way we can be sure that residents will not continue to suffer from noise disruption. If the Government will not commit to that, they must commission a full independent analysis of the impact of night flights on the health of local communities, the environment and the UK economy to inform future policy development.

Munira Wilson:

My constituency of Twickenham is, of course, that bit closer to Heathrow and further along the flightpath, so I wholeheartedly welcome and support the two asks that she is making of the Minister today about trying to balance the economic benefits of night flights against the health risks and the distress that they cause to constituents. Does she agree that the Government could start by looking at extending the night-time restriction to 10 pm, from 11.30 pm, given the large number of frequent late-night departures that are blighting my constituents’ sleep?

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 3 Comments

8 November 2022 – today’s press releases

It’s been another day in which the apparent total lack of understanding of governance has been the undoing of another Conservative minister, and today’s press releases reflect how quickly that can play out…

  • Williamson comments: Independent Cabinet Office investigation needed now
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats Only Party in the Senedd Making a Stand on Human Rights
  • Gavin Williamson resigns: Sunak’s integrity left in tatters

Williamson comments: Independent Cabinet Office investigation needed now

The Liberal Democrats have demanded an immediate independent Cabinet Office inquiry into remarks made by Gavin Williamson, in which he told a senior civil servant to “slit his throat.”

It comes after Number 10 confirmed today Rishi Sunak has full confidence in Gavin Williamson.

The Liberal Democrats said a full and independent inquiry must be carried out immediately by the Cabinet Office Propriety and Ethics team, and the findings must be made public.

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The Conservatives must not be allowed to mark their own homework. We need an independent inquiry now to address these damning allegations about Gavin Williamson’s conduct.

Anything less would be an abdication of leadership from Number 10, and make a mockery of Sunak’s promise to govern with integrity.

The findings must be made public – if the Conservatives have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear.

Every day this scandal drags on means more endless infighting while the Conservatives fail to tackle the pressing issues facing the country.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

1 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • BP profits demonstrate utter incompetence of government
  • Hotels for migrants in non-Tory areas is “party first, country last” approach
  • Matt Hancock should lose his MP salary while he’s in the jungle

BP profits demonstrate utter incompetence of government

Responding to the news this morning that BP has announced £7.1bn in underlying profit, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

These profits demonstrate the complete and utter incompetence of this Conservative government. As families and pensioners across the country struggle to pay their energy bills, BP are posting unimaginable profits raking off the backs of hard-working people.

Liberal Democrats proposed a strong windfall tax over a year ago, yet the Conservatives have only attempted an incredibly weak version. Clearly, they’ve been too busy with their own chaos to act.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , and | 7 Comments

25 October 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Liz Truss’s legacy: Dossier reveals damage done in 50 days of failure
  • Sunak speech fails to reassure public worried about winter ahead
  • Reshuffle: Stop “revolving door” payouts to Conservative ministers

Liz Truss’s legacy: Dossier reveals damage done in 50 days of failure

  • 932,000 people seeing their mortgage rise
  • 176,000 more people on NHS waiting lists
  • 365,000 hours of sewage discharges

The Liberal Democrats have published a dossier on Liz Truss’ legacy, showing the damage done to the country during her 50-day premiership.

The analysis shows over 930,000 people saw their mortgage rise due to the Government’s botched mini-budget, the number of people on NHS waiting lists grew by 170,000 and 6.2 million people waited over two weeks for a doctor’s appointment.

A shambolic Home Office oversaw 27,000 unsolved burglaries, 492,000 more victims of fraud and 1,100 police officers leaving the force. The Government also oversaw sewage being dumped a staggering 51,000 times into rivers and waterways across the country, for a total of 365,000 hours.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

22-23 October 2022 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Rishi standing: The Chancellor that hiked taxes on hardworking families and lost billions of pounds
  • Zahawi backs Boris: Beyond belief
  • Boris Johnson out: Leadership contest has become a total farce

Rishi standing: The Chancellor that hiked taxes on hardworking families and lost billions of pounds

Responding to Rishi Sunak’s announcement that he is standing in the Conservative leadership election, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Daisy Cooper MP said

Rishi Sunak cannot be trusted to steer our country through this cost of living crisis. He was the Chancellor that hiked taxes on hardworking families and lost billions of pounds of taxpayers money to covid

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

The fallout

Lib Dems have been busy today dealing with the fallout from the resignation of Britain’s shortest ever Prime Minister. I’ll rephrase that – the British Prime Minister who served for the shortest time in office EVER (although the original version is probably also true, if of no political significance).

First, all departing Prime Ministers are entitled to an annual allowance for the rest of their lives of £115,000 to cover office costs. This was covered in a press release yesterday, where Christine Jardine is urging her not to take it. Today Ed Davey told LBC radio:

Most people have to work at least 35 years to get a full state pension. I think working 45 days shouldn’t give you a pension that is many many times what ordinary people out there get after a lifetime of work.

Second, traditionally Prime Ministers can hand out peerages and other honours in a resignation list. Boris Johnson has only just honoured 29 people in that way. Another tranche following so soon from Liz Truss would be completely inappropriate. Wendy Chamberlain, Lib Dem Chief Whip, has written to the Chair of Parliamentary and Political Service Committee:

As you know, it is traditional upon a Prime Minister’s departure from office for them to issue a ‘Resignation Honours’ list. This list signifies individuals who are to be rewarded with an honour from the King which, in turn, would be considered by your committee.

However, because of the unprecedented circumstances surrounding Liz Truss’s tenure and resignation, I am writing to urge you and the committee to reject any Resignation Honours list put forward by her.

Liz Truss will be the shortest serving Prime Minister in British political history. It is possible that by the time she formally resigns, she will not have held office for more than 50 days.

I do not believe that it would be appropriate for Liz Truss to be permitted to issue a resignation honours list, given the extremely short length of her tenure.

I urge you to make it clear that you and your fellow committee members would not sign off on any such honours, which would be the second list in a matter of months.

Third, there is a lot of concern that Boris Johnson is thinking of entering the leadership contest. This was, of course, the Prime Minister who was only persuaded to stand down after 50 ministers resigned. As also mentioned in press releases our MPs have now tabled a motion to stop anyone who has broken the law while in Government from ever becoming Prime Minister. It reads:

That this House believes that the upholding of standards by its Members is of vital importance to the functioning of UK democracy; believes that it is vital that the Prime Minister and Ministers uphold these standards; and therefore resolves that any honourable or right honourable member that is found to have broken the law whilst in Government should be barred from holding Prime Ministerial Office.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 5 Comments

20 October 2022 – today’s press releases

You don’t expect press releases to become obsolete quite so quickly but the past forty-eight hours have been historic (or hysterical, depending upon your perspective), so these, published in chronological order, perhaps sum up the events of the day…

  • Trevelyan refuses to back Truss: Conservatives way past their sell by date
  • NHS waiting list in Wales hits three-quarters of a million as health service “brought to its knees”
  • Truss resigns: Conservatives must do patriotic duty and back election
  • Welsh Lib Dems – Conservatives must do patriotic duty and back election
  • Conservative MPs must block Boris Johnson’s return
  • Deny Truss the £115k a year taxpayer dividend offered to ex-PMs, say Lib Dems

Trevelyan refuses to back Truss: Conservatives way past their sell by date

Responding to the latest Conservative chaos, with Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan failing to to answer whether Liz Truss will lead the Conservatives into the next election, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain said:

Liz Truss and the Conservatives are way past their sell by date. This is a government that can’t govern, led by a prime minister whose authority has been totally shredded.

People worried sick about how to pay the bills are looking on aghast at this never ending chaos and incompetence. The Conservatives must stop clinging to power and give the country the general election it needs.

NHS waiting list in Wales hits three-quarters of a million as health service “brought to its knees”

Responding to the news that the NHS Wales backlog has now hit 750,000 Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

Behind these figures are countless human tragedies. In every corner of the country people are frightened, suffering and waiting in pain because our NHS can no longer cope.

Labour is letting the NHS fall to its knees and patients are paying the price. Wales routinely has the worse health figures in Britain despite all nations facing similar challenges. This cannot go on.

The Government must come forward with a proper plan to bring down waiting times and recruit and retain more NHS staff. The Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to call for greater investment in primary healthcare facilities, GPs and social care.

We must prevent people from getting so ill they require either treatment in A&E or complex treatment paths if we are to reduce pressures on the system, this starts at ensuring people can access their GP easily. We also need to ensure patients can be discharged safely once their treatment is finished.

Truss resigns: Conservatives must do patriotic duty and back election

Responding to Liz Truss resigning as Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

Ed Davey: Country wants a General Election

“I have just publicly congratulated a lettuce.” Now there’s a sentence I never thought I would write. But after six weeks in which the Government had descended into a destructive and self-destructive parody, it seemed appropriate. The Daily Star’s “Can Liz Truss outlast a lettuce” livestream was childish, but appealed to our sense of the ridiculous as our politics became more absurd.

My plan for yesterday evening was to watch the Doctor Who Easter special. I knew it would shred my emotions, so I’d been putting it off, but the thirteenth Doctor’s tenure ends on Sunday so I’d better get on with it.  Anyway, Channel 4’s Gary Gibbon started to explain the bizarre events in the Commons voting lobbies and I ended up binging on the news channels until I fell asleep.

Of all the weird things about last night, the strangest was that the vote didn’t even matter. It was on an opposition motion, which the Government usually just ignores. What on earth possessed them to make such a big deal out of it when the Parliamentary Party was already in a highly sensitive state? Apparently making it an issue of confidence would nullify any of the rebels’ letters, but chucking them out of the parliamentary party would surely reduce the threshold and invite more letters from disgruntled MPs.

Not content with crashing the economy with the binfire budget, they turned in on themselves.

The Conservative Party is in so much pain that it is not capable of governing. It really needs to go and lie down in a darkened room for a few generations until it sorts itself out. Yet they are about to inflict their third PM in three years on to us.

I am not convinced that the 1922 Committee has thought through its high nomination requirement, which has presumably been set to keep out Boris Johnson. There is every possibility that you have one person with the backing of 100 MPs, and two others just short of that. They will be just as split as ever and we have seen how they behave when they all hate each other.

The country shouldn’t have to deal with this. Every household in the country on low and middle incomes will be paying more for borrowing, energy, basic costs of living because of Liz Truss’s folly. And the folly of MPs who allowed her to go forward to the members.

Ed Davey, Daisy Cooper and Christine Jardine have been commenting on various aspects of the Conservative chaos

Ed  has been doing the media rounds this afternoon making the case for a general election so that the country can finally get some decent government. Here he is on the BBC, Sky and ITV:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 10 Comments

Christine Jardine: We should treat Ukrainian refugees with respect, not leave them in limbo

In her Scotsman column this week, Christine Jardine takes both UK and Scottish Governments to task for their failures to support Ukrainian refugees and  asylum seekers from other parts of the world.

She highlights that the Home Office is taking way too long to deal with asylum applications:

In a recent Freedom of Information request, the Home Office confirmed to me that, as of July, fewer than 2,500 of 48,540 asylum applications submitted in the previous year had received a decision. Indeed, 14,000 applications submitted in 2020 were still outstanding six months into 2022.

Every week my office, and that of every other MP I know, spends hours chasing up long-standing, legal applications which simply are not being dealt with.

Each one represents someone who has fled persecution in their own country and has come here, not for some mythical easy life, but simply to survive, and is waiting. In limbo.

Often, they bring the vital skills and qualifications that are in short supply in our employment market and not only can they make a real contribution, they want to. But they cannot because they must wait.

And she highlights the failure of the Scottish Government to find permanent accommodation and support for Ukrainian refugees, many of whom are staying on a boat on the Water of Leith.

At the moment more than 1,000 Ukrainian refugees – twice as many as originally envisaged – are living on board a ship off the Edinburgh coast, unwittingly caught up in the log-jam caused by suspension of the Scottish Government’s super-sponsor scheme. They and thousands of others are waiting, unsure of their future.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Christine Jardine: UK Ministers’ response to Iran protests “woeful”

Christine Jardine has used her Scotsman column this week to criticise the UK Government for its lack of action in response to the women’s protests in Iran.

She sets the scene:

The international concern over that state’s pursuit of nuclear capability has been at the centre of diplomatic wrangling and, for the US in particular, the focus of decades of tension.

Perhaps what we have lost sight of is that Iran is a country, a people who like any other want to live their best lives. And be free so to do.

This past week what we have seen is that desire expressed on the streets and universities of Iran, provoked originally by the death in custody of a woman accused of ‘improper’ dress.

International observers, including Amnesty International, say they have not witnessed protests of the scale and intensity that have followed the death of Mahsa Amini.

The UK Government response has been muted compared to European countries and the US, she says:

But the response of our own Foreign Secretary and wider government has been woeful in comparison.

The UK Government should use the Magnitsky sanctions regime, where appropriate, for cases in which human rights abuses and atrocities have clearly been committed.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Lib Dems demand probe into Chancellor’s post-budget champagne party

Christine Jardine, the Lib Dem spokesperson has written to the Cabinet Secretary to ask for an enquiry into whether the champagne bash Kwasi Kwarteng attended on the night of his budgetary earthquake breached the Ministerial Code:

From The Observer:

“The image of the chancellor quaffing champagne with bankers just hours after announcing his tax cuts for the very wealthiest in society is bad enough,” she said. “But it would be unforgivable if it turns out Kwasi Kwarteng discussed his plans with hedge fund managers who have since been profiting from the fall in the pound.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

3 October 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Departing Conservative ministers handed over £410,000 in redundancy pay
  • Davey: Kwasi Kwarteng must resign so botched Budget can be scrapped
  • Conservative ministers slammed for holding 67 parties as British economy implodes
  • Kwarteng speech: Laughing about the turbulence is an insult to millions

Departing Conservative ministers handed over £410,000 in redundancy pay

Former Conservative ministers are set to be handed more than £410,000 in redundancy payments, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

This includes £18,860 for Boris Johnson, £16,876 for former cabinet ministers including Priti Patel and Michael Gove, and £14,491 for the former Solicitor General Alex Chalk.

The Liberal Democrats have called on Johnson and other outgoing ministers to forgo the thousands of pounds in redundancy payments, so the money can be used to support struggling families instead.

Under the Ministerial and Other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991, those resigning from office are entitled to 25% of the annual salaries they were paid when holding that office. Analysis by the Liberal Democrats suggests that, across government, this will lead to a total bill to the taxpayer of at least £410,642.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson Christine Jardine, said

It is outrageous that as families cut back on food and heating, outgoing Conservative ministers are being awarded thousands of pounds, many of them after just a few weeks in the job.

It seems Liz Truss is against handouts for the British people, but not for her Conservative colleagues. Once again it’s one rule for Conservative MPs, another for everyone else.

Former ministers are given financial security, while struggling families and pensioners are facing economic chaos, higher bills and collapsing health services.

Outgoing Conservative ministers should do the decent thing and pass up their payoffs for the good of the country.

Davey: Kwasi Kwarteng must resign so botched Budget can be scrapped

Responding to Kwasi Kwarteng’s refusal to resign this morning despite his U-turn over the 45p tax rate, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Kwasi Kwarteng didn’t listen when people’s mortgages soared, the pound tanked and the economy nosedived. Now he’s only acting because of internal rows at the Conservative party conference.

It just shows the Conservatives are totally out of touch with the country.

The Chancellor has lost all credibility and must resign now. Then Parliament needs to be recalled so we can scrap this rotten Budget, offer extra help to struggling mortgage borrowers and ensure our NHS and schools get the funding they need.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , and | 3 Comments

23 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Fiscal statement: Not a plan but “a recipe for disaster”
  • A Budget for the Mega Rich at the Expense of Ordinary Citizens
  • Debt dossier: Five times Truss and Kwarteng warned unsustainable borrowing could cripple the economy
  • Ed Davey: “Billionaires’ budget” shows Chancellor doesn’t have a clue

Fiscal statement: Not a plan but “a recipe for disaster”

Responding to the Chancellor’s fiscal statement today, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

This statement was an admission of failure from a Conservative government that is totally out of touch with the British people. It is not a plan, but a recipe for disaster that will leave families suffering from soaring prices while banks and oil and gas companies rake in huge profits.

Instead of a real plan to grow the economy, the Conservatives are reheating the same old failed policies and lifting the cap on bankers’ bonuses.

Handing billions of pounds of tax cuts to banks and multinational companies will do nothing to help people get a GP appointment when they need it, give our children a better education; and make our streets safer.

It’s clear that Kwasi Kwarteng and the Conservatives are taking the British people for granted and have no plan to deal with soaring energy bills, sky-high petrol prices and rising food costs.

A Budget for the Mega Rich at the Expense of Ordinary Citizens

Responding to the Conservatives’ mini budget, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS has labelled the plans announced as “a hideously out-of-touch’ budget designed to benefit the mega rich at the expense of ordinary citizens”.

Commenting Jane Dodds MS said:

What we have seen today is gross negligence. The Conservatives are intent on a budget that robs the poor to pay for the mega rich.

Someone on £200,000 a year will benefit by an extra £3,000 a year meanwhile those on the breadline will continue to struggle. It is almost criminal and completely detached from reality.

Cuts to cooperation tax, the removal of the bankers’ bonus cap and the abolishing of the top band of income tax for those earning over £150,000 will do absolutely nothing to help the average family this winter.

The Conservatives are reheating the same policies they’ve tried for the last 7 years that haven’t worked and have instead left the UK with stagnant growth, widening inequality and one of the lowest productivity rates in Europe.

This is the most financially irresponsible budget I have ever seen laid out and it will inevitably lead to either cuts in public services or more debt for our children and grandchildren through increased borrowing.

We need a general election immediately to remove this irresponsible and reckless Conservative Government out of power.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , and | 14 Comments

Christine Jardine: The Queen brought reassurance and hope in our darkest times

Christine Jardine used her Scotsman column to pay tribute to the Queen and to describe the atmosphere in Parliament as the news came that the Queen’s health was causing concern.

When the Speaker rose to convey the confirmatory announcement from Buckingham Palace, the feeling in the chamber was like nothing I have ever known or could have predicted.

This was a moment that we all in that place, indeed everyone in the country must have known could not be far off and yet somehow it was a shock.

The immediate priority was focusing on the resumed debate in an attempt to hold back the tears that were threatening to fall.

But the rest of the day was a haze of speculation, changed plans and simply watching and waiting for what was fast becoming the inevitable.

When the news came, it was family that was at the forefront of her mind:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 7 Comments

LibLink: Christine Jardine Will new PM save us or watch as economy is wrecked?

Christine Jardine has some questions for our new PM in this week’s Scotsman column.

For many of us, the question will be whether the new Prime Minister will be equipped to deal with the crises that have gone unaddressed while the country awaited the outcome of their party’s decision-making process.

And does the government actually even understand the extent of the fear being felt across the country at what this winter might bring?

A survey carried out by the Liberal Democrats revealed this past week that almost one in four adults is planning not to turn on their heating over the winter because of the potential cost. That figure rises to more than one in four when they focused on adults with children under the age of 18. Similar research carried out by Savanta discovered that more than two thirds of us will be limiting our use of heating.

What do we need from our new PM?

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

One in four expect to never turn their heating on this winter due to rising energy bills

  • New polling commissioned by the Liberal Democrats reveals the public are planning to make heartbreaking decisions to cope with spiralling energy prices this winter
  • Parents with children under 18 set to be hardest hit by energy rises according to new poll
  • Lib Dems warn of “the worst cost of living crisis in a century” if Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak do not scrap the energy price cap rise

New polling commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed almost one in four (23%) of UK adults plan to never turn their heating on this winter. This rises to over one in four (27%) amongst …

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

Jardine: As nationalist anger overflows, old fears return

The 2014 campaign for Scottish independence was grim in so many ways. One of the most awful was the febrile atmosphere and the friendships and families torn apart. Some of those rifts have never been healed.

A few weeks out from the poll, I wrote about how worrying and awful it was at the time.  This is what happened when I put up a pretty benign Facebook post:

A friendly and thoughtful discussion ensued on it and then a real life friend who isn’t a party political activist but who supports independence commented that the “names of the traitors have been duly noted.” Because I know hime well, I knew he was trying to be funny, but in the current febrile atmosphere, his words may appear threatening to some. I felt it necessary to tell everyone that he was a nice guy and not a nasty cybernat but is that the sort of language we should be using at all?

I’ve been talking to people who are ardent “No” voters who are scared to stick their heads above the parapet and display any sign of their allegiance because they are scared of attracting unwelcome attention from the more excitable nationalists.

This atmosphere is horrible and we need to find some ways of  making things better because we can’t go on allowing our politics to be conducted by abuse and intimidation.

With the Scottish Government’s stated intention to hold a second referendum year certain to be denied by the UK Government who have the power in this matter, Christine Jardine uses this week’s Scotsman column to look at what that might mean.

She wrote it just after the disgraceful scenes in Perth last week outside the Conservative hustings where nationalist supporters threw abuse, eggs and had a right go at BBC journalist James Cook who was just doing his job. Again that “traitor” word was used.

Christine recalls some frightening moments during the 2014 referendum:

Anecdotally I’ve heard of a comedian at the Fringe describe 2014 as a friendly affair.

They must have been in a different referendum from me because my experience was certainly not that, but was instead a constant barrage of bitter divisive comments and actions.

I was one of many campaigners followed by nationalists who photographed us or posted horrible tweets about us.

On one occasion, on the eve of the vote itself, I found myself surrounded by a crowd or around 100 Yes campaigners waving flags and shouting.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments

LibLink: Christine Jardine on how the Scottish Greens are letting voters down

In her Scotsman column week, Christine Jardine takes the Scottish Greens to task. Since they joined the Scottish Government, the future of the planet seems to have taken a back seat to nationalism as they parrot SNP lines on independence.

Like their more senior nationalist partners at Holyrood, the party’s leadership has declared that if there is no second referendum on Scotland’s future within the UK, they will fight the general election solely on the constitutional question.

If they don’t get their way, they will re-define the General Election to suit themselves, calling every vote cast for a Green candidate as a vote for independence.

This is despite fewer their voters being split roughly half and half on the independence issue.

Activists who have spent decades awakening us all to the dangers of global warming now find that those in whom they placed their faith have become merely a bit player in the separatist narrative.

For the past decade and a half of SNP rule, Scottish politics has been governed by two different factors: actual policies and nationalism.

When the first fails the second is rolled out as a metaphorical fire blanket to dampen the anger while a target is found to redirect blame towards.

Usually, they call it Westminster.

Ironically, ignoring the fact that instead of being the stronger voice for Scotland there, which the SNP once promised, they are simply the whining voice of nationalism.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

LibLink: Christine Jardine: Birmingham games shows sport and politics do mix

In her Scotsman column this week, Christine Jardine reflects how the “multicultural, diverse and joyful” Commonwealth Games opening ceremony reflected modern society and mused on the role sport has had in furthering the cause of inclusion.

The mechanical raging bull, dragged into the stadium by women representing chain makers from the industrial revolution, was almost uncomfortable to watch. A reminder of who we were, the journey we have made and the journey we still have to make.

The statement by Malala Yousafzai about the welcome she had received when she first came to the city that she and her family now call home clearly underlined the message.

And that was not the only thought-provoking aspect. Tom Daley carried the Queen’s baton alongside the LGBT flag, to remind us that in 35 of the countries competing, homosexuality is still a crime. Seven of them have a maximum penalty of death.

Each athlete who carried the baton in turn in the stadium was doing so to raise awareness of a specific cause.

Christine praised the organisers for having one games which included all athletes:

That commitment is enshrined in the organisers’ decision to reject a separate para-games in favour of a single all-encompassing, integrated celebration of sport. That it has taken so long to achieve is the only disappointment.

She highlighted the importance of sporting boycotts and protests in ending apartheid in South Africa and in civil rights and praised the sporting establishment for themselves taking inclusion forward:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Another day of chaos

A Twitter round up, including a great question to the PM from Munira Wilson and a punchy interview with Christine Jardine.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

Liberal Democrats table amendment to back-date windfall tax on oil & gas by £3bn

The Liberal Democrats have today tabled an amendment to backdate the government’s delayed windfall tax, raising an extra £3 billion from oil and gas giants to help with the cost of living.

The party is pushing for a vote on the amendment in Parliament today, putting pressure on Conservative MPs to back the move.

After months of calls from opposition parties, the Government announced an emergency levy on the super profits of North Sea oil and gas producers with effect from 26 May 2022.

The Liberal Democrats, who were the first party to call for a windfall tax in October 2021 have tabled …

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged | 1 Comment

1 July 2022 – today’s press releases

  • VAT cut: Ministers need to stop dithering and act now
  • Suspending Chris Pincher should never have taken this long
  • Concern Over Cardiff Council Plans to Tackle Begging
  • Southwark Liberal Democrats Demand More Ambition in Plans to Tackle Air Pollution

VAT cut: Ministers need to stop dithering and act now

Responding to reports the government is considering cutting VAT, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Families across the UK are facing a cost-of-living emergency. Ministers need to stop dithering and act now.

Liberal Democrats have been calling for an emergency VAT cut for months. It was a key part of our successful by-election campaign in Tiverton and Honiton. Families need it, businesses need it, and voters clearly support it. So why haven’t Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak done it already?

The sad truth is that we have a Government has no plan and a Prime Minister too busy fighting with his own party to help the British people.

Suspending Chris Pincher should never have taken this long

Responding to the news Chris Pincher has had the Conservative whip suspended, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

It should never have taken Boris Johnson this long to act and withdraw the whip.

Once again it seems Johnson has had to be forced into doing the right thing

There can be no more cover ups or excuses. If this investigation confirms these serious allegations, Chris Pincher will surely have to resign.

The Liberal Democrat Voice team have recently started to receive more press releases from Council Groups around the country, perhaps a sign of greater confidence and ambition, and we’ll try to publish some of them going forward…

Posted in Local government, News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , , , and | 14 Comments

Two million extra people in higher tax bracket

Since the General Election in 2019 two million extra people will have found themselves paying tax in the higher income tax band.

Now my first reaction to that news was to think that, when there are serious levels of poverty, then taxing the wealthy is the way to go. But a comment in the Mirror by former Lib Dem MP (and Pensions Minister) Steve Webb made me think again:

Paying higher rate tax used to be reserved for the very wealthiest, but this has changed very dramatically in recent years.

The starting point for higher rate tax has not kept pace with rising incomes, and the current five-year freeze on thresholds has turbo-charged this trend.

People who would not think of themselves as being particularly rich can now easily face an income tax rate of 40% and around one in five of all taxpayers will soon be in the higher rate bracket.

So although it is not the most pressing issue while dealing with the cost of living crisis, it certainly deserves some attention. And it rather undermines the Conservative vision of a low-tax society.

Christine Jardine has issued a statement:

It is time Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson stopped taking the British public for fools. You can’t call yourself a low-tax Government then hike them to record levels.

Britain’s squeezed-middle is being crushed by a barrage of tax hikes.  Britain needs an emergency tax cut before its too late for millions of families and pensioners on the brink.

This Government has proven itself to be completely out of touch with the cost of living crisis and people will never forgive them for these tax hikes.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

Ed Davey: Johnson and Shapps pretend they can’t end the rail strikes. That’s nonsense

The train strike has already had a devastating impact on businesses and on the general public.

Ed Davey has written an article in The Guardian under the headline: Johnson and Shapps pretend they can’t end the rail strikes. That’s nonsense.

He writes:

The Liberal Democrats are against the rail strikes and if a summer of discontent is not to turn into a winter of discontent and full-on stagflation, ministers must step back from the brink.

The position of lower-paid workers across our country should be at the forefront of ministers’ thinking – not that of the highest earners in the City, whose pay and bonuses the government announced this week would not be limited in any way.

The solution?

The solution to such distressing stories is clear: instead of strikes, there should be dialogue between government ministers and union bosses.

Ministers must now clean up their own mess. Liberal Democrats are calling for an emergency Cobra meeting to kickstart a practical compromise and to keep Britain moving.

And here is Christine Jardine (our Treasury spokseperson) telling the BBC what Grant Shapps and the Government should do. It is a national emergency so it would be appropriate for Cobra to meet.

Posted in LibLink and News | Also tagged , , and | 58 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Paul WalterPaul Walter
    Come on, Ed has poured his heart out in the most extraordinary way and the response is mainly mean-spirited stuff with no acknowledgement of the human side of E...
  • Russell
    If the tories have trashed the economy it's due to brexit, and more particularly the hard brexit imposed. Truss's mini budget certainly hurt the tories reputati...
  • Steve Trevethan
    Might the frequent/consistent use of overt and unstated “Austerity” be an indicator of the power of Neo-Liberal Socio-Economics? Ditto the policy of redu...
  • Mel Borthwaite
    Strange figures in this article - Shell made profits of £32.2 billion in 2022 (and not the £68 billion quoted). Worth pointing out that only 5% of Shell’s...
  • Andy Daer
    Regulators of the privatised utilities set allowed revenues (the price they can charge customers) for the water companies, but these are conditional on meeting ...