Tag Archives: christine jardine

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.

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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:

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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?

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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 …

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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…

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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.

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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.

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LibLink: Christine Jardine – Thank you Ma’am

In her Scotsman column this week, Christine Jardine looks back at the Queen’s reign and her contribution to our national life.

She looks at the laws the Queen has given assent to over the past 70 years:

In 70 years, the Queen has given Royal Assent to around 4,000 pieces of legislation.

Among them are some of the most significant in British social history on abortion, race relations, equal rights, same-sex marriage and devolution.

And the fact that the Queen is female helped the cause of women’s equality:

Even in the ‘Swinging 60s’, a decade marked by social and sexual revolution in the UK, the perceived wisdom imparted to those of us at school was that the boys would be the doctors, engineers and lawyers. The girls would be nurses, teachers and secretaries until we stopped to have our babies.

Seems madness now, but that is the world our mothers had to deal with, and that we overcame or are at least overcoming.

How important has it been to that change that our head state, the image presented to the world and to us, has been a woman?

She remembers just how young the Queen was when she took on the demanding role of Head of State:

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LibLink: Christine Jardine: Boris is putting peace process in peril

As Liz Truss prepares to tell Parliament how exactly the British Government intends to ride a coach and horses through the Northern Ireland Protocol negotiated by itself, Christine Jardine writes in the Scotsman about the dangers this poses to the Peace Process.

She starts by writing about how she felt when the IRA first announced its ceasefire back in 1994.

But in that moment it seemed, for the first time, that there might be a bright, positive peaceful future for the people of Northern Ireland. For everyone touched by the euphemistically named ‘Troubles’.

Thirty years later, they have reached a point where they have, to a previously unimaginable extent, put the bitterness and pain of those years behind them.

So to be faced with the realisation that it might all be undermined by an unnecessary dispute born of the Brexit debacle and government intransigence is astonishing.

She condemns the Government for the threat it is posing to the Union.

It is hard to avoid the suspicion that a government, under fire, struggling to get on top of a cost-of-living crisis, is using the most socially and politically fragile area of the UK as a football.

More than that, it often feels as if the Conservatives are playing unacceptable games, not just with the people of Northern Ireland but with the Union.

She outlines the potential consequences of the Government’s actions:

If the Conservatives persist with their ideological approach, it could result in a trade war with our closest allies in the EU.

In the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, and when we need to work together to support Ukraine and oppose Russian aggression in Europe, it is hard to imagine a more self-damaging approach.

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The end of Roe vs Wade – why it matters

Overnight, Politico published a draft of a US Supreme court decision which, if confirmed, will end the right of American women and pregnant people to access abortion. This has been an inevitable trajectory since Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court in June 2018, giving Donald Trump the chance to ensure a conservative majority.  During his term, Trump appointed three conservative justices, a move destined to roll back not just abortion rights, but potentially the right to same sex marriage as well.

Ending the legal right to seek an abortion is a disaster for women. Before it was enacted, women in many states died when pregnancy threatened their lives because they could not get an abortion. This is a basic civil rights issue for women.

Not only that, but we have to remember that the US is a country without either universal health care or paid maternity leave. Crooked Media’s Hysteria podcast host Erin Ryan gave birth to her daughter Juniper last November and in this post highlights the thousands of dollars she had to pay out just to get through her pregnancy and birth and how she had to ask the specialist administering her epidural if he took her insurance:

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4 April 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Conservative MPs must rediscover their moral compass and get rid of the PM
  • Conversion Therapy: Chaotic u-turns shredding UK’s reputation
  • Channel 4 privatisation is “trashing a uniquely British legacy”

Conservative MPs must rediscover their moral compass and get rid of the PM

Responding to government minister Simon Hart’s comments this morning that “the world has moved on” from partygate, Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine MP said:

These comments are an insult to every family that suffered in lockdown while Downing Street partied.

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have got something else coming if they think the public has moved on from this shameful scandal.

Boris Johnson broke the rules he asked us all to obey then repeatedly lied about it. Conservative MPs must rediscover their moral compass and get rid of him.

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Sunak shows he is “out of touch” on fuel poverty figures

Responding to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s failure to answer how many people are being pushed into fuel poverty on the BBC’s Sunday Morning show, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Rishi Sunak doesn’t even care enough to find out how many people he is condemning to fuel poverty. It shows he is completely out of touch with families worried sick about how to cope with soaring energy bills.

People are desperate for help but the Conservatives’ response is to clobber them with an unfair tax rise.

The Chancellor should use this week’s Spring Statement to put money back into people’s pockets,

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Lib Dems mark International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day and the event has been marked by senior party figures.

Christine Jardine reminds us of the especially poignant reason we celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March:

Welsh Lib Dem Leader Jane Dodds called for changes to make it more appealing for women to stand for election at all levels, but particularly local Government:

We urgently need our councils and politics to be more representative of communities they serve. If local governments are so unrepresentative of the population they serve, they cannot possibly hope to deliver for that community effectively.

So this May I want to see more women from different backgrounds, different classes and different ethnicities standing for election. All political parties have a duty to encourage this. And if you are someone in a position of power of influence then make sure you ask them to stand.

“It may seem obvious, but my own political career wouldn’t have started had someone not asked me to stand for council elections. At the time, I had the same view of local Government that many women do, a club for white men over a certain age. I hadn’t thought of entering politics before because I hadn’t believed my voice would be listened to.

“However, we also need structural issues to be resolved. Introducing more flexible schedules for council meetings should be the top priority. Council meetings are often too long and involve unworkable and unsociable hours for those with family, caring and work commitments.

“Society works better when those making decisions are representative of the communities they serve and this International Women’s Day we must remind ourselves of what needs to be done to reach that.”

Lib Dem Women are using the day to highlight women candidates for May’s elections on their Twitter feed,kicking off with one of our most senior and experienced council leaders

ALDC is doing similar:

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Lib Dems stand in solidarity with Ukraine and call for UK to do more for refugees

The Russian Consulate in Edinburgh, like many places around the UK,  has seen peaceful demonstrations every day since the Russians invaded Ukraine.

Today was the biggest so far, with Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and Christine Jardine MP.

Yesterday, Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper attended a similar event in St Albans

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Christine Jardine: Families need a lifeline to help with impact of inflation

Today inflation reached a 30 year high of 5.5%. Lib Dem Treasury Spokesperson called for the Government to take action to help those facing being cold and hungry as a result:

Families are facing an unprecedented cost of living crisis, with a triple whammy of spiralling energy bills, Conservative tax rises and 30-year high inflation.

People are worried about heating their homes and putting food on the table, yet all we’ve seen from this Government is half measures and a raft of tax hikes in April. That’s not the leadership people need in this crisis.

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Lib Dem MPs challenge Boris Johnson on Sue Gray report

It’s been quite the afternoon in the Commons.

Boris Johnson faced sustained criticism over the findings of the Sue Gray report. The most effective were the contributions that fought his fire and bluster with ice rather than more fire.

That’s why Theresa May’s takedown of her successor was so effective. I will never forgive her for what she did at the Home Office, nor in her pursuit of a hard Brexit, but her contribution today was brilliant, asking him if he had read the rules, ignored them or didn’t think they applied to him.

Ian Blackford just had to make it all about him, daring the Speaker to throw him out of the Chamber for saying the PM had misled Parliament. The rule may be daft. But it is the rule, and not to observe it when we are talking about rulebreaking seems illogical. There is a debate to be had around whether that rule is fit for purpose when the man at the despatch box has plainly misled Parliament, but it should have been about Boris today, not Blackford. They are both experts at meaningless bluster and not so good at the incisive point.

There were two brilliant contributions from Ed Davey. He really spoke up for all of us who had followed the rules, often in searingly painful, heartbreaking circumstances.

Later he added that the PM’s performance had been “horrific.”

 

Christine Jardine said that people were livid not just at the culture of rule-breaking in No 10, but at the dodging of accountability by the Prime Minister.

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Why we’re so livid about the Downing Street parties

I’ve not had a huge amount of sleep. I went to bed too late and woke up too early.

Why? I’m livid. And, like many millions of people, emotions that I’ve been struggling with but keeping below the surface, are breaking through.

We’ve been going through hell, and the more we hear about the culture in Government that made them think that it was fine to sit outside in the sunshine and party when millions couldn’t comfort their dying or bereaved relatives, or had to endure intolerable suffering alone, the more we relive our experiences.

If you watched the BBC News last night, you’ll have seen a woman called Lisa recount how she had to watch her brother take his last breath on an iPad at around the same time the May 2020 BYOB party was going on in the Downing Street Garden. She is a friend of mine. So is her sister Jenni, who spoke to the Daily Record:

Jenni said: “They were telling us to stick to the rules but they thought it was OK to have a party.

“We couldn’t comfort one another but they’re having cheese and wine in the garden. They’re laughing at us and think this is OK?”

“We feel traumatised by what has happened, almost like we have PTSD because of our experience and then all these revelations come out that Boris and his staff are telling us to do one thing while they do another.

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Christine Jardine calls for British Sign Language to be taught in schools

Christine Jardine has called for British Sign Language to be taught in schools.

Writing in the Scotsman, she said:

Surely we could and should have BSL as part of the curriculum in our schools?

How much would it cost to simply teach it along with the alphabet when our children are at their most receptive?

Many years ago, I remember a friend teaching her toddler sign language as he was learning to speak. She explained that it is the point in our lives when we are a blank canvass and learn most easily.

I was embarrassed that I had not been able to do the same, or thought to try.

And it frustrates me that while our children can rightly choose to learn French, Spanish, German, Italian and even Gaelic in their classroom, they do not have access to a language that could improve their ability to communicate with members of their own community, and improve their quality of life.

She described that incredibly powerful and stunningly beautiful moment on Strictly during Rose Ayling-Ellis’s dance when the music stopped and she and her partner Giovanni continued to dance as her stand out moment of 2021.

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LibLink: Christine Jardine on MPs’ safety

In the Scotsman, Christine Jardine MP has written about MPs’ safety in the light of the murder of Sir David Amess:

It is a risk which we must minimise, but continue to take for the sake of our democracy.

(Last Friday) was one of those days that you hope never to see, or that anyone you know will have to endure.

Christine goes on to write:

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Getting a story out – the Liberal Democrat press team in action over furlough extension

The Press Team at Lib Dem HQ don’t just write press releases and send them out, hoping that journalists will publish them. They actively go out and try and get them published. A great success story is a push on the end of furlough, highlighting a letter written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak by Lib Dem Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine asking him to extend furlough for six months to those sectors which are still struggling such as tourism, travel and the creative arts.

Christine says this is important to avoid a “tidal wave” of job losses as the scheme comes to an end.

Christine points out that the cost of six months’ vital support would cost less than last year’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Christine urged the Chancellor to “consider the impact on the lives of those that could find themselves out of a job at the end of the week.” She added it would be “devastating for countless families already facing a winter of spiralling bills and cuts to working benefits.”

Christine said:

The withdrawal of furlough risks having a devastating impact on countless families already facing a winter of soaring energy bills.The government needs to rethink its approach or the country could face a Coronavirus Black Thursday.

The Liberal Democrats are demanding that furlough is extended for the industries that are being hardest hit by the pandemic, to prevent a tidal wave of job losses in the coming weeks.This would support the most vulnerable workers through winter and cost less than what ministers spent on last year’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Thousands of people relying on furlough are worrying about their livelihoods at a time when the impact of the pandemic is far from over. Supporting them and their families is both the right and responsible thing to do.

So where was this covered?

Basically everywhere:

The Independent 

The Standard

Wales online

ITV

The Graun

Sky News

Trade Travel Gazette – article by Christine

Trade Travel Gazette – report

City AM 

The Metro 

The Scotsman 

The Mirror 

The Express and Star

The Torygraph

Planet Radio

Even the Fail

Well done to the press team.

And if you want to see Christine’s letter to the Chancellor, it’s here.

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Christine Jardine on trans rights: It’s all about people

Christine Jardine went on Woman’s Hour yesterday to talk about transgender rights in the wake of Ed’s Marr interview on Sunday where that topic was the only one Andrew Marr seemed interested in talking about.

Woman’s Hour host Emma Barnett threw absolutely everything at Christine, who patiently and calmly answered questions for over 20 minutes. It’s worth a listen here.

Barnett repeated the question Marr had put to Ed yesterday – what was wrong with a t-shirt with the slogan woman: adult human female. Ed stood up for our policy that trans rights are human rights and we support the right of trans people to self-identify very well. The one tweak I would have made was the point that Christine made. That phrase is used as a dog-whistle by anti-trans activists to justify their misinformation about and attacks on trans people.

On that question, I liked the way that my friend Duncan put it on Twitter

No matter what the subject, one of the things that Christine always does is bring it back to people. She doesn’t do abstract. It’s all about the human impact. She talked about one friend with a transgender son, another who had transitioned and stayed married and how, if she had one child who was trans and one who wasn’t, how she’d want them both to have the same life chances.

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Christine Jardine: Government breaking promises and backbone of our economy

Christine Jardine slammed the Government’s proposed increase in National Insurance constributions in the debate yesterday.

The full text of her speech is below:

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Senior Lib Dems mark 9/11 anniversary

Senior Lib Dems have been reflecting on 9/11 and its aftermath:

 

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Lib Dems slam Government as National Insurance rises and triple lock suspended

Lib Dem MPs have slammed the Government for breaking two election promises in as many hours.

Today Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak announced that they were going to pay for social care in about the most regressive way possible, by placing the burden on National Insurance. That takes in more lower paid people. The £130 it will cost for someone on £20,000 a year doesn’t sound much, but, believe me, the poorest households will feel every single penny. There were fairer ways of doing this, but you can’t expect that from a Conservative Government.

Emma Kennedy had it right on Twitter:

Ed Davey said of the plans for social care:

These broken manifesto promises are betrayals that will haunt Boris Johnson’s premiership. Whether it’s young working families, carers or small business owners, those catastrophically failed by the Conservatives during the pandemic are now being asked to pick up the tab.

The Liberal Democrats will oppose these unjust plans in Parliament tomorrow and urge all Conservative MPs to do the same. For the past two elections we have been clear about how to fix the social care crisis in a fair and progressive way. The Government must do the sensible thing and sit down with other parties to find a consensus, instead of drawing up divisive policies on the back of a fag packet.

And then we have the Lib Dem triple lock being suspended for a year. The brainchild of our Pensions Minister Steve Webb during the coalitiion years, after miserly 75p rises during Labour’s time in office, it guarantees pensioners a rise in the State Pension equivalent to the greater of average earnings, 2.5% or inflation.

Now, there will be some who will say that a rise of 8% would have been too much and unfair on the young who are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. This is where I would like to see us embrace the power of and to help both. Too many pensioners are living in poverty – 1 in 5 and most of them are women. They will feel the impact of this and not in a good way. Maybe the Government should raise pension credit by 8% to give hem some targetted support.

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Christine Jardine: Government should pay for medicinal cannabis prescriptions for children with Epilepsy

Surely any person, when the quality of life for a child is on the line, would quickly come to the conclusion that paying up is the right thing to do?

Ever since she was elected as MP for Edinburgh West, Christine Jardine has been pushing the Government to give access to medicinal cannabis particularly to children who suffer from rare forms of Epilepsy for whom it can make a huge difference.

She has seen at first hand how it can transform the lives of the children who take it. In her Scotsman column this week, she talks about Murray Gray, her young constituent, now thriving and living his best life. But a couple of years ago, the story was very different:

When his mum Karen first came to me, he was a very unwell little boy who was, as I explained, constantly in and out of hospital with dozens of seizures, and his family were worried they could lose him.

Now, since being prescribed cannabis oil, he is seizure free and a happy youngster who plays football with his dad and told me everything I needed to know about dinosaurs when he visited my office. This medication has given him a life he otherwise may not have had.

The problem is that although it is possible for children to be prescribed medicinal cannabis, the NHS is only paying for three of them. This means that parents like Karen Gray are having to pay £1500 per month to ensure that their children can get the medicine that is giving them such a good quality of life.

Late last night, Christine led the first adjournment debate of the new parliamentary term in which she and others pushed minister Jo Churchill to ensure that in the short term, at least, the Government should pay for the children’s prescriptions until more clinicians are wiling to prescribe it. She outlined the problem:

When the then Home Secretary agreed that medicinal cannabis would be legal for use in the United Kingdom, I think we all believed that parents would no longer be forced to watch their children suffer, knowing that a treatment was available. What has happened since is heartbreaking. In the intervening years, they have been forced to source medication themselves, sometimes travel abroad—again at huge cost—to collect it, challenge the medical authorities and face rejection and repeated appeals for NHS prescriptions.

Surely no one in this place wants even to contemplate what it would mean to have a loved one—husband, wife, partner, brother, sister, friend or child—who had to pay for the medication they needed simply to go on with day-to-day life. Think of the diabetic without insulin or the asthmatic without an inhaler; this is no different, but it is new. With so much red tape and inflexible guidelines, too many people face being left alone, helpless and simply unable to afford life-changing treatment. In fact, since November 2018, just three NHS prescriptions have been issued for the type of medicinal cannabis that is life-transforming for these children.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 4 Comments
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