Tag Archives: christine jardine

12 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • GDP figures: Economy stuck in the slow lane
  • Defence: Only the Lib Dems are committed to reversing troop cuts
  • Energy Minister stands down: Drumbeat of Conservative resignations is becoming deafening
  • More than half of councils see rise in sewage dumps
  • Jardine Secures Commons Debate on Consular Assistance

GDP figures: Economy stuck in the slow lane

Responding to the latest GDP figures, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This sluggish growth shows the UK economy is stuck in the slow lane under the Conservatives.

This government has no plan to fix the damage they’ve done to people’s living standards.

Instead we have a prime minister and Chancellor totally out of touch with families feeling the pinch. The only way to get the economy moving again is to kick this economically illiterate Conservative government out of office.

Defence: Only the Lib Dems are committed to reversing troop cuts

Responding to Labour and the Conservatives announcements on defence policy today, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Only the Liberal Democrats are committed to reversing the Conservatives’ irresponsible cuts to Army troop numbers. With Putin waging war in Europe and Trump threatening the future of NATO, cutting the British Army by 10,000 troops is a major threat to our long-term national security.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives and Labour only offer meaningless talk about vague aspirations for some unspecified time in the future.

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

LibLInk: Christine Jardine: WASPI women offered little hope by Tories or Labour

The ink was barely dry on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s report on the DWP’s failure to warn women of changes in their State Pension age than Jeremy Hunt was popping up on Sunday’s Kuenssberg programme trying to wriggle out of the Government’s responsibilities to compensate those women.

This issue affects 6 million women born in  the 195os, many of whom had to wait 6 years longer than they had expected to get their State Pension and only found out at the last minute so they had no time to plan accordingly. This has led to them experiencing hardship, poverty and having to work much longer than they had planned.

Christine Jardine, who has been championing the cause of the WASPI (Women against State Pension Inequality) women ever since she was elected in 2017, used her Scotsman column this week to warn that neither the Tories nor Labour have a plan to put this right for the women affected.

She said:

Sadly, there is little optimism for anything other than the inaction that we have come to expect, not just in this issue but in the protracted inquiries and delayed settlements over the infected blood scandal, Hillsborough and so many others. Many of the women too seem unsurprised, if disappointed, at the lack of an immediate definitive outcome. As do those who have campaigned tirelessly for justice for them.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Liberal Democrats celebrate International Women’s Day

Last week there was a debate in the House of Commons on the subject: International Women’s Day: Language in Politics. The actual text of the motion was:

That this House has considered the use of language in politics in light of International Women’s Day; agrees that the respectful use of language is an important feature of a strong and inclusive democracy; and calls on all parliamentary candidates to pledge that respectful language will be used at all times in the upcoming General Election campaigning period.

Following the opening speech by Dame Maria Miller, Wera Hobhouse asked this question:

The right hon. Lady has mentioned online platforms and a form of responsibility, but does she believe that Parliament itself should take more responsibility for the barriers that women are facing, or citing as their reasons for not entering Parliament, and for the language that we use here? What might that responsibility look like?

She later said:

We are hearing terrible things in this discussion about banter. People say things are just banter, but banter can be very offensive. We should not be intimidated by people who say that we cannot take banter. It is important that people realise that some banter is offensive.

Christine Jardine made these points:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

7 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Resolution Foundation reveals £8bn pensioner tax bombshell in Budget
  • “All the hallmarks of a backroom deal”- Welsh Lib Dems react to decision to keep new controversial Senedd voting system
  • Donelan scandal: Lib Dems demand ethics advisor probe and Science Minister to step aside whilst investigation ongoing
  • Carmichael calls for UK ban on imports from illegal Israeli settlements
  • SNP cancel bus fund after spending less than 6% – Rennie
  • McArthur responds to news that more crimes will not be investigated

Resolution Foundation reveals £8bn pensioner tax bombshell in Budget

Jeremy Hunt’s Budget includes an £8bn tax bombshell for pensioners, analysis from the Resolution Foundation has revealed.

All 8 million tax-paying pensioners will see their taxes increase due to the freezing of income tax thresholds. This will leave the average taxpaying pensioner £1,000 worse off by 2027-28, – or an £8 billion collective hit.

Responding to the analysis, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Buried in the small print of this Budget is a disgraceful £8 billion pensioner tax bombshell.

People who have worked hard and done the right thing all their lives are being hammered by Jeremy Hunt with years of unfair tax hikes, leaving them an average of £1,000 worse off each.

This Conservative government has shown their true colours, pensioners are not their priority. They would rather cut taxes for the big banks than look after those who have given so much for so long to our society.

“All the hallmarks of a backroom deal”- Welsh Lib Dems react to decision to keep new controversial Senedd voting system

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have described the decision to keep the new Senedd voting system as having “all the hallmarks of a backroom deal”.

From 2026, votes will be cast for parties instead of individual candidates as part of plans to expand the Senedd.

Critics of the new voting system say that it takes power away from the voter and places it in the hands of political party bosses.

Posted in News, Press releases, Scotland and Wales | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | 9 Comments

6 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Budget: Rishi’s recession followed by Hunt’s hangover
  • Scot Lib Dems respond to a spring budget that lets down NHS and mortgage holders
  • “Bottler’s Budget”: Hunt and Sunak slammed for running scared of May General Election
  • Dock Donelan’s pay to foot £15,000 legal cost
  • Rwanda Bill Votes: Policy is fatally flawed

Budget: Rishi’s recession followed by Hunt’s hangover

Responding to the Spring Budget, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

This is a bottom-of-the-barrel Budget from a Conservative government that has given up on governing. Rishi’s recession is being followed by Hunt’s hangover, with years of unfair tax hikes while local health services are stretched to breaking point.

This Budget had nothing to offer for people seeing their mortgage soar due to Conservative chaos or being left waiting for months in pain for NHS treatment.

The public will see this for what is: a desperate last throw of the dice by a Conservative government that has neglected the NHS, trashed the economy and overseen a record fall in living standards. It couldn’t be clearer that we need a general election now so voters can finally kick this tired and out-of-touch government out of office.

Scot Lib Dems respond to a spring budget that lets down NHS and mortgage holders

Responding to the Spring Budget, Liberal Democrat Scottish Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

This really is a budget with little to offer families struggling with Rishi’s recession. It felt like a few scraps from a government which knows it’s out of time.

The national insurance cut is meaningless because of stealth taxes elsewhere.

Scottish Liberal Democrats are on the side of hardworking Scots who want to see their bills and NHS waits cut. Where was the help for people with soaring mortgages or spending months in pain waiting for NHS treatment?

The sooner voters get the chance to deliver their verdict the better.

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

6 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • Liberal Democrats call for health spending in forthcoming budget
  • Donelan legal payments: Lib Dems demand Cabinet Office inquiry
  • Budget: ‘nothing for London’ says Lib Dem mayoral candidate
  • Donelan must pay libel action costs herself

Liberal Democrats call for health spending in forthcoming budget

Speaking ahead of the budget, Liberal Democrat Scottish Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

All Rishi is doing is prolonging the agony for all of us.

Families are fed up picking up the tab for his economic mismanagement.

Conservatives have been bad for the economy and bad for the country’s health.

The Conservatives must put the NHS at the heart of the budget. It is no wonder the economy isn’t growing when millions of people are stuck on NHS waiting lists, unable to work.

More funding for the NHS in England means an increase in Barnett consequentials, which can then be spent on ensuring that patients can finally get access to their GP in Scotland.

Lifelong Conservative voters are rejecting Rishi Sunak’s Government just as long-term SNP voters are seeing that Humza Yousaf’s government has no plan for rescuing the NHS. They are out of touch and out of ideas about how to bring down waiting lists.

The only way out of this mess is a General Election to deliver the change this country desperately needs.

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

Lib Dems react to Budget

Well, there you go. Another Conservative budget served with more invective directed against the Lib Dems than you might expect. You would be forgiven for thinking that they were frightened of us in the Blue Wall. Tim Farron was quick to jump in on Twitter:

The Chancellor wouldn’t waste his breath slagging off the Lib Dems if he wasn’t terrified of losing to us.

A speech carefully crafted into soundbytes for social media. Lots of impressive sounding numbers, but being a big number doesn’t mean it’s an adequate number. It’s so annoying when politicians of all flavours do this. Here’s £xoo million to build y million houses. Why don’t they express themselves in terms that actually reflect the human impact and the scale of the problem?  Because their solution is simply not good enough.

Anyway, what do our leaders make of the electioneering effort put in by Jeremy Hunt today? Ed says that it’s time to just get on with the Election:

This is a bottom-of-the-barrel Budget from a Conservative government that has given up on governing. Rishi’s recession is being followed by Hunt’s hangover, with years of unfair tax hikes while local health services are stretched to breaking point.

This Budget had nothing to offer for people seeing their mortgage soar due to Conservative chaos or being left waiting for months in pain for NHS treatment.

The public will see this for what is: a desperate last throw of the dice by a Conservative government that has neglected the NHS, trashed the economy and overseen a record fall in living standards. It couldn’t be clearer that we need a general election now so voters can finally kick this tired and out-of-touch government out of office.

The thing is, people still feel under a lot of economic pressure. They blame the Government for it and that is bound to affect their vote.

By-election winner Helen Morgan echoed Ed’s message:

Don’t be fooled by the Chancellor’s efforts to pull the wool over people’s eyes. This budget won’t touch the sides for people facing soaring mortgage bills, paying more at the fuel pump, and seeing the cost of going to the shops rise every week. We need a General Election now.

Helen also mentioned a crucial omission:

The Chancellor spent a lot of time listing parts of the country today (notable exception of Shropshire). Yet the Budget itself includes NO mention of rural areas and NO mention of farming. Further proof the Conservatives don’t care about the countryside.

Alistair Carmichael says that voters are past listening to the Conservatives;

The Chancellor has tried to paper over a Tory recession and Tory tax hikes which have hit families across the country. Ministers have searched for election gimmicks but voters are past listening. Few would take this government at its word after years of falling living standards.

Wera Hobhouse was right to point out that the extension of the Household Support Fund for 6 months was far from enough to tackle poverty when the safety net has so many holes in it that it is barely there any more:

I am glad that the Chancellor has heeded my calls to extend the Household Support Fund in today’s Spring Budget. But for the thousands in Bath who rely on its support to put food on their plates and heat their homes – a sixth month extension simply doesn’t cut it.

Wendy Chamberlain did highlight one Lib Dem win, though:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 52 Comments

27 February 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems table motion calling on Parliament to rebuke Lee Anderson’s Islamophobic comments
  • Cancer survival rates: Lib Dems will put giving UK among best cancer survival rates at heart of priorities
  • Tory support in freefall – Rob offers London liberal choice
  • Welsh Lib Dems call for action against child health inequality in Wales

Lib Dems table motion calling on Parliament to rebuke Lee Anderson’s Islamophobic comments

The Liberal Democrats have tabled a censure motion, calling on Parliament to rebuke Lee Anderson’s Islamophobic remarks and calling for him to come to the House and apologise.

The party is calling on Conservative MPs and the government to back the motion, adding that the Conservative party must “show that Islamophobia is not tolerated in Parliament”.

It comes as Anderson said that he would not apologise for his Islamophobic remarks as to do so would be “a sign of weakness”.

The motion tabled by the Lib Dems, if adopted by the government and passed by the House, would be an unprecedented rebuke of the Ashfield MP’s remarks. It would show that Parliament found the remarks unacceptable and Islamophobic and that Anderson should apologise in the House.

Liberal Democrat Women and Equalities spokesperson, Christine Jardine MP said:

Lee Anderson’s remarks were damaging, divisive and need to be called out for what they are – Islamophobic. He should apologise immediately.

British Muslims across the country deserve so much better than this. There is no place in our society for hatred like this.

If the government is too weak to call out this behaviour, the House – including Conservative MPs – must take matters into its own hands and show that Islamophobia is not tolerated in Parliament. Not go completely silent on the issue or look for a way to excuse the inexcusable.

This latest scandal proves once again that the Conservative party is not fit for purpose and is certainly not fit for office.

Cancer survival rates: Lib Dems will put giving UK among best cancer survival rates at heart of priorities

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

Christine Jardine introduces Bill to give British citizens right to Consular assistance

Back in November, there was not a dry eye in the house when Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her husband Richard Ratcliffe spoke to Scottish Lib Dem Conference.

From our piece at the time:

One of the most moving sessions was an interview, hosted by Christine Jardine, with Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe and Richard Ratcliffe. Christine said she still has the blue flower Richard gave her when she went to visit him outside the Iranian Embassy when he was on hunger strike during Nazanin’s six year imprisonment in Iran.

Nazanin and Richard want British citizens to have a right to consular protection after the Foreign Office was so slow to help her. At the moment, the commitment is dependent on ministerial whim, and, if ministers are reshuffled, you have to build the relationship up all over again.

Next week, Parliament will debate a Bill tabled by Lib Dem MP Christine designed to give British citizens abroad a right to consular assistance when their human rights are under threat.

Yesterday’s Sunday Post had a feature on the Bill. Christine told the paper:

We assume that if something happens, someone will speak to the Foreign Office and you’re guaranteed assistance – but you’re not.

I think it’s something most of us would take for granted that we already have.

After Richard and I spoke about it, I thought about the number of cases where people have found themselves in that situation over the years.

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

Lib Dems react to Alexei Navalny’s death

Lib Dems have been reacting to the shocking news of Alexei Navalny’s death.

Ed Davey said:

Horrified by reports of the death of Alexei Navalny – at the hands of Putin, no doubt.

Putin’s despicable methods might be to kill his enemies, but he will never kill the light of freedom and democracy which Navalny has stood for so courageously.

Scottish Lib Dem Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton attended a vigil last night at the Russian Consulate in Edinburgh:

It was a privilege to join Russian citizens outside the Consulate this evening in a vigil for the life of Alexei #Navalny, murdered by the Putin kleptocracy today. Their defiance and their desire to follow Navalny’s dream of a free and democratic Russia was inspiring.

This is nothing short of state sanctioned murder. Putin will never brook any form of opposition and Navalny presented so many young Russians with the hope of a future free from corruption and Tsarist fascism.

Putin is a despot and a war criminal.

Lib Dem Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran said:

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

LISTEN: Christine Jardine on Any Questions

Christine Jardine was on Any Questions last night along with Ann Widdecombe (representing the Reform Party), Thangam Debonnaire and Sir Robert Buckland.

She travelled to Bridgwater in Somerset.

The first question was on whether we should have closer relations with the EU, following this week’s news from Northern Ireland and the fourth anniversary of Brexit.

Christine said that Northern Ireland is a very special case and we should welcome this week’s agreement as a starting point. She pointed out that the people of Northern Ireland had been denied democracy for years because of this. Too cheers from the audience, she took Rishi Sunak to task for his comment that Northern Ireland now has the best of both world. She simply said “Didn’t we all used to have that?” She pointed out that businesses in her constituency were concerned at the amount of red tape they now have to complete to export to the EU that they didn’t before. While she didn’t see a quick path back to the single market, she thinks that that is the direction we should go in but the EU and the British people have to want it. But let’s hope that someone at Lib Dem HQ was listening to the audience cheers which surely suggest that the door is open for stronger arguments on closer relationships with our closest neighbour.

Thangam Debonnaire continued with the fiction that Labour’s Brexit would be just lovely but she sounded much more enthusiastic for closer ties than that position implied.

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

Lib Dems oppose “moral vacuum” Rwanda Bill

When there has been so much discussion around the party’s messaging and whether it showcases our values enough recently, it is a relief to see our parliamentarians speak out so strongly against the bizarrely named Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill as though just writing something down makes it so.

Alistair Carmichael described the Bill as showing a “grim and illiberal mentality” and would replace our asylum system with a moral vacuum. Here’s his whole speech:

I say sincerely that it is a genuine pleasure to follow the right hon. and learned Member for South Swindon (Sir Robert Buckland). He gave a characteristically thoughtful speech for Second Reading and, more interestingly, laid down several markers for future stages, should we get to that point. This is a most interesting and unusual Second Reading debate; we are seeing played out in front of us a tripartite discussion between one side of the Government, another side of the Government and the Treasury Bench. It is a remarkable spectacle to observe, albeit not a particularly seemly one.

I was struck by the reliance that the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill) placed on the references made by the right hon. and learned Member for Torridge and West Devon (Sir Geoffrey Cox) to proceedings in relation to the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc. ) Act 2004. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman observed, that was where the concept of safe countries was introduced. The list of safe countries included all the EU countries except Croatia, plus Norway, Iceland and later Switzerland. It was another piece of legislation that restricted the access of rights to appeal for those whose asylum claims had been unsuccessful. There are perhaps lessons to be learned for us all in how that line of legislation has developed ever since.

The enduring lesson I take is not that that Act was introduced by a Labour Government—a Government that had David Blunkett as Home Secretary—but that the Bill was opposed, with some controversy at the time, by the then Conservative Opposition. They described it as “clumsy and draconian”. They were absolutely right about that and, many years later, we can see exactly where that sort of legislation has taken us. What is it about the Conservative party of 2023 that now finds that sort of legislation so attractive?

Let us not forget that we are dealing with the consequence of the refusal of this Government to prosecute the case for safe and legal routes. Why do we not find people from Ukraine or Hong Kong trying to cross the channel in small boats? It is because we offer them safe and legal routes. The Rwanda scheme is unworkable—we know that because it has never been made to work—and the barriers are well rehearsed, but every time they are thwarted, the response of this Government is to throw a foot-stamping tantrum. Anyone who ever had any doubt about the depth and scale of Tory self-entitlement can see it laid bare here today. The Bill is not about making the system work or providing an effective deterrent; it is simply about trying to bring together a disparate range of forces within their own party.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 13 Comments

COVID inquiry: Strip Johnson of allowance and bar him from future honours

The Lib Dems have called on Rishi Sunak to strip Boris Johnson of his £115,000 a year ex-Prime Ministerial allowance and for the disgraced former PM to be barred from receiving future honours or a peerage.

It comes ahead of Johnson’s scheduled appearance at the Covid inquiry next week.

The inquiry has already heard evidence that the response to the pandemic under Johnson’s government was chaotic and filled with a callous disregard for the lives of the elderly. Boris Johnson’s former Chief of Staff, Lord Lister, told the inquiry that the ex-PM said “let the bodies pile high” when presented with the prospect of a circuit breaker lockdown in September 2020.

The Liberal Democrats are putting pressure on Rishi Sunak to strip Johnson of his up to £115,000 a year allowance as a former Prime Minister. The party is also calling on Sunak to rule out giving Johnson an honour or peerage in future honours lists. It comes after Sunak gave a peerage to former Prime Minister David Cameron so he could rejoin the cabinet.

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

Lib Dems mark Trans Day of Remembrance

Today, 20th November, is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we stop to think of those trans people who have lost their lives to murder in the past year. This year’s list has a horrifying, 320 murders. 94% of those murdered were trans women.  A further 72 lost their lives to suicide.

Last year, there were no murders and suicides in the UK. This year there were 5, one murder, Brianna Ghey and 4 suicides.

All lives ended too soon. Young people who should have been accepted as who they are and left alone to live their lives in peace.

If your child comes out to you as trans, you are likely to be very scared indeed by the rising hate crime figures and the rising suicide figures. The number of trans people experiencing suicidal ideation is a massive concern – almost 90% in a study published earlier this year. 

At the same time we see Government ministers deny, demean and ridicule trans people on an almost daily basis. And let’s not forget that Labour has decided to give in to the Tory culture war on this. In the US there are hundreds of anti trans pieces of legislation.

And we wonder why trans people are the target of violence and are driven to poor mental health, suicidal ideation and more. We could just support them, give them the healthcare they need, make sure their rights are protected in law and give vibes of acceptance. It really isn’t rocket science.  Thankfully, Lib Dem policy is centred on doing exactly that.

Lib Dems have been marking Transgender Day of Remembrance.

On the Lib Dem website, Christine Jardine, our Equalities spokesperson wrote:

Today is Trans Day of Remembrance – an important opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives to transphobia, and reflect on how we as a society can end this loss of life.

In decades past, the UK has led the world in advancing human equality for all LGBT+ people – with the Liberal Democrats playing a particularly key role in driving that forward.

But in recent years, progress has stalled and even gone backwards. I’m deeply concerned to see such a vulnerable group of people being dragged into a manufactured culture war.

We cannot forget the chilling impact this has on people’s lives, either. Like the fact that last year, transphobic hate crimes in England and Wales hit a record high. Or the heartbreaking reality that nine in ten young trans adults have had suicidal thoughts – a much higher proportion than the wider population.

Today, my thoughts are with everyone in the trans community who have already lost their lives. Like Brianna Ghey, a 16 year old trans girl who was tragically killed earlier this year. And Alice Litman, who had been waiting more than three years for gender-affirming healthcare when she passed.

Let me be clear – Liberal Democrats will always stand up for the rights of everyone in the LGBT+ community, including trans people.

There is still a long way to go to achieve true equality for the trans community, but Liberal Democrats will keep fighting. We owe it to Brianna, Alice and everyone else we have lost.

LGBT+ Lib Dems said on Twitter:

Today marks Trans Day of Remembrance, a solemn occasion for our #LGBTQ+ communities and allies to reflect, remember, and honour our remarkable trans and non-binary siblings, whose lives were tragically cut short.

Whilst Trans Day of Remembrance concludes Trans Awareness Week, it remains crucial to persist in raising awareness about the prevailing injustice and prejudice in society. Let’s also celebrate the remarkable activists and trailblazers throughout history.

Earlier in Transgender Awareness Week, Plus said there are things we can all do to bring light into the current toxic environment for trans people – an environment which damages us all.

Here are some actions you can take to show your support:

📚 Educate yourself on trans issues.
👤 Use correct pronouns and names.
🗣️ Speak out against discrimination.
💙 Support trans organisations.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Lib Dems react to King’s Speech

Ed Davey has been on Sky News talking about the King’s Speech.  He called for a General Election to put a Government that has run out of ideas out of its misery.

In the debate in the Commons yesterday, Ed said:

May I, like others, start by paying tribute to His Majesty for delivering his first King’s Speech? It was clearly an historic moment, but for our King it must have been an emotional one. He made reference to his late mother, our late, amazing Queen, and many of us listening to him felt that he delivered that speech with grace and aplomb, and we are very grateful to him.

May I also pay tribute to the right hon. Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Sir Robert Goodwill) and the hon. Member for Stroud (Siobhan Baillie) for their speeches? I have always rather admired the right hon. Gentleman, for many reasons. His speech today was extremely entertaining, but I have always liked the fact that he, like many on our Benches, opposed the third runway at Heathrow and that he was a constructive, if unfashionable, Conservative in his views on a constructive relationship with our European partners. But perhaps what makes him more at home with the current Government is his romantic enthusiasm for the steam engine, as we have heard: more noise than substance and going nowhere in the modern world.

My mother-in-law, an expert beekeeper and honey producer—and the swarm officer for North Dorset, no less—would join the seconder of today’s motion in congratulating Stroud on being the world’s first bee guardian town. I am sure that Stroud has a real buzz about it, but the House will be pleased to hear that I do not intend to drone on and on. Given your strictures at the beginning of this debate, Mr Speaker, I should like to clarify that I was not referring to any other Members in talking about droning on.

Today’s Gracious Speech is overshadowed by horrifying events around the world, with the monstrous terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel one month ago—more than 1,400 Israelis were slaughtered and hundreds were taken hostage, and they are in our thoughts today—and now the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. Innocent Palestinians have been cut off from food, water and medicine. Their homes have been destroyed, and more than 10,000 have been killed.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Listen: Christine Jardine on Any Questions

Given that half the panel had been up all night doing by-election media, it was pretty incredible that they were still going strong into the evening to do Any Questions.

At around midnight, Christine Jardine was the first to say publicly that Labour had won Mid Beds even if she did get John Curtice and John Spencer (Leo McGarry from The West Wing) mixed up i her comments.

At 8 pm, she, Tory Minister Andrew Bowie, Dame Jackie Baillie from Labour, Pete Wishart from the SNP and Blair Jenkins, former Chief Executive of Yes Scotland, the campaign for Scottish independence, took audience questions in Glasgow.

Christine was last to answer the question on Israel and Gaza and it can be quite difficult when you are the last of five people, four of whom were saying broadly similar things. She still managed to find something new, if depressing to say.

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

19 September 2023 – today’s press releases

  • OECD Report: UK economy is “stuck in the slow lane”
  • Revealed: Truss taxpayer handouts now reach over £40k
  • Sunak has failed to embrace the industries of the future

OECD Report: UK economy is “stuck in the slow lane”

Responding to the lastest OECD report, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Treasury and Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This damning report shows that under the Conservatives, the UK economy is stuck in the slow lane. We’ve had zero apology from Liz Truss for trashing the economy, and now zero plan from Rishi Sunak to fix it.

It’s time for a proper plan to grow the economy and tackle the cost of living. That means boosting apprenticeships to tackle skills shortages and helping exporters by fixing the government’s botched trade deal with Europe.

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

Christine Jardine: Tinker, Tailor, Tartan Trews

Christine Jardine’s tongue is stuck firmly in her cheek in her Scotsman column this week. You can tell she’s enjoying making fun of the latest nonsense advanced by a former SNP MSP – that the reason the SNP is doing so badly is that it has been infiltrated by MI5 to discredit the independence cause.

It seems that after 16 years in power, including one term with an outright majority, the failure of the SNP to persuade the Scottish people to jump ship from the UK was all because of unionist subterfuge.

Not because of dissatisfaction with the state of our NHS, anger at failing education standards or frustration at the growing cost of those ferries. Nor the results of realising during the pandemic that the strength and size of the UK Exchequer and the economy were positive reasons for the Union. Nor was it the emotional ties we all have to family in the rest of the UK that swung the argument. No, it was spooks. British spies in the nationalist camp.

A potential new spy novel, she wonders?

A sort of ‘Tinker Tailor Tartan Trews’ expose of a pro-UK cell acting as a conduit for vital information that Holyrood would prefer to keep clear of the clutches of ‘Big Brother’ in Westminster. That, in claiming the Security Service is anti-Scottish, the originator of this particular conspiracy theory – apparently a former MSP called Campbell Martin – is actually laying the groundwork for a piece of fiction.

It might feature a handful of operatives, presumably well-trained in the love of square sausage and Irn-Bru, which has infiltrated the inner sanctum of the SNP. There they have painstakingly won the trust of the leadership and encouraged them down an independence cul-de-sac, for which they will be rewarded with a cottage in the Highlands and a new identity.

The online version of the article is illustrated beautifully with a picture of Claudia Winkleman in full Traitors get up

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Christine Jardine: SNP so caught up in indy fantasies they are almost in Narnia

In her Scotsman column this week, Christine Jardine calls out the SNP/Green Scottish Government for wasting public money and effort on independence rather than tackle the problems people face day to day.

I appreciate we all want familiarity for comfort in difficult times, and there can be no doubt that these are tricky times for the SNP. With internal party squabbles, broken ferries, and an ever-lengthening social care backlog, who can blame them for wanting a distraction? But why should taxpayers have to fork out for the SNP’s therapy for frustrated nationalists? Particularly when public funds are tight and so many people are worried about providing for their families.

Lsst week, the Government published a paper on citizenship in an independent Scotland. Promise heavy but reality light is probably the best that can be said about it. As Christine says:

We would all also have our new passports by ‘independence day’. Oh and the colour of these new passports would be maroon, just in case that’s of any interest. We would also somehow have rejoined the EU without the nuisance of having to meet the criteria.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

6 July 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak must show some backbone & commit to voting to suspend Pincher
  • Horizon deal: Refusing to sign up would be “needless act of self-harm”
  • Layla Moran calls for sanction of Hong Kong officials
  • Covid inquiry court ruling: Victory for transparency and humiliating defeat for Sunak

Sunak must show some backbone & commit to voting to suspend Pincher

Responding to the news that the House of Commons standards committee has said Chris Pincher should be suspended, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Chris Pincher adds his name to the long list of disgraced former Conservatives caught up in sleaze and scandal.

After missing so many vital votes in Parliament, Rishi Sunak must finally show some backbone and confirm he will vote to suspend Chris Pincher.

Sunak promised to govern with integrity, he must vote with it.

Horizon deal: Refusing to sign up would be “needless act of self-harm”

Responding to reports that the UK and EU have reached a draft deal on Horizon Europe but that Rishi Sunak has not yet signed it off, Liberal Democrat Europe Spokesperson Layla Moran MP commented:

Refusing to sign up to research cooperation with Europe would be a senseless act of self-harm.

We’ve seen too many false dawns over Horizon Europe, every day that is wasted means more scientists deprived of funding.

The Government has trashed our relationship with Europe, put up needless trade barriers and prevented scientists from cooperating on everything from tackling climate change to curing cancer.

It’s vital that Rishi Sunak approves this deal as soon as possible – it’s a no brainer.

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

“Lib Dems take aim at Johnson’s entire honours list”

Tortoise Media reports that Lib Dem Cabinet Office spokesperson Christine Jardine has written to the Forfeiture Committee  to ask them to rescind Boris Johnson’s entire Honours list.

In a letter sent to the committee, seen by Tortoise, Jardine said Johnson had “launched deplorable attacks on the Committee and our Parliamentary democracy”. She also raised doubts about the suitability of individuals on the list, including those “implicated in the partygate saga”.

Jardine wrote: “I am therefore urging you to open an investigation into the potential withdrawal of all of Boris Johnson’s honours which fall under the scope of your Committee. Clearly, the circumstances around this list – and the events which have occurred since its release – are unprecedented and have brought the honours system into disrepute. I believe that there are grounds for examining whether Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list can be revoked in its entirety.”

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Is it just abortion law that needs reform after woman handed 28 month sentence?

Carla Foster is waking up in prison this morning. Her three children are waking up without their mother for the first time in what will be a 14 month ordeal for them.

Ms Foster was given a 28 month sentence yesterday for inducing an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy.  There is controversy about whether a custodial sentence was appropriate in this case, particularly as there were so many mitigating factors. Coming just months after a man who repeatedly raped a 13 year old was shown leniency, it seems like yet another instance when women are disadvantaged in the legal system.

You can only imagine how desperate she must have been to take that course of action, under huge pressure in the middle of lockdown.

The Judge, in his sentencing remarks, made clear that she was a good mother to her children, one of whom is described as having “special needs which means he is particularly reliant on your love and support.”

I tend to take the view that you should only imprison people if they are a danger to the public and it is quite clear that Ms Foster is not.  The first step to rehabilitation is to acknowledge and feel remorse for whatever crime you have done and the Judge is clear in his sentencing remarks that she is traumatised by her actions. It’s hard to see what good locking her up does.

What is particularly egregious is the fact that she is actually in prison on a technicality. Had she pled guilty at an earlier stage, her sentence could have been suspended. Surely she would have been taking the advice of her legal team at that time? The consequences of this seem disproportionate. Maybe this aspect of the law needs to be reformed.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Liberals must speak out against conservative attacks on divorce and same sex marriage

Last week, Conservative MP Danny Kruger made some controversial remarks about marriage at the awful National Conservative Conference in London. He said:

The second truth is that the normative family – held together by marriage, by mother and father sticking together for the sake of the children and the sake of their own parents and for the sake of themselves – this is the only possible basis for a safe and successful society.

“Marriage is not all about you. It’s not just a private arrangement. It’s a public act, by which you undertake to live for someone else, and for wider society; and wider society should recognise and reward this undertaking.

I guess it is good in a way that these comments are now considered controversial. It does show how far we have come in the past few decades. Christine Jardine, our equalities spokesperson said Mr Kruger’s comments

show just how utterly out of touch the Conservative Party is with modern day Britain.

Conservative MPs are happy to lecture families on how to live, while making life harder and harder for millions of families through the cost-of-living crisis and years of unfair tax rises.

East Midlands Lib Dem commentator Mathew Hulbert did a good interview on Peter Cardwell’s Talk TV programme:

Mathew said:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Jardine: People of Scotland want competent, effective Governments

It took less than the 14 minutes of Mhairi Black’s opening speech in the SNP Opposition Day debate on the cost of living crisis today for her to reveal what the debate was really about. Independence. I guess we should expect no better from a nationalist party, even one that has the power to do much more than it is doing to alleviate poverty and help those struggling at the moment.

Our Christine Jardine was there to keep them honest. In a blistering speech, she pointed out where both SNP and Conservatives were going wrong.

I have often stood here and criticised the Conservative Government, on their energy price hike; inflation; interest rates; and the situation that faces our young people throughout the UK, where too many of them live with the fear that they will never be able to own the house of their own that they would like or that the ever-increasing rent rates in this country, which in my city of Edinburgh are outrageous, put too many options beyond their reach. We must then consider the fact that the Chancellor did not listen when the Liberal Democrats asked him to cut energy bills by £500 per household, which would have made a significant difference to so many families; that the growth in the economy in the first three months of this year was only 0.1%; that, according to the Office for National Statistics, average pay, after taking inflation into account, fell by 3%; and that the take-home salary fell by more than £1,400.

I was delighted when I saw this motion, because our economy in the UK is on its knees and so are far too many families, and not just in Scotland. My disappointment is that SNP Members do not seem to appreciate that they in a unique position, of which I, like many other Members, are jealous, as their party can do something about it in Scotland. By that, I do not mean independence, which it turns out this debate is actually about after all.

She went on to highlight some of the SNP Govermment’s key shortcomings

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

25 April 2023 – today’s press releases

  • ONS debt stats: Voters will never forgive the Conservatives for their economic vandalism
  • Government announces refusal to make misogyny a hate crime
  • Sewage vote: Scandalous that Conservative MPs have blocked the Sewage Discharge Bill

ONS debt stats: Voters will never forgive the Conservatives for their economic vandalism

Responding to new ONS debt statistics which show net borrowing the 4th highest since records began, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

The Government’s shambolic mismanagement added billions to the UK’s borrowing whilst leaving our economy growing at a snail’s pace. Voters will never forgive the Conservative party for the economic vandalism of the

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

Cole-Hamilton: Reasonable minded people are re-thinking their support for the SNP

In a way I feel a bit sorry for Humza Yousaf.  Not because he’s taken over a failing Government that he has been a part of, but because of the way his party is imploding around him in a way that he probably didn’t expect. He definitely knew that he was inheriting a deeply divided party, but maybe didn’t realise that the chalice was so full of poison.

Since his election as First Minister 3 weeks ago, two senior figures in the SNP have been arrested and released without charge in an investigation in to the Party’s finances and he has discovered that the party’s auditors resigned six months ago. You can tell that my husband is getting way too interested in this story because he’s been getting adverts for camper vans on Facebook. Yesterday he faced the press in an encounter that will be shown at media training courses as an example as how not to do it for years to come:

We’ve been very used to Nicola Sturgeon’s very controlled media appearances for the past 8 years, so this was a massive contrast. Journalist Rob Hutton’s critique was brutal:

And let’s be clear, these surely are his thoughts, unmediated by anything as sophisticated as “spin” or “damage control”. The first minister seems to be gripped by a compulsion to speak whatever words have just popped into his brain, without the slightest consideration about what impact this might have on the situation. It’s compulsive viewing, the political equivalent of watching a toddler determinedly trying to work a fork into an electrical socket.

Our Rural Affairs spokesperson Molly Nolan drew another comparison on Twitter:

I know there’s many more pressing things going on at the moment but good grief. Mr Bean himself would surely have given a better interview than this

It was not the best build up to Yousaf’s big moment when he unveiled his programme for Government at Holyrood yesterday. And to be honest it wasn’t so much a programme for Government as a series of screeching U-turns. The deeply flawed deposit return scheme paused till next year, their flagship National Care Service paused. Those are both welcome, but I mean, if the only headlines that come out of such a statement is what you are not doing, you are in trouble.

Scottish Lib Dem Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said that our party will be part of the change that is coming:

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 20 Comments

17 April 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Keegan: You don’t need a maths A-level to see that these plans don’t add up
  • Government Pushed to Vote on Banning New Coal Mines
  • Government reported for breaking purdah rules
  • Sunak investigation: Another accusation of a Conservative PM bending the rules
  • Government defeated as Lib Dems win vote to ban new coal mines

Keegan: You don’t need a maths A-level to see that these plans don’t add up

Responding to Gillian Keegan’s morning media round about the Government’s maths announcement, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:

Gillian Keegan’s empty words are an insult to millions of people who are looking to the Government for

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

LibLink: Christine Jardine We must not take peace in Northern Ireland for granted

As Joe Biden visits Northern Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Christine Jardine writes in the Scotsman that we should not take the huge step forward to peace for granted.

She started by looking at how we got to the agreement:

Progress towards the Belfast Good Friday agreement had begun shortly before Christmas 1993 with the Downing Street Declaration. The joint statement by Prime Minister John Major and Taoiseach Albert Reynolds stated it was the right of the people of Northern Ireland to decide between the UK or a United Ireland. It also acknowledged the importance of mutual consent in the north and south of the island in resolving issues.

In the following five years, there were ceasefires, cross-party talks and false starts before that historic announcement on April 10, 1998, which in essence contained three basic principles. They are: the parity of esteem of both communities, the principle of consent underpinning Northern Ireland’s constitutional status, and the birth-right of the people of Northern Ireland to identify and be accepted as British or Irish, or both, and to hold both British and Irish citizenship.

And she highlighted the dramatic reduction in loss of life and injury that has followed in the ensuing quarter of a century:

In the 25 years before the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, there were more than 3,000 deaths and 47,000 people were injured as a result of the conflict. Since 1998, there have been fewer than 200 deaths. Still too many, of course, but a reflection of changed times.

Current circumstances, she says, mean that we still have to work to maintain this peace.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Christine Jardine calls for recording of bereaved children

This week in Parliament, Christine Jardine continued her efforts to get the Government to find some way of recording when children are bereaved so that they can get the help and support that they need.

This matters to her. She was an adult when she lost her Dad at the heartbreakingly young age of 20, but her sisters were 13 and 8 respectively. She spoke in the debate about how that experience had affected all three of them to this day. Had they had access to counselling and support to help them navigate through the trauma, it might have made it easier for them.

She is calling for a simple process of recording whether there are children affected when registering a death. The details could then be passed on to organisations who could offer them help. As she said in the debate, there is plenty political will to address this, it’s simply a question of how.

 

Here is the text of her speech in full:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Christine Jardine – Windsor Framework a hopeful sign for future relations with EU

In the Scotsman this week, Christine Jardine pointed out the irony of Rishi Sunak’s pronouncement on Northern Ireland’s special and unique position:

The picture became even more ridiculous when this arch-Brexiteer enthusiastically proclaimed the benefits Northern Ireland could derive from being in both the EU single market and the UK. Is that not what we all used to have?

Are what Rishi Sunak described with a smile as the “exciting prospects” for Northern Ireland not what we all used to take for granted? And yet even as the Tories basked in this self-proclaimed Brexit victory, there was just the slightest hint, a tiny glimmer of hope that our future relationship with the European Union might be salvageable.

It’s good to hear a Lib Dem actually talking about the problems with Brexit:

The reality remains that the Conservatives erected immense barriers to trade between the UK and the EU. Farmers, fishermen and small businesses across Britain remain tied up in red tape and the Conservative government are, as yet, doing nothing to help them. But in recognising the importance of creating a special agreement for Northern Ireland, they may, perhaps, have taken an important step towards reconciliation.

But the SNP saw it as an excuse to get something for Scotland:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Peter Davies
    Though none of the articles actually confirms the headlines, they do suggest that these rags are still trying to defend Brexit and with increasing desperation....
  • Martin Pierce
    Tom’s contributions make subscribing to LDV worth it all by themselves. Always clear-sighted and on this one I agree with the ‘even by your high standards�...
  • Yeovil Yokel
    Jeff - if you want your views to be treated with respect, then you need to cite more credible sources than the Telegraph, Mail, and Express....
  • Jenny Barnes
    Israel is only a democracy if you ignore Palestinians....
  • Chris Moore
    Reagarding imports and exports, it's fantastic you didn't bother reading your own article. Which would have told you that UK exports/imports are DOWN between...