Tag Archives: daisy cooper

No child should go hungry

Last week I reported that Kirsty Williams had committed to extend free school meals through the holidays and right up to next Easter. Of course, that only applies in Wales where she is the Education Minister.

But this week MPs shamefully voted against a similar programme in England, in spite of the widespread support for Marcus Rashford’s campaign.

Lib Dems, headed by Daisy Cooper, have been calling for action:

There is a petition to sign, in which we call for:

  • Free school meals to every pupil whose parents or guardians are in receipt of Universal Credit
  • Food vouchers for every one of those pupils in every school holiday and during any period of lockdown
  • Free school meals to pupils from low-income families whose parents or guardians have no recourse to public funds and destitute asylum seekers

I’ve signed it. Will you?

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15 October 2020 – the overnight press release

Government must follow Wales and guarantee free schools meals over holidays

Responding to the announcement that the Welsh Government has guaranteed free school meal provision for all school holidays up to and including Easter 2021, thanks to £11m confirmed today by Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

This decision by Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams is wonderful news and will really ease the worries of thousands of parents in Wales as they look ahead to the uncertainty of the next six months.

It is essential that Conservative Ministers in Westminster follow the Liberal Democrats lead in Wales,

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3-4 October 2020 – the weekend’s press release

Prime Minister full of bluster but offered little in the way of answers

Responding to the Prime Minister’s warning of a ‘tough’ Christmas and beyond on The Andrew Marr Show, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Daisy Cooper said:

The Prime Minister’s admission will leave people rightly worried about their loved ones. Sadly, as has become all too common with this Prime Minister, there was a lot of bluster but little in the way of answers.

It is now all the more important for the Government to take responsibility for its failures and deliver a comprehensive strategy to test, trace and isolate every

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27 September 2020 – Conference day 3 press releases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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25 September 2020 – conference day 1 press releases

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

Ed Davey opens Liberal Democrat conference

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

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

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

Long-term furlough extension essential to protect jobs

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

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

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

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

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Daisy Cooper confirmed as Deputy Leader

In a newly published interview with the Independent, Daisy Cooper reveals that she is the new Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

This news is very welcome but it will surprise nobody. She was the very clear frontrunner and was elected with the unanimous backing of her parliamentary colleagues.

Constitutional geeks among you will know that this post is actually the Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons and is chosen by the MPs.

In her interview, Daisy talked about the issues she would be fighting on. The article is headlined that we’re going to be targeting soft Tory voters as if that’s the only thing that we’re going to be doing. If you look at what Daisy says, there’s a lot of progressive stuff on tackling inequality and on civil liberties which will have a much broader appeal.

I think the Tory Party has been moved so far to the right that there are swathes of ‘soft conservatives’ in the country who don’t see the current party under Boris Johnson as representing anything like their views and their values whatsoever,” said Ms Cooper.

“And I don’t think it’s just on rule of law issues. It is this kind of thuggish behaviour around giving contracts to their mates, threatening the independence of the judiciary, the double standards emanating from Dominic Cummings, the mixed messaging, the chaos that we’re getting week in week out, the staggering incompetence.

“I think many people have thought before that the Conservative Party was a party of competence and now it’s anything but.”

She said: “In St Albans we started early and it took us three and half years to win the seat by getting out there and talking about our values, about being an open, internationalist party which believes in environmentalism and civil liberties. We’ve got three and a half years now to the next election, so I think that if we start now, we’ve done a very good chance of winning a good number of seats.”

Talking about her new education portfolio, she was clear about how important it was to tackle child poverty:

“I want to get more a much better spotlight on those children that are largely being ignored and not listened to and really struggling to have a voice.

“And I want to tackle this issue that is now coming to the front of the agenda around child poverty and the provision of free school meals. I think it is shocking that in the 21st century we have children going to school with hungry tummies. It’s just absolutely scandalous and I think we’ve to turn the help which was given because of Covid into change for good.”

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2 September 2020 – today’s press release

Education Secretary must come clean about what he knew, and when

Speaking after the Chair of Ofqual told MPs today that it was a “fundamental mistake” to believe a controversial algorithm initially used for A-level and GCSE results would “ever be acceptable to the public”, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

The A level scandal caused untold distress and anguish for too many young people.

It is now clear as day that the Education Secretary stubbornly refused to heed warnings about this approach and that the decisions which led to this fiasco were firmly in his hands.

Pupils and parents need

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UPDATED: Davey reshuffle part 2 – The full team

Ed Davey’s reshuffle of his top team is being done in parts.

Yesterday, he announced the top three offices of state. Christine Jardine is going to Treasury, Layla Moran to Foreign Affairs and Alistair Carmichael takes on the Home Affairs brief.

Today, we discovered via Twitter that Wendy Chamberlain is taking on the role of Chief Whip alongside the Scotland and Wales and Work and Pensions briefs.

Wendy’s professional experience as a Police Officer and as a manager and trainer makes her an ideal choice for this role. The Chief Whip also has a role in managing the LIb Dem parliamentary staff and she’ll totally excel at that.

Daisy Cooper takes over at Education. She loses her Culture, Media and Sport portfolio to former pantomime dame Jamie Stone and will no doubt take on other responsibilities. There is speculation that she will end up as Deputy Leader, a position that is decided by MPs alone.

Jamie Stone retains his defence portfolio.

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14 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats call on Williamson to resign in the face of grades chaos
  • Plummeting health visitor numbers demand action, Liberal Democrats warn

Liberal Democrats call on Williamson to resign in the face of grades chaos

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran has described Gavin Williamson as “out of his depth” and said that he must go in the wake of yesterday’s “shambolic” grade outcomes.

Moran’s push for Williamson to resign follows criticism of the Secretary of State’s errors through the COVID-19 crisis, from the failure to ensure disadvantaged pupils had access to remote learning devices to botched efforts to open schools more widely before the pandemic was under control.

The Party are calling for all pupils to have a right to appeal their grade awards with no charge, and the chance to sit the examinations at the earliest possible date at no cost. They are further demanding that the Government urge universities to be lenient in admissions requirements.

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The shambolic handling of A-level results has left many young people in crisis. Despite the warning signs from Scotland, the Education Secretary pushed ahead with plans which ignored teachers’ advice and have disproportionately affected pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. With this unfair system, he has created untold confusion and distress.

Gavin Williamson is an Education Secretary out of his depth and out of excuses. He must take responsibility for his mistakes and step down with immediate effect. Our young people and our country cannot afford these blunders to continue into September, ahead of a potential second wave.

If the Government continue to refuse to put their trust in teachers predictions, they must ensure every pupil has the right to appeal free of charge, and the opportunity to sit these examinations should they wish. We also need to see clear guidance from the Government to universities to ensure greater leniency in admissions decisions.

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3 August 2020 – today’s press release

BBC licence fee should be set by independent body, Liberal Democrats plan

The Liberal Democrats are to debate plans at their Autumn conference to ensure the BBC licence fee level is set independently next year after government cuts forced the BBC to end free TV licences for most over-75s.

Liberal Democrat Culture spokesperson Daisy Cooper, who will move the motion at the Party’s first digital conference, warned the Government must never again be allowed to “force the BBC into a corner where it has to choose between cuts to programming or raising these fees on the most vulnerable.”

The Party, which led a …

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31 July 2020 – the day’s press releases

  • Lockdown announcement shows Government still doesn’t have a grip on virus crisis
  • Davey: Johnson must do more to protect livelihoods in the north
  • Davey: Government must step up financial support in light of further lockdown
  • Government must legalise humanist marriages without further delay
  • Johnson and Cummings acting like despots with plans to restrict judicial review
  • PM’s decision to give his cronies peerages further bloats House of Lords

Lockdown announcement shows Government still doesn’t have a grip on virus crisis

Responding to the Government’s change in guidance stating that separate households will not be able to meet indoors from today in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

Throughout this crisis, the Government’s communications have been an utter disaster. To announce a regional lockdown of millions of people not only just hours before it’s enforced, but with no clarity on the new rules coming into place, is beyond comprehension.

Considering their ability to tackle this pandemic relies on the clarity of messaging coming from the Government, it is unsurprising that just yesterday it was announced that England has had the highest excess mortality across Europe. If the Government want the British public to follow the rules they are announcing, then they must be clear, ahead of time, and they must have forewarned local authorities.

It remains unclear at what point Boris Johnson’s Government will finally manage to get a grip on the coronavirus crisis. Yet more mistakes reveal how necessary it is for an inquiry to be launched now – so that Ministers can learn the lessons ahead of a potential second wave.

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30 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Highest levels of excess deaths demands Government learn lessons
  • Liberal Democrats call for review into school exclusions
  • Liberal Democrats: Government are failing survivors of sexual violence
  • Government must step in with Green incentives to save the car industry
  • Liberal Democrats: Record high of self harm in prisons shows extent of crisis
  • Leaked letter shows thousands of care home residents being exposed to virus

Highest levels of excess deaths demands Government learn lessons

Responding to ONS statistics that reveal England has had the highest excess mortality across Europe in the first half of 2020, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The unforgiving consequences of the pandemic have left too many families mourning loved ones. It didn’t need to be like this.

It is clear the Government has made mistakes. With a possible second wave occurring in countries across Europe at the moment, the Prime Minister must launch an independent inquiry immediately.

This is not a time for protecting political interests. This is a time to learn from mistakes and protect the country from more heartache.

Liberal Democrats call for review into school exclusions

Responding to new figures for permanent and fixed-period school exclusions in England for 2018/19, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

These figures make appalling reading. Every year thousands of children – often the most vulnerable – are being written off by our education system. Children eligible for free school meals are more than four times as likely to be permanently excluded – that says it all.

This Government should be ashamed that they have presided over continually high rates of permanent exclusion. Cutbacks to school budgets undoubtedly play a part in this. So too does the culture which prizes exam results and league table rankings over care and support.

We need see action to address the disproportionate number of exclusions among pupils on free school meals, as well as Black Caribbean, Gypsy and Roma, and Traveller pupils. That’s why we need to see a review into disparities in school exclusions.

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21 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Pay rises without cash mean more cuts to schools and the police – Davey
  • Government must be clear higher debt won’t mean cuts to vital public services
  • Delyn MP must end ‘saga of scandals’
  • PM must announce a full investigation into potential Russian interference of our democracy
  • Braverman must apologise for endorsing Cummings

Pay rises without cash mean more cuts to schools and the police – Davey

Responding to reports that nearly 900,000 public sector workers will receive a pay rise out of existing departmental budgets, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

Accepting the independent review body’s pay recommendations was the very least the Chancellor could do. Yet, as overall budgets remain unchanged, the reality is our schools, police and wider public services will struggle to meet this award without significant cuts elsewhere in their budgets, including redundancies.

And utterly failing to recognise the outstanding effort of social care staff during the COVID-19 crisis is simply not acceptable. Councils and the wider care sector must be properly funded.

Since the early days of this pandemic, Liberal Democrats have been the first to argue for a better deal for NHS and care staff, yet Ministers seem to think that warm words and hand claps are sufficient. Boris Johnson should be ashamed for neglecting NHS and care staff again.

Government must be clear higher debt won’t mean cuts to vital public services

Responding to ONS statistics showing that Government borrowing for June was £35.5 billion – around five times more than the same month last year – Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

In an unprecedented economic challenge like the coronavirus pandemic people must come before the numbers. Any Chancellor should go beyond normal borrowing to help protect peoples’ health and livelihoods.

What the Government must now make clear is that, after Covid, higher debt will not and must not mean cuts to vital public services or less investment for our crumbling infrastructure – especially in the parts of the UK that need it most.

Liberal Democrats stand firm that we must grow our way out of this crisis with a Green Recovery Plan that will invest billions to transform our economy, fight climate change and create millions of good-quality jobs.

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21 July 2020 – the overnight press release

Liberal Democrats: Government must step up and tackle misinformation

Responding to the DCMS Select Committee Report ‘Misinformation in the COVID-19 Infodemic’, Liberal Democrat DCMS spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

The pandemic has brought home how fundamental it is that we stamp out dangerous misinformation on social media, and how important it is that the public can trust information online. This report is clear that the Government must do more to tackle misinformation and the Liberal Democrats strongly support its calls for greater transparency.

To tackle the invisible algorithms that drive people to extreme content, platforms must not only have the ability to act

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18-19 July 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • PM must come before MPs after IfG Brexit warning
  • PM riding roughshod over our rights by restricting judicial review
  • Liberal Democrats bid to block corporate lawsuits watering down protections post-Brexit
  • Chinese treatment of Uyghurs amounts to genocide, Liberal Democrat warns

PM must come before MPs after IfG Brexit warning

Responding to a report by the Institute for Government which warns coronavirus has left UK firms unprepared for a no-deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Boris Johnson is arrogantly setting the country down a path that threatens jobs and livelihoods, and this report confirms it. People deserve better.

Now is not the time to be playing politics. Our focus must be preventing a no-deal Brexit and ensuring business has all the help it needs to protect jobs.

The Prime Minister must come before MPs before the summer recess to answer how he will address the calls for preparation support, sector specific investment and more.

PM riding roughshod over our rights by restricting judicial review

Responding to reports that the Government is planning to restrict judicial review, following a Court of Appeal decision against the Home Secretary, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

Threatening to weaken the courts because of a judgment you disagree with is the act of dictators and despots, not democrats.

With these plans, Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings are trying to enable the Government to run roughshod over people’s rights and allow Ministers to break the law with impunity.

Liberal Democrats will always defend individuals’ abilities to challenge the Government and uphold their rights. We will not stand by and allow Johnson and Cummings to undermine the rule of law, which is so fundamental to our society.

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15 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats secure PM commitment to independent inquiry
  • Consequences of Government cuts for BBC is now clear as day
  • Failing Graying has undone PM, now ISC must publish Russia report
  • PM running scared of real scrutiny from Intelligence Committee

Liberal Democrats secure PM commitment to independent inquiry

Acting Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has today secured a commitment from the Prime Minister to an independent inquiry into the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis and called for the timetable to be set out immediately.

Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions today, Ed Davey warned that under Boris Johnson’s leadership the country has suffered “one of the worst death rates in the world and Europe’s worst death rate of health and care workers.”

Making reference to Boris Johnson’s support for an independent inquiry into the Iraq War, the Liberal Democrat Acting Leader again urged the Prime Minister to “commit in principle to a future independent inquiry”.

In response, the Prime Minister accepted his Government will “learn the lessons of this pandemic” and confirmed there will be in independent inquiry.

Ed Davey was the first party leader to call for an independent inquiry, back on the 21st of April, and the Liberal Democrats have consistently made the case since.

Speaking after the exchange, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The Coronavirus crisis is taking an enormous toll on people and our country.

It is clear the Government has failed on so many fronts – failing to prepare properly for a pandemic, failing to protect care home residents and social care workers, and failing to properly communicate their plans and so much more.

With so many loved ones lost, people deserve to know what happened. After months of refusing the public that opportunity, I am pleased the Prime Minister has finally accepted Liberal Democrat demands for an independent inquiry.

The Prime Minister must now set out the timetable of this inquiry, and it must begin as soon as possible. The Government must be held to account to ensure that the same mistakes are never repeated.

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14 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Government must be more ambitious to save the economy
  • UK needs a Green Recovery plan to deal with biggest recession in 300 years
  • Liberal Democrats welcome Government’s “screeching u-turn” on Huawei

Government must be more ambitious to save the economy

Responding to this morning’s monthly GDP estimate from the ONS, showing that the economy grew by only 1.8% in May – lower than the 5.5% forecast by economists – Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Regrettably this dashes any hope of an early recovery and is bad news for millions of people experiencing real financial hardship. It confirms fears that

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10 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Cross-party group urge BBC to save Politics Live
  • Homeless covid deaths should act as a wake up call
  • Government unwillingness to work with EU is unforgivable

Cross-party group urge BBC to save Politics Live

A cross-party group of MP​s have called on the BBC to adhere to its obligations as a public service broadcaster and make a “firm commitment” to the future of Politics Live amidst reports the show could be axed.

Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper, who coordinated the cross-party group, warned the BBC that dropping the show would “seriously harm the ability of the BBC to scrutinise and explain the consequences of …

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9 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Settled Status figures show need for automatic right to stay
  • Publishing Russia report top of the list for intelligence committee
  • Lib Dems: Consequences of Chancellor ignoring our high streets already clear
  • Govt must foot the bill to keep TV licences free for over 75s
  • Ministers must act to ensure public can have confidence in NHS Test and Trace
  • As the country opens up Test and Trace is more important than ever

Settled Status figures show need for automatic right to stay

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

The latest EU Settlement Scheme statistics, published this morning, reveal 2,300 people have been refused Settled Status, 1.4 million have only been granted temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’ and 250,000 are still waiting for a decision.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

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

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

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

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

Liberal Democrats are fighting for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, with the physical proof they need.

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29 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must make mental health support available to health and care workers
  • New Trade and Agriculture Commission must be a “watchdog with teeth” – Farron
  • Govt must stop spending money on measures that don’t prevent crime
  • Govt must make more help available for people and businesses in Leicester

Govt must make mental health support available to health and care workers

Responding to reports that Labour have announced a “Care for Carers” plan, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Over the past months the Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to ramp up mental health support for health and care staff. It is

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26 June 2020 – today’s press release

Lib Dems: Govt failing to stop spread of coronavirus in prisons

Responding to the latest Government statistics on COVID-19 in Prison and Probation Service in England and Wales, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

With more than 500 prisoners testing positive for coronavirus, but only 175 being released early, it is clear the Government aren’t taking seriously the spread of the virus in our prisons. They have completely failed to end overcrowding in prisons, allowing them to become a crucible for the disease.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Liberal Democrats have been clear it is impossible to practice safe

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18 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems use Urgent Question to challenge Govt on DFID merger
  • Govt must regulate big tech companies’ use of COVID-19 app data
  • Lib Dems call for Race Equality Strategy

Lib Dems use Urgent Question to challenge Govt on DFID merger

Liberal Democrat International Development spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain has today challenged the Foreign Secretary on the “wrongheaded” decision to merge the Department of International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In an Urgent Question in the House of Commons, Wendy Chamberlain blasted the Prime Minister’s description of DFID as a “cashpoint in the sky”. She also raised mounting concerns about future funding for DFID projects …

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30-31 May 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Govt must follow the science when it comes to easing lockdown
  • Govt must rethink plans to shut down virtual Parliament
  • Govt must issue “crystal clear” guidance for those returning to sport
  • Ministers must explain evidence behind decision to ease lockdown
  • Foreign Secretary’s silence on Trump tweets is shameful
  • Govt decision to press on with reopening schools “deeply worrying”
  • Govt must urgently scrap Vagrancy Act as part of plan to end rough sleeping

Govt must follow the science when it comes to easing lockdown

Responding to reports that several members of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group have warned of the risk of easing the lockdown in England on Monday 1 June, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The decision by key members of SAGE to go public with their concerns shows that Ministers are no longer following the science.

The test, trace, isolate system that we need to keep people safe is not yet fully functional. The NHSX app is delayed for an unknown period. For seven days straight the Government has been unable to provide even basic data about the number of people tested. On top of these failings, public health messaging has been badly undermined as people see it’s one rule for the Tory elite and another for everyone else.

Given this chaos, measures to lift lockdown appear premature. At every stage the Liberal Democrats have been clear that the Government must listen to the experts and follow the science. Protecting public health and tackling the spread of the virus must always be the Government’s number one priority – many are questioning whether this remains the case.

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26 May 2020 – the day’s press releases

And that brings us back up to date…

  • All Tory MPs must reflect on Govt resignation and call for Cummings to go
  • Govt must invest now in mental health support given impact of COVID-19
  • Govt must scrap Vagrancy Act as part of plan to end rough sleeping for good
  • PM out of touch with public and his own party
  • Govt review into lockdown fines shows one rule for Cummings and one for everyone else
  • Increase in prison staff Covid-19 cases show Govt allowing prisons to become crucible for virus

All Tory MPs must reflect on Govt resignation and call for Cummings to go

Responding to the resignation of a Conservative Minister in protest at the row over Dominic Cummings, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Countless people have made heartbreaking sacrifices to keep to the Government’s rules, so people are understandably angry about Dominic Cummings’ behaviour.

Douglas Ross recognises it cannot be one rule for senior government officials and one rule for everyone else, so why doesn’t the Prime Minister? Boris Johnson is losing the trust of his own Ministers and his judgement is seriously in question. To tackle this pandemic and save lives, people deserve better.

All Conservative MPs must reflect on this resignation, stop defending the indefensible and put the public health of our country first by calling for the Prime Minister’s scandal-hit spin doctor-in-chief to go.

Govt must invest now in mental health support given impact of COVID-19

Statistics from the ONS show that across Great Britain from 3 April to 3 May 2020, some 80% of adults were worried about the effect that COVID-19 was having on their life. Responding to these figures, Munira Wilson, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, said:

The majority of people right across the country have experienced a tangible, detrimental mental health impact as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Ministers must recognise that the mental health scars of COVID-19 will be deep. We need to see investment now to ensure that people – regardless of where they live – can access the support they need, when they need it.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats are calling for the Government to urgently increase funding for and provision of mental health support. We are calling for access to mental health support 24/7 for those working in health and care, many of whom are enduring daily trauma, and better funded, clearly signposted support for every single community.

Given the severity of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK, which has unfolded on his watch, the Prime Minister must act to ensure we provide a world-leading mental health response. The recovery of people across our family of nations requires it.

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20 May 2020 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Govt risking public safety with plan to bring back Parliament
  • Davey presents bill to extend transition period
  • Lib Dems: Govt has serious questions to answer over app delays
  • Lib Dems condemn failure to properly recognise contribution of foreign nationals working in NHS and care
  • Lib Dems: Charities need a multi-billion pound package to survive

Govt risking public safety with plan to bring back Parliament

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of risking public safety and warned “everyone deserves equal representation, including those who are shielding and those with family responsibilities.”

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael MP raised these concerns with the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, having secured an Urgent Question in Parliament today.

Speaking via Zoom from Orkney, the Liberal Democrat MP accepted “none of us are blind to the inadequacies of online scrutiny,” but added “if it is a choice between that and putting the safety of members, their families and the staff of this House at risk then that is no choice at all.”

In response, despite MPs taking part in debates and ask questions via Zoom over the last few weeks, Jacob Ree-Mogg rejected the call to allow MPs to work from home and refused to acknowledge any of the concerns raised.

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said:

Tens of thousands of people have already died during this pandemic. To protect vulnerable people, we should all follow public health advice and work from home when we can. We must set the right example.

It is an insult to those who have suffered and died for Jacob Rees-Mogg to suggest that MPs should put their communities at risk by traveling hundreds of miles to London each week for the whims of the Government.

Parliament has demonstrated in recent weeks that we can scrutinise the Government while working from home and ensure communities across the United Kingdom have their voices heard. Everyone deserves equal representation, including those who are shielding and those with family responsibilities.

We should instead be looking at how we can retain the best features of the virtual system to ensure safe and equal representation for every part of the UK. The Government must think again.

Davey presents bill to extend transition period

Today, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has put forward a bill which, if passed, would force the government into a two year extension of the transition period.

An extension to the transition period is essential, ensuring that the government could focus its full attention on tackling the spread of coronavirus crisis.

Speaking ahead of the Bill’s presentation, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

It is clear the government have not made nearly enough progress on the Brexit trade talks.

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18 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems launch calls for more mental health support for health and care staff
  • Lib Dems lead cross party push to keep pubs in business
  • People deserve an upfront answer from Powys MPs
  • Govt must increase testing capacity to maintain credibility

Lib Dems launch calls for more mental health support for health and care staff

The Liberal Democrats are today calling on the Government to ramp up mental health support for health and care staff to ensure “world-class” support for those tackling the virus head on.

Highlighting the “deep scar” coronavirus will leave on health and care staff, the party have put forward a package of mental health measures designed for rapid roll-out across the NHS and care sectors, including:

  • 24/7 access to mental health support for health and social care workers, through a dedicated helpline
  • Guarantees that health and care staff will no longer be penalised for time off due to mental or physical ill health by scrapping the Bradford scoring system and other HR practices that can create a culture of presenteeism
  • Introduce an ‘occupational health passport’ so workers do not have to relive mental health traumas if or when they change jobs
  • Additional training to ensure there are mental health first-aiders in every health and care workforce
  • Steps to standardise the quality and service offer to ensure that every health and social care worker can access the same, high standard of mental care support regardless of the region in which they are based
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13 May 2020 – today’s press releases

We’ve had a bit of a glitch with press releases – it’s a long, rather dull story – but this has been fixed, and the flow of news from HQ has resumed. And so, it’s time to pick up the thread…

  • Lib Dems call for Safe Trace App Law to ensure coronavirus app is safe and effective
  • Moran: Govt must publish scientific advice for reopening schools
  • Govt must publish scientific evidence behind lockdown decisions
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg must not be allowed to undermine public safety

Lib Dems call for Safe Trace App Law to ensure coronavirus app is

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28 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Tory proposals to end free movement will make it harder to recruit teachers, nurses and doctors
  • Liberal Democrats: Huawei decision shows no regard for its human rights record
  • Davey calls for ‘Net Zero’ department to slash UK greenhouse gas emissions
  • Liberal Democrats: Trump’s negotiations a sham

Tory proposals to end free movement will make it harder to recruit teachers, nurses and doctors

Responding to the publication of the Migration Advisory Committee report which has advised against against a full points-based system for UK, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The Conservative Government wants to impose an entirely new immigration system in less than 12

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YouGov poll on Lib Dem leadership: Ed Davey is a country mile ahead (contains caveats)

Embed from Getty Images

Stephen Bush has written the following on the New Statesman “The Staggers” blog:

Ed Davey is on course to win the looming Liberal Democrat leadership election, a YouGov poll for the Economic and Social Research Council-funded Party Members Project, run out of the University of Sussex and Queen Mary University has found. YouGov asked members to choose between a field of Ed Davey, Layla Moran and Daisy Cooper, the new MP for St Albans, all of whom are widely tipped to stand. In that field, Davey wins outright in the first round, with 52 per cent of the vote against Moran’s 24 per cent and Cooper’s 9 per cent.

I did a little light Googling to see if I could find the data on this poll.

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