Tag Archives: general election 2019

Ed Davey: Lib Dems to spend £100bn to tackle climate emergency

In a keynote speech in Leeds tomorrow, Ed Davey will announce that the Lib Dems will be putting our money where our mouth is about the climate emergency. We’ll spend £100 billion on measures to tackle it:

A Liberal Democrat Government will jump-start an economy-wide programme to tackle the climate emergency: I can announce today that across a 5 year Parliament, Liberal Democrats would spend and invest an extra £100 billion of public finance on climate action and environmental preservation.

“This includes a new £10 billion Renewable Power Fund to leverage in over £100 billion of extra private climate investment. This will fast-track deployment of clean energy, to make Britain not just the world leader in offshore wind, but also the global number one in tidal power too.  And we will invest £15 billion more to make every building in the country greener, with an emergency ten-year programme to save energy, end fuel poverty and cut heating bills.

But we’ll have that £50 billion Remain bonus:

Brexit is already costing the economy £1 billion a week. And the future cost to Britain in lower economic growth could be even higher, if Brexit were actually to happen.

That’s why the election debate on the economy and public spending has Brexit at its heart. For the plain fact is, no party’s economic plan is remotely credible unless it starts with stopping Brexit.  With stopping Brexit as our number one economic policy, Liberal Democrats won’t just grow the economy faster, but we’ll generate a £50 billion Remain Bonus – to pay for our huge extra investment in schools and our policies to tackle inequality.

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WATCH: Luciana Berger describe her experience of anti-semitic abuse in the Labour Party

Lib Dem MP Luciana Berger described her experience of anti-semitism in the Labour Party at a campaign event today. Watch here;

This came on the day Jo Swinson signed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition on antisemitism, which all candidates are being asked to sign this Election.

The party published its plan for Equalities and Human Rights  today, which covers everything from protecting civil liberties, banning use of facial recognition technology for police surveillance, protecting the Human Rights Act, a Lovelace Code of ethics to cover use of personal data and ending the snoopers’ charter on communications data to extending equal marriage and abolishing the unfair spousal veto and reinstating marriages which were forced to be dissolved because of the gender recognition process.

Chuka Umunna said we would take on the right wing forces of nationalism:

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Why Lib Dems should not stand aside in favour of Labour Remainers

Last night, Liberal Democrat PPC for Canterbury Tim Walker announced he was stepping aside in favour of Rosie Duffield, the sitting Labour MP. 

There is no doubt that Rosie Duffield is a good person who supports remaining in the EU. She holds values that are compatible with ours and, should she ever choose to join the Liberal Democrats, she would be warmly welcomed. However, she represents a party that is not committed to Remain. To stand aside for her would send the wrong message to the millions of people who are relying on Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats to stop Brexit.

Liberal Democrats have already stood aside in 20 seats, 17 as part of the Unite to Remain initiative and 3 against prominent independent remainers. Our willingness to work with others to achieve a remain objective is not in doubt.

There is one thing in common with the people we have stood down for. They represent parties who wholeheartedly support remain or are running as independents. We are the strongest voice of remain and in no circumstances should we stand aside for a representative of a party which is not committed to Remain.

Let’s go through that Labour policy again. They would go back to the EU, negotiate another deal, put that to their conference to work out whether they support the deal or remain, and then have a People’s Vote. Would they really negotiate a deal and campaign against their own efforts? I doubt it. Labour would deliver Brexit and any Brexit damages the country.

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WATCH: Jo and Layla at the Rally for the Future – We have to do better for the next generation

On Saturday, the first big Lib Dem election rally took place. The main subject was our policy of providing free childcare to children from 9 months of age – which will make life so much easier for families. What was really good is that this event was family friendly. Babies, toddlers, teenagers were in the audience including Jo’s own two sons.

The speeches were punctuated with toddler babble. It was a joy.

Jo and Layla spoke.

Watch here:

Layla remarked that she had never known such a friendly reaction on the doorstep.

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Luciana Berger: Being in the Liberal Democrats is so refreshing and so positive

When I saw Luciana Berger at Conference  in September, she looked happy and relaxed as she toured the stalls in the exhibition. She said then that she felt very welcome in the Liberal Democrats.

Many of us hoped for a long time that she would come across to us.

In an interview with the Independent, she contrasted her new life in the Lib Dems with the appalling, horrible abuse she suffered in when she was in the Labour Party:

Being in the Liberal Democrats is so refreshing and so positive. I can have disagreements with people and we do so in an adult way where people don’t shout and scream at you and hurl abuse in your direction.

Her last meeting in the Labour Party was very different:

I attended my last Labour Party meeting in October last year and vowed never to go back because it was so unpleasant – it was so toxic, there was no humanity in the room.

The attitude was very much that she should be more loyal:

She says the abuse was regularly dismissed by Labour members in her Liverpool Wavertree constituency, who responded to her recollections by sitting stony-faced and suggesting that she should be more supportive of Jeremy Corbyn.

The instances of anti semitic abuse from the far right, far left and Brexiteers made her physically ill at one point this Summer. You would think that anyone hearing the sorts of things outlined in the interview would react with compassion and empathy.

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Christine Jardine: Brexit is sucking the life out of our politics

Christine Jardine was on Sophy Ridge this morning talking (among other things) about how Brexit was sucking the life out of everyone meaning that we couldn’t concentrate on the huge issues of the day like Brexit and the NHS.

The amusing thing is that this clip is both being promoted by the party on its social media channels and trashed on Guido Fawkes.

Guido reckons that Christine is saying that Brexit is more important than the union. Which is a cheek given that Brexit as proposed by the Conservatives is more of a threat to the union than anything I have seen in my lifetime.

If we stop Brexit, we strengthen the union.

Sophy Ridge asked Christine about the leaders’ debates.

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Lib Dem Jobwatch: Do you want to work on the Lib Dems’ election campaign?

The Lib Dems are looking for field organisers to work for the party in the run up to the General Election.

The party is looking for people who have the following skills:

Essential Skills and Experience

  • A positive attitude with the ability to inspire others.
  • An enthusiastic approach to the job.
  • An open and approachable personality.
  • Confident talking to new people, both volunteers and members of the public.
  • The ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
  • Strong verbal communication skills.
  • Sympathy with the aims and objectives of the Liberal Democrats

.Desirable Skills and Experience

  • A full clean driving license and access to a

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My favourite election moment of the week

It’s a toss up between Jo Swinson and arriving at a visit in Auchtermuchty and Willie Rennie and Alex Cole-Hamilton being, well, themselves.

Yesterday, Jo visited North East Fife

The typo in this, from a Courier reporter, is very amusing, but I just loved the exuberance of it.

The baby is Daphne Grint, 5 month old daughter of Scottish Lib Dem environment spokesperson Rebecca Bell.

And it’s Willie himself who provides the other iconic moment along with Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton. And there wasn’t a farm animal in sight.

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Three poll boosts for Lib Dem candidates

Three constituency election polls put Lib Dems in touching distance of taking Dominic Raab’s Esher and Walton seat. This is great news for Lib Dem candidate Monica Harding.

The polling work was done before the announcement that Esher and Walton was part of the Unite to Remain arrangement.

Another poll put is on course to win South Cambridgeshire where Ian Sollom is our candidate

And with just under 5 weeks to go, Dr Phillip Lee is only 4 points behind John Redwood in Wokingham.

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The Lib Dems’ two aims in this election

Liberal Democrats should have two main aims in this Election. The first should be to convince a majority of the electorate that to remain in the EU is right for our country, and that no form of Brexit is acceptable. The second must be to point out why this diseased Tory government needs to go, to be replaced with a government where Jo Swinson and our party have major influence which can address the causes of the Brexit vote.

Focusing on the European Union, we need to make the point much neglected in recent debates: the absolute value the EU gives our country, in the past, now, and, if we succeed, in the future.

This is the greatest alliance of peace-loving nations that the world has seen. It has kept the peace in Europe and promoted its prosperity since its foundation. It has protected the freedom and rights of its citizens, promoted good employment and environmental standards, fostered the economic growth of member states, furthered international co-operation for refugees and migrants, developed scientific advances, and shown how democracy and freedom can co-exist with order and security, through shared institutions and respected legal systems.

Britain led by Brexiteers has been prepared to disregard all this, including the benefits of the single market which makes the EU our largest economic partner. Currently we are valued by countries such as Japan as a means of access to the whole EU.  Once we are no longer in the single market the benefit for international companies of moving production to the UK will be lost. The Brexiteers claim that FTAs with individual countries will generate the same amount of trade and UK production as will be lost by leaving, yet the EU has already made 67 free trade agreements which we share.

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James Gurling writes…The Unite to Remain Agreement

Our Party is deservedly recognised as the UK’s lead Party of Remain.  Today we have announced a series of agreements – facilitated by the independent “Unite to Remain” group – designed to maximise the number of Remain supporting MPs at the coming snap election.

Unite to Remain is comprised of the three unequivocally pro-Remain parties with MPs elected in the House of Commons:- Plaid Cymru, Greens and ourselves.

In some seats, we have agreed that our candidate will stand aside to allow another Party to  have a clearer run in the election. In other seats, either Plaid Cymru or the Green candidate (sometimes both) will stand aside for us as the Remain candidate.

It is the sort of arrangement we successfully arrived at in Brecon & Radnorshire and which enabled our Welsh Leader, Jane Dodds, to defeat the pro Brexit Conservative and bring Welsh Liberal Democrat representation back to the House of Commons. 

These negotiations have been extremely complex and cover 60 seats between the three Parties – each with their own priorities and internal accountabilities. Significant amounts of time have been dedicated to this cause by Party President Sal Brinton, Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael and Director of Campaigns Shaun Roberts.  Together we have battled to ensure the best outcome both for the Party and for the cause of Remain.  Were that it had been possible to achieve this outcome without any seat Lib Dem seat being given up! Equally we would have dearly loved to have been able to expand the agreement to include more of our seats as beneficiaries.  But negotiations are not like that, and time has been of the essence.

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Election Diary: The opening week

This has been a week of gambits; each party has spent the first days of this campaign issuing their first pitches to the country, and trying to set the tone of the debate to their liking. From now on the endless series of pledges, manifestos and almost certainly ludicrous spending ideas will dominate the party events and news headlines for the ensuing weeks. We have even began to see the inevitable debate over debates; Jo Swinson has been excluded from the major ITV event announced at this stage, and we are to be left with the repartee of two stale men, who are both ardent Brexiteers. 

In many ways, the first part of this election campaign has gone largely as could have been predicted; Labour has tried to turn away from any attention on Brexit, not surprisingly given that its official position is about as clear as cloudy lemonade infused with a touch of cyanide; as enigmatic as it is dangerous. Indeed, an internal Labour memo advised the party to ‘not mention Remain … that European Referendum topic, whatever it was called.’ Jeremy Corbyn has tried to shift the debate towards his plans for gargantuan public spending and fighting the ‘elites’ that run British business – ignoring the fact that as a long-standing MP who has been involved in London politics for his almost his whole adult life he epitomises the perception of the establishment. The shadow chancellor John McDonnell has been rather quiet of late – perhaps announcements of his iconoclastic economic policies and lynching of those who disagree with him will be saved for later. 

On the other side, the Tories have been constantly stuck to the message that they are the only party who will ‘Get Brexit Done.’ I fear that this is an extremely attractive, if meretricious, tagline. Like the Vote Leave slogan (dreamt up by Dominic Cummings), it gives a short, sharp message that gives security of a kind, and contrasts them with Labour – whose ambiguity is losing its previously strong support in the North and the Midlands. They have also been attempting to portray their vision of post-Brexit Britain and their investment into public services – which misses the point that  leaving in any form will cost Britain’s economy.

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Lib Dem campaign launch: £50 bn Remain Bonus

We launch our general election campaign today.  We haven’t yet had time to get fed up of our new slogan –  Stop Brexit, Build a Brighter Future  because it was only unveiled last weeK. We start to talk about what that brighter future might look like – in the form of more money to spend on public services that is directly linked to deciding to remain in the EU.

Stopping Brexit, we argue, will generate a Remain Bonus for the public finances because under Remain, the economy will grow faster than under Brexit, leading to higher GDP and consequently higher public sector current receipts. This adds up to £50 billion over 5 years.

That is there or thereabouts where   the Institute for Fiscal Studies was  in its Green Budget 2019.

Jo said:

The Liberal Democrats are the only party standing up to stop Brexit and build a brighter future for the UK.

Brexit has taken far longer and cost far more than anyone said it would. But any form of Brexit will damage our jobs, our economy and our public services, starving them of vital cash as the economy struggles along.

The Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and then use the £50bn Remain Bonus to invest in our public services.

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Jo: Lib Dems will take any action required to make sure voice of Remain heard in debates

Surrounded by Lib Dem women candidates and MPs, Jo Swinson this afternoon said that the Lib Dems were considering legal action to make sure the voice of remain was heard in the leaders’ debates. Watch her here.

An hour or so later, Sky announced that she would be invited to take part in their debate:

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LISTEN: Jo on Matt Forde’s The Political Party podcast

Jo Swinson spent an hour on Wednesday evening recording The Political Party podcast with Matt Forde.

It’s hilarious, thoughtful and relevant. And can you guess the point where I almost choked on my wine? Did she actually say that?

Areas covered include:

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Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are too scared to debate Jo Swinson

So, ITV is holding a leaders’ debate of sorts.

They’ll have two divisive men fighting out which form of brexit they want on 19th December.

I can’t think why Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn  don’t want to be shown up by an assured, articulate, likeable woman presenting the argument for remain with vitality and emotional intelligence.

Ed Davey said they were running scared:

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Jo Swinson: The Prime Minister this country really needs

This country is suffering because we have a Prime Minister and a Leader of the Opposition who play up fear and division. Britain needs a leader who can cut through the noise and grab people in the heart, highlighting the best of us, not the worst. We need someone to inspire us to be for each other, not against each other. Jo Swinson is that leader.

She combines humour, candour and plain speaking to bring people in. She reaches well beyond the liberal democrat comfort zone of our party by connecting with people. The way she wrote about the birth of her son Gabriel for his first birthday in June was absolutely beautiful. Don’t click on that if you are at all troubled by descriptions of childbirth.

And, during the Summer, after Boris Johnson, the man who famously toured the country in a bus with a great big lie on the side,  revealed that he liked to paint model buses, there was this:

When you connect with people on that very human level, they are much more likely to listen to what you have to say about the future of the planet, about what needs to happen to make our lives better.

Jo has an exceptional ability to communicate complicated messages in a way that means something to people. “Putting people and planet first” is practical and engaging.

And when did you last hear a politician talking about a loving country? We need more of that.

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Jo: Is he going to run scared of debating with a girly swot?

The smell of chicken pervades the political atmosphere this morning.

Probably the most predictable aspect of this General Election is that Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn would try to cut Jo Swinson out of the Leaders’s Debates. I mean, why would they want to be completely shown up by a fresh, original opponent with compelling arguments?

And so it looks very much like they are doing just that.

Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesperson told the BBC

However, when asked about a three-way discussion with Ms Swinson, the spokesman replied: “There are only two people who can be prime minister at the end of this campaign and I think the British public have a clear right to see them debate head-to-head on TV and hear their cases.”

And when Jo put Boris Johnson on the spot in  Parliament yesterday, he ignored her, choosing to make some bizarre crack about how Lib Dems were about dither and delay on Brexit. You couldn’t actually get much clearer than “Stop Brexit.” Watch here:

The exchange in full from Hansard:

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Jo on Today: This election is the chance to stop Brexit and deliver a positive, liberal future

Jo Swinson gave her first interview of the election campaign to the Radio 4 Today programme.

She said that neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Boris Johnson were fit to lead the country. Brexit would damage our public services and our economy and people now have the opportunity to stop it and the way to do that is to vote for the Liberal Democrats.

She highlighted how we are winning all over the country in places which voted to remain and to leave. In May we beat both Conservatives and Labour. She says that Leave voters respect the fact that we stand up for what we believe in.

She said that hundreds of seats are within range for us, even those with massive majorities. She pointed out that in 2015, the SNP overturned massive Labour majorities.

Both Labour and Conservative parties are offering different versions of Brexit while the Lib Dems offer a positive, liberal vision for the country.

I’ve known Jo for 15 years now, and I’ve seen how she is by nature a very collaborative person. She has always worked across parties. I remember catching up with her in her Westminster office just after she became a minister.  While we chatted, she signed a huge pile of letters to every MP saying that her door was open to them, writing personal messages on many of them. Her first instinct was to reach out across Parliament – even though by that stage the atmosphere there was deeply tribal.

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A Canterbury Tale

Jonathan Calder reports that the local Lib Dems have been told to halt the selection of their Parliamentary Candidate amid speculation that Central Command may be holding back certain selections awaiting high profile arrivals into the Party.

But he ends his piece, “You have to be an optimist to see Canterbury as a Lib Dem candidate target. But politics is in such  flux at the moment, who knows?”

I am an optimist in these matters and took up the challenge to make a case for our team in Canterbury.

It is inconceivable that Lib Dems can be strong contenders in such unlikely seats if we look at them through the lens of the 2017 results .  

But there are certain criteria that need to be appreciated.  These dark horses will have a strong LD vote in 2010 – the last time the Party fought elections at a similar rating in national opinion polls.

They will have evidence of a latent significant UKIP and Brexit Party (BP) level of support and a chunky Labour vote with plenty of remainers in it.

The voting across the constituency in the 2019 Euros will show strong support for the Party and for the BP.

And there will be a couple of knowledgeable campaigners steeped in community campaigning with a handful or more of councillors or former councillors.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn B 15th Nov - 8:11am
    Thanks for your comment, Jonathan. You may have been tongue in cheek, but many on LDV seem to have a naïve view about working with...
  • User AvatarJonathan Maltz 15th Nov - 12:48am
    John B: my comment was tongue-in-cheek. All Labour can offer given their well-known intransigence is to guarantee that the Tories will be the largest party...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 14th Nov - 11:42pm
    Jo Swinson says that the party "must give voters a genuine remain option" in the election. Quite right. The problem is that the party is...
  • User Avatarcrewegwyn 14th Nov - 11:30pm
    Thanks Mark.
  • User AvatarGaryE 14th Nov - 11:04pm
    David makes a valid point for seats with few resources and low membership. If central funds can pay deposits then £500 pays for 15,000 A4...
  • User AvatarDavid Sheppard 14th Nov - 9:20pm
    Thanks Mark for thinking of those not so well packed full of Liberals places like mine. We have had to fund from our own meagre...