Tag Archives: Jo Swinson

LibLink: Jo Swinson: 100 years after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, will the UK Government do the right thing and apologise?

Yesterday marked 100 years since the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Amritsar, India.

A British General ordered his troops to open fire on crowds gathered in a park to celebrate a Spring harvest festival and at the very least estimates, hundreds of people were killed.

In the Independent this week, Lib Dem Deputy Leader Jo Swinson called on the UK Government to apologise for this atrocity:

This centenary year falls at a time when the term ‘Global Britain’ is increasingly being touted by the Conservative Government as they point to the Commonwealth in the wake of the Brexit shambles. But what weight does that term carry if Britain refuses to comprehensively repudiate and recognise its responsibility for such atrocities? Refusal to help heal the wound left by the Amritsar Massacre by not issuing an apology only serves to demonstrate a pig-headed stubbornness that harks of an inward facing island, not a progressive, outward-looking country.

The massacre is a shameful stain on the history of British foreign policy. It is a wrong that continues to mark our foreign policy for as long as the Conservative Government refuse to apologise. Acknowledging what happened, the gross abuse of human rights and the rule of law, and issuing a formal apology is long overdue.

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WATCH: President Obama’s town hall to young European leaders

I have rarely been more jealous of Jo Swinson than I was when she tweeted this on Friday:

It is worth taking a couple of hours out of your life to watch Obama talk about investing in the next generation of leaders to work on securing action to combat gender inequality and climate change.

“Change happens because citizens are mobilised and force change” he said – an inspiration to those of us who are fighting the right and trying to create that “greater sense of hope.”

The first question was about consensus and compromise. He talked about being a community organiser and going to politicians and asking for stuff and they would say well, we can only do so much and how angry that made him. Then he talked about being President and having angry community organisers come to him and demand stuff that he couldn’t give. He understood stuff form both sides.

He knew when he signed off the Paris Climate accord that it wasn’t enough – he felt that it was worth doing it because if you could get every country signed up to doing something, then that becomes the “architecture” in place. We can then build on that.

He also says it’s important not to compromise on everything – you have to be clear what your principles are and where you are not prepared to compromise. This should inform our decision making at all levels – and I’m thinking about the fotthcoming Brexit votes. If it isn’t going to get us a People’s Vote or a revocation of Article 50, don’t vote for it. It’s that simple.

He talks about helping people to find their better selves – a great phrase.

Enjoy.

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Jo Swinson MP writes….The next steps for shared parental leave

Today marks the 4th anniversary of shared parental leave – one of my proudest achievements as Employment Relations Minister. Shared Parental Leave is good for children, good for families and good for equality in the workplace.

I was so happy that last year when Gabriel was born, Duncan and I were able to share our parental leave and take it in turns to get to know our newest family member. I got to help Gabriel figure out how to roll over and sit up, and by the time Duncan took over he was busy weaning Gabriel onto solid food. It also meant I could come back to work for six weeks last summer to do my summer tour in East Dunbartonshire and to go to Lib Dem Conference in Brighton.

And I couldn’t think of a better way to mark the anniversary than to spend it with some wonderful dads!

We had eight fathers – and two little ones — join us yesterday morning to talk about shared parental leave and their experience of fatherhood. It was so great to hear about the joys and challenges they have faced.

One of the dads who had only gone back to work this week after six months of taking care of his little boy described it as the ‘best six months of his life’. He and his wife had four months off work together and that really helped them learn together about parenting and reduced the time where one parent is left home, trying to figure it all out and sort through the endless advice and information online.

Others agreed how important it was for them to experience bringing up a baby on their own, getting to know the various tricks to keep baby happy, understanding the mundanity of play, eat, sleep and repeat and just how little time that leaves you for yourself.

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Jo celebrates anniversary of shared parental leave with dads and babies

It’s 4 years today since one of the best achievements of the Lib Dems in Government started – the right of parents to decide between themselves who takes leave when they have a baby.

Jo Swinson was the minister who made it happen and in a cracking thread on Twitter with some fantastic GIFs, she celebrates the anniversary.

She recorded this video:

Yesterday, Jo was on Victoria Derbyshire.

Vanessa Pine was Jo’s special adviser at the time. She helped put the system together. She’s written about how important it is to change the culture to make sure that more dads can take up shared parental leave.

She introduced the concept of “mumsplaining” as an example of what needs to change:

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4 April 2019 – today’s press releases (part 1)

Whilst the drama was, unusually, at the Lords end of the Palace of Westminster today, there was plenty else going on. So much so, that we’re breaking this piece in two today. The second half will be along shortly…

  • Swinson: Shared Parental Leave must be a right from day one
  • Vince Cable visits Yeovil to launch final push of Lib Dem local election campaign
  • Cable: Corbyn must put any deal he agrees with PM back to the people

Swinson: Shared Parental Leave must be a right from day one

The Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, has today launched a bid to reform …

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3 April 2019 – today’s press releases

Antwerp yesterday, a Cold War exhibit at the National Archives this evening… anyone would think that there was an issue with Europe at the moment. Three press releases this evening for your delectation and delight…

  • Liberal Democrats “raring to go” with European election manifesto
  • Cross-party statement on People’s Vote and revoking Article 50
  • Swinson condemns anti-LGBT laws in Brunei
  • Liberal Democrats “raring to go” with European election manifesto

    The Liberal Democrats are “raring to go” for a European election with the party’s Brexit spokesperson confirming the drafting of a manifesto has already begun with a “vision for the UK inside the EU” while party members

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Jo condemns barbaric and inhumane anti LGBT laws in Brunei

I suspect most readers of this site will have been absolutely horrified by the introduction of brutal new laws today  in the tiny nation of Brunei which make gay sex and adultery punishable by stoning to death and theft punishable by amputation.

Situated on the island of Borneo, Brunei is a former British protectorate, and became a member of the Commonwealth in 1984 when it gained independence. Last year there was a UK ministerial visit to Brunei in August and a trade envoy visited in November.

Today in the Commons, Jo Swinson asked the Foreign Office Minister to intervene to stop this:

Afterwards she said:

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ICYMI Jo (and Gabriel) at People’s Vote march

It’s been a traumatic few days.

Here’s a reminder of why we’re fighting to save this country from Brexit – Jo Swinson speaking to the People’s Vote march 10 days ago with little Gabriel in his sling, completely unphased by the whole thing.

Enjoy.

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1 April 2019 – the overnight press releases…

Lib Dems introduce no confidence legislation to solve Brexit impasse

Today Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson, Tom Brake MP, will present a bill which would require the Prime Minister to resign should the House of Commons pass a motion of no confidence in her.

Speaking ahead of the Bill’s presentation, Tom Brake said:

As the Prime Minister continues to ignore Parliament’s rejection of her deal, it becomes increasingly clear how blinkered she has become.

With rumours of a fourth vote on the Prime Minister’s deal and no commitment from May that she will respect the indicative votes this week, it becomes clear that the House

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18 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Swinson: Tories posturing over UK aid is shameless

Following the Taxpayers’ Alliance launch of their report attacking elements of UK aid, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Jo Swinson MP said:

The UK should be incredibly proud of what our aid budget has achieved across the world. Between April 2015 and March 2018 alone, UK aid provided humanitarian assistance to a staggering 26.8 million people, including at least 8.2 million women and girls.

Through the Department for International Development and its work with multilateral organisations, UK aid not only changes lives but does so in a transparent and effective way: DFID is

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9-10 March 2019 – the weekend’s press releases (part 1)

There’s no doubt that the Press Team have been busy over the weekend, and we’ll spread the press releases over two posts accordingly…

  • Lib Dems: Javid’s judgement has had tragic consequences
  • Lib Dems: We must now eradicate period poverty from society
  • Swinson: UK must help secure release of Egyptian woman Amal Fathy
  • Jardine reveals “embarrassing” gender balance of the Privy Council

Lib Dems: Javid’s judgement has had tragic consequences

Responding to the reports that the baby son of Shamima Begum has died, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The news that a little baby has died will touch the vast majority of people’s hearts –

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8 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Govt decision on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe a step in the right direction

Responding to news that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been offered diplomatic protection, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Jo Swinson said:

This is a promising step in the right direction.

I welcome this action by the Government, which contrasts the reckless incompetence displayed by the previous Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson.

Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s plight should give us all pause for thought. We must all do what we can to bring her home as soon as possible.

Moran: Fox wastes £2.6m on another vanity project

A Parliamentary Question from Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has revealed that …

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Jo Swinson’s challenge for International Women’s Day

It wouldn’t be Jo if she wasn’t giving us a job to do.

My pledge will be to comfort and encourage others and give them sustenance on their journeys to their dreams.

What will you do to help achieve gender equality?

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7 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases (part 2)

And now, as promised, the rest of the press releases…

  • Figures highlight extremely difficult time for high streets
  • Swinson: Employers must be held to account over gender pay gap
  • Chancellor must end the freeze on benefits and tax credits
  • Davey: Strip Home Office of immigration powers

Figures highlight extremely difficult time for high streets

Responding as the BDO High Streets Tracker reveals that sales declined by 3.7%, the worst February for lifestyle in-store sales since November 2008, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Our high streets are clearly going through an extremely difficult time, thanks to a combination of long-term structural challenges and the damaging

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It’s International Women’s Day, but 1/365 isn’t enough

Today, it’s International Women’s Day when everyone remembers that women exist and face daily discrimination. And just to pre-empt the first half dozen comments, yes, there is an International Men’s Day. It’s on November 19th. This is the day to follow Richard Herring’s very funny responses to those who ask that question on Twitter. And if you like what he does, consider making a donation to his Crowdfunder to raise money for Refuge. 

Liberal Democrats are demanding that the Conservative Government do more to improve the lives of women and girls across the UK and address the gendered inequalities that persist throughout society.

Lib Dem women MPs have been busy this week. Christine Jardine’s attempts to outlaw the “Pink Tax”, the gender price gap faced by women, Layla Moran’s bid for gender neutral school uniforms and Wera Hobhouse’s bill to ensure mental health postnatal checks hit the headlines. For heaven’s sake, Christine even made it into Vogue! 


In a joint statement Liberal Democrat MPs Christine Jardine, Jo Swinson, Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse said:

It is frustrating and unacceptable that in the UK in 2019, women and girls continue to face so many everyday barriers.

The Conservative Government have passed the role of Minister for Women and Equalities around like a hot potato, whilst many of the issues that still disproportionately impact women and girls are failing to be addressed.

Liberal Democrats demand better for women and girls. Last year Liberal Democrats introduced legislation to make upskirting a specific offence and now it’s illegal. For International Women’s Day 2019 we’re fighting to improve the lives of women and girls in other ways: by banning the pink tax so that women do not pay more for the same products, introducing gender neutral school uniforms, and improving mental health care for postnatal women.

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5 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

We’re running a bit late today, mainly because a number of these releases were embargoed until after midnight…

  • Tory cuts are forcing schools to beg and borrow from communities – Moran
  • Lib Dems: Tories failing to fund adult social care
  • Tory cuts driving down quality of care homes
  • Govt must act to prevent another Windrush
  • Make school uniforms gender neutral – Lib Dems
  • Davey: End ‘right to rent’ checks and Hostile Environment
  • Swinson: PM’s guarantees to protect workers’ rights not worth the paper they’re written on

Tory cuts are forcing schools to beg and borrow from communities – Moran

Responding to reports that parents are being asked …

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Support Jo Swinson as she runs half marathon in memory of her Dad

I have some very happy memories of Peter Swinson. He was a lovely man. He was so supportive of Jo’s campaigns, Whether it was knocking on doors in East Dunbartonshire, delivering super human quantities of election literature or dancing with her at her wedding, his pride in her was so obvious.

Peter sadly passed away a year ago. He had had a blood cancer for some time. In three weeks’ time, Jo is running the London Half Marathon in his memory.

On her Just Giving page, she explains why:

When my dad was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2008, we worried a lot.

I remember we worried whether he’d be able to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day. Happily back then in 2011 Dad was still in excellent health: cycling for miles, delivering thousands of leaflets in Bishopbriggs and hitting the hills when he could.

In the summer of 2015 it all started to go wrong.  Rapidly Dad’s health deteriorated – in July we were climbing The Cobbler, with its peak just shy of 3,000ft. By August Dad was in hospital. That autumn the treatment started, a mix of steroids and chemo.

Dad had amazing NHS care at the world-class Beatson Institute, but it was a rollercoaster, as anyone who has lived with cancer knows. Positive news then hopes dashed. Bleak outlook then a chink of light.

The end of Dad’s second round of chemotherapy came almost exactly a year ago. He went for a PET scan and his consultant said the results were ‘marvellous’ – for all the gruelling treatment, the response looked really good. She gave him a particular treatment to boost his immunity so he could take public transport for the first time in months, in order to travel to London to watch my receive my CBE at Buckingham Palace.  It was a brilliant day.

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Swinson slams Javid over student visas

Jo Swinson has slammed Home Secretary over his inflexible 3 year student visas for EU nationals in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

For a start, Scottish degree courses last four years.

From The Herald:

The Russell Group of elite universities, which includes Glasgow and Edinburgh, urged UK ministers to scrap the European Temporary Leave to Remain (ELTR) visa.

The Home Office has proposed that if there is a no-deal Brexit, EU citizens would only be able to stay in the UK for three months before being required to obtain an ELTR.

This would let them to live, work and study in the UK for 36 months but would be “non-extendable”.

Although the Government says a new visa system would be devised by 2021, there are no details, leading to fears the ELTR could act as a deterrent to would-be students.

Jo said:

The Scottish University system is a world leader in part because it attracts students from all over the globe who enrich our culture and help grow our economy, but the Government’s new visa plan risks damaging that reputation.

The Home Secretary is asking students who want to study in Scotland to commit to a four-year course with only a guarantee of a non-extendable three-year visa. He has a degree in economics, so he doesn’t need me to tell him that four into three just doesn’t work.

The Home Secretary likes to talk about building an immigration system that attracts the best and the brightest, but what message does it send to students looking to come here when we won’t even guarantee them a visa long enough to cover their studies?

The Government need to urgently rethink their plans and guarantee these students leave to remain to not just complete their studies, but to potentially stay here and contribute to our economy in the years after they graduate.

Jo wrote to Sajid Javid to set out her concernsThe full text of her letter is below:

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In full: Jo Swinson’s speech to Scottish Conference

Jo Swinson gave a wide-ranging speech to Scottish Conference at the weekend.

She talked about Brexit, and how she’d apologised to a class of 10 year olds for it.

She talked about the challenges posed by new technology and AI.

And amidst all the crap that’s going on, she found reasons to be optimistic about the future.

Here is her speech in full.

10 year olds ask the best questions, don’t you think? I’ve been asked all sorts over the years:What is communism? Have you met the Queen? Can you explain the backstop?

This week though, I was asked a question I really didn’t want to answer: “What impact will Brexit haveon young people?”

How could I stand there, in front of more than 100 school children, and paint that bleak picture? No more right to travel, work and study across Europe – we enjoyed that right, but they won’t.

More businesses closing factories, reducing investment, cutting jobs, like we saw with the devastating news in Swindon this week.

Workers’ rights and environmental standards under threat from the next right-wing Tory leadership contender happy to sacrifice vital protections on the altar of deregulation.

And while we’re on the subject of the depths Tories will stoop to, shame on you Sajid Javid for yourdecision on Shamima Begum, throwing human rights out the window to further your career.

The decision to strip someone of their citizenship should never be in the hands of a Minister.And it’s in the hands of Ministers like him that our country’s future rests.

Conference, I told those children what Brexit would mean for them, and I said sorry.

And I explained that no one knew exactly how this would end, but it isn’t over yet.

That I am fighting for a People’s Vote so we have the chance to stay instead.

Because there is no Brexit deal which will ever be as good as the deal we have as a members of the European Union.

Every form of Brexit will make us poorer. It will put jobs at risk
And it will weaken us on the global stage.

Brexit can, and must, be stopped. Time is running out. This is the time for hard work and real action. More than ever, we need every single one of you, in this room and beyond, to join our fight.

We need every single one of you to write to your MP and get your family and friends to do the same. We need you to come on the Put It To The People march next month and make our voices heard. Because the more of us there are, the harder is it to stop us.

The louder we shout, the harder it is to shut us up.

And the more united we are, the harder it is to break us.

We want a People’s Vote and we want it now!

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“Those bloody Liberal Democrats are in town”

The main hall in the Town House in the South Lanarkshire Town of Hamilton was the room where it happened this weekend (see what I did there?). The song from the musical Hamilton tells us to “Talk less, smile more” but there was actually a lot of both this weekend as Scottish Liberal Democrats gathered for Conference.

I have to admit, I was sceptical about this new venue and the hour I spent dragging my suitcase round empty streets in the dark on Thursday night trying to find the hotel did not improve my mood.

One of our number overhead in the ASDA across the road from the conference hotel “Those bloody Liberal Democrats are in town this weekend.”

However, the Town House is a lovely building, even more so when lit up purple by LGBT Youth Scotland for Purple Friday, the last Friday of LGBT History Month. The staff there and in the Town House were so  friendly and helpful.

We had some intense debates over the weekend. I actually ended up making five speeches, which is unheard of. I had planned to do three – I was proposing a motion on providing better housing support for victims of domestic abuse, summating the Scottish Young Liberals’ motion on trans rights and I’d hoped to be called in the debate on sex work.

I ended up also speaking about the problems people face with housing and the social security system when they leave prison and proposing the constitutional amendment which would allow the implementation of the new disciplinary process in Scotland.

The latter struck true terror into my heart. It meant going up against Scotland’s wonderful constitutional guru, John Lawrie who had concerns that we were giving too much power to the Federal Party. Actually, Sheila had cannily drafted the amendment so that we retain the power and delegate the functions so covering all our bases.

As persistent troublemaker (in the best possible way) Richard Coxon said in his speech, two inalienable truths of the Scottish Party are that Sheila Ritchie (the convener who wrote the amendment) is always right. And John Lawrie is always right. The party dealt with the conflict in Sheila’s favour this time.

One of my best highlights was the look of utter surprise and mild irritation on Sheila’s face when she won the Scottish Lib Dem Women’s award for the person who had done most to advance diversity. She has become a real driving force for the implementation of the Alderdice Review, showing local parties how to engage more with BAME people and get them involved in the party. She absolutely deserved the accolade. The SLDW AGM, by the way, decided to name the award after Helen Watt, who devoted so much time to the organisation until her far too early death in 2016.

I shall tell you more about the weekend in the next few days, but the agenda was absolutely packed with things that actually provoked debate. An attempt to overturn our policy on decriminalising sex work and replace it with the controversial Nordic model was unsuccessful, but the summating speech in favour of the motion affected everyone, whichever side of the debate you were on.

Diane Martin, who experienced the most awful treatment by exploitative pimps and ended up being trafficked for sex work, described her horrendous experience in an incredibly moving way. There was shock as she told how she was raped by a man with a gun who told her he was having a “freebie.” Diane won the award for the best speech of the Conference.

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16-17 February 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

Lib Dems: Divert our flightpath away from Brexit mess

Responding to reports that the East Midlands airline FlyBMI has collapsed amid the uncertainty caused by Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

While the Government claim that Brexit provides the opportunity to create a Global Britain, the evidence is to the contrary; FlyBMI are naming Brexit as one of the reasons for their demise.

The truth is, any Brexit is bad for UK Plc, and puts jobs and livelihoods at risk. It is time to divert our flightpath away from this crisis, with a People’s Vote and a chance to exit

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Just in case you thought the ERG was acting on principle…

So Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris and the rest of the European Research Group of 100 or so Tory backbenchers have been making an almighty fuss about the backstop. They don’t like the part of the EU Withdrawal Agreement that would keep the UK in a temporary customs union in the (highly likely) event of a full trade deal not being agreed by the end of the transition period in December 2020.

It has alway been clear that the EU will, quite rightly, to be honest, not consider any watering down of that commitment. There is no solution to the Irish border problem that doesn’t involve some sort of customs union. It is obvious.

But an article in today’s Mirror suggests that the ERG might give in and vote for May’s deal just to get us out of the EU – on condition that Theresa May goes after the local elections on May 2nd so they have a chance of getting Boris as PM.

Political editor Nigel Nelson suggests:

As things stand at least 20 hardcore ERG backbenchers will not back Mrs May’s deal – either with or without changes to the backstop.

But if they think they can get Boris for PM, it is expected they will back down.

With the ERG on board, and 20 Labour rebels who Mrs May is trying to bribe with cash for their constituencies, the PM will have enough votes to get across the line.

In essence, this doesn’t really change anything because the idea of the ERG caving to get us out has always been a possibility.

But it does give us the chance to reflect on why the deal passing is far from the end of the issue.

As I said the other week, the Deal itself is bloody awful. It kicks so much down the road that we have no idea what sort of economy we will end up with.

Bad as it is, it is a million times worse with an ERG PM driving the trade negotiations. The chance of us welcoming in 2020 (or even before) by jumping off a no deal cliff is high.

But this lot have another agenda. Theresa May is going on about workers’ rights in a bid to appease Labour MPs. Jo Swinson called bullshit on those claims this week.

But the ERG are a whole world of right wing small-state extremism away from even May’s Conservatives. Jacob Rees-Mogg and co praise Singapore, a place where you get 12 weeks maternity leave rather than the 12 months shared parental leave (thanks, Jo), where you only get 2 weeks paid holiday a year and where redundancy protection is not mandatory.

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ICYMI: Jo tears into Theresa May for claiming credit for shared parental leave

Jo Swinson was on stellar form in the Commons this week. In her latest procrastination statement, the Prime Minister tried to claim credit for shared parental leave.

As we know, it was Jo who, as a Business Minister, delivered that against the wailing opposition of the Conservatives. So she naturally took exception to the PM’s claim.

And afterwards, with the help of some excellent gifs, she took to Twitter to rip the Tories to shreds on workers’ rights. She highlighted the times in the coalition when we fought against them. And there was a touch of humility as she said that we might not always have got it right, but we sure as hell battled every day. Here’s are the highlights:

This is my favourite:

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“Playing chicken with the country” – and the possibility of revoking Article 50

Lib Dem MPs have been out and about in the media this week.

Christine Jardine took Labour to task for their abject failure to oppose the Government properly.

Layla took to Twitter to give a Valentine’s Day message – and she mentioned the possibility of revoking article 50 if we get to March 29th and there is still no deal. Like Christine before her she talked about May’s game of chicken with the country. Definitely a theme here. .

On Bloomberg, Jo Swinson took a coach and horses through Theresa May’s Brexit policy from the beginning, saying that public opinion had changed and the best way forward was a People’s Vote.

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28 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Never let it be said that we’re not public spirited here at Liberal Democrat Voice. So, for those of you who haven’t filed your Self Assessment tax return for the year ended 5 April 2018, the deadline is just seventy-two hours away. Don’t delay, don’t let it peck away at you!

Meanwhile, back on Planet Zog…

  • Lib Dems: Culture in our schools system is toxic
  • Lib Dems reject Tory Immigration Bill
  • Ed Davey: Labour abstention on Immigration Bill “pathetic” (see here)
  • Govt defeat in Lords shows backstop tinkering will not work
  • Lib Dems: Britain deserves a better opposition as Labour U-turn on Immigration Bill
  • Swinson: Proxy

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22 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Labour must stop ‘chasing their unicorn Brexit deal’ – Jane Dodds

Welsh Lib Dem Leader Jane Dodds has criticised Jeremy Corbyn’s “intentionally ambiguous amendment” and urged the Labour leadership to stop “chasing their unicorn Brexit deal”.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

Brexit is a national embarrassment. The Prime Minister’s plan B looks no different to her plan A. Meanwhile, the Labour leadership continues to ignore its members, its voters and the country’s interests.

With just 66 days to go until we leave the European Union, we do not have the luxury to wait for Corbyn to slowly inch his way toward backing

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Commons Proxy voting gets a step closer – watch Jo Swinson’s blistering speech

Proxy voting for MPs on baby leave might be in place by the time of the crucial Brexit votes next Tuesday night.

In response to an urgent question from our Jo Swinson today, Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom confirmed that MPs would get the chance to pass a motion implementing the move on Monday.

However, if just one MP shouts “object” the whole project could be delayed further.

Many people were horrified that Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq was put in the position where she had to delay the caesarean section which would bring her son, Raphael, into the world, so she could vote in the Brexit debate last week.

However, Jo’s urgent question was prompted by this story in the Times(£) which suggested that it was the Tory Chief Whip Julian Smith who was the main road block to progress.

The reason this is so urgent is that, while Jo was nursing her newborn son Gabriel back in July, thinking she was paired with Tory chairman Brandon Lewis, she was let down. Lewis voted, amid reports that Smith had been ordering his MPs to break pairs.

Jo had called for his resignation as a result of yesterday’s story and secured an urgent question for today.

In Jo’s first decade in Parliament, she was pretty careful, always very measured, much more so than she was behind the scenes. Now she’s just letting rip with what she feels, which is really good to see. She also placed some quality shade in the direction of Philip Davies, for whom the nation of gender equality is still a bit of a mystery.

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21 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Some good news today, as the Government has withdrawn the £65 charge for EU citizens to register for settled status. Admittedly though, they’re still at the mercy of a Home Office not necessarily recognised for its compassion or competence, but it is at least a start…

And with that, here are today’s press releases…

  • Home Office settled status scheme risks new Windrush scandal
  • Swinson: Govt Chief Whip must resign if he is blocking proxy voting
  • New laws only help domestic abuse victims if there’s cash to enforce them
  • Lib Dems: Will Corbyn agree with Gardiner and vote for a People’s Vote?
  • Government cave on unfair EU

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WATCH: Lib Dem MPs challenge May on Brexit

Lib Dem MPs tackled the Prime Minister this afternoon as she made her Groundhog May “nothing has changed” statement. Christine Jardine, Jo Swinson, Vince Cable, Jamie Stone and Tom Brake challenged her on various aspects of her intransigence.

Christine Jardine asked the Prime Minister to consider asking to extend the Article 50 period.

The PM isn’t even willing to ask the EU the question – and we all know that if we don’t ask, we definitely don’t get.

Vince mentioned the troops put on standby over the Brexit period and asked how they would be carrying out their duties.

I, too, welcome the fee waiver and the Prime Minister’s willingness to engage in serious conversations, including about the merits and practicalities of a people’s vote. May I ask a specific question? At the end of last week, the Secretary of State for Defence put 3,500 troops on Brexit standby. Will she clarify what their rules of engagement would be in the event that they face angry and violent demonstrators, and would they be armed?

She wasn’t so clear in her response. Had she even thought about it?

Jo Swinson tackled her on the “massive game of chicken in the Tory Party” and expressed her incredulity at the prospect of the PM allowing a disastrous no deal Brexit:

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WATCH: Jo Swinson argue with Labour’s Richard Burgon

It’s not the wisest thing in the world to take down someone who agrees with you and is instinctively going to do what you want.

Shadow Labour Justice Spokesperson Richard Burgon was excessively grumpy with Jo Swinson this evening.

Having gone on about how the big enemy was the Conservatives, he chose to then go on the attack about the Coalition. You’d never think that Labour had been propping up the Conservatives and enabling their Brexit shambles. Any half competent main opposition party would have made sure that Theresa May was coming back from Buckingham Palace in a taxi within an hour of tonight’s vote.

Jo handled it really well.

Jon Snow intervened to tell Richard hew as being “awfully beastly.”

Posted in News | Also tagged | 16 Comments
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