Tag Archives: layla moran

19-21 July 2024 – the weekend’s press releases

  • IT outage: Government urged to call COBRA meeting
  • ICJ opinion: UK should recognise the independent state of Palestine
  • Incoming government must recognise Palestine and redouble efforts for peace
  • Rennie files parliamentary motion on schools’ access to Microsoft programs
  • Rennie presses government over implementation date for Children Care and Justice Act provisions
  • Mayor of London questioned over summer preparedness plans

IT outage: Government urged to call COBRA meeting

The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to hold a COBRA meeting to coordinate an urgent response to the IT outage causing major disruption including to airlines, railways and GP surgeries.

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:

The government must call an urgent COBRA meeting to address the chaos being caused by these IT outages across the country.

The public needs to be reassured that the disruption to their travel or their desperately needed GP appointments will be minimised.

Getting critical infrastructure up and running again must be priority number one. The National Cyber Security Centre should also be working with small businesses and other organisations to help them deal with the outage.”

This once again lays bare the need to improve our digital infrastructure and truly modernise our economy in order to prevent the incidents from happening again.

ICJ opinion: UK should recognise the independent state of Palestine

Responding to today’s advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

This decision is a wake-up call. Liberal Democrats have always championed international law and the independence of the courts.

The only way to give Palestinians and Israelis the security and dignity they deserve is through a peace process and a two-state solution.

The UK should lead that push by immediately recognising the independent state of Palestine.

Incoming government must recognise Palestine and redouble efforts for peace

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has backed calls for the incoming Labour government to uphold international law and support efforts towards a lasting peace in Israel and Palestine, including the recognition of a Palestinian state. Signing Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran’s parliamentary motion, Mr Carmichael warned that with the election past, now was the time to renew efforts for a ceasefire in Gaza, while welcoming the government’s announcement today of the restoration of funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the agency which supports aid for Palestinians.

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20-21 April 2024 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Lord Cameron urged to answer questions in the House of Commons amid global conflicts
  • Long Covid may have reduced Scotland’s GDP by £120m and cost 11,000 jobs
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats attack Government over GP closures
  • Blackie: Abolish London’s bedtime

Lord Cameron urged to answer questions in the House of Commons amid global conflicts

  • Liberal Democrats call on “unelected and unaccountable Foreign Secretary” to take questions from MPs
  • Layla Moran MP writes directly to the Foreign Secretary demanding accountability

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Layla Moran MP, has written to the Foreign Secretary urging him to appear in the House of Commons this week.

The letter to Lord Cameron follows escalation of the conflict in the Middle East, a G7 Summit, and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Last week, the government blocked a request by cross-party MPs which called on Lord Cameron to be accountable for the question.

In the letter, Layla Moran MP writes:

The public are demanding answers from you about the government’s response to these situations.

Every day thousands of people write to their MPs, wanting to know what the government is doing to ensure aid can reach the people of Gaza, why we haven’t proscribed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or wanting to know how we are combatting Russia’s expansionist exploits into our allies’ territory.

In the 21st century, it should not be the case that our Foreign Secretary is both unelected and unaccountable.

You speak on behalf of the United Kingdom as our most senior diplomat. Yet you refuse to speak to your own elected Members of Parliament.

Our constituents must have the ability to have their concerns put directly to the Foreign Secretary.

Long Covid may have reduced Scotland’s GDP by £120m and cost 11,000 jobs

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today called on the Scottish Government to develop a long-term plan for tackling Long Covid after a new economic report indicated that the condition may have reduced Scotland’s GDP by a massive £120m.

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10 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Government amendment on “deeply damaging” non-disclosure agreements does not go far enough to protect victims
  • Shoplifting: Govt continues to let organised gangs off the hook
  • Cole-Hamilton criticises state of sewage monitoring
  • SNP burn through ScotWind cash in record time
  • McArthur responds to opposition to assisted dying bill

Government amendment on “deeply damaging” non-disclosure agreements does not go far enough to protect victims

After tireless campaigning by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, the Government in the House of Lords has tabled an amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill that ensures non-disclosure agreements preventing victims from disclosing information to the police or other bodies (including confidential support services) cannot be legally enforced.

Responding to the tabling of this amendment, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

The Liberal Democrats have long been campaigning to end the deeply damaging practice of non-disclosure agreements. This amendment is a welcome move that will help victims to access the support they need.

But while this is a step in the right direction, the Government is not going far enough in giving victims their voice back.

We need a complete ban of NDAs in cases of sexual misconduct, harassment and bullying to ensure that no victim is silenced.

Shoplifting: Govt continues to let organised gangs off the hook

Responding to the news that assaulting a shop worker will be made a separate criminal offence in England and Wales, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

For too long, the Conservative Government have been sitting on their hands while hardworking shopkeepers are left to face the brunt of the shoplifting epidemic alone.

As the majority of shoplifting cases go unsolved, the Conservatives has repeatedly failed to get even the basics right of tackling this issue – something their new gimmicks won’t change.

It is now vital the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary invest in proper community policing and ensure all shoplifting thefts are investigated.

The government is currently letting organised criminal gangs off the hook and leaving shopkeepers hugely vulnerable.

Cole-Hamilton criticises state of sewage monitoring

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has called on the SNP and Greens to get tough with Scottish Water as it was revealed that in three local authorities there is no monitoring of sewage dumping at all and in ten more local authorities just one or two sites are monitored.

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Layla Moran reports that her family is safely out of Gaza

Some good news from Layla Moran:

She adds:

Thank you to all who have followed their story. But while theirs ends with reunification, having lost one along the way, this atrocious war rages on. I won’t stop working until we achieve not just an end to violence, but peace once and for all.

As a Palestinian, Layla has been a powerful voice on the war in Gaza, especially as she is our Foreign Affairs spokesperson. Back in December she talked to Channel 4 news about her extended family who were holed up in the church in Gaza.

For now we are just grateful that Layla’s family are safe.

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25 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Cameron must address the Commons not just Tory MPs on 1922 Committee
  • Lib Dems welcome motion passed by UN Security Council
  • Rennie responds to former Scottish Government adviser dismantling independence claims

Cameron must address the Commons not just Tory MPs on 1922 Committee

Commenting on the reports that the only Conservative MPs on the 1922 Committee will be given the opportunity to question Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron this afternoon, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

When we’re facing such serious national security threats, it is outrageous that only Conservative backbenchers will hear from the Foreign Secretary and have the chance to question

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WATCH: Layla Moran’s speech to Conference

I wasn’t in the hall for this but you can tell the quality of a speech from people’s faces as they came out. They were full of admiration for Layla, whose wisdom and compassion has impressed people across not just the UK but the world.

Layla’s Mum Randa was in the audience to watch her.

She described her family’s pre 1948 life in Palestine and the catastrophe that followed.

She said that the war was serving the wicked fusion  of Netanyahu’s government, calling their rhetoric genocidal.

Just as Hamas can’t remain in power, she said, Netanyahu and all who back his government must go too. They are all dangers and blockers to peace.

She reaffirmed the Liberal Democrats commitent to an International Criminal Couet investigation.  This is a fight between the extremists and the peacemakers and it’s spilling on to our streets, she said. She said that those flames were being fanned by the Conservative Party as much as anyone else.

Liberal Democrats do not pick a side she said, we stand for compassion, humanity and peace.

She talked about her deep despair for the Gazans who are trapped, her relatives who have spent the  past 5 months seeking refuge in a church. When she went to the area a few months ago, she described how an Israeli peace activist comforted her. She said she was astounded by how many people met chose not the path of anger, but to strive for peace.

She talked about the importance of  UNWRA in distributing aid in Gaza and called on the Government to restore funding to the agency.

She set out the Liberal Democrat approach and announced we are now calling on sanctions to apply to anyone who supports  and enables the “insidious settler movement.”

“No longer should acting with impunity go without consequence. When we say we believe in international law, we mean it.”

She says she is proud of our party and how our MPs have voted for a bilateral ceasefire at every opportunity. She condemned those who played petty party politics with Palestinian and Israeli lives with harsh words for SNP, Labour (who put electoral gain before its moral compass) and the Conservatives. The country, and the world, needs the Liberal Democrats more than ever.

It’s an incredible speech.  I defy you to watch it without getting something in your eye.

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Daisy Cooper, Layla Moran and Kath Pinnock in Women in Westminster 100

Two Lib Dem MPs and a Peer have made it into Politics Home’s Women in Westminster 100 for 2024.  The list is made up of prominent women in Parliament and political media.

Daisy Cooper, Layla Moran and Federal Campaigns and Elections Committee Chair Baroness Kath Pinnock are all mentioned.

Daisy Cooper “brings the single-,minded focus of a seasoned campaigner to the Liberal Democrats.” Her citation sets out her campaigning career prior to becoming an MP, working for organisations such as More United, Hacked Off and for human and LGBT rights internationally.

Layla’s personal experience of the terrifying and heartbreaking situation in Gaza is mentioned:

With members of her own family caught up in the war between Israel and Hamas, Moran has found herself at the forefront of public discussions about the conflict. It is not a subject she has shied away from, speaking with compassion, authenticity and depth of understanding about the complexities of the situation.

Kath Pinnock is praised for her work on the levelling up brief, particularly on rights for renters and fire safety:

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Layla Moran’s speech in tonight’s debate: We need to stop this now

I thought about putting Layla’s speech in the last post, but I didn’t want it getting lost. Her clarity and wisdom and persuasiveness, and her liberal desire to bring people together have been a huge credit to her and to this party in recent months. We can all be incredibly proud of her, especially when this has been so personally painful for her.

She spoke in the debate and her words in full are below:

I am speechless at the way this debate began. As the House knows, there has been scant opportunity for me to tell the story not just of my family or the hundreds in the church where they are in northern Gaza, but of Palestinians on the ground and, indeed, those who lost people in the horrendous attacks on 7 October, whether through murder or abduction. I am grateful that we have this opportunity. In the hours of debate in front of us, my first ask of anyone who speaks after me is, please, to hold all those people in their hearts as they say what they say. I believe sincerely that this House is moving towards a right position, and I will explain what I think that is in a moment. On the suggestion that this House is in some way against a ceasefire—I would hope an immediate one, however the semantics play out in the votes later—can we please try to send a message in particular to the Palestinian people perishing in their tens of thousands on the ground, and to those hostage families that, fundamentally, we need this to stop now? I do not care what we call it.

I should have started by drawing the House’s attention to my entry in the register of interests. I sit as an unpaid adviser on the board of the International Centre for Justice for Palestinians.

Last week I went to Israel and Palestine with Yachad, and I will start with a story. On the first day, we went down to the southern border with Gaza, to a place called Nativ Ha’asara, a place I have visited before. We met an incredible woman called Roni, who had lost family members—16 from that kibbutzim had perished. As I went there, I looked across at northern Gaza. I saw the plumes of smoke. I heard the drones and the “pop pop pop” of the gunfire, and I broke down. As I walked back through the village, Roni, an Israeli peace activist, took me to one side, gave me a hug and said, “I’m so sorry”, which I said back. We both cried and held each other.

It is important to remember that although those voices of peace in Israel have been silent for some time, many of the people killed on that day were allies of the Palestinian people who had been calling for decades against the occupation, calling out Netanyahu’s Government, and condemning Ben-Gvir and Smotrich. It is for that reason that I welcome the sanctions on those extremist settlers, because there is a direct link between the right wing elements of Netanyahu’s Government and those extremist settlers. The amendment that the Lib Dems tabled to the motion stated that we should not finish there. We need to continue those sanctions on those people and their connected entities.

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Layla Moran challenges Sunak on Thames Water incompetence

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran had a question to the Prime Minister today.

She challenged him on Thames Water, who are putting charges to her constituents up, despite providing a terrible service. She said:

Thames Water is a shambles. During the recent flooding in Oxfordshire, it dumped sewage from 270 sites along the Thames in one week. Waste was backing up into people’s homes because of drains that it had not unblocked, and it could not even refill its own reservoir because the rivers were too dirty. Rather than offering a rebate for this shoddy service, Thames Water is intending to put bills up for everyone by 60%. Will the Prime Minister explain to my constituents why they are being asked to foot the bill for Thames Water’s gross incompetence?

Sunak responded by basically reaffirming Layla’s point that Thames Water had been terrible, but without much in the way of understanding or action to prevent such a massive increase in charges.

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12 January 2024 – today’s press releases

  • GDP stats: Sunak’s talk of turning a corner has not survived contact with economic reality
  • Lib Dems demand retrospective vote on government military action in the Red Sea

GDP stats: Sunak’s talk of turning a corner has not survived contact with economic reality

Responding to the latest figures that show GDP is estimated to have fallen by 0.2% in the three months to November 2023, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, Sarah Olney MP said:

This Conservative government has brought us nothing but stagnation. Sunak’s talk of turning a corner has not survived contact with economic reality.

This no growth Prime Minister has no plan and no

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‘I’m worried that if it’s not the bullets that kill them, it will be the lack of water,’ says Layla Moran of civilians trapped in Gaza church

Layla Moran appeared on Channel 4 News last night. “(She said) her relatives are among hundreds of civilians trapped in a Catholic Church in Gaza City as Israeli forces operate nearby.

Over the weekend, the Catholic authority in the region claimed that two women were killed by Israeli snipers inside the Holy Family Parish compound. Israel has denied targeting the church.”

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Layla Moran talks about her family who are trapped in Gaza Church

Layla Moran has been talking to the BBC about the plight of her family members, who remain trapped in a Catholic Church in Gaza. One family member died last month and her fear for the others is clear.

The Liberal Democrat says her family are “days away from dying” without access to water or food.

Her relatives and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem say a mother and daughter were killed inside the Holy Family Church complex on Saturday by sniper fire.

Members of Ms Moran’s extended family – a grandmother, her son, his wife and their 11-year-old twins – are Christian Palestinians who sought refuge inside the church after their home was bombed in the first week of the war.

They have been staying on mattresses along with dozens of others in rooms in the Holy Family Church for more than 60 days.

“I’m now no longer sure they are going to survive until Christmas,” Ms Moran told the BBC.

The conditions sound horrific and terrifying:

The five remaining members say they now no longer have access to food or water, and the last remaining generator – which was pumping water from wherever they could get it – has stopped working in the church.

They say soldiers entered the church compound in the last 24 hours and took over a room in a building.

Earlier in the week, the family heard shots being fired and saw bullet casings in the church compound. They say two men were killed on Tuesday while they were coming and going from the building – a bin collector and a janitor.

Layla said there was no indication why the church had been targeted:

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Israel-Gaza conflict: Liberal Democrats call for immediate bilateral ceasefire

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey and Lib Dem Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran MP have today called for an immediate bilateral ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The purpose of such a ceasefire, which must apply to both Israel and Hamas, would be to get aid in, get the hostages out, and provide space to realise a political solution, ultimately with two states and a lasting peace.

Ed Davey has set out this proposal in full here.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran MP commented:

A lasting peace and a two-state solution is the only way to guarantee

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Suella Braverman must go

My first reaction – several years ago – to one of Suella Braverman’s pronouncements was one of exasperation and incredulity. But it was accompanied by a conviction that not even right wing Tories were going to support her extreme views. I was, of course, wrong.

She not only proposes cruel treatment for vulnerable, underprivileged and desperate people who are either citizens or who want to be one, but she is now doing so from one of the most powerful positions in Government. She wants rough sleepers to die in the cold (it is apparently a lifestyle choice), she wants to imprison people escaping war in unsafe conditions, or alternatively to deport them to a country where they have absolutely no connections, she wants to prevent legal forms of protest that we so value in a democracy, she wants us all to lose the protection of the European Court of Rights, and so it goes on and on …

And now some think she is deliberately courting trouble by posting a highly controversial article in the Times, attacking the Met Police, without getting it signed-off by No. 10. Whatever her motivation, her Cabinet position is now at risk, but that could leave her free to challenge the leadership.

Ed Davey has come out with some very strong words about her:

Suella Braverman is not fit to hold the office of Home Secretary. She divides communities with reckless abandon, playing a personal political game with no care for the consequences suffered by the people she is supposed to protect.

She is the most dangerous and divisive Home Secretary of modern times. This country will be safer without her in post.

This is a situation of the Prime Minister’s own making. He appointed her knowing she had previously broken the Ministerial Code yet he was too scared to stand up to her.

What more will it take for the Prime Minister to do the right thing? It is time for us to move past her pathetic failings and for her to go. Rishi Sunak needs to find his backbone and sack her.

Other Lib Dems have added their thoughts.

Here is Alistair Carmichael in the Commons.

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Layla Moran briefs members on Israel/Hamas war

Last night, Layla Moran briefed over 1000 Lib Dem members on the party’s response to the war between Israel and Hamas which started when Hamas murdered, tortured and kidnapped Israeli citizens living near the border with Gaza on 7th October.

I understand it was one of, if not the most, well-attended party webinar ever, showing the extent of the concern and interest amongst Liberal Democrats. Layla set out the party’s thinking and took questions for over an hour.

For Layla, this has a very personal dimension. Members of her extended family are taking refuge in a church after their home was bombed. Speaking on Kuenssberg on Sunday, Layla spoke about how people in Gaza had gone from asking themselves where they could go to be safe to thinking about where they wanted to be when they died. She described the “tortuous” wait for news from them when the internet went down.

Last night, she spoke with such wisdom, compassion and insight and set out the key principles behind the Liberal Democrat approach:

  • Concern for the human beings affected in both Israel and Gaza
  • Prioritising aid getting into Gaza
  • Condemnation of the Hamas atrocities
  • Recognising Israel’s right to defend itself and rescue the hostages
  • The war must be fought according to the rules, and anyone who breaks those rules needs to be investigated
  • There needs to be a pause or pauses to get aid into Gaza and let people out if they want to leave
  • We need to look to the future and keeping trying to make the hope of a two state solution a reality, even if that looks distant at the moment.

She completely rejected any notion that we have to pick a side in this. People in both Israel and Gaza are suffering and our primary concern has to be to make their lives better and safer. She talked of the solidarity she felt with the Jewish community in Oxford and how important it was to have vigils where Muslims, Jews and everyone else grieved together and comforted each other. She was very worried about increasing anti-semitism and Islamophobia in this country.

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WATCH: John Curtice tell Lib Dems how we can do better

Following on from my article on Sunday about how we could develop a more distinctive liberal voice in our messaging for the General Election, I thought readers might like to have a look at one of the most packed fringe meetings at our recent Bournemouth Conference where Professor Sir John Curtice took a look at our performances in elections and opinion poll ratings.  Layla Moran chaired the meeting and Dick Newby, our leader in the Lords, responded for the Party.

He had some sobering facts for us, particularly on the loss of voters to Labour, as the BBC reported at the time:

Professor Curtice said: “The truth is, while the party has focused on attacking the Conservatives, it has perhaps failed to notice that it’s losing votes to Labour.

In particular, it’s losing the votes of people who want to be inside the EU to Labour.

Whereas Labour can argue it has gained ground among both Leave and Remain voters.

The Liberal Democrats have frankly lost ground among Remain voters and the ground that they have gained amongst Leave voters is not sufficient to compensate for it.

It’s galling to lose votes to Labour when they are as responsible for the result of the Brexit referendum as the Conservative Government and they have since said very little except how we have to try to make Brexit work.

Back in 2020 as we dealt with the pain of that election result, we were perhaps too quick to absorb too much of the blame ourselves. We had a hand full of 2s and 3s while the Conservatives had all the high trump cards.  All they had to do was sit back because in the end of the day, people were more scared of Jeremy Corbyn being PM than either Boris or Brexit. Our biggest mistake was letting that election happen when it did. We seem to have now told ourselves that we have to be as careful not to upset anyone as possible when we should be holding both Conservative and Labour feet to account for their many failings.  Every bad thing we said would happen has happened.  We should be plotting a course back towards greater alignment with our EU friends. We need to be saying loud and clear what we could gain by getting back into the single market.

Perhaps the most frustrating about this party is how often we have been right on the issues of the day but not got the credit we deserve for it. Iraq is another example, also Vince’s warnings on the economy and Ed’s on climate change.

Anyway, you can read John Curtice’s presentation to the meeting here.

And New Liberal Manifesto, who organised the meeting, recorded it and you can watch the the three part video below:

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Layla Moran tells of her extended family’s plight in Gaza

Our Layla Moran, the first British MP of Palestinian descent, has been talking about how members of her extended family in Gaza have had to flee their home and seek refuge in a Church.

She talked about this in the Commons yesterday when she questioned Rishi Sunak:

As you are aware, Mr Speaker, my immediate family are from the west bank, but I have extended family in Gaza city. Their house was bombed by the IDF, so they went to seek sanctuary in a church—we are Christian Palestinians—and I am afraid to say that they are still there, because they are too old to leave. They say to me that they have nowhere to go.

Because of this, not despite it, I attended a vigil in Oxford organised by the Jewish community. Between our communities, we now share profound emotions, loss and grief. When the Prime Minister says never again, I agree with him. Will he give his assurance that it will be never again and that, whenever we get through whatever happens in the next few days, he will keep the promise he made to my great-grandfather that there will be a Palestinian state to call our own at the end of it?

The Prime Minister:

I start by expressing my sympathies to the hon. Lady and her family for what they are going through. I know this will have been an incredibly difficult time for them. I also pay tribute to her, because her presence at the vigil, in spite of everything, will have meant an enormous amount to many people, and the courage she shows in talking about that experience here today is admirable. She looks forward to a more positive future, which is an ambition I share.

This is an unspeakably difficult situation, a tragedy, but we must find a way to move forward to secure a more stable, peaceful settlement for those living in the middle east, because this tragedy has reminded us all of the horrors of war and the horrors of terrorism. We must find a way to bring peace and stability to the region, and that is what I will strive very hard to help bring about.

Today, she was interviewed on Good Morning Britain and spoke in more detail about the lack of food and fuel and her worries of this turning into a humanitarian disaster:

In a display of ignorance not worthy of a respectable interviewer, Richard Madeley had the nerve to ask her whether she or her family had any idea of what Hamas had planned. It was such a disgraceful thing to say, equating a hideous terrorist organisation with ordinary Palestinian people. That one has to be worth a complaint to OfCOM.Madeley has since made one of those non apology apologies, but that is simply not good enough.

Layla spoke later to the BBC

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Layla Moran to appear with Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith in Bournemouth

Layla Moran MP will be the special guest star on Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith’s Lib Dem stop on their tour of Party Conferences.

The LBC Presenter and former Labour Home Secretary host a weekly podcast, For the Many, which is for me an unmissable hour of politics and outrageous filth. The live shows are a bit tamer. The presence of an audience is usually enough to remind them that someone else is actually listening.  Usually.

As many of you will be planning your Conference diaries in the next few days, make sure you include this show. It is bound to be hilarious. It’s happening on the Sunday night of Conference between 7 and 9 pm at Canvas, 24 Poole Hill, Bournemouth. You can get tickets here.

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We need three or four stand-out policies!

Four by-election wins in little over two years, an encouraging set of council results in May, the governing party suffering dreadful poll ratings – it’s a time of optimism for the Liberal Democrats! Or is it? Sorry to prick the bubble, but there’s an elephant in the room.

That elephant is our national opinion poll rating, which is resolutely refusing to rise above the 10-12% range. With the Conservatives doing so badly, a feeling that a once-in-roughly-15-years change in government is approaching, and the reality of the Brexit disaster becoming clearer by the day, we should be up to 20% if not higher. Why aren’t we?

There’s another elephant in the room. We want a hung parliament at the next election, and the number of ‘don’t knows’ in current polls and stay-at-home Tory voters in recent elections suggests this is still possible. It will take a fair bit of tactical voting. But to persuade people to vote tactically, and for the Lib Dems to play a part in some power arrangement that gets us a change in the voting system, we have to tell people what we stand for. At the moment, the leadership of the party is not doing that.

This is what motivated a group of committed, loyal but very concerned Lib Dems to meet in York during spring conference to throw around ideas aimed at encouraging the leadership to give the party a clearer identity going into the next election. There’s no shortage of approved policies, but they need trumpeting, in particular the need for us to be the party committing to rebuild relationships between Britain and the EU, before someone else on the political stage denounces Brexit first (don’t rule out Starmer or Sunak doing so if it serves them).

The follow-up to that informal gathering in York is a formal fringe meeting in Bournemouth on Saturday 23 September to be chaired Layla Moran MP. Entitled ‘Shouldn’t we be doing better? – the need for bolder messaging’, the country’s leading psephologist and pollster John Curtice will explain how his polling shows that the Lib Dems should be scoring much higher. Curtice also believes we didn’t blow the 2019 election on our ‘revoke Brexit’ stance but by not standing for anything else, which reinforces the idea that we need three or four policies the public associate with us if they’re to lend us their votes.

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24 July 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems demand GP rescue plan as one in six left waiting two weeks for appointment
  • Rhodes Fires: Call to protect holidaymakers by adding to no travel list

Lib Dems demand GP rescue plan as one in six left waiting two weeks for appointment

  • One in six (16.5%) GP appointments had waits of two weeks or more over past year
  • The South West was the worst-affected region with one in five (20%)
  • Liberal Democrats call for GP rescue plan over summer including campaign to urge retired GPs to return back to work

One in six GP appointments over the past year involved waits of two weeks or more, House of Commons Library commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The figures show the length of time between when a GP appointment was booked and when it took place, with data covering the year to May 2023.

The data shows the South West was the worst-affected region with one in five GP appointments taking place two weeks after being booked over the year. Gloucestershire (24.6%) and Dorset (23.6%) were the top two worst areas for two-week waits in the country. This was more than double the 9.2% of two-week waits in Liverpool.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Health Secretary Steve Barclay to launch a GP rescue plan over the summer, including a campaign to urge retired GPs back to the workforce.

It comes after the party’s successful by-election campaign iin Somerton and Frome. The newly elected Lib Dem MP Sarah Dyke campaigned hard on the issue of access to GP appointments in Somerset.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a new right for patients to see a GP within a week, or within 24 hours if in urgent need. This would be achieved by increasing the number of GPs by 8,000.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey commented:

The Conservative government’s neglect of our local health services is having real consequences for so many. People unable to get a GP appointment are being left waiting in pain, anxious about when they will get the care they deserve.

This week the people of Somerton and Frome spoke for the whole country. They are fed up with this failing government and fed up with ministers who just don’t get it or don’t care.

Conservative ministers must listen for once and come up with a plan to tackle the GP crisis before Parliament returns. That should include a recruitment campaign over the summer to encourage retired GPs back to work.

Ministers should also back the Liberal Democrat plan to guarantee everyone a GP appointment within seven days for a first appointment, or 24 hours if it’s urgent. Anything less would be failing patients up and down the country.

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6 July 2023 – today’s press releases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7 June 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Police using 200-year old legislation to arrest hundreds of children for rough sleeping
  • OECD inflation prediction: This is a damning verdict on the Government’s economic record
  • Bike theft faces being ‘decriminalised’ as nearly 9 in 10 thefts go unsolved
  • Johnson “hosted friend” at Chequers: Public sick of subsidising ex-PM’s legal fund

Police using 200-year old legislation to arrest hundreds of children for rough sleeping

Data uncovered by Layla Moran and the Liberal Democrats through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that police forces across the country have arrested 433 children over the last 5 years using the Vagrancy Act.

The FOI asked police forces how many under 18’s had been arrested and charged under the Vagrancy Act over the last 5 years.

Of the 43 forces in the UK, 20 had arrested children. The worst offender was the Metropolitan Police Force in London, which has arrested 152 children in the last 5 years.

One police force, Derbyshire, arrested a 13 year old.

The Vagrancy Act is a piece of 200-year-old legislation which makes it a criminal offence to sleep rough.

In 2022 campaigners succeeded in repealing the legislation in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, but the repeal is yet to come into force in practice. The government claim they need “appropriate replacement legislation” before the repeal comes into force. A public consultation into replacement measures closed in May 2022, but the findings have not yet been published.

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22 March 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Inflation rises: Proof the Chancellor should have cut energy bills in the budget
  • Windsor Framework: Conservative MPs are mutinous pirates who no longer care what their captain says

Inflation rises: Proof the Chancellor should have cut energy bills in the budget

Responding to this morning’s inflation figures, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

This rise is just more proof why the Chancellor should have cut energy bills in the budget. Instead he sat on his hands and we are left with rising inflation once more.

People across the country are struggling and the Government has failed totemically to support hardworking families and pensioners.

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One year ago today …

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Liberal Democrats have been commenting on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ed Davey said:

Today all of us will be thinking of the Ukrainian families split up by Putin’s invasion. We will be thinking of those who have lost a loved one and those who fight for Ukraine’s freedom.

Over the past year we have seen amazing acts of heroism in Ukraine as well as unflinching unity across Europe and our politics in the UK.

We will never forget the suffering of the Ukrainian people at the hands of Putin’s barbaric regime and we will stand in solidarity with Ukraine until they achieve victory.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

Almost one year ago today, our world shifted on its axis as Russian soldiers, tanks and instruments of war crossed the border and rolled into the sovereign territory of Ukraine. It spelled what so many of us had hoped we would never see again- war in Europe.

Putin’s invasion is an assault on diplomacy and democracy, on peace and freedom. In places like Bucha and Irpin, he has sanctioned unimaginable atrocities. He does not belong in the Kremlin; he belongs in the Hague.

As I reflect on the suffering that the Ukrainian people have endured, it has become terrifyingly clear that the liberal and democratic structures we take so much for granted can be so easily taken from us.

That is why we must defend the values that unite us and support our Ukrainian friends as they rebuild their lives so far away from home.

In Scotland, people have shown an overwhelming amount of collective generosity as they open up their homes to refugees fleeing the conflict. I am immeasurably proud of work taking place in my own constituency of Edinburgh Western, where Volunteer Edinburgh have done an incredible job at greeting displaced Ukrainians and coordinating donations, learning centres and other opportunities across the city.

Today, the world remembers everything that has been lost. But we also hope that one day soon, Ukraine will once again enjoy its blue skies of freedom.

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28-29 January 2023 – the weekend’s (other) press releases

  • Richard Sharp: Publish Boris Johnson’s hidden register of interests

    Richard Sharp: Publish Boris Johnson’s hidden register of interests

    The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to publish Boris Johnson’s internal register of ministerial interests including details of the personal loan he received.

    It comes as the Sunday Times reports that Boris Johnson was formally told by the Cabinet Office to stop asking Richard Sharp for “advice” about his “personal financial matters.

    It is reported that details about the loan were included in Johnson’s own declaration in the internal register of ministers’ interests, parts of which are not made public.

    Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy

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25 January 2023 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Zahawi: Raab must bring in law to stop baseless legal threats
  • Sunak holding “Hideaway Day” at Chequers with scandal-hit Cabinet
  • New sewage target passed in Parliament which allows 15 more years of harmful waste in rivers
  • Conservative MPs vote to cover up the truth about golden visas

Zahawi: Raab must bring in law to stop baseless legal threats

The Liberal Democrats have written to Dominic Raab, calling on him to “urgently” bring in a new law to stop journalists and campaigners being silenced through legal threats.

It comes following numerous reports that Conservative Party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi used the threat of legal action against campaigners and journalists who raised questions about his tax affairs.

The government has previously promised new legislation to tackle the use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). Last year in response to a consultation on the issue, Dominic Raab warned these sorts of legal threats can have a “chilling effect” and “stifle legitimate reporting and debate,” with “media and others intimidated into abandoning critical stories in the face of crippling legal costs.”

Raab also previously said that “it is wrong that unscrupulous individuals and corporations are able to exploit our laws and our courts in this jurisdiction with claims designed to muzzle respected journalists, academics and campaigners.”

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to bring in new anti-SLAPP laws as quickly as possible, and to clarify if they would prevent Cabinet Ministers such as Nadhim Zahawi from behaving in the way which has been alleged.

The party is also calling for the current investigation by the ethics adviser to look into the use of legal threats by Nadhim Zahawi.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Dominic Raab has rightly warned about the chilling effect that the threat of legal action can have on media scrutiny and exposing corruption. It’s now time to put his money where his mouth is by finally bringing forward tough new laws to tackle these baseless legal threats.

It is particularly worrying that Nadhim Zahawi reportedly used the threat of legal action against those raising questions about his tax affairs. We need to know whether the new rules the government is proposing in this area will tackle such behaviour by Cabinet Ministers in future.

The current inquiry into Zahawi by the ethics adviser must also look into this issue, and whether legal threats were used in an attempt to cover up the truth. It can’t be one rule for Conservative ministers and another for everyone else.

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25 January 2023 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • Zahawi: What more will it take for Sunak to do the right thing
  • Govt lags behind key 20,000 police officer pledge by over 3,400
  • Powys Patients Waits in English Hospitals Raised in the Senedd
  • Wagner Group: Rishi Sunak must order an immediate inquiry

Zahawi: What more will it take for Sunak to do the right thing

Responding to the growing calls for Rishi Sunak to suspend Nadhim Zahawi as Conservative Party Chairman, including among his own party, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Every day that Nadhim Zahawi clings on does more damage to Rishi Sunak’s credibility.

The Conservative Party is stuck in an endless cycle of sleaze and chaos, while the country suffers from a cost of living and NHS crisis.

What more will it take for Sunak to finally do the right thing and sack Zahawi, or at least suspend him for the duration of this investigation?

He promised his government would have integrity and accountability, but instead once again it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else.

Govt lags behind key 20,000 police officer pledge by over 3,400

New Police uplift statistics from the Home Office have revealed that the Government would need to double its police recruitment efforts in the next three months to meet its 20,000 targets as it lags behind by 3,427.

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservatives for being on track to break their key 2019 manifesto promise to recruit 20,000 new police officers by the end of March 2023.

The Government’s flagship crime policy lags behind the total by 3,427 – with only 3 months left to go.

Analysis from the Liberal Democrats shows to meet the target of 20,000 by March 2023, the Government would have to hire 130% more officers each month, up from 494 extra officers a month over the last six months to 1,142.

The most recent statistics reveal that 17 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales have failed to recruit a single new officer in the last 2 months.

Responding, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

The Conservatives are too busy dealing with sleaze and scandal to properly tackle crime festering in our communities. They are letting down people across the country with their failure to recruit police officers and tackle crime.

Victims right across the country will be left without confidence in this Government and it’s all because of these broken promises and failures.

Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing where people feel safer in their areas and the Government is focused on cutting crime instead of squabbling in Downing Street.

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29 November 2022 – the overnight press release

Sunak China speech is remarkably tone deaf

Responding to Rishi Sunak’s speech on China, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Layla Moran said:

In the summer, Sunak talked tough on China – now he’s U-turned at the first possible opportunity. Rowing back on his previous stance is remarkably tone deaf given it comes just days after a British journalist was subject to disturbing treatment at the hands of the Chinese authorities.

The British public will be rightly concerned that the Conservative Government looks set to continue its record of failure when it comes to holding China accountable on everything from

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28-30 October 2022 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Lib Dems call for Suella Braverman to hand over texts and emails for future inquiry
  • Jane Dodds – The Housing Sector in Wales is Broken
  • COP27: Nadine Dorries as the voice of reason?
  • Liz Truss phone hacking story: Urgent investigation needed
  • Suella Braverman: Government must publish legal advice on detention of asylum seekers

Lib Dems call for Suella Braverman to hand over texts and emails for future inquiry

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Home Office Permanent Secretary, asking him to facilitate the handover of Suella Braverman’s text messages, WhatsApps, and emails for use in any future inquiry into her misconduct.

Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael raised concerns that the embattled Home Secretary could take advantage of a loophole exploited by Boris Johnson during an inquiry into the funding of the refurbishment of the Downing Street flat. The former Prime Minister claimed that he had been unable to hand over important messages because he had changed his phone.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael said:

We need an independent inquiry with access to all the relevant evidence, to establish the true scale of Suella Braverman’s rule breaking.

We saw how Boris Johnson and other Conservative ministers have tried time and again to duck accountability and cover up the truth.

Suella Braverman must be required to hand over all relevant evidence now before it is too late.

It took less than a day for Rishi Sunak’s government to be mired in the same old Conservative sleaze. His promise of ‘integrity’ was broken within hours of entering Downing Street. If he was serious about integrity he would commit to an independent inquiry now.

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Reaction to Sunak as PM

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Rishi Sunak will (not) be kissing the King’s hand this morning.

Here’s some of the Lib Dem reaction to Sunak’s elevation:

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