Tag Archives: layla moran

Lord help us all….Lib Dems react to new Cabinet

So Liz Truss is now ensconced in Downing Street appointing her new Cabinet. And it looks like it is going to be one of the most socially as well as economically conservative governments in over quarter of a century. This is somewhat surprising given that she is the first Prime Minister of my lifetime who is younger than me.

After a 1000 mile round trip to see the Queen, she went  to her private Commons office  to send Rishi Sunak supporters Grant Shapps, Steve Barclay and Dominic Raab packing.

Every time a new Conservative PM announces their top team, you think it couldn’t get any worse. Remember when Theresa May appointed Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary? And then when Boris in turn made Priti Patel Home Secretary.

So far, Liz Truss has made some very worrying appointments.

First of all, someone who opposes abortion and same sex marriage to health:

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25 August 2022 – today’s press releases

  • GCSEs: Government deserves an ‘F’ for letting down pupils
  • Missing: UK’s Foreign Secretary. Last seen leaving G20 early
  • Dentist crisis escalates as new data reveals drop in NHS dental appointments

GCSEs: Government deserves an ‘F’ for letting down pupils

Responding to today’s GCSE results, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:

The Conservatives have fiddled the figures and failed our young people yet again. Ministers have thrown into question thousands of students’ futures by taking their grades away to correct two years of exam chaos.

Young people receiving their results today faced unprecedented disruption to their studies. The Government deserves an ‘F’ for letting down these pupils, their parents and their teachers since day one of the pandemic.

This uncaring Conservative carousel of Education Secretaries cannot be trusted with our young people’s future any longer. We need proper investment in helping children recover lost learning from the pandemic, and we need them gone.

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Lib Dems comment on dire economic news – but we need to say more

This week has had more than its fair share of dire economic news. The prospect of a deep, prolonged recession at a time of soaring prices means that people on the lowest incomes are really going to suffer. Let’s think about what that looks like. It means that people on the lowest incomes will simply not be able to afford the basics that they need to survive. If they don’t face the prospect of losing their home, heating it to an adequate level will be a challenge.  Putting food on the table will be tough.  Even if they just manage to get by, an unexpected car repair bill, or a washing machine breakdown, could be problems that they can’t cope with. It is quite likely that we will see levels of poverty and suffering that we thought were gone for good.

It’s the most terrifying economic landscape since 2008. And with recession comes the prospect of people losing their jobs. We didn’t have energy and living costs on a steep upward curve then.

I remember only too well the recession of the 1980s. That ITN Jobs round up every Friday showing so many jobs being lost every week. Soaring unemployment as, one by one, our key manufacturing industries crumbled.  Remember UB40’s One in Ten?

At that point though the welfare state met more of your living costs if you lost your job. You at least had some chance of getting by. And students could get help with Housing Benefit and could sign on during the long Summer holiday if they couldn’t get a job. Now, benefits are less generous, and woe betide you if you dared have more than two children since 2017 because you won’t be able to claim any Universal Credit for them.

During the 90s recession, I worked in the civil courts in England and it was heartbreaking to see the huge rise in both mortgage and rent possession cases. Each one of those meant that someone was in danger of losing their homes, and many did.

As interest rates rise, so do mortgages. Already high private sector rents are likely to increase as landlords pay more on their buy to let mortgages.

It all seemed terrible back then, but now the prospects and the pressures on incomes are even worse.

Inflation on its own is bad enough but then you have a nearly £1300 rise in energy costs from their already high level from October with the prospect of further rises every three months. If you are on a low income you are more likely to be on a prepayment meter and will find it more difficult to access help while you pay proportionately higher prices.

And all the time prices continue to rise with the Bank of England warning that inflation could hit 13%.

There is not much in the way of respite coming your way. The extra money already announced isn’t going to go very far if you are low paid.

All of this comes at a time when the Conservative Government have been cutting public services for too long. So where councils might have been able to provide much needed help in the past, they are not able to do so now. Advice agencies also need investment so that they can help people find their way through and advocate on their behalf.

Senior Liberal Democrats have been talking about the crisis. Here’s Ed Davey on the news of the energy price cap rise:

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Layla: Johnson debases the office of PM with NI Protocol Bill

Lib Dem Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran has said that Boris Johnson is debasing the office of Prime Minister by proposing breaching international law in the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill. She said:

It’s astounding that at exactly the moment when we should be standing united with our allies in the face of Russia’s aggression, the Conservative Government has decided to ignite a diplomatic firestorm.

“From breaking his own laws at home to attempting to breach international law abroad, Boris Johnson has debased the office of Prime Minister.

“If the Conservatives enact these proposals, they risk starting a trade war with our closest neighbours

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17 May 2022- today’s press releases

  • The Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton and Honiton
  • NI Protocol Changes: Risks starting a trade war with our largest trading partner
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats call for 24/7 mental health service

The Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton and Honiton

Responding to the announcement that the Tiverton & Honiton by-election will take place on Thursday 23rd June, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey MP said:

People in rural communities like Devon have had enough of being neglected by this Conservative government.

The Conservatives’ failure to tackle the cost of living crisis has left millions struggling to pay their bills, while people wait hours for an ambulance and weeks for a GP or dentist appointment.

The Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton and Honiton. On the 23rd June voters can send Boris Johnson’s government a message they cannot ignore – and elect a strong local champion who will stand up for them.

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5 April 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak to cash in £40 billion VAT windfall as families face cost of living crisis
  • Brand Putin’s armies and mercenaries as terrorists in response to atrocities

Sunak to cash in £40 billion VAT windfall as families face cost of living crisis

  • Rishi Sunak set to rake in an extra £38.6 billion in VAT over next four years due to soaring prices
  • Typical family to pay £430 more in VAT next year, on top of National Insurance rise coming into force today
  • Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey launches local election campaign with call to slash VAT and save struggling families £600

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to rake in an extra £38.6 billion in VAT over the next four years, as skyrocketing inflation leads to higher prices in the shops, official forecasts have revealed.

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats shows this means a typical family will pay an estimated £430 more in VAT next year, compared to what they paid in 2021-22. The figures are taken from the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

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22 March 2022 – today’s press releases

  • HMICFRS report: Met police needs new leadership not stitch up by Johnson and Patel
  • Oligarch ditches UK mansions after government sanctions delay
  • Nationality and Borders Bill: A traffickers’ charter that will cause deaths in the Channel
  • Patel must stop her assault on British rights and freedoms

HMICFRS report: Met police needs new leadership not stitch up by Johnson and Patel

Responding to the report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) into corruption in the Met Police and the case of Daniel Morgan, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

This shocking report lays bare the ingrained culture of corruption and cover-up at the top of the Met. Police officers put themselves at risk every day to keep us safe, but they are being let down by poor leadership.

The Met urgently needs strong new leadership. Choosing the new Commissioner is too important to be a stitch up between Priti Patel and Boris Johnson – especially when Johnson is under criminal investigation by the Met himself.

The next Commissioner must be someone who will shake things up and stand up to government ministers – and that’s someone Johnson and Patel will never choose.

That’s why Liberal Democrats are calling for a cross-party confirmation vote by both Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee and London’s Police and Crime Committee, to stop the Government stitching up this crucial appointment.

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16 March 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Zaghari-Ratcliffe released from Iran: At a dark time, this is joyful news
  • Jane Dodds: Aberpergwm Coal Mine Expansion Must be Stopped

Zaghari-Ratcliffe released from Iran: At a dark time, this is joyful news

Responding to the news that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman detained in Iran has now been released and is on her way back to the UK, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

At a dark time, this is joyful news for us all to celebrate. Members of the public, NGOs, Parliamentarians and, of course, Nazanin and Anoosheh’s families have campaigned tirelessly for their release – it now looks like they are finally coming home.

But it should not have taken years to reach this day – nearly six years in the case of Nazanin. We should never have been in the situation where UK nationals are being used as political bargaining chips. The UK Government has questions to answer for whether their actions, including those of the current Prime Minister, have prolonged this ordeal. I hope the Foreign Secretary will commit to an independent inquiry.

I’m sure many tears are set to be cried in the next twenty-four hours. But for once I hope they are tears of joy.

Jane Dodds: Aberpergwm Coal Mine Expansion Must be Stopped

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their opposition to the expansion of Aberpergwm Coal Mine in Neath Port Talbot Council. Addressing a protest in front of the Senedd Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds stated that if we are to stand any hope of tackling climate change before it’s too late, the coal must be left in the ground.

The protest in front of the Senedd in Cardiff saw multiple Welsh climate groups attend.

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15 March 2022 – today’s press release

New sanctions list: Shutting the door after the private jet has bolted

Responding to the government’s new expanded sanctions list of Russian individuals, coming almost three weeks since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

This is shutting the door after the private jet has bolted. The Government has finally got their act together – but we should have been in this position weeks ago. This delay has given Putin’s cronies a priceless window to firesale their assets.

Now we need to go further. There are still too many associates of Putin getting away with it

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14 March 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Ministers losing track on Ukrainian refugee visa u-turns
  • Homes for Ukraine: Refugees still trapped in bureaucratic limbo
  • Economic Crime Bill: Lib Dems close ‘Oligarch Loophole’

Ministers losing track on Ukrainian refugee visa u-turns

Responding to Sajid Javid’s confusion this morning over a family reunion route for Ukrainian refugees, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

The Government has u-turned so many times over visas for Ukrainian refugees, it seems even its own Cabinet Ministers have lost track.

Three weeks on, it is unacceptable that the Home Office is still turning away desperate families fleeing Putin’s war, and snaring them in red tape at the border. It is shameful that even Ukrainians working in our NHS cannot bring family members to join them.

The Government must make one more u-turn, and allow any Ukrainian refugee to come to the UK without having to apply for a visa first.

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Lib Dems adopt most ambitious policy in UK to help Ukrainian refugees

Ongoing bureaucratic barriers to refugees fleeing Ukraine and the appalling UK Government attitude to them, the bravery of young political activists in Ukraine who are having to defend their country against invasion, the courage of young activists in Russia who are protesting Putin’s actions, the need to end our dependence on others for energy supply, the importance of standing up for the right of sovereign nations to be part of Europe, the chilling prospect of how we respond to escalating brutality from Putin’s army. These were just some of the points mentioned in an emotional and powerful debate on the situation in Ukraine this morning.

This afternoon at 5:40 pm, we’ll be hearing from Kira Rudyk, the leader of our Ukrainian sister party Holos from Kyiv. If you want to hear her, it’s not too late to register here.

The policy we passed today was the most ambitious to help Ukrainian refugees of any major UK political party.

We call on the government to enable refugees from Ukraine to come to the UK without having to apply for a visa, to work with allies to create accessible routes to safety for all refugees displaced from Ukraine, to provide economic, military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and to reverse the international development budget cut.

The party’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran said even the government’s latest sponsor scheme would still force Ukrainian refugees to “jump through bureaucratic hoops” to come to the UK.

Ukrainians have been let down by the UK government in their hour of need. Priti Patel is presiding over a chaotic shambles – and the result is that Ukrainians who we should be supporting are being turned away simply because they don’t have the right paperwork.

Even the government’s latest scheme will still leave refugees having to jump through bureaucratic hoops before coming to the UK.

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Lib Dems stand in solidarity with Ukraine and call for UK to do more for refugees

The Russian Consulate in Edinburgh, like many places around the UK,  has seen peaceful demonstrations every day since the Russians invaded Ukraine.

Today was the biggest so far, with Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and Christine Jardine MP.

Yesterday, Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper attended a similar event in St Albans

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Layla Moran welcomes scrapping the Vagrancy Act

Layla Moran has been campaigning for years against the archaic Vagrancy Act, which criminalises rough sleepers. Yesterday the Government announced that the Act will be repealed.

She has written about it in the Big Issue under the heading: Scrapping the Vagrancy Act is just the start – now we must end rough sleeping for good.

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Lib Dems force the Government to cancel the “Golden Visa” scheme

The “Golden Visa” scheme, technically known as Tier 1 investor visas, has been scrapped following pressure from the Liberal Democrats in the Lords.

The scheme offered residency to people, and their families, from overseas if they invested £2million in the UK.

The Liberal Democrats in the Lords had tabled an amendment to the Nationality and Borders Bill calling for the scheme to be stopped until a full review is published.

Yesterday the Home Secretary finally recognised that it was a complete can of worms, and scrapped the scheme, with immediate effect.

Layla Moran, who is our Foreign Affairs spokesperson, said:

The Conservatives have turned a blind eye to Russian interference in this country for years and had an open door policy to Kremlin cronies.

Shockingly this Government still hasn’t published a report about the possible misuse of golden visas.

Cancelling the scheme is long overdue, it shouldn’t have taken the threat of a defeat in Parliament to finally get this Government to act.

They must publish this report immediately and take urgent steps to tackle the influence of Russian money including a public register of overseas property ownership.

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16 January 2022 – yesterday’s press releases

  • Dowden defence of No10 parties ‘pathetic’ say Lib Dems
  • ‘Back off our BBC!’ say Lib Dems

Dowden defence of No10 parties ‘pathetic’ say Lib Dems

Responding to Oliver Dowden’s appearance on BBC Sunday Morning, where he defended the Prime Minister and blamed an ‘underlying culture’ for the Downing Street parties, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

This pathetic attempt to defend Boris Johnson will just fan the flames of public anger against this rotten Conservative government.

Boris Johnson is once again blaming those around him instead of taking responsibility.

If he really is angry about these parties, he must be furious with

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26 November 2021 – today’s press release

Government must reverse £30m aid cuts to Southern Africa to help tackle new variant

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that the government reverse aid cuts and launch an emergency Covid support fund, to help countries in Southern Africa contain the new variant spreading there.

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found that the UK is slashing aid to Southern Africa and Zimbabwe by £30m next year, or by over a third (35%), a move the party described as “cruel and short-sighted.” In addition to this, UK aid spending on global health funding has been slashed by £243 million, from over £1.1 billion …

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Rishi Sunak recycling aid money deals “damaging blow” to UK reputation ahead of COP summit

The Liberal Democrats have warned a UK government decision to effectively slash the aid budget by billions more pounds will send “completely the wrong message” to the world ahead of next month’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

It comes after it was reported that the Chancellor Rishi Sunak will include the UK’s share of financial assistance provided by the International Monetary Fund through Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) as part of the 0.5% aid target. The move is expected to reduce the aid budget by another £4bn to £5bn over a number of years.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs …

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Government must ‘not let the sun go down’ on the UK performers

Liberal Democrats have backed calls from Sir Elton John for the UK Government to urgently resolve the growing crisis facing the UK cultural sector.

At their national Conference today, the party has unanimously backed calls for swift action to address the red tape and paperwork that is stopping UK artists, performers, and musicians from being able to tour and perform in Europe.

Sir Elton has been a vocal critic of the Government’s failure to resolve this issue, which was caused following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU without a full scheme in place to enable paperless travel for performers.

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Senior Lib Dems mark 9/11 anniversary

Senior Lib Dems have been reflecting on 9/11 and its aftermath:

 

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Layla speaks up for Afghanistan’s women and girls

Lib Dem Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran spoke up for women and girls in today’s debate, quoting a young Afghan woman who said “we just live to exist, nothing else.”

Daisy Cooper intervened to emphasise the point that the voices of Afghan women must be heard.

Layla also slammed the Government’s inadequate refugee plan, saying that it’s barely 7 people per constituency this year. The full text of her remarks is below:

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What can we expect the Lib Dems to say in today’s Parliamentary debate on Afghanistan?

Parliament returns to day to spend five short hours debating the crisis in Afghanistan.

What can we expect Liberal Democrats to be saying?

The first priority is about getting people to safety. Yesterday, Layla Moran tweeted that we should be taking at least 20,000 refugees, a figure based on what we had called on for Syrians and what the Canadians had proposed.

Crucially, she added that this had to be backed up by proper funding to local councils to resettle refugees and provide them with the support that they need.

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Ed Davey: Government is failing Afghan people

The idea of the Taliban getting closer to power in Afghanistan is very worrying indeed. That it comes at a time when we are withdrawing troops and slashing foreign aid by 78% shows astonishing irresponsibility on behalf of our government.

You can’t just walk away and leave people in the lurch as we are doing.

Ed Davey has spoken of his concerns about the advance of the Taliban:

As the Taliban take swathes of territory on their advance towards Kabul, millions of women and girls are facing the prospect of a new era of injustice, inequality and brutality – while the

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Layla slams Government for “opening floodgates to new variants” and failing to protect troops

Good work from Layla Moran in today’s press.

First, the Guardian reports the Commons Library research commissioned by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, which Layla chairs, which shows that the number of positive cases tested for variants has fallen dramatically.

The results suggest that in the three weeks to 17 March, there were an estimated 1,769 to 1,827 positive tests from people entering the UK from red list countries, of which somewhere between 63% and 68% were sequenced to determine the variant involved.

By contrast in the three weeks to 30 June, there were an estimated 445 to 507 positive tests from people entering the UK from red list countries, with estimates of the proportion sequenced ranging from 12% to 33%.

Layla highlighted the dangers of this:

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Backbench victory could reverse overseas aid budget cut

Rishi Sunak’s £4 billion cut to the overseas aid budget last November was a populist move, playing to the sections of the media that believe most aid is wasted and we should keep the money for ourselves. But the cut of almost a third from the budget is having an impact on relief and development projects, on education for girls and on the UK’s standing in the developing and developed world.

Backbench MPs are angry. So angry that a Conservative amendment to an unrelated bill of Monday looks like being supported, providing it is selected by the Speaker. This would reinstate our nation’s commitment to spending 0.7% of GDP on overseas aid.

Boris Johnson will perhaps spend the weekend wondering whether it is worth the damage to his reputation ahead of the G7 summit over what one of his ministers calls a “small” cut in overseas aid.

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Local lockdowns by stealth?

The Government has been having to deal rapidly with the cock-up over the restrictions in areas where the Indian variant is spreading.

Munira Wilson was in the Guardian today, after confusion reigned in Westminster:

An appearance in the House of Commons on Tuesday by the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, failed to clarify the matter.

“What we’re asking people in those affected areas is to be cautious, is to be careful – so on visiting family, meet outdoors rather than inside where possible. Meet 2 metres apart from people you don’t live with, unless you have formed a support bubble,” said Zahawi. “Yes, people can visit family in half-term, if they follow social distancing guidelines.”

But then he added: “Avoid travelling in and out of the affected areas, as the prime minister said on the 14th, unless it is essential, for example for work purposes.”

In the House of Commons, the Twickenham MP, Munira Wilson, challenged Zahawi about whether her constituents should be avoiding travelling across the borough boundary into neighbouring Hounslow to shop or go to school.

The minister replied: “People need to exercise that caution, that common sense.”

It’s a pity that the Government didn’t follow it’s own advice and act with common sense in the first place.

Layla Moran, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, joined in on the BBC News:

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Roman Protasevich abduction – time for Britain to act?

The criminal hijacking of a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius, with a Belarussian anti-government activist on board has led to calls from across Europe and beyond for firm action to be taken against the Belarus Government led by Alexander Lukashenko, whose agents advised the flight crew that there was a bomb onboard, and then seized Protasevich and his partner, Sofia Sapega, whilst the plane was on the ground in Minsk.

Layla Moran was quick to call upon Dominic Raab to respond;

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe, in advance of today’s European Council meeting, demanded;

  • The immediate release

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Scrapping Vagrancy Act should be part of Queen’s Speech

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Layla Moran has put this very well:

Today it’s still the law for rough sleepers to be arrested and prosecuted for the crime of not being able to afford a roof over their head. It’s a moral outrage that a Victorian-era law continues to punish those who desperately need help.

The clock is ticking for this Government. We urgently need a more compassionate and holistic approach to ending homelessness in this country. There is significant cross-party support for the Vagrancy Act to be repealed as

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8 Lib Dem GAINS in Oxfordshire – including Tory Council Leader’s seat

Lib Dems in Oxfordshire have taken 8 seats from the Conservatives and are now just one seat behind them.

One of the seats was that of the County Council Leader in Woodstock.

To add to Tory miseries, they also lost a seat in affluent Chipping Norton to Labour.

And there could be more..

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India COVID disaster: Layla Moran calls for UK to begin donating vaccines through COVAX immediately

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The Liberal Democrats have written to the Prime Minister calling for the UK to begin donating vaccines through the COVAX programme immediately.

The letter, co-signed by all the party’s MPs and spearheaded by Layla Moran, echoes calls the party made to join COVAX as part of a ‘parallel rollout’ back in February. With the situation in India now worsening, the urgency of the call has intensified.

It also highlighted how aid cuts are making the global situation worse and called for a number of other proactive measures such as safely accelerating approval processes in regulatory bodies.

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Layla speaks out on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe decision


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The BBC reports:

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been sentenced to a further year in prison and a one-year travel ban after being found guilty of propaganda against the regime in Iran.

Her lawyer said she was accused of taking part in a protest in London 12 years ago and speaking to the BBC Persian service.

The prime minister said the UK would “redouble” efforts to free her.

The British-Iranian charity worker was first jailed in Tehran in 2016.

She has always denied the spying charges levelled against her.

Confirming the latest sentence, her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said the court’s decision was a bad sign and “clearly a negotiating tactic” by the Iranian authorities – who are in the middle of discussions over the country’s nuclear activities.

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