Tag Archives: layla moran

13 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Millions of EU citizens living with uncertainty must be given right to stay
  • Appeals process critical to ensure grade awards do not “derail” students’ futures
  • Record NHS waiting lists point to another health crisis, Liberal Democrats warn

Millions of EU citizens living with uncertainty must be given right to stay

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

The latest EU Settlement Scheme statistics, published this morning, reveal 4,600 people have been refused Settled Status, while 1,475,500 have only been granted temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’ and 212,400 are still waiting for a decision.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

For far too long, millions of EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty. Boris Johnson cannot be allowed to continue to break his promise to them.

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

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

That is why Liberal Democrats have called for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, with the physical proof they need.

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Layla Moran writes …Tackling the environmental crisis from the bottom up

Each week, LDV invites the leadership candidates to write a post for us. This is Layla’s post for this week. 

The climate and nature emergencies are the greatest threats our country – and humankind – face. Climate change is not under control. Worldwide, deforestation and the destruction of habitats continue at a terrifying rate, with catastrophic impacts on wildlife.

This is why, alongside the economy and education, I’ve made the environment one of my campaign themes. My ambition as leader is to make our Liberal voice heard clearly on the environment and to recapture our position as the most innovative and credible party on environmental policy. In turn, this will enable us to build coalitions for action, and to attract support from Labour, Green and Tory voters concerned about the threat to the environment.

Several of the key actions have to be taken by the government. This includes accelerating investment in renewable power, an emergency programme of energy efficiency retrofits for homes, converting the natural gas network to hydrogen, investing in public transport, speeding up the transition to electric vehicles and creating incentives to expand ‘carbon sinks’ through planting trees, restoring peatlands and supporting innovation in carbon dioxide removal technologies. If we move fast enough on all these fronts, we can put the UK on a path not just to net-zero but to net negative emissions.

But government – particularly central government – can’t do it all by itself. They have to take the public with them – which means stressing that tackling the climate and nature emergencies is a shared effort, in which everyone – individuals, households, communities, businesses, investors, farmers, teachers, scientists, engineers, local and national government – has a role to play.

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12 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • GDP figures show need for more radical action from Government
  • Using mock exams won’t resolve grade award crisis
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats launch campaign calling for Rishi Sunak not to tax carers COVID bonus

GDP figures show need for more radical action from Government

Responding to the news that the economy is facing the worst recession in UK history, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Ministers must take immediate action to save jobs and livelihoods as the true economic impact of Covid-19 comes to light.

The Treasury must explain how it is going to stop mass redundancies when the furlough scheme wraps up. It

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7-9 August 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Blocking pupil grade appeals could deny opportunities “for years to come”
  • Government should encourage universities to “exercise leniency” for 2020 admissions
  • Lack of test and trace leaving local authorities blind-folded with regional lockdowns
  • Government must provide practical and financial support ahead of schools opening fully

Blocking pupil grade appeals could deny opportunities “for years to come”

Responding to news that schools, but not individual pupils, will be able to challenge the GCSE and A Level grades awarded, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

This completely fails to get to grips with the issue. If individual pupils are not able to challenge grades which are an unfair reflection of their ability, it could seriously impact their education and employment opportunities for years to come.

It is absolutely unacceptable for any student to be unfairly penalised because of their family’s income or any other factor.

The Secretary of State needs to urgently put in place resources to ensure every child has the chance to appeal their grades and resit assessments when it is safe to do so.

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Ed and Layla set out electoral reform hopes

It wouldn’t be a leadership election if we didn’t talk about PR at some point.

Layla and Ed have both written for the Electoral Reform Society setting out what they want to see in terms of changing our rubbish voting system.

Here are some highlights:

Layla

Under my leadership, the Liberal Democrats would therefore look to establish a common cross-party statement of support for legislation for PR ahead of the next elections.

The aim would be to establish a firm pre-election commitment to PR with support from across different parties. Keir Starmer has voiced his support for a fairer, proportional voting system, and it’s becoming clear that Labour is being increasingly disadvantaged by First Past the Post. This means there is an important opportunity for all those who believe in electoral reform to deliver on it.

I believe that under my leadership, the Liberal Democrats would be better placed to have these discussions with Labour and other political parties, and to help build a cross-party consensus for electoral reform.

Electing me as leader would send a strong signal that the Liberal Democrats are refreshed as a party and have put coalition behind us. That is why I am urging all those who believe strongly in electoral reform to support me at this election, so we can move forward together as a country and build a voting system in which everyone has a voice.

Ed

In respect of elections it is shameful that the United Kingdom continues to use the antiquated, First Past the Post System. I believe we should look to introduce a proportional system to both Westminster and local elections, at the earliest possible moment.

This is not just because the system is needed for both, but because the problem in some local areas is acute. There are areas which have become almost ‘one party states’ with votes for all mainstream parties being ignored and authorities left with little or no opposition scrutiny.

I am passionate about devolving power – all the more reason to make sure the scrutiny of these bodies is representative and effective. I believe there is an appetite to devolve powers from some in other parties and think making common cause on reforming our electoral process as we pursue this is a way to secure the changes we need.

Other areas around how we run elections are ripe for reform – we should introduce automatic voter registration to make it easier for people to vote and scrap the ridiculous plans to require voter ID at polling stations. The Conservatives’ desire to require ID creates another barrier and ends up with more people – likely from minority communities – not exercising their democratic right: it is indefensible.

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4 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Government must act to strengthen NHS Test and Trace ahead of new school year
  • Liberal Democrats back calls for Magnitsky-style sanctions against Hong Kong human rights abusers

Government must act to strengthen NHS Test and Trace ahead of new school year

Responding to news that scientists have warned that current testing and contact tracing is inadequate to prevent a second wave of coronavirus when schools in the UK reopen, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

After months being cooped up at home, millions of children are looking forward to getting back to school in September, but safety must remain the top priority.

In the absence of a vaccine, a comprehensive test, trace and isolate system is the only way to keep people safe as we reopen schools. The Government must do everything in its power to strengthen that system if we are to have any hope of a safe start to the new school year.

Equally, the Government need to be honest about the very real risk that, if they do not get the NHS Test and Trace system in order, or in the event that we see a sharp rise in infections, children may have to go back to learning from home. Ministers must put in place safeguards now to ensure children are still able to get their education in this worst case scenario.

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Layla Moran writes…The change we need to move towards racial equality

Every week, LDV gives each leadership candidate the opportunity to write an article. This is Layla’s for this week. 

UPDATE: Since writing this response, sent to the original letter writers on Sunday 2 August and posted on LDV on  4 August)  I have been involved in discussions with members, and have added my support to the Abolish BAME campaign. It’s time to end the use of BAME as a catch-all term. We can all do better on this, including me, and I hope this is the start of the change that’s needed.

Thank you for writing to me about racial equality in our country and our party. This issue must be an absolute priority and I am glad it has received such significant attention throughout our leadership contest, thanks to the work of members such as yourselves.

I would also like to sincerely apologise for the delay in replying and hope you have had the opportunity to hear about my vision during the hustings so far.

As you so rightly point out, the Liberal Democrats need to be at the forefront of challenging racism and since becoming an MP I’ve put this at the heart of my work.

Whether that’s campaigning for companies that profited from slavery to pay out and support BAME communities, leading calls for the statue of Cecil Rhodes to be removed, fighting to dismantle the Conservatives’ hostile environment, or shining a spotlight on systemic inequalities in our education system, which mean black pupils are so much more likely to be excluded than their white peers.

The events of recent months have shown us why this struggle is more important than ever. As chair of the only comprehensive cross-party inquiry into the government’s handling of coronavirus, I’m committed to ensuring that the appallingly disproportionate impact on BAME communities is properly addressed and never repeated.

However, we also need to go much further, in order to build a fairer society where opportunity for all is a reality not just a buzzword. Under my leadership, I want our party to harness the energy and passion shown by the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd and champion more ambitious policies that will deliver real change.

One of the biggest issues facing BAME communities today is inequality in the workplace, which is why I’ve reached out to the Confederation of British Industry, the British Retail Consortium, and the Trades Union Congress, to help draw up legislation that would require companies to publish data on their ethnicity pay gap for the first time.

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30 July 2020 – today’s press releases

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

Highest levels of excess deaths demands Government learn lessons

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

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

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

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

Liberal Democrats call for review into school exclusions

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

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

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

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

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Layla Moran: The momentum is with my campaign – vote for me to move us forward together!

Each week LDV invites leadership candidates to submit one article. This is this week’s article form Layla Moran

Today’s the day! Ballots are finally dropping into inboxes and through letterboxes. I’m urging Lib Dem members to vote for me, to move our party and our country forward – and the momentum is with my campaign.

Let’s be honest – there is a burning need for change. At just six per cent in the polls, we are in sink or swim territory. Our country desperately needs a strong liberal voice to challenge Boris Johnson’s increasingly isolationist and regressive Conservative Government.

I’ve been clear throughout this contest: to change our country, we must first change our party. Because only by renewing ourselves and rebuilding trust will we win again. And only by winning will we be able to deliver progressive, liberal change for communities across the country.

In my plan for our party, I’ve outlined five key steps to strengthen our party at every level and win again from the bottom up. It starts with learning the lessons from the past decade, and sending a clear signal to voters that we are renewed as a party, and can credibly communicate a progressive message. We can do this by electing me as leader!

After this, we will win back trust and support by living our values as a party, listening to voters, empowering our activists to deliver a core message that resonates with a broad base of supporters

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29 July 2020 – today’s press release

Government must act now on National Food Strategy recommendations

Responding to the National Food Strategy review suggesting that free school meals should be extended to every household receiving Universal Credit, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The Government must waste no time in acting on these recommendations. We know that giving school children a hot, healthy meal at lunchtime greatly improves their health, behaviour and results.

The Liberal Democrats are proud to have introduced free school meals in government and have long been calling for them to be extended to more pupils.

We need to invest in giving every child the

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Lynne Featherstone writes….Vote Layla!

I took over as Layla’s mentor when Vince had to stop because he became leader. I didn’t know her. I’d met her only once at a training weekend a few years earlier. We had lunch to introduce ourselves to each other. I came away from that very first meeting thinking here is someone who should be our leader.

I did my damndest to get her to run last time against Jo and Ed. Sadly (but possibly wisely) she resisted my pleading. She felt having been in Parliament a short time, and with a majority of just 800, she wasn’t ready. This time, with her majority increased to almost 9000; there was no holding her back. She is original, brave, intelligent, empathetic, and charismatic, and she will move us forward together.

Layla is liberal through and through and through. She wants every single person to fulfil their potential and have the security to live life as they choose. The words in our preamble: no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity, called to her as they did to me.

Her key priorities on education, the environment and the economy – Universal Basic Income and carbon negative (not just neutral!) targets and a teacher-led curriculum are how we move forward. Bold, liberal ideas, delivered with the right message and messenger will build our party and our country back better. You can read more about her plan for the party and vision for the country here.

With Layla, we can move on from the coalition voting record. We can rebuild trust and deliver positive and progressive change. Yes – we did some good things during the coalition. I was the originator and architect of the same-sex marriage law. But brilliant and liberal as that was – it’s not what people think of when the word coalition is brought up, and the coalition will be brought up in the many interviews our new leader will be grilled in. Being able to move the conversation forward from it is vital.

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Where to see Ed and Layla this weekend

It’s the last weekend in the leadership election before the ballot papers go out. Already there has been a good mix of regional and themed hustings to put the two candidates, Layla Moran and Ed Davey, through their paces.

There are five opportunities to see them in action over the next two days.

First up, the London hustings between 3 and 4:30 this afternoon.

Tonight, between 7 and 8:30, it’s the Welsh event and tomorrow the Scottish hustings take place between 2 and 3:30 pm.

What these three areas have in common is that they all have mayoral, Parliament or Senedd elections next May so it’s a chance to see how well the candidates understand the political environments in those very different parts of the UK.

The final hustings of the weekend, the North East, takes place tomorrow evening between 7 and 8:30 pm.

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22 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Mental health and education gap of homeschooling must be addressed
  • All Hong Kongers must be given right to live in the UK
  • £2.9 billion aid cut shows Government abandoning world stage

Mental health and education gap of homeschooling must be addressed

Responding to ONS statistics published today on the impact of homeschooling during the coronavirus pandemic, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Coronavirus has clearly impacted every aspect of life, including the wellbeing of parents and children, and the quality of education the majority of children receive. We must ensure no one is left behind.

If it wasn’t for years of cuts to our schools and government failing to consult adequately with teachers and school leaders, it wouldn’t be this way. Ministers must now increase the necessary provision of laptops and introduce a Summer Learning Fund that supports the most disadvantaged children.

Moreover, the Government must address the mental health impact of the pandemic by signposting the appropriate support services to every household, and properly funding the charities that provide those services.

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20 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Test and trace privacy fiasco yet another blunder by Ministers
  • Government’s school funding plan shows no understanding of challenges facing schools
  • Government must set up lifeboat system to ensure safe passage for Hong Kongers
  • Government silencing those who get in the way of their own political interests
  • Tories’ plan to “take back control” proves to be empty words when it comes to trade

Test and trace privacy fiasco yet another blunder by Ministers

Responding to reports that privacy campaigners have accused the Government’s test and trace programme of breaking data protection laws, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The fact that the Government have potentially broken the law is just another example of Ministers’ disastrous handling of test and trace. For the Department of Health to admit there was no consideration on the impact this would have on our privacy shows that this Government is simply walking into blunder after blunder, failing to get a grip on this crisis.

Of course mass testing, contact tracing and isolation at the community level for those who test positive, is the only safe way out of lockdown, but protecting individuals’ privacy remains of the utmost importance.

The Liberal Democrats have been clear that as long as there is absolute transparency when it comes to what information is collected, how long it is stored for, and who has access to this data, the Government can mitigate the concerns people have.

Ministers must get a grip of test and trace system if they are to keep people safe from coronavirus. They must do everything they can to not only protect people’s data and keep the public’s trust, but ensure we get an effective app up and running as soon as possible.

Government’s school funding plan shows no understanding of challenges facing schools

Responding to the publication of the Government’s funding allocations for schools in 2021-22, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The Conservatives’ spending plans show no understanding of the challenges facing schools in September. They have asked schools to open as normal when our Test and Trace system is faulty. Teachers must try to reverse the harm to children’s learning, development and mental health, when many disadvantaged children have disappeared off schools’ radars entirely during lockdown.

In the face of this crisis, spending plans announced last year are utterly unfit for purpose. All the Government has added is a catch-up premium worth just £80 per pupil per year, and a tutoring fund. It’s simply not enough to pay for the small group teaching that Ministers say our children need.

The pandemic requires us to invest in education at all levels on an unprecedented scale. That’s why Liberal Democrats have launched a five-point plan to re-open schools safely, provide laptops to those who need them and close the disadvantage gap, so that we can give every child a great start in life.

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UPDATED: Watch Ed and Layla at hustings

This post will be regularly updated with links to recordings of  Ed and Layla at the many hustings events that are taking place.

I’ll update it and re-post it whenever there is something new to add.

First up, the very first formal hustings, with the Social Liberal Forum on Saturday 11th July.

The most recent hustings took place on 1st August – the Norfolk County

Also this week, the Yorkshire and the Humber event

 

And a themed hustings – the Green Agenda, from Wednesday 29th July

The first of the party’s big set piece hustings, on jobs and the economy took place on Wednesday 15th July:

More events under the cut. First South Central from 11 July

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Layla Moran, cutting through the media

Lib Dem Voice invites each candidate for the leadership to submit one post in support of their campaign per week. This is the post from Layla Moran’s team for this week.  

While we’re all caught up in the policy nuances of our summer leadership debate there is something to me that seems to have been overlooked – a leader’s ability to make the Liberal Democrats part of the national conversation in the media. This for me is one of the main reasons I’m backing Layla to be our next leader.

Layla has the media nouse to make the Liberal Democrat’s voice heard in the national conversation. Throughout this campaign, she has secured front-page stories across the spectrum, from traditionally Labour-supporting newspapers like the Mirror to staunch Tory backing papers like the Telegraph where she helped expose historic slavery links to some of the UK’s top firms leading to them donating to BAME community groups and charities.

She even led a campaign with the Daily Express on an incredible (and in the end successful) campaign to force the Government to introduce a Coronavirus Compensation Scheme for bereaved families. This shows how working with the media isn’t just about raising the party’s visibility, it can change policy and change lives.

Since I joined this party in 2015, I’ve never seen a Liberal Democrat MP so good at making us a relevant part of the national conversation. Layla is a refreshing voice in the media, in many cases providing the only clear opposition to this shambolic Tory Government. Just in the past few weeks, she made the front page of The i newspaper on opposing the Conservative’s heartless choice to reinstate car parking charges for NHS staff.

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Centre interviews the Liberal Democrat leadership contenders (Part 1: Layla Moran)

This week Centre sat down with Layla Moran to explore why she wants to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats. Below are my thoughts on the interview and some of the key takeaways. However, if you want the full interview, you can find it here.

In the first part of the discussion, Layla spoke about her upbringing, how she travelled around the world during her childhood and her love of physics.

We also spoke about her proposals for a Universal Basic Income. Layla supports a UBI of “£40-50 a week for an adult, maybe a bit more if there’s children” although programs such as housing benefits would remain in place. In the Compass model that would give adults a slightly higher £60 per week, this means raises in Income Tax and National Insurance to generate an extra £81 billion for the government. That’s a sizable sum of money when such an increase would almost double education spending from 2019-2020 levels. We need to decide if this is the best place to spend new revenue such as this.

I am also concerned as to whether this will be enough for people to live on, especially if it ends up around £40 a week. I spoke to an Asylum Seeker the other week who was struggling to live off £40 a week even with free accommodation. Therefore, I do worry whether £40-50 will be enough and whether this is really the best way to spend new tax revenue.

Whilst I have concerns over the specifics, there were also some particularly good points Layla made when talking about UBI. Even for someone like me who is sceptical she sold the idea very well as if it were a form of people pulling together after COVID-19.

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14 July 2020 – the overnight press release

Liberal Democrats: Higher education announcement lacks substance

Responding to the higher technical education measures announced by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Ministers have extolled Further Education for years, yet chosen to make deep cuts. This announcement risk being no different – strong on rhetoric but low on substance.

Introducing new qualifications will be no use without the funding to back it up. We need to see unprecedented investment in skills for young people coming out of this crisis so that no-one is left behind.

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13 July 2020 – the overnight press releases

  • Children of parents who lose jobs over summer risk losing free school meals
  • New Govt campaign will fill businesses with horror

Children of parents who lose jobs over summer risk losing free school meals

Children of parents who lose their jobs over the coming weeks risk missing out on free school meals over the summer because of a loophole in the scheme, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran has warned.

It comes following a wave of job losses this week, with John Lewis and Boots alone cutting 5,300 jobs.

The current government guidelines say you must apply for a voucher for the Covid …

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Leadership election 2020: Watch Ed and Layla at hustings

This post will be regularly updated with links to recordings of  Ed and Layla at the many hustings events that are taking place.

I’ll update it and re-post it whenever there is something new to add.

First up, the very first formal hustings, with the Social Liberal Forum on Saturday 11th July.

The first of the party’s big set piece hustings, on jobs and the economy took place on Wedmesday 15th July:

More events under the cut. First South Central from 11 July

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Where to see the leadership candidates this weekend

With Layla and Ed duly nominated, they now embark on an eye-watering series of hustings events across the country. There are 4 this weekend.

In just under an hour you can see them at the Social Liberal Forum q and a at 11 am.

At 3:25pm, both candidates will be put through a job interview style interview at the Scottish special conference by former candidate Katy Gordon, who’s a senior HR person and John Ferry, a journalist. I wonder if they’ve been modelling their interviewing style on Claude from The Apprentice.

Tonight at 6pm, it is the South Central hustings.

Tomorrow at 6pm, it’s the Yorkshire and the Humber’s turn to question the candidates.

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10 July 2020 – today’s press releases

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

Cross-party group urge BBC to save Politics Live

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

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

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Final nomination totals for leadership candidates


These are the final figures for the nominations for the next Leader of the Liberal Democrats – more details here.

You can see both candidates in action at the many hustings meetings (all via Zoom or YouTube, of course). Some are regional in character, others focus on specific policy areas or strategy.

Everyone who was a party member by yesterday will be able to vote in the election, which will run from 30th July to 26th August, with the results expected to be declared on 27th August.

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Coalition

Friends, Lib Dems, countryfolk, lend me your ears. I come to bury the coalition, not to praise it.

But I’m not here to damn it either. I just want to move on.

Same-sex marriage. The Green Investment Bank. The tripling of our renewable energy usage. All Lib Dem policies that we should be fiercely proud of. But, if we’re going to celebrate them, we need to acknowledge that they came at a human cost – and that we voted for that.

As a party, we are too quick to brush off these people who we hurt as collateral. We shrug and say compromises had to be made. But those “compromises” were human beings – some of them within our own party. I have nothing but respect and admiration for their resilience and their faith in our movement. However, their forgiveness does not absolve us.

I don’t think it has to be a mark of shame on us forever. But too many people just don’t trust us to not jump back in bed with the Tories. It’s why our refusal to back Jeremy Corbyn at the General Election, whilst electorally wise and the right thing to do, was met with such anger.

By expending all that energy defending the coalition, voters hear “we think working with the Tories was a good thing”. That puts us a step back when we’re trying to convince people we’re not going to do it again.

Furthermore, we cannot expect the public to move on when we refuse to do so ourselves.

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Three things we don’t need in this leadership campaign: a goody, a baddy and more policy

Embed from Getty Images

In politics it’s always tempting to think we can resolve problems by resorting to the same old solutions. That usually involves lionising a goody, demonising a baddy and a rollicking good debate about policy.

In the debate over our leadership, I’m seeing many people seeking to create a goody and a baddy, and loads of people banging on about policy.

But I don’t think we should be focusing on those in this leadership campaign. Here’s why.

Let’s start with the first problem. The traditional good v bad argument. We need to stop this nonsense. The fact that Ed served in the coalition should absolutely not rule him out from being the leader. In fact, we are fortunate to have somebody with his experience in government on the ballot paper. His achievements on the environment are matched by few in modern politics and he has an inspiring, touching personal story to tell too.

Layla is a talented politician, an effective campaigner and an excellent communicator. She may well enable us to access a demographic that has largely ignored us in the past three elections. It’s right that she’s willing to try to talk to people who just want a bit of ‘hopes and dreams’ in their politics and bought into that element of the Labour message. That’s a good thing and we should welcome it rather than deliberately misinterpreting her words.

This isn’t a battle of good v bad, it’s one liberal taking on another. Let’s not engage in the unattractive factionalism that we dislike so much in other parties. That gets us nowhere and gives succour to our opponents.

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Liberal Democrats in support of black lives and black livelihoods

An open letter to the candidates for Leadership of the Liberal Democrats.

3rd July 2020

Dear Leadership Candidate,

Though the espoused commitment of the Liberal project to achieve racial equality within the UK may indeed be sincere, a lack of diverse representation at all levels of the party betrays the fact that as liberals we have found it inexplicably difficult to practice what we preach.

In a post imperial, post-Brexit Britain, the rightful place for British Liberalism surely, should be at the vanguard of the fight for racial justice and equality. Yet on issues of race, we find ourselves perennially navel-gazing, apparently stuck in a holding pattern of our own making. The pace of change within the party, frustratingly glacial at best.

Martin Luther King taught that though legislation may be effective in restraining the heartless, it has little effect in changing a man’s heart and ridding him of his implicit biases.

If Grenfell, Windrush and Covid-19 have taught us anything post-Macpherson, it is that the cancer of racism is thriving in the UK; albeit, having evolved a degree of invisibility, metastasizing into aversive forms such as silence, stonewalling and political inertia, the manifestations of which continue to be largely ignored.

When Derek Chauvin placed his knee on George Floyd’s neck, hands in pockets, eyes devoid of empathy, emboldened by the wilful and negligent silence of his fellow officers, the cloak of invisibility slipped. The racial animus was evident to all who observed. And on this occasion, could not be hidden, ignored or explained away.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

2 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt making “dog’s dinner” of Brexit negotiations
  • Govt must move faster to improve NHS Test & Trace system
  • Govt woefully underprepared to ensure every young person can return to school

Govt making “dog’s dinner” of Brexit negotiations

Responding to news that the UK Chief Negotiator David Frost has stated that “significant differences” remain as the latest restricted round of talks concludes a day early, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs and Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Last month Boris Johnson asserted that he wanted a Brexit deal by the end of July.

But far from putting a tiger in the tank, David Frost appears to be making a

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2 July 2020 – the overnight press release

Guidance for schools raises more questions than they answer

Responding to reports the Government’s guidance for schools reopening will include an overhaul of the curriculum, impose strict behaviour regimes and include a continuation of remote learning, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

A raft of guidance is again released, but it is meaningless unless it is accompanied by robust scientific evidence to reassure the public that these plans won’t result in an increased risk of Covid-19 spreading.

The practicality of the plans also raise concerns. Dropping entire subjects and a continuation of remote learning without much needed equipment is far

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged | 5 Comments

29 June 2020 – the overnight press release

Govt funding for schools is spin over substance

Responding to the Government’s announcement of a ten-year rebuilding programme schools, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

This is spin over substance. The funding is nowhere near the £7bn the National Audit Office has said is needed to repair our schools.

Schools need urgent investment to increase space now, not vague numbers pulled out of thin air.

Whether it’s investing in schools or hospitals, time and again the Conservatives have over promised and under delivered.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 2 Comments

25 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems “delighted” by move to increase protection for abuse survivors in family courts
  • Cross-party group urge Govt to agree to increased aid scrutiny in wake of DfID axe
  • Lib Dems: Jenrick must resign or be sacked
  • Irresponsible for Govt to change social distancing at schools
  • Govt must guarantee NHS Test & Trace fully functional before lockdown eases

Lib Dems “delighted” by move to increase protection for abuse survivors in family courts

The Government has confirmed it will strengthen protections in courts for survivors of domestic abuse through an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill, following calls from campaigning organisations and the Liberal Democrats.

During Committee Stage of the Bill, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine tabled an amendment calling for the introduction of ‘special measures’ in family courts during Committee Stage of the Bill.

The Government has today announced that it will bring in these changes in their own version of the amendment.

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