Tag Archives: layla moran

WATCH: Layla on the need for inclusive sex and relationships education

This week the Government started consulting on relationships and sex education. For years, Liberal Democrats have argued that it is vital that every child has access to information that includes everyone, where LGBT+ people are included and which covers issues of consent and life-saving information about safe sex and contraception. Education spokesperson Layla Moran encourages responses and highlights how Lib Dem Education secretary Kirsty Williams has done this in Wales.

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Whip issues apology over Trade Bill vote

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael has issued a statement following yesterday’s vote on the Taxation (Cross-border trade) Bill:

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LibLink: Layla Moran: Don’t be fooled: The Chequers Plan is economic suicide

You might be fooled into believing, because of the gnashing of teeth amongst the Tory Brexiteers, that the plan thrashed out at Chequers, on which today’s White Paper was based, is hardly any Brexit at all.

Don’t believe that fiction, says Layla Moran, writing for Politics.co.uk.

First, though, she compares and contrasts two holders of that high office of state of Foreign Secretary:

The contrast between Carrington and Johnson is striking. Carrington served in Churchill’s cabinet yet was the more modern figure, seeing the importance of nations working for the common good. Johnson, in contrast, invited a photographer to capture for posterity his

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Layla Moran: Brexit is a mess and we need a People’s Vote

Ahead of this afternoon’s Lib Dem Commons debate on the People’s Vote, Layla Moran has been on Victoria Derbyshire to talk about what a mess Brexit is turning out to be, how people didn’t really know at the time of the referendum exactly what it was going to mean and how we need a People’s Vote on the deal.

See a clip here.

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LibLink: Layla Moran “Airbus shows businesses are running out of patience with our Government”

Layla Moran has been writing on Huffpost on the fallout from Airbus’s announcement that it will pull out of Britain (with the loss of thousands of jobs) if there is no transition deal on Brexit.

She writes:

The difficulty for those of us campaigning against an extreme Brexit ripping us out of the world’s largest market is that not enough people feel that the economy is nose-diving.

Take Airbus. It is looking for a breakthrough later this week at the European Council meeting, or else. It was a brave announcement, that if we don’t secure a decent trade deal, it is likely to move factories and jobs abroad – brave not for the act of leaving but for coming out and saying it.

So why did Airbus risk such an announcement? Because this wasn’t a threat. This was the first stage of its disinvestment from the UK; the risk of a no-deal Brexit is now simply too great, and too soon. Even a company the size of Airbus cannot afford to risk £1billion a week.

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Layla Moran talks about her bariatric surgery on Any Questions and calls for focus on wellbeing in schools

Layla was brilliant on Any Questions on Friday night. You can listen to the whole thing here. The bit I especially appreciated was when she spoke very frankly about her own experience when answering a question about obesity.

11 year old Olivia Metcalfe asked:

Given the the amount of media coverage relating to childhood obesity has had little or no effect on the problem, what would be the panel’s favourite option – taxation, legislation or education and why?

Layla said that as a former teacher, she’d be very proud of any of her students who came up with a question like that and then made a revelation.

You will be unsurprised to hear that I think education’s top of that list. But I will also reveal something very personal about myself. I was an obese child for most of my childhood and well into my twenties and  ended up having a bariatric operation and lost pretty much half my body weight…

…I think there are elements of this that are genetic and I will say that the largest reason why for me that this was a problem was more about mental health and wellbeing and confidence and feeling good about yourself. It wasn’t necessarily a lack of opportunity of all of those things but the point I’m trying to make is that it was a much more complex, much more personal issue than I think sometimes the debate about this has become. We’ve kind of got to the point where we say oh, just eat less, exercise more and that will solve the problem.

The fact is that there are lots and lots of different reasons why people are obese. Lots of them are out of their control and I do think that there are some things that society can help with. So I do think that things like the Sugar Tax are helpful. I don’t think we should be advertising junk food to children at all. I think there is a wider question about why we are advertising to children at all about anything.  But I do think a large part of it is that we need to look at ourselves wider in society. It’s not going to just from government that this is going to work, it needs to be a much broader issue and crucially I do think we need to bring wellbeing back into schools and make time get to know children and know them as people and help them not just about this but in all sorts of issues to help them become healthy adults and I was very lucky to have that opportunity.

I think Layla’s perspective is crucial. I have spent much of my life struggling with my weight. Many of you will already know that I lost seven stones a couple of years ago. I’ve found a bit of it in the intervening period but I’m trying to keep it under control.  have never managed to do is to lose weight when my mental health or self image has not been good. Confidence and wellbeing have always been crucial for me.  Shaming people is very likely to have the opposite effect.

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Layla on Any Questions tonight

BBC’s Any Questions panel tonight is even less diverse than usual, but our Layla Moran will be there on the Isle of Wight to make the case for a People’s Vote on Brexit.

Layla has had a very busy recess week, talking about period poverty:

Making the case for a pay rise for teachers:

Arguing for safe standing at football clubs

And standing up for kids in care whose education is being disrupted:

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How can the Government proceed with Brexit if there’s evidence the public has changed its mind?

Of all the constitutional crises talked about round Brexit, surely the biggest is taking an irrevocable step that doesn’t have the backing of the British people at the point that it is made. If the UK exits the European Union on 29th March next year, it’s starting to look as if that move will not have the backing of the electorate.

Prospect magazine has analysis of YouGov polls conducted over the past two years which suggests that Remain would win a referendum on the Brexit deal. That surely means that the Government’s full-speed-ahead, devil-may-care approach to Brexit has no democratic …

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Why Vince highlighted the Labour/Tory Brexit love-in

Vince had a question to the Prime Minister today. He was jeered at almost as soon as he stood up – a good sign that he is so relevant that people think they have to do that.

What did he choose to ask her on this set piece occasion?

The Prime Minister and the Labour Leader of the Opposition both agree that we should leave the single market and leave the European Union customs union, and that the public should not have a final say on the Brexit deal, so will the Prime Minister dispense with our tradition of party political point scoring and, in the spirit that I am setting, publicly thank the leadership of the Labour party for its help and support in making Brexit happen?

So why was he stirring that particular pot?

Well, it’s kind of obvious if you are fighting a parliamentary by-election a few miles down the road where Labour in theory has a large majority that you showcase their massive weakness in this pro-Remain seat as often as possible. At every possible moment, you highlight how Jeremy Corbyn is giving the Tories a free ride.

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Layla Moran: Country in need of long term care plan

Today a Commons report highlights how much the adult social care sector is underfunded.

Layla Moran said that this had to change:

Care workers work tirelessly but instead of getting the support they need they face low pay, falling morale and a high turnover of staff.

The country is in desperate need for a long-term plan to fund the increasing demand for care. That is why the Liberal Democrats propose putting a penny on income tax to raise the transformational investment needed to support care workers and protect the future of care services.

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Layla Moran: Public Accounts Committee report shows Government in Brexit chaos

In a report published today, the influential Commons Public Accounts Committee slams the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s approach to Brexit. The Chair, Meg Hillier, had this to say.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy appears to be operating in a parallel universe where urgency is an abstract concept with no bearing on the Brexit process.

The Department is responsible for around a fifth of the work streams the Government must complete as the UK leaves the EU. It is an extremely important, challenging and time-sensitive workload.

Yet the Department told us it had not re-prioritised its overall programme of work, had not begun procurement for around a dozen essential digital systems and could not provide vital information about its workforce.

We have grave concerns about this apparent complacency, compounded by the lack of transparency on the Department’s progress with what in some cases will be critical projects.

Our Layla Moran is a member of the Committee, said that all that BEIS had done was add to the sense of chaos surrounding Brexit:

A functioning business and energy department is crucial to the future success of our economy, the fact that there is no confidence about its preparedness for Brexit is deeply concerning.

The Liberal Democrats have asked BEIS on several occasions how it will spend allocated funds on Brexit but so far we have not been given any substantive information.

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Layla Moran: We shouldn’t be punishing children for taking part in dance and music

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Back in the day, I used to get permission to be away from school to take part in the local arts festivals. It was good for me to broaden my experience and skills and good for the school to see its pupils win awards and present themselves well.

So I was pretty annoyed to see that the Royal Academy of Dance had complained that the Government’s rules on term time absence from school prevented children from taking their dance exams. From the BBC:

According to RAD exams director Andrew McBirnie, before 2013 ballet exams could be run “during the school day and the student was able to leave a class at say 10 o’clock, do their exam and be back by lunchtime – and that seemed to be a perfectly legitimate activity that the student might be doing as part of their all-round education.

“Increasingly over the last few years… there have been more and more schools saying: ‘No we can’t allow this any more because of this issue with unauthorised absence.'”

Just this week, a study showed the beneficial effects of structured music education on cognitive ability and academic performance:

Structured music lessons significantly enhance children’s cognitive abilities — including language-based reasoning, short-term memory, planning and inhibition — which lead to improved academic performance. Published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, the research is the first large-scale, longitudinal study to be adapted into the regular school curriculum. Visual arts lessons were also found to significantly improve children’s visual and spatial memory.

Just like when I was at school in the 80s, a Conservative Government squeezes school budgets and music specialist education is the first to go, as a report in the Guardian highlighted last week.

The director of the Royal College of Music has criticised the “steady decline” of music provision in UK state schools.

Prof Colin Lawson used a speech celebrating Prince Charles’s 25-year association with the school to add his voice to a situation that Andrew Lloyd Webber has called a “national scandal”.

Lawson praised work that has been done to analyse the effect of arts and culture on public health.

The Liberal Democrats have long opposed the limits to term time holidays anyway, but Layla Moran had this to say about today’s reports:

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Tim Farron: How would you want your family to be treated if they were fleeing war?

On Friday, MPs kept alive a Bill proposed by the SNP’s Angus MacNeil aimed at reuniting refugee families. The debate was one of those which makes you proud of MPs from all parties. The Bill had support from Conservative, Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrat MPs.

Ed Davey, Alistair Carmichael and Layla Moran all made interventions.

Tim Farron made a really powerful speech. His leadership was marked by his constant and passionate pressure on the Government to do more to help refugees and it’s something that he still continues to pursue. Here’s his speech in full.

I will try to be brief, Mr Deputy Speaker, because the most important thing today is that this Bill proceeds. I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Angus Brendan MacNeil), and to all hon. Members who, unusually, are here on a Friday. This is my fourth debate on a Friday in 13 years, because this Bill matters. It is a chance and a test. It is a test of our support for the people who need it most; it is a test of our ability to act with compassion and common sense. It is not a hard test, because this is a modest and tightly defined common sense Bill.

Let us be clear what the changes in the Bill would mean for the refugee children who are already here in the United Kingdom. These are children who have experienced unimaginable things. Nevertheless, I want Members to try to imagine. What horrific set of circumstances might have to happen to a family that would mean that the danger and misery of fleeing across land and sea, as well as the risk of separation, is preferable to staying put? Imagine how you would want your children and your family to be treated at the end of your journey. Imagine that sanctuary, and the kindness that goes with it, and be very clear that that must be the model for how we treat families today.

Separated refugee children in the United Kingdom have already overcome threats and danger in their own communities. They have been split from their families in their rush to find somewhere—anywhere—safe and have then been forced through a terrifying journey by sea and land to Europe, journeys that we know have claimed hundreds of children’s lives. These refugee children are here right now living in our communities alongside us, asking us today to step up and reunite them with their families. The Bill will allow them a future with their families instead of being separated from them. It will mean children growing up with their parents where they should be, at their side, rather than living with the constant worry about the fate of their families, stranded and out of reach. The Bill simply makes that possible.

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Wearside Lib Dems slam “shockingly misogynist” Council anti-alcohol campaign

It’s good to see Wearside Lib Dems call out Sunderland Council for an incredibly ill-judged anti-alcohol campaign poster.

Labour may well be picking up votes amongst young people nationally, but they are defending a campaign with out-dated attitudes and sexism at it heart. We’ve won three Council by-elections in the area in the last year, which shows how out of touch Labour are with people. Our group leader Cllr Niall Hodson told the Sunderland Echo exactly why this campaign was so terrible.

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WATCH: Layla Moran attack Tory and DUP on cuts to free school meals

Back in the 70s, Margaret Thatcher was dubbed Thatcher the Milk Snatcher as she introduced cuts to free school milk. Nearly 50 years on, it’s another Tory Government, in cahoots with the DUP, who are trying to restrict free school meals, which were introduced due to Lib Dem pressure during the coalition years.

Watch Layla Moran speak in favour of extending free school meals, not cutting them back and urging the government not to close the childcare vouchers scheme:

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Layla Moran: Homeless people need us to find the money to put a roof over their heads

Every year the House of Commons spends 3 days debating Government Department’s estimates for public spending. Up until now, a committee of select committee chairs decides what subjects to debate, but it was different this year:

Layla Moran led the section on homelessness. She expressed disbelief that funding to tackle this was being cut when the supply of housing was going down and homelessness was rising due to Universal Credit. She highlighted the case of a constituent, a mother who works full time, who couldn’t find somewhere she could afford. How did we get to this stage, she asked.

It is a great pleasure to introduce this estimates day debate on the spending of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as it relates to homelessness. I would like to start by thanking the hon. Member for Chichester (Gillian Keegan) for co-sponsoring the debate. I also thank colleagues on the Public Accounts Committee and the hon. Member for Sheffield South East (Mr Betts), the Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local ​Government Committee, all of whom supported our bid to the Backbench Business Committee. I am delighted that so many Members wish to speak.

I draw Members’ attention to the reports of the Public Accounts Committee and the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee that are listed on the Order Paper. It was a real eye-opener to work on the Public Accounts Committee as a lead member on that inquiry, alongside the hon. Member for Chichester and the Committee’s Chair, the hon. Member for Hackney South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier). I will focus my remarks today on that report, which is well worth a read.

The Public Accounts Committee heard and read evidence from a wide range of witnesses. I would especially like to thank St Mungo’s for hosting us and showing us its exemplary work, which led in large part to the questioning we went on to do. The report, which received widespread media coverage, made a number of recommendations on how the Government could more effectively co-ordinate and prioritise spending on tackling rough sleeping and helping all homeless households. These issues are of huge concern across the House and across the country, but they are of equal concern to very many members of our communities, especially on such a freezing day, in a week that is unusually cold.

In my constituency of Oxford West and Abingdon, residents regularly raise concerns about rough sleeping and provision for homeless people—it is the No. 1 issue at the moment. I pay tribute to the incredible work being done in my constituency, especially by Homeless Oxfordshire, formerly known as Oxford Homeless Pathways. It has told me that in Oxford alone it is reaching out to, on average, two new people a day who are seeking its help.

Recent news reports have highlighted a heavy-handed approach by Oxford City Council, with notices issued threatening homeless people with fines of up to £2,500 if they did not move their belongings. The treatment of homeless people in our city has sparked outrage from the public. There is now real determination, and not just in Oxfordshire but across the country, to ensure that we treat those who are sleeping rough with the dignity and respect they deserve.

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Layla Moran: Conservatives are abdicating their responsibilities on sex education

In interviews with The Sunday Times and Andrew Marr, new Education Secretary Damian Hinds signalled he would encourage restrictions to pupils’ rights to sex education. In the former interview, he is reported to have acknowledged he was reversing the policy of his predecessor, Justine Greening.

Hinds also failed to commit to the reintroduction of maintenance grants for students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds as part of a review of the university system.

Responding, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The sexual harassment and intimidation scandals – and the resulting need for the #metoo movement – and the shocking rise in homophobic and transphobic attacks are just some of the reasons why compulsory sex education is vital.

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Layla and Ed try to change laws on homelessness

I was so incredibly proud of two of our Lib Dem MPs yesterday.

First, Layla Moran stood up at PMQs and asked Theresa May to abolish the “archaic, dickensian and cruel” Vagrancy Act which criminalises rough sleeping, adding another layer of indignity to an already horrific situation for vulnerable people.

Here’s the exchange in full:

Under the Vagrancy Act 1824, rough sleeping is illegal. The Act was used nearly 2,000 times last year to drag homeless people before the courts. Scotland and Northern Ireland have already repealed it, so will the Prime Minister support my Bill to consign this heartless, Dickensian law to the history books across the whole United Kingdom?

The Prime Minister

We recognise that we need to take action in relation to rough sleeping, which is why we are putting more money into projects to reduce rough sleeping. That includes projects such as Housing First, which are being established in a number of places to ensure that we can provide for those who are rough sleeping. None of us wants to see anybody rough sleeping on our streets, which is why the Government are taking action.

This is even more important given that the cuts to social security have torn such massive holes in the safety net that homelessness is on the increase.

Layla also introduced a Bill to repeal the Vagrancy Act. Here she is talking about it.

And a couple of hours later, with a speech that packed a real punch, Ed Davey introduced a Bill which aims to give homeless people access to housing and end of life care if they are terminally ill. Yes, that’s right, they don’t actually have it already.

It is bad enough being homeless, but imagine having a terminal illness like Cancer. How on earth are you going to have a chance of managing the pain if you have nowhere to live? Anyone who has ever nursed someone through an illness like that will know how valuable that end of life care is at keeping people as comfortable as possible in their final weeks and days.

How would you like someone you love to end up in those circumstances?

Here’s Ed’s speech in full. It made me sad and angry to think that we live in a country where this isn’t already happening.

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LibLink: Layla Moran: There are no winners from Brexit’s nuclear option

Layla Moran has been writing for the New European on the problems that exiting Euratom, the organisation founded in 1957 to create a specialist market for nuclear power in Europe.

She said:

The government has said it wants a “close association” with the Euratom Research and Training Programme and will seek open trade arrangements for nuclear goods. Both laudable ambitions – but this could all be best resolved by remaining in Euratom instead of creating uncertainty and seeking to negotiate what will certainly be a second rate option. In the meantime, the brilliant nuclear scientists from the EU, working together with their UK colleagues at places like Culham in Oxfordshire, on vital nuclear fusion research, are left in limbo. Some of these people, taking their precious skills with them, have already begun to drift away from the UK.

Then there is the issue of medical radioisotopes. As Mike Galsworthy explained in theNew European last week, these nuclear materials are used in cancer treatments and have very short half-lives, so any delays at borders would diminish the number of doses available. Those in the medical industry are deeply concerned.

What could be more pressing than making sure cancer patients still get treated? Well, it seems that, once again, keeping the fractious Tory party together through insistence on delivering a hard Brexit trumps the national interest.

The Government is keen to play this down, and accuses those who raise it as scaremongers, but the industry needs more than just assurances from the Government that a ‘close relationship’ will be achievable. Industry experts suggest it could take up to seven years to negotiate a treaty as wide-ranging as Euratom so I fail to see how we are going to get this finished in time.

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Poverty and homelessness figures show how children are being let down

The End Child Poverty Coalition reveals in a report today that in some parts of the country, more than half our children are living in poverty. What a way to treat the next generation!

Lib Dem Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

This is an appalling indictment of a Tory Party that are failing to protect the most vulnerable in society.

The gulf between children born in the richest and poorest families is widening, but Theresa May is more preoccupied with the gulf in her cabinet over Brexit.

When we fail our children like this we fail as a society. The government must take action.

Cuts to social security, benefits for people in and out of work and low pay push more and more families into poverty. The roll-out of Universal Credit sees the poorest families lose over a four-figure sum every year. And let’s not forget the benefits freeze – effectively cutting benefits as prices increase. The Benefit Cap was a bad enough idea when it was introduced under the Coalition but the minute we were off the scene the Tories cut it even further. And what is even more terrible about that is that it’s applied directly to the housing cost so that people fall into rent arrears and face eviction and homelessness.

That would explain why figures in Scotland showed that 10% more children were in temporary accommodation last year than the year before. It is absolutely heartbreaking to think of those young lives in turmoil.

Imagine being 8 and being made homeless and having to stay in temporary accommodation, maybe a Bed and Breakfast, with lots of strangers around, with your entire family in one room which is unlikely to be in great shape. 

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Vince, Christine, Jo and Layla marked out as politicians to watch in 2018

Over at HITC, Richard Wood has produced a list of politicians to watch this year.

Vince Cable, Layla Moran and Christine Jardine get mentions:

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has failed to make much of an impact this year. But with the Brexit drum beating louder than ever before, and the UK just one year away from exiting the EU, Brexit anxiety will likely increase, thus resulting in Cable rising to prominence. Cable and his party will likely capitalise on remain sentiment, but can he expand on that and turn the Liberal Democrats into more than just the anti-Brexit party?

Keep an …

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Layla Moran’s favourite film may well surprise you…..

Layla Moran is one of 17 new MPs in 2017 to give an interview to the Huffington Post about her life and what makes her tick. She talks about her childhood in places as diverse as famine-hit 1980s Ethiopia, Brussels and Jerusalem.

She talks about what sparked her interest in politics and distracted her from her first love of science.

I did a Masters degree in comparative education in 2007. That’s what really politicised me. I got very angry about the fact that having a had a background in countries that are genuinely poor, why in this country do we still have

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Which new Lib Dem MP has “made biggest mark”

The iNews has been looking at some of the 2017 intake of MPs and have identified those who – for good reasons and not so good – have come to prominence.

One of ours gets a well-deserved mention:

Liberal Democrat high command expects great things of Layla Moran, rewarding her for capturing Oxford West and Abingdon by appointing her education spokeswoman. The former teacher and assured TV performer, is already being talked about as a future leader.

Here she is leading a debate on period poverty this week in Westminster.

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Layla Moran highlights period poverty in Parliament debate

On Wednesday this week, Layla Moran held a debate in Westminster Hall to highlight the issue of period poverty and the need to provide sanitary protection for those most vulnerable. It was an interesting debate, but there’s no good the minister making sympathetic noises and everybody agreeing with each other if the Government doesn’t do something about it. Layla pointed this out.

Here is her main speech but you can read all the interventions and the rest of the debate here. 

I am delighted to have secured this debate on an important topic that—let’s face it—remains taboo and is still a bit embarrassing for many people. It is precisely because no one wants to talk about it that I believe it is so critical that we do, so I will start by putting my money where my mouth is and telling the House one of my most embarrassing moments.

I was in the first week of a new school. I was 12. I was feeling very out of place and very lost. I saw a teacher beckoning me from the top of a stairwell. I walked towards her and said, “Yes, Miss? What did I do wrong?” I was convinced something was wrong. She said, “Don’t worry—everything’s fine, but I wanted to let you know that you have a stain of blood on your skirt.” Of course, it was not fine. I looked behind and on my light blue uniform there was indeed such a stain. My face went red, and then white. I remember going to the bathroom and crying, and when I stopped crying I called my mum. She came and we went home; I told the school that I wanted to go home to change. In fact, she had brought me another skirt, but I was just so mortified by how many people might have seen it and not said anything.

For me, that was a one-off and I was better prepared the next time, but for thousands of girls in this country, missing school because they cannot afford sanitary products is a regular occurrence. It is an outrage that in a country as wealthy as Britain we let that happen. Thanks to the double whammy of the stigma attached to both poverty and periods, we simply do not know the scale of the problem.

Food banks are now actively asking for donations of sanitary products. Teachers are dipping into their own pockets to keep supplies of sanitary products in their desks.

Many of us first realised that period poverty was such an issue for young women when it came to light that teachers in Leeds had got in touch with a charity called Freedom4Girls that provides sanitary products to women in Kenya and had asked whether it would be willing to give them a supply for girls in their school. They had noticed that girls were missing class at around the same time every month, like clockwork. Given the substitutes, including rolled-up toilet paper or old socks, that girls from low-income families are using, it is no surprise that they choose to stay home. Now, I admit that the rolled-up toilet tissue trick has served me well, but I can go and buy some products or go home. For these girls, it is a regular occurrence. It should not be.

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LISTEN: to Layla Moran on Any Questions: We have a foreign secretary who is not fit for purpose

Layla Moran took a trip to Kent on Friday night to appear on the Any Questions panel.

She had invited local party members to help her practice earlier in the week.

She answered questions on Michel Barnier’s deadline, whether Boris should be sacked (even asking the question had the audience cheering and Layla’s answer was “yes, yes, yes”), the case of the young boy whose image is on a police database after he was reported for sexting and the idea of safe spaces

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Layla Moran talks education and inequality

Layla Moran has given an interview to the Oxford Student about her life and political priorities.

She talked about her early life and the influence it had on her:

Layla, having been born to a British father and a Palestinian mother, spoke of some of complications connected to coming from a multicultural background. “We had to move around a lot when I was younger so when all my peers would say ‘I grew up in this village’, I could never really say that I had”. But it is exactly this, combined with Layla’s career as a maths and physics teacher, that has

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Layla to May: Sack “witch-hunt” whip

It’s not surprising that an MP for a university town is horrified at the actions of a Government whip in writing to universities demanding to know who is teaching what about Brexit on their campuses.

It was reported today that Chris Heaton-Harris, a leading eurosceptic MP and a senior government whip, wrote to vice-chancellors at the start of this month asking for the names of any professors involved in teaching on Brexit and the content of their lectures.

Layla who is also Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson said:

This chilling letter could have come straight out of a dystopian novel.

Conservative Brexiteers know

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What can we do about skills shortages? (and what about the clotted cream?)

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At one level the answer (to the first question) is simple. As individuals, our ability to find a job, and succeed at work, depends on each of us having skills that are needed by an employer. As a society our economic well-being depends on a population that collectively has the skills that match current industry requirements. And our future prosperity depends on people using entrepreneurial skills to develop new industries and opportunities for employment.

So our complex education system – encompassing school, further education, universities, adult education and workplace training – should be designed to teach students and employees the skills society demands. One of Government’s roles must therefore be to identify the broad range of skills that are needed, to commission courses in those skills and encourage students and employees to take them up.

So why do we still hear about the skills shortage in this country?

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Layla Moran on her Palestinian heritage, and what she’s fighting for at Westminster

Layla Moran ht the headlines this week when Tory MPs jeered her as she got up to ask the Prime Minister a question.

She’s now been speaking to Times Red Box about the issues that matter to her.

She talks about her Palestinian heritage:

She is also the first member of parliament of Palestinian descent, through her mother, a Christian whose relatives became a “typical diaspora family” after they were forced out of their home in Jerusalem.

She has already been adopted an unofficial ambassador for the Palestinian community in parliament, but is reluctant to be defined solely by her heritage. “I think I could not get away with not being an ambassador for the Palestinian people but that wasn’t why I was elected. It was to fight for education and the NHS.”

Ms Moran says there is a desire amongst Palestinians to show a different face to the world. “They want people to see that unlike refugee-ridden, poor, downtrodden peoples, in fact Arabs are very proud of our culture and we are intelligent and articulate and talking about that things that matter like education and health.”

She has wanted to be an MP for some time:

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LibLink: Layla Moran “You can’t silence me now”

Following the dreadful way she was treated by Tory MPs at PMQs on Wednesday, Layla Moran has written for the Independent in some detail about the Tories’ failures on free childcare which led to her question to Theresa May.

She outlined the basic facts:

The news that parents would get 30 hours a week of free childcare for all three and four year olds came as a relief, as it offered the chance for women to return to work, as a structured and cost-friendly option was being put on the table for them.

This was an extension of policies the Liberal Democrats pushed in the Coalition government and is one of the answers to closing the gender pay gap, as well as allowing parents a real choice about how they want to bring up their families.

But – and it is a big but – it turns out that this childcare isn’t free after all. It all seemed like a great idea until the Government realised they were actually going to have to pay for it.

Quite simply, the Government aren’t giving child minders and nurseries enough money to actually deliver these places for three and four year olds, and make a living at the same time.

The consequences are hurting parents with either no provision being offered or:

Stories I have heard include child minders and nurseries having to increase the cost of childcare for under-threes in order to make up the shortfall. Many more have started charging parents for extras like nappies, baby wipes, lunches and early/late pick-ups that had previously been included.

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