Tag Archives: siobhan benita

++ Breaking news: Siobhan Benita stands down as candidate for London Mayor

With the London elections postponed until May 2021, members in the capital have today received an email from Siobhan Benita, the Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor.

She writes:

I am writing to let you know that, after much consideration and with sadness, I am standing down as the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Mayor of London.

The demands of being a candidate are significant, particularly for an election of this scale, The nature of the role, which is unpaid, makes it very difficult to combine with other work. Sadly, at this stage, I’m simply not able to commit to another full year of

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LibLink: Siobhan Benita: We can’t afford to let today’s acts of kindness become tomorrow’s memories

Lib Dem London Mayoral Candidate Siobhan Benita writes for Mental Health Awareness Week on her website.

As we went into lockdown in March, the UN released its World Happiness Report. It ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.  As in previous years, Nordic countries dominate the top slots, scoring strongly across all six measures: GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy, autonomy, generosity and absence of corruption.

Reflecting on the success of the Nordic countries, the report concludes that there is no “secret sauce” to their happiness. Instead, there is a “general recipe” that everyone can follow:  non-corrupt, high-quality state institutions able to deliver what is promised and generous in taking care of citizens.

The Covid19 pandemic is a tragedy.  Families and communities have lost loved ones to the virus and fear of contamination, financial uncertainty and social distancing are having a serious impact on the mental health of the nation. At the same time, the pandemic also creates a unique opportunity for us Brits to consider how we can create a better “recipe” for our citizens in the future.

The togetherness and community spirit we’ve seen during the pandemic must become permanent, she argues:

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21 May 2020 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • 24,320 EU nationals are stuck in limbo
  • Govt warned Councils are struggling to cope with homelessness
  • Decrease in business turnover demands action with extended transition period
  • PM should face London Assembly after IOPC report

24,320 EU nationals are stuck in limbo

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their calls for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, as new official figures show over 24,000 in Wales have not been given the right to remain.

Of the 57,140 EU nationals in Wales who have applied for permanent residency, only 32,370 have been granted settled status.

5,560 EU nationals in Wales have applied …

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What do Lib Dems do in a crisis? – we care for others

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I won’t lie. I’ve been anxious at how quickly Covid-19 pandemic has progressed.

I’m about to start homeschooling my children, and despite being a qualified teacher, it’s daunting. But this is also a time my children will see my actions and behaviour and be formed by them. So I only feel right that I should focus my free time on the elderly and most vulnerable who will be be self-isolating over the coming weeks and months.

This is going to be a testing time for our nation. But I don’t feel we should be in the Blitz spirit – this is a completely different threat. This a start of a revolution – a chance for humanity to show its strength against an invisible enemy and fight for the services we take for granted: the NHS, the teachers, the care workers – the so called “low skilled workers”! This episode could change the way we educate, socialise and communicate. But most importantly how we care for each other, particularly our most vulnerable.

During these times, we need to pay extra attention to the elderly. Many will need assistance with obtaining groceries, medication and other essentials. Some will receive fewer visits from family and friends; increasing the risk of a harmful incident, such as a fall, not being noticed until too late. Reduced social contact will also have massive psychological implications, in the form of loneliness.

The rise in loneliness and social isolation over the last few years, particularly amongst the elderly, has been well documented. It is one of the reasons I championed a “happy to chat bench” in Cheam – to encourage people to reach out and build the relationships which are so vital to sustaining healthy lives. The imminent period of isolation is likely to lead to the issue being exacerbated. The happy to chat bench might not be coronavirus friendly, but let’s all do our bit to think of creative ways to combat this issue. You may have seen Ed Davey’s important announcement that the Lib Dem party is mobilising members to set up a taskforce to help people deal with self-isolation. Please visit www.libdems.org.uk/coronavirus to see how you can help.

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Siobhan Benita and team are working full-on in London

This weekend our London Mayoral candidate, Siobhan Benita and her team have been campaigning very hard all over the city:

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Siobhan Benita launches her campaign to be Mayor of London

Today Siobhan Benita has launched her campaign under the slogan “Love London Better”. And what a breath of fresh air she would be in the capital.

As she said:

London dares to be different. It has so far delivered three very different Mayors who have captured Londoner’s hearts and minds in different ways. What could be more different than a Liberal Democrat female mayor? It’s time.

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27 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats: UK access to crime databases at risk post Brexit
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats welcome landmark for Welsh education
  • Liberal Democrats challenge Minister on Met facial recognition surveillance

Liberal Democrats: UK access to crime databases at risk post Brexit

Following reports that the exchange of key security information is at risk post Brexit, due to concerns over Britain’s record in protecting personal information, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Our police rely heavily on co-operation with our EU partners to identify criminals and bring them to justice. It’s incredibly alarming that these government scandals threaten to undermine that co-operation, making us all less

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24-26 January 2020 – the (long) weekend’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats welcome Citizens’ Assembly
  • Liberal Democrats: Sadiq Khan’s mass surveillance roll-out unacceptable
  • Ministers must explain soaring cost of HS2 to Parliament
  • Government must review assisted dying laws

Liberal Democrats welcome Citizens’ Assembly

Ahead of the first meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly on climate change, set up by House of Commons Select Committees last year, Liberal Democrat Climate Action Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

The climate crisis is doing irreversible damage to our planet. The UK must cut its emissions to net-zero, be it by improving how we heat our homes or cutting emissions from flying.

This Citizens’ Assembly could help the government take the difficult decisions

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Siobhan Benita slams London Mayor’s mass surveillance roll-out as a real risk to civil liberties

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Responding to the Metropolitan Police’s announcement on Thursday that it will begin to use automated facial recognition surveillance operationally, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London Siobhan Benita said:

It is unacceptable for a new form of mass surveillance like this to be rolled out onto London’s streets without proper consultation, regulation or oversight.

Facial recognition technology is hopelessly inaccurate. It is biased against women and ethnic minorities. The evidence that it will make us safer is patchy at best, but there is a real risk that it will erode civil liberties and increase distrust and discrimination.

To make London safer we must restore effective community policing, starting with the re-opening of local police stations, which the current Mayor has shut down.

Liberal Democrats do not want London to become a city where innocent people feel as though their every movement is being watched. The fact that Sadiq Khan has given the go-ahead for this undermines his recent claim to share our liberal values.

If Londoners want a liberal mayor with a positive vision for a safer, greener, kinder capital, their best option is me.

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Traditional Tory voters in London are coming across to the LibDems

Siobhan Benita, our London spokesperson and 2020 mayoral candidate (right), has been campaigning for LibDem candidates all over London. Yesterday she spoke to me about how things are going. This was her assessment:

I think it is going really well. We’re definitely seeing, in some of our key target seats, what we’ve heard here (in City of London and Westminster), which is (that) especially traditional Conservative voters, are (coming across to the LibDems). (This is) not just about Brexit – what we were hearing in Kensington yesterday, for example with Sam’s team, and a lot of the older voters there who have only ever voted Conservative, were saying they don’t associate with Boris Johnson’s Conservative party – they don’t like him – they don’t like the lies he is saying – and for the first time ever – some of them had already postal voted – they’d already given us their vote. So I think we are definitely seeing that across the capital. The nice thing for me, I think as well, is that I know we are obviously strong in parts of London – say south-west London – we have traditionally been strong. I’m definitely getting that sense in the north as well, in Finchley and Golders Green it’s going to be really really exciting there too. So I am hoping that we can – you know – change the map across London and that we’ll be seeing yellow pockets across London, other than the south-west – but I think we’ll grow there as well.

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Hugh Grant on Boris Johnson: Sinister, narcissistic and alarming with potentially no principles at all

Chuka Umunna and Hugh Grant talk with the press yesterday in St John’s Gardens, London SW1

“Could someone interview Hugh Grant tomorrow?” came the call from our esteemed LDV editor Caron, late on Sunday.

Well, one of the advantages of being gloriously retired is that you can often turn on a sixpence. So I jumped at the chance to interview the great man despite basic logistics issues such as “where” and “when” being still unclear. As these basics remained unclear as hours passed I realised I would have to bring forward my powers of initiative and assertiveness.

Fortunately, thanks to the great assistance of our old friend Dr Evan Harris of Hacked Off and Helen Davies, chair of City of London and Westminster Liberal Democrats, yesterday I was introduced to Hugh Grant as a “friend” and got my three minutes with him. You can hear the whole interview here on SoundCloud. (It includes a section about press abuse.)

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WATCH: North Cornwall Lib Dem PPC Danny Chambers speak at #stopthecoup rally

The next generation, we hope, of Lib Dem MPs have been out and about speaking at Stop the Coup rallies today. Daisy Cooper spoke in St Albans, Laura Gordon in Sheffield Hallam and, courtesy of the wonderful Steve Jolly, we have video of North Cornwall’s Danny Chambers at the event in Bodmin.

As an added bonus, London Mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita was down there visiting her parents and she went along and the two of them did a video together.

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Siobhan Benita says she can be London Mayor

Lib Dem London Mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita has been talking up her chances of winning the capital’s mayoralty in an interview with City AM.

She takes the fight to Sadiq Khan, criticising Labour’s equivocal position on Brexit:

Benita says the Lib Dems are now perfectly positioned to capitalise on votes that would have otherwise gone to Labour. “The fact that Sadiq has stayed in the Labour party that is facilitating Brexit is a huge thing against him,” she says.

“For Sadiq, it’s going to be about how is he going to continue to justify being in a party that is keeping us in this mess?” It is not enough that Khan has spoken out against anti-semitism, another issue that is hurting Labour, or has campaigned for a second referendum, she says.

She was less hopeful of a Remain Alliance with the Greens:

Benita said she was “very open with working with the Greens but they have made it clear they are not”.

“I’m really disappointed in Sian,” Benita says. “She has really attacked the Lib Dems and has been fighting old battles about the coalition. She sees us as a real threat in London and is still blaming us for austerity. But Brexit is a much bigger and more immediate risk.”

And she had some interesting ideas about freedom of movement post Brexit:

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18 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Brexit is coming, the hedge fund’s growing fat, who will put a billion in Phil Hammond’s hat? If you haven’t got a billion, 3,000 troops will do, if you haven’t got 3,000 troops, then God bless you…

But at least we’re giving some opposition to this wastrel administration…

  • Lib Dem peers defeat Government to force Prevent review (this one arrived late last night)
  • Cable: Decision to ramp up no-deal is psychological warfare
  • Dropping migration target an admission Brexit won’t control immigration
  • Lib Dems: Putting troops on standby is simply scaremongering
  • Lib Dems table no confidence motion in Government

We’ve also received a press release from Tower Hamlets

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21 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Having completed another meeting of the Federal International Relations Committee, featuring an exploration of the distant reaches of Article 7 of the Federal Constitution of the Party, your editor’s mind turns to press releases…

  • Moran: Gov must recognise state of Palestine
  • Cable: Prokopchuk’s Interpol position is still ‘an insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack’
  • Sanctions needed to get Matthew Hedges home
  • Davey: PM must publish immigration white paper now
  • Lib Dems announce Siobhan Benita as London Mayoral candidate
  • (covered separately here)

  • Lib Dems lead fight to protect vulnerable people in care
  • Davey: Something going very wrong in energy market

Moran: Gov must recognise state of Palestine

Liberal …

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Siobhan Benita is the Lib Dem London Mayoral candidate

Siobhan Benita has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor. The election takes place in 2020 so she will be able to build on the high profile she built in 2012 when she ran as an Independent. Then, she ran a really impressive campaign and came within 8000 votes of our Brian Paddick.

Here’s her campaign video where she talks about what she wants to achieve in London:

Siobhan beat Lucy Salek, Dinesh Dhamija and Rob Blackie. It was really good to see on social media that they all had dinner together last night.

As a former senior civil servant, she has experience of making stuff work,in transport and the environment particularly so she has already proved her competence in two massive issues of concern to many Londoners.

She said:

I am delighted to have been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London.

I will show the Lib Dems can offer a fresh alternative to London’s tired two party politics.

Sadiq Khan isn’t delivering the right solutions to violent crime and only the Liberal Democrats can provide a genuinely public health approach.

The Tories have shown how out of touch they are with London’s values by selecting an illiberal, pro-Brexit candidate.

Only the Lib Dems have truly stood up for Londoners against Brexit and we will continue to be a strong, liberal voice for our city.

Vince welcomed the news:

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The Independent View: how London Mayoral candidates shape up on cycling and transport

The way that we travel and the places we live in have a massive impact on our lives, going well beyond what’s traditionally considered transport policy. Increased car use is driving up levels of obesity, polluting our cities and leading to more accidents. As London’s population grows, the demands on our transport system make it an ever tougher nut to crack.

Sustrans wants to see a London, and a country, where everyone is able to get around, to work, school, shops and leisure facilities. Making it easier and safer to walk and cycle for our short …

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