Tag Archives: tim farron

The sudden death of Liberal England

I joined the Liberal Party the day of Margaret Thatcher’s first victory. I will be leaving its successor party the day after I return a spoiled ballot in the election for the next party leader.

As a party we have had our fights, our disagreements, and our debates. We have also proven that the strength of our shared commitments and ideals has been of a power that protects the very essence of what it means to be liberal and democratic.

One of my first committee appointments in the party offered the opportunity to work closely with Richard Wainwright, a devout Quaker. His faith guided him. At times, it made him uncomfortable. But, more often than not, his faith, which so few of us shared, offered him the impetus, the strength and, yes, the courage, to expect more of us than we often thought possible.

I worked in Liverpool on occasion with a Liberal city council that was helping re-shape that city. I was there the day of the Toxteth riots. Very soon thereafter, David Alton, our first MP from that city in so many years, and Eric Heffer, MP, sat down with Michael Heseltine and shape the only action plan I know of that caused Thatcher to have to admit that there was such a thing as society. Two of those men, Heffer and Alton, shared little. But they did share a faith and that faith shaped both of them in years of service that made the lives of so very many people so much better than it would otherwise have been.

Richard Wainwright and David Alton were not alone, but I worked with them well enough, and knew them well enough, to write what I did above with confidence.

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Evangelical Christianity and liberalism: the compatibility question

 

In an election supposedly predicated on the issue of Brexit, few Liberal Democrats expected the issues of gay sex and abortion to dominate the headlines for the Uk’s most unequivocally pro-European party in 2017. Tim Farron’s repeated refusal to answer the question as to whether gay sex was a sin during an interview in April resulted in exceptional news coverage of the Lib Dems, but for the wrong reasons. Having led the party to a succession of impressive by-election victories and surpassing his own target to reach 100’000 members 3 years early, it was – up until that point – going so well. Farron was forced to clarify his position in Parliament the following day, exclaiming “I do not” (think gay sex is a sin). Unfortunately for the Liberal Democrats, the costs of Farron’s 24-hour inertia were colossal.

I won’t hesitate to disclose that the unfolding of this story was somewhat uncomfortable for me, worsened by Farron failing to distance himself from a statement that “…abortion is wrong”, made in 2007. Whilst many of my compatriots dismissed these stories as irrelevant, citing Tim’s positive voting record on LGBT rights, I was initially less willing to swat it aside. As a former member of the Labour Party, I have borne witness to the absurd realities of blinkered party-political tribalism, and believe it to be a dangerous trait. From disposing our future prosperity through continued support of hard Brexit, through to dodging his ostensible links to the IRA, for some folk it’s clear that Jeremy Corbyn is incapable of wrongdoing. The obstinance of Corbyn’s loyalists are reminiscent of a cult. Liberal Democracy necessitates divergence from this configuration; the Liberal Democrats are the party of evidence-based policy.

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+++BREAKING: Tim Farron resigns

Tim Farron has stepped down as Liberal Democrat leader. In a searing speech, he said:

The text is below:

This last two years have seen the Liberal Democrats recover since the devastation of the 2015 election.

That recovery was never inevitable but we have seen the doubling of our party membership, growth in council elections, our first parliamentary by-election win for more than a decade, and most recently our growth at the 2017 general election.

Most importantly the Liberal Democrats have established ourselves with a significant and distinctive role – passionate about Europe, free trade, strong well-funded public services underpinned by a growing market economy.

No one else occupies that space.  Against all the odds, the Liberal Democrats matter again.

We can be proud of the progress we have made together, although there is much more we need to do.

From the very first day of my leadership, I have faced questions about my Christian faith.  I’ve tried to answer with grace and patience.  Sometimes my answers could have been wiser.

At the start of this election, I found myself under scrutiny again – asked about matters to do with my faith.  I felt guilty that this focus was distracting attention from our campaign, obscuring our message.

Journalists have every right to ask what they see fit.  The consequences of the focus on my faith is that I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader.

A better, wiser person than me may have been able to deal with this more successfully, to have remained faithful to Christ while leading a political party in the current environment.

To be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.

I’m a liberal to my finger tips, and that liberalism means that I am passionate about defending the rights and liberties of people who believe different things to me.

There are Christians in politics who take the view that they should impose the tenets of faith on society, but I have not taken that approach because I disagree with it – it’s not liberal and it is counterproductive when it comes to advancing the gospel.

Even so, I seem to be the subject of suspicion because of what I believe and who my faith is in.

In which case we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society.

That’s why I have chosen to step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

I intend to serve until the parliamentary recess begins next month, at which point there will be a leadership election according to the party’s rules.

This is a historic time in British politics. What happens in the next months and years will shape our country for generations.

My successor will inherit a party that is needed now more than ever before. Our future as an open, tolerant and united country is at stake.

The cause of British liberalism has never been needed more. People who will fight for a Britain that is confident, generous and compassionate are needed more than ever before.

That is the challenge our party and my successor faces and the opportunity I am certain that they will rise to.

I want to say one more thing: I joined our party when I was 16, it is in my blood, I love our history, our people, I thoroughly love my party.

Imagine how proud I am to lead this party.  And then imagine what would lead me to voluntarily relinquish that honour.

In the words of Isaac Watts it would have to be something ‘so amazing, so divine, (it) demands my heart, my life, my all’.

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Brian Paddick resigns as Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretary

Lib Dem Peer Brian Paddick has resigned from his position as Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary. Brian, a former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has always been a credible and authoritative voice on matters pertaining to crime, terrorism and civil liberties. The party owes him a debt of gratitude for his work in the role.

It’s the fashion these days to use Twitter to make announcements. In a tweet this afternoon, Brian said:

He doesn’t specify what particular views, but speculation centres around the issues around gay sex and abortion. Tim’s voting record on these issues is pretty clear and he’s made it plain that he is 100% in favour of LGBT equality. This matters to too many people I love so I certainly couldn’t support a leader I didn’t trust to do the right thing on these issues. In any event, I don’t think Tim’s views or record had changed since Brian had accepted the role, so I am perplexed by the timing. Unless…

I may be completely wrong here, but I’m starting to suspect that some things which have happened over the past few weeks have not been entirely random. There’s always been a sense that those few in the party who don’t like Tim have been biding their time. I’m hearing reports of conversations being initiated during the election campaign by a few people who did not support Tim last time. Those conversations were spookily similar, as if they were sticking to a script, covering a few key points that people wanted to get across. Indeed, I had more than one person say them to me.

Yesterday, Lib Dem Peer Liz Barker retweeted an article calling on Tim to go:

And today, the Twitter account of the Political Office of Lord Anthony Lester said this in response to Brian’s tweet:

So far, this activity appears to be confined to people who have never been Tim’s biggest fans. Certainly, I am hearing from sources close to Tim that they are “unfazed” by what’s happening. Let’s hope that this is an end to it and that we don’t spend the next few months turning in on ourselves.  That would not be a good look. 

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Farron: We have a right to know terms of deal with the DUP

Tim Farron says that the British people have a right to know the terms of any deal made between the DUP and the Conservatives.

It is clear that the Prime Minister has done a deal with the DUP. She must now make clear what the terms of that deal are. The British people have a right to know.

The sort of government she forms will have profound implications for the Brexit negotiations and the future of the country, especially if it means she is taking sides in the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Theresa May has taken the British people

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Farron: We must challenge the Conservative orthodoxy that is tearing this country apart

Tim Farron gave a speech in response to the election result at the National Liberal Club this morning. You can watch a little bit here:

This was the hardest of elections, marred by the tragedy of those vile terrorist attacks in Manchester and in London.

And now the future of our country is less certain than it was when Theresa May called this election a month and a half ago.

For the Liberal Democrats, we have made progress in incredibly difficult circumstances and we face the new parliament in a far stronger position than we left the last one.

I am delighted to welcome back some old friends. In Jo Swinson, Vince Cable and Ed Davey we are bolstering our ranks with big figures who have served our country in government and will now be able to put their talent and experience to shaping what comes next. In Stephen Lloyd we welcome back a force of nature – a brilliant campaigner and loyal servant to his constituents.

Alongside Alistair Carmichael, Norman Lamb and Tom Brake, they are returning to a formidable team.

And I am also incredibly proud to welcome new faces to our ranks. Christine Jardine, Wera Hobhouse, Layla Moran and Jamie Stone are all fantastic campaigners who will be outstanding MPs for their constituents and our country.

I am especially proud that our parliamentary party is not only bigger but more diverse. After the 2015 election we were reduced to just eight seats – and all eight were white men. We are not yet at the point where our party fully reflects the diversity of our great country, but we have made real progress.

But while we have made great gains, we have also lost colleagues who will be very sorely missed.

History will be kind to Nick

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Tim Farron’s final rally speech: Lib Dems will stop a bad Brexit deal, public service cuts and the Dementia Tax

Tim Farron ends his tour of target seats in Oxford on Wednesday night. This is part of his final pitch for votes at a rally there:

This election is only taking place because Theresa May is taking you for granted. She wants a blank cheque to do as she pleases and expects you to just hand it to her, even if what she proposes to do is as awful as the dementia tax, no questions asked. And as if to prove the point she has spent every day since she called the election trying to avoid answering any questions.

The Tories are heartless – but they have also shown themselves to be hapless.Look at the Dementia Tax, their NHS and schools cuts, or their cuts to the police that have made us less safe. They can’t even write a manifesto they can stand by, yet they want you to trust them with the biggest negotiations this country has ever done.

Have no doubt, Theresa May will get us a bad Brexit deal – and I mean dementia tax bad. That’s why I believe you should have the final say over the deal. Not Theresa May, not the politicians, you. And if you don’t like the deal you’re being offered, you should be able to reject it and choose to remain.

Remember – every vote for the Conservatives is a vote for the dementia tax, NHS cuts, sacked teachers and a bad Brexit deal. If that’s what you want, go for it. If it isn’t, then don’t write Theresa May a blank cheque.

If you are a Conservative supporter but those things worry you, then don’t do it. Vote for someone who will stand up for you and your family instead.

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WATCH: The Lib Dem manifesto launch in British Sign Language

From a couple of weeks ago, a reminder of Tim Farron’s speech from the Lib Dem manifesto launch in British Sign Language

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Farron: Trump is an embarrassment. May must withdraw the State Visit invitation

Sadiq Khan’s calm leadership of London through two awful terrorist atrocities is worthy of praise. Not, though, if you are Donald Trump, who took to Twitter to attack the London Mayor.

Publicly humiliating someone who is working all hours dealing with a major incident is not on if you are a private citizen. If you are the leader of the free world, it’s completely unacceptable. This is the guy to whom Theresa May has granted the high honour of a State Visit.

Trump has shown on so many occasions that he doesn’t deserve it – not least because he attacks Sadiq Khan with what is becoming monotonous regularity.

Tim Farron has said that the invitation should be withdrawn.

Trump is an embarrassment to America.

In the wake of three recent terrorist attacks, two of which killed people on the streets of London, Donald Trump decides to use his time in the Oval Office to attack the Mayor of London over twitter.

Sadiq Khan has shown dignity and leadership.

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The day Tim Farron cooked my breakfast

Eighteen years ago today, at around 5:30 in the morning, I was being wheeled back to the ward with my new baby. Try as I might, I couldn’t sleep because I was too besotted to take my eyes off the gorgeous bundle in the little hospital cot.

At that time this morning, I was hitting the M8 to drive into Edinburgh. What could I possibly be doing at a cafe in Corstorphine at 6 am with Edinburgh Western MP Alex Cole-Hamilton and Edinburgh West Lib Dem candidate Christine Jardine?

The answer duly emerged – after a slight detour for this vehicle. There are, apparently, two establishments called Cafe Vigo in Edinburgh and, you guessed it, they went to the wrong one.

Tim was kicking off a tour of key seats in Edinburgh West, one of the best prospects for a gain on Thursday. He later went to another – East Dunbartonshire.

They disappeared into the kitchen surrounded by a gaggle of hungry journalists.

Tim made fried egg rolls, Christine made bacon rolls. And they were good, too. I had a fried egg one. Normally, I like them with a softer yolk, but it was just as well this one a tad over-cooked to avoid mess.

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Tim’s Andrew Neil Interview discussion thread.

I am just this minute in from a night’s canvassing and haven’t yet watched Tim Farron’s interview with Andrew Neil.

I will do so in a bit and add in some commentary here but you may wish to discuss it in the meantime.

It’s available on iPlayer here if you haven’t seen it either.

So, I’m going to watch it and comment as I go.

Neil starts provocatively,  stating that we wanted to have our laws made in Brussels and have no control of our borders. Tim wisely immediately responded by saying that it was important that we give the people the final say on the Brexit deal.

If Theresa May is making a choice about the most extreme choice of Brexit, people should have the say over it, he said. 

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WATCH: A brighter Lib Dem future for Britain – with Tim, Andrew, Layla, Jo – and a cameo by Jasper

The party has been producing some cracking videos lately. This one is bound to make you smile. In it, Tim talks about what Lib Dem MPs can do for their communities and highlights the key strengths of 3 of our key candidates. Andrew George on fishing, Layla Moran on science and Jo Swinson on business are featured.

And, if, like me, you are a fan of Tim’s Springer Spaniel, Jasper, you’ll be very happy indeed.

Enjoy.

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What we need from Tim Farron tonight

In just under two hours, Tim takes to the stage with representatives from 6 other parties for the tv debate. It’s the one and only time during the election that we will see all 7 parties represented in the one debate.

Theresa May has bottled it, which is no surprise as we have seen how awful she is when she’s unscripted or when something happens that she’s not expecting.  That moment with Kathy in OXWAB showed that she has no ability to listen to what she is being told or to properly empathise with people.

Jeremy Corbyn is showing up, which you have to give him credit for. He has a big job to convince people that he could be PM in just over a week’s time. It will be interesting to see what his line on Scottish independence is tonight. It has changed several times over the past few days, much to the discomfiture of Scottish Labour. He seemed to suggest that he would be happy as PM to talk to the SNP about having a referendum. This will go down like a bucket of cold sick in Edinburgh South where Labour’s only MP Ian Murray  is trying to defend his seat from both Tory and SNP onslaughts. The Tories won’t win, but they could stop him – and if they don’t think Labour will stop a second independence referendum, it does Ian Murray no good whatsoever.

Corbyn is also vulnerable to attack from Tim Farron, who will be after the moderate Labour Remain voters who are not, in the main, Corbyn fans. We can expect Tim to be reminding the audience that Corbyn whipped his MPs to oppose right to stay and membership of the single market in the Article 50 Bill and just stood and waved Theresa May towards the cliff edge. 

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Tim Farron on Dominic Raab: the Alan B’Stard view of politics

Did you spend this fine morning out campaigning, or were you sitting on your sofa watching Victoria Derbyshire? I hope it was the former, but if so you will have missed a choice gem from Dominic Raab. You may remember that he was once a Conservative justice minister.

The discussion turned to food banks and the fact that they were being used by nurses in some parts of the country. Dominic Raab made this comment:

What they tend to find is the typical user of food banks is not someone that is languishing in poverty, it is someone who has a cash flow problem episodically.

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The campaign starts up again

It’s the first day of national campaigning since the Manchester attack on Monday night.

For Tim Farron, it’s not an immediate return to hostilities. Instead, he’s going to Warrington to visit a Jonathan Ball/Tim Parry Peace Foundation in Warrington.

The Foundation was set up by the parents of the two boys who were killed by the Warrington Bomb in 1993.

Tim wants to learn about the charity’s work.

Later he will attend a remembrance service at a Mosque with the Ahmadiyya community in Manchester.

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WATCH: Lib Dems replace Party Election Broadcast with personal message from Tim Farron about Manchester

Powerful stuff from Tim Farron tonight. We withdrew our scheduled Party Election Broadcast and replaced it with two and a half minutes of Tim talking about the Manchester attack and how it bringing people together, not creating the division the terrorists want.

He talked about the Manchester he loves and the experience of being at the vigil on Tuesday night.

It was a very heartfelt and moving monologue, an act of solidarity before the election campaign starts again in earnest tomorrow. It’s not going to win us seats, but it is a good thing for our country.

Watch it here. A transcript is below.

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Liberal Democrats react to Manchester bombing

Last night people would have dropped their kids off at Manchester Arena for the Ariana Grande concert. The kids would have been so excited. In the normal course of events, they’d have come out afterwards completely buzzing about the whole thing and would have spent hours reliving it and singing the songs.

They will certainly never forget the awful events of last night.

It is utterly impossible to comprehend what goes through the mind of someone who targets children and young people in this way.

One of my friends wrote on Facebook that we should think about what the terrorists want us to do – and then do the exact opposite.

They want us to turn on each other and change our lives to pander to them or fear of them. We can’t let them diminish us like that.

And in fact, we can see from the acts of kindness and solidarity from the people of Manchester that the generous, open-hearted spirit of that wonderful city will prevail.

Our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones, or who are going through the raw anxiety of not being able to track someone down, or who are waiting for news of an injured friend or relative.

All of us need to think about what we can do to make the world kinder, more open and gentle – and then go and do it.

Senior Liberal Democrats have been reacting to last night’s attack. Tim Farron said:

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What do you make of the “Vote her, get him” poster?

Vince Cable launched a new Lib Dem campaign poster today.

This is how he explained it:

This week has been about manifestos

To understand what is going on you have to listen to the voices of the people who are Mrs May’s cheerleaders and admirers.

Nigel Farage. He purrs like an elder statesman, his job done.

He said of the Prime Minister “she is using exactly the words and phrases I have been using for 20 years. I’m thrilled”

He should be. She has adopted wholesale the UKIP model of Brexit. No half measures. Out of the Single Market. Out of the customs union. Out of all the sensible cooperation around science and environment. The agenda of the hard right.

And not just on Europe. Do you remember the man who smiled with President-elect Donald Trump in a gold-encrusted lift? Who used his good offices to secure a meeting for our Prime Minister. Her hand-holding. Backing for the Trump administration. The close bonding. The treat of a state visit to come. Not that it achieved anything. The tough American trade negotiators have made it clear that economic size, not sentiment, determines priorities: the EU before the UK.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Lib Dems will give you a choice about the future

In an article for the Times Red Box, Tim Farron points out the huge differences between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat visions for the future:

The contrast between the Liberal Democrat manifesto and the Conservative one couldn’t be starker. We would extend free school lunches to all primary school children and invest an extra £7 billion in schools and colleges, to make sure funding rises in line with both inflation and pupil numbers. Instead, Theresa May wants to take free school lunches away from 1.9 million children to fund her obsession with grammar schools.

Our manifesto commits to capping the cost of

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Farron: I am determined to protect decent people from being taken for granted by a heartless Conservative Government

Well, I certainly chose a fine two days to be sent to the Highlands campaigning. I mean, I’ve barely been able to catch up with the manifesto launch yesterday and the leaders’ debate tonight. I’ve been in the most wonderful places on the planet as far as I am concerned, but have been experiencing the broadband and connectivity problems first hand.

I will be back home tomorrow night. I haven’t yet seen the Leader’s Debate, but by the magic of technology, I can bring you Tim Farron’s opening and closing statements.

He kicked off with a powerful and personal appeal:

I got into politics to fight.

To stand up to those who take you for granted.

I grew up in Preston in the 1980s.

I saw what happens when decent people are taken for granted by a heartless Conservative government.

I am determined to stop that happening again.

The decent Britain I love is under threat.

Theresa May – backed by Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn – is going for an extreme Brexit deal that will damage our future for generations.

Don’t give up.

The Britain I love is not lost yet.

No matter which way you voted in the referendum:

If you care about our children, do not cut our schools.

If you care about our elderly, don’t leave them on trollies in corridors.

If you want Britain to lead the world, do not turn your back on it.

A brighter future is possible.

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Eight Lib Dem policies to improve life for young people

The Liberal Democrat manifesto will be launched much later today. Ahead of that event, Tim Farron has a message for young people:

Imagine a brighter future. You don’t have to accept Theresa May and Nigel Farage’s extreme version of Brexit that will wreck the future for you, your family, your schools and hospitals.

In the biggest fight for the future of our country in a generation, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has let you down by voting with Theresa May on Brexit – not against her.

The Liberal Democrats want you to have a choice over your future. You should have your say on the Brexit deal in a referendum. And if you don’t like the deal you should be able to reject it and choose to remain in Europe.

We want to give all our children a brighter future in a fairer Britain where people are decent to each other, with good schools and hospitals, a clean environment and an innovative economy. Not Theresa May’s cold, mean-spirited Britain.

A vote for the Liberal Democrats can change Britain’s future.

Here are eight policies which will make life easier for young people and help them to get on in life.

Rent to Own

The Liberal Democrats will help working people buy their first home for the same cost as renting, with a new model of ‘Rent to Own’ homes, where each monthly payment steadily buys you a share in the home, which you’ll own outright after 30 years, just like with a normal mortgage. This proposal is part of our plans to deliver 300,000 homes a year with government commissioning homes to fill the gap between private sector building and demand.

Restoring housing benefit for young people

The Liberal Democrats would restore Housing Benefit for 18-21 year-olds. Research by the Liberal Democrats has shown an estimated 18,000 young people will be potentially hit by the government’s decision to strip 18-21 year olds of housing benefit, which came into force in the beginning of April. Charities have warned the change could increase levels of homelessness amongst young people.

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WATCH: Tim Farron say he’ll reinstate student nurses’ bursaries, give nurses a pay rise and invest in NHS

“I will not have it.” said Tim, saying that the Tories treat nurses like dirt.

He was talking to the Royal College of Nursing conference.

Watch this clip here:

He told them:

The Government’s decision to abandon bursaries for nursing students was clearly wrong.

The evidence has shown a drastic fall in the number of people applying to study nursing following this dangerously short-sighted cut.

We should be supporting more people into these vital professions – but instead this Government are putting up greater barriers.

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What are YOU going to do to encourage young people to register to vote?

The Electoral Reform Society has highlighted a huge drop in the number of young people on the electoral register since individual electoral registration came in.

From the Independent:

The ERS, which campaigns on access to democracy, said while the move to IER had improved the accuracy of the register, it has also led to a “significant fall” in the number of young people on the electoral roll.

Of the nations which introduced IER in 2014, Scotland has seen the biggest drop in the number of “attainers” (16 and 17 year olds on the register), at 35 per cent, followed by Wales (27 per cent) and England (25 per cent).

In Northern Ireland, where the IER system has been in place since 2002, the number of those signed up to vote has fallen by half.

Latest analysis shows the number of attainers registered in Westmorland and Lonsdale, the constituency held by the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, to have dropped by three quarters (75 per cent) over three years.

People only have a week to register to vote. The deadline is 23:59 on 22 May.

Tim Farron and St Albans candidate Daisy Cooper have been encouraging young people to make sure that they have a say:

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Liberal Democrats commit to international aid spending

In news which will surprise absolutely nobody, the Lib Dems are announcing today that we will maintain the requirement to spend 0.7% of GDP on international aid.

Getting this written into law was one of our best achievements in coalition and we are not going to let it go even though ti has become the focus of the ire of the right wing press.

We believe that it is important that the UK continues to alleviate poverty across the world, helping to build a more secure and stable international community.

Tim Farron explained why this is so important to us:

Liberal Democrats are fierce internationalists, and I am proud of Britain’s record as a world leader in providing help and support to some of the poorest, most vulnerable people in the world.

UK aid prevents suffering.  It allows girls to stay in school, stops babies from dying of preventable illnesses, and ensures that farmers can sell their crops at a fair price. A healthier, safer and more stable world is the best interest of British families as well. That’s why Liberal Democrats are today vowing to fight for Britain’s legacy and protect the 0.7% target.

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WATCH: The first Scottish Party Election Broadcast

Last night the first Party Election Broadcast of the year was shown in Scotland.

It’s a re-worked and updated version of the Groundhog Day PPB broadcast earlier this year. Tim Farron has also re-done his piece to refer directly to the election.

The commentary includes direct reference to the so-called Rape Clause which has horrified so many people across the country.

Enjoy.

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Tim Farron announces plan to take 50,000 Syrian refugees

Since his election as leader in 2015, Tim Farron has been one of the strongest voices arguing that we should offer sanctuary to those fleeing  the appalling, brutal war in Syria. He has made several visits to places like Calais and Lesvos to talk to refugees.

On his agenda  today is a visit to a refugee charity in Gloucestershire where he will announce an ambitious manifesto commitment for refugees.

The manifesto sets out a plan to take 50,000 refugees over five years from Syria in the next parliament, as well as reopening the Dubs programme for unaccompanied asylum seeking children stranded in Europe, and working with international partners to create safe and legal routes.

Under Theresa May, the Conservatives have u-turned on two previous pledges, one to take more refugees from Syria and another to help abandoned child refugees.

Tim will say:

This is about the sort of country we are. The Britain I love is an open, tolerant, united country with a generous spirit and compassion for those in need. I love my country – and I hate it when my government makes me feel ashamed.

Faced with suffering and trauma on a scale not seen since the Second World War, Theresa May has wilfully chosen to tear up her promises to help some of the most vulnerable children and people in the world.

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Lib Dems to deliver £7 billion schools funding boost

Tim Farron and Sarah Olney have announced that the Liberal Democrats will invest nearly £7bn more in schools and colleges over the next parliament.

The funding would reverse cuts to frontline school and college budgets, protect per pupil funding in real terms and ensure no school loses out from the National Funding Formula.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Sarah Olney said:

Children are being taught in overcrowded classes by overworked teachers – but Theresa May doesn’t care.

While funding per pupil is set to see the biggest cuts in a generation, billions of pounds are being spent on divisive plans to expand grammars and free schools.

This extra £7 billion of funding would ensure no school and no child loses out.

We will reverse crippling Conservative cuts to school budgets and invest to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed.

Tim Farron added

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Emmanuel Macron’s victory shows why Britain needs a liberal opposition

Tim Farron has been writing in the Mirror about the example Macron’s victory in France sets for Britain. He doesn’t pretend that it means that the Lib Dems will bound to victory:

So, I won’t try to claim that the success of Macron in France last night means that the Liberal Democrats will win a majority next month.

What is does mean is that there is a place for outward-looking, forward-thing politics.

It means that the far-right can and should be fought and held to account.

It means that we don’t have to settle for the status quo.

In France, Macron has broken through the twentieth century left/right divide of socialism and conservatism to make a clear case for a new liberalism.

The British people can do what our neighbours across the Channel have done and reject the same tired choice between the UKIP-pandering Conservatives and an out-dated Labour party who are still fighting the battles of the 1950s.

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Macron’s victory speech in English

There was joy in the hearts of liberals across Europe on Sunday night when the French results came through. It was certainly worrying that more than a third of voters chose a far-right extremist, but it shows that populism can be beaten.

Tim Farron was quick to congratulate Emmanuel Macron and said that his values could win the day here too:

I would like to congratulate Emmanuel Macron on his election as France’s new President. This is not just a victory for France, but a victory for Britain and the liberal values we hold dear.

A National Front win would have posed a grave threat to our national interest.

Emmanuel Macron has kept the wolves from our door, but we must never be complacent in the fight against racism, fascism and the far-right.

The liberal values of tolerance, openness and free trade that triumphed in France today can triumph in Britain too.

Together we can change Britain’s future, stand up to Theresa May’s hard Brexit agenda and keep our country open, tolerant and united.

Ambafrance has an English translation of Macron’s victory speech. Here’s an extract.

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , and | 9 Comments

In pictures: Tim Farron in Edinburgh West tonight

Tim Farron has been in Scotland today. He started off this morning in East Dunbartonshire with Jo Swinson, went on to North East Fife with Willie Rennie and local candidate Elizabeth Riches and ended the day in Edinburgh West, at Davidson’s Mains Primary School in the Almond Ward with Alex Cole-Hamilton and Christine Jardine. As Alex pointed out in his speech, 13 months ago, that area had no Liberal Democrat representation. Thanks to the power of that #libdemfightback, we now have an MSP and Cllrs Kevin Lang and Louise Young elected with a massive majority.

I was there, for the first time in a long time doing duty as a Lib Dem diamond bearer behind the leader as he spoke to a crowd of around 100 activists.

The advance team spent a while getting us in the right position for the camera shots and got us to practice our cheering.

Then we saw The Bus reversing down the narrow school lane.

And then he was here.

Alex and Christine spoke first and then Tim delivered what in the West Wing would be called “modified stump” – our basic pitch with embellishments for topical events (immigration targets today) and venue). It’s absolutely bang on.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments
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