Tag Archives: tom brake

7 November 2018 – (the rest of) today’s press releases

Tonight’s press releases are brought to you from Madrid, where hundreds of liberals from across Europe are gathering for the ALDE Party Congress. This feature might be rather more erratically timed than usual until Sunday…

Brexit legal advice must be published

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has called on the Government to end their “murky games” and publish all legal advice on Brexit plans for the Irish border.

Mr Brake said:

Refusing to publish legal advice on Brexit makes a mockery of the discredited mantra ‘Take Back Control’. Choosing to withhold this information from the public raises serious questions about what

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4 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Naturally, Brexit again dominates the news, but there is at least comment on the increasing problems with HS2…

Best deal for UK is what we already have

Responding to reports in today’s Sunday Times that Theresa May has negotiated a deal with the EU that would see the UK remain in the Customs Union, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The deal the PM seems to have secured will leave us rule takers not rule makers.

It is time she conceded that the best deal we will get is the one we already have: in the customs union, in the single market

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2 November 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s a sign of how much is going on ‘under the radar’ whilst Brexit unfolds that, of today’s press releases, only one is obviously Brexit-related…

Cost of Brexit spiralling out of control

Responding to the Government’s admission that Operation Brock will now cost £30 million, £10 million more than was previously stated, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Brexit, Tom Brake MP said:

The cost of Brexit is continuing to spiral out of control. The Conservative Government’s plan to turn Kent into a car park, Operation Brock, is now costing the tax payer an additional ten million more than the figure they gave in the

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1 November 2018 – today’s press releases

We’ve got a veritable torrent of press releases today, starting with an example of the Party being rather more radical than Labour…

Cable: £1.3 billion for higher-rate payers should be used to reverse welfare cuts

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will be voting against the Government’s plans to raise the higher-rate tax threshold to £50,000.

The policy – announced in Monday’s budget – will cost an estimated £1.3 billion pounds next year, money which could instead be used to reverse cuts to Universal Credit or end the benefits freeze a year early.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince …

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31 October 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s Halloween, and the Press teams on either side of Offa’s Dyke are still working away…

Don’t Let Down Welsh Farmers – Welsh Lib Dems

Following the closure of the Welsh Government’s Brexit and Our Land consultation, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have urged the Welsh Government to carefully listen to the views of farmers and ensure farmers are not let down as they begin to consider their response.

The Welsh Government’s proposed model for supporting farmers and land managers after Brexit involves removing any aspect of direct support and instead focusing on promoting economic resilience and public goods.

The Welsh Liberal Democrat response to …

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29 October 2018 – today’s press releases (part two)

As promised, part two of today’s output from the Party’s Press Team…

Fiscal Phil’s sticking plaster Budget

Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

This was all very modest stuff, with more in it for potholes than schools and the police. A standstill non-event.

With growth remaining stubbornly low and Brexit weighing down our economy, it is clear the big problems are still to be tackled. It was a sticking plaster Budget, when major surgery lies ahead.

If we are to see an end to austerity, then we need a proper injection of

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29 October 2018 – today’s press releases (part one)

Budget Day always generates a lot of press coverage, and this year is no exception, but there have been plenty of other issues worthy of comment. Indeed, there has been so much that I’ve been forced to do this in two parts…

Welsh Lib Dems – Budget a Golden Opportunity

Ahead of the UK Government’s budget, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have urged Chancellor Phillip Hammond to seize the opportunity the budget presents to end austerity and create a fairer, more prosperous Wales.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the UK Government to stop Brexit, fix Britain’s broken tax system, fund public services …

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28 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Government infrastructure plans lack future proofing

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson has urged the Government to invest in “rail, low emission buses and electric charging points” as reports indicate the Government is set to announce new investment for roads in the Budget.

Jenny Randerson said:

While it is welcome news that the Government will finally set aside much needed investment for our roads, their infrastructure plan lacks any future proofing.

With climate change an ever greater threat, Liberal Democrats demand better. Ministers should be focusing on a model shift away from car use to public transport. That means investment in rail, low

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21 October 2018 – today’s press releases…

It’s a Sunday, and if you think that the Press Team go quiet, you’d be wrong. There’s always someone on duty…

Starmer must make People’s Vote Labour’s Brexit priority – Brake

On his programme this morning, Andrew Marr challenged Keir Starmer over the number of “hurdles” the Shadow Brexit Secretary was putting in the way of Labour fully backing a People’s Vote.

Responding, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The People’s Vote march was genuinely cross-party and one of the striking features was the number of Labour voters who attended. This backs up authoritative academic research showing that around four

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18 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Extending transition period another embarrassing climbdown

Responding to the news that Theresa May is open to extending the transition period, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Theresa May once argued that we didn’t need a transition period at all. Admitting that an extension is on the table, and the billions it would cost, is yet another in a long list of embarrassing climbdowns for this Tory Government.

The blame for this mess falls squarely at the Prime Minister’s feet. Over the last two years, her Government has failed to find solutions to

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17 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Moran to move amendment to deliver votes at 16

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran will today move an amendment to the Overseas Electors Bill to lower the voting age to 16 for UK citizens living abroad.

The Overseas Electors Bill, which proposes extending the right of UK citizens living abroad to vote in UK elections, will be debated at the Public Bill Committee today .

Ms Moran is moving her amendment in the wake of the Welsh Assembly supporting plans last week to introduce votes at 16.

Ms Moran said:

If we are

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LibLink: Tom Brake: Parliament must be recalled to introduce People’s Vote legislation

Tom Brake has called for Parliament to be recalled in the wake of Theresa May’s statement yesterday.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, published on Politics Home, he argued that a People’s Vote was the only safe exit to the chaos over Brexit.

The purpose of recalling Parliament would be to enable the Liberal Democrats, other parties and Parliamentarians from across the House to work with you to ensure that legislation for a final say on the deal or People’s Vote is drawn up immediately. A People’s Vote could then be held before the European Elections in May.

With the EU and your own MPs lined up against Chequers, Chequers has no future. No Deal, which you persist, wrongly, in claiming is the only alternative that could be offered to Parliament will not command a majority in the Commons.  In these circumstances, a final say on the deal, so that people can choose between any deal the Government do eventually secure or staying in the EU is the only safe exit from the chaos the Conservative and other Brexit supporters have inflicted on the UK. Such a final say on the deal will of course require an extension to Article 50 so the legislation can be drafted, the question considered and the election conducted, but our EU partners have indicated an extension would be granted for this purpose.

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Lib Dems call for recall of Parliament, Jane Dodds calls for PM to go and Rennie challenges Scottish Tories on People’s Vote

Here’s a quick summary of the Lib Dems’ reaction to Theresa May’s statement on the Brexit negotiations yesterday:

Tom Brake called for Parliament to be recalled:

The Prime Minister has had the most humiliating European summit in recent memory and returned with a tattered Chequers deal, making a no deal Brexit more likely than ever.

Two years down the line and the only consensus the PM has made across Parliament and the EU is that Chequers is unworkable.

Instead of pontificating to television cameras, May must now recall Parliament to explain how she got the country into this terrible mess, what her plan is to get us out of it, and when we can have a people’s vote and an exit from Brexit.

Welsh Leader Jane Dodds reckons we need a change of PM:

Theresa May pledged to the country to get the best deal possible but her unwillingness to compromise has left her isolated and now she’s doubling down on her fantasy Chequers deal. You cannot simply keep trying negotiate a deal which has already been ruled out by almost everyone involved and expect an eventual success, politics does not give marks for effort.

Brexit did not, and should not, mean whatever the PM decides it means. It took us 18 months to get the Chequers paper and her religious support of it shows the PM has no realistic plan for Brexit, that’s why she must resign. She has failed to listen to the people, failed to listen to the EU and never quite accepted she lost the General Election. I fully understand the difficulties she faces within her own party, but the buck must stop with her as PM and party leader.

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Tom Brake reveals staff exodus from Brexit Department

Tom Brake got some good coverage in the Independent today – the digital equivalent of a front page splash.

He  revealed that 357 members of staff at the Government’s Brexit Department, equivalent to around half of the current staff detail, have left since July 2016

He observed that the new figures revealed the “deep instability right at the heart of the Conservative Government’s failing Brexit operation.”

Figures uncovered by our intrepid Lib Dem Freedom of Information team reveal that as of June 2018 that 357 staff have left the department in the last two years which is pretty incredible given that they only employ at maximum 665 people.

Why does this matter? Well, when you are trying to pull together the most complex piece of work attempted by a government in living memory, surely you want to have some consistency in the people doing it. 

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LibLink: William Wallace Aggressive language from political extremes and media will spark violence against MPs

Our William Wallace writes for Politics Home about the dangers of the language used in political discourse.

Almost at the same time, the Telegraph tweeted this:

Tom Brake was quick to call them out:

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The Independent View: We will remember, 23 years since the Srebrenica genocide

2018 marks the 23rd anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide- the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War. The atrocity committed in Srebrenica only a generation ago, occurred in a modern and multicultural society, that is similar to our own.

When we look to the increase in reports of hate crime incidents since the EU Referendum and to examples of vile extremism such as the ‘Punish A Muslim Day’ letters, then we must conclude that we cannot afford the luxury of believing that something like the Srebrenica genocide could not here.

This is why we are calling on Liberal Democrats Councillors, members and activists to take action during Srebrenica Memorial Week, which will be held between 8-15th July this year.

The Liberal Democrats have a good track record in championing genocide education and commemoration. Stephen Williams was a minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government when the decision was taken to part-fund Remembering Srebrenica’s education programme. Whilst he was Deputy PM, Nick Clegg hosted genocide survivors at Number Ten.

More recently, Tom Brake MP was the primary sponsor of Early Day Motion 637 which welcomed the guilty verdict against Bosnian-Serb army commander Ratko Mladić for directing the Srebrenica genocide and commended the work of organisations like the Mothers of Srebrenica and Remembering Srebrenica.

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Theresa May shamelessly takes up discredited Leave campaign slogan

Most of my memories of the Leave campaign involve the blatant lies it told. 77 million Turks, we were told, would pretty much be here the day after we voted Remain, according to their literature. And the biggest lie of all was emblazoned on the side of a bus. £350 million a week for the NHS.

It was the thought of more money for our beleaguered NHS that prompted many people to vote Leave, something confirmed by Vote Leave’s director, Dominic Cummings.

Within hours of the referendum result, that pledge was in tatters. Nigel Farage distanced himself from

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Brake: May on the back foot over backstop Brexit

Reading the Government’s plans for the Northern Irish border, you have to think that they are running out of sticking plasters and long grass to kick things into in Downing Street.

The thing is, we need to know the permanent solution to all of this before we actually take the irrevocable step of leaving. The Government shouldn’t get away with thinking that it can just kick all the difficult stuff down the road and then blame someone else when it all goes horribly wrong. Playing Russian roulette with the Irish peace process is not something that any responsible government should …

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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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Tom Brake: Trump “reckless and short-sighted” on Iran nuclear deal

Even Boris Johnson can see the sense in sticking with the Iran nuclear deal.

Unfortunately, his tv diplomacy over the weekend seems to have come to nought as Trump has decided to withdraw the US from it. This news is not going to come as the biggest surprise we’ve ever had but it still makes the world just a bit more unstable.

Tom Brake called the decision short-sighted and reckless, and looks to the EU for leadership, saying:

Trump’s decision to scrap US participation in the Iran nuclear deal is reckless and short-sighted. The deal is far from perfect, but

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Tom Brake: People are entitled to know if Leave won by cheating

Yesterday, Tom Brake led a debate in Parliament about the allegations of cheating by the Leave campaign in the Brexit referendum.

You can read the whole debate here.

As I listened to the debate, I felt that the atmosphere was reminiscent of the hostility Charles Kennedy faced when he got up to oppose the Iraq war. Apart from the Minister, there were no substantive speeches from the Tories, but they did shower Tom with contemptuous and irrelevant questions in an attempt to detract attention from the serious allegations.

Charles Kennedy was widely shown to have been right in 2005 and …

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WATCH: Brake: The British people are entitled to the truth

In a video this morning, Lib Dem Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake revealed that he had reported the alleged collaboration between Vote Leave and BeLeave to the Police and that he would be raising this in Parliament tomorrow.

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“I know that Vote Leave cheated” – should be a game changer but will it make a difference?

In case you missed it, here’s the shocking video on Channel 4 News tonight where a young man who campaigned to Leave alleges that the Leave campaign overspent.

This young man, Shahmir Sanni, has complained at being outed by a former Vote Leave campaigner who now works in Downing Street.

There’s more in the Guardian:. The controversy centres on a donation to BeLeave, an organisation targeting young people run by former Liberal Democrat Darren Grimes.

What he has spent months coming to terms with is that this donation may not have had anything to do with BeLeave’s creativity and flair. “Vote Leave didn’t really give us that money,” he says. “They just pretended to. We had no control over it. We were 22-year-old students. You’re not going to just give nearly a million pounds to a pair of students and let them do whatever.”

To Sanni’s mind, what this means is: “They cheated.”

With this on top of the Cambridge Analytica stuff, the legitimacy of the referendum result must be called into question.

Tom Brake said tonight:

These allegations are stunning and touch directly on one of Theresa May’s closest advisors.

The British people expect fair play and campaigns to abide by the rules – they must not be cheated. These allegations must be examined by the police. If they represent what happened it is outrageous and shameful.

The referendum had a very narrow outcome. One of the biggest exercises in democracy must not turn out to be one of Britain’s biggest electoral frauds.

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Brake: UK must build coalition to end Putin’s murderous adventurism

It’s a shame we’re on the way out of a strong international institution just at the time people are carrying out state sponsored executions with military grade nerve agents in our quiet pizza restaurants.

Tonight, we’ve called for a series of sanctions against Russia in the wake of their alleged attack on British citizens.

We agree with the government that Russia is either directly or indirectly complicit in the attack and suggest five things we could do:

  • Boycott the World Cup in Russia and finding an alternative venue.
  • Seize the UK-based assets of those implicated in this attack, and previous attacks through the creation of a UK Magnitsky Act
  • Introduce travel bans for top Russian officials
  • Suspend arms sales to Russia
  • Ensure that the forthcoming register of beneficial ownership trusts is publicly accessible.

Tom Brake gave some advice to the Government and had a swipe at Jeremy Corbyn too:

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LibLink: Tom Brake: Boris and Davis aren’t the only ones suffering from “Delusionitis”

In an article for the Huffington Post, Lib Dem Brexit Spokesperson forensically takes apart six arguments made by the Tory MP for Sutton and Cheam in a letter to his constituents.

Tom tackled the assertion that the thought of a referendum on the deal would encourage the EU to give us a bad deal.

So far, the negotiations have clearly demonstrated that the EU is in a much stronger negotiating position, with our Government capitulating at every turn. In fact, when asked in December to name a concession that the EU had made, the only thing EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier could think of was that he did not “at this stage insist that the UK should pay the removal costs” for EU agencies. This should come as no surprise as the EU’s GDP is five times larger than ours. In other words, Brexit will damage our economy much more than theirs.

The EU’s position has been clear from the very beginning; The integrity of the Single Market must be protected and is non-negotiable. This does not mean punishing Britain by giving it a bad deal. It simply means that a country that does not accept the four freedoms, the jurisdiction of the ECJ, and contributing to the EU budget, will not enjoy the exact same benefits of the Single Market membership. Neither a Hard Brexit nor a second referendum is going to change the EU’s position. We know what is on offer, and the ball is thus in the Government’s court to decide what type of future relationship with the EU it wants.

He also poured scorn on the idea that the Tories could be trusted to maintain the workers’ rights that the EU currently guarantees:

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Brake: Major is right on Brexit

So, John Major is the latest figure to suggest that a referendum on the Brexit deal might not be a bad idea. 

While he did not enjoy being “out of step” with his party, the stakes were so high than he felt obliged to speak out at such a crucial moment in the negotiations.

“Leaving Europe is an issue so far-reaching, so permanent, so over-arching that it will have an impact on all our lives – most especially on the young and the future,” he said.

“With only 12 months to go, we need answers, not aspirations.”

While he was not actively calling for a further referendum, he said the “option” must remain open to a “sovereign” Parliament to insist upon.

It will not be a surprise that Tom Brake our Brexit spokesperson thinks he’s right:

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Brake urges Corbyn to back single market membership

We know from the Observer that Jeremy Corbyn is now coming under public pressure from 80 senior figures to back participation on the single market to save public services.

Our Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Jeremy Corbyn has been weak on Brexit, and his continuing failure to back Britain’s place in the single market and customs union is economic self-immolation. I am pleased to see that there are progressives in the Labour party willing to call him out on this. Liberal Democrats believe Britain is stronger in the European Union, and avoiding Brexit and the damage it will do to our economy is crucial in building the world class public services the public deserve.

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“A back of a fag packet speech” – Tom Brake on today’s Boris speech

Embed from Getty Images

Lib Dem Brexit spokesperson, Tom Brake has responded pithily to Boris Johnson’s speech on Brexit:

Boris Johnson is completely deluded about Brexit. This speech wasn’t about the most important issue facing our country right now, this was about Boris’ ambitions to become the next Prime Minister, and it probably wasn’t much help on that front either.

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Brexit starts to look very, very scary

Leave voting areas of the UK are amongst the worst hit in the Government’s own analysis of the impact of Brexit.

Staying in the single market, which the Government refuses to do, would see a 3% fall in GDP in the North East. That is best case scenario. If we crash out with no deal, that hard-hit area of the country stands to lose 16% of GDP.

Similarly in the West Midlands, no deal amounts to a 13% fall in GDP.

Here’s the full analysis:

Tom Brake said:

This is a damning outlook for Britain. The Tories are putting everything on the line because they do not care about the lives and livelihoods of the people of the UK.

The government need to start being clear what they are fighting for. They are still keeping no deal on the table despite how crippling it would be to the regional economy.

People did not vote to make themselves poorer.  They should be allowed a vote on the final deal and a chance to exit from Brexit.

Willie Rennie looked at the impact on Scotland and across the UK and accused the Conservatives of putting the public in the firing line;

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Tom Brake: CBI pours cold water on Govenrment’s Brexit plans

After Carolyn Fairbairn, the Director General of the CBI, called for the UK to remain in a customs union with the EU, our Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said that this poured cold water on the Government’s plans:

This is an important intervention from the CBI, and pours yet more cold water on the government’s idea that they can rustle up a trade deal that in anyway compares to the economic benefits of being in the EU and maintain the red lines they have set.

The Conservatives are making a monumental mess of Brexit. The approach Theresa May has adopted so far is creating mass uncertainty for

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    The sentence that reads "However, it has its" should read "However, it has its own food bank".
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    @Mark Argent @John King I agree entirely. Problem is that we have to be realistic. Given the human condition, it is unfortunately, quicker and easier...
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    Of course I welcome the fact that we have finally come round to the obvious course of tabling (almost) our own vote of no confidence...
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    On second thoughts, perhaps that sentence should have read ‘Intellect 1 Common Sense 0’. And no, I’m not going to name the MP, although I...
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