Tag Archives: wendy chamberlain

25 November 2022 – today’s press releases

Apologies, press release fans, but broadband to my village was lost due to a BT fault this evening. It’s supposed to be restored in a fortnight’s time, so I’m reduced to the internet equivalent of two tin cans and a length of string temporarily.

  • Sunak reappoints controversial Trade Minister he sacked last month
  • Raab allegations can’t be swept under the carpet

Sunak reappoints controversial Trade Minister he sacked last month

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that reappointed Trade Minister Dominic Johnson urgently publishes his Register of Interests, warning that he has a duty to be “open, transparent and accountable” and avoid a conflict of …

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24 November 2022 – today’s press release

  • Government ‘must get a grip’ as asylum backlog soars to 143,000
  • Raab emails: Lib Dems write to Cabinet Secretary demanding investigation
  • Michelle Mone: Lib Dems table amendment to scrap VIP lanes
  • Richard Foord MP raises sewage report in Parliament after his son fell sick swimming in Devon river
  • Full Review in Social Services in Wales Needed After Logan Mwangi Report

Government ‘must get a grip’ as asylum backlog soars to 143,000

Responding to new official figures showing that the asylum backlog has risen to 143,377, with 97,717 waiting more than six months, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

The Home Office is a disaster zone, and it’s clear who is to blame. By their own admission, the Conservatives have broken our asylum system and shattered public trust in it.

Tens of thousands of refugees have been waiting months for a decision, banned from working or renting their own home. The Conservative chaos at the Home Office is wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money every day.

The Government must finally get a grip. It should take asylum cases away from the discredited Home Office and set up a new independent unit to make decisions quickly and correctly.

We need a fair, effective asylum system that treats everyone with dignity, and that everyone can have confidence in.

Raab emails: Lib Dems write to Cabinet Secretary demanding investigation

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Cabinet Secretary asking for an investigation into reports that Dominic Raab has been using his personal email for Government business.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain, who wrote the letter, commented:

The public deserve answers, not more cover-ups.

The drumbeat of allegations against Dominic Raab is relentless. From reports of bullying to allegations he has followed in the footsteps of Suella Braverman by using his personal email for government business, it is obvious that investigations are needed.

The Deputy Prime Minister cannot be relaxed about national security, especially at a time when Britain’s enemies are stepping up their cyber attacks. It is only right and proper the Cabinet Office investigate these reports and determine immediately if overseas enemies could have seen national secrets sent by Dominic Raab.

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23 November 2022 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Senedd Member Calls for Action on the Cambrian Line
  • Raab bullying inquiry: Sunak must sack him if allegations upheld
  • Debate on Nurses Pay – Liberal Democrats Back Calls for Higher Nurses Pay Offer
  • Conservative MPs break manifesto pledge by voting against business rates review

Senedd Member Calls for Action on the Cambrian Line

Concerns have been raised today in the Senedd over the rail service on the Cambrian Line which runs through Mid Wales.

Speaking in the Senedd, Welsh Liberal Democrat Member for Mid & West Wales Jane Dodds raised delays in the much anticipated hourly service between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury, stating that the delays were just another sign of Mid Wales being forgotten about by the Labour-Plaid Cymru partnership in Cardiff Bay.

An hourly service between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury was announced in 2014, but has faced repeated delays since, with the latest delaying the introduction from 2022 to 2024.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have stated that an hourly service stopping at all stations along the Cambrian Line is essential to encourage more passengers to use the railway instead of cars and for businesses given it will also play an important role in making connections from Shrewsbury easier.

The Party has called on the Welsh Government to prioritise the introduction of the service and tackle delays head-on.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

We really need the Labour-Plaid Cymru partnership in Cardiff Bay to prioritise this route, it is essential for businesses and the public in Mid Wales.

The fact it has been continuously delayed for almost a decade shows that once again Mid Wales is being forgotten about by Labour.

With Transport for Wales now fully nationalized and owned by the Welsh Government, there is no excuse.

If Labour wants to put a ban on all new roadbuilding the least they can do is ensure we have well-functioning public transport networks.

I am calling for the Welsh Government to prioritise the rollout of this service and put an end to repeated delays once and for all.

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16 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Inflation stats: Families struggling to get by because of Government’s inaction and incompetence
  • Raab: Ethics advisor must be appointed to stop a whitewash report
  • Raab investigation: “another Conservative stitch up”

Inflation stats: Families struggling to get by because of Government’s inaction and incompetence

Responding to the latest ONS figures showing inflation has reached 11.1%, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

This Government’s biggest economic failure has been their disastrous attempts to get inflation down. Families are now struggling to get by because of this Government’s inaction and incompetence on spiraling prices.

After inflicting so much chaos, the latest Conservative Chancellor is now expecting the public to clean up their mess with grossly unfair tax rises. Our crumbling hospitals and run down classrooms are on the brink of savage cuts all because the Conservative party crashed the economy to fund tax cuts for the richest companies. The country will never forgive them for this.

This week Jeremy Hunt should target the oil firms and banks making bumper profits to fill the blackhole in Britain’s finances, rather than inflicting more pain and misery on struggling households.

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9-10 November 2022 – the press releases…

Apologies, press release fans, as I got rather caught up in the drama of the US midterms yesterday. So, without further ado…

  • Gavin Williamson anti-bullying video exposes ‘rank hypocrisy’ of Conservative Government
  • Lib Dems: Strip Gavin Williamson of his knighthood if found guilty of bullying
  • Sunak failing the next generation as he refuses to protect education budgets
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats respond to Nurse Strike Action
  • The Government have failed cancer patients
  • Home repossessions increase significantly as budget sets off a mortgage ticking time bomb

Gavin Williamson anti-bullying video exposes ‘rank hypocrisy’ of Conservative Government

Responding to the resurfaced Government anti-bullying video recorded by Gavin Williamson MP during his time as Secretary of State for Education, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Education, Munira Wilson MP, said:

This exposes the rank hypocrisy and double standards at the heart of this Conservative government.

Gavin Williamson himself admitted that bullying is never acceptable.

Schools rightly have a zero tolerance approach to bullying. But once again it seems it’s one rule for Conservative ministers and another for everyone else.

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7 November 2022 – today’s press release

‘Full Confidence’ in Williamson shows same old Conservative sleaze

Responding to the news that Rishi Sunak has ‘full confidence in Gavin Williamson despite knowing about the complaint made, Liberal Democrat Cheif Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Different Prime Minister, same old Conservative sleaze.

If Rishi Sunak, had any sense of public duty, he would sack Gavin Williamson now. In any other workplace, someone who behaved as he did would have been rightly dismissed for gross misconduct.

Instead Williamson is being let off the hook by a Prime Minister happy to let his integrity be brought into question on a

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Wendy Chamberlain to lead Policy Commission on ending men’s violence against women

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has asked his Deputy Wendy Chamberlain to lead a Policy Commission on ending men’s violence against women and girls. Wendy, as the only former woman police officer in the House of Commons, is best placed to lead this work.

Back in March 2021, in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder, Scottish Liberal Democrats called on the Scottish Government to create such a Commission to look at all aspects of tackling this scourge on our society.

Since then the Government has made little progress.

Alex said:

In 1623 John Donne wrote, “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind”. I’ve always found that to be such a Liberal sentiment.

Well Conference, any woman’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in womankind.

And right now, in the villages and cities of Iran, we see women fighting for their lives against the vicious morality police, fighting against the twisted interpretation of Islam used to justify and normalise the brutality of men.

They are casting off hijabs and cutting their hair in the name and in the memory of Mahsa Amini.

And Conference, whether it is in faraway Isfahan or nearby Clapham Common, that brutality is still far too normal an aspect of modern life.It’s why the phrase, ‘she was only walking home’, has now become an epitaph. 

Conference, we cannot go on like this. I am tired of waiting for the Scottish Government to act on Liberal Democrat proposals, led by Caron Lindsay, to establish a taskforce to better shape our policy response to this grim reality.

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31 October 2022 – today’s press releases

  • COP27: Boris Johnson embarrassing Rishi Sunak into attendance
  • Braverman: One rule for Conservative Ministers and another rule for everyone else
  • Scandal-ridden Home Secretary has no credibility left
  • Suella Braverman Risks Inciting Violence – Jane Dodds

COP27: Boris Johnson embarrassing Rishi Sunak into attendance

As Rishi Sunak refuses to confirm his attendance at COP27, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change, Wera Hobhouse MP said:

It shouldn’t take Boris Johnson going to COP to embarrass Rishi Sunak into doing the right thing.

He must immediately confirm his attendance at COP27 and appoint a climate minister to the Cabinet.

We cannot wait another second to tackle the climate crisis. Rishi Sunak must act before he destroys our country’s reputation and the planet even more.

Braverman: One rule for Conservative Ministers and another rule for everyone else

Responding to the Home Secretary’s letter to the Home Affairs Committee, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Wendy Chamberlain MP, said:

This was not a one-off error, the Home Secretary has admitted breaking the rules on an industrial scale. Deliberately sending a sensitive government document to a friend without clearance is completely beyond the pale.

If the Home Secretary wants to maintain even a shred of her dignity and credibility, she must resign now and apologise for her violations of the public’s trust.

Unless Suella Braverman resigns for the second time, the Conservatives will be putting their own party ahead of this country’s security. By reappointing her, Rishi Sunak showed there is one rule for Conservative Ministers and another rule for everyone else.

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26 October 2022 – today’s press releases

Apologies for the lateness of the hour – I was trawling through my ballot paper for the Party’s internal elections…

  • Braverman appointment: Lib Dems call for Cabinet Office inquiry
  • Cancer diagnosis postcode lottery revealed as over 60,000 wait more than two weeks in August alone
  • Fiscal plan delay leaves families in a cloud of uncertainty
  • Concerns Over Welsh Government Housing Targets
  • PMQs: PM refuses to commit to 40 new hospitals
  • Scrapping triple lock would be a betrayal of pensioners

Braverman appointment: Lib Dems call for Cabinet Office inquiry

The Liberal Democrats have called for a Cabinet Office inquiry into the appointment of Suella Braverman to Home Secretary after she was sacked for breaching the ministerial code.

Liberal Democrats Home Affairs Spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael MP said:

Suella Braverman’s appointment makes a mockery of Rishi Sunak’s claims to be bringing integrity to Number 10.

There must be a full independent inquiry by the Cabinet Office into her appointment, including any promises Sunak made to her behind closed doors.

If it is confirmed that Suella Braverman repeatedly broke the ministerial code and threatened national security, she must be sacked.

A Home Secretary who broke the rules is not fit for a Home Office which keeps the rules.

Cancer diagnosis postcode lottery revealed as over 60,000 wait more than two weeks in August alone

  • 108 NHS trusts miss the two week cancer referral target (72% of all trusts).
  • Top 10 worst places for cancer referrals revealed.
  • Lib Dems call on the Government to bring forward an urgent plan to improve cancer care after NHS targets missed.

New analysis of the latest NHS data by the Liberal Democrats has revealed the worst places in the country to see a cancer specialist within two weeks after being referred by a GP.

A staggering 62,360 people had to wait more than two weeks to see a cancer specialist after a GP referral in August alone.

Despite the Government setting a target of 93% of patients seeing a cancer specialist after a referral, just 30 NHS trusts met the target. Some trusts only managed to see one third of people in time, as a post-code lottery is revealed.

The Liberal Democrats have revealed the top 10 worst places for cancer referrals in the country. Norfolk and Norwich NHS Trust is the worst, where only 34% of people were seen within two weeks of a referral.

Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

This grim postcode lottery is a national scandal. The evidence tells us how critical a speedy cancer diagnosis is yet thousands of people are left waiting far too long. The sheer number of people anxiously waiting is completely unacceptable.

Our health services cannot be ignored any longer. The Government must prioritise resources to clear record backlogs, slash dangerously long ambulance waiting times, and solve the healthcare postcode lottery.

All we’ve had from this Government is broken promise after broken promise. It is time for real action.

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The Government must protect the triple lock on pensions

Our saintly Steve Webb – the Lib Dem pensions expert who became Pensions Minister during the coalition – created the triple lock pledge on pensions. Here he is talking about its history.

And the only thing that Liz Truss did that was commendable on the economy – admittedly under pressure – was to reaffirm the triple lock in her final Prime Minister’s Questions last week.

As a reminder, the triple lock on state pensions means that they will rise by average earnings, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is the highest.

So it is hugely disappointing to realise the Rishi Sunak is refusing to commit on the triple lock, which presumably means that it is “under review” in the run-up to the Budget on 17th November.

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24 October 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems table Bill calling for general election by December
  • Sunak: Another out of touch Conservative PM with no plan
  • Sunak statement: Keeping public in the dark while celebrating behind closed doors
  • First Minister Must Not Contribute to the Whitewashing of Qatar

Lib Dems table Bill calling for general election by December

The Liberal Democrats have tabled a Bill in Parliament today calling for an early general election by 1st December 2022.

The Bill will be tabled in Parliament today (Monday 24th October) and will be given its First Reading on Wednesday after Prime Minister’s Questions.

The Liberal Democrats are urging Conservative MPs to back the …

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21 October 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Block Boris: Parliamentary motion tabled to stop Boris Johnson
  • Appointments Commission urged to give no resignation gongs to Truss

Block Boris: Parliamentary motion tabled to stop Boris Johnson

The Liberal Democrats have tabled a motion in Parliament to block Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister again.

The motion seeks to stop MPs who were found to have broken the law while in government from becoming Prime Minister. The Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper has described Johnson as “Britain’s Berlusconi” and said he is not fit to govern Britain.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Boris Johnson is Britain’s Berlusconi. Conservative MPs are

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Wendy Chamberlain’s Carer’s Leave Bill

Today Wendy Chamberlain spoke on her Carer’s Leave Bill, which has cross-party support and passed its second reading.

Carer’s UK have described this as a ‘landmark’ piece of legislation which would help carers to better balance work and care.

Last month Wendy held an event with major employers to explain her proposals, which were met with widespread support. She points out this is only a small step to recognise the vitally important work of unpaid carers but one that will be appreciated. There are already systems in place to support parents in their caring responsibilities, but nothing for those who care for adults, usually family members.

Scottish Lib Dems added their support.

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The fallout

Lib Dems have been busy today dealing with the fallout from the resignation of Britain’s shortest ever Prime Minister. I’ll rephrase that – the British Prime Minister who served for the shortest time in office EVER (although the original version is probably also true, if of no political significance).

First, all departing Prime Ministers are entitled to an annual allowance for the rest of their lives of £115,000 to cover office costs. This was covered in a press release yesterday, where Christine Jardine is urging her not to take it. Today Ed Davey told LBC radio:

Most people have to work at least 35 years to get a full state pension. I think working 45 days shouldn’t give you a pension that is many many times what ordinary people out there get after a lifetime of work.

Second, traditionally Prime Ministers can hand out peerages and other honours in a resignation list. Boris Johnson has only just honoured 29 people in that way. Another tranche following so soon from Liz Truss would be completely inappropriate. Wendy Chamberlain, Lib Dem Chief Whip, has written to the Chair of Parliamentary and Political Service Committee:

As you know, it is traditional upon a Prime Minister’s departure from office for them to issue a ‘Resignation Honours’ list. This list signifies individuals who are to be rewarded with an honour from the King which, in turn, would be considered by your committee.

However, because of the unprecedented circumstances surrounding Liz Truss’s tenure and resignation, I am writing to urge you and the committee to reject any Resignation Honours list put forward by her.

Liz Truss will be the shortest serving Prime Minister in British political history. It is possible that by the time she formally resigns, she will not have held office for more than 50 days.

I do not believe that it would be appropriate for Liz Truss to be permitted to issue a resignation honours list, given the extremely short length of her tenure.

I urge you to make it clear that you and your fellow committee members would not sign off on any such honours, which would be the second list in a matter of months.

Third, there is a lot of concern that Boris Johnson is thinking of entering the leadership contest. This was, of course, the Prime Minister who was only persuaded to stand down after 50 ministers resigned. As also mentioned in press releases our MPs have now tabled a motion to stop anyone who has broken the law while in Government from ever becoming Prime Minister. It reads:

That this House believes that the upholding of standards by its Members is of vital importance to the functioning of UK democracy; believes that it is vital that the Prime Minister and Ministers uphold these standards; and therefore resolves that any honourable or right honourable member that is found to have broken the law whilst in Government should be barred from holding Prime Ministerial Office.

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21 October 2022 – the overnight press release

Chamberlain to lead debate on Carer’s Leave Bill

North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain will tomorrow lead a debate in the House of Commons on her Carer’s Leave Bill, after which it will be voted on by MPs. The Bill would give carers the right to take unpaid leave and has cross-party support.

Ms Chamberlain’s Private Member’s Bill would give an estimated 2.3 million carers across the UK a statutory right to take five days of unpaid leave per year. Carer’s UK have described this as a ‘landmark’ piece of legislation which would help carers to better balance work and care.

The Bill …

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20 October 2022 – today’s press releases

You don’t expect press releases to become obsolete quite so quickly but the past forty-eight hours have been historic (or hysterical, depending upon your perspective), so these, published in chronological order, perhaps sum up the events of the day…

  • Trevelyan refuses to back Truss: Conservatives way past their sell by date
  • NHS waiting list in Wales hits three-quarters of a million as health service “brought to its knees”
  • Truss resigns: Conservatives must do patriotic duty and back election
  • Welsh Lib Dems – Conservatives must do patriotic duty and back election
  • Conservative MPs must block Boris Johnson’s return
  • Deny Truss the £115k a year taxpayer dividend offered to ex-PMs, say Lib Dems

Trevelyan refuses to back Truss: Conservatives way past their sell by date

Responding to the latest Conservative chaos, with Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan failing to to answer whether Liz Truss will lead the Conservatives into the next election, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain said:

Liz Truss and the Conservatives are way past their sell by date. This is a government that can’t govern, led by a prime minister whose authority has been totally shredded.

People worried sick about how to pay the bills are looking on aghast at this never ending chaos and incompetence. The Conservatives must stop clinging to power and give the country the general election it needs.

NHS waiting list in Wales hits three-quarters of a million as health service “brought to its knees”

Responding to the news that the NHS Wales backlog has now hit 750,000 Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

Behind these figures are countless human tragedies. In every corner of the country people are frightened, suffering and waiting in pain because our NHS can no longer cope.

Labour is letting the NHS fall to its knees and patients are paying the price. Wales routinely has the worse health figures in Britain despite all nations facing similar challenges. This cannot go on.

The Government must come forward with a proper plan to bring down waiting times and recruit and retain more NHS staff. The Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to call for greater investment in primary healthcare facilities, GPs and social care.

We must prevent people from getting so ill they require either treatment in A&E or complex treatment paths if we are to reduce pressures on the system, this starts at ensuring people can access their GP easily. We also need to ensure patients can be discharged safely once their treatment is finished.

Truss resigns: Conservatives must do patriotic duty and back election

Responding to Liz Truss resigning as Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

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19 October 2022 – today’s press releases (part 1)

It’s been an “interesting” day, to say the least, and there have been so many press releases coming out of HQ that, rather than try to get them into one post, it’s probably easier to do it in two. Think of it as a display of governance and organisation…

  • Inflation figures: Truss must confirm rise in pensions and benefits today
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats Respond to Proposed Boundary Changes
  • PMQs: Truss refuses to increase support for carers
  • Fracking vote: Conservative MPs must “show some backbone”
  • Triple lock: Truss dragged kicking and screaming into protecting pensioners

Inflation figures: Truss must confirm rise in pensions and benefits today

In response to the announcement of an inflation rise of 10.1%, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

In the midst of this cost of living catastrophe, pensioners and those relying on benefits cannot be undercut and left to struggle further.

Liz Truss must act today to reassure the public and confirm in Parliament that pensions and benefits will rise to match inflation.

Not one penny can be lost, to do so would be gross negligence and failure of our most vulnerable members of society.

Welsh Liberal Democrats Respond to Proposed Boundary Changes

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18 October 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Triple lock: Truss looks set to betray struggling pensioners in the middle of a cost of living crisis
  • Lib Dem Amendment Put to Vote to End Sleaze in Parliament
  • Anti-sleaze amendment passed to stop MPs “marking their own homework”
  • Calls for Action as Drug-Related Deaths in Wales Rise to Highest Level Ever
  • Welsh Government Must Act to Stop the Brain Drain of Doctors in Wales

Triple lock: Truss looks set to betray struggling pensioners in the middle of a cost of living crisis

Responding to the Prime Minister’s spokesperson refusing to say the Government is committed to the triple lock pension, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Work and Pensions Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Liz Truss has trashed the economy and now looks set to betray struggling pensioners in the middle of a cost of living crisis.

This Conservative Government’s botched budget has already sent mortgage bills spiralling. It would be a kick in the teeth for millions of people if Truss now backtracks on her triple lock promise. The British public will never forgive the Conservative party if they break this promise.

This chaotic Government has to go. Britain needs a general election before Liz Truss and her Conservative Ministers do anymore damage.

Lib Dem Amendment Put to Vote to End Sleaze in Parliament

The Liberal Democrats have today led a cross-party Parliamentary effort to finally end the practice by which MPs are allowed to vote on motions regarding their own misconduct.

The Lib Dem Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain is today putting an amendment to a vote on the Government’s motion on standards, which the Government has tabled to implement recommendations from the Standards Committee, later this afternoon.

This practice was notoriously brought to attention by the Owen Paterson scandal, when he voted against his own suspension from the House of Commons in 2021 – a saga which ultimately resulted in a Liberal Democrat victory in the North Shropshire by-election.

The amendments, which have support from Conservatives (David Mundell, Alicia Kearns), Labour (Kim Leadbeater, Cat Smith) and the Green Party (Caroline Lucas), would prohibit members from voting on anything concerning their own conduct.

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Metropolitan Police – a welcome admission of past failings, but what next?

Following the release of the Casey Report into the Metropolitan Police’s disciplinary systems, Liberal Democrats have been quick to respond.

Wendy Chamberlain, the only former female police officer in the Commons, said:

This devastating report must not be ignored. From decent vetting at the recruitment stage to real diversity, the Met must change dramatically and at lightning speed.

Investigations and whistle-blowing must be also prioritised and concluded quickly.The Home Secretary must come to Parliament and explain how the largest police force in the country has come to this under the Conservative’s watch.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner with the Metropolitan Police, and now Liberal Democrat Peer, Brian Paddick, was quick to highlight what the report means;

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26 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Falling pound: Recall Parliament to fix failed Budget
  • Kwarteng must resign if pound reaches parity with dollar

Falling pound: Recall Parliament to fix failed Budget

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to urgently recall Parliament, so the Chancellor can fix his disastrous and out of touch Budget which has sent the pound plummeting.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Last week the Chancellor announced a shambolic budget that gave huge unfunded tax cuts to big banks and the wealthiest while leaving struggling families and pensioners in the cold. As a result we are seeing the pound plummet into free fall

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Those Votes of No Confidence – latest

Earlier today we reported that the Government had refused to allow time for Labour’s Vote of No Confidence motion.

There has been a surprising development in the last hour, according to the BBC.  The PM has allowed a different motion of confidence specifically in the Government, not in him personally, which will be debated next week.

Lib Dems have been quick off the mark and announced that they will table an amendment to the motion, to allow MPs to vote on whether they have confidence in Boris Johnson staying on as Prime Minister.

Our Chief Whip, Wendy Chamberlain, said:

These are desperate tactics from the Conservatives who are looking to duck scrutiny for propping up Boris Johnson.

Conservative MPs risk a major public backlash if they refuse to listen to their constituents who want Johnson gone now. Voters across the Blue Wall will not forgive Conservative MPs who continue to stand by Boris Johnson after all the damage he’s done to our country.

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Boris Johnson to resign – reactions

Unbridled joy? Schadenfreude? Anger?

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1 July 2022 – today’s press releases

  • VAT cut: Ministers need to stop dithering and act now
  • Suspending Chris Pincher should never have taken this long
  • Concern Over Cardiff Council Plans to Tackle Begging
  • Southwark Liberal Democrats Demand More Ambition in Plans to Tackle Air Pollution

VAT cut: Ministers need to stop dithering and act now

Responding to reports the government is considering cutting VAT, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Families across the UK are facing a cost-of-living emergency. Ministers need to stop dithering and act now.

Liberal Democrats have been calling for an emergency VAT cut for months. It was a key part of our successful by-election campaign in Tiverton and Honiton. Families need it, businesses need it, and voters clearly support it. So why haven’t Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak done it already?

The sad truth is that we have a Government has no plan and a Prime Minister too busy fighting with his own party to help the British people.

Suspending Chris Pincher should never have taken this long

Responding to the news Chris Pincher has had the Conservative whip suspended, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

It should never have taken Boris Johnson this long to act and withdraw the whip.

Once again it seems Johnson has had to be forced into doing the right thing

There can be no more cover ups or excuses. If this investigation confirms these serious allegations, Chris Pincher will surely have to resign.

The Liberal Democrat Voice team have recently started to receive more press releases from Council Groups around the country, perhaps a sign of greater confidence and ambition, and we’ll try to publish some of them going forward…

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Why does the PM need an Ethics Adviser?

Yes, indeed.

This reminds me of a question posed to my husband when he was Mayor. He was visiting a school and the Mayor’s attendant that day was also a children’s entertainer, and some of the children recognised him. One of them asked “Why does the Mayor need a magician?”.

But back to the Prime Minister. The role of an Ethics Adviser (technically the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests) was established in 2006. The adviser is appointed directly by the Prime Minister.

The Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests is appointed by the Prime Minister to advise him on matters relating to the Ministerial Code. The post holder is independent of government and expected to provide impartial advice to the Prime Minister. (Terms of reference)

The previous Ethics Adviser, Sir Alex Allen, was asked in 2020 to investigate bullying claims against Priti Patel and had found that she had broken the Ministerial Code, which would normally result in resignation . Boris Johnson backed Priti Patel and stated that he had full confidence in her, so Alex Allen resigned.

And now a second Ethics Adviser appointed by Boris Johnson has resigned. Lord Geidt informed the Prime Minister of his decision on Tuesday and last night his resignation letter was published (after some anger at its delay).

The trigger for his resignation was when Boris Johnson asked him to approve a plan to extend tariffs on steel imports, which would have broken World Trade Organization rules.

Here is the key extract from Lord Geidt’s letter:

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Lib Dem MPs submit Private Members Bills on carers and worker protection

Of the 460 MPs who entered the ballot for Private Member Bills only 20 were selected. And two of those were Lib Dems – Wendy Chamberlain and Wera Hobhouse.

Unfortunately only the top seven are guaranteed debating time so the others have to hope they can be squeezed in somewhere. Wendy was at position 10, and Wera at 15.

So we should be watching the progress of these two (quoted from Politics Home):

10. Wendy Chamberlain: Carer’s Leave Bill

The Liberal Democrat MP for North East Fife is proposing a bill to make provision about unpaid leave for employees with caring responsibilities.

Chamberlain said: “Unpaid carers are the absolute backbone of our society. According to government estimates, there are at least 2.3 million working carers who could be eligible for leave under this bill: a huge number of people who currently receive far too little support.

“This bill will help carers juggle work and care whilst supporting employers to maximise retention and wellbeing. Passing it will be a significant step forwards from all sides.”

And

15. Wera Hobhouse: Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill

This legislation – the unofficial name of which is the Protection from Workplace Harassment Bill – makes provisions about the duties of employers and protection of workers under the Equality Act 2010.

The Liberal Democrat MP for Bath said: “My winning number on the ballot was 461. I chose this because I was the 461st woman to be elected to Parliament. This encouraged me to choose an issue that will tackle violence against women and girls as harassment in the workplace is experienced by 40 per cent of women in the workforce in their career.

“This bill would shift responsibility from the individual to the institution and make employers responsible for protecting their employees. There is no place for harassment anywhere. At a minimum, sexual harassment is experienced by 40 per cent of women in the workforce. It causes various harms, and employers should be morally and legally required to take all reasonable steps to stop harassment from occurring.

“Workplace harassment has no place in our society and this bill will take steps to prevent cases of harassment.”

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Wendy Chamberlain slams PM’s “appalling attempt to rig the rules”

You would think, wouldn’t you, that when the culture of your Government has been slammed in a report which outlined disgraceful behaviour, you would be absolutely mortified and would make sure that your actions showed that you were truly sorry. Especially when you had been saying so at length and you knew that nobody believed a word of your apology.

Well, you could think that of virtually any other PM than Boris Johnson. But the current incumbent’s capacity for brazen disregard for rules or accountability is second to none. We saw this when he tried to change the rules to save his mate Owen Paterson last Autumn.

Yesterday, Boris Johnson watered down both the Ministerial Code and the role of the so-called “Independent Adviser.” The Guardian reports:

The prime minister faced a barrage of criticism after he amended the rules on Friday to make clear that ministers will not always be expected to resign for breaching the code of conduct. Under new sanctions, they could apologise or temporarily lose their pay instead.

Johnson also blocked his independent ethics chief, Christopher Geidt, from gaining the power to launch his own investigations, and rewrote the foreword to the ministerial code, removing all references to honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability.

Our Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain is reported as saying that this was an:

appalling attempt by Boris Johnson to rig the rules to get himself off the hook.

It seems the Conservatives have learned nothing from the Owen Paterson scandal.

It has been clear for some time that the Government doesn’t care that accountability and justice are seen to be done where its own behaviour is concerned. With these moves they are effectively giving themselves the right to mark their own homework. The legitimacy of any Government depends on having some sort of check on its power.

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Lib Dems table motion to publish minutes of Johnson and Sue Gray meeting

The Liberal Democrats will today table a motion in Parliament to force the Government to release the minutes of Boris Johnson’s meeting with Sue Gray.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain will lay a Humble Address motion in Parliament, calling on the Government to publish the details of the meeting, including who was responsible for arranging it.

The motion will also call for the publication of all contact between Johnson and Gray during the course of the inquiry into breaches of coronavirus regulations in Downing Street.

This step comes following speculation over the origin and contents of the meeting between …

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Alex Cole-Hamilton launches Scottish Lib Dems local government campaign

Alex Cole-Hamilton and Lib Dem spokespeople and council candidates went up to the top of Calton Hill, overlooking Edinburgh city centre to launch our local government election campaign today.

Here he is talking to the BBC  calling for a cut to VAT, the SNP Government to cut rail fares as it has just taken over the Scotrail franchise and insulation for every home in Scotland.

The themes of the campaign are set out in the party’s Party Political Broadcast, starring Alex, Deputy Leader Wendy Chamberlain and her gorgeous cocker spaniel Tamlyn.  Wendy asked people to vote Lib Dem to get someone who cares about you and your community.

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Support jobseekers, don’t sanction them

Were you as incensed as I was at reading the latest Government move against some of the most vulnerable people in our society?

The scheme is called “Way to Work” and according to this report, jobseekers will have only four weeks (reduced from three months) to find work in their preferred sector. After that period they will be forced to widen their job search to other sectors.  If they turn down employment or don’t make “reasonable efforts” to find work then they will be sanctioned and lose some of their Universal Credit.

I do understand the context. There are 1.22 million job vacancies, many of these in essential services such as care work or delivering, and it is important for all of us to get those filled. But forcing people to take on jobs that they find difficult or unpleasant does not produce a happy and productive work force. And reducing benefits for people who are already on the breadline is dangerous, as it can push people into criminality or homelessness.

Wendy Chamberlain MP is our Work and Pensions Spokesperson, and she said:

Rather than supporting people to find secure long-term employment, the Government is now attempting to force people into accepting any job going.

This callous move could see skilled workers forced to accept insecure short term employment, for fear of having the rug pulled out from under them, and create a cycle of unemployment.

What is worse, these harsh sanctions could be applied within weeks of applying for Universal Credit – before people’s first payment even arrives.

We are in the middle of a cost of living crisis, with energy bills soaring and reliance on food banks rising. If the Government can write off billions in Covid fraud, they can afford to genuinely support those looking for work instead of sanctioning them.

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Wendy Chamberlain smashes it at PMQs with call for PM to resign

Wendy Chamberlain made a brilliant start to PMQs today:

And there has been loads of praise:

https://twitter.com/NairnMcD/status/1483772201866342404?s=20

 

Keir Starmer, buoyed by Tory defector Christian Wakeford sitting behind him, was both serious and funny as he repeatedly blasted the PM’s failures.

But it was David Davis, former Brexit Secretary, who struck what may be a politically fatal blow:

You could hear the gasps of surprise at his savage denouncement. I was reminded of the blow that Geoffrey Howe struck to Margaret Thatcher back in 1990. She didn’t last long after that.

Earlier, Wendy spoke to Nicky Campbell about the PM’s position:

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