Tag Archives: wera hobhouse

Lib Dems named in environmental Power List

The ENDS Report is a UK online magazine that provides, in its own words, “intelligence for environmental professionals, delivering news, analysis and reference across the carbon, environmental and sustainability agenda.” Every year it publishes the Power List of 100 environmentalists who have made the greatest impact.

It normally excludes politicians from the Power List, but with an imminent General Election it has published a separate list of 50 politicians who have been notable changemakers, rebels and local environmental leaders. It includes a number of Lib Dems.

Bobby Dean   Bobby is a councillor in Sutton and our PPC for Carshalton & Wallington. He founded Speak Change, a communications consultancy helping charities campaign on global poverty, health and education.

Pippa Heylings  Pippa is PPC for South Cambridgeshire, and a councillor in South Cambridgeshire District Council, where she chairs the Climate Change and Environment Advisory Committee. She has represented local government at the UN climate talks.

Wera Hobhouse  Wera is the MP for Bath. She is our spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change and Transport in the Commons.

Kate Parminter   Kate is a member of the House of Lords, known as Baroness Parminter. Until recently she chaired the Lords Select Committee on Environment and Climate Change.

Beatrice Wishart   Beatrice is MSP for the Shetland Isles. She is Party Spokesperson on Rural Affairs in the Scottish Parliament.

Note that some of these links are behind a substantial paywall.

Congratulations to all of them!

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Lib Dem MPs contribute to Commons debate on assisted dying

On Monday, MPs debated a petition, supported by Esther Rantzen, aimed at changing the law to allow assisted dying. Several Lib Dem MPs contributed to the debate, all making points in favour of changing the law.

Here are their contributions in full:

Christine Jardine

I was thinking today about all those evenings when I was allowed to sit with my parents and watch “That’s Life!”, and how I could never have envisaged this moment. With all the successful campaigns in which Dame Esther Rantzen has been involved in her astonishing career, there can surely be none that has touched a nerve with the British public in so widespread a way as this one. Her involvement with this petition, which 555 people signed in my constituency alone, shows me that there is a momentum among the British public: a desire to see a national debate on the subject and for their Parliament to reflect their view, which we see in so many opinion polls nowadays. It is not a party political issue, but for the record my party, which believes in the freedom, dignity and wellbeing of individuals, has long supported the idea of a free vote in Parliament and would welcome a free vote in the next Parliament for us all to make the choice.

I find myself in the strange position where my colleague Liam McArthur is currently steering a private Member’s Bill on this issue through the Scottish Parliament. If he is successful, I would hypothetically have a choice denied to so many other people in this room—a significant choice. Another Bill that is about to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament by a Conservative MSP is about improving palliative care. Liam and Miles Briggs are working together, because the two are not mutually exclusive. We should see it as a choice between assisted dying or palliative care not for us, but for the individuals affected. They should have the choice.

The time has come when we need to recognise that there is momentum; other parts of the UK will make decisions on this shortly. I must be honest with Members and say that I do not know what decision I would make. I saw my parents die very different deaths: my father suddenly from a heart attack when very young, and my mother very slowly of a horrible asbestos-related disease. I do not know what they would have wanted. I do not know what I would want, but I do know that I want everybody to have the choice that they want. The time has come when we should recognise this petition and what it asks us to do, and look at a very narrow form of agreement to assisted dying when someone has a terminal diagnosis and has made that decision at a time when they were mentally capable of doing it, and when a medical intervention is involved. Ultimately, they get to make the last, perhaps most important and most personal decision that they could make.

Sarah Dyke

It is an honour to serve with you in the Chair, Mrs Latham. I thank the hon. Member for Gower (Tonia Antoniazzi) for bringing forward this important debate. I also thank the petitioners, including 645 in Somerton and Frome, and everyone who reached out to me ahead of the debate. Your experiences have touched me deeply, as have the experiences of hon. Members here.

One constituent wrote to me about her son, Jonathan, who died in a hospice at the age of 46. His family told me that the tragedy of his death was made so much worse by the lack of provision for assisted dying. Jonathan’s mother, Denise, gave me a quote that I think sums up today’s debate very well:

“It’s not about ending life, it’s about shortening death”.

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29 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Travel chaos: 237,000 rush hour trains cancelled since 2019
  • Blue light bill bombshell as emergency services face £144m fuel and insurance costs

Travel chaos: 237,000 rush hour trains cancelled since 2019

  • Average of 130 morning rush hour trains cancelled every day since 2019
  • Most cancelled train in Britain is the 6.40am from Cardiff to Nottingham
  • Lib Dems warn “passengers are having to roll the dice every day” as trains cancelled at short notice

A shocking 237,000 morning rush hour trains have faced cancellations since 2019, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

This is equivalent to an average of 130 morning service trains being cancelled per day. The data, obtained from Network Rail through a Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrats, shows the total number of trains between 6am and 9am that have been either been fully or partly cancelled since 2019.

2023 saw 55,829 morning rush hour train services either fully or partly cancelled, a 10% rise on the previous year and the worst of any year since 2019. The most cancelled service was the 06:40 train from Cardiff Central to Nottingham, with passengers facing a staggering 68 cancellations in 2023, more than once every five days. The train operator with the worst record was Northern Trains with 25,578 morning services cancelled since 2019.

It comes as passengers are hit with painful rail price hikes, with fares rising by 5% in 2024 and 5.9% in 2023. The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to tighten powers to sanction failing train operators, along with a freeze on rail fares.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport, Wera Hobhouse MP said:

The Conservative Government has hammered passengers with rail fare hikes and a train network that simply cannot be relied upon. Passengers are having to roll the dice every day, uncertain as to whether they will get to their final destinations on time, or even at all.

To add insult to injury, instead of sorting out the near unusable network, ministers have punished passengers with ever higher ticket prices.

This Conservative Government has let rail operators fail their customers without any fear of punishment. It’s time for the government to freeze rail fares for passengers, and sanction train companies who are running rail services into the ground.

Blue light bill bombshell as emergency services face £144m fuel and insurance costs

Emergency services are set to pay an “eye-watering” £24.6 million more in fuel and insurance costs compared to costs five years ago.

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Lee Anderson defects to Reform UK – Liberal Democrats respond

Whilst you should never be surprised by anything that happens to the Conservative Party these days, this was perhaps one of the more readily predicted events. And, naturally, because you’d have to have a heart of stone not to get some amusement from this, there have been a number of Liberal Democrat responses to the news that Reform UK Ltd has its first MP.

The official response first though…

Wera Hobhouse was quick to point …

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Liberal Democrats celebrate International Women’s Day

Last week there was a debate in the House of Commons on the subject: International Women’s Day: Language in Politics. The actual text of the motion was:

That this House has considered the use of language in politics in light of International Women’s Day; agrees that the respectful use of language is an important feature of a strong and inclusive democracy; and calls on all parliamentary candidates to pledge that respectful language will be used at all times in the upcoming General Election campaigning period.

Following the opening speech by Dame Maria Miller, Wera Hobhouse asked this question:

The right hon. Lady has mentioned online platforms and a form of responsibility, but does she believe that Parliament itself should take more responsibility for the barriers that women are facing, or citing as their reasons for not entering Parliament, and for the language that we use here? What might that responsibility look like?

She later said:

We are hearing terrible things in this discussion about banter. People say things are just banter, but banter can be very offensive. We should not be intimidated by people who say that we cannot take banter. It is important that people realise that some banter is offensive.

Christine Jardine made these points:

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Wera Hobhouse’s Bill to protect workers from sexual harassment to become law

One of the highlights of last week came on Friday when Wera Hobhouse’s Bill to tackle workplace sexual harassment cleared its final legislative process. It will become law when it receives Royal Assent.

From the Lib Dem website:

Harassment in the workplace is a blight on society. It is widespread, it ruins lives and impacts effective working relationships in all walks of life. Not a week goes by without revelations of inappropriate behaviour in an organisation somewhere in the UK.

The Bill makes employers liable to their employees if they have not taken reasonable steps to prevent harassment. Shocking figures from the House of Commons Library have revealed that one in five people have experience sexual harassment in the workplace every year.

The Bill presents an opportunity to shift the culture in our workplaces where harassment is no longer tolerated. It will create a duty on employers to prevent harassment from happening and should bring about a long-term change in attitudes.

Wera said:

I am proud to have worked alongside brilliant organisations such as the Fawcett Society and the wider Alliance for Women, who continue to support this Bill because of the substantial difference it will make to workers’ lives. I am also grateful to the Minister for Women for her support, and to Baroness Burt, who worked tirelessly to steer this Bill through the Lords.

Employees should not have to wait any longer for safe and respectful workplaces. The passage of this Bill will send a clear signal that such behaviour is unacceptable, and that we take the protections of employees seriously.

The Bill isn’t entirely as Wera would have wanted it. The Lords took out key provisions on third party harassment, but she had to accept them to get it on the Statute Book.

You can read last Friday’s debate here. Some of the contributions and attitudes of Tory men show why this measure is needed as effectively as the statistics quoted by its proposer.

Here is Wera’s speech in full with interventions:

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3 October 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Twenty’s plenty: 20 Conservative politicians and Councils who backed 20 mph zones
  • Ed Davey slams Sunak over Conservative conference chaos on visit to Mid Bedfordshire

Twenty’s plenty: 20 Conservative politicians and Councils who backed 20 mph zones

The Liberal Democrats have accused Rishi Sunak of “rank hypocrisy” and “playing politics with road safety” for criticising 20 mph zones, despite Conservative politicians across the country backing them.

It comes as analysis by the party reveals a list of 20 Conservative MPs and Councils, including three Cabinet Ministers, that have backed 20 mph speed limits.

Among those who have previously backed 20 mph zones is Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who pledged his support to a 20’s Plenty campaign saying that “dropping your speed by merely 10 mph can make all the difference in preventing potentially fatal accidents.”

Other Cabinet Ministers who have expressed support for 20 mph speed limits include the Welsh Secretary David Davies and Justice Secretary Alex Chalk.

Health Minister, Helen Whately, has backed the expansion of 20 mph speed limits in her constituency saying “there are benefits for everyone from a lower speed limit – safer roads, cleaner air, and better quality of life.”

And even in Rishi Sunak’s own backyard, Conservative run North Yorkshire Council has proposed the ‘the most significant 20 mph zone the council has ever introduced’ as they believe they are ‘safer’.

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2 October 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Hunt rules out tax cuts as Conservative soap opera continues
  • Water bill hike: Bosses paid £41m in bonuses while customers asked to pay for upgrades
  • Liz Truss’s £18,000 golden goodbye same as five-year mortgage hit for typical Blue Wall family
  • HS2: Rishi Sunak makes Liz Truss look like a political genius
  • Covid Inquiry: Sunak’s failure to send messages is another “Conservative cover up”

Hunt rules out tax cuts as Conservative soap opera continues

Responding to Jeremy Hunt’s latest comments this morning ruling out tax cuts this year, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

The Conservative Party are fighting like rats in a sack, while

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21 September 2023 – today’s press release

Liberal Democrats call on Sunak to commit to maintaining fracking ban

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Prime Minister to personally commit to maintaining the ban on fracking after Liz Truss praised his watering down of key clean energy pledges and urged Sunak to lift the ban on fracking.

Liz Truss’s premiership ended last year following chaos around a Labour opposition day motion on fracking.

Liberal Democrat Climate and Energy spokesperson, Wera Hobhouse MP said:

Rishi Sunak seems hellbent on taking his policy cues from the worst Prime Minister in living memory, Liz Truss. There is no telling how far he

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19 September 2023 – today’s press releases

  • OECD Report: UK economy is “stuck in the slow lane”
  • Revealed: Truss taxpayer handouts now reach over £40k
  • Sunak has failed to embrace the industries of the future

OECD Report: UK economy is “stuck in the slow lane”

Responding to the lastest OECD report, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Treasury and Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This damning report shows that under the Conservatives, the UK economy is stuck in the slow lane. We’ve had zero apology from Liz Truss for trashing the economy, and now zero plan from Rishi Sunak to fix it.

It’s time for a proper plan to grow the economy and tackle the cost of living. That means boosting apprenticeships to tackle skills shortages and helping exporters by fixing the government’s botched trade deal with Europe.

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18 April 2023 – today’s press releases

  • ONS pay-squeeze figures: The Government simply doesn’t care
  • Rise in faulty sewage monitors as water firms accused of “covering up environmental scandal”
  • Prepayment meters: This half-measure is an insult
  • Lib Dems launch digital campaign on A to Z of Conservative sleaze and scandal
  • Calls For Welsh Labour to Take Stronger Action on Coal Mining Following Successful Lords Vote

ONS pay-squeeze figures: The Government simply doesn’t care

Responding to the latest ONS unemployment and earnings figures which saw average pay fall by 2.3% in the year to December 2022 to February 2023, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

This is a damning verdict on the Government’s attempt to end the cost of living crisis.

Jeremy Hunt is the latest out of touch Conservative Chancellor to completely fail on rising prices.

The Conservative party’s gross mismanagement of the British economy has lead to inflation rising and growth plummeting. People need urgent help with rising food and energy bills, yet the Government simply doesn’t care.

Rise in faulty sewage monitors as water firms accused of “covering up environmental scandal”

  • Almost 2,300 sewage monitors found to be faulty – over one in six of all monitors
  • Number of sewage discharges potentially much higher than feared
  • Lib Dems accuse water companies of covering up environmental scandal by failing to fix monitors

New analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed water companies are failing to monitor hundreds of sewage discharges in coastlines and rivers.

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PAC Report: Perfect storm for holidaymakers

Responding to the Public Accounts Committee Report showing that hundreds of thousands of passport applicants let down by unacceptable delays, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said:

The Government’s endless track record of incompetence is creating the perfect storm for holidaymakers. Families just trying get away are now being saddled with the misery of passport delays and what seem like eternal queues at Dover.

The Home Secretary should apologise to the countless families she has let down this Easter and get to grips with this shambles. Families should be able to relax instead of having their holidays ruined by bureaucratic

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Govt energy announcement: Half-baked plan shows they simply don’t care about cutting energy bills

Responding to the Government’s embargoed energy announcement, Liberal Democrat Climate Change and Energy spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said:

The fact the Government had to be dragged to court in order to announce this half-baked plan shows they simply don’t care about tackling climate change or cutting energy bills.

This updated Net Zero strategy once more falls far too short. There is no clear pathway to ending our fossil fuel dependency, a de facto ban remains on onshore wind and there is no remit for the regulator Ofgem to have a clear net zero objective.

This is just compounding the Government’s legacy

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17-19 March 2023 – the Conference weekend press releases (part 2)

  • Lib Dems call for emergency action to end dental deserts
  • Banks’ £17.8 billion tax cut could have funded pay rise for 150,000 carers
  • Lib Dems call for long-term strategy to end energy crisis

Lib Dems call for emergency action to end dental deserts

The Liberal Democrats have blasted the Government for the spread of ‘dental deserts’ across the UK.

Vast areas of the country are without access to NHS dental appointments, often in rural or deprived areas.

The Party passed a motion at its Spring Conference today which called for urgent reform to the NHS dental contract to ensure everyone can get the care they need and isn’t forced to go private.

The plans also call for an emergency scheme to ensure children, pregnant women and young mothers have access to their free check ups on time.

This comes as Healthwatch England found that 41% of people are struggling to get an NHS dental appointment, with one in five unable to access all the treatments they needed.

Under the proposals, there would be an increase to the number of dentist training places in the UK and continued recognition of EU trained dentists’ qualifications.

The Liberal Democrats are also calling for the removal of VAT on children’s toothbrushes and children’s toothpaste.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health and Social Care, Daisy Cooper MP said:

Our NHS dental system is completely broken. NHS appointments are scarce at best and in some places don’t exist at all. People are being forced to spend hundreds if not thousands of pounds on private dental care with some even resorting to their own at-home DIY dentistry.

This Conservative Government has done next to nothing to tackle this crisis.

Rishi Sunak would rather engage in divisive culture wars to cover up his government’s appalling record on the NHS, which is leaving dental patients in pain and distress.

The Liberal Democrats believe that everyone should be able to access a dentist when they need one.

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Reactions to the Budget – “Conservatives so out of touch they are living on another planet”

Here’s some of the Lib Dem reaction to today’s Budget. Mary and Caron will keep updating it as the day goes on.

First up:

And Wera Hobhouse amplified this point:

Ed Davey’s first reaction was that the Budget showed how out of touch the Conservatives are:

This Budget shows the Conservative Party is so out of touch they might as well be living on another planet.

Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak had a chance to show they care about the cost-of-living crisis that’s hitting millions of Britain’s families and pensioners but they failed miserably.

People are desperate for real help especially a cut to their energy bills – but all the Chancellor could offer is empty words and more unfair tax hikes.

We also saw a total failure to invest in fixing our crumbling hospitals and supporting local health services. It shows the Conservative Party doesn’t understand that you can’t get Britain ‘back to work’ without fixing the crisis in our NHS and social care.

Tim Farron was quick to get a cheeky comment in after the story about Rishi Sunak paying for the grid to be upgraded for his private heated swimming pool.

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4-5 March 2023 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Rail fare rise: Betrayal of commuters and families
  • Lockdown files: Matt Hancock’s attempt to fire SAGE scientist ‘shocking’
  • Small boat ban will punish victims of human trafficking

Rail fare rise: Betrayal of commuters and families

Responding to a rail fare increase of 5.9% due on Sunday, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said:

Liberal Democrats are fighting for a fair deal for commuters and families who will be left forking out even more for train journeys in the middle of a cost of living crisis.

Ministers cannot keep turning a blind eye to these problems, especially given people are paying more for

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Wera Hobhouse calls for action to tackle eating disorders

Anyone who has supported a loved one with an eating disorder will appreciate Wera Hobhouse’s tireless efforts to get better support and services for those living with these terrible and distressing conditions.

I know first hand how horrendous it is to watch someone suffering in this way. The agony that my loved one went through will stay with me forever, as will all the related anxiety. And I really appreciated that Wera drew attention to eating disorders in men for that reason.

What made things much worse is that there was so little in the way of practical support available. It is great to know that we have a champion in Parliament who gets this and who is fighting for more.

This Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Wera held a Westminster Hall Debate. She called for action to tackle an epidemic of eating disorders. She asked for a targeted strategy for eating disorders to tackle the waiting times for treatment for children and adults, provide training for health and education staff to recognise the signs that an eating disorder might be developing, earlier intervention and evidence based treatments.

The full text of her speech is below:

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10 February 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Economic vandalism leaves Britain on the edge of recession
  • Lack of further energy bill support “heartless” – Davey
  • One in 20 waiting five minutes or more for 999 calls to be answered

Economic vandalism leaves Britain on the edge of recession

Responding to the latest ONS figures which see the UK economy narrowly avoiding recession, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Britain is dangling on over the edge of a recession after months of economic vandalism and chaos in Government. The blame for these gloomy figures lies squarely with the Government, who have botched budgets, failed to tackle inflation and have no plan for growth.

The Conservative party hasn’t a shred of economic competence left. This Government has hiked taxes to record levels and done nothing to stimulate economic growth. Businesses are now drowning in mountains of red-tape because of failed trade deals which has stifled all hope of an economic recovery after the pandemic. Gross incompetence and mismanagement of the country’s finances has led to this point.

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9 February 2023 – today’s press releases

Unusually, there don’t appear to have been any yesterday, but the Liberal Democrat press team were back in action today. And so, without further ado…

  • Home repossessions rise after Liz Truss budget
  • A&E Stats: Patients are paying the price for Conservative mismanagement
  • Rishi Sunak playing ‘a reckless game’ with CO2 emissions as two more private flights confirmed

Home repossessions rise after Liz Truss budget

  • Mortgage repossessions by court bailiffs double as more people lose their homes in the cost of living crisis
  • Liberal Democrats call for Spring Budget to include help for families at risk of losing their homes

New figures out this morning from the Ministry of Justice show that mortgage claims, orders, warrants and repossessions have all increased in the three months to December 2022, following the Liz Truss mini-budget

Compared to the same quarter in 2021, mortgage possession claims are up 23%. Mortgage orders for possession are up 50%, warrants up 88% and repossessions by county court bailiffs have doubled, up 134%.

Today’s figures are the first since the disastrous Liz Truss mini-budget, which sent interest rates to their highest levels since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to include a fund in the Spring Budget to ensure homeowners do not lose their homes as a result of rising mortgage bills.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

The consequences of the mortgage ticking bomb set-off by Liz Truss are being felt hard by homeowners. It is shocking that Liz Truss has still refused to apologise for her economic vandalism which has crippled people with mortgage misery

People’s homes are on the line and still the Government refuses to act. Botched budgets and a complete failure to control inflation has led to this point.

Ministers must act now before any more families face the heartbreak of losing their homes.

The capital and South East have been hit hardest by the mortgage timebomb with bills rising by hundreds of pounds a month, yet still the Government refuses to act. Rishi Sunak is nowhere to be found on this. It is time he stepped in and introduced an emergency mortgage protection fund to stop people losing their homes.

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Another hat-trick of Lib Dems question the Prime Minister

Three Lib Dem MPs questioned Rishi Sunak today. In addition to Ed’s semi-regular slot, Wera Hobhouse and Richard Foord got places in the weekly ballot. Watch each of them here, with the text of the exchanges below the tweets.

First up, Ed asked the PM to do more to classify Russia as a terrorist state:

I associate my party with the comments on the unfolding human tragedy in Turkey and Syria and with the warm words to welcome our ally President Zelensky. He will know that this country and this House totally support Ukraine’s resistance to Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion, and it is a source of great pride that the British people have stood firm, united and unwavering in supporting the brave heroes of Ukraine.

When President Zelensky addressed this House last year, he asked that we treat Russia as a terrorist state. Since then, the Liberal Democrats have urged the Government to fulfil that request by proscribing the mercenary Wagner Group, which is doing Putin’s bidding and carrying out atrocities against Ukrainians daily. On this symbolic day, will the Prime Minister finally commit to proscribing the Wagner Group, which would be a crucial part of treating Russia as the rogue state it is?

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6 February 2023 – the day’s press releases

  • Prepayment meters: Energy companies must pay back ‘Poverty Premium’ to those impacted
  • Spectator Interview: Truss is just another washed up Conservative minister

Prepayment meters: Energy companies must pay back ‘Poverty Premium’ to those impacted

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to ensure energy companies pay back at least the ‘Poverty Premium’ paid by the tens of thousands who had a prepayment meter forcibly installed this winter in compensation.

Speaking in Parliament today, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse challenged Energy Minuster Graham Stuart, to apologise and ensure all discussions around compensation for prepayment meters at least cover the extra money paid by …

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3-5 February 2023 – the weekend’s press releases (part 1)

  • Lib Dem Bill to stop prepayment meter installations blocked by Govt
  • Strike Postponement is Welcome Progress
  • Just a quarter of the “40 new hospitals” have received planning permission

Lib Dem Bill to stop prepayment meter installations blocked by Govt

A Liberal Democrats Bill to end all installations of prepayment metres over the Winter has been effectively blocked by the Conservative Government.

This comes after Ofgem announced the suspension of forcible installations of prepayment meters yesterday following a Times investigation into British Gas.

Liberal Democrats have been campaigning on this issue for months; first presenting the Prepayment Meters (Temporary Prohibition) Bill on the 7th December and asking a PMQ to Rishi Sunak two weeks ago urging him to support the bill. But calls have fallen on deaf ears.

Today , the Government prevented the Bill’s progress to Second Reading – causing the legislation to fail.

Liberal Democrats have criticised the“poverty premium” paid by households with prepayment meters have higher energy bills simply because they use a prepayment meter.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Energy, Wera Hobhouse MP, who tabled the Bill, said:

This Bill has been in front of Parliament since early December, but the Conservative Government chose to ignore it. Only after a scandal and shocking revelations about energy companies prying on vulnerable people did the regulator, Ofgem, finally act.

It is too little, too late. My Bill would go further than the Regulator, by banning the installation of prepayment meters for a period of time to get people through this difficult winter and to investigate any rogue practices.

With the Government shunning the fastest way to help these people who become victims of predatory energy firms, families and pensioners across the country will be worried about how they will keep the heating and lights on.

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Government blocks Wera Hobhouse’s Bill to stop prepayment meters

One of the many scandals of the cost of living crisis is the forced installation of prepayment meters. Energy companies raking in massive profits are compelling their poorest consumers to paying the highest rates. The BBC highlighted the heartless attitudes behind such practices in a report this week.

While Wera Hobhouse enjoyed the success of getting her Bill aimed at tackling sexual harassment in the workplace through its Commons stages this week, she was disappointed when the Government blocked her attempt to stop the forced installation of prepayment meters.

Here she is on Newsnight talking about why they are so bad:

Wera’s …

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Wera Hobhouse on how she is changing the law to help tackle workplace sexual harassment

This week, Wera Hobhouse’s Bill aimed at tackling sexual harassment in the workplace cleared its Commons stages. It will now be considered by the House of Lords and we hope that, like Wendy Chanberlain’s Carer’s Leave Bill it will be law later this year.

In an email to party members, Wera set out why her Bill is so important and what it will do.

The 2018 Presidents Club scandal highlighted the extent to which current law does not protect people.

In that instance, businessmen allegedly sexually harassed young female hostesses at a notorious men-only dinner, after being instructed to wear “black, sexy shoes” and black underwear.

Those women, who faced violations of their dignity, would not have had protection from the law as it stands.

Sexual harassment by third parties is a major problem in the UK. A 2017 survey suggested 18% of those who experienced workplace sexual harassment said the perpetrators were clients or customers. Some 1.5 million people have been harassed by a third party, meaning that clients or customers were allowed to harass 1.5 million workers.

Workplace sexual harassment is widespread and widely under-reported. A TUC survey suggested 79% of women do not report their experience of sexual harassment, for many reasons, including fear of repercussions, lack of awareness regarding their rights, and fear of not being taken seriously.

Those concerns are heightened for people of colour, people in the LGBT+ community, and people with disabilities, who already face greater discrimination in the workplace. It is understandable why people do not come forward.

For one, it is not just third parties who harass people, with 20% of surveyed women suggesting their direct manager or someone else with direct authority over them was the perpetrator. It therefore goes without saying that any reporting could have direct career implications for those involved.

Whether sexual harassment is by a third party or not, employers have not done enough to prevent and punish it. The Equality and Human Rights Commission found that in nearly half of cases reported, the employer took no action, minimised the incident or placed the responsibility on the employee to avoid the harasser.

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2 February 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Shell Profits: Sunak has failed to take action with a proper Windfall Tax
  • Lib Dem Bill to ban prepayment meters seeks to protect vulnerable from exploitation
  • Interest rates: A hammer blow and the blame lies squarely with the Government

Shell Profits: Sunak has failed to take action with a proper Windfall Tax

Responding the energy giant Shell making record profits of over £68 billion in 2022, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

No company should be making these kind of outrageous profits out of Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukra ine.

Rishi Sunak was warned as chancellor and now as Prime Minister that we need a

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WATCH: Wera Hobhouse asks PM to support her bill to tackle workplace sexual harassment

Yesterday, Wera Hobhouse asked the Prime Minister to ensure her bill aimed at tackling workplace sexual harassment has a safe passage through Parliament. The Government has already agreed to support it, but it needs to free up the parliamentary time for it to complete its stages before the end of the session in the Spring.

Watch her here:

In response, the Prime Minister’s words were warm but he didn’t actually give a specific commitment:

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Wera Hobhouse’s bill to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace passes Committee stage

We’re now into the annual 16 days of activism against gender based violence which runs from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November through to International Human Rights Day on 10th December.

We will be bringing you a series of articles to mark this important annual event, including a horrific story of the death of a young woman in Scotland after she was let own by all of the services who should have been there to protect her.

Today we report on the Committee Stage of Wera Hobhouse’s Bill to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace, which took place on Wednesday. It would make employers liable for sexual harassment of their employers by third parties, eg contractors, as well as their co-workers.

Introducing the Bill, Wera said:

Workplace sexual harassment is a blight on our society. It remains widespread and vastly under-reported. Half of British women and a fifth of men have been sexually harassed at work or a place of study. Too many people have been left to suffer for too long. The question of whether employers have taken adequate steps to prevent sexual harassment arises only as a defence if an incident of sexual harassment has already occurred. Employers are therefore not required to take actions to prevent sexual harassment. That leaves individuals with the burden of challenging it.

The Bill, which passed its Second Reading last month, introduces two new measures to strengthen protections for employees against harassment. The first is the introduction of explicit protections for employees from workplace harassment by third parties, such as customers and clients. The second is the introduction of a duty on employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent their employees from experiencing sexual harassment.

Fellow Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine emphasised why the Bill was needed:

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Sarah Olney (and other Lib Dems) on the problem of night flights

Sarah Olney was granted an adjournment debate yesterday, so took the opportunity to visit an issue that plagues her constituency – aircraft noise, especially at night. She was joined by her neighbouring MP, Munira Wilson, whose Twickenham constituency is affected even more. Christine Jardine and Wera Hobhouse also chipped in. Who knew so many Lib Dem constituencies had this problem?

You can read the full debate in Hansard, but here are some highlights.

Sarah Olney:

Night flights are the most intrusive form of aircraft noise and there is clear evidence that they harm both the physical and mental health of residents who live under flightpaths. This summer, the delays and chaos at Heathrow airport resulted in an increased number of flights landing through the night. For my constituents and for many others across west and south-west London, that disturbance resulted in countless sleepless nights.

This disturbance is completely avoidable. Night flights are by no means essential for airport operations. These flights can and should be moved and it is within the Government’s remit to ensure that that happens.

I therefore have two asks of the Department for Transport. My primary call is for a ban on scheduled flights at Heathrow airport between 11 pm and 6 am.  That is the only way we can be sure that residents will not continue to suffer from noise disruption. If the Government will not commit to that, they must commission a full independent analysis of the impact of night flights on the health of local communities, the environment and the UK economy to inform future policy development.

Munira Wilson:

My constituency of Twickenham is, of course, that bit closer to Heathrow and further along the flightpath, so I wholeheartedly welcome and support the two asks that she is making of the Minister today about trying to balance the economic benefits of night flights against the health risks and the distress that they cause to constituents. Does she agree that the Government could start by looking at extending the night-time restriction to 10 pm, from 11.30 pm, given the large number of frequent late-night departures that are blighting my constituents’ sleep?

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2 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak at COP27: PM embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance
  • Welsh Government Must Do More to Combat Fuel Poverty
  • Matt Hancock should resign and trigger by-election
  • Welsh Conservatives Dysfunctional, Divided and Ineffective
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats – Welsh Government Must Change Their Mind on COVID Inquiry

Sunak at COP27: PM embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance

Responding to the news that Rishi Sunak will now be attending COP, Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said:

This whole debacle has shown the environment is simply not a priority for Rishi Sunak. He’s only going after being embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance.

We need action rather than just attendance from the Prime Minister. Building more renewables, the cheapest and most popular form of energy, and insulating our cold and draughty homes will accelerate progress towards net-zero, cut energy bills and increase the UK’s energy security.

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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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