Tag Archives: wera hobhouse

14 November 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s been a long day today, with the last press release issued after 10 p.m….

  • Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages
  • Number Ten bows to pressure on FOBT stakes
  • Failures on women’s health becoming the norm
  • DUP “punishment beating” comments unacceptable and dangerous
  • ‘No Brexit’ still a very real possibility
  • Country still none the wiser on PM’s blindfold Brexit
  • Brexit will rob UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools

Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has warned the Tories are being “unacceptably risky” as a House of Commons committee finds that failures in preparing for Brexit mean food shortages …

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8 November 2018 – today’s press releases

High Court rules Government must reverse cuts to modern slavery victims

Responding to today’s High Court ruling that the Government acted unlawfully when it cut payments to modern slavery victims, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Theresa May once rightly called modern slavery the great human rights issue of our time, but her Government cut support for victims by 40%, leaving them vulnerable to further exploitation.

Now that the court has ruled those cuts unlawful, the Government must reverse them and ensure that victims receive the help they need to escape the terrible bonds of slavery.

You can’t fight

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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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30 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems fight expansion of Snoopers Charter

Liberal Democrat peer Brian Paddick will today lead the opposition to new government regulations that he describes as “yet another erosion of people’s civil liberties”.

Lord Paddick has tabled a motion to regret the Data Retention and Acquisition Regulations 2018 after Ministers failed to answer privacy concerns he raised in a Grand Committee debate last week.

The regulations would amend the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, also known as the “Snoopers’ Charter”, to give police the power to access communications data when investigating any crime “which involves, as an integral part of it, the sending of a …

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Not thin enough for treatment – Wera Hobhouse highlights stigma around eating disorders

In a parliamentary debate on Tuesday, Wera Hobhouse outlined how sufferers of eating disorders are being failed by health and support services. Lack of training can mean that doctors make things worse. She told the story of a young woman in her constituency who suffered for three years and never received the help that she needed.

Her aim was to look at the stigma around eating disorders and suggest solutions – one of which was the Lib Dem policy of giving young people access to child and adolescent mental health services until the age of 25. Here’s her speech in full:

We probably all know at least one sufferer or ex-sufferer of an eating disorder. As one put it to me, eating disorders are the easiest thing to get into and the hardest to get out of. We have come a long way in recent years, but we are nowhere near to providing lasting, successful treatments for hundreds of thousands of people. Many people are suffering alone and in silence, without a support network. We are failing as a society to support people in their deeply personal battles.

This debate is about stigma. There are two stigmas around eating disorders—that from outside and that which sufferers feel themselves. The result is that people often wait a long time before asking for help.

It takes an average of 58 weeks from someone realising that they have a problem to them seeking help from a GP. That is more than a year of self-doubt, self-loathing and self-harm. On average, it is a further 27 weeks until the start of treatment. Add to that the time that the person has suffered with a disorder before admitting that there is a problem and we start to see the real picture.

Anybody who has had a close family member in such a situation will understand the hon. Gentleman’s point, but families are often pretty helpless too, if they do not really understand what can be done and how they can help their family member to get out of the problem. It is a form of addiction, and like with any other addiction, family members are co-sufferers. They want to help but do not really understand the deep-seated problems. Family members are important, but we need the professionals and their understanding to help families get through together. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that families are incredibly important.

Eating disorders define large periods of people’s lives. How can we shorten that time? We need people to be okay with saying, “I’m not okay.” We need to tackle the stigma around eating disorders, and the message needs to get through to a lot of people. More than 1 million people in the UK have an eating disorder; three quarters are women and one quarter are men. That is a very large number, plus there are the friends and family who suffer with them. So many people with conditions such as anorexia and bulimia blame themselves. It is not their fault and we need to make sure that they know that.

When I announced on Twitter that I was holding this debate, I received a wave of emotional responses and personal stories. Yesterday, a local doctor dropped into my office a book that she had written, which described her fight with eating disorders since the age of 13. That shows how early it can start.​

I also got an email from a young woman called Lorna, who experienced serious anorexia while studying in my constituency in Bath. This is what she told me:

“I ended up with an initial diagnosis of anxiety and depression, and was started on antidepressants. I suspended my studies and worked as a carer in my local village, living at home with my mum and brother. People I’d known all my life began commenting on the weight I’d lost, and telling me how good I looked. This is when my anorexia began to take full hold.

I stopped eating completely, lying to my mum and saying I’d eaten at work, began over-exercising compulsively, and remember pacing the corridors at work to burn extra calories. I became obsessed. I weighed myself up to 12 times a day.

My mum was terrified, and didn’t know what to do. Eventually she came with me to my GP and I told him everything. I told him I was petrified of putting on weight, exercising excessively and skipping nearly every meal. His response was ‘Oh, that’ll be your antidepressants.’ He took me off a high dose, there and then. Cold turkey.

Each time…I told him how out of control I felt with my eating. He’d force me onto the scales, shaking and crying, and then tell me my BMI was ‘healthy’ and I didn’t meet the diagnostic criteria. I was devastated. I had opened up and was denied help. I never got diagnosed with anorexia, despite going from a size 16 to a size 8 in less than a year.

I went through the monthly humiliation of being dragged onto scales and told I wasn’t thin enough to be helped yet. And not having that formal diagnosis is hard. When I tell people I was anorexic, they never quite believe me, as even doctors didn’t. I think they always assume I was being dramatic, or ‘it wasn’t that bad then’. Today, I am weight-restored, although struggle with now being overweight.

It took me 3 years to recover. 3 years of misery and obsession. I was dangerously unwell, but not sick enough to get an ounce of support.”

When I read that story, I am amazed by how brave Lorna is. She was brave to ask for treatment and even braver to put her trust into the medical system a second time, even after she did not receive the treatment that she really needed. She was very brave to tell her story. Lorna has gone on to campaign for proper treatment for eating disorders. She is here in the Chamber, and I want to thank her personally for letting me share her story—Lorna, thank you. I am so sorry that you had to go through such an awful experience. I know your words will help others, and I desperately hope that together we can improve the treatment and care of those with eating disorders and end the stigma for good.

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16 October 2018 – today’s press releases…

Welcome to the second day of our week of publishing the Party’s press releases as we receive them. Do let us know in the comments if you find this valuable…

Government must improve care for those with eating disorders

Today Wera Hobhouse will lead a Westminster Hall debate on the role stigma plays in preventing people with eating disorders from accessing early treatment.

Eating disorders affect 1.25 million people in the UK and despite evidence showing early intervention is critical to a recovery, people wait three-and-a-half years, on average, between the onset of symptoms and starting treatment.

Liberal Democrat MP for Bath Wera …

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Wera Hobhouse hails progress of bill to stop “vile” upskirting

Last night the bill aimed at stoping upskirting passed its final Commons stage and now goes to the Lords. Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, who initiated the legislation back in February. It then looked like it was going to fall after Christchurch MP Christopher Chope objected to it. The Government then took it on board so that it would be debated and become law.

Wera said:

I want this Bill to stop the vile practice of ‘upskirting’. It should be a successful tool for prosecution, but it should also act as a deterrent. Zero tolerance, no loopholes.

This Bill has not only highlighted and sought to rectify a gap in the law, but resulted in further parliamentary debate. Debate on serious issues around non-consensual distribution of pornographic images and the production of deep fakes enabled by new technology.

I look forward to working hard on these issues. Liberal Democrats continue to campaign to make sure the law protects victims of all sexually motivated malicious behaviour in this country.

In the Commons she praised the way people had worked together across party to get the legislation through:

From the very beginning of its journey, the upskirting Bill has been the result of brave individuals —particularly women—speaking out. They chose to speak out about a vile crime that was going not only unpunished but largely unnoticed. They courageously spoke out about their experiences, to try to draw attention to the gap in the law. The Bill is the result of their hard work, and each and every individual who helped this campaign to materialise into the legislation before us should feel proud.

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LibLink: Wera Hobhouse: Solving the housing crisis means using the empty houses we’ve already got

Housing spokesperson Wera Hobhouse has written for the Huffington Post about how a Liberal Democrat amendment passed in the Lords this week will help alleviate the housing crisis.

Politicians have a moral obligation to help solve this crisis, and one part of the process must be bringing empty properties back into use. Of course, we must build more homes – 300,000 per year to be precise – but bringing empty properties back into use is an excellent way in the short-term to help families in desperate need of a home, whilst saving valued green belt land from development. Equally, by bringing empty homes back into use, we can help regenerate struggling communities. After all, regions with the highest number of vacant dwellings are often also the areas that have been left behind in terms of economic growth.

Last year was the first year since the recession that the number of empty homes in England did not decrease. This is unsurprising. Tory Government cuts to local authorities hamper their enforcement capabilities. All dedicated empty homes investment programmes, programmes that my colleagues in Coalition fought tooth and nail for including my predecessor in Bath Don Foster, were severed in 2015. It was a 2010 Liberal Democrat manifesto promise to reduce the number of empty homes by 250,000, and that is something they delivered in Coalition and can be incredibly proud of.

t is clear something must be done. The Liberal Democrats strongly supported the calls to double the council tax on empty homes, but now we have gone one step further. Yesterday in the House of Lords, the Liberal Democrat amendment, which increases council tax the longer you leave it empty, has been adopted and passed by Parliament. There are of course exemptions, for example where a resident is in residential or nursing care or when a member of the armed forces serves overseas for long periods. These premiums on council tax are not statutory. Councils have the flexibility to apply them or not.

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How Lib Dems have made the news this week – Gosport, upskirting, trains and cannabis oil

It’s worth noting that Lib Dem MPs have featured in some of the top headlines this week.

What does that tell us about the kind of things we do and the people we are?

Well, Norman Lamb spoke about how he ordered the review into the deaths of elderly people at Gosport War Memorial Hospital after the NHS closed ranks.

Lamb told BBC Newsnight: “I just think it’s horrific and there has been a real systemic failure here, a closing of ranks in my view and a sense that ordinary people just weren’t being listened to at all, and an unwillingness by

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LibLink: Wera Hobhouse: Upskirting will prove to be a meteorite to Westminster’s political dinosaurs

Wera Hobhouse has written for the Huffington Post about how Christopher Chope’s objection to her bill to outlaw the awful practice of upskirting brought people together, cross party, to fight for change, giving the bill a new lease of life. She describes how, last week, working with the Justice Minister, the Bill was ready for presentation in the Commons. Then came a bombshell:

The following day we found out that none other than the honourable member for the Jurassic Coast, Sir Christopher Chope, was planning to object to the bill. I lobbied his peers, they lobbied him, I even cornered him and tried to change his mind, but all to no avail. The sad reality is that Chope is sitting on a majority of 25,000, and with no governmental ambitions, feels secure in doing whatever he pleases without fear of retribution. He will block any Private Members Bill on principle, regardless of the bill’s content and merit. On the same day as upskirting, he blocked a bill to make it illegal to stab police dogs, to give carers free parking at hospitals, and has previously blocked a pardon for Alan Turing. The list goes on. True to his word he objected and was subsequently vilified for exactly what he’s been doing for the last 20 years. For a long time he has deliberately restrained progress in this country, and my sympathy for him is limited at best.

Yesterday my bill, which has been adopted by the government, was passed by the House to proceed to the Second Reading Committee. This means the second reading will be much earlier than expected, Tuesday 2 July. This type of legislative journey is very rare and reserved for legislation that is deemed uncontroversial. The decision to move so quickly is testament to how widely the bill is supported, both in Westminster, and across the country. I was glad to see no-one objected yesterday and now that sufficient progress has been made by the government, I have withdrawn my own bill.

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Update on ‘upskirting’ Bill

(R-L) Vince supports the “upskirting” bill with campaigner Gina Martin, sponsoring MP Wera Hobhouse and Ms Martin’s solicitor, Ryan Whelan

We reported on Tuesday that the Justice Minister had agreed to take Wera Hobhouse’s Bill through Parliament after it was sabotaged by Christopher Chope.

We now have the details about how it will be progressed.

It seems that the Government is using a rare parliamentary procedure to progress the Voyeurism Offences Bill. It will have its first reading tomorrow and is scheduled for its Second Reading debate in a couple of weeks time.

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Victory declared for ‘upskirting’ Bill

(R-L) Vince supports the “upskirting” bill with campaigner Gina Martin, sponsoring MP Wera Hobhouse and Ms Martin’s solicitor, Ryan Whelan

The Liberal Democrats have declared victory in their bid to make ‘upskirting’ a specific criminal offence.

Following Tory MP Christopher Chope’s shocking move to block Wera Hobhouse’s Bill last week, the Justice Minister met Wera Hobhouse this afternoon and, on behalf of the Government, agreed to take her Bill through Parliament.

Wera said:

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Wera Hobhouse slams lone Tory MP for pointlessly sabotaging “upskirting” bill

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse has slammed an ‘out of touch’ Tory for sabotaging her Bill to make upskirting a specific sexual offence today.

Having secured the Government’s support for her Bill to make upskirting a specific offence, it was expected to pass through the House of Commons today. The Bill comes off the back of Gina Martin’s campaign, which she started after falling victim to the crime last summer.

However, in a shocking move Tory MP Christopher Chope, known for objecting to the second reading of the Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Bill, defied the Government and Number 10 by opposing the Bill, preventing it from proceeding to the next stage.

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Wera Hobhouse wins Government support to make upskirting a specific sexual offence

Good news from Westminster – Wera Hobhouse’s Bill to make upskirting a specific sexual offence could closer to becoming law today when it receives its second reading in the Commons. Wera has won Government support for the measure but it requires to get through today without objection before it can proceed.

Wera has been working with campaigner Gina Martin and her lawyer Ryan Whelan on the details of law reform with the Ministry of Justice.

Wera today said she was “delighted” as the Government agreed to support her legislation to close any potential loopholes, in order to better protect victims and increase convictions:

I got involved in politics to change things that my constituents and I care about. I am incredibly grateful to Gina Martin for starting this campaign, and for giving me the opportunity – in my first year in parliament – to do exactly that.

The fact that the Government has listened to our calls is testament to the widespread consensus that there was a gap in the law that needed to be addressed. By working with Gina and ministers on the detail of my Bill, we have demonstrated that when we work together successfully we can make a difference on issues that really matter to people.

We all made the case for common sense. Now if someone is to fall victim to upskirting, the law will recognise them as the victim, and the police will be able to act immediately and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Gina Martin explained how she built her successful campaign:

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Lib Dem MPs support abortion rights for women in Northern Ireland

Three Liberal Democrat MPs took part in yesterday’s Commons debate on giving women in Northern Ireland access to legal and safe abortions without having to travel. The recent vote to repeal the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution, paving the way for legislation allowing abortion up to 12 weeks in Ireland and the provisions of the 1967 Act in the rest of the UK. The issue has been devolved to the Northern Ireland assembly since 2003, but that Assembly is not currently sitting. The Irish referendum and a UN report from earlier this year which stated that:

the situation in

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Wera Hobhouse secures PM’s backing for her call to make upskirting a criminal offence

Today, Wera Hobhouse secured the backing of the Prime Minister for her quest to make the awful practice of up skirting an offence.

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We need to ban upskirting

Lib Dem members yesterday would have received an email from our Bath MP Wera Hobhouse asking for support in her campaign to get upskirting banned.

If you want to sign the petition, the link is here.

What is upskirting? The OED defines it as “the action or practice of surreptitiously taking photos or videos at an angle so as to see up a woman’s skirt or dress.”

It is sickening and appalling that people even think they have the right to do this!

Wera is calling for upskirting to be made a criminal …

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Watch: Happy Easter from Wera Hobhouse

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Wera Hobhouse’s bill could see 2 year prison sentence for upskirting

Wera Hobhouse has revealed further details of her bill to outlaw upskirting. Offenders could end up with 2 years in prison.

From the Evening Standard:

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, who tabled the Bill, said changing the current law to make it easier to prosecute would allow the law to “catch up with technology”.

It could also mean that members of the paparazzi would be prosecuted for taking shots of celebrities where their underwear is deliberately shown

The move comes after data published by the Press Association last month revealed girls as young as ten among the alleged victims who have been targeted in public locations such as restaurants and festivals….

 …Ms Hobhouse said: “It is, on the face of it, a vile, discriminating and outrageous practice. I personally have not – fortunately – had this unpleasant experience, but it is just outrageous, it is humiliating for anybody who has that happen to them and it has a deep impact on them.”It is so obviously in your face a wrong thing and yet our law has not kept up with this practice.”

Wera is asking supporters to contact their MP to ask them to support her Bill:

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Liberal Democrats call for new housing revolution

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a major overhaul of the powers of local councils to meet the goal of ensuring that everyone in Britain has a home.

The package, passed by the party at its Spring Conference in Southport, calls for new powers that will see local authorities able to build and invest in more affordable and social housing. This includes greater access to borrowing for local authorities, strengthened powers to bring empty homes back into use and the power to direct the use of otherwise unwanted public land. Alongside measures to allow local government to abandon Right to Buy …

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WATCH: Wera Hobhouse on why Brexit is a bad idea

This week, Bath MP Wera Hobhouse spoke in a parliamentary debate on a petition calling on the Government to walk away from the Brexit talks with no deal. As ever, she did so with passion and wit.

Enjoy.

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Wera Hobhouse argues for more social homes for rent

99 families stand to lose the chance of a socially rented home in Wera Hobhouse’s Bath constituency after the Planning Minister failed to call in a planning decision. In what Wera described as “social cleaning”, these families will be forced out of the city.

In an adjournment debate last night, Wera took her argument directly to the Housing and Planning Minister. She outlined the direct consequences of the lack of social housing provision:

What about the 99 most vulnerable families, who will now simply be moved out of their home city of Bath? They cannot stay because there will be 99 fewer social homes for rent under the current plans. This sort of social cleansing is unacceptable and it gives the Government the reputation of being uncaring. The Minister will know that I requested him to call in the planning decision that reduced the number of social homes for rent by 99, but he refused to do so. The implication is that this reduction in social homes for rent is in line with Government policy, but on Monday the Secretary of State, in a quick reply, said it was not Government policy to reduce the number of social homes to rent. It cannot be both things in this specific instance, so what is the answer?

Wera outlined the scale of the problem. The number of houses being built for social rent is plummeting:

Government statistics show that nearly 40,000 social homes for rent were built in 2010-11, and the figure for 2016-17 was just 5,380. In the 2016-17 financial year, 12,383 council homes were sold under the right-to-buy scheme. Year in, year out, the number of social homes for rent is being reduced.

The human consequences are horrific:

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Wera Hobhouse to fight Bath for the Lib Dems

Wera Hobhouse has been selected to fight Bath for the Liberal Democrats.

The candidate selected last year, Jay Risbridger, stepped down last week.

The BBC has the story:

Wera Hobhouse was selected by members during a lunchtime meeting at Bath City Football Club,

The seat is currently held by the Conservative MP Ben Howlett but was previously a Lib Dem stronghold, held by Don Foster for 23 years.

The original prospective parliamentary candidate, Jay Risbridger, picked last autumn, stood down last week due to family and work commitments.

Paul Strasburger, from the Lib Dems’s campaign in Bath, said: “It’s important to the party nationally because it’s a very winnable seat, and therefore it’s a central part of our desire to stop a Tory landslide.”

The Bath Chronicle quotes former Bristol West MP Stephen Williams:

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    We get it Martin, that you are very pro EU and Remain . But really, every organisation should be accountable with some scrutiny. Are you...
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    Frankie What do you mean by "you wanted it hard", are the odd connotations in your phrasing deliberate? The last time it was something about...
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    Caron Lindsay: "the EU needs its backside kicking in many ways" Perhaps it would be useful if you could explain. I am not at all...
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    Speaking as a housing solicitor who has done duty desk at several courts in South West/Wales since this policy commenced: time and again, we hear...
  • User AvatarTonyH 14th Nov - 10:51pm
    Christine is very good in this interview. No running down the interviewer's rabbit holes, just clear, unashamed, principled and pro-EU.
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    Hold the phone, cancel the plane, stop the traffic An article by the editor says the EU needs it's backside k...k...ki....c I dreamt it?!