Tag Archives: wera hobhouse mp

Truss car crash interviews on BBC local radio on cost of living and fracking

Having absented herself from the media for days, the prime minister chose to defend her decisions and Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget on BBC local radio. Truss appeared on breakfast shows on BBC Radio Leeds, Norfolk, Kent, Lancashire, Nottingham, Tees, Bristol and Stoke. Her media advisers clearly thought local radio would be a soft touch with presenters more used to talking about a church fete. So very wrong. The interviews were sometimes excruciating. You could hear pauses at times, as she struggled to find her scripted reply and to remember which radio station was interviewing her.

First up for the prime minister was an interview with on BBC Radio Leeds. As the first of the day, it wasn’t so much of a car crash for Truss as the later interviews.

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MPs debate ambulance and emergency department waiting times

Amid the political maelstrom of last Wednesday, MPs found time to debate the continuing ambulance crisis (video). The debate was led by Wera Hobhouse, Lib Dem MP for Bath. There were important contributions made by Lib Dem, Labour and Conservative members.

The government response was given by the Minister for Health, Edward Argar. His view seemed to be that the problems are not as bad Lib Dem, Labour and some Conservative members were suggesting and where there are problems, they are being solved. Watching the debate, I had the distinct impression if MPs were allowed to a appear in fancy dress (Jacob Rees Mogg excepted), Argar would appear dressed as Dumbledore and magic away the problems with a flick of his wand.

Wera Hobhouse:

More and more people are calling ambulance services or attending A&E because they are having difficulties accessing other, more appropriate parts of our health system. National NHS performance figures illustrate that our healthcare service does not have the capacity to meet demand…

Recently, an elderly man was forced to sleep on the floor of a local church as it took 12 hours for an ambulance to arrive—12 hours. A GP surgery ran out of oxygen for a patient due to the time it took for the ambulance to arrive. Ambulance handover delays are a significant patient-safety risk… and up to 90% of the causes of delay are linked to the availability of beds in the hospital.

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Hobhouse on sibling sexual abuse

Speaking yesterday in Westminster Hall, Wera Hobhouse tackled the “hugely difficult and harrowing” subject of sibling sexual abuse which, she said, can have “devastating, lifelong consequences”. The child who has harmed often has to deal with the dichotomy of their actions as a child and who they are now as an adult. Parents are often faced with the “double dilemma” of trying to support both of the children involved, dealing with school, social services, children’s services and police investigations, as well as unaffected siblings, friends and extended family. Criminal justice is not the answer to tackling sibling sexual abuse; we need health and education to work together and take a trauma-informed approach.

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Hobhouse: Swift justice for victims and offenders needed

A robust and well-functioning justice system is a foundation stone of society.

But in England and Wales we are facing a soaring backlog of court cases.

The backlog of outstanding criminal cases in the Crown Court stood at 59,928 at the end of September. 13,202 cases in the backlog are more than a year old.

A Crown Court case now takes an average of 23 months from offence to completion.

Court backlogs have caused the number of people being held in prison on remand to rise by 48% since 2018.

The independent Chief Inspectors of Constabulary, the Crown Prosecution Service, Prisons, and Probation have identified the “unprecedented and very serious court backlogs” as “the greatest threat to the proper operation of the criminal justice system”.

Long delays increase the number of people held in prison on remand, putting even more strain on overcrowded prisons. It can also lead to victims and witnesses withdrawing, making it more likely that the case collapses.

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Hobhouse condemns Tories for blocking misogyny as hate crime

Yesterday, Conservative MPs voted against a law that would have made misogyny a hate crime. The House of Lords approved adding misogyny in the list of hate crimes last month. The vote comes days after a man pleaded guilty to the murder of Sabina Nessa and just days before the anniversary of the murder of Sarah Everard.

Cross-party peers had added a clause to the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to make crimes motivated by hatred of women aggravated offences, so they are treated as seriously as crimes motivated by racial or religious hatred. Liberal Democrat MPs voted to keep the amendment, which now returns to the House of Lords.

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Is the Big Squeeze set to become the Big Freeze?

Ofgem today announced the price cap will rise by £693 in England, Scotland and Wales, an increase of 54 per cent. This means bills for the average customer will rise to £1,971, up from its previous limit of £1,277.

This is just one factor in the soaring cost of living. Food prices are rapidly increasing. National Insurance is due to be hiked. Borrowers, including some mortgage holders, will feel the impact of the 0.5% hike in interest rates announced by the Bank of England today. Council taxes are due to rise in many areas, though lessened by a one off reduction of £150 to ease the burden of the surge in energy prices.

Those on pre-payment meters, who are often the most insecure in their finances and housing, will typically see their annual bills rise by £708 from £1,309 to £2,017. around £14 a week.

Even for relatively wealthier households, the loss of an average £13 a week to the energy companies will suck money out of the local economy.

The big fear is that households already skimping on heating will begin to sit in the cold affecting their health and wellbeing. The Big Squeeze could become the Big Freeze.

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Wera Hobhouse on cyber-flashing and the Online Safety Bill

The Lib Dem MP for Bath, Wera Hobhouse addressed the Commons on Thursday on online safety. She told MPs that “gendered harms are endemic” and any bill that does not address misogynistic abuse would not be credible. All too often the trauma that women experience is trivialised. She called for cyber-flashing to be made illegal saying it is a particularly prevalent form of online violence against women and disproportionately affects young women and girls. She called on the government to act without delay on tackle cyber-flashing without consent.

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Johnson’s nightmare Plan B debate – Lib Dem speeches (videos)

I used to look forward to a visit to the ice cream after school. “99”, I would cry out. Now 99 has a new meaning. It is the number of Conservative that rebelled against the prime minister on his Plan B yesterday evening. That vote has weakened his authority in his party, by which I mean the political party. A threat to his leadership now looks credible.

The North Shropshire by-election is tomorrow. It is neck and neck between Helen Morgan standing for us Lib Dems and Neil Shastri-Hurst for the Conservatives. If the Conservatives lose the seat, then surely Boris Johnson is finished.

During the debate, Layla Moran said that there is new evidence that Omicron affects children more than Delta has done. She asked: “Where is the plan for children?” She also called for more ventilation in public spaces and schools.

Daisy Cooper told MPs that the removal of restrictions on mask wearing in July was more a political move than health management. She said the UK Health Security Agency had warned that “stringent national measures” will need to be imposed by 18 December.

Wera Hobhouse supported mask wearing and warned sceptics of restrictions that our civil liberties do not include the liberty to harm others. She asked what was being done to ensure the housebound received their boosters.

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Wera Hobhouse blasts UK’s over-reliance on gas and inaction on renewables

Wera Hobhouse MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Climate Emergency and Energy, has taken aim at the Tory government’s energy policies:

The Conservatives have utterly neglected the UK renewables industry to the point where coal power stations are being fired up. They need to come clean on a firm end date to fossil fuel use in the energy sector, but Boris Johnson studiously avoids this topic.

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Wera Hobhouse, Wendy Chamberlain and Christine Jardine on Black History Month

This week, Wera Hobhouse, as Lib Dem Equalities spokesperson, too part in the Black History Month debate in the House of Commons. Watch her speech here:

Christine Jardine also made an intervention, talking about the history of the streets in Glasgow.

On that very point, we have talked before about how in so many communities in this country there are statues, streets and so on that are named after slave owners and colonialists. People like me who come from Glasgow are immensely proud that Nelson Mandela Place is named after Nelson Mandela, but we are completely unaware of the history of the names of the other streets around it. That is the sort of thing we need to attack when we look at education and black history.

Wendy Chamberlain also highlighted the unpleasant history of the streets where she grew up.

The full text of Wera’s and Wendy’s speeches is below.

The debate had one particularly remarkable part where Conservative MP Bim Afolami was basically saying that he had not experienced any problems. Labour MP Tulip Siddiq pointed out that he’d gone to Eton, before acknowledging and recognising her own privileged middle class background. She highlighted the importance of taking an intersectional approach.

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LibLink: Wera Hobhouse – Without proportional representation, there’s no future for moderate politics in Brexit Britain


Embed from Getty Images

Over on the Independent, Wera Hobhouse MP argues that the whole EU referendum and ensuing mess came about due to the faults of the First Past the Post voting system, and has now left us with a government elected by 44% of voters which can deliver any Brexit it wants, despite 52% of voters voting for parties committed to a People’s Vote or revoking Article 50:

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Wera Hobhouse: The road to stopping Brexit

As an MP, do I have to vote for any Brexit that is put in front of me in parliament?

My duty in our representative democracy is to listen to the people and respect their views. It is also to use my own informed judgement of what is the best for my constituents and the country as a whole.

So to the question, my answer is no. If any Brexit brought to parliament is, in my judgement bad for my constituents and my country, I should not vote for it.

The Prime Minister is using a different argument. She says we have to leave the EU even if it bad for the country because the people voted for it. She suggests that the dutiful thing for MPs in light of the 2016 referendum is to vote for something that we believe is bad for this country. On the contrary, we have a duty to do the opposite.

Does this mean we defy the will of the people? No, because British democracy is a representative democracy and not just a direct democracy.

What we MPs cannot do on our own, however, in light of the referendum in 2016, is to choose to stay in the EU. We can legitimately reject any particular Brexit deal in accordance with our judgement but we cannot move from there and cancel Brexit by ourselves. This is the true meaning of the referendum result.

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