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Unpaid carers mustn’t be ignored any longer

by Ed Davey - Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Fri, 11 Jun 2021

Many congratulations to Nick da Costa who has been elected as the new chair of Federal Conference Committee (FCC), following Geoff Payne's decision to stand down earlier this year.

Nick is a councillor in Haringey as well as an experienced FCC member, bringing to the role a great understanding both of how conference works and of what we need to do as a party to win.

In his new role, Nick will also therefore be taking over from Geoff on the Federal Board and Steering Group.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Have your say on the disciplinary process

by Liberal Democrats on Fri, 04 Jun 2021

We want your views on how to improve the party’s independent complaints process.

Any organisation with a hundred thousand members will have conflicts: what matters is how we deal with them. Wherever possible the process needs to be quick and effective – and it must always be transparent, fair and independent of political influence. It is key that if someone actions are damaging to other party members or members of the public, they can’t expect to be protected by who they know or what role they hold in the party. 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Happy Pride Month

by Liberal Democrats on Tue, 01 Jun 2021

Something special is happening in Chesham and Amersham

by Liberal Democrats on Sat, 29 May 2021

The campaign is growing rapidly and this is a seat with a lot of potential.

We came a strong second here in 2019. We have lots of local representation and a base of voters we can build on.

And the reception on the doors has been phenomenal.

We need you to play your part:

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

The Conservatives are failing to protect nature

by Sarah Olney on Wed, 26 May 2021

The Conservatives' Environment Bill will fail to protect British nature and our beautiful landscapes.

We are already living in one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. Our waterways are in a poor condition with just 14% in good condition. More than 40% of native species are in decline.

This is an embarrassment - as the Government claims to be increasing ambition and pushing for nature-based solutions in the run-up to both COP26 and the Convention on Biological Diversity, we're failing to get our own house in order.

More than 40% of native species are in decline."

We must significantly increase our protections for nature and biodiversity in this country, including our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We need a strong independent body with the powers and resources to hold the Government to account.

Alongside the Environment Bill being debated today, the Government have proposed a mass change to planning law. The Bill would deny Councils the ability to block new developments for environmental reasons. The Conservatives' plans would rip power away from communities and silence local environmental groups to allow developers to build as they please.

The Conservatives' plans would rip power away from communities"

We should have expected nothing less from a party which has taken over £11 million in donations from developers.

That's why I tabled an amendment to stop reckless developments harming nature and reducing biodiversity.

My amendment would give real teeth to the currently toothless Environment Bill and arm Councils with the power to protect wildlife and green spaces. The Conservatives voted against giving communities extra power to protect nature and improve biodiversity.


Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Looking back at Spring Conference

by Geoff Payne on Wed, 26 May 2021

Federal Conference Committee met on 25th May 2021 to consider the feedback from Spring Conference. It was an overflow meeting to deal with the business that could not be considered at the last meeting, which was constricted to facilitate campaigning for the Local Elections.

We discussed the feedback that we received from Spring Conference. We were very happy with it overall. We had attendees from 26 countries. The average person spent 15 hours at conference. In total, there were over 13,000 votes cast and over 17,500 chat messages. We came within 3% of our record attendance for a Spring Conference.

When asked whether they had had a good time, expressed as a mark out of five, over 88% marked conference as 3 or above, 66.5% as 4 or 5. 72% rated Hopin as good or very good and 92% of people had no major technical issues. 92% liked the balance of debates and speeches and 84% thought the auditorium experience was good or very good. 71% thought the fringe sessions were good or very good. 82% thought the registration price was about right and 95% were more proud or had the same feelings of pride about the party after conference as before. We were grateful to all of those who took the time and trouble to let us know their views. We have taken them on board.

The experiences of the exhibition were a lot more mixed. We recognise that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to recreate the experience of a physical exhibition online. We talked about ways to improve the exhibition experience. We talked about playing more exhibitor videos in the auditorium (and we are making those free for Autumn Conference), extending the sessions for the exhibition so that some overlap with the auditorium as at a physical conference, and encouraging exhibitors to use the chat feature to make their stalls more dynamic.

Turning to motions, it was proposed that we discontinue the practice of name blind selections. It was suggested that knowing from where prospective motions derived would allow the committee to take positive steps to select an agenda from more diverse sources, allowing us to counter the inbuilt bias towards motions written by those more familiar with the process, such as parliamentarians or FPC members. For example, a motion from a Local Party or an SAO could be preferred to one from a spokesperson on the same subject (given that many motions are regularly submitted from the Parliamentary Party).  It was also observed that many people place their motions in the public domain anyway, which can defeat the object.  On the other hand, name blind submissions can counter unconscious bias. The committee had a full discussion and there were many contributions. The vote was very tight. Overall, the majority was persuaded that ending name blind submissions would make for an agenda more likely to represent a wider range of more diverse sources of ideas in the party, and that was something that the committee wanted to encourage.

We decided that we would reserve speaking slots for guest speakers from the European Union and/or other European nations. We considered a number of really good suggestions from the International Office. Watch this space for further details.

Planning for Autumn Conference 2021 will now get underway in earnest. The deadline for drafting advice is 16th June and for motions, 30th June; both at 1pm. FCC will meet in July to select the agenda.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Local lockdowns by stealth are completely irresponsible

by Munira Wilson on Tue, 25 May 2021

Changing policy by stealth is completely irresponsible.

Changing policy by stealth is completely irresponsible.

Matt Hancock should have made clear the changes he was making to guidance in advance and communicated it to the public and local officials.

He needs to make clear the situation immediately to Parliament.

Clarification on the new rules in these areas is now needed, not only for residents but for those that would normally travel to the affected areas.

People cross these invisible boundaries every day for medical appointments or to go shopping.

Clarification on the new rules in these areas is now needed.

The Government urgently need to make it clear whether they should avoid travelling to or through these areas and under what circumstances this is now permitted.

It is now critical that the thousands of key workers that travel to these areas everyday, but live elsewhere, should be made eligible for vaccination.

Surge vaccination in these areas for residents is key to slowing the spread of the virus but to slow it further it must be extended to anyone who works there too.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

One year on from George Floyd's murder

by Ed Davey on Tue, 25 May 2021

Today marks one year since George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was brutally murdered by a police officer on the streets of Minneapolis.

George’s murder — and the wave of protests it sparked — forced us all to confront the racial injustice that Black people face every day.

George’s murder — and the wave of protests it sparked — forced us all to confront the racial injustice that Black people face every day.

The past twelve months have brought watershed moments.

The Black Lives Matter movement rose to prominence around the world.

It inspired many of us to have difficult but important conversations about race — myself included.

And in April, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of George’s murder.

Although Chauvin’s guilty verdict is a step in the right direction, we are still a long way from achieving racial justice.

As Minnesota’s Attorney General Keith Ellison said, we should not call this “verdict justice… because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice.

It’s clear there is still so much to do — and that this is not a uniquely American problem.

We will keep working to combat racism — whether conscious or unconscious, individual or institutional — wherever we find it.

Here in the UK, far too many people’s lives are blighted by discrimination, inequality and injustice.

From the appalling Windrush Scandal and the disproportionate impact of the Covid pandemic to the over-representation of Black and mixed-race people in prison, there is still so much more we all must do to address institutional racism.

I’m proud that Liberal Democrats exist to fight for justice, liberty and equality.

And at our Autumn Conference last September, we passed a motion entitled ‘Racial Justice Cannot Wait’ that affirmed that Black Lives Matter and our commitment to achieving racial justice.

We are continuing our campaign to abolish the Conservatives’ cruel and discriminatory Hostile Environment, end the disproportionate use of Stop and Search, and establish a comprehensive Covid-19 Race Equality Strategy.

And we will keep working to combat racism — whether conscious or unconscious, individual or institutional — wherever we find it.

We mustn’t let George Floyd’s memory fade.

We must hold onto the outrage we felt at his murder, and continue to channel it into action for positive change.


Read this article on www.libdems.org →

No amount of tough talk and bluster from the Home Secretary can hide the fact that she has utterly failed to get a grip on the UK’s broken immigration system.

Priti Patel has been talking tough about immigration for ages, while failing miserably to make the system fairer or more effective.

Years of Home Office failure, coupled with hostile policies and rhetoric from successive Conservative Home Secretaries, have shattered public confidence.

Instead of fixing the broken system, Priti Patel is pressing ahead with damaging plans that will create more chaos and make it harder for British employers to recruit the workers they need.

She talks about a new ‘digital border’, but apparently forgot to mention that the existing project is years behind schedule and more than £170 million over budget.

And she is refusing to provide safe and legal routes for vulnerable refugees to come to the UK, even as she invokes our proud tradition of offering sanctuary to those in need.

Priti Patel has been talking tough about immigration for ages, while failing miserably to make the system fairer or more effective.

As she said today: enough is enough.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Sixty six children have died since the outbreak of violence last week.

We cannot afford yet another return to a status quo which will only lead to more innocent deaths in the future.

Every death was completely preventable.

And while a ceasefire is welcome, we cannot return to a status quo.

We need to take meaningful action now to prevent innocent deaths in the future.

The potential evictions, demolitions and settlement expansions in the West Bank - which are breaches of international law – must be stopped.

The status quo arrangements in Jerusalem must be restored.

It is vitally important that the Palestinians are able to fulfil their democratic right through new elections including all Palestinian parties.

In this context, Hamas, as well as the Israeli authorities, must forgo violence and oppression and allow a legitimate political process to be pursued.

 The UK Government must work with the international community to facilitate the reconstruction of negotiations.

To address these issues, we need a process – but meaningful peace talks have not meaningfully taken place for years.

So it is now time for the UK Government to work with the international community to facilitate the reconstruction of negotiations, negotiations which must take place between two equal partners.

Above all, there must be an injection of new hope into a conflict which has been hijacked by the extremes.

The strongest card the UK can play is to recognise the state of Palestine, which will ignite the flames of hope and bring greater balance to future negotiations.

I urge the Government to do the right thing.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

The Weekly Whip

by Peter Munro on Wed, 19 May 2021

Welcome to the Weekly Whip. Your one-stop-shop for Lib Dem Parliamentary updates, covering the week that was and the week to come.  

For up to date information from the Lib Dem Whips Office, follow us on Twitter: @LibDemWhips  

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia 2021

by LGBT+ Liberal Democrats on Mon, 17 May 2021

The theme of this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) is resisting, supporting and healing together.

Pre-pandemic there were reports that hate crimes were on the rise.

As we start to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, it perfectly encapsulates many of the needs of LGBT+ people in 2021.

It’s now a cliche to say that our “return to normal” can’t be a return to the way that things were before, but it’s true.

Pre-pandemic there were reports that hate crimes were on the rise, homophobic hate crimes up 19% year-on-year and transgender hate crimes up 16%.

As we start to head back out again, we need to be mindful that things need to change.

Resisting homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is essential both at home and abroad.

Domestically, trans people face a barrage of obstacles and harassment in our media, and have been routinely let down by our government.

In ILGA-Europe’s latest ranking of LGBT+ rights in the region, the UK has fallen from its top spot to just 10th position owing to failures in this area.

On the topic of legal gender recognition and bodily integrity, the UK ranks a miserable 19th.

We need to keep pushing for reform of the Gender Recognition Act, which LGBT+ Lib Dems have written about at length here.

Internationally, we need to keep up pressure on other governments to pursue a much more liberal approach.

Resisting homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is essential both at home and abroad.

That’s not just something that takes place at international summits, but through supporting activists on the ground and at local level too, as many Lib Dem Councillors are doing via our Protect Our Twins campaign in response to abuses against LGBT+ people in Poland.

But that’s not all - we also need to keep up the case for a pro-LGBT+ and humanitarian asylum policy.

Many of us were horrified last week to read the devastating case of Alireza Fazeli Monfared who was killed just days before he was due to leave Iran.

The UK must play its part and be a safe haven for those in need.

Supporting LGBT+ voices, be they in our media, politics or community is vital too.

In too many workplaces, LGBT+ people still face barriers.

As reported in Stonewall’s reported in 2018 report, more than a third of LGBT+ people have hidden the fact that they’re LGBT+ at work for fear of discrimination, and nearly two in five bi people aren’t out to anyone at work.

In addition, there is evidence for a shocking LGBT+ pay gap to the sum of almost £7000 a year.

This problem is compounded when other factors like gender, race and disability are added in.

Fighting for the rights of LGBT+ people, particularly in this area, is a real bread and butter issue.

And in our media and in our politics we need to confidently support our trans siblings who are under sustained attack.

An attack on one part of the LGBT+ community is an attack on all of us.

An attack on one part of the LGBT+ community is an attack on all of us.

For the past 12 months health has dominated our headlines and national conversation like never before.

So how can we incorporate healing and caring into our fight against intolerance?

We can start with campaigning for better access to inclusive and respectful health and social care for all LGBT+ people.

This could apply to trans and non binary people interacting with the care service, to LGBT+ people feeling the need to go “back in the closet” as they enter elderly care.

This is an upcoming generational challenge, and we need to ensure dignity for all is at the heart of social care reform.

Similarly, we need to keep pushing for better mental health and homelessness support - two areas that particularly impact LGBT+ people.

We can all play a part in challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

As the Albert Kennedy Trust’s latest report makes clear, there is much to be done - but also much that sits within our power to do.

From challenging prejudiced attitudes among our friends and family and to showing your solidarity to advocating for the big changes we need to see, we can all play a part in challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

Progress is not inevitable. but fighting for it is hardwired into our liberal values.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Thank you for your election efforts

by Mark Pack on Thu, 13 May 2021

A great team effort

We’ve had a huge set of elections in difficult circumstances. It was a massive combined effort of volunteers and staff, candidates and agents, helpers and donors, to get several hundred Liberal Democrats elected. Thank you to everyone who played their part in an impressive team effort.

Commiserations too for everyone involved in campaigns that didn’t make it this time. Many of our very best Parliamentarians, council leaders and other elected officials have lost elections on the way to their successes. I hope that when you have had a chance to rest and catch up on life outside politics, those examples encourage you to continue your commitment to our party.

A special thank you to retiring councillors who were expecting to stand down last May and had to hold on for another year. Your continued commitment over that extra year is much appreciated.

Thank you too to the many volunteer agents who haven’t quite yet been able to stop electioneering. Getting those election expense returns sorted is an important task!

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Eid Mubarak!

by Ed Davey on Thu, 13 May 2021

Eid marks the end of Ramadan — a holy month of prayer and personal reflection.

I’m sure it feels strange to celebrate again with Covid restrictions in place.

But despite the many challenges of the past year, I’m amazed at how we’ve pulled together as a country — making it clear that we are a nation of carers.

And Muslims across the UK have made huge contributions to our communities.

From frontline workers to the more than 100 Muslim community support groups that helped those in need, the Islamic principle of acting in service to others has no doubt been on full display this year.

So to everyone celebrating Eid, I wish you joy and peace.

Eid Mubarak!

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Covid Inquiry confirmed after 13 months of Lib Dem pressure

by Liberal Democrats on Wed, 12 May 2021

The Prime Minister has today confirmed an inquiry into their actions during the Coronavirus pandemic under the powers of the Inquiries Act 2005.

Lessons must be learnt from the mistakes that were made"

Ed Davey

This comes after Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey first called for a full inquiry into the Government's actions during the pandemic 13 months ago in April 2020

The Prime Minister, who has promised an inquiry when pressed by the Liberal Democrats at multiple points, has now confirmed a full inquiry will take place in this session of Parliament to Spring 2022.

Responding to the Prime Minister's Statement, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

"From the failed test, trace and isolate system to the crisis in our care homes Boris Johnson and his Government have no end of questions to answer so I welcome this inquiry in spite of it being 13 months after the Liberal Democrats first called for it.

"This Coronavirus inquiry must have the teeth necessary to hold this government's feet to the fire on their wrong-doings.

"Lessons must be learnt from the mistakes that were made throughout this crisis and the Government must be held to account for their handling of the pandemic."

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey first called for a full inquiry into the Government's actions during the pandemic 13 months ago

We must have a full and properly independent inquiry that has the trust of the public, especially of the thousands of families that have lost a loved one to this terrible disease.

The Liberal Democrats are urging the Prime Minister to meet urgently with families that have lost loved ones to Covid and ensure that the inquiry into the pandemic.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

We must rebuild as a fairer, greener and more caring country in the aftermath of Covid.

Boris Johnson has utterly failed to deliver an ambitious programme

So it is crushingly disappointing that the Government’s plans will fail on every account – still failing small businesses and the self-employed, still not rising properly to the climate challenge and still ignoring millions of people caring for loved ones at home.

Their planning reforms will rip powers away from local people and communities in favour of wealthy property developers, threatening our environment and treasured green spaces.

Their cruel asylum plans will stop people fleeing violence and persecution, from seeking sanctuary in the UK.

And long delayed reforms to social care have been pushed back into the long grass once again, despite the pressures we have seen on care homes and carers this last year.

Boris Johnson has utterly failed to deliver an ambitious programme to respond to the real challenges people are facing after this terribly difficult year.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Lib Dem wins

by Liberal Democrats on Fri, 07 May 2021

Liberal Democrat have had some great early wins:

  • We have gained majority control of St Albans City and District Council.
  • We made gains in Cambridgeshire and Tunbridge Wells, taking away the Conservatives' majorities on those councils. And more gains from the Conservatives in Oxfordshire, Surrey, Wiltshire Essex, Wokingham, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Shropshire and Devon.
  • We held Orkney, Shetland, Edinburgh Western and North East Fife - re-electing four great MSPs.
  • Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds won in Mid and West Wales.
  • We made gains from Labour in Sunderland, Liverpool, Hull, Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley;
  • We became the largest party on Stockport council and held our councils in Watford, Winchester, Eastleigh, Three Rivers and Cheltenham;
  • Liberal Democrats gained a seat on the Greater London Assembly.
  • In Chesham and Amersham, where there is an upcoming parliamentary by-election, Liberal Democrats finished a strong second to the Conservatives. In Amersham Lib Dems went from 0 seats to a majority on the Town Council.
Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Autumn Conference 2021 Announcement

by Geoff Payne on Tue, 04 May 2021

We have decided that Autumn Conference will take place from 17th to 20th September. It will be held online. That was a very difficult decision to take and we had a very lengthy discussion about it.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →