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  • Petition: Feb 21, 2017

    We, the undersigned, believe Britain is better off in the Single Market.

    We oppose the Government's plan for a hard Brexit.

  • Article: Feb 20, 2017
    • Peers debate Article 50 bill paving way for start of Brexit
    • Theresa May wants to invoke Article 50 - the formal two-year mechanism by which a state must leave the EU - by the end of March
    • Peers will seek to guarantee the rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK and the role of Parliament in scrutinising the Brexit process
    • Follow our live coverage of today's events
  • Article: Feb 17, 2017

    Tens of thousands of deaths could be linked to cuts to health and social care, a new research paper by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University of Oxford has found.

    The researchers concluded that "the evidence points to a major failure of the health system, possibly exacerbated by failings in social care".

  • Article: Feb 17, 2017

    Responding to Tony Blair's speech today on Brexit, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:


    "Tony Blair is right. The challenge now is to persuade people to change their mind and the Liberal Democrats are the only party offering them a chance to have their voice heard again.

    "Blair's speech shows how badly Corbyn's Labour has failed as an Opposition.

  • Article: Feb 16, 2017

    Britain could be more vulnerable to terrorism and organised crime after a hard Brexit, Europol's chief has warned.

    Director of Europol Robert Wainright told Sky News today that Britain could be more vulnerable if the Government fails to secure access to vital intelligence sharing.

    Commenting on the warnings, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Tom Brake said: "People did not vote to undermine our country's security.

  • Article: Feb 16, 2017

    Text messages have warned Muslim voters they will be condemned to hell if they do not vote Labour in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, it has been reported.

    The Stoke-on-Trent Central Liberal Democrats have called on the Labour Party to condemn the campaign of misinformation taking place under their name in Stoke-on-Trent and suspend any activists involved in the text scandal.

  • Article: Feb 15, 2017
    By Lord Teverson in House of Lords

    Written by:

    15th February 2017

    The House of Lords may be in no mood to threaten the bill as a whole; but the chance of amendment is strong, says Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Teverson.

    House of LordsThe upper house has been threatened will dissolution if it doesn't deliver the Prime Minister's preferred version of Brexit says Lord Teverson
    Credit:
    PA Images

    So after all the hullabaloo in the Commons - all noise and no action - a still pristine Article 50 bill moves to the House of Lords. And it comes with intimidation. The upper House is threatened with abolition should it dare mess with the Prime Minister's version of Brexit.

    For Liberal Democrats this is, perhaps, not so much a disincentive to be difficult rather a positive call to action. Perhaps the Conservatives now regret not backing our moves in Coalition to reform our Second Chamber.

    What to expect from the Great Repeal Bill

    As the only party solidly pro-Europe, Lib Dem peers are now handling an avalanche of support, letters and emails from the 48% that the Prime Minister is trying to assign to history. So with the strength of our numbers, and the backing of those outside not attracted by the hardest of Brexits, we approach the Article 50 bill with a determination to call the Government to account, to scrutinise and improve the bill. That is what the House of Lords is for, and as Lib Dems that is our ambition for this bill as much as any other.

    No, we will not be throwing the bill out at a second reading vote. Such votes are very rare in the Lords. But, it only requires one of the maverick - and there are more than a few in the House - Lordships to persistently chant 'not content' at the end of the long, 140 plus speaker, second reading debate for a vote to be forced. And then? Well consciences, heart, and long held beliefs might just take over from expediency in this strongly 'remain' chamber.

    But more likely, we are heading for an intensive committee stage where Lib Dems will be focused on making this meagre 133-word bill fit for purpose

    For us there are two top tasks. Number one, that the public rather than just our prime minister, the Government, or even Parliament is given the final say on the deal reached under the tight two year Brexit timetable this bill triggers. There is a need for symmetry. We want a referendum at both ends of this lengthy tussle over the nation's future. What did the 52% vote for in terms of Brexit - hard, soft, red white and blue; who knows? So let the 100% give their final verdict.

    The second is a core ethical issue. The many EU citizens living and working in the UK, contributing to our economy, paying taxes, supporting many of our vital sectors, must not be a bargaining chip. That uncertainty, for them and their families, must be removed now. What better place to do it than in this bill, in primary legislation.

    The House of Lords may be in no mood to threaten the bill as a whole; but the chances of amendment is strong. The performance of the Commons has been worse than disappointing. MPs appear to have given up. Perhaps in contrast the Lords will rise to Parliament's responsibility, and maybe we will be further 'reformed' as a result. The next few weeks could decide the long term future of many millions of people, we have to make it count.

    Lord Teverson is a Liberal Democrat peer and Brexit Spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall

  • Article: Feb 15, 2017

    Liberal Democrat membership has surged past 82,000 - the highest level for two decades - as more and more people feel inspired by the party as the real opposition to the Conservatives.

    More than 4,000 people have joined the party in January, turned off by Theresa May's plans to take Britain out of the Single Market and attracted by the Liberal Democrats' opposition to "the politics of fear, division and hatred".

  • Article: Feb 14, 2017

    Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has renewed calls on Theresa May not to abandon child refugees by scrapping the Dubs scheme.

    This comes as pressure mounts on the Prime Minister over the decision, which was criticised in an open letter from over 200 high-profile celebrities and campaigners and by the Archbishop of Canterbury who called it "deeply unjust."

  • Article: Feb 13, 2017
    By William Wallace in Liberal Democrat Voice

    By | Mon 13th February 2017 - 11:55 am

    Active Liberal Democrats should read the Daily Mail. You need to know where issues that dominate the news have come from. Even more under this Conservative government than under Tony Blair, the Mail sets much of our political tone and agenda; it's the newspaper from which Conservative constituency executives take their opinions, feeding back to MPs, ministers and No.10.

    The BBC's recent revelation that David Cameron tried to persuade Lord Rothermere that it was time for Paul Dacre to retire, after 25 years as editor, before the EU Referendum, illustrates how successive Prime Ministers attempt to cultivate the Mail while at the same time fearing it. Its populist narrative is skilfully presented. The vicious way in which it attacks those who challenge that narrative persuades its readers that they are on the right side, and that others are responsible for whatever goes wrong.

    The Daily Mail narrative on the NHS has fed directly through to government policy. Its campaign against 'health tourism', in which the picture of a Nigerian woman who had quadruplets while visiting Britain has appeared multiple times over the past year, has pushed the government into action; there is, after all, a real problem, though the Mail has exaggerated its extent and overall cost. In parallel it has run a campaign against 'lazy' GPs who close their surgeries for half a day a week - also leading ministers to respond. The deliberate implication of both of these has been that the NHS's problems are caused by foreigners and lazy staff, not by lack of resources. Indeed, one of the longest-running campaigns in the Mail has been about the 'wicked' denial of new cancer drugs by NICE, ln grounds of cost (David Cameron responded by setting up a special fund to underwrite a limited supply). Tthe Mail thinks more should be spent on these, without explaining to its readers where the extra money might come from.

    Hard choices about taxation and public expenditure are swept away by stories about overpaid public servants and 'waste'. One recurrent theme is to recite the number of health administrators, civil servants, and now head teachers, who are paid more than the Prime Minister. The Mail's answer to recent stories about under-funding in the NHS was to highlight 'overpaid' administrators and agency staff in hospitals and surgeries: sort that out, the reader is given to understand, and there'd be enough money to go around. To reinforce the point across the board, last Thursday's op-ed from Stephen Glover - one of the Mail's leading angry old men - called for further tax cuts to move Britain closer to the Singapore and Korean economic models, without waiting for the UK to leave the EU. No such criticism appears of private sector pay. The Mail itself reportedly pays its own editor £3m a year, and several of its columnists earn much more than the prime minister, too.

    Attacks on the 'liberal elite' are full-throated, and verge on the conspiratorial. Lengthy stories about the Media Standards Trust and the links between its trustees and other circles of influence, during the Mail's fight against tighter press regulation, grew so convoluted that a senior Conservative minister asked me if I understood what the Mail was trying to say. Peter Mandelson and Ken Clarke are regular targets. Nick Clegg was awarded a full-page attack from Quentin Letts 10 days ago, as part of 'the moneyed elite' that has misled Britain. (Dominic Lawson, from a similar prosperous upbringing, is however evidently a voice of the people, regularly writing columns for the Mail.) Another no-holds-barred attack on Gina Miller, who led the judicial review on the government's handling of Article 50, was followed last week by a two-page spread on the 'holier than thou hypocrite' Gary Lineker, who the Mail of course portrays as 'a sanctimonious member of the liberal elite'; and by a double demolition of Barack Obama and his holiday host Richard Branson, under the headline 'Picture that tells us why voters chose Brexit…and Trump'.

    Populism often takes the form of rich people persuading the poor that the problems they face are caused not be economic injustice or exploitation but by foreigners and a corrupt 'establishment'. The Daily Mail is the most polished conveyor of this message within the UK: feeding the anxieties of its readers, while reassuring them that the problems they face are not their own responsibility but come from foreigners, immigrants, and conspiratorial elites. It is owned by a hereditary peer, who for many years avoided tax by claiming non-dom status. Its editor owns a substantial estate in Scotland, and a smaller one in Sussex. Its heroes - Farage, Arron Banks, Donald Trump - are rich, far beyond 'the people' they claim to speak for. Its commitment to lower taxes and higher spending is illusory. Its reporting is misleading enough for Wikipedia to have ruled it out as a permitted source. But it is skilfully presented, and persuasive. Those of us would reject its narrative need therefore to be familiar with it.

    * Lord Wallace of Saltaire is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords.