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  • http://www.public-domain-image.com/full-image/objects-public-domain-images-pictures/candles-public-domain-images-pictures/candle-flame.jpg.html
    Article: Jan 31, 2020


    JANUARY 1973-JANUARY 2020

    For 47 years we have sat in a room with our most important political and economic partners, and occupied one of the prized seats; now all we can do is wait outside and beg to be heard.

    'There will be no peace in Europe if the States rebuild themselves on the basis of national sovereignty, with its implications of prestige politics and economic protection….

  • Wiltshire Lib Dems campaign for EU Residents in UK ()
    Petition: Jan 30, 2020

    Delighted to announce that Wiltshire Liberal Democrat's are urging Wiltshire Council to encourage EU residents to stay in the U.K.

    EU nationals are our friends and neighbours. Many do vital jobs in the #NHS and social care. Ellen Nicholson said 'This is their home and some now worry for their futures'.

  • Our prisons are in crisis ()
    Article: Jan 30, 2020

    Our prisons are in crisis, with the self-harm rate in women's prisons almost 5 times higher than the rate in men's.

    Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to turn prisons into places of rehabilitation by ending overcrowding, including by scrapping pointless short sentences that cause overcrowding and actually increase reoffending.

  • Article: Jan 28, 2020
    By Liberal Democrats

    Responding to the The National Audit Office's comments that the "Get ready for Brexit" campaign failed to significantly impact the public's level of preparedness for Brexit, former Public Accounts Committee member and Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

    "What a colossal waste of taxpayers money. This damning report shows what we knew all along: the Conservative government's 'Get Ready for Brexit' campaign was an expensive propaganda stunt designed ahead of the election to help no one but Boris Johnson stay in Number 10.

    "Once again the Tories are misusing their powers at the expense of our democracy. Given how poorly this campaigned performed it should be referred to the Electoral Commission and be included as part of the Tory general election spend.

    "The Liberal Democrats will continue to hold the Tory government to account over their disastrous plans for our country."

  • Sarah Olney ()
    Article: Jan 27, 2020
    By Liberal Democrats

    This afternoon, Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney challenged the Policing Minister on the Metropolitan Police's rollout of automated facial recognition surveillance in London.

    The MP for Richmond Park secured an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on the Met's announcement that it will begin operational use of facial recognition surveillance within a month. She highlighted concerns about the impact of facial recognition on human rights, the lack of a legal framework to govern its use, its inaccuracy and its bias against women and BAME people.

    Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London Siobhan Benita criticised Sadiq Khan for his decision "to give this rollout the go-ahead without proper consultation or regulation".

    Following the debate, Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney said:

    "We must not allow the UK to become a society where innocent people feel as though their every movement is being watched by the police.

    "The independent review of the Met's trials was damning, especially about the impact of facial recognition surveillance on human rights.

    "It cannot be right for this new form of mass surveillance to be rolled out without any safeguards to protect innocent people from being discriminated against or having their privacy invaded.

    "Liberal Democrats are standing up for civil liberties and calling for an immediate halt to the police's use of facial recognition surveillance."

    Siobhan Benita, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, added:

    "Sadiq Khan is wrong to give this rollout the go-ahead without proper consultation or regulation and the fact that he has done so undermines his claim to share our liberal values.

    "The technology is hopelessly inaccurate and will further damage trust between the police and communities.

    "To make London safer I would restore effective community policing, starting with the re-opening of local police stations, which the current Mayor has shut down."

  • Christine Jardine ()
    Article: Jan 27, 2020

    Following reports that the exchange of key security information is at risk post Brexit, due to concerns over Britain's record in protecting personal information, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

    "Our police rely heavily on co-operation with our EU partners to identify criminals and bring them to justice. It's incredibly alarming that these government scandals threaten to undermine that co-operation, making us all less safe.

    "We already know that some EU countries will refuse to extradite their citizens to the UK under the European Arrest Warrant after Friday. Now there's a real danger that our police will also lose access to EU-wide crime databases next year.

    "Liberal Democrats will fight to maintain these vital cross-border tools that keep us all safe. The Government must prioritise as close a security and justice partnership as possible, as part of our future relationship with the EU."

  • House of Lords ()
    Article: Jan 22, 2020

    Liberal Democrat peers yesterday helped to inflict another defeat on the Conservative Government in the House of Lords, this time on a vote to protect child refugees.

    By 300 to 220, the House of Lords passed an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill to maintain the rights of unaccompanied refugee children elsewhere in Europe to be reunited with their family members in the UK.

    This marks the fourth government defeat on the Bill, after the Lords passed three amendments yesterday: one moved by Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and two to prevent Ministers from instructing lower courts to ignore legal precedent.

    The Bill is set to return to the House of Commons tomorrow, when the Conservative Government is expected to try to overturn these amendments - against opposition from Liberal Democrat MPs.

    Following the vote, Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Hamwee, who argued for the amendment in the House of Lords, said:

    "Liberal Democrats will not stand by while the Conservative Government uses Brexit to undermine the UK's proud tradition of providing sanctuary to some of the world's most vulnerable people.

    "I am proud that Liberal Democrat peers have, along with the tireless campaigner Lord Dubs, passed this crucial amendment to uphold our commitments to child refugees.

    "I hope that MPs will resist government pressure to overturn today's vote in the House of Commons."

  • Lords logo
    Article: Jan 21, 2020
    By Mark Pack Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election

    A party press release brings the news of a welcome vote in the House of Lords:

    The Liberal Democrats defeated the Government on a vote in the House of Lords to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.

    The Lords passed an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, moved by Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates, by 270 votes to 229. It would give EU citizens in the UK the automatic right to stay, rather than having to apply to the Home Office, and would ensure they can get physical proof of their rights.

    Following the vote, mover of the motion and Liberal Democrat Peer Jonny Oates said:

    "This amendment simply seeks to uphold the promise repeatedly made by Boris Johnson that the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK would be automatically guaranteed.

    "It would remove the risk that those who failed to meet the cut off deadline would be automatically criminalised and subject to deportation.

    "It was very disappointing to see the Conservatives vote against protecting the rights of millions of people who contribute so much to our society, our economy and our communities.

    "Liberal Democrats will always champion the rights of EU citizens in the UK and hold the Conservative Government to account for the promises they've made."

    Full text of the amendment:

    Leave out Clause 7 and insert the following new Clause-

    "Rights related to residence
    (1) The Secretary of State must by regulations make provision implementing-
    (a) Article 18(4) of the withdrawal agreement (right of eligible citizens to receive a residence document),
    (b) Article 17(4) of the EEA EFTA separation agreement (right of eligible citizens to receive a residence document), and
    (c) Article 16(4) of the Swiss citizens' rights agreement (right of eligible citizens to receive a residence document),
    including making provision for a physical document providing proof of residence.
    (2) Subsection (1) applies in the same way to-
    (a) persons within the personal scope of the withdrawal agreement having the right to reside in the United Kingdom, and
    (b) persons to whom the provisions in paragraph (a) do not apply but who are eligible for-
    (i) indefinite leave to enter or remain, or
    (ii) limited leave to enter or remain,
    by virtue of residence scheme immigration rules (see section 17)."

    The Guardian explains what happens next:

    Ministers are likely to overturn the defeat when the bill returns to the Commons on Wednesday. If the defeat is reversed, peers will then have to decide whether to accept that, when the bill goes back to the Lords during "ping pong", or whether to try again to pass the 'physical document' amendments. Peers have the power to ask the Commons to 'think again', but they almost always back down if the Commons insists on its version of the bill.

  • Article: Jan 21, 2020

    Responding to the Government's announcement of new counter-terror legislation, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

    "If you could stop terrorism by passing illiberal new laws, the Conservatives would have ended it ages ago.

    "It's less than a year since the Conservatives passed their last piece of unnecessary, reactionary legislation in the name of combatting terrorism, and they're already proposing another one.

    "We need policies based on evidence, not cheap headlines. Judges already have the power to lock up terrorists for life; tying their hands with mandatory minimum sentences simply won't help. And polygraphs simply aren't accurate or reliable enough for such critical decisions.

    "Liberal Democrats will always stand up for human rights and civil liberties. We will continue to oppose authoritarian laws that do little to make us safer, but a lot to undermine essential British freedoms."

  • Article: Jan 20, 2020

    Responding to the European Commission warning that Brexit trade talks could be delayed until March, Liberal Democrats Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

    "It has become increasingly obvious that the arbitrary deadline Boris Johnson has set for negotiating the future relationship between the EU and UK is woefully unrealistic.

    "With business already in uproar about the Tories' plans to end pan-European regulatory alignment, the Prime Minister is steering the UK towards some heavy storms.

    "People deserve better than a future where a Prime Minister willingly threatens jobs, the environment and the NHS. It is essential that the transition period can be extended to prevent this devastating prospect."