Help us ban upskirting

I’ve been blown away by the thousands of people who have joined the campaign to ban upskirting so far.

Together, I know we can achieve a change in the law.

Two weeks ago at Prime Minister’s, Questions the Prime Minister said the Government were considering supporting my bill ban upskirting. We need to make sure her warm words are backed up with action

That’s why we need you to contact the two Ministers with responsibility for making this change – we must keep pressuring the government to support my bill.

Here’s who we need you to contact – and what we need you to emphasise:

Victoria Atkins MP

Minister for Women and Parliamentary Undersecretary for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability

I have a meeting organised with Victoria ahead of my bill’s second reading in June – could you get in touch and let her know why it is so important as Minister for women she supports my bill?

Email Victoria
Message Victoria

Lucy Frazer MP

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice

Our discussions with the MoJ have been really encouraging so far – can you thank Lucy for her support and stress how important it is we change the law ASAP?

Email Lucy
Tweet Lucy
Message Lucy

Thank you {{recipient.first_name_or_friend}}; with your help, I know we can ensure that this vile crime becomes what it deserves to be: banned.

With best wishes,


PS: If you’re stuck for what to say, here’s a message you can send to each of the Ministers:

Victoria Atkins:

Dear Ms Atkins,

Upskirting is a vile crime that violates and degrades victims. Thousands of women are subjected to it every single year and it has a lasting impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

As you know, with the law as it currently stands the Police find it hard to prosecute this – and that’s why campaigners, including Wera Hobhouse MP and Gina Martin have been calling for upskirting to become a specific offence.

Two weeks ago at Prime Minister’s Questions, Theresa May said she was willing to consider this change. But it will be down you to make sure this happens – the law must fully protect women and girls from this despicable act.

I know Wera and Gina are meeting with you to discuss the campaign, will you commit to supporting Wera’s bill ahead of it’s second reading in June?

Thank you,

[Your Name here]
Lucy Frazer:

Dear Ms Frazer,

Thank you for your support so far. We appreciate your work with those campaigning to make upskirting a specific, sexual offence.

As you know, this is a despicable act that affects thousands of women and girls every year – and it’s currently very hard for the Police to prosecute with the law as it currently stands.

Making upskirting a specific, sexual offence would ensure that the law recognises that this is a crime with a victim and also ensure that the perpetrators are punished.

We hope you continue to work with Wera and Gina to ensure that you and your Parliamentary and Ministerial colleagues support Wera’s bill in June.

Thank you,

[Your name]

New policy working groups looking for members

We’re looking for members for two new policy working groups: one on health and social care and one on climate change.

Do you have expert knowledge of the healthcare system? Of social care? Or climate change and energy policy?

If so there is an opportunity to help set the direction of party policy on these issues by joining a policy working groups. The party’s Federal Policy Committee is launching two new working groups: a Health and Social Care working group and a Climate Change and the Low Carbon Environment working group.

As a member of a working group, you would attend regular evening meetings (either in person or remotely) over a period of 12-18 months, input your ideas for policy, and play a role in drafting the final policy paper. The positions are voluntary and you must be a member of the party.

Both working groups will take evidence in the second half of 2018. The Health group will produce a consultation paper and run a consultation session at Spring Conference 2019; the climate change group will run its consultation session at Autumn Conference 2018. After the consultation sessions, the groups will prepare their final drafts over March-June 2019, and these will be presented to FPC for amendments and approval. Subject to this approval, the final papers will be published in July 2019, and debated at the Autumn 2019 conference.

The Climate Change group will flesh out the party’s commitment to a zero-carbon Britain by 2050. The group will need to show in detail how we believe this target can be met and outline the policy instruments (currently often set by EU legislation) which will need to be deployed for energy, transport, housing, industry and agriculture and land use.

The Health and Social Care group will look at what we can do to help the UK’s health and social care services meet the challenges that they face. As part of this group you will tackle some big questions: How do we help people stay healthier for longer? How can we ensure health and social care are integrated and accountable? How can we make access to health and social care more equal? How do we achieve our goal of parity between physical and mental health care? How do we secure long-term sustainability of the NHS and care services?

Both groups promise to be interesting. We are looking for who have one or more of the following:

  • Interest or experience of relevant policy areas
  • Experience in campaigns, media or communications
  • Experience of using policy as a campaigning tool

If this is you and you want to help us make policy, apply using the links below.

Apply for climate change group

Apply for health and social care group

The deadline is 13.00 on 1 June 2018.

A fantastic month for the Liberal Democrats

Congratulations to all the very many Liberal Democrats who stood for local council seats this month.

Local democracy relies on those who put themselves forward to represent residents, so whether you won or not, I hope you will be proud of having stood.

As a party, we saw results greatly exceeding expectations, with a big net gain of 75 councillors and four new councils under Liberal Democrat majority control.

This is a better performance than Labour and a much better performance than the Tories.

We succeeded in Conservative facing areas like Kingston, Richmond and South Cambridgeshire, and made significant strides in Labour-facing Hull, Haringey and Liverpool.

All over the country our message that Liberal Democrats listen, work hard and get things done made a major impact.

Meanwhile, Labour voters are beginning to recognise how much their party is letting them down over Brexit. The Conservatives’ cuts to schools and policing are a growing source of discontent.

Now we have a new opportunity to add momentum to our campaigning, with the by-election in Lewisham East.

The departing MP, Heidi Alexander, vehemently opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s complicity in Brexit, and voted against his whip.

But a new Labour MP in Lewisham will almost certainly toe the Labour leadership line.

By contrast, our candidate, Lucy Salek will stand up for a constituency which overwhelmingly voted to remain. A Liberal Democrat win can help secure a final say for the public on the final deal, with the option of remaining in the EU.

Lewisham is Lucy’s hometown, and I know she will represent it very ably on the issues people are already raising on doorsteps – secondary schools and knife crime.

She is an exceptional candidate.

To win, we will need a huge Liberal Democrat effort from members all over the country: we have just four short weeks to get our message to voters in Lewisham. Please do come and help, offer to make calls, or donate to the campaign if you can’t make it in person

Our electoral success from local by-elections to the recent council elections to the Lewisham by-election gives us the credibility we need to be heard on the big national issues of the day.

We are, of course, central to the national debate on Brexit. And at our Spring Conference, we endorsed proposals for ring-fenced funding of the NHS, for restoring respect for teachers and for a broad school curriculum. In April, I kickstarted a debate about the future of big data, and the power of big tech companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google. In the coming months, I intend to set out Liberal Democrat ideas on a number of big questions facing the country like the housing supply crisis, our prospectus for responsible business and for lifelong learning.

I want our party to be a workshop for big ideas to change the country.

Ideas to win votes, and ideas we can put into action when we win elections.

There is a big opportunity for members to contribute at our autumn conference in Brighton. Look out for registration information in the next couple of weeks, and if you can’t join for the whole time consider coming just for a day, for a weekend, or following the key debates online.

Thanks to you our party has grown dramatically in membership; now it is growing in support and we are making the political weather.

There are still big challenges for us to return to our previous strength in Parliament and in devolved and local government: there’s a lot of hard work to do, but we can see this month’s results as the foundation stone for our renewal.

Thank you to everyone for helping to make it happen.

Sal Speaks: May 2018

Thank you! Thank you for everything that gave us the best election night in some years.

We took control of four councils: Richmond & Kingston in London, Three Rivers District in Hertfordshire, and South Cambridgeshire District.

We also had a great increase in the net councillors across England, +75, just behind Labour on +79. The Tories had -33, with UKIP -123.

Labour were predicted to gain a number of councils but didn’t, and the Tories lost a net four. Despite the lack of attention from the press, there is no doubt that we had the most significant result of the night.

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Vacancy – Registered Treasurer and Chair of FFRC

The Liberal Democrats are seeking a highly qualified volunteer with significant experience of financial and compliance matters at a high level to become their Registered Treasurer and Chair of the Federal Finance and Resources Committee.

The FFRC Chair and Registered Treasurer of the Party is a senior role within the party that requires a substantial commitment beyond the Chairing of the FFRC, including attending and contributing to both the Federal Board and the Operations Committee (a sub-committee of the Board comprising the Vice Chairs, English and Welsh Chairs, the Scottish Convenor and all the Federal Committee Chairs), as well as being an ex-officio member of the Federal Audit and Scrutiny Committee.

The Registered Treasurer has specific responsibilities in signing off the quarterly Electoral Commission donation returns as well as annual accounts and generally being the first point of contact for the Electoral Commission in relation to Party administration.

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Shropshire Council Chief’s proposed ~46% pay rise

Like many who saw the headline in the Shropshire Star last Thursday, I was shocked and appalled. Shocked by the scale of the percentage rise of nearly 46% and appalled by the amount in cash terms of £47,000.

In cash terms, the £47,000 pay rise is vastly bigger than the £24,200 average annual pay in Shropshire. In fact, the rise is nearly double the average wage. If the recommended rise is accepted the Chief Executive will be paid 6x the average pay in Shropshire.

By contrast, the lowest paid employees at Shropshire Council are paid £16,449 – well under the average for Shropshire. The Chief Executive would be paid over 9x the scale of the lowest. Most employees at Shropshire Hall will be getting a 6% rise.

Thursday’s Full Council Agenda:

In percentage terms, when many hard-working people are still only getting a 1 or 2% pay rises, if they are lucky, this rise won’t go down well. In PR terms this rise, if approved, will send out all of the wrong messages. It will be a slap in the face for ordinary hard-working people, even if the Chief Executive has earned it.

Andy Boddington has done some more to break this down and gives some more background on how Shropshire Council got into this mess on his blog here:

Council chief executive in line for £47K basic pay boost while council staff to get six percent

What this all says about the running of Shropshire Council is up for debate. It doesn’t say much about the past or current corporate governance of the Conservative Administration that they are in this mess. Current priorities like buying Shrewsbury shopping centres or refurbishing Shirehall, all fail to address the black hole in the budget. Symptomatic of broken Shirehall and if it isn’t careful soon to be broke Shirehall.

Lib Dem Lords inflict more defeats on Tory government

Last night Theresa May suffered yet another series of damning defeats in the Lords, exposing the ever-increasing anger at her administration’s undemocratic, destructive approach to Brexit.

So far the government has been defeated a total of 14 times, with the Lords rejecting the Brexit deadline and exit date, securing a meaningful vote in the Commons, and quashing attempts to hand ministers ‘blank cheque’ powers.

Both Tory and Labour Peers have voted with their conscience, defying their parties’ whips.

24 Tory peers voted against their own government, forcing them to report back on UK-EU Customs Union negotiations: there have been a staggering 168 Tory votes against the government.

Just yesterday more than 80 Labour peers ignored party policy and voted with the Lib Dems to maintain membership of the European Economic Area.

There have been a total of 4,092 votes against the government during the report stage, showing definitive support for the Lib Dem campaign against Brexit.

The Lib Dem Lords are leading the charge and will continue to hold the government to account, fighting for the ultimate form of accountability: handing the final say on Brexit back to the people.

New Privacy and Fair Processing Notices

Specifically, the Privacy Policy and a set of Fair Processing Notices (FPN). Both are vital to telling people how we will use, store and collect their data. This is a major milestone in our preparations for GDPR. All information gathered under the new legal notices will be compliant.

You can view the notices and related guidance here:

An online webinar covering the specifics of the notices has been arranged for Thursday 10th May from 6.00pm.

Amendments to the legislation have meant publishing has taken longer than hoped. For our lawyers and the Project Team, it’s meant some late nights.

Now is the time to start adding a suitable version of the new FPN wherever you are gathering information. Be this online, in emails or on leaflets. The next step is the reconsent campaign, asking email recipients to opt-in to receiving communication. You will receive advice on this shortly.

For parties using Nationbuilder or Prater Raines websites, the information will be auto-updated. However, if your local party is on a different system then please let us know at immediately.

Single Market defeat sends a clear message

The Government have received their eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth defeats in the House of Lords during the Report stage of the EU Withdrawal Bill.

A vote on an amendment to ensure our future interaction with EU law and agencies was passed by a cross-bench majority of 298 to 227

A further vote on an amendment to remove the exit date from the bill passed by a cross-bench majority of 311 to 233.

And finally, an amendment that would keep Britain in the single market passed with a cross-bench majority of 245 to 218

These votes were a victory for common-sense.

Of course if the UK wishes to remain in specific agencies, such as Euratom, it should be able to. This allows us to replicate EU law and means that we can continue our role in any agency that we wish to if it is of obvious benefit.

The Government needs to swallow its pride and keep the benefits of being in European agencies.

Furthermore, the victory on the single market amendment sends a clear message to those sat around the Cabinet table that Parliament won’t just sit back while Theresa May leads us towards a hard Brexit.

245 Peers from all parties and none have voted to stay in the Single Market and protect the UK economy, defeating a Government hell-bent on pursuing ideology over prosperity.

Decision to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal is reckless and short-sighted

Trump’s decision to scrap US participation in the Iran nuclear deal is reckless and short-sighted.

The deal is far from perfect, but it is better to work with our partners to make changes than to pull out altogether and risk heightened tensions in the Middle East.

Trump’s careless actions serve as another reminder of the enormous value of our EU partners.

Iran has signalled that it is willing to consider upholding its end of the nuclear deal if other partners remain party to the agreement.

Boris Johnson’s attempts to reason with Trump fell on deaf ears, but together with our EU partners, it is possible that the Iran nuclear deal can be upheld and an escalation in tensions can be avoided.