Three crucial months: Vince Cable’s New Year Message

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

As we enter 2019, time is ticking down on Brexit, and with it the whole future of the country.

The history books will look back on these coming three months as critical.It is almost unbelievable that Parliament is waiting a further week to return!

After two long years of negotiation, the Prime Minister has brought back a Brexit deal that satisfies no-one. Her reaction is to try to scare people with the prospect of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. In reality, that can’t happen unless she decides it should.

So the only way forward – now – for the country and the Prime Minister is for the public to have the final say, and the option to Remain.

It’s a campaign we Liberal Democrats started more than two years ago. Now millions of people have joined us in demanding a better future than Brexit Britain has to offer.

And the power of the millions who have signed petitions, lobbied their MP, or marched on Parliament – 700,000 of them just this year – is beginning to bear fruit. A People’s Vote has moved from being a possibility to being a probability.

But only if we keep the pressure up. If we succeed, 2019 will be a year remembered not because we harmed our country with Brexit, but because we – the people – stood up and stopped it.

And if we do that, our Parliament and Government can once again deal with big issues like climate change, rising crime, the social care crisis, homelessness and housing supply, all of which have been neglected because of Brexit.

Enjoy your New Year celebrations and then let’s get out there in 2019 and win the fight for a People’s Vote and a brighter future for Britain.

Ad Lib Magazine: New edition out now

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The 2018 edition of Ad Lib Magazine is out now. Read it here:

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Read the latest edition

Starting next year, Ad Lib will now be an online-only publication, released quarterly. We’ll also be sending some of the editions to our members who aren’t on email as well.

If you’d like anything included in future editions, please email membership@libdems.org.uk.

And of course, if you have any feedback on this issue, please just email us!

We hope you enjoy this edition!

Read the latest edition

Empty chairs at the Christmas table

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

This Christmas, I have worked with St Giles Trust to learn more about the gang culture which is fuelling knife crime and tragically costing young people their lives. St Giles works directly with those affected, providing education, mentoring and support to fill the void into which gangs otherwise slip.

In the film, I discuss the causes of knife crime with Liam, a St Giles Project Co-ordinator. And we hear the incredibly brave voice of Sophie Kafeero whose own son, Derick, was killed last year – now she is campaigning with her local MP, Ed Davey, to take knives off the street.

As we sit down to our Christmas festivities, I hope the film helps to remind us of those who have lost someone; who have an empty chair at their Christmas table. And helping charities like St Giles is one way we can make a difference.

Paddy Ashdown will be hugely missed

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Earlier this evening, Paddy Ashdown, former leader of the Liberal Democrats passed away following a short illness.

Our thoughts are with Jane and Paddy’s family this evening.

This is a hugely sad day for the Liberal Democrats and for the very many people across political and public life who had immense affection and respect for Paddy.

Few people know how hard he fought to get into politics following his service in the marines and diplomatic service. He exercised every ounce of his considerable personal stamina to win the Yeovil seat.

Paddy was a personal example to me and to many other candidates.

Paddy was a personal example to me and to many other candidates. The time he made for his indefatigable campaigning involved considerable personal sacrifice, building the constituency result up from a low base to famous victory in 1983.

Once in Parliament, he made a real mark. He was always listened to, in particular, on international issues and defence.

He took up unpopular causes where he was respected for his convictions, in particular promoting the rights of the citizens of Hong Kong, and – later – military intervention in Kosovo.

As Party Leader, he took time to tour the country staying with families all around Britain, as part of his ‘Beyond Westminster’ tour, properly understanding people in the recessions of the 1990s.

He took up unpopular causes where he was respected for his convictions, in particular promoting the rights of the citizens of Hong Kong, and – later – military intervention in Kosovo.

He inspired the Liberal Democrats from a polling position he famously described as ‘represented by an asterisk’, to become a formidable campaigning force, doubling the party’s representation to 46 MPs and laying the ground for the strength which later took the party into government.

It was an immense pity that he himself didn’t see office in government.

Though the Liberal Democrats had enjoyed incredible success in 1997, in large part due to his leadership, the Labour landslide meant that New Labour did not need Liberal Democrat support. It was a mark of his strength that he nonetheless successfully pushed the Blair government towards constitutional reform.

Sent by Tony Blair as High Representative to Bosnia, he brought that country back to stability, showing the qualities he could have offered to the Cabinet here.

Paddy was aghast at the direction our country has been taking, and as ever did all he could to campaign for a change of course.

Finally, he has been a powerful voice was of real significance for the pro-European cause in recent years. He was aghast at the direction our country has been taking, and as ever did all he could to campaign for a change of course.

He will be sadly missed in all parts of politics and Parliament.

We have set up an online book of condolenceshould you wish to share a message or simply leave your name. All messages will be sent to Paddy’s family.

You can add your name and comments here:www.libdems.org.uk/book-of-condolence-paddy-ashdown

Corbyn Wants His Own Brexit

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Throughout 2018, Jeremy Corbyn has refused to fight this chaotic, disastrous Brexit.

He has pulled his punches on this Brexit mess. He has let Theresa May off the hook in key votes. He has resisted calls within his own party for a People’s Vote. His weak opposition has helped the Conservatives get this far.

The vast majority of Labour voters would prefer to stay in the EU and Labour members demanded support for a People’s Vote at their party conference. Still Jeremy has fudged his position time and again.

The country deserves real Brexit opposition.

He’s now admitted that if he won an election he would continue this chaos by going to Brussels and trying to secure his own version of Brexit.

His supporters deserve better.

Liberal Democrats are the real oppositionon Brexit. We have taken the fight to the Conservatives where Corbyn has not. We are wholly dedicated to giving the people the final say on the Brexit deal, and the option to remain.

We’re leading a cross party movement to challenge Theresa May, while Jeremy Corbyn plays at Parliamentary theatrics with his defective no-confidence vote in the PM.

The fight isn’t over – and we can’t wait for Jeremy Corbyn.

Liberal Democrats are leading the Exit from Brexit campaign. Brexit is not inevitable – it is not a done deal.

We are winning the fight for a People’s Vote with the option to stay in the EU.

If you believe in our cause join the fight against Brexit now.

The Exit From Brexit Campaign – 2018 in review

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

With the end of year fast approaching I wanted to take the opportunity to let you know of some of the achievements of the Brexit campaign.

A year ago, less than 20% of the British people wanted a final say – now a majority of the public want to have their say

For more than two years, the Liberal Democrats have been leading the fight on Brexit – and this year we’ve been running our largest ever campaign outside of an election. And it’s working – a year ago, less than 20% of the British people wanted a final say – now a majority of the public want to have their say.

And that’s in no small part down to the multiple national action weekends we’ve held to coincide with key moments in the Brexit debate. These, along with the tremendous efforts of our local parties, have meant we’ve had 2.5 million face to face conversations and delivered millions of leaflets.

We’ve had 2.5 million face to face conversations and delivered millions of leaflets

In Parliament we’ve had some huge victories too – we’ve defeated the Government 20 times by leading cross-party initiatives in both the Commons and the Lords. Our lobbying MPs campaign enabled us to help supporters contact key MPs about the withdrawal agreement more than 30,000 times.

In October, 700,000 people took part in a march calling for a people’s vote – the biggest protest since the Iraq war. Now, as then, there was no sign of the Labour or Conservative leadership – whilst we were front and centre, on the side of the British people and the right side of history.

In November we held a rally on Parliament Square to coincide with Theresa May returning with the Brexit Deal. 1,000 people showed up on less than five hours’ notice to hear impassioned speeches from Vince Cable, Christine Jardine, Ed Davey, Tom Brake and Wera Hobhouse to a captive audience of sympathetic Remainers.

We’ve reached a staggering 3 million voters online and welcomed 190,000 supporters to our campaign

We’ve also run our biggest ever digital campaign, helping us ensure we are finding as many new supporters of our campaign as possible. We’ve reached a staggering 3 million voters online and welcomed 190,000 supporters to our campaign.

We also ran a digital campaign which successfully reached 700,000 EU nationals from 21 different countries in their native language, a quarter of the total living in the UK, and succeeded in registering 2.5k people to vote in the local elections this year.

We couldn’t have done all this without the support of thousands of Lib Dem members and supporters. Thank you for all that you’ve done – let’s make 2019 even better and and win this campaign.

Back a no confidence vote

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Last night the Liberal Democrats tabled a cross-party motion of no confidence in the Conservative Government.

The Liberal Democrats have led the fight to give the people the final say on Brexit for two years.

Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn has helped the Conservatives deliver Brexit. The motion of no confidence could remove one of Corbyn’s last excuses not to back a People’s Vote.

At the moment, the Government doesn’t have to allow this motion to be debated before Christmas. But if Jeremy Corbyn adds his name to the motion, then the Conservatives will be forced to allow this debate and vote straight away.

Will you call on Jeremy Corbyn to step up to the plate and support the motion of no confidence:

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Or click here to email Jeremy Corbyn at leader@labour.org.uk

Ten Lib Dem demands for the Immigration Bill

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The NHS can’t recruit the doctors and nurses it needs. Families are separated by complex visa requirements. People without documents are denied access to healthcare and housing. Decades of incompetence and cruelty by Labour and Tory Home Secretaries has shattered confidence in the system.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We demand a more effective and compassionate immigration system. A system that works for our economy and treats migrants and asylum seekers with dignity.

To build that system, here are the ten key policies we are calling for in the forthcoming Immigration Bill:

1. End the hostile environment

Theresa May’s hostile environment has turned landlords, NHS workers and even teachers into border guards, and seen countless people – including members of the Windrush generation – wrongfully deprived of their rights. It must end.

2. Scrap the net migration target

The Tories’ net migration target is arbitrary and damaging, driving the Home Office to ever-crueller attempts to bring down numbers. It’s also counterproductive. Far from alleviating public concerns, the Tories’ failure to meet their target over the past eight years has only fuelled them.

3. Take powers away from the Home Office

Scandal after scandal proves that the Home Office is not fit for purpose. We are calling for policymaking on work permits, student visas and asylum to be given to the Departments for Business, Education and International Development respectively. A new arms-length, non-political agency should take over processing applications, with the training and resources to make decisions quickly and fairly.

4. Reform skilled-worker visas

We want to replace the current Tier-based visa system with a merit-based system, similar to Canada’s, which would be more flexible and better serve the UK economy. At the very least, the Government must scrap the cap on the number of Tier 2 visas and lower the income threshold for jobs to qualify as ‘skilled’ from £30,000.

5. Limit detention to 28 days

Locking people up for months on end – without giving them any idea how long they’ll be detained – is clearly inhumane. It’s also expensive and unnecessary. That’s why we are campaigning alongside Liberty, Detention Action and others for a 28-day time limit on immigration detention.

6. Invest in an accountable Border Force

Restoring confidence in the immigration system and helping victims of trafficking requires the Government to secure our borders. That means reversing Theresa May’s cuts to Britain’s Border Force and investing in an effective, accountable Border Force to prevent people from entering the country illegally, fight organised crime and combat modern slavery.

7. Complete the exit checks system

In government, Liberal Democrats re-introduced exit checks at the border, after Labour had abandoned them, so that we can record who leaves the UK and when. These checks must be developed fully, so the Border Force can quickly and accurately identify people who overstay their visas.

8. Lift the ban on asylum seekers working

Labour and Tory governments have banned asylum seekers from working, even if their applications drag on for many months. We support the ‘Lift the Ban’ campaign to allow asylum seekers to work. This would give them a sense of dignity and more money, as well as enabling them to contribute to the Exchequer and saving taxpayers money.

9. Cut citizenship fees for children

The Tories have raised the fee for registering a child as a British citizen to £1,012 – even though processing an application costs just £372. This prevents many children who are entitled to British citizenship from applying. The Liberal Democrats, Amnesty International and Citizens UK are all campaigning for fees for children to be reduced to the cost of administration.

10. Reunite refugee families

Refugees who have been separated by their family should be able to be reunited with them here in the UK. Currently, an adult refugee can only sponsor their partner and children under 18 to join them. This right should be expanded to allow older children to join their parents, siblings to be reunited, and child refugees to sponsor their parents.

Lib Dems table no confidence motion in Government

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

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Lib Dem peers secure vital changes to protect civil liberties

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Last night, the Lords passed an amendment – tabled by a cross-party group of peers including Liberal Democrat Andrew Stunell – that will force the Government to carry out an independent review of its Prevent strategy and publish a report within 18 months.

  • Creating exemptions to the new offence of “entering or remaining in a designated area” so that it doesn’t apply to aid workers, journalists, people visiting ill relatives or those attending funerals.
  • Protecting journalism and academic research from the new offence of accessing terrorism-related material online.
  • Requiring the Government to commission an independent review of the Prevent strategy.
  • Limiting new powers to detain people at ports and airports to cases involving national security.

The Prevent strategy has clearly failed to tackle radicalisation.

The Liberal Democrats have long argued that the Prevent strategy has clearly failed to tackle radicalisation and has alienated the very communities we need to engage to combat terrorism.

We have been calling for an independent review of Prevent for years because many in the communities most affected believe Prevent unfairly singles them out.

We have always argued that a completely independent review could reassure everyone that Prevent is effective, and properly targeted on those who could potentially be a danger to society. It is essential that everyone has confidence in Prevent and that we all work together to keep us safe.

We’re pleased Labour have now accepted our arguments and together we have voted to insist such a review takes place.

We have also secured further concessions from the Government on new powers to stop, detain and question people at ports and airports.

Originally, the Bill would have granted these powers in connection with acts that “threaten the economic well-being of the United Kingdom”, but in response to arguments made by our Lib Dem Peers, Ministers tabled amendments to limit these powers to cases involving national security.

This follows a previous defeat for the Government on an amendment which sets out exemptions to the new offence of “entering or remaining in a designated area”.