Trans rights are human rights

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Across the Atlantic, Trump and his cronies are doing their very best to rewrite the definition of transgender out of existence. An agenda of social cleansing that feeds into his administration’s insular and antagonistic narrative. We may like to think that Trump’s views are in isolation, that his fear of difference does not seep to our shores, but it does.

20% of trans people still get pushed towards conversion therapy, even within our NHS

Thomas Reuters Foundation

The experience of many trans people is incredibly tough. A report from Thomas Reuters Foundation last week found that 20% of trans people still get pushed towards conversion therapy, even within our NHS; and another report from Stonewall showed that in the last year, 12% of trans people have attempted suicide.

12% of trans people have attempted suicide in the last year

Stonewall

With the Government’s consultation on the Gender Recognition Act having taken place this year, trans issues have been all over the mainstream media, with opponents viciously attacking some of society’s most vulnerable people. These attacks are shocking, and the perpetrators are often sat behind keyboards, unable or unwilling to see the damage their words can cause.

But in Transgender Awareness Week, I want to focus on the positives, and what we can do to improve the lives of trans people going forward.

Our party, the Liberal Democrats, exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. Quite literally, that is our mantra, our values and we have always stood beside those facing inequality and attacks.

Transgender and intersex communities are too often marginalised, and many forget that trans rights are human rights.

Transgender and intersex communities are too often marginalised, and many forget that in the fight for equality, trans rights are human rights. We must, and we are, endeavouring to ensure that a vulnerable group of people, are able to live as they are entitled to under our laws.

But those laws need to be more flexible. The ‘spousal veto’, as it has been dubbed by the trans community – a law which enables the spouse of a trans person to veto their transition, needs to be changed, and I really want to believe that the Government will acknowledge this as part of the review of the GRA.

Gender dysphoria is a serious and not a casual condition. For anyone that has been through a transition, or supported another through it, they will see that the system does not meet the needs of those who access it, and that it is long, arduous and expensive.

We need to aspire to make things easier for people to transition if that is what what is right for them. It should be no-one else’s decision and the criteria should not be made so difficult to meet that people end up experiencing mental health issues because they feel despondent, anxious and isolated.

I know that in writing this blog I will be on the receiving end of abuse, but it is nothing compared to the abuse that our transgender friends and colleagues face every day.

This week especially, I want to ask you to support our transgender friends and colleagues, to create a better environment of acceptance and to provide a system that works and meets people’s human needs.

This week especially, I want to ask you to support our transgender friends and colleagues, to create a better environment of acceptance and to provide a system that works and meets people’s human needs.

Join our campaign to recognise that Trans Rights are Human Rights, as Liberal Democrats we believe their rights are key to our values and we will do everything possible to spread those values to improve our society, and the world we live in, whoever you are.

Corbyn says “We can’t stop Brexit”

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Jeremy Corbyn was askedIf you could stop Brexit, would you?

His response?

We can’t stop it. The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered.

But Brexit can be stopped through a People’s Vote

Vince Cable

This demonstrates, if proof were needed, that Jeremy Corbyn is working hand in glove with the Conservatives to deliver their ideological Brexit.

But Brexit can be stopped through a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the EU.

4 out of 5 people think that the Conservative Government is handling the Brexit negotiations badly. And last month 700,000 people marched on the streets of London to demand a People’s Vote.

Unfortunately, Corbyn hasn’t got either the fight or the inclination to get behind the campaign for a final say on the deal.

If you believe that the people should have the final say and the opportunity to demand better than this national embarrassment, join our campaign today.

Johnson resigns to back final say on Brexit

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Today, Jo Johnson quit as a Conservative government minister over the Brexit deal Theresa May is putting together – a deal which gives people the worst of both worlds.

The choice being presented to the British people is no choice at all.

Jo Johnson MP

In his resignation statement, Johnson said that the deal being concocted will inflict “serious economic and political harm on the country”. He said what is happening is not what anyone wants and the 2016 referendum did not provide any mandate for it.

And he said that “on this most crucial of questions, I believe it is entirely right to go back to the people and ask them to confirm their decision to leave the EU”.

We agree wholeheartedly.

The Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for the people to have a final say on the Conservative government’s deal for two years.

On this most crucial of questions, I believe it is entirely right to go back to the people.

Jo Johnson MP

And slowly but surely, we are winning support from all corners of the political spectrum.

Mr Johnson becomes the 118th MP to support a People’s Vote. This is an incredible feat – but not nearly enough given that 51% of the public support it.

As Mr Johnson says, Britain stands on the brink of the greatest crisis since the Second World War.

We need to keep fighting to win a final say for the people and the opportunity to demand better than this national embarrassment.

Happy 20th birthday to the Human Rights Act!

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

20 years ago today the Human Rights Act became law, incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.

The Liberal Democrats had been campaigning for the Human Rights Act ever since we were founded, but our fight to protect people’s rights and freedoms didn’t end when it passed…

Conservative and Labour MPs consistently vote for illiberal new laws that curtail civil liberties.

We opposed Labour’s attempts to curb civil liberties with ID cards, 90-day detention without charge and suspicionless stop-and-search.

In coalition, we prevented the Tories from scrapping the Human Rights Act, blocked their Snoopers’ Charter and passed the Protection of Freedoms Act to roll back Labour’s illiberal laws.

We demand a freer society where rights and liberties are protected.

And, of course, we introduced same-sex marriage, so that the law finally upholds their right to marry. Because LGBT+ rights are human rights.

We’re still fighting hard to protect human rights. That’s why we’re opposing the Tories’ latest Counter-Terror Bill, which contains unnecessary new laws that seriously threaten those rights.

Conservative and Labour MPs consistently vote for illiberal new laws that curtail civil liberties.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We demand a freer society where rights and liberties are protected.

We will continue to defend the Human Rights Act, oppose any attempt to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, and fight laws that unnecessarily erode civil liberties.

The Government is failing to meet post-Grenfell promises

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

It has been reported that more than 400 high-rise residential buildings still have the same type of external cladding blamed for the Grenfell Tower fire.

When it is about people’s homes, safety must come first.

Grenfell should never have happened. The fact that thousands of families are still living in unsafe high-rise buildings is a disgrace.

The Government is failing to meet the promises it made after the fire.

The Secretary of State committed to fully fund the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding by councils and housing associations, but there are still over 150 publicly owned buildings that are unsafe.

Furthermore, those in private residential buildings cannot be ignored.

The Government must not only meet its basic promises, but must go further and fund the same for the private sector. Money can be recovered at a later date but when it is about people’s homes, safety must come first.

We are dangerously close to shortage of critical drugs

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

A group including representatives of major pharmaceutical companies have written to the Health Secretary to state that if urgent action is not taken the UK will not have a medicine supply that will suffice in a no deal Brexit.

The Government simply cannot guarantee that there won’t be shortages of medicines

This letter makes it clear that we are dangerously close to not having a secure supply of the critical imported drugs or medical devices our health service depends on in a No Deal Brexit.

The letter from organisations including the ABPI, the Brexit Health Alliance, and the ABHI urges the Government to raise the warning level to ‘red’ in regards a widespread shortages of medicines and medical devices in no deal Brexit.

The organisations note David Lidington’s report to Cabinet that ‘the normal Dover-Calais route could be at 12% capacity for six months’. They do not believe the border and transport infrastructure can be ready for March 2019 and that time is very tight to address the problem.

The Government simply cannot guarantee that there won’t be shortages of medicines, whether in a No Deal or a Chequers Deal scenario.

Liberal Democrats demand better than this chaotic Brexit. People are entitled to a final say on Brexit in a People’s Vote and put a stop to this unnecessary, draining mess.

A stunning victory!

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

A Liberal Democrat amendment by Tavish Scott MSP has committed Holyrood to “providing unequivocal support for a public vote on the final terms of the Brexit deal”.

It passed convincingly in the Scottish Parliament, with 66 votes for the amendment, 28 against and 21 abstentions.

The Scottish Parliament giving its full support to a People’s Vote is an important step in the UK-wide campaign for a vote on the deal.

Days like these are how we are going to stop Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats have been leading the fight against Brexit since 2016. It is the biggest campaign we have ever run outside of an election and it is working.

A year ago, 20% of the British public believed that we needed a final say on the Brexit deal. Now that number is 51%.

The Liberal Democrats are the only major political party campaigning for a People’s Vote.

Happy Diwali

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

This festival of lights signifies the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and joy over despair. It is a time of hope and rejuvenation.

Seeing Diwali celebrated by so many here in Britain is also a reminder of the rich diversity of our country and the communities who have contributed so greatly to our nation’s success.

To everyone celebrating, Shubh Diwali and Saal Mubarak.

The Government is sleepwalking into another Windrush type scandal

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Millions of EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for more than two years. After being quizzed by MPs on two separate occasions, the Immigration Minister has utterly failed to offer them any clarity.

The Minister was still unable to answer what immigration checks EU citizens will be subject to after Brexit

Following a disastrous appearance at the Home Affairs Select Committee last week, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes was brought before the House of Commons yesterday. But she was still unable to answer what immigration checks EU citizens will be subject to after Brexit, and how these will apply to those who are already here are therefore entitled to ‘settled status’.

The one thing the Minister did admit is that the Conservatives will not be able to implement their much-vaunted immigration red lines for years to come.

The Home Office is currently trialling the scheme for applying for settled status, but it isn’t due to be fully open until March 2019. Nokes boasted that the Home Office has now granted settled status to 1,000 EU citizens, less than 0.03% of the 3.6 million EU citizens currently living in the UK.

The Conservatives are sleepwalking into another Windrush scandal, where hostile environment checks destroy the lives of people who have every right to be in the UK.

The Government’s chaotic approach to Brexit risks subjecting EU citizens to those same injustices.

Conservative Ministers must end this uncertainty and offer a way out of this mess entirely by giving the people a final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to remain in the EU.

We must end the uncertainty on EU citizens rights

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The result of the EU referendum changed an awful lot: the Prime Minister, the economic outlook, Britain’s political discourse and our standing in the world. But there are 3.6 million people whose lives have been affected more than most. These are the citizens of other EU countries who live in the UK.

There are 3.6 million people whose lives have been affected more than most.

For them, the referendum created a cloud of uncertainty that they’ve been living under ever since. Would they be able to continue to live, work and study here if the UK leaves the EU?

After months of campaigning, we secured a promise from the Government that those rights would be protected, which is what the draft Withdrawal Agreement does.

However, there is no guarantee that a Windrawal Agreement will be finalised before 29th March next year. For the 3.6 million, the uncertainty remains.

@EdwardJDavey speaking up for the rights of EU citizens in the UK at the @The3Million rally.

Any deal is likely to affect EU citizens negatively and UK citizens in the EU

That is why we all need a #PeoplesVotepic.twitter.com/9piCX5BSsQ

— Tom Brake MP (@thomasbrake) November 5, 2018

And last week, that uncertainty was heightened by the Immigration Minister. Far from guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens after Brexit, she said that they would be subject to the same immigration checks as new arrivals, with no documentation to demonstrate their rights.

This confusion, delay and indecision is completely unacceptable

The Home Secretary soon contradicted his Minister, only for the Prime Minister’s spokesperson to contradict them both. “The work is ongoing and we will set out the details in due course,” he said, as if he was talking about a new extension on his house or his holiday plans for Christmas – not the lives of 3.6 million people.

This confusion, delay and indecision is completely unacceptable. The Conservative Government is holding millions of people in limbo while Ministers fight amongst themselves.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. The Government must honour the agreement on citizens’ rights to provide certainty. The current fingers-crossed situation is inhumane and unjustifiable.