Let’s make a change

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The Liberal Democrats have many strengths as a party.

But right now we are failing in one key area – diversity. We have too few women, too few people without a university education and far too few BAME members in our party.

This is not the kind of party we want to be.

Together we are going to do something about it but I need you to be bold.

Today, take one action, it’s just a small one. Ask someone who doesn’t look like you to join the party.

That’s right. Ask them. We are too coy as Liberal Democrats to ask people flat out.

But you can say ‘Do you want to be a part of real change?’ ‘Do you want to Stop Brexit?’ ‘Do you want to change things round here?’

In the coming weeks and months, my team will produce more resources and provide better support to help local parties recruit members beyond our mirror images – but we need to ask people. All the tools in the world won’t help if we don’t ask.

I will. Will you?

Yes, I will

Ask someone now – You will be pleasantly surprised. Let’s make our party look like the country we want to represent.

Rachel Palma Randle

Director of People

Brexit update

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

This month has been the most successful yet frustrating one we’ve had for our Brexit campaign.

At the end of May we won a series of victories against the government in the House of Lords.

We defeated the government on the EU Withdrawal Bill a staggering 15 times – thanks to the thousands of supporters who wrote to Peers we identified who would consider supporting us on this.

With the help of donations from supporters like you, we launched our biggest ever campaign outside an election – helping us to reach millions of voters with online adverts, direct mail, and street stalls across the country.

And we are now organising a mass attendance at our march for Europe – and over 900 of you are currently scheduled to be there. If you haven’t already, sign up to join us on the 23rd June.

And this week, the biggest week in Parliament for the Brexit deal since we triggered Article 50, you helped us flood the inboxes, twitter mentions and phone numbers of MPs to get them to sign our amendment to give the people a final say on the Brexit deal – including an option to Remain in the EU.

This week everything came to a head explosively in Parliament.

Theresa May showed that her focus in this EU Withdrawal Bill is entirely short-sighted and focused on keeping her position intact for a few more weeks; and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour MPs squirmed away from key votes, with 90 MPs rebelling – to both vote for and against an amendment that they were whipped to abstain on!

Read all about the sorry state of affairs here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/eu_withdrawal_bill_chaos

We are continuing our campaign to secure a final say for the people on the Brexit deal, and a chance to ‘exit from Brexit‘. With the EU Withdrawal Bill returning to the House of Lords next week there’s everything to play for, so help us strengthen our campaign.

Donate here to support us:

Liberal Demcorats March for Europe

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

To make matters worse Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party is still cowering behind the sofa rather than being a real opposition.

If there was ever a time for the people to stand up and demand to be listened to it is now – and they are.

23rd June is the second anniversary of the European referendum Leavers lied about having a plan and it’s now clear that there is no plan for our exit. It’s costing us all money, jobs, damaging the NHS and the future for peace and security for our young.

So I am asking you to join me on 23rd June as we march through London – to give voice to the people’s concerns.

The march will reconfirm our commitment to EU membership and call for a public vote on the deal – when people, not politicians, should have the final say.

It’s what Liberal Democrats have been calling for since day one.

I will also be joined by MEPs from all parties at this march. This is real, European cross-party cooperation.

So, I’m asking you to join together with me and with thousands of other pro-Europeans and march on Mrs May’s front doorstep. Wear your blue hats, bring your flags and swell the crowds.

We really can do this – public opinion has shifted hugely, we now need to make sure those in Westminster listen to us.

Join me – 23rd June Marble Arch 1pm.

Liberal Democrats March for Europe

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

To make matters worse Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party is still cowering behind the sofa rather than being a real opposition.

If there was ever a time for the people to stand up and demand to be listened to it is now – and they are.

23rd June is the second anniversary of the European referendum Leavers lied about having a plan and it’s now clear that there is no plan for our exit. It’s costing us all money, jobs, damaging the NHS and the future for peace and security for our young.

So I am asking you to join me on 23rd June as we march through London – to give voice to the people’s concerns.

The march will reconfirm our commitment to EU membership and call for a public vote on the deal – when people, not politicians, should have the final say.

It’s what Liberal Democrats have been calling for since day one.

I will also be joined by MEPs from all parties at this march. This is real, European cross-party cooperation.

So, I’m asking you to join together with me and with thousands of other pro-Europeans and march on Mrs May’s front doorstep. Wear your blue hats, bring your flags and swell the crowds.

We really can do this – public opinion has shifted hugely, we now need to make sure those in Westminster listen to us.

Join me – 23rd June Marble Arch 1pm.

Shameful Tory MP Blocks Upskirting Bill

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

We were so close.

Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse has been fighting to make ‘upskirting’ (taking photographs up a woman’s skirt without their consent) a specific criminal offence.

This morning it looked likely that this vile practice would be outlawed after it received backing from the Ministry of Justice, Number 10 and numerous MPs across the house.

However, today in Parliament, the Tory MP Sir Christopher Chope used an antiquated piece of Commons procedure to block the Bill from proceeding, amid cries of “shame” from outraged MPs. His actions meant that the Bill could not even be debated.

I’m disappointed, and angry on behalf of all the women for whom this meant so much…but completely unsurprised this happened.

Arch-Brexiteer Chope has repeatedly been on the wrong side of history. He has voted for the minimum wage to be abolished, against same-sex marriage, and in favour of fox hunting. This is not the first private members bill he has blocked – in 2014 he blocked a Lib Dem Bill which would have banned revenge evictions by private landlords, and in 2015 he blocked a Bill to restrict hospital parking chargers imposed on carers.

The Upskirting Bill will come back to Parliament in June, but there would be nothing to prevent Chope or other out of touch Tory MPs from pulling the same stunt again.

We need to make sure this bill passes.

In order to do so we need to make everybody aware of what Chope did today, and show him exactly how the public feels about his shameful actions.

We could expose Chope’s actions to thousands more through social media ads. Can you donate to our campaign here: libdems.org.uk/upskirting-donate

Otherwise can you help us pile pressure onto out-of-touch MPs like Chope by signing our petition below?

Council by-election latest – June 15th 2018

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Elections weren’t just being held for Parliament last night – there were also two Council by-elections, a delayed election in Southwark (with three seats up for grabs!) and a by-election in Doncaster.

In London Bridge & West Bermondsey, we pulled off a stunning win – winning all three seats that were up for grabs.

London Bridge result:

London Bridge & West Bermondsey (Southwark) result:

LDEM: 44.4%

LAB: 41.1%

CON: 7.3%

GRN: 7.1%

Liberal Democrat WIN (X3)

New ward.

Shares calculated w/ top vote method)

— Britain Elects (@britainelects) June 15, 2018

Those three results take our overall tally from the local elections up to 78 net gains and are a fantastic cherry on top of a great set of local election results.

Doncaster result:

Town (Doncaster) result:

LAB: 46.8% (+7.7)

YORK: 24.6% (-1.1)

GRN: 12.5% (-1.2)

CON: 11.4% (-10.2)

LDEM: 2.8% (+2.8)

IND: 1.9% (+1.9)

Labour HOLD.

Changes with May 2017.

— Britain Elects (@britainelects) June 15, 2018

Not every result can be as stunning as London Bridge, sadly, but we’re so glad to see the team in Doncaster putting up a candidate and giving people the chance to vote Liberal Democrat. Every time we’re on the ballot is a chance to build for the future.

But we’ve got to do it all again in May, so if you want to be part of making 2019 a great year for the Liberal Democrats, sign up to volunteer today:

Scotland passes ‘Turing’s Law’ to pardon gay men

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

When I was little, my grandfather got involved in amateur dramatics. He wasn’t very good, but I mention it because the role that I best remember him playing was that of a judge in a play called “Breaking the Code”, about the life and trial of Alan Turing. It was important to grandpa because he had always thought of Alan Turing as a national hero. He felt that his intelligence work at Bletchley had turned the tide of the war in the north Atlantic, where my grandfather was an officer on a destroyer. Grandpa felt that, despite his heroism, Alan Turing had been terribly ill used by the British establishment and the judiciary and that what happened to him ultimately brought about his destruction.

The passage of the Historic Pardons and Disregards (Scotland) Bill by the Scottish Parliament this Month, brings Scotland into line with the rest of the UK in pardoning and disregarding all historic convictions for same sex sexual activity that is now lawful. I was proud of our party when we carried it through Westminster in coalition and I am honoured to have played a part in its passage in Scotland. It is our chance to say to those men, who had felt compelled to live in the shadows due to the stigma of a criminal record that they never deserved. “Step forward. Step forward and receive the justice that has been denied to you; this nation is profoundly sorry for the harm that it has done you.”

It was a delightful Bill to be part of. As the vice convener of Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights committee, I had oversight of all stages of the Bill’s passage. In the evidence we gathered we learned that the story of Alan Turing is reflected in those of thousands of men across these islands, both alive and dead, and each one steeped in persecution, in wrongful arrest, and sometimes in tragedy. So if ever there was a piece of legislation designed to right a historic wrong, this was it.

Right out of the traps it became clear that the idea of a pardon on its own was not appropriate. Pardoning someone suggests that you forgive them for whatever it is that they did wrong. Obviously, these men had done nothing wrong and had, as such nothing to be pardoned for. So while legally speaking the pardon is necessary, each applicant will also receive a signed letter of apology from the First Minister of Scotland. We also learned we could not just give an automatic disregard to every man unfairly prosecuted in this way. It is just too difficult to infer what certain convictions meant as many convictions pertaining to same sex intimacy were badged as “breach of the peace” or “gross indecency”, so each pardon and disregard must be determined through a process of application.

We also learned that although there is indeed an understandable impulse to delete this entirely from our records, it would have the effect of creating a revisionist history. This is a stain on our national conscience; it is part of our fabric, and we need to remind future generations of what went before and the suffering of those affected.

Several times I raised the issue of whether the relatively small number of men who would come forward for a pardon should be offered compensation. On this, I and the rest of the committee were struck and indeed humbled by the quiet indifference of those people giving us evidence. Compensation is not what this is about for them. Indeed it had simply never occurred to many of them, which is a measure of their characters and the humble stoicism that they exhibited. In fact, one of the men who still carries a criminal record and gave evidence in private generated a peal of laughter when I asked him whether he felt that compensation should be offered; without missing a beat, he said that we could start by paying back the 40 shilling fine he got for loitering in a public toilet. To offer compensation would create a subjective hierarchy of suffering. It is not what organisations or individuals are looking for; they are looking only for justice.

This was the kind of Bill I came to Parliament to do. It makes the heart sing. My grandfather would be proud of me for playing a small part in its passage, because he gave me my first insight into the persecution that the LGBT+ community has suffered in these islands. We have, in the passage of Scotland’s Turing’s Law, gone some way to atoning for and reversing that suffering.

Sal Speaks: June 2018

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

I want to start by thanking Lucy Salek, our wonderful candidate in Lewisham East, and her team, including the many of you who have helped, either visiting Lewisham or helping remotely by phone. We have sent a strong message to both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn that we will continue to fight against Brexit, and insist on a people’s final say on the deal.

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Lib Dems win Govt support to make ‘upskirting’ a specific sexual offence

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Today, the Government has announced that they will be backing my Bill to make ‘upskirting’ a specific sexual offence.

I’ve been working closely with the tenacious campaigner Gina Martin and her lawyer Ryan Whelan on the details of law reform with the Ministry of Justice – supported by hundreds of activists who have lobbied the relevant ministers for a change in the law on upskirting.

I’m absolutely delighted that the Government has agreed to support her legislation to close any potential loopholes, in order to better protect victims and increase convictions.

My bill will receive its 2nd reading in the House of Commons today (15th June).

I got involved in politics to change things that my constituents and I care about. I am incredibly grateful to Gina Martin for starting this campaign, and for giving me the opportunity – in my first year in parliament – to do exactly that.

The fact that the Government has listened to our calls is a testament to the widespread consensus that there was a gap in the law that needed to be addressed.

By working with Gina and ministers on the detail of my Bill, we have demonstrated that when we work together successfully we can make a difference on issues that really matter to people.

We all made the case for common sense.

Now if someone is to fall victim to upskirting, the law will recognise them as the victim, and the police will be able to act immediately and bring the perpetrators to justice.

If you’d like to be kept updated on the progress of my bill – please join the campaign today:

GDPR Update

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

With all the privacy notices flooding your inbox, you’ll know the UK Data Protection Act passed into law.

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in training, webinars, the Spring Clean, and getting ready for GDPR. We could not have done it without your help.

The bad news is that we always have to work within the new regulations now!

If you want to know how to campaign, raise money, run your local party, AO or SAO within the law, go to https://libdems.org.uk/gdpr.

We have added lots more information since the 25th May deadline, and there is more to come.

Please help to keep the Party out of the ICO’s bad books by making sure that everything we do is GDPR compliant.