Day of Brexit Chaos

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Theresa May tried to portray strength as her Cabinet decamped to Chequers to review her Brexit plans. Rebels ministers were warned they would lose their official cars if they resigned, with taxis on standby to shuttle the disloyal back to London.

This was May’s moment to bring her Cabinet in line.

For a moment, it appeared that May had managed to quietly stifle dissent. Then the dam broke.

Late Sunday night, the Prime Minister’s own Brexit Secretary, David Davis, resigned.

Oops Theresa May.

The British people woke Monday morning to the image of a government in disarray as the PM’s chief Brexit negotiator finally jumped ship.

The Tories then held their breath wondering if any other resignations would follow. Coincidentally, people couldn’t pin down a certain Foreign Secretary…

Ouch.

In a huge blow to Theresa May’s leadership, the Prime Minister lost her Foreign Secretary and Brexit Secretary within 24 hours, and a host of junior ministers too. Though not everyone was sad to see Boris go.

Strong and stable? Doesn’t look like it anymore. Questions swirled over the Prime Minister’s future.

People online were even having some fun recalling the promises of David Cameron years ago of a strong and stable Tory government, as this tweet did the rounds:

But at the end of the day, Theresa May’s woes are a result of a messy and mishandled of a Brexit.

After this chaotic day, tens of thousands of people signed up to our campaign to Exit from Brexit. Theresa May has demonstrated clearly that Brexit would be an absolute disaster for the country, and that she can barely keep her government together.

It’s time the people had the final say on the Brexit deal with the option to stay in the EU.

If you agree add your name below:

David Davis and Brexit Chaos

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Bluntly, David Davis’ resignation today makes it clear: this government is up shit creek without a paddle.

It is obvious to all – Brexiters and Remainers alike – that Theresa May cannot deliver on Brexit.

This is most important issue in a generation and the government has failed.

“This Government is up s**t creek without a paddle”

There’s only one option for them now. Hand Brexit back over to the people to have the final say on the Brexit deal, and include the option to remain in the EU.

My fellow Lib Dem MPs and I will be calling on the government to extend ‘Article 50’ (or delay the day we’re set to leave the EU) today.

But to pile the pressure on, I need your help.

I want 100k people to sign our petition.

Please sign our petition to Exit from Brexit today.

And ask just one friend. Perhaps its someone at work, a fellow parent at the school gates or a neighbour. We all know someone who might sign if only we asked them.

Black Pride

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Today is UK Black Pride, a day to hear from and celebrate those of us who live in the BAME-LGBT intersection.

I am one of these people. nadya-phoenix.png

My name is Nadya Phoenix and I am on the board of the newly established Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality.

Coming out was a long, and at times very lonely road for me. It took attending an Arab Lesbian/Bisexual event for me to realise that I was not alone. It was a massive step in accepting my sexuality and myself.

This is why intersectional celebrations like Black Pride are so important. For a long time, the voices of those experiencing compounding marginalisation were the ones we did not hear from at all.

I’m proud to live in a Britain that is fighting to change that. I hope you will join me in this fight.

I wish you a very happy Black Pride.

Nadya Phoenix

PS – You can find out more about the work of the LDCRE here and join us here

Opposition Debates

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

What is an opposition day debate?

Opposition Days are a chance for opposition party’s to decide on a motion for debate in the House of Commons. In most cases the Official Opposition will choose the topic, but this Tuesday we will get to set the agenda and debate an issue of our choosing. We only get to lead opposition day debates once a year, so we want to ensure we use this to debate the issue which is most important to our members.

We will have three hours to debate the issue and a Government Minister will have to attend to respond to the debate. At the end of the debate we will be able to vote on the motion. If we defeat the Government, the relevant Minister will have to respond to the vote by making a statement to the House of Commons within a maximum time period of 12 weeks.

What could we be debating?

  • A final vote on the Brexit deal: The Liberal Democrats are fighting for an Exit from Brexit. We can see the Government are making a mess of Brexit and Labour are helping them to do it. We want to hold both the other Parties to account and challenge them on why they are refusing to give the people the final say on the Brexit deal.

  • Sustainability of the NHS into the future: The NHS and social care services are in crisis. They are critically underfunded, demand is rising and inequality in the treatment of mental ill health persists . In response the Government have made only offered vague and uncosted promises, while continuing to deny the severity of the challenges that the NHS and social care are facing. We want to challenge the Government to deliver a sustainable funding settlement for the NHS and social care, which will safeguard these vital services for generations to come.

  • Donald Trump’s visit to the UK: We don’t believe that the Government should be welcoming Donald Trump to the UK, and Theresa May and Boris Johnson should be clearer in criticising his record in office, particularly his atrocious disregard for human rights. We want to challenge the Government to raise these issues with the President when he arrives in the UK.

Have your say!

Vote here and help us decide what to debate on Tuesday!

Vote here

Typeform Data Breach

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

One of our suppliers, Typeform, informed us that on the 3rd May 2018 they suffered a data breach – and data from Liberal Democrat members was among the data affected.

You will have received an email if your data was affected.

Typeform have informed us that an external hacker managed to get unauthorised access to one of our recent Member Experience Survey and downloaded the results.

This survey contained names and email address, so we are asking affected members to watch out for potential phishing scams or spam emails. This survey also contained information about political opinions, such as the campaigns and policy areas that are most important to you.

The survey did not contain any financial details and no other data held on any other systems has been compromised in this breach.

We are in communication with Typeform and will be re-evaluating our relationship with them in light of this incident.

We take the security of your data seriously and if we are not satisfied that sufficient steps have been taken to secure your data, we will terminate our relationship with Typeform.

We have also voluntarily reported this incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

We’re incredibly sorry that this happened and if you have any other questions about the data breach, please feel free to contact us by emailing help@libdems.org.uk – we’ll do our best to answer any queries you may have.

Sir Nick Harvey

Oswestry Maternity Unit closed for the foreseeable future

David Walker in West Felton

SaTH announced on the 19th of June that the Oswestry Maternity Unit along with the Bridgnorth and Ludlow units were going to remain closed for the foreseeable future. Previously SaTH were seeking people’s views on the temporary suspensions, and whether rotating 4 week suspensions of inpatient services is a ‘Good’ solution to the staff shortages problem. Now they will remain closed until the conclusion of consultations about their future, possibly indefinitely.

Residents, parents and politicians of all colours continue to express outrage at the ongoing Maternity Unit saga. After prolonged closures due to staff shortages at Telford – where expectant and recovering mothers were expected to use Telford or Wrexham units instead – we are now into a new set of extended closures. Many us have said that these closures are designed to run the service down to the point that they can justify permanent closures. This is a tactic that has been used before with Schools, Police, Fire and Ambulance stations to close facilities by stealth.

Repeated suspensions aren’t good for parent’s peace of mind at critical times of pre and post-natal care. Neither are temporary closures on an extended basis. Parents rightly expect to plan ahead and this mess can’t continue. Rural MLUs like Oswestry Maternity Unit should be open 24/7.

It would seem quite obvious that if you put parents off using a service by creating uncertainty, then they will stop using it. Using those reduced numbers to justify a closure is dishonest and disingenuous.

Campaigners have hit out at misleading figures that have been used to justify the closures.

I volunteered as a Marshall for the march from The Bailey Head to Oswestry Maternity Unit last year.
I volunteered as a Marshall for the march from The Bailey Head to Oswestry Maternity Unit last year.

SaTH press release

Temporary suspension of services at Bridgnorth, Oswestry and Ludlow MLUs to continue

19 June 2018

Inpatient services, including births, at Bridgnorth, Oswestry and Ludlow Midwife Led Units (MLUs) are to remain temporarily suspended in order to safely staff the units where most of our mothers are giving birth, as a period of focused engagement with service users begins.

The current suspension of births at the three MLUs will continue until the outcome of a period of engagement is known. This is to ensure the safe care of mums using Shropshire’s maternity services.

The suspension of inpatient services (births and postnatal care) will continue from 8am tomorrow (Wednesday 20 June). All three units will remain open between 8am and 8pm for antenatal and postnatal services.

Women booked to give birth at Bridgnorth, Oswestry and Ludlow MLUs who go into labour during this time will be offered a birth at either Shrewsbury or Wrekin MLU or the Consultant Led Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford; or they may choose the option of a home birth. If any women due to give birth at Bridgnorth, Oswestry or Ludlow MLU require support during this time they will be able to access a Midwife. All women potentially affected by the suspensions are being contacted.

Sarah Jamieson, Head of Midwifery at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the MLUs, said: “The circumstances which led to our decision to suspend some services from the 20 May remain unchanged. Unfortunately the issues which have been affecting our maternity service continue. With over 98% of our women giving birth away from our rural MLUs, we are having to deploy our midwives where our mothers are choosing, or are being assessed as needing, to be and ensure that our Consultant Led Unit and our larger Midwife Led Units are safely staffed.

“We are planning a period of focused engagement with our service users, during which time we will be seeking their views and feeding these back to the Trust Board. The time period for the engagement and details regarding how to get involved will be released shortly.

“I must again reiterate that decisions over staffing are made purely on the basis of safety. The safety of women and babies using our maternity services has been, and always will be, our number one priority.

“I would like to apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.”

Celebrating Pride

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

One of my own proudest political moments as a Liberal Democrat was moving the amendment in a parliamentary committee that abolished section 28 – that shocking discriminatory law which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality by local authorities and schools. And with 2018 marking 30 years since the original passing of Section 28 we need to recall the damage that odious law did: it not only led to the LGBT+ community being shunned by some but it also gave rise to homophobic bullying in many communities.

I’m proud our party campaigned successfully to repeal that disgraceful legislation – and delighted we are campaigning today to go further, with our policy to make Sex and Relationships Education fully LGBT+ inclusive. As a party, we are committed to building and safeguarding a country and world where no one is forced to hide who they are or are made to feel ashamed of their identity.

We have never been afraid to speak up for what is just and right, even in the days when arguing for “gay rights” was seemed dangerously revolutionary and certainly wasn’t popular. And that long Liberal tradition of campaigning for equality was wonderfully advanced by my friend and colleague, Lynne Featherstone in the Coalition. She successfully led the Liberal Democrat fight for the introduction of same sex marriage – now our challenge is to ensure the government affords same sex couples with the same legal rights and protections as others.

Despite real progress, there is a great deal more work to do to win equality and freedom for all – not least in tackling the widespread discrimination faced by the Trans community.

Trans people are often denied equal access to basic services and many live in constant fear of harassment and violence. For years Liberal Democrats have campaigned for the removal of the spousal veto, which currently gives a non-transgender spouse the right to veto their partner’s gender recognition. We are also fighting for the introduction of ‘X’ as an option for those who identify as trans or non-binary; this would allow them to have option that is not prescriptive or rigid. As party we are proud that any self-defining woman is guaranteed access to any designated all-women parliamentary shortlist.

Practical advances to tackle disparities in our National Health Service have been important in our campaigning. Whilst in Coalition, we won a partial victory which somewhat eased the stigmatising ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, and their partners, and we want to go further to ensure that the remaining restrictions are consistently reviewed and eventually revised. Now we are fighting to make Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) available on the NHS.

The LGBT+ movement has made considerable strides over the last few years and we will always challenge any attempt to subvert or undermine that progress.

So, as you take participate in Pride celebrations this year, know that the Liberal Democrats will always protect your right to be who you are, choose who love and live in society free from hate, fear or discrimination.