Maternity Unit Saga Drags on

Residents, parents, local Conservatives, Lib Dems & Greens continue to express outrage at the ongoing Maternity Unit saga. After a prolonged closure 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 more temporary closures. This ran for several months last year.

Whilst these suspensions are more than just frustrating for the parents they may also be a cynical ploy to run the service down to the point where the Midwife-Led Units. Repeated suspensions aren’t good for parent’s peace of mind at critical times of pre and post-natal care. Parents rightly expect to plan ahead and this mess can’t continue. MLUs should be open 24/7.

Parents rightly expect to plan ahead and this mess can’t continue. MLUs should be open 24/7

SaTH is seeking people’s views on temporary suspensions, and whether rotating 4-week suspensions of inpatient services is a ‘Good’ solution to the staff shortages problem.

If you are on Facebook and you haven’t signed up to follow the Save Oswestry Maternity Unit page then I would urge you to sign up and support the campaign to keep the MLU open 24/7.

Marshalling at the 2nd march against closures last year

Plastic roads: Are they the answer

Are Plastic Roads the Answer to pothole and plastic problems?

Cumbria County Council thinks they are. They successfully completed trials in the use of recycled plastics to build longer lasting and stronger roads. Liberal Democrats run Cumbria council as part of a Joint administration.

Plastic waste that doesn’t normally have a recyclable use is heated to turn it back into the oil that it was made from. This oil can then be used to replace the bitumen used to bind the aggregates of an asphalt road together.

If recycled plastic can cut costs and the use of fossil fuels to create bitumen, produce stronger longer lasting roads, stop plastic going to landfill and reducing our plastic waste problems, then we really should be pushing hard to use it. In the long run, we should be taking plastic out of the equation entirely. Until then we have to recycle more of the plastic which has already been made.

Did you know?

  • Only 44% of plastic bottles are recycled;
  • Only 12% of household waste is reprocessed;
  • Roads comprise of about 90% rocks, limestone & sand for strength & grip, and 10% bitumen made from crude oil to bind it together;
  • Oil from recycled plastic pellets are used to replace the bitumen;
  • Pellets are made from household, commercial and farm waste;
  • Most commercial waste & 70% of farm waste goes to landfill or is incinerated.
  • 500m of road offsets 500,000 plastic bottles or 8000,000 carrier bags

Lib Dems – best elections results for 15 years

Now all the counts are it is official. The Liberal Democrats have secured their best set of election results for 15 years.

We held every single Council and Mayoralty we were defending including, Eastleigh, South Lakeland, Sutton, Cheltenham and Watford.

And we took control of Richmond, South Cambridgeshire, Three Rivers and Kingston-upon-Thames.

Topping it off, we’ve gained seats across the country in Hull, Liverpool, Cambridge, Sunderland, Gosport, Merton, Portsmouth, Sheffield, St Albans, Winchester, Bolton, Barnsley (electing our first councillor in eight years with a massive majority!) and Haringey and in many, many more!

Read the full break down here:

https://www.libdems.org.uk/local-elections-18

Fantastic night for the Liberal Democrats

On Thursday, England went to the polls in the local elections – and going in the pundits weren’t exactly predicting a great night for us:

Net seat changes prediction from @StephenDFisher at Oxford (and also of the GE exit poll team):

CON +8

LAB +131

LD -83https://t.co/wzhjyaUwi6pic.twitter.com/5QxOtforCy

— Number Cruncher Politics (@NCPoliticsUK) May 2, 2018

But we’ve defied the pundit’s expectations and had a phenomenal night – our best local election result in more than FIFTEEN years.

Frankly – as they came in, this is how the results made us feel:

Vince Cable Dancing

We held every single Council and Mayoralty we were defending including, Eastleigh, South Lakeland, Sutton, Cheltenham and Watford.

And we took control of Richmond, South Cambridgeshire, Three Rivers and Kingston-upon-Thames.

Topping it off, we’ve gained seats across the country in Hull, Liverpool, Cambridge, Sunderland, Gosport, Merton, Portsmouth, Sheffield, St Albans, Winchester, Bolton, Barnsley (electing our first councillor in eight years with a massive majority!) and Haringey and in many, many more!

All told, we’ve made net gains of +75 and elected 536 Liberal Democrat Councillors.

The night started off well, with a phenomenal result in Sunderland’s Pallion ward:

Pallion (Sunderland) result:

LDem: 60.1% (+57.0)

Lab: 29.4% (-18.4)

Con: 7.3% (-7.0)

Grn: 3.1% (-1.7)

LDem GAIN.

No UKIP (-30.1) as prev.

— Britain Elects (@britainelects) May 3, 2018

The team in Sunderland went on to elect three Lib Dem Councillors – a truly smashing achievement.

Lib Dems, the UK’s only exclusively pro-EU major party gains 3 seats in Sunderland, a city which was 61% in favour of leave in 2016.

Best example yet that some Labour leave areas are beginning to go cold on Brexit. #LocalElections2018https://t.co/UadfZlXp5i

— Corey Albone (@cwalbone) May 4, 2018

And the night and next day only got better from there – and here are a few of our favourite results, starting with electing an extra 7 Lib Dems on Hull City Council (and we missed out on adding a few more by a handful of votes as well!)

7 gains! Thank you to ALL of the residents in Hull who supported us! pic.twitter.com/swXPHKVKr5

— Hull&Hessle Lib Dems (@libdemsinhull) May 4, 2018

Fantastic progress in Sheffield – including taking every single ward in Sheffield Hallam:

So as a little aside – every single ward in Jared O’Mara’s constituency returned a Lib Dem councillor tonight – can’t see a by-election being called anytime soon… https://t.co/ExHerlt1Tt

— Election Maps UK (@ElectionMapsUK) May 4, 2018

We also elected a whopping 32 Liberal Democrat Councillors in Cheltenham (including one of our own here at LDHQ, Jonny Brownsteen:

Lib Dems strengthen their control of Cheltenham, picking up 2 from Independents and 1 from Tories. New council: Lib Dems 32, Con 6, Ind 2. #Election2018

— Ian Jones (@ian_a_jones) May 4, 2018

We took control of Richmond borough in truly spectacular style:

Lib Dems GAIN #Richmond from Con in what I think is fair to term a landslide victory.

Greens also gain 4 seats in a local Green-Lib Dem pact that together reduced the Tories from 39 cllrs to 11. pic.twitter.com/ib8zsarsNG

— Election Maps UK (@ElectionMapsUK) May 4, 2018

Took overall control of Three Rivers:

Huge win for the Lib Dems as they take overall control in Three Rivers. The sooner the party starts to run councils successfully again, the better.

— Neil Monnery (@neilmonnery) May 4, 2018

We fought off a tough Conservative challenge to maintain control of Sutton – a Council we’ve now run for 32 years:

Amazing result from Sutton. @SuttonLibDems have done a tremendous job. Thanks to all the volunteers and voters who made this happen #LibDemsWin#WinningHerepic.twitter.com/MXhVWtFXNN

— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) May 4, 2018

Elected six Councillors in the London Borough of Merton:

And it’s a win for the full slate in West Barnes! Congratulations to @bc_hina@Eloise_58@carlquilliam – bringing our total to 5 councillors so far! #FreshStart4Mertonpic.twitter.com/tbkZb9GDBt

— Merton Lib Dems (@MertonLibDems) May 4, 2018

Made three gains from Labour in Liverpool:

Summary of Liverpool’s local election results. 3 gains for the Lib Dems, which Liverpool Leader @cllrkemp says is partly due to the unpopularity of Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson #Election2018https://t.co/Gh9Jpg60CL

— Layla Wright (@laylawright_) May 4, 2018

And doubled our group on Manchester City Council (and only just missed tripling our group by 22 votes!):

The Liberal Democrat’s double their councillors on Manchester City council. John Leech and Richard Kirkpatrick will represent West Didsbury. pic.twitter.com/LTIyHSit0H

— BBC Radio Manchester (@BBCRadioManc) May 4, 2018

And a gain from a standing start – 0 votes last time – up to 46% of the vote this time in Aylesbury!

Lib Dems GAIN #Quainton from Con in #Aylesbury Vale by-election. pic.twitter.com/qFvRGf8uCo

— Election Maps UK (@ElectionMapsUK) May 3, 2018

And we gained 21 Councillors to take overall control of Kingston-upon-Thames:

Magnificent Lib Dem victory in Kingston crowns a very strong set of results across the country. Once again, predictions of the death of Liberal England are premature…

— Nick Clegg (@nick_clegg) May 4, 2018

Sadly, it wasn’t all wins – but some of our candidates came incredibly close to winning – including

.@Finn_Conway and @ConorMcKenzie deserve special mention for fantastic campaigns in oxford. Holywell is almost exclusively student, and Carfax has a huge student majority. Labour take young votes for granted, but they better watch out because @LibDems are coming! pic.twitter.com/KVR5YyXx7T

— Andy McKay (@andygmckay) May 4, 2018

Very sorry that @CllrGarethKane has lost his seat by just 12 VOTES. Gareth was easily the hardest-working and most popular candidate and councillor, serving his local constituents superbly for 14 years. Hopefully he will be back soon!

— Stephen Psallidas (@spsallidas) May 4, 2018

Woking was just 10 votes away from ending Conservative control of the Council. If we had received 10 more votes to gain Goldsworth Park the Council would be in no overall control.

— Cllr Ann-Marie #FBPE (@CllrAnnMarieB) May 4, 2018

And some of them really came down to the wire, we lost by just ONE vote in it in Derby:

Abbey ward, @DerbyCC

Labour 1295 (Paul Hezelgrave)

Lib Dems 1294

Conservatives 547

Greens 148

UKIP 95#LocalElections2018pic.twitter.com/CPfgO8uBj8

— Chris Doidge (@BBCChrisD) May 4, 2018

And we can’t finish without mentioning the fantastic result in South Cambridgeshire – pulling off a stunning surprise win, election 30 Liberal Democrat Councillors (including 13 women) and taking control of the Council. They were also some of the most, ahem, exuberant, victors of the evening:

Your new #SouthCambs District Council boasts 13 #LibDem women Councillors

#RepresentingDiversitypic.twitter.com/SfnwpgDung

— SCLibDems (@SCLibDems) May 4, 2018

Jubilant Lib Dem’s as party wins control of South Cambridgeshire District Council from Tories @BBCLookEastpic.twitter.com/TFKO6sXR4F

— Louise Hubball (@LouiseHubball) May 4, 2018

There are some very happy Lib Dems here… pic.twitter.com/hqFWyKfMwI

— Adam Care (@AdamCareCN) May 4, 2018

Lib Dem councillors celebrating @SouthCambs@BBCCambspic.twitter.com/FfmLOZ7cJg

— Jessica Foster (@JessZoeFoster) May 4, 2018

This is how it feels to get all 3 members of an amazing team elected in a really closely fought seat (we only beat popular sitting independent by 4 votes) pic.twitter.com/LfjsoPOykw

— Mary Regnier-Wilson (@MaryRegW) May 4, 2018

All in all, the results were fantastic, right across England. Liberal Democrats, whatever the result they got, worked incredibly hard and defied all the odds to pull off a fantastic night.

In the end, even Guido Fawkes had something sort of nice to say about us:

LibDems alive! pic.twitter.com/SancVGKN9s

— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) May 4, 2018

Well done to everyone who stood, helped and encouraged on a great night.

Get some rest, enjoy your long weekend and let’s start back fresh on Tuesday and get started on another record-breaking election year in 2019!

Local Elections: Your morning briefing

Firstly, I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard in these elections.

Whether you got the result you hoped for or not; you have done a fantastic job. Thank you.

So far it looks like we’re on course for a great set of results.

We’ve defended our Councils in Eastleigh, Cheltenham and Sutton. We have also pulled off a spectacular victory in taking control of Richmond.

We’ve made gains in Hull, Liverpool, Sunderland, Gosport, West Oxfordshire, Cambridge, Sheffield, Portsmouth, Winchester and St Albans. We’ve held our ground in places like Southwark.

And it’s not over yet – today there are many more results to come.

For the other parties – it’s clear that Labour will be disappointed on the results so far. They haven’t made the gains they’d been expecting.

With the Conservatives making a mess out of Brexit, the Windrush scandal and Theresa May’s weakness as Prime Minister, Labour needed to be making more significant gains than this.

The Conservatives will be feeling relieved – they aren’t facing the scale of losses they’d been expecting, but they haven’t exactly made progress either.

But for many of you, I know that one of the highlights of tonight will be the complete collapse of UKIP. All across England, their vote is in freefall; and they are losing councillors left, right and centre.

Sadly, many of those votes are going to the Conservatives – a damning indictment of what Theresa May’s Brexit Conservatives have become.

For us, tonight sees a major step forward to rebuilding our local Government base – we’re hoping for solid gains in Councillors and an increase in the number of councils we control (fingers crossed!).

This has been a great night and we’re moving in the right direction.

Thank you again to everyone who has played their part in this result.

Why people are voting Lib Dem today

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FAQs: Giving the people the final say on the Brexit deal

What was the amendment on Monday evening?

Amendment 50 of the EU Withdrawal Bill Report Stage in the House of Lords put the option of the public final say on the deal before the House of Commons. This would include an extension of Article 50 so that there would be time for the vote to be held before the UK is due to leave the EU.

The amendment was a cross-party initiative, the lead names on it were Lord Newby (Leader of the Liberal Democrat group in the Lords); Viscount Hailsham (Conservative), Lord Wigley (Plaid Cymru), Lord Butler of Brockwell (Crossbencher).

Why should the public be given the final say?

Theresa May and the Conservatives are making a mess of Brexit.

When a deal is finally agreed we still believe it should be the public, not politicians, who have the final say.

You should be able to choose whether the deal is the right deal for Britain’s future. If it’s not, then you should be able to reject it and remain in the European Union.

Why did the amendment get voted down?

If Labour had supported the amendment, it would have passed. But the Labour frontbench sat on their hands and made it harder to give the British people the final say on the Brexit deal.

What does this mean for Brexit?

It means that, for the time being, the public have not been given the final say on the Brexit deal. The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to give the British public the final say and the chance to Exit from Brexit.

Will the EU accept the outcome of a vote on the deal?

Key EU figures have said that they would welcome the UK’s decision to remain in the EU. French President Emmanuel Macron has said “the door remains open” for Britain to change its mind about Brexit.

What happens next?

The Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign for an Exit from Brexit. To help us win that fight, donate to our campaign today:

Lib Dems come closer than ever to giving the people the final say on the Brexit deal

Yesterday evening just a handful of votes stopped us from giving the British public the final say on the Brexit deal.

If the Labour leadership had voted with us last night, the amendment would have passed. But they didn’t.

On this key issue, the Labour party has gone missing in action.

At the outset of our campaign, few believed we would get this close. But the momentum is now with us.

This vote has shown that since we last voted on the issue a year ago there has been a large shift in favour of giving the people the final say on any Brexit deal.

60% of the British public now believe it is right that they have the final say on a Brexit deal.

Over the coming months, we’ll have more opportunities to secure people the final say on the Brexit deal.

We can do it, we are making a difference.

Votes like last night show just how close things are getting. The Government is weak and soon they will have to face the undeniable right of the British public to have their say. It’s the right thing for democracy and the right thing for our country.

Why we need to ban upskirting

Upskirting is the act of taking a photo up a woman’s skirt without her consent.

In 2009 it was made illegal in Scotland but shockingly it remains legal in England and Wales.

Authorities can ask a perpetrator to delete the photo but under current law no further prosecution is possible.

Police have managed to prosecute some people for upskirting for outraging public decency. But this is patently absurd as it should not matter how public it was or who else saw it. This also ignores the fact this is a crime with a victim.

Police are stuck trying to prosecute a sexual offence with a public nuisance order.

The law should focus on the individual victims and the crime committed against them because it is their body that is being taken advantage of without their consent.

Some Ministers have tried to claim that police need better training, but this is simply not true.

Police and Crime Commissioners from across the country have called for upskirting to become a specific offence as it is so difficult to prosecute with the law as it currently stands.

Due to the lack of a clear legal framework around the issue, the actual number of offences taking place each year is likely to be much higher.

Girls as young as ten have been targeted by this horrific crime.

Police are not required to keep a record of the reports they receive. The Press Association’s FOI found that only 15 of 44 police forces in England and Wales recorded upskirting reports in the last two years.

Girls as young as ten have been targeted by this horrific crime.

Upskirting causes emotional distress and leaves a lasting impact.

It is time the law is changed to criminalise this distressing and disgusting practice.

Britain is stronger with the back-stop of EU law

In the face of further defeats on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, and following further pressure from Peers across the House of Lords, the government has brought forward amendments to ensure that the UK still has the ability to refer to and apply EU guidance for legal matters in our courts going forwards.

The government has rightly accepted that following EU guidance for legal matters in our courts and tribunals is not a ‘soft Brexit’.

Instead, it is a welcome acknowledgement of the benefits of a number of laws that have benefitted the UK and can continue to do so.

Over the past week, the government has been defeated five times in the House of Lords, uniting members from all parties and none on a range of issues.

There are many experts in the House of Lords that have correctly identified that Britain is stronger with the back-stop of EU law, something that Liberal Democrats have argued throughout the Brexit process.

We welcome the Government’s acknowledgement of this.

Over the past week, the government has been defeated five times in the House of Lords, uniting members from all parties and none on a range of issues.

Clearly, across the House, there is a strong belief that it is not too late to turn back from the Tory’s disastrous approach to Brexit.

For the country and the government, there is a way out, and that is giving the people the final say, with a vote on the final deal.