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.

Thumbs up for Queens Head resurfacing

David Walker in West Felton

Yesterday, after a busy week, I popped out to see the finished Queens Head resurfacing work, completed last week. Compared to the previous contractors rubbish temporary repairs Keir has done an excellent job.

The junction surface was plained away, relayed and properly jointed providing a smoothing running surface. Fair does to Keir and Shropshire council they have done a good job. This repair should last a lot longer. So it gets a thumbs up from me.

It remains to be seen how the Governments extra money for potholes in this year’s budget offsets two years of £5m cuts to Shropshire Councils highways budget. It isn’t enough and doesn’t touch the side of what is required to fix the pothole problems in Shropshire.

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.

Liberal Democrats call for Women’s Equality Day

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Liberal Democrat MPs Layla Moran and Stephen Lloyd are calling on the Government to create a ‘Women’s Equality Day’ to fall on the Spring Bank Holiday.

2018 marks the centenary of the extension of suffrage to some women and the 90th anniversary of universal suffrage.

To mark this, Stephen Lloyd challenged female pupils from Willingdon School in his constituency to come up with a campaign which he could deliver in Westminster on their behalf. The winning idea was to create a Women’s Equality Day.

We are so proud that in the year of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, our own girls have been so empowered through this and demonstrated such personal excellence.

Emily Beer, Headteacher at Willingdon School

The idea is being taken forward by Education spokesperson Layla Moran and an Early Day Motion has already received cross-party support from MPs.

“A century ago great strides were made in the battle to acknowledge the importance of giving women a voice and the independence to vote for their representatives. But perhaps, a century later, we would have expected more progress,” said Layla.

“Across the country we see women routinely paid less than men, stifled from progressing in their organisations, and experiencing sexual harassment. This is not the message we want to send to future generations.

“The message that we want to send and that the girls of Willingdon school felt was the most important for Stephen to raise, was that of equality and in 2018, that should alarm us. There is a long way to go, and I hope that this day will be enshrined and will act as an annual recognition of gender equality.

Next week on 6th November Layla and Stephen will host an event in parliament for MPs and Peers in which they will call on supporters to commemorate these anniversaries of women’s suffrage. Marking the day will be a yearly recognition of the full and equal participation that we aspire for women to have in both society and public life.

Emily Beer, Headteacher at Willingdon School said: “We are delighted that our students have had a real taste of democracy. They chose their ideas, they discussed and debated and subsequently selected the best one.

“For our students to be involved in possibly making a national change to a bank holiday name is monumental and demonstrates to them how anything is possible.

“We are so proud that in the year of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, our own girls have been so empowered through this and demonstrated such personal excellence.”

Lib Dems demand more police to tackle violence epidemic

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

It is heart-breaking that the epidemic of violent crime is claiming the lives of so many children.

A senior police office has now revealed that children as young as nine are being caught carrying knives.

We urgently need more police officers on our streets to restore the community policing that helps to prevent violent crime.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats are demanding an extra £300 million a year for the police.

But we also need to tackle the root causes of this epidemic to stop it spreading in our communities.

That requires a public health approach involving not only the police, but also health professionals, social workers and teachers.

Government inaction on fixed-odds betting terminals is ruining lives

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The delay in implementing a planned and much needed reduction in the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals is completely unacceptable.

These machines are a blight on our society and undeniably damaging to vulnerable people.

The Government’s inaction is ruining lives and they must not be allowed to continue making these excuses that only benefit bookmakers.

When the Minister responsible for a policy steps down, you know the Government is moving in the wrong direction.

The £2 maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals must come into force immediately. The damage that is being done to individuals by these machines will persist with hundreds of pounds being lost in seconds, day after day.

Theresa May should explain to the country why this will not be implemented for another year.

Lib Dems lead rebellion against Tory tax cuts for higher earners

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Tonight the Liberal Democrats voted against the Government’s indefensible tax cuts for higher earners. Despite the best efforts of their whips, 20 Labour MPs put principle above party and voted with the us.

It is beyond belief that a party which claims to stand ‘for the many, not the few’, decided not to oppose the Government on this.

With public services desperate for investment, now is not the time to reduce taxes for high earners.

The Government’s policy will cost an estimated £1.3 billion pounds next year, money which could instead be used to reverse cuts to Universal Credit or end the benefits freeze a year early. This would have been a far more progressive way of using the money.

Government is about priorities. With public services desperate for investment, now is not the time to reduce taxes for high earners.

In Government Liberal Democrats focused tax cuts on lower earning families, and we support continued efforts to do so.

On Brexit, Universal Credit and now the Budget, the Liberal Democrats have shown that we are the real opposition.

People’s Vote could not be disregarded without a constitutional crisis

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Sir David Natzler, clerk of the House of Commons, has made comments that a Commons vote on a ‘People’s Vote’ would still have “considerable political force”.

Only the Liberal Democrats are united in fighting Brexit.

Whether a parliamentary vote on a ‘People’s Vote’ amendment was legally binding or not, the PM could not disregard the result without a serious constitutional and democratic crisis.

The Tories are trying to claim the calamitous Chequers Deal or catastrophic No Deal are the only two options available. This is not true.

A People’s Vote is the third most sensible and consensual option, and if Parliament votes for one, the people should be granted one! Only the Liberal Democrats are united in fighting Brexit.

The people must be given the final say on Brexit, including the option to remain in the European Union.