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

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.

Lewisham East By-election: everything you need to know

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Over the last five weeks, hundreds of Liberal Democrat activists have been hard at work campaigning in Lewisham East, for our fantastic candidate, Lucy Salek.

And last night, their hard work was rewarded – we quadrupled our share of the vote and delivered a 19% swing against Labour – the largest swing against a Labour opposition since 1983.

The final results were:

Lewisham East result:

LAB: 50.2% (-17.7)

LDEM: 24.6% (+20.2)

CON: 14.4% (-8.6)

GRN: 3.6% (+1.9)

WEP: 2.3% (+2.3)

UKIP: 1.7% (+0.0)

— Britain Elects (@britainelects) June 14, 2018

article1.pngWe fought a proud, pro-European campaign and have seen former Labour and Conservative voters switching support and rallying behind our campaign.

Our team focused on the issues that matter to the community – and that have been neglected by an overly confident Labour Party – and will continue to do so.

This result sends a message to the Labour leadership that it cannot take pro-European voters for granted.

This is the largest swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats in over a decade – and the largest against a Labour opposition since 1983.

article2.pngThe failure of Labour’s leadership to oppose the Conservatives hard Brexit cannot be hidden or forgotten.

The collapse in the Conservatives’ vote is also damning.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party standing up to Theresa May on Brexit.

She is making a mess out of it, and we will keep fighting to give the people the final say on the Brexit deal.

We couldn’t have achieved the result we did in Lewisham East without the support of our amazing members.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party fighting and winning the argument to stop Brexit. We are successfully making the case in Parliament, on the streets and in elections like Lewisham East – and all this momentum is going to be what leads to us getting the people a final say on the Brexit deal.

Together we will bring about an end to this destructive and sad moment in British political history.

But to make the case that Brexit is going badly, and that it will only be bad for Britain, we need more members than ever before.

Our fantastic result could be just the start of the difference we can make. But we need you.

Lib Dems call for National Windrush Day

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Recent events have raised the profile of the Windrush Generation in the media and public consciousness, but sadly not for reasons our country can be proud of. Instead, we should be celebrating the contributions of migrant communities in the UK.

Windrush citizens like myself have lived here for decades, working, raising families and making a positive contribution to British society. Our generation answered the call to help address the UK’s post-WW2 labour shortage, yet many of our children know nothing of that Windrush legacy.

To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Windrush, Liberal Democrats are calling for 22nd June to be recognised as ‘National Windrush Day’. Let’s give people from all ethnic backgrounds a reason to celebrate their unique identities, histories and rightful home in UK.

Official recognition of a National Windrush Day will send out a message that diverse communities are to be celebrated for their enrichment of British culture and society.

The ‘hostile environment’ which led to the Windrush scandal must end. A National Windrush Day will serve to rebuild trust in migrant communities, protect migrants from scapegoating and give confidence that their voices are being heard.

EU Withdrawal Bill chaos shows only the Lib Dems are clear on Brexit.

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The EU Withdrawal Bill came back to the House of Commons this week after 15 Government defeats in the Lords. Theresa May’s strategy this week was shaped entirely by her tenuous grip over her own ranks.

Theresa May has struggled for months to maintain Tory unity during her mishandling of Brexit negotiations. Cabinet disputes are spilling into public view, ministers are resigning, and Boris Johnson is whispering about his wish to replace Theresa with Trump.

Since the arrogant decision to call a General Election, the Prime Minister’s control over the Brexit process and her own party has been failing. That’s why she was forced to stall on the meaningful vote amendment this week, offering a thin concession that she hopes will temporarily paper over divisions between remain and leave Tory MPs.

Meanwhile, Labour demonstrated yet again that they do not have the stomach to fight the Tories over Brexit.

Amendment 19a would have given the people the final say on the Brexit deal. It would have given the people the power to decide if they want to stay in the E.U. once we see the terms of the exit. We could have pushed this to a vote if Labour had supported our motion.

Instead Labour squirmed away from the key votes and were notably absent at the most crucial moment, despite 73% of their voters wanting the UK to stay in the E.U. If Corbyn is truly fighting for the many, not the few, why does the slogan not apply to his own voters?

Jeremy’s heart just isn’t in this fight.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party fighting to give the public the final say on the Brexit deal. Our message is clear: we are fighting to give the people the power to decide their future. This process started with the people, and the people deserve the last word on the terms of the Brexit deal, including a chance to stay in the E.U.

We can stop Brexit, but we need people to join our campaign and make their voices heard.

An Islands Bill with teeth, because of Liberal Democrats

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

In news from Scotland, the Liberal Democrats have been instrumental in delivering new legislation that offers greater protection and powers to Scotland’s island communities.

Year in year out, our islands are voted among the best places to live. From unique culture to breathtaking landscapes and world class heritage, we have it all. But for those of us who live and work in our islands, we know there are also unique challenges.

All too often, however, there is a one-size-fits-all approach to legislation and policy-making that takes no account of island needs or circumstances. In addition, the SNP’s obsession with centralisation has seen powers stripped away over the years.

So, when the Scottish Government announced its intention to introduce a dedicated Islands Bill, Liberal Democrats made it our business to make it work for our island communities.

This past month, we did just that.

In the face of SNP opposition, we secured the votes necessary to create an Islands Bill with real teeth. An Islands Bill that better reflects the expectations of islanders

Where appropriate, island authorities will now be able to apply for more powers and responsibilities. The Scottish Parliament also gave its support to our proposals to ensure the needs of island communities in relation to lifeline transport links, broadband and digital connectivity and fuel poverty are addressed.

I am also pleased that, thanks to a Liberal Democrat amendment, not just future but also existing policy and legislation will now be subjected to a so-called ‘island proofing’ test. This can help address some of the existing problems caused by that one-size-fits-all approach, as well as hopefully reducing the risks in future.

This Bill must signal an end to our islands being treated by government as an after-thought. The test will be whether Ministers and their agencies will respect not just the letter but the spirit of the law.

Island communities will expect nothing less, and Liberal Democrats will be here to ensure it happens.

How we won South Cambs

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

On May 4th, South Cambs Lib Dems stormed to victory in all up elections on new boundaries, winning 30 of the 45 seats. Previously we’d held just 14 out of 57 seats. Cllr Bridget Smith became the leader of South Cambridge District Council, and won the chance to put liberal politics into practice and make people’s lives better where she lives.

It was a shock victory – though not to those of us who had spent the last couple of years working towards it. For me it had all started at my first party conference nearly 3 years ago. I was sitting in a room in Bournemouth, listening to Tim Pickstone (now Chief Executive of ALDC) explain how to pick a ward and win it. I realised that winning elections wasn’t about being a great politician, it was about working hard and being organised – and I could do that.

But victories on this scale need a great team of people. Preferably people you really like, so that the hard work doesn’t feel like hard work but like spending time with friends. We already had some key people in place, but we needed more. So on returning from conference our first job was to speak to as many of our members as possible.

Email is a great tool – but even the best written emails can’t replace personal contact.

That’s why, over the next year we had hundreds of conversations with new members. I have to say that after June 2016 they did get a bit repetitive “Hi, I’m Mary. I’m calling to welcome you to the Liberal Democrats and ask why you joined? Oh Brexit, really, yes, it’s terrible, and yes we really must do something about it.” There were plenty of conversations that went nowhere – many of our members just want to pay us their annual membership fee. But there were also people who wanted to actually do something – which made it worthwhile. We used a Connect script to keep track of what people said they wanted to do and then made sure to follow them up within a few weeks. Some of our members came along to campaign meetings or delivered some leaflets. Some helped set up our social media and website. And some then became the local organisers in their wards, standing as candidates in the County elections and building their own teams of deliverers and canvassers.

We still used email. We sent out a fortnightly email informing members of canvassing sessions, #LibDemPints and policy talks. So once people were engaged, they had a clear path for getting more involved – even if sometimes that meant just six of us drinking coke and chatting in a rural pub.

In 2017 we had County Elections. And we delivered more leaflets and spoke to more voters than ever before. But our campaign was derailed by the General Election. It polarised voters and meant we didn’t make the gains we’d hoped for. But we had our team. We may have been gutted at the count – but we there together, and we were determined to fight on together.

This article is the first of four pieces. future articles will talk about how we targeted our canvassing, communicated our messages via leaflets and email and got out our voters. All essential parts of our victory. But we couldn’t have done any of that without having a brilliant team of people – and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without them.

Are you a local party officer who wants to build your team? Join the membership development facebook group at see details of the roleof membership secretary and links to the technical solutions we have to make e job easier.

Are you inspired to pick a ward and win where you live? Get in touch with your local party, join the Lib Dem Campaigners group on facebook or join ALDC for resources and best practice.

Liberal Democrats are famous for spectacular by-election results

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

By-elections might not be able to change the Government, but shock results can change politics and change Britain.

And now we have a chance to do just that in Lewisham East.

Since the referendum, every time Jeremy Corbyn could have stood up to the Tories on Brexit, he’s sat on his hands.

We can only stop Brexit with the Labour party’s votes. And the only way we get those votes is if they’re scared of a pro-European tide sweeping them away.

With your help in Lewisham East, we can make them fearful of us. Will you come and volunteer in the final few days?

Yes, I will

This by-election is your opportunity to make a difference – and help stop Brexit.

We are running rings around Labour in our activity. No other party is anywhere to be seen. Our stake boards are turning Lewisham East orange, we have canvassers on every doorstep and our leaflets can be found in every letterbox.

Lewisham Labour voters are not happy with Jeremy Corbyn. They were promised that he would stand up to the Tories on Brexit, but he has caved at every single opportunity.

Lewisham voters are willing to lend us their vote in this by-election to make it clear to Jeremy Corbyn that this isn’t good enough.

And it couldn’t come at a better time.

The stakes couldn’t be higher.

The EU withdrawal bill is rumoured to hit the House of Commons any day now. A great result in Lewisham East for an unashamedly pro-European party would be a hammer blow to a hard Brexit.

But unless he’s scared that remainers will stop voting Labour, he’ll continue to take Remain support for granted.

Help us make sure he stands up to the Tories on Brexit. Help us send Jeremy Corbyn a message in Lewisham:

Yes, I will

This could be your chance to change the direction of British politics.

When the dust has settled and the results are in, you will want to say you were in Lewisham East, part of the team making it happen.

Paddy Ashdown

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats

Vince Cable speech: Capitalism in Crisis

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

He explores some of the serious problems facing capitalism today, and how these issues have provoked reactions from the extremes of the political spectrum. Common sense reform is necessary to curb the worst excesses of capitalism.

“Scarcely a day goes by without a scandal erupting around greedy or bullying bosses, pilfered pension funds, business tax dodging, chaotic private train operators, rewards for failure, bankers’ bonuses, price gouging or exploitation of gig workers, zero hours contract employees or modern slaves.

The public appears to want more nationalisation, more regulation and higher taxes on business.

Populist politicians on the left, like Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders in the USA, get a respectful hearing at business conferences. Leading business spokespeople and gurus preach contrition, restraint and self-flagellation.

There is a palpable sense of capitalism being in crisis or, at least, facing a crisis of confidence.

Although it does not explain everything, the financial crisis of a decade ago played an important part in puncturing the confidence generated by the collapse of Communism two decades earlier confidence that the capitalist model, the liberalisation of markets and the ‘animal spirits’ of entrepreneurs, could be relied upon to generate an ongoing, inexorable rise in living standards.

This view was epitomised by Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History” thesis now the subject of universal mockery but taken very seriously at the time that liberal democracy and the market economy had conclusively and for all time settled the ideological debate.

Instead, financial markets proved to be highly unstable and prone to excess.”

Download the full speech here.

Lib Dems secure final say amendment on Brexit bill

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Liberal Democrat Peers have been leading the fight against the Conservatives in the House of Lords and have inflicted a whopping 15 Government defeats on the EU Withdrawal Bill. This bill is key to reversing Brexit and is expected to return to the House of Commons in late June.

The Liberal Democrats will now spearhead the resistance against Brexit in the Commons.

Lib Dem Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has secured an amendment that could give us an Exit from Brexit. The final say amendment will require MPs to vote on whether they believe the public should be given the final say on the Brexit deal, including the opportunity to remain in the E.U.

Jeremy Corbyn is hoping that no one has noticed that he is helping Theresa May deliver her disastrous Brexit, but the final say amendment puts the spotlight squarely on Corbyn and Labour leadership. Is he going to join the Lib Dems in putting an end to this botched Brexit? Or will he stare at his shoes while Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove bungle our nation’s future?

Labour need to get behind the Lib Dems on this vote and stand up to the Tories. If they do, we have a real chance to give the British people a final say on Brexit, and the chance to stay in the European Union.

This is a huge moment. We need you to join our cause, lobby Labour to get behind the Lib Dem amendment, and reverse this chaotic hard Brexit.