Why we’re fighting to give NHS and care staff the right to stay

What are the Liberal Democrats calling for?

We’re calling on the Government to grant indefinite leave to remain in the UK – the right to stay – to all foreign nationals currently working in the NHS and social care, and their families.

How many people from other countries work in the NHS and social care?

About 1 in 7 people who work in the NHS are foreign nationals, according to the latest data from NHS digital.

In England alone, that’s 171,000 people – including 36,000 doctors, 59,000 nurses and 40,000 clinical support staff.

Meanwhile, figures from Skills for Care show that 1 in 6 of the adult social care workforce in England are foreign nationals: 249,000 care staff.

As these numbers demonstrate, there are hundreds of thousands of people from other countries on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic here in the UK. Like the rest of our wonderful NHS and care staff, they are putting themselves in harm’s way to make sure we get the care we need.

Surely they already have the right to stay?

You’d think so, but no.

Some do already have the right to stay, but many others face having to reapply or being forced to leave the UK – some as soon as October.

First, there are the EU citizens (68,000 in the NHS and 115,000 in adult social care in England), most of whom have come to work in the UK thanks to free movement. Under the Conservatives’ plans, they will lose that right when free movement ends at the end of 2020. Boris Johnson promised them the automatic right to stay, but has reneged on that – instead forcing them to apply for Settled Status and putting them at risk of a new Windrush-style scandal.

Then there are those from outside the EU (103,000 in the NHS and 134,000 in social care). Many of these are on “Tier 2” general work visas, often lasting for just two or three years at a time. When their visas expire, they will either have to reapply or leave the UK.

So what is the Government doing about this?

The Government has announced a free one-year visa extension for around 3,000 health and care staff with visas due to expire before 1st October.

However, the Government has excluded many of those on the frontlines, such as hospital porters, cleaners and social care workers, from this offer. Even those who are included will be forced to renew their visas next year – at a cost of around £700 per person – or leave the country.

And then there are the NHS and care workers whose visas are due to expire after the end of September. The Conservatives are doing nothing for them, which means frontline workers could find themselves being forced to leave the UK as early as October.

That’s simply not good enough.

The idea that anyone who has worked so hard to save lives during this emergency might one day be forced to leave should be unthinkable.

What’s the solution?

The UK should say, loudly and unequivocally, that those who have put their lives at risk for our country are welcome to live in it.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats are fighting to give all NHS and care staff from other countries the right to stay in the UK. The Government should grant them and their families the right to settle here, without the costs or bureaucratic hurdles that usually involves.

This would be a small way to recognise and celebrate the enormous contributions that people from all over the world make to our NHS – and to our society, our economy and our communities more broadly.

New restrictions in northern England

Throughout this crisis, the Government’s communications have been an utter disaster.

Yet more mistakes reveal how necessary it is for an inquiry to be launched now

To announce a regional lockdown of millions of people not only just hours before it’s enforced, but with no clarity on the new rules coming into place, is beyond comprehension.

Considering their ability to tackle this pandemic relies on the clarity of messaging coming from the Government, it is unsurprising that just yesterday it was announced that England has had the highest excess mortality across Europe.

If the Government want the British public to follow the rules they are announcing, then they must be clear, ahead of time, and they must have forewarned local authorities.

It remains unclear at what point Boris Johnson’s Government will finally manage to get a grip on the coronavirus crisis.

Yet more mistakes reveal how necessary it is for an inquiry to be launched now – so that Ministers can learn the lessons ahead of a potential second wave.

Eid al-Adha

On behalf of the Liberal Democrats, I would like to send best wishes to all Muslims celebrating Eid al-Adha.

Eid al-Adha commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith. It also marks the end of Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.

I hope that all of us will take this opportunity to reflect on those values of selflessness, charity and community which are at the heart of Islam

The voyage to Mecca is one of the most significant moments in a Muslim’s life but, with the continuing need for social distancing, I know that many British Muslims had to cancel their plans to make the journey this year. Many other customs and traditions will also be suspended as the battle against the coronavirus continues.

But although so much remains uncertain, I am confident we will get through these challenging times together.

I hope that all of us, regardless of our background, will take this opportunity to reflect on those values of selflessness, charity and community which are both at the heart of Islam and also so relevant to those of us of other faiths, or no faith.

This is also an important opportunity to honour the contributions of British Muslim communities and to celebrate the rich diversity of our country. Our country, and our party, benefit greatly from those contributions.

Wishing everyone celebrating a wonderful Eid. Eid Mubarak!

Read the leadership candidate’s election addresses

Voting opens today for the Liberal Democrat Leadership Election!

You might get your ballot by either email or post and it might take some time on the 30th or 31st to be sent, as delivery is being staggered through the day. Postal deliveries may take longer, especially if you’re overseas.

If you haven’t had a ballot by 10am on Friday 31st July, please feel free to drop elections@libdems.org.uk an email. Votes have to be cast by 1pm on Wednesday 26th August 2020.

To help members make up their minds, each of the candidates has prepared an election address, which you can read here:

Ed Davey

Download Ed’s manifesto

Layla Moran

Download Layla’s manifesto

Members have until 1pm on Wednesday 26th August to cast their votes and the result will be announced on Thursday 27th August.

We’re in a tough spot.

Let’s be honest with ourselves – we’re in a tough spot. Our average polling figure currently stands at 8%, a far cry from the late teens or early 20s we previously enjoyed as recently as last year.

I won Oxford West & Abingdon from the ground up. Nobody knows the potential of Liberal Democrat activists like I do.

But this isn’t just because of the coalition, or Brexit, or the 2019 election. A vast array of factors have led us to where we are now, and to turn things around we need change. Not only within the inner workings of the party as a whole, but in our public-facing approach, to ensure that our party can survive and then thrive in the years ahead.

Our country needs a strong liberal voice representing it in Parliament. And there’s nobody who can deliver that better than us. I’m standing for leader because I can set us free from the past that’s weighing us down. I want to send a clear signal to voters that we have learned from the mistakes of the last decade, and rebuild trust by listening.. I have a positive, inclusive vision – not just for our party, but for our country. We can only deliver it by winning again.

At our heart, we are an organisation that empowers people to make their own decisions in their community. There is a level of trust in the party to control councils in local government that just isn’t apparent in the national picture.

We owe it to our country to elect a leader who can enact effective change

I won Oxford West & Abingdon from the ground up. Nobody knows the potential of Liberal Democrat activists like I do. Our team succeeded because we believed in our activists. We gave them the tools they needed to get the job done, and I want to bring that to my leadership.

We can’t recover without reaching out to people who don’t currently vote for us, too. That’s why I went and knocked doors across from Cornwall to Wales, to Yorkshire after the 2019 election, before the pandemic hit. That’s the approach I will take in my first year of being leader. I want to ask the electorate how we can win back their trust – rather than tell them. I wanted to listen to our grassroots members who give us so much, too – I’ve spoken with nearly 300 local parties and party bodies since the start of lockdown. We must learn from them.

I’ll level with you. Success will take time. But we owe it to our country to elect a leader who represents a progressive change, who takes a lead on developing our incredible activists and builds a rapport with voters across the UK. I believe I’m the right person for the job – put your trust in me to lead our party, and let’s move forward together.

Your Leadership Election Ballot

Voting opens in the Liberal Democrat Leadership Election at 9am on Thursday 30th July.

To help you know when and how you’ll be voting, we’ve put together a quick guide to voting in the Leadership Election, which you can read below.

Most members will vote online, but around 1 in 20 will vote by post. If you haven’t had your ballot by 10am on Friday 31st July, please feel free to drop an email to elections@libdems.org.uk and we’ll be happy to help!

Postal Votes

Postal votes have gone to print on the 27th July 2020. The initial run was around 5,000 voters. These will be sent to Royal Mail on the 29th July 2020.

We expect paper ballots to land between the 30th July and the 2nd August in the UK. We expect this to take up to the 14th August for non-UK postal ballots.

People who haven’t received a postal ballot by 2nd August can request a replacement by emailing elections@libdems.org.uk

Postal votes have been assigned based on the following criteria:

  • No email present on file
  • Has been requested by member
  • Has an @libdems.org.uk email address
  • Has a role-based email address (info@ contact@ etc)
  • Has a shared email address (ie 2 members using the same email)

In addition, any email addresses that cannot be uploaded to the email platform, or that hard bounce will be sent a postal vote in a second batch that will go to print on the 3rd August and we expect to arrive between the 6th and 11th August.

Online Votes

The remainder of members will get their vote by email. The emails will be sent out in batches over the course of a full day.

This allows us to ensure the voting platform can handle the volume, as well as maximising deliverability. Around 4,500 members per hour will get an email.

The emails will begin sending at 0900 on Thursday 30th July and finish and 0900 on Friday 31st July.

If a member wishes to vote before they’ve received their email, they can call elections@libdems.org.uk and be provided with their UVC, but please discourage people from doing this.

The email will come from Alan Masters – Liberal Democrats and the email address will be elections@libdems.org.uk

The subject line of the email will be “Your ballot paper – Leader of the Liberal Democrats”

What to do if you don’t get your vote

If you haven’t had your vote by 10:00 on Friday 31st July, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team.

You can do this by emailing elections@libdems.org.uk – and we’ll do our best to get back to you within 3 working days (we’ll usually be faster) or you can call us on: 020 7022 0988 between 0930 and 1730, Monday to Friday.

We can either dispatch a replacement ballot paper or provide you with a voting code.

In some rare occasions, people may have been incorrectly excluded from the electoral roll. In these cases and at the Returning Officer’s discretion, members may be issued with a new UVC code.

The reason for the issue will be recorded on a member’s Salesforce profile and will be available for review should there be a concern.

I want to beat the Conservatives

I want to beat the Conservatives. I want them out of office in 2024, and I want to kick Boris Johnson out of Downing Street.

Here are the facts. We are second in 91 seats, and in 80 of those we are second to the Conservatives. In places like Wimbledon, Hazel Grove, Esher & Walton, North Cornwall and Brecon & Radnorshire, we are the party who take seats from the Conservatives and deny them a majority in 2024.

Our passport to power is winning in Conservative facing seats, and to do that we need a laser-like focus on a core message that appeals to moderate Conservative voters and Labour tactical voters, and a leader with a track record of building winning teams to take on the Conservatives.

Ed Davey is that leader.

I backed Ed because I was so impressed by his focus on a fairer, greener and more caring society.

Just imagine that a country like that would look like.

A fairer country where we tackle social injustice. Where we give parents universal childcare to help them with one of the biggest financial challenges they face, and a universal basic income that gives everyone the money they need.

A greener country, where we invest £150bn into green jobs for our young people, green homes and a green energy network. As a trained economist and someone with a track record of delivering green jobs, I know Ed has got the experience to make sure that we make the recovery from Covid a green recovery.

A more caring society, where we give the 10 million carers in our country a new deal, with a high carers allowance and more legal protection.

When it comes to the next elections, whether that is to councils, city halls or Parliaments, I want people to go into the voting booth knowing exactly what a cross in our box will get them.

I want them to know that voting Liberal Democrat will get them that fairer, greener, more caring country.

But to build that country, we have to first beat the Tories and kick them out of office.

Ed has won his seat six times, including in 1997 when he wasn’t even a target seat. He’s built a team in Kingston that now runs the Council, and he fought the Tories everyday in Government and helped triple renewable energy, an environmental record we should be extremely proud of.

I’ve worked with Ed since I was first elected to Parliament in 2005, and I’ve seen up close the vision, experience and judgement that he has.

I know that is what the party needs now, and that’s why I am backing him to be our next leader. I hope you’ll join me when your ballot arrives this week.

Boris Johnson’s first year as Prime Minister has been a year of attacks on our liberal democracy.

In our Democracy the Prime Minister and Government are accountable to Parliament, not the other way round, and yet Boris Johnson has been systematically unpicking the vital checks and balances which moderate his powers. Without these, it is a slippery slope towards an elective dictatorship.

Boris Johnson’s attempt to prorogue Parliament was ruled ‘unlawful’.

In just a year he has:

1. Illegally prorogued Parliament:The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Boris Johnson’s attempt to prorogue Parliament at the height of the Brexit crisis was unlawful and“had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions.”

2. Attacked the Supreme Court:After they ruled his decision to prorogue Parliament was unlawful, Boris Johnson attacked the Supreme Court and said they were wrong to have challenged his decision.

3. Giving Dominic Cummings direct oversight of all senior Government advisers: Johnson has even undermined members of his own Government – by requiring special advisers who traditionally are appointed by, and work for, individual cabinet ministers – to sign new contracts which give Dominic Cummings responsibility for their conduct and discipline.

4. Attempted to silence dissenting voices within his own Party:When Dr Julian Lewis MP won an election to become Chair of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security committee, beating Johnson’s preferred candidate, Lewis immediately had the Conservative Whip withdrawn.

5. Allowed his Ministers and Advisers to continue to hold senior public office, despite evidence of serious misconduct:Boris Johnson refused to hold Dominic Cummings to account after he breached the Government’s lockdown rules. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick was shown to have approved a housing development by a billionaire Tory donor, against the advice of the planning inspector, but has kept his job.

Johnson refused to hold Cummings to account after he breached the Government’s lockdown rules.

6. Attempted to suppress Russia report:Boris Johnson made repeated attempts to stop the publication of a report from Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, into Russian interference in British politics.

7. Routinely makes Government announcements at press conferences, rather than at the dispatch box: reducing the opportunity for proper Parliamentary scrutiny through questions from opposition MPs.

8. Forcing out independent senior civil servants:Since Johnson came into office, there have been multiple allegations that senior civil servants are being sidelined or stepping down altogether, after disagreements between them and Johnson’s team.

9. Making political appointments to independent advisory roles: David Frost, a long-time adviser to the PM has been nominated as the new National Security Adviser – this has not historically been a politically appointed role, and Mr Frost does not have any background in security and intelligence.

10. Attempts to weaken the BBC as an independent public service broadcaster:Johnson’s Government have refused to step in to protect the BBC, which is being undermined by budget cuts which will see reductions in its political programming and news coverage.

No one should be allowed to hold so much power, without proper scrutiny.

There are already more worrying proposals on the table for the coming year, which could see more powers consolidated with Johnson and Cummings; and further erosion of the vital mechanisms which hold the Prime Minister to account.

No one should be allowed to hold so much power, without proper scrutiny.

The Liberal Democrats will always stand up against attempts to undermine our democracy – having a strong liberal voice in British politics is more important than ever.

We must fight these attempts by Boris Johnson to try and seize unchecked power for himself.Will you join us?