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Ed Davey’s response to the new lockdown

Yet again, Boris Johnson dithered, delayed and ignored expert advice.

People across our country have sacrificed so much.

He was too slow in March and too slow again now, and his failure to lead has cost lives and jobs.

People across our country have sacrificed so much, waiting for Ministers to act and keep our families safe.

Instead, the Government asks even more despite failing to deliver an effective test, trace and isolate system. The priority must be keeping people safe and ensuring no one is left behind.

We need a real plan in place to protect jobs, businesses and the self-employed, not least an immediate u-turn on ending furlough. Unlike before, carers and care home residents must be properly looked after.

If there is to be any chance of a near normal Christmas for families and a recovery in the new year for businesses, we need a coherent plan now. That includes common guidelines agreed by the four governments of the UK and a strategy for fixing the test, trace and isolate system.

BREAKING: Government follows Lib Dems’ calls for UK-wide approach to festive season

Earlier this week, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey called on the four governments of the UK to work together and agree on a set of unified guidelines that would work for families across the UK during the festive season.

We’re glad to see that the UK leaders have listened to the Liberal Democrats’ calls.

In a joint letter from Ed, Scottish Leader Willie Rennie, Welsh Leader Jane Dodds and Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MP, they warned that “the interlinked nature of life in the United Kingdom means no one government can devise this guidance in isolation.”

Now, with reports circulating that the UK Government will hold meetings to try to develop this UK-wide approach, it’s more important than ever that Boris Johnson puts the national interest first to help families up and down the UK plan for a Christmas that is as normal as possible.

“If Boris Johnson’s government don’t act now, there is a real danger that Christmas will be under threat.” – @EdwardJDaveypic.twitter.com/s87KDVIVEt

— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) October 29, 2020

With so many families desperate to be back together this festive season, we cannot allow political bickering to confuse people.

We’re glad to see that the UK leaders have listened to the Liberal Democrats’ calls. With so many families desperate to be back together this festive season, we simply cannot allow political bickering and fractured guidance to confuse and divide people.

These meetings must be more than just a publicity stunt. They must result in comprehensive uniform guidance for family gatherings, as well as a common approach to transport, student return and asymptomatic testing – and it must happen urgently.

Ultimately, if we are to both keep people safe and ensure families have any chance of spending holidays such as Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas together, then Ministers across these isles must also get a grip on the failing test, trace and isolate trace system.

The Government must fix failing test and trace system

The recent contact tracing figures show that the current system is still woefully inadequate.

This is despite repeated calls for the Government to fix Test and Trace. The test, trace and isolate system is essential to not only slow the spread of coronavirus, but for people to have any hope of ever getting out of the Government’s restrictions.

The test, trace and isolate system is essential for people to have any hope of getting out of the Government’s restrictions.

It is long overdue that Matt Hancock comes to Parliament to explain what this Government will do to overhaul their shambolic test, trace and isolate system – and answer to why they have failed to do so thus far.

Come the end of Oct, it seems the PM will be haunted by his own Govt’s failure to reach a self-imposed target yet again. Rather than continuing to raise people’s hopes only to disappoint, ministers must focus on getting things right now

My comments in 👇https://t.co/i4Bbw9HTC6

— Munira Wilson MP (@munirawilson) October 28, 2020


If Ministers are to get a grip on this second wave, then tests need to be turned around in 24 hours, tracing needs to be led by experts in local authorities, and there needs to be more practical and financial support to help people isolate.

Otherwise people’s lives and livelihoods remain at risk thanks to this Government’s incompetence.

Local parties getting important extra data

Hundreds of thousands of extra email addresses are being made available via the Lighthouse system. These are from people who have backed at least one of the party’s national campaigns. The email addresses come with the necessary permissions to use them.

Previously, such email addresses were not shared with local parties. But this is changing as part of improvements to our use of data, helping grassroots campaigners.

These email addresses are for a valuable set of people for local parties to be regularly in touch with. Many have already got involved when local parties have been in touch with them on the doorsteps, pre-coronavirus. Involving them and so building a bigger local team has been a crucial part of the story behind some of our spectacular local election successes.

Of course, the standard advice still applies. Direct human-to-human contact is the best way to get people involved. But email is a valuable addition, especially given current lockdowns.

Many thanks to the Membership and Connect teams for making this all happen. It is the latest step in a huge program of work to improve our use of data. With our new Chief Technology Officer starting shortly, look out for more improvements to come.

For more information, there is a thread in the Lighthouse Users support group on Facebook. As well as a Q+A thread, a webinar, email best practice guide and templates are available. Or contact membership@libdems.org.uk.

UK leaders must work together to keep families safe at Christmas

Families across the UK have had an extremely difficult year being separated from their loved ones. They deserve a Christmas that is as normal as possible.

So far, Boris Johnson’s government has been badly prepared and slow to act at every stage throughout the Covid-19 crisis. That can’t happen again, especially for Christmas.

Families across the UK have had an extremely difficult year being separated from their loved ones.

We need a four nations summit to agree on a set of common guidelines for Christmas that works for families across the UK. Ministers across Britain need to start work on it now.

That’s why Scottish Leader Willie Rennie, Welsh Leader Jane Dodds and I have joined with the Alliance Party in writing a joint letter to the four governments of the UK calling for a united approach to keeping family gatherings safe during the festive season.

We need a plan for Christmas now.

2020 has been terribly hard on people – they deserve a Christmas as normal as possible. That’s why, working with the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland, I’m calling for a four nations summit to make a plan that works for families across the UK. pic.twitter.com/yGqhl34QRm

— Ed Davey MP 🔶🇪🇺 (@EdwardJDavey) October 28, 2020

With many families split across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, conflicting measures introduced by the respective governments of the UK nations could cause further confusion and complications.

We are calling for a united approach to keeping family gatherings safe during the festive season.

This year has already seen Muslim communities across the country miss out on reuniting families for Eid al-Adha, with some communities impacted because of last-minute lockdown rules. After months apart, it was devastating news and we must learn from it.

We must accept the inevitability that people are going to travel to be with their loved ones during the festive time of year. The interlinked nature of life in the United Kingdom means no one government can devise this guidance in isolation.

It therefore falls on the governments of the UK to work across together to explore workable solutions that can enable travel to happen safely.

To manage the implications for public health, we are urging them to work cross-party to cooperate on:

  • Students’ return from university
  • Agreeing on uniform guidance on the number of people who can gather
  • Exploring how best to expand travel options to allow social distancing

This way, families up and down the UK can plan for a Christmas that is as normal as possible. It’s what they deserve.