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

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

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

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

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

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

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.

Third Withdrawal Bill defeat in a week for the Government

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Liberal Democrats have voted with a majority of cross-party Peers in the House of Lords to inflict another defeat on the government.

An amendment to retain the Charter of Fundamental Rights in UK law was successfully moved and is the third defeat for the government in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill in the House of Lords at Report Stage.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights has been a key component of EU law since 2000 and has set the bar on civil, political, social and economic rights.

The UK’s continued use of this piece of legislation shows the rest of the world that we are still committed to the highest standards on human rights and the principles of the Charter going forward.

The amendment the Lords have passed is as follows:

Clause 5, LORD PANNICK, LORD GOLDSMITH, BARONESS LUDFORD, LORD DEBEN

Page 3, line 20, leave out subsections (4) and (5) and insert—

“( ) The following provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights are not part of<

domestic law on or after exit day—

(a) the Preamble, and

(b) Chapter V.”

Barnstorming double by-election win!

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The Liberal Democrats won two of the council by-elections that were held last night (with one still to declare!), gaining two seats from the Conservatives!

The Liberal Democrats, under Vince Cable, are winning seats up and down the country and against all opposition – because people know when they elect Liberal Democrats, they’re electing someone who’ll get things done for their community!

Our local campaigning is second to none, and the hard work of Lib Dem councillors and activists is being recognised in surges of support in by-elections across the country.

#WinningHere

Lymm South (Warrington) result:

LDEM: 42.8% (+10.4)

CON: 36.2% (-2.3)

LAB: 18.3% (-1.1)

UKIP: 1.4% (-8.3)

GRN: 1.3% (+1.3)

LDem GAIN from Con.

— Britain Elects (@britainelects) April 19, 2018

And #WinningThere

Thatcham West (West Berkshire) result:

LDEM: 48.4% (+9.7)

CON: 30.9% (-16.9)

GRN: 7.7% (+7.7)

LAB: 7.7% (-5.9)

UKIP: 5.4% (+5.4)

LDem GAIN from Con.

— Britain Elects (@britainelects) April 19, 2018

With the 2018 local elections taking place in just a few days time – and many of the votes already cast, the Liberal Democrats have never been more up for the fight.

Your support today could make the difference in those elections. Be a voter for the Lib Dems on May 3rd and elect someone who’ll get things done for your community!

Vince Cable speech: break-up the big tech monopolies

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

He criticised the effective monopolies enjoyed by the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon – comparing their market dominance to that of big oil companies in the past – and suggested ways they could be broken up.

“Data is the new oil. Data is the raw material which drives these firms and it is control of data which gives them an advantage over competitors. These companies have acquired their pivotal position by providing a service or platform through which data can be extracted, collected and used.

Just as Standard Oil once cornered 85% of the refined oil market, today Google drives 89% of internet search, 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook product, Amazon accounts for 75% of E-book sales, while Google and Apple combined provide 99% of mobile operating systems.

National government and, even more so, supranational bodies like the EU can and should look to break up enterprises where size is detrimental to the economic well-being of the country, its citizens and its capacity for innovation.

There is a case for splitting Amazon into three separate businesses – one offering cloud computing, one acting as a general retailer and one offering a third-party marketplace. Other examples would be Facebook being forced to divest itself of Instagram and WhatsApp as a condition for operating in the EU, creating two new social media networks. Divesting Google of YouTube would be another.

What is striking that the most effective competition authority in the capitalist world – the European Commission – is probably the only body with the clout to take these decisions. The UK could quite obviously never do it alone.

Britain commits an act of serious self-harm by doggedly setting itself apart from the power of shared sovereignty with our neighbours.

When it comes to regulating the growth industry of this century – data – Brexit will be like giving up shared influence over where, when and whether it rains, in return for absolute power over a compact umbrella.”

Download the full speech here

Second defeat in one night for the Government on Brexit!

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

An amendment providing enhanced protections for employment, equality, health and safety entitlements, rights and protections, and consumer and environmental standards has been passed in the Lords.

This is the second defeat today for the government in the EU Withdrawal Bill.

This defeat is a key step in ensuring that parliament plays the key role in Brexit and not just a handful of Ministers altering standards via the back-door.

Guaranteeing that standards relating to equality, employment law and many other things can only be altered via primary legislation is extremely significant and essential to the democratic process.

Help make sure we can deliver even more defeats in the Lords for the Government – sign up to lobby the key peers:

Happy Birthday

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The Liberal Democrats have just turned 30 celebrating their founding on the 3rd of March.

Today we stand strong, with 100,000 members, right across the UK and once again, we’re setting out the bold ideas needed to build a strong, Liberal Britain:

✔︎ An exit from Brexit.
✔︎ a new deal for social care.
✔︎ a new deal for schools.
✔︎ a new deal for services.

And a country where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

 

NHS Crisis: put 1p on tax to save NHS

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Our recent party political broadcast on the NHS has been included above.

Norman Lamb talking about the NHS crisis and our plans to properly fund the NHS by putting 1p on tax to save NHS:

 

Read more about our plans for the NHS here:
https://www.libdems.org.uk/health

5 reasons why we love the NHS

We love our NHS, but we all know it’s heavily underfunded and desperately needs more money. We have set up a cross-party commision to make sure that politics is taken out of the NHS, that it is properly funded including for mental health, and that the NHS becomes fully integrated National Health and Social Care Service.

We sometimes forget that we have such a great health care system in place, so here are 5 reasons we love our NHS.

1. Saving lives
The NHS provides some of the best emergency care in the world. Although the NHS winter crisis has placed unprecedented pressure on our health service, the NHS has, historically, maintained an impressive standard of emergency care. Last year an astounding 23.65 million of us attended A&E. This number increases each year. Over the last five years, A&E departments have seen a 7.2% rise in attendance. Yet despite this enormous pressure, A&E staff display tireless dedication during gruelling 12-hour shifts and regularly go above-and-beyond the call of duty.

2. Value for money
Despite the fact that the UK spends relatively little on the NHS, the healthcare service has proven to be both effective and efficient. US healthcare consistently ranks lower than the UK services, yet Americans spend twice the amount on healthcare. Per capita the difference is even more drastic: US healthcare costs £7,627 and offers less comprehensive coverage, whereas the NHS costs only £2,892 per person and reaches the entire population. Although the NHS is chronically underfunded, it delivers one of the most acclaimed healthcare systems in the world.

3. Universal care, free at the point of use
The NHS was founded on the principle of universal health care free at the point of use. The Liberal Democrats helped to establish the UK’s welfare system, with universal health care as a lynchpin. 70 years on, the NHS continues to adhere to the principle of comprehensive health care based on clinical need rather than the ability to pay.

4. Largest employer
As well as saving lives, the NHS provides many of us with a career and livelihood. The healthcare provider is the largest employer in the UK and the fifth largest worldwide. With a workforce of 1.2 million, many of us have made a career for ourselves within the NHS.

5. Specialist care
The NHS provides some of the highest quality healthcare in the world with experts specialising in a variety of fields. Some of the most groundbreaking medical milestones have been achieved by NHS doctors: the NHS pioneered in vitro fertilisation in 1977, performed the first successful kidney transplant in 1960, and the first heart transplant in 1968.