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  • Computer screen showing lines of code.
    Article: Mar 17, 2018

    Today's New York Times alleges that Cambridge Analytica 'harvested' 50 million Facebook profiles in a potentially huge data breach.

    If these allegations against Cambridge Analytica are correct then it is a shocking betrayal of people's personal data.

    If this data was then actively exploited for political gain it is both underhand and immoral.

  • Ian Chittenden
    Article: Mar 16, 2018

    'It is unacceptable that a "double-whammy" has been dealt to rail passengers in mid-Kent' were words used by the KCC Leader in response to a question from Liberal Democrat Environment & Transport spokesperson, Ian Chittenden,

    At yesterday's County Council meeting Ian Chittenden asked what steps the KCC Leader, Paul Carter, is taking to ensure that the Secretary of State puts Kent's County Town back on the rail map.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: Mar 16, 2018

    Kent Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of creating a smugglers' charter after the transport secretary suggested throwing open Britain's borders.

    Speaking on the BBC Question Time programme last night, Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling stated that "We will maintain a free-flowing border at Dover, we will not impose checks at the port, it is utterly unrealistic to do so. We don't check lorries now, we're not going to be checking lorries in the future."

    This is an astonishing admission by one of the chief architects of Brexit. During the referendum campaign, the over-riding mantra of the leavers was 'taking back control'.

    Leader of the Opposition at KCC, Rob Bird, said: "Mr Grayling is proposing an open border at Dover, allowing anyone and anything to come into the UK. Far from taking back control, the Tories appear to be creating a smugglers charter with the country left undefended against shoddy imports and contraband.

    "The only viable way of maintaining a frictionless border at Dover, and in Ireland, is for Britain to be in a Customs Union with the EU.

    "It's time for Mr Grayling to stop making totally unrealistic promises about a post Brexit utopia and to come up with credible and viable solutions."

  • Antony Hook
    Article: Mar 15, 2018

    Improvements to the dangerous Brenley Corner Roundabout* could be delayed for more than five years, despite the junction being among the worst accident blackspots in the UK.

    At a county council meeting earlier today, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Economic Development, Antony Hook, asked Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport & Waste, when much-needed improvements to the roundabout were due to be made.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: Mar 15, 2018

    The Conservatives' promise to guarantee free-flowing trade and avoid almost permanent Operation Stack has been thrown into doubt after it was revealed that Highways England is 'still testing' traffic solutions with just 12 months to go.

    Today Rob Bird, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on KCC, demanded assurance from the Conservative administration that the county will not face gridlock should Brexit go ahead in March 2019.

    But Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport & Waste, replied Highways England has so far proposed no solution, and is "still testing" measures to mitigate the worst of the chaos.

    Rob Bird said: "Like so many post-Brexit promises, the guarantee of free-flowing trade and a county free of congestion is crumbling under the cold, hard reality of our situation.

    "I fear the worst - with just 12 months to go, it's shocking that both the Government and Kent County Council are not better prepared should Brexit go ahead. Knowing Highways England is still in the testing phase is hardly reassuring, and there was no mention of the much-vaunted 'technological solutions' to keep trade flowing freely.

    "Like everyone else in the county, I don't want to see a return to the summer of 2015 when lorries lined the M20, costing the Kent economy an eye-watering £1.45 million a day. But this is the reality we face if Conservatives at every level of government continue to bury their heads in the sand."

    About 11,000 lorries pass through Dover every day and there is a real risk the county could face almost permanent Operation Stack if customs checks are imposed at the port.

    In July 2015, Operation Stack gridlocked Kent for several weeks, with queues of lorries stretching more than 30 miles down the M20.

    The cost of the disruption to the UK economy has been estimated by the Freight Transport Association at more than £250m. Kent Police also faced a hefty bill of more than £700,000 for managing the closures.

    To put the risk into perspective, a lorry from within the EU typically takes two minutes to clear customs at Dover, while a lorry from outside the EU takes 20 minutes, according to evidence presented to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

  • Article: Mar 13, 2018
    By Tom Brake

    Putin is attempting to be the puppet master of the world, it is time we cut his strings.

    The UK must build a coalition of the willing, able to put an end to Putin's murderous adventurism, and show murder condoned or directed comes at a very heavy price.

    Putin is a bully who will not be put back in his box by entreaties from the Leader of the Opposition to have a chinwag over beer and sandwiches.

  • Vince Cable
    Article: Mar 13, 2018

    The Spring Statement was a non-event.

    The OECD gave us the clearer picture - that the economy is bumping along the bottom of the G20, well behind the likes of Australia, Canada and the Euro area.

    The OBR's fresh forecasts are still a long way behind the figures estimated in March 2016 before the EU referendum.

  • Pensive Old Woman
    Article: Mar 12, 2018
    By Rob Bird

    Retirement can be challenging, especially if people are facing a reduction in financial circumstances, are living in a home unsuitable for an older person or have become isolated. We need to recognise that older people can and are making positive contributions to society, given the right environments.

  • Stephen Lloyd.
    Article: Mar 12, 2018

    Ahead of the Chancellor's Spring Statement, I'm calling on the government to reverse cuts to the Universal Credit Work Allowance.

    The Treasury reduced the programme's funding by £3 billion annually after the Liberal Democrats left government in 2015, reducing the amount people can earn while on Universal Credit.

  • An older man with his hand on his head, being conforted by an older woman.
    Article: Mar 12, 2018

    As the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill returns to the House of Commons today, the Liberal Democrats have secured a significant victory following the government's acceptance of crucial amendments tabled by Liberal Democrats peers in the House of Lords.

    Led by Lord Sharkey, the Liberal Democrats campaigned in the House of Lords to end the scourge of cold-calling in relation to pensions, claims management and other financial services.