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  • Article: Sep 10, 2018

    Over a year ago, I started work on making 'upskirting', the practice of photographs up a person's skirt without their consent, a specific criminal offence.

    I'm absolutely delighted that this bill has just been passed by MPs in the House of Commons.

    This bill will protect everyone who chooses to wear a skirt in a public place and give them an option of recourse.

  • Article: Sep 7, 2018
    By Vince Cable

    We returned this week from Parliament's long summer recess.

    I used the break to give some thought as to the role my party should be playing in the British political system.

    The country is bitterly divided over Brexit and the politics of the main parties leaves millions of voters, broadly those in the 'centre ground', feeling ignored while they get on with their internal civil wars.

  • Article: Sep 7, 2018
    By Greg Foster

    THE PROPOSITION

    What are the proposed reforms?
    The introduction of a supporters' scheme. This is expected to be free of charge and supporters will have the right to vote in leadership elections.

    Dropping the requirement for people to have been a member for a certain length of time before they can stand for selection. At present, members must be a fully paid-up party member for 12 consecutive months in England & Wales and nine consecutive months in Scotland before they can be assessed for approval to be Prospective Parliamentary Candidates. Removing the restriction of the party leader having to be an MP. All members and registered supporters would be able to choose from a wider pool of candidates.
    This is arguably the most crucial point in British politics for more than 70 years. Why are we doing this now?
    By engaging our supporters and growing our base, we strengthen our voice against Brexit. These proposals signal our openness to new people and will bring extra energy at a time of national crisis, reinforcing our efforts.

    There is also political realignment, with the emergence of broad campaign groups involving many or all parties, such as the People's Vote and More United. Numerous parties have been labelled as 'centrist', 'moderate' or even 'liberal'. We need to be at the heart of that political realignment and show that the Liberal Democrats are the natural party for people fed-up of the extremes of British politics. The Liberal Democrats are changing British politics. We're opening up our party to new supporters and listening to our members about how best to do it.
    Why have you sprung this on the party?
    These proposals flesh out the strategy passed at the Liberal Democrat spring conference in Southport this year. We passed a motion that promised to "create a political and social movement which encourages people to take and use power in their own lives and communities" and to create "a much larger base of long-term, loyal supporters".
    What data do you have to support this proposition?
    A newly "open" Lib Dem party would be two to three times more popular than it is presently, according to research we commissioned from Data Sciences. The poll has a +/- 2% margin of error.
    Is this just a poor man's Momentum?
    No. This is a much more comprehensive set of reforms that will provide a home for those millions who are uncomfortable with the polarisation of British politics.

    Momentum is a movement of the far left. We are creating a movement for people from the centre who believe in a free, fair and open society and oppose extremism and nationalism.

    We must not be afraid to try something new to attract moderate people who want a better politics.
    Are these proposals set in stone?
    No, this is a democratic party and the leader cannot impose his proposals on it. However, the leader has made a series of recommendations that he believes will open up the party and enthuse membership and supporters.

    There will be a consultation session, led by Vince, at the annual conference in Brighton. There is a consultative fringe meeting at conference solely about the supporters scheme.

    There is also a consultation of all members, which will be published on the Liberal Democrat website shortly after Friday's speech. Its launches on 7th September and will closes on 14th October. When the consultation closes, Vince will ask the Federal Board to commission an all-member ballot. Final proposals will be subject to a vote at conference.
  • Wera Hobouse.
    Article: Sep 5, 2018

    Letting fees are an unfair cost pushed onto tenants by greedy landlords.

    Today a bill to abolish letting fees achieved third reading in the House of Commons and I spoke in favour of the bill

    The leading cause of homelessness is the ending of a private rented sector tenancy. Whilst rental costs continue to spiral, people are becoming trapped: they cannot afford their rent and they cannot afford to move somewhere more affordable as a result of the myriad of administrative fees.

  • Ed Davey outside Kingston Police Station.
    Article: Sep 5, 2018
    By Edward Davey

    In an interview with The Guardian, I set out our ambitious plan to fix the UK's broken immigration system, end the Conservatives' hostile environment and celebrate the positive impact immigration has had on the United Kingdom.

    Our policy paper, A Fair Deal for Everyone: Prosperity and Dignity in Migration, will be debated this month in Brighton. It calls for a new right to work for refugees and asylum seekers, major reform of the Home Office - giving control of work permit policy to the Business Department and student visa policy to the Education Department, policies to make family reunification easier and scrapping the net migration target.

  • Article: Sep 4, 2018

    Over the weekend, member Ruby Chow started a thread on Twitter asking Lib Dems who the top ten most important people in the party were to them.

    What followed was a thread full of love for Lib Dems across the country who have encouraged, supported or inspired others.

    Some members named MPs and Lords that inspired them the most:

  • Rail petitioners
    Article: Sep 3, 2018

    Maidstone County Councillor, Rob Bird, demands answers from Secretary of State

    Maidstone's high speed rail links with London have been dealt a further blow following last week's announcement that Crossrail services will be delayed until Autumn 2019.

    Earlier this year Secretary of State Chris Grayling suggested Maidstone's peak time high-speed trains could be replaced by conventional services to Abbey Wood, the proposed south-east terminus of Crossrail, where commuters could connect with the new Elizabeth Line services.

    Yet commuters say this is unacceptable, and Maidstone Liberal Democrats have called for the retention of the county town's direct high speed links. Keeping these services is vital as new commuter services into London continue to face delays.

    The Department for Transport has already announced the long-awaited introduction of the Thameslink services from Maidstone will be further delayed to December next year. Elsewhere in Kent, there have been serious timetabling issues with Thameslink, reinforcing passengers' concerns that even this later date may not be achieved.

  • Vince Cable in Twickenham
    Article: Aug 30, 2018
    By Liberal Democrats

    The report - "Taxing Land, Not Investment" - calls for the abolition of business rates and its replacement with a tax on land values, the Commercial Landowner Levy (CLL). The levy would remove buildings and machinery from calculations and tax only the land value of commercial sites, boosting investment and cutting taxes for businesses in nine out of ten English local authorities.

  • The union flag flying next to the EU flag.
    Article: Aug 30, 2018
    By Tom Brake

    The Government have refused to guarantee that MPs will see the full impact analysis of a no-deal Brexit before the final vote on departure from the EU.

    The Government are clearly losing the plot.

    Refusing to show MPs the full damage a no-deal Brexit would inflict on our country makes a mockery of the discredited mantra 'Taking Back Control'.

  • Antony Hook in Kent County Councl Chamber
    Article: Aug 27, 2018

    Funding should be provided for every Kent community to pursue 20mph limits on appropriate roads to make the county's streets safer, say Kent Liberal Democrats.


    Cllr Antony Hook, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Business and Economic Development, has written to Peter Oakford, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Finance, to ask that funding for extra 20mph schemes is made available in next year's budget.

    He has also called on Kent's Environment and Transport Committee to discuss the subject as soon as possible.

    In the last year, 10 small schemes funded by KCC have been announced, with the locations selected on grounds of deprivation and public health indicators.

    But Kent Liberal Democrats argue that a county-wide approach which made funding available to community groups who wanted 20mph schemes would give people the power to make their roads safer.