Ashford Liberal Democrats

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Ashford Liberal Democrats

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  1. Calling on Gavin Williamson to consider prioritising early years staff for the coronavirus vaccine in the same category as teachersLayla Moran has written to the Education Secretary slamming the Government for treating nurseries and early years settings as “an afterthought”, and urging him to “provide them with the clarity, reassurance, and attention which they deserve.”

  2. ‘How do we make a difference?’ That was the question the Party Body Review Group was asked to answer. Looking at the range of Party bodies, there was only one way to find out!

    As a Review Group we decided to ask those Party Organisations what they thought, where the gaps were, how they could make a difference to the Party going forward and how they might help one another. The Review captures their views, their potential and the opportunity for the Party as a whole to benefit from changes and how they and the Party relate to one another.

    The Review Group members interviewed representatives of Party Organisations and non UK Parties and held Webinars to discuss interim findings. The report presented reflects both the views of those organisations and of Party members who took part in the on line survey.

    The Review Group members are Bess Mayhew, Steffan Aquarone, Tim Pickstone and is ably helped and supported by Jack Coulson. My thanks to them for their unstinting commitment to our task and to all those who took part in interviews and in surveys, or who submitted written evidence.

    Read the full report by clicking here!

    More information about next steps and ongoing work will appear on this blog in the coming weeks and months. For now, if you are leading an SAO or AO and would like to get involved with the new Party Bodies Forum, please get in touch with jack.coulson@libdems.org.uk.

  3. More than 170 musicians have urged Ministers to organise paperwork-free travel in Europe for artists on tour. 

    The extra costs will make many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians.

    The EU Trade deal makes it extremely difficult for touring artists because they now need a costly work permit and face a mountain of paperwork for their equipment. 

    The extra costs will make many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians.

     This could make many tours unviable, particularly for younger, upcoming artists who don’t have big teams and big money behind them.

    The same applies to EU-based artists wishing to perform in the UK.

    That means disruption not only to seeing our favourite foreign bands and orchestras but income to festivals and all the benefits of creative co-operation too.

    Reciprocity is good for Britain and should not be holding back a deal for artists.

    Predictably the government is trying to blame the EU, but the fact remains that when the going got tough during the talks on the trade deal, Tory ministers just ducked for cover and hoped the problem would go away.

    As a result, our creative artists have been left high and dry, including musicians, dancers, actors and their many support staff who together with the rest of the creative industries generate over £100 billion a year to our economy.

    The Government must get back around the negotiating table and get this sorted.

    The creative arts sector is a massive success story for the UK economy. 

    It’s already in dire trouble because of Covid and this ‘friendly fire’ assault on its viability from our own government could be the last straw for many of our talented performers and backup staff.

    They were sacrificed in a botched negotiation, just like our fishermen, our farmers, and our crucial service industries.

    The artists who signed this letter are either furious or fearful for the future of their business, or both.

    If the Conservative Government cares about these industries and the economy, they must get back around the negotiating table and get this sorted pronto.

  4. "I’ve always believed Britain is best when it is at the heart of Europe. And that belief doesn’t stop now we have left the EU." - Ed Davey
  5. Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey shared his relief that the new Democratic President will lead America back into the Paris Agreement.

     

    Ed has called on Boris Johnson to extend the offer of an official state visit to President Biden as soon as possible, to coordinate urgent action on the climate crisis.

    Layla Moran shared her excitement on a the new Biden administration bringing some reason and calm during turbulent times.

    Layla and our candidate for Mayor of London, Luisa Porritt, also noted the historic nature of Kamala Harris' swearing in as Vice President.

    As the ceremony concluded, more our MPs reflected on this momentous occasion.

    Across the Liberal Democrat family people shared their hope for the new Biden administration.

  6. Farmers across the country are worried about their future - they’re worried that the UK will be flooded with poor quality food that undercuts the goods they produce to high environmental and animal welfare standards.

    Liberal Democrats back British farmers.

    The Conservatives have continually failed to protect our farmers from these risks.

    These amendments would have ensured that our farmers are protected and can continue to produce high quality food for our tables. That’s why Liberal Democrats supported them.

    We are already seeing the impact the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal is having on the fishing industry and by voting to reject these amendments the Conservatives have shown they are no ally to farmers either.

    Liberal Democrats back British farmers and will continue to fight to protect our food standards and their livelihoods.

    British farmers have a vital role to play in helping us tackle climate change and protect our natural environment, driving them out of business will be damaging for everyone.

  7. The Government are refusing to accept cross-party amendments to the Trade Bill that would put human rights at the heart of our trade policy.

    The UK and the world can’t just stand by and do nothing.

    This is particularly important because of what is happening to the Uyghur people in Xinjiang and across China. The Foreign Secretary last week described the mounting evidence to the Commons:

    Internment camps, arbitrary detention, political re-education, forced labour, torture and forced sterilisation—all on an industrial scale.

    And yet he refused to call it genocide. As I told Autumn Conference in September, and following Alistair Carmichael as the first MP to raise the plight of the Uyghurs, it is increasingly clear that that is exactly what this is.

    The UK and the world can’t just stand by and do nothing. The products of Uyghur slave labour can be found across our supply chains and yet instead of firm, bold action this government seems content to tweak around the edges.

    As Liberal Democrats we won’t stand by and let this happen.

    We are working with MPs from across the political spectrum to do the right thing and allow the UK to withdraw or revoke bilateral trade agreements if the High Court makes a preliminary determination finding that the other country has committed or is committing genocide (it only occurs to genocides that are ongoing or may occur in the future, not past atrocities).

    We vote on this today, and there is a sizeable rebellion on the Tory benches.

    As Liberal Democrats we won’t stand by and let this happen.

    We will run the Government close, and we may even win.

    We need to do this not because we don’t believe in the international rules-based order (we do, passionately, more than ever) but because it isn’t working as intended at the moment when it comes to genocide and China.

    The Chinese government, by virtue of its position, regularly blocks routes to such a determination through the international courts, so this is a necessary step if the UK is going to lead by example and give effect to its international law obligations relating to genocide, rather than become complicit.

    Never again can we wring our hands in horror after the fact, saying we should have done more.

    Never again. Words we say every Holocaust Remembrance Day. Words we must now live by.

    We simply can’t allow our country to end up on the wrong side of history.

    Our party has always led the way on upholding human rights

    By working together, even with those who may not agree with us on other matters, we can stand together and make a difference.

    I urge my colleagues in all parties to vote with their conscience, with British values and to support these amendments today.

    We are backed by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Muslim Council of Britain and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute.

    There are other steps we can take – such as Magnitsky sanctions, a publicly-available watchlist of companies that refuse to clean up their supply chains, a total ban on these products full stop, or human rights labelling on products in our shops – but amending this legislation would have a really significant impact.

    In fact it would be world-leading. I’m proud we are there fighting for it on the front line.

    Our party has always led the way on upholding human rights. From opposing South African apartheid, to Bosnia-Herzegovina, to enshrining 0.7% aid spending in law, we have a proud history and today is no different.

    We won’t tolerate genocide and nor should the Government.

    So today Lib Dem MPs will stand together with colleagues from across the Commons in sending a clear message. We won’t tolerate genocide and nor should the Government.

    So write to your MP and ask for them to support our cross-party efforts.

    Let’s not just say ‘never again’. To quote Burke:

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

  8. Munira asks Minister what support is in place for creatives in the circumstances of the pandemic and Brexit.
  9. Munira asks Government Minister for financial support for schools...
  10. Ed Davey calls government to financially compensate university students for disrupted education.

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