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  1. After today’s votes, the fight to stop Brexit continues.

    Hundreds of thousands of people are marching outside Parliament, where I’ve just finished voting, to demand a final say.

    After today's votes, Boris Johnson must obey the law and send a letter asking for Article 50 to be extended.

    We will use that extra time to secure a People’s Vote, to keep Britain in the European Union and to reject this awful deal.

    Boris Johnson’s deal will damage our economy, undermine the NHS and public services, remove vital workers’ rights and reduces environmental standards.

    When this deal comes back to Parliament, what needs to happen next is clear.

    We need a People’s Vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

    The next few days will be crucial - and we need all Remainers united and fighting to stop Brexit.

    Will you donate and support our campaign to stop Brexit today?

    Yes, I will!

  2. Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement would cause an economic loss to our economy to rival that seen after the financial crash
  3. History is inescapable. It helps define our identity, our culture and our sense of belonging. By connecting to the past, we gain a better understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. Yet, some parts of history are ignored, suppressed or erased altogether. None more so than black history.

    Although black people have been living in Britain as far back as the Roman Empire, their place in our national history has been exiled to the farthest margins.

    Black history is British history. It is an inextricable part of our national narrative, but our teaching of it is parochial. Popular British history tends to be singular and hierarchal, revealing implicit biases about whose history is worthy of study, whose contributions are valid and who truly belongs.

    Although black people have been living in Britain as far back as the Roman Empire, their place in our national history has been exiled to the farthest margins.

    Historical accounts are whitewashed and revised, making black contributions invisible and insignificant. Our continued failure to redress these distortions means our understanding of the past becomes skewed and unbalanced.

    Black History Month is our collective opportunity to recognise the lives and work of Black Britons. It is a national acknowledgement of the communities who have profoundly shaped our national and cultural identity. However, the celebration of these histories should not be confined to one month but must be proactively and intentionally acknowledged throughout the year. This is why I am proud to be a patron of the Black Cultural Achieves in Brixton.

    During Black History Month we can demand better recognition of black British history in our national story

    We should never become complacent in thinking the struggles of the past are over. The list of issues that disproportionally affect black people is vast: black men are more likely to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act, black women are more five times more likely to die giving birth, and black people as a whole are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. The ideologies that people of darker skin tones are inferior exist, even today. We are living at a time when black people are still being told to go back to back to Africa”, racial abuse is on the rise.  And to top it all off, our country is being led by a man whose descriptions of black people reek of empire and white privilege.

    During Black History Month we can demand better. We can demand better recognition of black British history in our national story and we must demand better than the dog-whistle racism that has seeped into our politics and society.  Let us work to build a society where the history of every Briton is respected and honoured, without exception.

  4. It seems Boris Johnson has managed to cobble together yet another disastrous Brexit deal.

    It remains to be seen if he can get the deal passed by the House of Commons, but we already know two things for certain:

    We will use every option available to give you the right to stop Brexit

    1. Whatever deal Johnson proposes, it’s not as good as the one we have now as a member of the EU.
    2. We will not stop fighting to stop Brexit.

    But as we saw three times before, agreeing a deal is only the start of the process. He still needs to get his deal through Parliament. 

    And Boris Johnson hasn’t exactly got a great track record on that.

    So far in his career as Prime Minister, he’s only won one vote in the Commons and currently has a majority of -45.

    We will use every option available to give you the right to stop Brexit in its tracks.

    If any Brexit deal comes to the House of Commons, we will add an amendment for it to be put to you, in a People’s Vote. 

    If any Brexit deal comes to the House of Commons, we will add an amendment for it to be put to you, in a People’s Vote. 

    And then will we campaign to remain in the EU.

    This fight isn’t over. And we’ll never stop fighting to stop Brexit and keep us in the EU.

    That’s because we know that Boris Johnson’s deal is bad for our economy, bad for our environmental standards, and bad for our workers’ rights.

    Whether it’s this deal or the last one, there is no deal as good as the one we have, as a member of the EU.

  5. The news just broke: turns out that the SNP spent more on the recent Shetland by-election than in the entire EU referendum campaign.

    It seems that the SNP just see Brexit as a golden opportunity to push independence at the price of our country's well-being.

    Shocker

    The party spent £99,000 on the Shetland by-election (of a spending limit of £100,000), compared to just over £90,000 in the 2016 referendum (13% of the limit)

    This is what our chief whip, Alistair Carmichael, had to say about the news. 

    "The fact that the SNP spent more on the by-election in Shetland than in the entire EU referendum campaign speaks volumes. It is disappointing but hardly surprising, considering how much lucre they flashed around in the Northern Isles over the summer.

    "Apparently one more vote for independence in Holyrood was worth more to the nationalists than their European values. It's a shame they don't put their money where their mouth is.

    "It shows the cynicism of the SNP leadership's position on the EU. They tell their supporters one story on Europe, but their actions tell another. They back the EU with words, but the truth is that they see Brexit as a golden opportunity to push independence at the price of our country's well-being."

  6. With her conference speech today Nicola Sturgeon has shown that she has given up on all the people across the UK trying to stop Brexit.

    The momentum is with us. We can win this, if we stick together.

  7. Today, Her Majesty The Queen opened the new parliamentary session. But we have exactly the same problems as we did in the last session: a government with no majority, no leadership and no realistic plan for our country.

    I used my speech in Parliament today to give a warning to my fellow MPs.

    Here's my speech in full:

    On behalf of my colleagues on these ever-expanding Liberal Democrat benches, I’d like to pay tribute to the mover and seconder of the Humble Address. Their wit and good humour have brought us all some light relief at this time of crisis.

    The Honourable Member for Truro and Falmouth is a well-respected former Minister, who is liked on all sides of the House for the way she genuinely engages with everyone.

    I understand that she was also Head Girl at school, graduated with a history degree from King's College London and then a masters as a Rotary Scholar. So some might call her a girly swot. She should know that, from these benches at least, that is meant as a compliment.

    The Honourable Member for North East Derbyshire treated us to a speech that took us on a grand tour from Derbyshire to Venezuela. As a fellow child of the 1980s, I’d like to thank him for confirming that 39 is still considered ‘up-and-coming’

    Much of the last three years has felt a bit like Groundhog Day, but there was something about the last week that has felt particularly familiar to me. Then it dawned on me.

    We’ve all been sat in meetings where a woman puts forward an idea and it gets shouted down. A little later, a man suggests virtually the same thing and pretends it was his great idea all along.

    The Liberal Democrats have been crystal clear about this.

    Whether it’s a hard or a soft Brexit.

    Whether it comes with a blue rosette or a red rosette. 

    Whether it is delivered by the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition.

    There is no form of Brexit that will be good for our country. And the Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to stop Brexit and secure a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the European Union to give the public the final say on Brexit deal.

    Because there is no deal that will ever be as good as the one we currently have as members of the European Union.

    Mr Speaker, there was nothing in this Queen’s Speech that will bring comfort to the factory worker set to lose their job – or the many thousands who already have.

    Nothing to bring comfort to families when they’re having to pay more and more to put food on the table.

    Nothing to bring comfort to our young people who are being stripped of the right to live, work, and study in 27 other countries. 

    Nothing to bring comfort to our NHS, on the cusp of yet another winter crisis, and having lost more than 5,000 EU nurses in the last two years.

    Nothing to bring comfort to the cancer patients who fear delays to drugs will mean delays to treatments and risks to their survival.

    There is nothing in this Gracious Speech will give the 3 million European citizens any comfort.

    Bina is with us today. A Dutch national who moved here in 1999.

    After the birth of her second daughter, she decided to go self-employed. But despite paying her taxes just as she should, the Home Office asked her for proof after proof before finally granting her Settled Status.

    Weeks of anxiety and uncertainty. Weeks of being treated like a second-class citizen in the place she calls home.

    Jennifer is also with us today. Her daughter, now 38-years-old, was born in Strasbourg, severely disabled. In 1986, Jennifer moved her family to the UK where Marie could get far better care and education.

    Marie has Settled Status now, because her mother was there to help. Her mother was there to make sure that her daughter’s rights were protected, that her family wasn’t split apart.

    But there are so many other vulnerable EU citizens in our country who cannot rely on a family member or friend to help them through the application process.

    And, last but not least, Kristin, my constituent, has travelled down with her mother to be with us today too.

    Margot moved to the UK 45 years ago from Norway. Two years later, she married Geoff and then Kristin was born. After raising her family, Margot went back to work, paying her taxes every step of the way.

    As required, Margot applied for Settled Status, but struggled to get her application approved.

    Forty-five years of contributing to our society, our economy, and that’s how this government treated her: like a bureaucratic problem.

    Causing unnecessary anxiety and fear to an elderly couple trying to enjoy their retirement years. Their family fearful they’ll be torn apart. 

    Will the Prime Minister have the courage to look Kristin, Margot, Bina and Jennifer in the eye and apologise for the anxiety he has caused them and the 3 million other citizens from the EU 27?

    Our country is better than this: we don’t turn our back on those who have come over to be our doctors, nurses, teachers and carers.

    We don’t turn our back on our family, friends and loved ones.

    We don’t turn our back on those who like the rest of us only want to make our country a better place. That’s not who we are.

    There shouldn’t even be a Queen’s Speech.

    Mr Speaker, there’s little more British than putting on our glad rags and taking part in pomp and circumstance.

    But there is a time and place for that. Today was not it.

    Today is a distraction from the fact that our country is fast hurtling towards catastrophe.

    That the Prime Minister is more interested in hanging on to power at any price than what is best for our country. 

    This hard-line Brexit government has no majority, no plan, no clue and is putting the future of our great country at risk.

    Mr Speaker, the benches opposite are clamouring for a General Election, and we’re ready to give them one.

    All they need to do is sign a simple letter and secure an extension to Article 50.

    I’ve said this before in this House, and I’ll say it again. I relish the opportunity to take on the Prime Minister in a General Election.

    And I cannot wait to take to the country the positive alternative vision that people deserve.

    A vision for a country where if you work hard and play by the rules, you are rewarded with a decent home and enough to get by and live with dignity.

    Where every child and young person is nurtured and supported to become whatever they want to be, no matter who their parents are, how much money they have, or the colour of their skin.

    And where the most vulnerable among us can always get the help they need, with no judgement or sanction.

    Mr Speaker, we know our country is better than what this Government wants it to be.

    I know that we can be open, generous and collaborative. And I know our politics can be one of hope and inclusion, firmly set on the better future we want to create.

    But all this Government wants to do is turn us into an insular, closed and selfish country. Trading in fear and division to get their way.

    That’s what this Queen’s Speech is all about. And that’s why the Liberal Democrats will not be voting for it. 

  8. Our experience has taught us that the best campaigns are built on personal stories.

    They give an emotional and personal connection beyond cold, hard facts.

    So to help our campaign to stop Brexit succeed, we have a very specific request.

    Can you tell us how Brexit is personally affecting you and your family?

    We want to hear from you if: your medication has already been delayed; you’re a business owner, worried about supply chains or staffing or you work in the NHS and you’re worried of the impact on patient care… to name but a few!

    So, will you share your story?

    How is Brexit affecting you

    We may want to use your stories at events, in our literature and online – please do indicate which ones you’d be comfortable with on the page.

    Remember, the most impactful stories are those that are personal – those aspects of Brexit that will directly affect you and your family – not opinions and views, so please bear this in mind when making your submission.

    Thank you for all you do.

  9. Parliament is in deadlock and we are preparing for a GE to be held soon. The Liberal Democrats will go into any election campaigning to win, fighting for our place in the European Union, where we can work internationally to tackle the Climate Emergency. 

    Help us make that happen.

    Be ready to vote for the Lib Dems by registering for a postal vote now. 

    Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have proved they are not fit for office. Now is the time for Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats to take centre stage.

    Organising a postal vote is a brilliant way of supporting us, it means your vote can be cast in advance of polling day in your own time. 

    It means that if you are campaigning with us on polling day, you know your vote is already in the bag. 

    And even if you aren’t, it means that our campaigners have one less door to knock on on polling day. 

    After every election I speak to people who planned to vote but couldn't in the end because something came up on the day - they got ill or were away unexpectedly. But when the country is teetering on the brink of another General Election, I don’t want you to miss out.

    The next general election will dictate the course of our country, at a chaotic and busy time, it is important to make sure your vote is counted. 

    We are expected to make significant gains across the country as we build on our recent electoral success. Having made strides in the local and European elections, we continue to stand up for an open, inclusive and progressive UK in the upcoming General Election.

    You can be part of this movement to bring liberal values back to British politics. 

    Simply fill in the formand send it to your local council to be added to the postal vote list. 

    Get your postal vote

    Thank you!

     

  10. Catherine Bearder MEP, has today reconvened the cross-party interest group MEPs4Wildlife in an effort to continue putting pressure on the European Union to take action to tackle wildlife crime.

    The group brings together MEPs from across the political spectrum who are passionate about ending wildlife crime both within the European Union and further afield. The members of MEPs4Wildlife for the new parliamentary term are:

    • Catherine Bearder (Renew Europe)
    • Eleonora Evi (Non-attached)
    • Theresa Griffin (S&D)
    • Jytte Guteland (S&D)
    • Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL)
    • Grace O’Sullivan (Greens/EFA)
    • Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP)
    • Hilde Vautmans (Renew Europe)
    • Michal Wiezik (EPP)

    Commenting on the group’s relaunch, Catherine Bearder said:
    “I am delighted to reconvene MEPs4Wildlife for the new parliamentary term. Since I first set up the group in 2015, MEPs4Wildlife has lobbied the Commission and national governments on a variety of issues, from working on the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking, to banning the sale of ivory in the EU, to increasing resources to Europol to enforce environmental laws, to ending the unsustainable trapping of night monkeys in Colombia. I hope that in the new term we will be equally as active, particularly as the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking is set for renewal next year.”

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