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BREAKING: By-election in Brecon and Radnorshire

by James Lillis on Sat, 22 Jun 2019

We have a by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire!

The current MP, a hard Tory Brexiter, has been overwhelmingly recalled by his constituents.

And if we take this seat off the Tories and they may lose their working majority in the Commons.

Brecon and Radnorshire is a seat that we held until 2015, and we hold the Welsh Assembly Member seat.

This is an election we can win.

As the campaign manager of the 2016 Richmond Park by-election, I know that what makes the biggest difference is help early on.

We need your help right now to get off to a flying start and get another Lib Dem MP in Parliament.

Can you join us in Brecon and Radnorshire this weekend or come by in the next ten days?

I'm in

And if you can't make it, can you help us secure a big victory by giving what you can today?

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Windrush Day

by Isabelle Parasram on Sat, 22 Jun 2019

Please be advised that this article contains language that some may find offensive

As a child of the Windrush generation, Windrush Day is hugely important to me. I’m so glad that we, as a society, are marking it.

The term ‘the Windrush Generation’ stems from the arrival, on June 22, 1948, of the ship The Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks, just east of London, bringing with it the first immigrants from the Caribbean.

It denotes the large-scale influx of Caribbean immigrants during the years that followed.

There’s been a lot of press about the terrible treatment of people who came here from the Caribbean in the late 1940s and onwards, who now find that their very official existence has been denied.

There’s been a lot of press about the terrible treatment of people who came here from the Caribbean in the late 1940s and onwards, who now find that their very official existence has been denied.

There’s also much discussion about the poor treatment of those Caribbean immigrants upon their arrival in the UK to date.

But there are also some positive stories and memories mixed in with those experiences.

I’ve recorded an 8-minute audio interview with someone who came to this country in 1962. She shared with me some of her memories and they were both good and bad.

The memories they shared included these:

‘I came to the UK after a one month journey from Trinidad by ship with my young stepson and my new baby boy. When we arrived it was the coldest winter they’d had in a long time and we only had summer clothes.’

‘I remember having no furniture, no heating, no washing machine, no fridge, no winter clothes. We had to try to stay warm in one room using a paraffin burner. Then, on Christmas Day, someone gave us a bed for my stepson. I was so happy!’

Since 2018, we’ve celebrated Windrush Day to honour the British Caribbean community.

‘It was hard to find a job because no black people were allowed. The British people didn’t want immigrants – “…no black people”, they said.’

‘I remember a bus driver saying to the passengers that ‘…all these Pakis had come over here to go on the dole. I pointed out to him that not everyone with Asian skin was from Pakistan and that we were all desperate to work.’

‘We had so little money for food that I had to work at a sweet factory in the evenings just so we could eat. I know it was illegal, but I left my young stepson in charge of my toddler and my baby and, one day, I came home to find the baby under the kitchen table. But I had no choice.’

‘Eventually, I got a job in local Government. I was the only black woman working in my department for the Council. They treated me well and helped me to get promotions.’

And so, the stories continue.

Since 2018, we’ve celebrated Windrush Day to honour the British Caribbean community.

Listening to the person I interviewed who spoke about how hard it was to find work, it’s ironic to note that, following the losses of World War II, Britain was in dire need of labourers. This prompted a campaign to entice people from the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth to immigrate to the UK.

Yet, when they arrived, it seems that they weren’t exactly welcomed.

I’ve read the ‘official lines’ that state, for posterity that ‘…the Windrush Generation and their descendants are honoured for their immense contributions to British society following the trauma of the Second World War’. However, this does not entirely reflect the British Caribbean community’s experience – certainly not those with whom I’ve come into contact.

When Caribbean immigrants first arrived, there were met with extreme intolerance from large parts of the white population.

Having initially been encouraged to settle in the UK and take up employment to revive the labour market, many early immigrants were denied access to private employment and accommodation on account of their skin colour. Afro-Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean people were also banished from many pubs, clubs, and even churches.

From today's perspective, the arrival of The Empire Windrush is considered a major landmark not only for the country's recovery from the turmoil of war but also for the establishment of modern British multicultural society.

As Liberal Democrats, we must continue to fight for justice for those members of the Windrush Generation whose paperwork – destroyed by The Home Office - means that they have to face a costly, lengthy and sometimes unwinnable battle to establish their right to remain in the UK

Windrush Day is a way of encouraging communities across the country to celebrate the contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants – I guess that would include me!

But, it also serves as a reminder that, as Liberal Democrats, we must continue to fight for justice for those members of the the Windrush Generation whose paperwork – destroyed by The Home Office - means that they have to face a costly, lengthy and sometimes unwinnable battle to establish their right to remain in the UK, even if this is the only home they’ve ever known.

So, join me on Tuesday 25th June 2019 at an event organised by ‘The Hackney Heroine’, Pauline Pearce, the driving force behind Motion F5 from last Autumn’s Conference ‘Righting Wrongs: Restoring the Rights of the Windrush Generation’.

Alongside former Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year, Kaweh Beheshtizadeh and Professor Paul Reynolds (both key figures within the Liberal Democrats), I will be discussing the issues surrounding the Windrush Scandal and what we, as Liberal Democrats, can do about it.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Brexit is the most serious threat to our country in my lifetime.

Yet the Conservative Party leadership contest shows they still haven’t got it – and are even willing to make things worse. Enthusiastic talk of a No Deal Brexit? Of sending MPs home – proroguing Parliament – so MPs can’t stop a No Deal? By people who want to be our country’s Prime Minister? Whoever wins that leadership contest has to be stopped.

Yet we know Labour won’t do it. Labour have aided and abetted the Tories every step of the way. Jeremy Corbyn demanded after the referendum that the Government should invoke Article 50 immediately and leave as soon as possible. Last week some Labour MPs even voted against a cross-party motion that could have enabled MPs to block a disastrous No Deal Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats are now the leaders of Remain.

Neither Labour nor the Conservatives can be trusted on Brexit.

Fortunately, the European Elections have heralded a dramatic realignment in British politics. Away from the Labour-Tory battles of the past, towards today’s Remain-Leave battle. And the Liberal Democrats are now the leaders of Remain.

So our leadership contest – who is the Leader of the lead Remain Party – could not be more significant.

We need a Leader who understands the EU, who knows how to win and above all who is ready now to take on Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn - and ready to become Prime Minister.

I have the CV for that task. And I’m ready for that task.

I have successfully negotiated in Government – indeed, across Europe, twice – on economic reform and on climate change. In fact, I’ve attended more EU Ministerial Councils in Brussels than any Liberal Democrat in history, during my 5 years as a Business Minister and Cabinet Minister.

My campaigning record over 20 years shows I know how to win – from winning my constituency when I wasn’t even a target seat to my leading role in developing simple messages that connect with voters - from “Stop Brexit” to “a penny on income tax for education” [1991-2001] to “scrap council tax” [2003-05].

I have the ideas and vision to be a Prime Minister who doesn’t just stop Brexit, but stops the causes of Brexit.

And I have the ideas and vision to be a Prime Minister who doesn’t just stop Brexit, but stops the causes of Brexit. From my detailed economic plan to invest in the communities left behind in the past – including massive investment in the regions and nations – to my proposals to tackle the Climate Emergency, we can have a substantial programme for Government.

The leadership to stop Brexit and renew our country is now down to the Liberal Democrats. I’m the Leader who can campaign so we win the right to perform that duty – and the person who is best placed to lead us in carrying out that historic task.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Jo Swinson: a positive future for Britain

by Jo Swinson on Wed, 19 Jun 2019

My number one priority as leader would be stopping Brexit. It should be the number one goal of everyone in our party.

It’s why I’ve worked so hard as the leading Liberal Democrat in the People’s Vote campaign to bring together a group of like-minded MPs who want to give the British people the final say.

It’s why I work cross-party with MPs from all parties, and indeed none, to discuss how we can get the numbers in Parliament over the line.

It’s why I campaigned up and down the country for local councillors and European candidates on a clear message to stop Brexit and was so proud of the excellent election results that you all worked so hard to deliver.

We have to give the people who have voted for us, many for the first time, because of our honest and principled Brexit stance, a reason to stick with us in the long-term.

But the question I also think the next leader of this party needs to answer is when we’ve stopped Brexit, what next? How do we take the energy, enthusiasm and support our Brexit stance has brought us and use it as a springboard to take us forward?

The cynics in the media constantly ask what will happen to our support when Brexit is done. Will it simply evaporate and leave us back down at single digits in the polls? My answer is always the same. We have to give the people who have voted for us, many for the first time, because of our honest and principled Brexit stance, a reason to stick with us in the long-term.

And there are plenty of good reasons. We only need to look at the other parties to see why a strong Liberal Democrat party is so vital.

The man who is the favourite to be the next Prime Minister is the same man who compares Muslim women to letterboxes, and the leader of the opposition refuses to tackle vile, anti-semitic abuse in his own party. There are millions of people who find those views abhorrent and are looking to us as the liberal voice in illiberal times.

We only need to look at the other parties to see why a strong Liberal Democrat party is so vital.

I believe that our party can be the heart of a movement that says no to Brexit, but also paints a positive vision of the future beyond that fight.

A future where we take urgent action on the climate emergency, for example by investing much more in renewable energy and building zero-carbon homes; a future where we harness the technological revolution to make it work for us; and a future where we reshape our economic system so that it values wellbeing alongside GDP.

I want to lead the Liberal Democrats to stop Brexit. But movements are built not simply on being against something, but being for something as well. There is a huge opportunity at our fingertips to transform our society and our economy, and if we work together we can grasp it and take the party, and the country, forward. I hope you’ll support me.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Over the past three years, I have been proud to help lead the calls for a People’s Vote in the belief that the challenge of Brexit required not only the strong leadership provided by the Liberal Democrats but also for us to work together with people of all parties and none.

I never imagined that I would be able to say that Michael Heseltine and Alastair Campbell voted the same way as me, but our message to stop Brexit brought together voters from all corners of our politics.

I think this movement of people giving us a fresh look is reflective of the fact that our two-party politics is fracturing. The hard-right Conservatives are running off courting voters they’ve lost to the Brexit Party, and hard-left Labour has departed the field entirely, unable to bring themselves to pick a side at all. But there are good people in the abandoned wings of each party with whom we can, and must, work.

Our two-party politics is fracturing.

Over recent days, this has included speculation that some of the former Change UK MPs may join the Liberal Democrats. I have worked with a number of these MPs and greatly respect them and admire their bravery in leaving their broken parties behind. I also believe passionately that to advance our causes in politics, we have to be willing to reach beyond our current membership and bring on board people who are liberal, but not yet Liberal Democrats.

Over the next few months, there will no doubt continue to be speculation about whether MPs, whether sitting as Independents or not, will seek to join the Liberal Democrats. I have been clear that if those people share our vision for the country, then they would be welcome. If they can read that famous pre-amble of our constitution and find themselves nodding along, then they are welcome. If they believe that we need to fight for our place in the EU, if they believe immigration is a good thing and they want to transform our economy so that it promotes well-being alongside profit, then they are welcome.

But, under my leadership, this will not be a decision taken solely by the Leader, the parliamentary party, or Federal Board. Our members and local parties will play a vital role in any decision to accept new MPs.

Ask any elected Liberal Democrat and they’ll tell you that our members aren’t just a part of our party, they ARE our party, so I want them involved in that process too.

We have to be willing to reach beyond our current membership and bring on board people who are liberal, but not yet Liberal Democrats.

They have welcomed thousands of people into our party in the last three years, and more than 20,000 in the last few days alone, and many of these ‘newbies’ have now gone on to become hard-working local Councillors, Parliamentary candidates and even new MEPs.

We are the party of Remain, and we are also the party best placed to take on the division and populism of the Brexit Party. To do this, we need to build a liberal movement that can build a better society. And as the thousands of new members will attest, our party is a welcoming place for those who want to build a liberal movement to take on the growing forces of nationalism and populism.

Under my leadership, the Liberal Democrats will be the rallying point for the movement that this country desperately needs. I am ambitious for our party and want to see us continue to grow with our members, old and new, integral to our success.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

3 years on from the EU referendum

by Tom Brake on Sat, 15 Jun 2019

Three years on from the 2016 referendum and we are still in the EU.

This in itself is a huge achievement. It is also a fact that I find myself reminding journalists and political figures of fairly frequently. In three years we have come a long way. On the devastating morning after the referendum, I was numb. It felt like it was a foregone conclusion that Brexit would happen, and our country would inevitably have to undergo the associated irreparable damage. Very quickly it became clear that wasn’t the case.

The day after that referendum, then Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron announced that our party would campaign to give the people the final say on whatever deal came out of the Brexit negotiations. This final say would ensure that people were happy with the deal and that if they weren’t, we could stay in the EU. Since then we have campaigned tirelessly to secure that people’s vote. Our growing number of members and supporters have been passionate and inspirational in their resolve. Our party is unapologetically pro-EU and we have fought tooth and nail for the last three years to keep the UK’s place in Europe.

It felt like it was a foregone conclusion that Brexit would happen. Very quickly it became clear that wasn’t the case.

We have knocked on doors, set up street stalls, taken part in local debates. We have had a huge presence at one of the largest marches the UK has ever seen. At every stage of the arduous Parliamentary process, we have tabled amendments for a people’s vote. Liberal Democrat MPs have at times marched through the voting lobbies alone, defiant, knowing that we cannot bear to look back and feel we could have done more.

Increasingly, our voices have been heard. More and more parliamentarians from all parties have joined us. The last people’s vote amendment received more votes in favour of it than any other option ever had – including the Prime Minister’s deal. This momentum is huge and it’s growing all the time.

It’s become clear that Brexit is not what we were promised.

It’s become clear that Brexit is not what we were promised. The process has been messy, costly, and long. The deal we were presented with was shoddy. Now potential new Prime Ministers are suggesting that the best option is to crash out of the EU. Something no one was advocating in 2016. Liberal Democrats remain certain that the UK belongs at the heart of the EU.

We have been unwavering in this belief for three years and longer. We have always been internationalist, open, democratic. We have always believed we should be tearing down walls, not building them. In the recent Local and European Elections, Liberal Democrats shouted this message loud and clear. Bollocks to Brexit was in bold across our EU manifesto. It paid off. We secured incredible results in both elections and now have a strong base of new members, Councillors, and MEPs ready to keep fighting the good fight.

We are closer than ever to stopping Brexit and Liberal Democrats will not rest until we do.

The immediate battle in Westminster is now focused on stopping Conservative efforts to crash the UK out of the EU without a deal. We know how catastrophic this would be for our NHS, jobs and the environment. We will block the dangerous antics of the likes of Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and Esther McVey and meanwhile the fight to give the people the final say continues.

We are closer than ever to stopping Brexit and Liberal Democrats will not rest until we do. Three years on from that 2016 referendum, we are still in the EU and our voices are growing stronger and louder as each day passes. Liberal Democrats won't let up until we have won this battle for the heart and future of our country.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

I’m running to be Leader of the Liberal Democrats – but your choice could be about far more than simply who leads our Party.

The tectonic plates of British Politics are shifting, and its the most volatile I have seen it in my lifetime. With the Liberal Democrats on 20% in the polls, two main Parties crumbling from the inside, and a re-alignment of political allegiances across the country, we have a golden opportunity to cement our place as the leading force of Remain.

The impending reign of chaos by these Brexiteers also brings the shadow of a possible General Election – and looking at our recent polls I can see us making some serious gains

There is also serious talk of a Government of National Unity. Its purpose would simply be to make revoking Article 50 the default, rather than crashing out without a deal. This option is looking increasingly appealing to anti-No Deal MPs of all parties who are terrified by the thought of Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab in Number 10. I’m clear that as Leader I would support this. Liberal Democrats should be leading the way, working with other parties, in avoiding no-deal like we are in stopping Brexit.

The impending reign of chaos by these Brexiteers also brings the shadow of a possible General Election – and looking at our recent polls I can see us making some serious gains, with both the Tories and Labour potentially failing to gain a majority.

For these reasons, its therefore quite possible that members like you are not just picking the next Leader of our Party, but also a future Prime Minister.

We’ve had a tough few years. Too many hard-working Liberal Democrats have lost their seats since 2010 despite making such a huge contribution to their local community. But our members have embodied the sort of spirit that has meant we have survived for so long in a brutal First-Past-The-Post system – they have never given up. Now, look at what we have achieved.

I’ve got the relationships with MPs from other Parties needed to get a block to No-Deal through the House of Commons.

Over 700 new Councillors. 15 new MEPs. That is down to every member who has knocked on doors, delivered leaflets, or supported us on social media. That hard work has now put us in the position we could decide the future of our country.

It's a huge opportunity. I know that as Leader I would make the most of it.

My negotiating skills have been honed over 20 years in Parliament, in Cabinet and at climate change talks at the EU and UN. I’m a proven media performer who has been making the case across print and broadcast media that the Liberal Democrats are the strongest pro-remain Party. I’ve got the relationships with MPs from other Parties needed to get a block to No-Deal through the House of Commons.

I know I am the right person to lead our Party – but I need your support to do so. If we get this right we can save our Country from a ruinous No-Deal, stop Brexit, and transform our country for the better.

That’s why I’m asking you to support me in my bid to become Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

This month is Pride month. This year, June is also 50 years on from the pivotal Stonewall riots. We’ve come a long way, yet still couples in Northern Ireland are still denied the right to marry the person that they love.

Internationally, huge progress has been made when it comes to the rights and freedoms of LGBT+ people. Just this summer, Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage while Botswana decriminalised homosexuality in a landmark ruling. But we still have so far to go. In the UK many LGBT+ people still face a grim reality in which discrimination, both socially and in the eyes of the law, blights their everyday reality. The shocking image of a young same-sex couple covered in blood having been subjected to violence on a bus in London this month was a stark reminder that bigotry and prejudice persist.

The shocking image of a young same-sex couple covered in blood having been subjected to violence on a bus in London this month was a stark reminder that bigotry and prejudice persist.

That image made me sick to my stomach. It also strengthened my resolve to fight for equality for all. We cannot let hate win. It will not win. Liberal Democrats have always been clear that LGBT+ rights are human rights and that these rights are at the core of who we are as a party. It is why we pushed forward the amendment to repeal Section 28, it is why we legislated for same-sex marriage, and it is why we are now continuing to campaign for same-sex marriage to be expanded to Northern Ireland.

The murder of journalist Lyra McKee was heart-breaking and deplorable. This heinous act not only put the tensions in Northern Ireland into stark relief but also served as a painful reminder of this government’s failure to roll out same-sex marriage to the whole of our country. After Lyra’s murder, her partner spoke out, urging the Conservatives to ensure that couples in Northern Ireland can marry the person they love at home and have that marriage legally recognised, regardless of gender.

It is clear that Westminster must act to help give couples in Northern Ireland the rights and freedoms those in the rest of the UK have.

Frustratingly her calls, along with those by countless other campaigners, have so far fallen on deaf ears. Earlier this year, I co-sponsored a Bill in Parliament that would bring same-sex marriage laws in Northern Ireland in line with those in England, Wales, and Scotland. While I would prefer that local politicians in Belfast take this decision, with the collapse of the Assembly it is clear that Westminster must act to help give couples in Northern Ireland the rights and freedoms those in the rest of the UK have.

Earlier this month Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable did a video for Pink News where he reiterated the Liberal Democrats’ clear support for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. I am proud to be in a party that has been unequivocal in our support for equality and I know that whoever takes over from Vince as our party’s next Leader will ensure that the fight for equality remains at the top of our agenda. This Pride month, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come, celebrate our sexual and gender diversity, but let’s also recommit to tackling discrimination and prejudice wherever it exists.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Demand better for unpaid carers

by Sal Brinton on Fri, 14 Jun 2019

In the UK currently seven million people are carers. That is one in ten people and the figure is only rising as demographics change and people live longer with more disabilities and illnesses.

Three in five of us will be carers at one point or another in our lives.

That is why it is so important this week, Carers Week, that we understand and recognise the contribution carers make to society.

Carers are more likely to suffer with mental health and physical health problems. Young carers miss days of school. And carers are more likely to struggle financially and have lower rates of employment.

Yet in the UK one in three carers have missed out on benefits they are entitled to because they did not realise they could claim them.

That is why I am using Carers Week to challenge the Conservative Government. This week in the House of Lords I asked the Government what steps they are taking to ensure unpaid carers receive the support to which they are entitled.

We need to being doing much more for unpaid carers across the UK.

The Liberal Democrats have also repeated called for the Carer’s Allowance to be raised and for the number of hours required to qualify to be reduced. We would also make it a legal duty for the NHS to identify carers to ensure unpaid carers have access to support and flexible visiting hours. We would develop a Carer’s Passport to ensure carers are informed of their NHS rights.

Liberal Democrats demand better for unpaid carers. We all need to be doing much more to support some of the most hardworking and undervalued people in our society.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Campaign with us in London

by Naomi Farhi on Fri, 14 Jun 2019

If you're not down in Brecon and Radnorshire campaigning on the doorstep with the fantastic Jane Dodds and team,
there's still a very important way you can help us win.

Every week (often twice a week), we welcome volunteers at Lib Dem HQ in London who come and help us phone canvass.

You don't need any experience and we love to see new faces join us!

After doorknocking, phone canvassing is the most effective way of winning elections.

During the locals, we made over 20,000 calls to voters. We won every single ward we called.

During European elections, we made well over 40,000 calls. Now we have 16 MEPs.

Our volunteer phone-bankers have helped make party history by helping us win our best ever local and European election results.

You can help us win the next victory for the party.

We have a strong chance of recalling the Brexiter Tory MP in Brecon and Radnorshire after he misused his expenses.

Come along to one of our phone banks and see what it's all about.

And if you need a better reason than electing another Lib Dem MP, there's free pizza!

Make sure to RSVP:

20th June  25th June 

2nd July 11th July

16th July

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

A record-breaking few months

by Dan Schmeising on Fri, 14 Jun 2019

We’ve had an exceptional two months, winning elections, breaking records and growing our movement. Get the low down here:

Local Elections

We saw our party’s best ever local election results, taking control of twelve councils and winning 706 council seats across England.

We took control of Vale of the White Horse, Hinckley & Bosworth, North Norfolk, Winchester, Bath and North East Somerset, Cotswolds, Chelmsford North Devon, Mole Valley, North Devon, Somerset West & Taunton and Teignbridge Councils.

We also took big strides forward in Southport, Hazel Grove, St Albans and Cheadle and we made real, tangible progress in many more - including Dacorum, Welwyn Hatfield, Broxtowe, Wokingham, Brentwood, Southend, New Forest, Barnsley and Sunderland.

The European Elections

We came second, with a vote share of 20.3% and beat out both Labour and the Conservatives.

And we elected sixteen fantastic MEPs!

🔶 Catherine Bearder (Group Leader), Anthony Hook and Judith Bunting in the South East

🔶 Barbara Gibson and Lucy Nethsingha in the East of England

🔶 Bill Newton Dunn in the East Midlands

🔶 Caroline Voaden and Martin Horwood in the South West

🔶 Irina Von Wiese, Dinesh Dhamija and Luisa Porritt in London

🔶 Jane Brophy and Chris Davies in the North West

🔶 Phil Bennion in the West Midlands

🔶 Shaffaq Mohammed in Yorkshire and the Humber

🔶 Shelia Richie in Scotland

This result marks a sea change in British politics. We are the biggest, strongest Remain party. We are the real opposition to the damaging Brexit pushed by Nigel Farage and his sycophants in the Conservative Party.

Membership Surge

People joined us in their thousands during the local and European elections. And these numbers just kept growing as people joined us to get their say in our leadership election.

We ended last week on 105,480 members – the highest number of members in our party’s history – and still growing!

A warm welcome to Chuka Umunna 

Having left the Labour party in February to start Change UK/The Independent Group, this week Chuka Umunna has decided to join the Liberal Democrats. 

The Liberal Democrats have proved that we are the defining progressive, Remain and liberal force in British politics - and our door is open to anyone who shares our values. 

Join us in wishing Chuka a very warm welcome here: 

And read his article about his decision to join us here: 

Leadership Election

And now we have a leadership election - a chance to choose the person to lead our party and build on these successes.

Hear from the candidates, find out about hustings near you and see the full election timetable here:

The Leadership Election

 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Why I joined the Liberal Democrats

by Chuka Umunna on Fri, 14 Jun 2019

I went into politics to put something back into the community I am from and to take our country in a progressive direction. My progressive values lead me to strive to work for a fair and open Britain, which has a strong, mixed market economy, in which everyone can achieve their dreams regardless of their background.

I went into politics to put something back into the community I am from and to take our country in a progressive direction.

I am unapologetically an internationalist which is why I oppose Brexit and am fighting for the UK to remain in the European Union. These are very much the values of those I represent in Streatham and the same things that I stood on at the last General Election.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Chuka Umunna joins the Liberal Democrats

by Vince Cable on Thu, 13 Jun 2019

Leaving a political party is never an easy decision - nor one that one makes lightly. I know that from my own experience nearly 40 years ago! 

Tonight, Chuka Umunna announced that he has joined the Liberal Democrats.

And I am delighted to welcome him to our party, as the Liberal Democrat MP for Streatham.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Join one of our new working groups!

by Christian Moon on Thu, 13 Jun 2019

We are currently looking for members for three new policy working groups on the future of work, the natural environment and utilities.

The working groups will take evidence and prepare policy proposals to submit to Autumn Conference 2020.

Working group members are expected to attend meetings (in person or by dialling in), input their ideas for policy, and play a role in drafting the policy paper. The position is voluntary.

The deadline for applications is 1pm on Wednesday 3rd July.

You can find out more about the working groups, and apply here:

Find out more

Apply now

 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

As a Party we depend on our volunteers - members like you - to run things. We are introducing the new Liberal Democrat Disciplinary Procedure this Summer and need members to volunteer to make it work.

As part of the new disciplinary procedures we need teams of members to volunteer for the four roles that need filling. These are Adjudicator, Investigator, Independent Person (Mediator), and Party Mentor.

Adjudicator
An Adjudicator is an individual trained to assess the severity of a complaint and will sit on panels. Each complaints panel is made up of three adjudicators and they may impose sanctions on individuals who are deemed to have brought the Party into disrepute.

Investigator
Investigators are trained to investigate complaints referred to them and are tasked with presenting the complaints they have investigated to a Complaints Panel. Investigators determine whether the complaints are serious enough to warrant such action.

Independent Person (Mediator)
Independent Persons or Mediators are Party members with no personal connection to the event ot conduct giving rise to a complaint to to any of the individuals involved. They are appointed to provide independent advice to either the complainants, or to the person subject to a complaint. They are trained in mediating disputes in the circumstances where the parties can reach an informal solution.

Party Mentor
A Party Mentor is an individual identified by the Party to provide personal support to the person subject to a complaint, in a similar manner to the support provided by the Pastoral Care Officer to complainants.

Can you help with these roles? The workload may be intense for short periods but should not be high across the year. You may be asked to help with cases anywhere in the UK. We will make intensive use of digital communication methods to reduce unnecessary travel. We will also provide training to refresh or increase your skills.

If you would like to find out more or to volunteer for any of these roles further please click here:

I'll volunteer

It is important that everyone in the Party, and in wider society, has confidence in the way we deal with problems in the Party, so please help us to run a robust system.

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Wow! Thank you!

by Jo Swinson on Wed, 12 Jun 2019

It has been an amazing week since I launched my campaign to become Leader of our party.

From my campaign launch with young tech apprentices to appearances on the Andrew Marr Show, Question Time, Good Morning Britain and the Today Progamme (twice!), my feet hardly touched the floor.

I am standing because our party, and our country, are at a turning point.

See my manifesto here: Jo's manifesto

My aim as Leader is to build on our 700+ gains in the local elections and our fantastic success in the European Elections to change Britain's politics.

As Leader, I will win us the cut through we need to get our strong liberal message across.

As Leader I will reach out to the next generation, bringing new and vibrant talent into our party.

And as Leader I will ensure that the Liberal Democrats lead the liberal revival that our politics so desperately needs.

Please join my campaign today.

Visit JoinJo.org.uk to find out more, to volunteer or to donate.

Find out why Shirley Williams and a whole host of party activists are supporting my campaign.

Thank you for everything you've done to help bring the Liberal Democrats this far.

Please support my campaign for Leader to help take us to the next level.

All the best,

Jo

Jo Swinson

Liberal Democrat Leadership Candidate and MP for East Dunbartonshire

PS: Please read my manifesto here: Jo's manifesto

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The planet’s on the ballot

by Sir Ed Davey MP on Wed, 12 Jun 2019

We can stop Brexit – we must. For our economy. For our families, friends and neighbours who’ve made Britain their home. For what it says about us, as a country.

You could pick a hundred reasons why we must stop Brexit. Top of my list is the fight against the Climate Change Emergency.

Climate change’s devastation won’t respect borders – you have to work internationally, with other countries, if you want to save our planet.

That’s what I did, as Energy and Climate Change Minister. At the European table and at the UN, I fought for tougher targets to cut carbon emissions.

And I won.

Now – just as we are leading the campaign to Stop Brexit - I want us to lead the fight to solve the Climate Change Emergency. With my radical economic plan, for carbon-free capitalism.

And if you vote for me to be the next Leader of the Liberal Democrats, the environment will be my priority, alongside stopping Brexit.

 

With our fantastic election results, the Liberal Democrats are back in the game!

And with the tectonic plates of British Politics shifting – as the divided Tories and Labour parties split over Brexit – our Party’s potential has never been greater. So in choosing our next Leader, you may be choosing a future Prime Minister.

The next Leader must be both a proven media performer and someone with the skills and vision to lead our party to win again, at all levels of Government.

If you share my vision to Stop Brexit and solve the Climate Emergency, please back me to be our next Leader.

Best wishes

Ed

Ed Davey MP

Liberal Democrat Leadership Candidate and MP for Kingston and Surbiton

PS. Please tell me you’re backing my campaign to make the Liberal Democrats THE Party that will tackle the Climate Emergency.

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Do you get excited by a big by-election? Do you want the inside track on how we are performing?

We are setting up a new email list to give you just that – a first-hand account from the Campaign Managers and candidates of how we are performing in big Parliamentary by-elections and most importantly how you can help.

If you want to know how you can help translate our local and European success into more Parliamentary wins, please sign up today.

Sign up now

We’re in the middle of a recall petition in Brecon and Radnorshire and if we achieve 5,303 signatures, we look set for a by-election in June/July.

This is a huge opportunity for the Liberal Democrats to get an MP back in Wales and see the fantastic Jane Dodds elected to Parliament.

I know Jane and the team want to turn Brecon and Radnorshire Lib Dem gold again but to do this they need your help.

Teams of volunteers have already been busily delivering leaflets and canvassing since the Conservative MP’s conviction, helping kick our campaign off to a flying start.

Brecon and Radnorshire is an incredible opportunity for our party and, with your help we will be able to deliver a political earthquake.

If you want to find out more about this by-election and others, please sign up today.

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The Conservatives aren't exactly covering themselves in glory as they decide who'll be the next party leader.

Michael Gove's cocaine admission has garnered a lot of press. As education secretary, Gove forced through legislation that banned teachers from the classroom for life if they were convicted of possessing a class A drug.

He's not the only one. Rory Stewart has admitted to doing opium, and Hancock, Hunt, Leadsom and Raab have admitted to taking some form of cannabis.

We don't think drug use should bar people from positions of responsibility - but hypocrisy should.

And frankly, he's not the only candidate for next Prime Minister to have come out with concerning revelations.

It's particularly astonishing for a former health secretary to believe in restricting abortions.

As one of the UK's longest serving health secretaries, Jeremy Hunt presumably knows some of the reasons why some women have an abortion in their second trimester, such as:

- they didn't know their contraception failed for a few months, but they are not in a position to have a baby
- they learnt of health complications at a twenty-week scan
- they are taking time to make the right decision for themselves and decide whether they can provide a good life for a child in their current circumstances.

While women across the UK are campaigning to make abortion legal in Northern Ireland, and women around the world look on in horror as abortion rights are rolled back in the US, it is unacceptable that Hunt is suggesting rolling back women's rights in the UK - when of all the Tory leadership candidates he's best placed to know the harm his policy would cause.

Boris Johnson wants to cut taxes for everyone earning over £50,000 - and pay for it by raising National Insurance for the rest of us. 

This amounts to a £9.6 billion tax cut for the 3 million highest earners in the UK - which coincidentally, will include many of the people whose vote he is hoping to win.

BoJo's policy means the Treasury has far less money in the bank to pay for new homes, the NHS, schools, police, and front-line services. His pitch for being the Prime Minister of the UK is to increase the shocking inequality rife in British society.

And Dominic Raab won't make it easier for trans people to change their gender.

Despite saying he's an ally of LGBT people, Stonewall has called the Gender Recognition Act dehumanising, and following a national consultation, the next Prime Minister will oversee changing the legislation that governs the rights of trans people in the UK.

And Raab's comments suggest that he will pander to transphobes - especially those posing as feminists.

No prizes for guessing why he's courting that vote.

Britain's next prime minister should not be determined by a group of Conservative Party members. Many of them voted for Nigel Farage's Brexit Party in the European Election. Whether it's a unicorn plan on Brexit or attacks on our rights and essential freedoms, the only consistent line from the Tories has been that they will harm our country, not help it.

Compare and contrast to the policies of the Liberal Democrats.

🔶 We'll bring in drug law reform and treat addiction as a medical, not a criminal, issue

🔶 We'll protect women's rights to their own bodies

🔶 We'll spend money helping the poorest, not the richest in society - reversing billions of pounds of Conservative cuts to welfare

🔶 We'll continue to fight for and strengthen the rights of trans people

🔶 We'll stop Brexit.

Only the Liberal Democrats are opposing the Conservatives on these harmful issues. And you can help us win.

We're building a huge liberal movement up and down the UK. Over 17,000 people have joined us in the last month alone. We're surging in the polls - Liberal Democrats are winning again. Join us today:

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Jo Swinson: why should you vote for me?

by Jo Swinson on Mon, 10 Jun 2019

Firstly, I want to say two important things to all of you reading this: welcome and thank you.

Welcome, because I know that many of you reading this will be doing so for the first time, being among the thousands of people who have joined the party in the last few weeks.

Thank you, because it is a result of the energy, persuasive skills and shoe leather of so many of you that we’re having this leadership election on the back of our best ever local election results and our best ever European election results, and even top of a national poll!

It is thanks to you that this contest isn’t about rescuing the party from 8%, but instead about which candidate can help us to break through 20%.

I’ve done several interviews since I announced I was standing to be the next leader of our party, and the opening question is almost always the same. Why? Why do you want to be leader of the party?

My answer is pretty simple.

Our political system is fracturing. The two-party system we’ve fought against for so long is crumbling, as people turn away from the tired, old parties we’ve grown so used to. But in their place, we’re seeing the rise of populism and nationalism, in Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.

I believe that our country is crying out for a liberal movement of people who are proud to argue the positive case for our place in the European Union, who say that immigration is a good thing and want to reshape our economy so that it is made to work for our planet, and for people.

Our political system is fracturing. The two-party system we’ve fought against for so long is crumbling

The Liberal Democrats are at the very heart of this liberal movement. To take on Farage and Johnson we also need to reach out beyond our traditional base and capture the hearts of the millions of people in the country who are liberal-minded, but not yet Liberal Democrats.

And I know I’m the person to lead that movement because as the Lib Dem face of the People’s Vote I’ve spent the last several years working to bring together like-minded MPs so that our shared goal of stopping Brexit is a reality, not just a pipe dream.

That journey has been difficult, and plenty of people have told us we would never get as far as we have, but I’m determined that together we stop Brexit. Together, we can build that liberal movement, so we can create a country that is fairer, greener and safer - and with a liberal future, we can feel proud to hand on to the next generation.

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