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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 →

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 →

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.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

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

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

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.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

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:

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

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.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Lib Dem membership is now the highest it's ever been!

by Greg Foster on Sat, 08 Jun 2019

105,480.

That's how many people had joined the Liberal Democrats as of midnight last night.

That makes it official - our party is the biggest it's ever been!

huge democratic national convention GIF by Election 2016

First of all welcome to our new members - you've joined Britain's biggest liberal family. We couldn't be more excited to have you on board.

It's been a brilliant month for our party.

🔶 We've elected more councillors in one set of local elections than ever before

🔶 We've gained more MEPs than ever before

🔶 We've topped a nationwide Westminster voting intention poll for only the third time since the 1980s

Our movement is going from strength to strength

Our movement is going from strength to strength - and we aren't going to stop. We're fighting to give the people of Brecon and Radnorshire the chance to elect a new, pro-EU MP. We're going to elect a new leader to take our party into its bright new future. Our campaign to stop Brexit gains more momentum every day.

I'm really excited to find out what's next for our party. More and more Remainers are becoming Liberal Democrat voters, supporters and members as they realise - Brexit is unworkable.

More and more Remainers are becoming Liberal Democrat voters, supporters and members

The Conservatives are going to waste this Brexit extension squabbling amongst themselves. Jeremy Corbyn continues to fight to drag Britain out of the European Union. Public opinion has changed - the people want to stop Brexit. Only the Liberal Democrats will give you, not politicians, the final say on leaving the EU.

Join the biggest, strongest party of Remain. Become a Liberal Democrat today and help us stop Brexit. 🔶

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

🚨 SURGE ALERT 🚨 - 17,000 new members!

by Greg Foster on Fri, 07 Jun 2019

Wow - 17,000 new people have joined the Liberal Democrats since the start of May!

the count desk swipe GIF

The Count got a little distressed when he realised how long this was going to take him.

Of those, 10,000 have signed up since the aftermath of our amazing EU election results. That's 10,000 since Vince Cable announced he was triggering a leadership contest. Welcome to you all! ❤

It's a really exciting time to become a Liberal Democrat. In the last few weeks alone:

🔶 We've had our best local election results in over 20 years

🔶 We've had our best results in a European election - ever

🔶 We've shot up to 24% in the polls - ahead of both the Conservatives and Labour:

And you don't just get a vote on our new leader. All our policy is decided by Liberal Democrat members at conference. You get more of a say in our party's direction than you do as a member anywhere else! 

We're on the march - and we're going to stop Brexit. We have 2 fantastic leadership candidates in Jo Swinson and Ed Davey. Either of them would be a brilliant leader at the forefront of the next stage in our party and the country's future.

So come and be part of it. Become a Lib Dem member today.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

The Leader: Looking back at the European Elections

by Vince Cable on Thu, 06 Jun 2019

My regular blog has been disrupted by the Euro election campaign and its tumultuous, positive, aftermath as well as my decision to hand in my notice and trigger a leadership contest.

The Euro-campaign was defined, for me, by three rallies. 

The launch of the campaign took place in Docklands, before the results of the local elections were known. The mood was cautiously optimistic, though questions from journalists focused on the potential impact of Change UK.

Nonetheless, our launch was very professional and suggested to the assembled media that we were well organised and had a clear, simple Stop Brexit message.

Then the spectacular 700+ gains in the local elections transformed our image from also-rans to winners and in my media interviews I picked up a tone of respect for the party which had long been missing.

Then, someone had the idea of using the slogan ‘Bollocks to Brexit’.  Despite a certain amount of pompous, puritanical poo-pooing from our more priggish detractors, the overwhelming feedback was positive and we made this our theme.  It was celebrated at the second rally in Shoreditch – our manifesto launch – where I caught a real sense of excitement and looming opportunity.

After that the wind was behind us and the issue became one of how well we were going to do. 

I went to Bristol where the party activists couldn’t quite believe how good their canvassing was; to Scotland where an impressive Change UK candidate had joined us; to Gibraltar for a well organised and highly satisfactory visit – rewarded by a 77% vote for the Lib Dems – and on the way was mobbed at Malaga Airport by a group of young women on a hen party: a first. Then a frantic rush round the country – Liverpool, Birmingham, Cambridge, Scotland again – meeting increasingly excited activists and spontaneously supportive crowds. I hadn’t experienced that since the General Elections in 1997 and 2010.

There was a real sense of excitement around our campaign

The final rally was celebratory but I was nervous; I had a head-to-head debate with Nigel Farage the following morning, courtesy of the Daily Telegraph.  Some party insiders were worried having seen Nick Clegg come off worse in a similar encounter and didn’t see the point in taking the risk. I did. If we are to win the Brexit debate – and lead the Remain cause – ultimately, Farage needs to be confronted

In the event, I got a good write up; Nigel was polite and avuncular, as I know he can be, becoming tetchy only when I reminded him of the hate and division his “Breaking Point” poster had sown. 

The outcome overall was that no harm – and some good – was done.

Once I had been to vote at my local polling station in Twickenham, like everyone else we had to wait three days for the result.  I went off to mid Wales; to speak at the Hay Festival of Light; to appear at an event in Crickhowell, in support of Jane Dodds’ soon-to-be by-election campaign, and for some restorative walking in the Brecon beacons. Rachel and I spent an idyllic weekend in a remote cottage, a B&B which was described in the literature as ‘the oldest house in Wales’ – a restored 15th century dwelling with characterful hosts who produced marvellous meals, which not have a disgraced a Michelin 5 star. 

I woke up last Monday morning to read of our spectacular success: 20% of the vote and 16 MEPs (and the courageous Alliance MEP in Northern Ireland, Naomi Long, will also join our ALDE group in the European Parliament). 

Despite attempts by their spinners to portray the result as a victory for Brexit, it was clear that the Remain parties, taken together, and won a clear victory. It was then off to London to celebrate, with a big media scrum at Lambeth Bridge.

Better was to come.  A day in Brussels last Tuesday, as part of a gathering of Liberal leaders, collectively buoyed up by all our UK results: the Lib Dems, no longer representing the British awkward squad, but being congratulated as the stars of the show!

And then the icing the cake: a YouGov poll showing the Lib Dems on 24% for a General Election ahead of all other parties. 

I try not get carried away, but a pall of distrust and negativity that has hung over the party since the earliest days of the coalition, nine years ago, has gone.

That is a good note to go out on. 

I said when I took on the leadership that I hoped to return us to fortunes nearer to those of 2010, and we are clearly now poised for such a position if a General Election is called. 

 

I spent last weekend on the South Downs with a visit to Glyndebourne with friends:  a superior performance of the Barber of Seville with an amazing young Korean soprano (Hera Hyesang Park) as Rosina, a future star.  And Sunday morning I spent lounging in the sun reading a Frederick Forsyth spy thriller, The Icon:  a bit dated but finely crafted, and a reminder of what I have master if I go back to fiction writing.

This week, it has been back to Parliament, with a fair stretch of coverage on our opposition to the Trump visit, and yesterday I was with colleagues from across public life commemorating those who lost their lives on D-day. 

A high point for me was Macron’s reading of a 16-year old French resistance fighter’s letter to his parents before execution. It was a privilege to meet the veterans whose legacy is the luxury of a free and peaceful Europe. We are deeply in their debt.

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Tackling the air pollution crisis

by Wera Hobhouse on Wed, 05 Jun 2019

Today is World Environment Day, with a focus on air pollution. Air pollution is a major crisis affecting the UK and it is a crisis the Government has failed to take seriously. The Conservatives have lost numerous court cases over the failure to set plans to tackle the toxic fumes that we breathe every day – and that’s not the hot air they’re producing in the Brexit crisis.

Emissions from vehicles are responsible for numerous health problems, from the obvious ones like asthma and lung disease. They can contribute to diabetes, dementia and heart disease.

Air pollution is a major crisis affecting the UK and it is a crisis the Government has failed to take seriously.

Unlike the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats have a coherent plan to tackle the air pollution crisis. The Conservatives have failed to set a meaningful date to end new sales of petrol and diesel cars – 2040 is simply too far in the future to make any difference – and have systemically removing incentives for electric vehicles. Liberal Democrats would bring this date forward to 2030 at the very latest.

We would also bring in a Clean Air Act, enshrining the right to unpolluted air wherever you live or work. The Government must also undertake pollution monitoring much wider and more frequently, displaying warning signs in pollution hotspots and sensitives areas such as outside schools and hospitals.

And today, in Parliament, Wera Hobhouse is bringing forward a bill to tackle idling. Leaving your car running while parked is one of the worst contributors to air pollution outside schools. At present, if the councils want to stop this, they must first ask the Government for the power to issue fines for those caught idling in sensitive areas. They also do not have the power to increase the penalty for repeat offences – meaning persistent offenders get off scot-free.

Lib Dems would bring in a Clean Air Act, enshrining the right to unpolluted air wherever you live or work.

The Vehicle Emissions (Idling Penalties) will give councils the power to meaningfully tackle idling. It will grant all local authorities to clamp down on idling without the need to apply to the Government first and it will grant them the power to issue immediate increased fines for repeat offences.

If Conservatives are serious about tackling the air pollution crisis and want to help combat the problem of health in children, they can support this bill. If they don’t, we know that they are still not willing to help the most vulnerable in society and reduce the toxic air our children breathe.

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Wishing everyone a joyous Eid

by Humaira Ali on Tue, 04 Jun 2019

So you've sat there wondering how that one Muslim colleague has managed to go nil by mouth, not swear, smoke or get involved in office gossip for a whole month, and now there's a conversation about some event called Eid. There are 2 Eids in the Islamic calendar and this one, Eid-ul-Fitr is the festival to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Muslims will have made a point of rereading the Qu’ran, given at least 2.5% of excess wealth to charity and many will have fasted daily to support, what I call, the “resetting to our humble selves.” Eid involves prayer, food and communities getting together. Fasting and giving charity are 2 of the 5 pillars in Islam.

The ethos in Islam is grounded in equality, freedom of choice, respect and diversity

Muslims come from many countries around the world and Eid is a particularly exciting time to discover a whole variety of dishes to celebrate this joyous event. A variety of foods and customs from across the Asian and African continents feature heavily and are likely to be coming to an office near you soon! One of the best things about our country is the diversity and richness infused in our society. Whether mathematics or medicine, a good chicken tikka masala, modern colloquialisms or the people who lead in sectors such as healthcare, engineering, scientific, technology and finance.

We are, however, living in troubling times. Our society is divided with groups of people being played off against each other by those on the extremes, the media and people who should know better, such as senior politicians. Hate crime is on the rise, especially towards Muslims. Other parties have let this country down whether fanning the flames of Islamophobia, misogyny, anti-Semitism and homophobia or talking about immigration, whether wishing to cap it or scrap it as if it is a bad thing. The discourse in this country has in some quarters, disintegrated. People are talking with each other in ways we were never raised to do so. The respect and accountability for the words used seems to have evaporated.

People often look surprised when I talk about Islam as a liberal religion. The ethos in Islam is grounded in equality, freedom of choice, respect and diversity – no compulsion in religion and each individual is accountable for their own actions to God and to those they interact with. When the Prophet Mohammed created the Charter of Medinah, he was signing into law the protection of the rights and security of all people regardless of religion, colour, socioeconomics etc and setting the standard through his own conduct on how civil society would behave. In his final sermon he also declared, “an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over a white, except by piety and good action”

Liberal Democrats are proud to be citizens of the world.

Liberal Democrats are proud to be citizens of the world. We embrace immigration, diversity and equality in all forms. We know that the solutions to our key issues such as the climate crisis, poverty, trade, jobs and security need us to work collaboratively with our European and international colleagues. I am especially proud that we as a party have adopted the APPG definition of Islamophobia – but we need to do more. Taking a stand to Islamophobia is no different to taking a stand to anti-Semitism, homophobia, chauvinism, disability inequalities or the multiple isms which lead to intolerance.

Now is our time to stand for equalities across the board and against hate. Let’s fly flags of all colours, and seek those in our country, who share our values, to join with us. We’re already hearing disillusionment on the doors and here in Southwark, our values-based campaigning is having a huge impact in switching voters over to the Liberal Democrats.

I want to wish everyone a joyous Eid Mubarak whether you celebrate or not. And in answer to a frequent question I receive, “Yes please do ask Muslims about anything you want to know about Islam.” Because knowledge breaks down the barriers.

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Catch up on this weekend's leadership hustings in London

by Dan Schmeising on Sat, 01 Jun 2019

We kicked off a series of leadership hustings in London this weekend. Ed Davey and Jo Swinson, contending to succeed Vince Cable as leader of the Liberal Democrats, were grilled on their vision for our party.

You can read more about the candidates' plans here:

Ed Davey Jo Swinson

Or, you can get involved - find your nearest hustings here:

Find a hustings

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