15 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats secure PM commitment to independent inquiry
  • Consequences of Government cuts for BBC is now clear as day
  • Failing Graying has undone PM, now ISC must publish Russia report
  • PM running scared of real scrutiny from Intelligence Committee

Liberal Democrats secure PM commitment to independent inquiry

Acting Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has today secured a commitment from the Prime Minister to an independent inquiry into the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis and called for the timetable to be set out immediately.

Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions today, Ed Davey warned that under Boris Johnson’s leadership the country has suffered “one of the worst death rates in the world and Europe’s worst death rate of health and care workers.”

Making reference to Boris Johnson’s support for an independent inquiry into the Iraq War, the Liberal Democrat Acting Leader again urged the Prime Minister to “commit in principle to a future independent inquiry”.

In response, the Prime Minister accepted his Government will “learn the lessons of this pandemic” and confirmed there will be in independent inquiry.

Ed Davey was the first party leader to call for an independent inquiry, back on the 21st of April, and the Liberal Democrats have consistently made the case since.

Speaking after the exchange, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The Coronavirus crisis is taking an enormous toll on people and our country.

It is clear the Government has failed on so many fronts – failing to prepare properly for a pandemic, failing to protect care home residents and social care workers, and failing to properly communicate their plans and so much more.

With so many loved ones lost, people deserve to know what happened. After months of refusing the public that opportunity, I am pleased the Prime Minister has finally accepted Liberal Democrat demands for an independent inquiry.

The Prime Minister must now set out the timetable of this inquiry, and it must begin as soon as possible. The Government must be held to account to ensure that the same mistakes are never repeated.

Consequences of Government cuts for BBC is now clear as day

Responding to reports the BBC have announced Politics Live will be kept amidst fresh jobs losses, Liberal Democrat Digital, Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

At a time when families are facing serious financial hardship, these job losses are really worrying. They will have a knock on impact for many of the production companies and people who are already wrongly excluded from government support.

While I welcome the decision to listen to the demands from Liberal Democrats and others to protect Politics Live and launch new investigative programs, I fear these job cuts will seriously diminish the BBC’s important global reach at this crucial juncture for our country.

Let’s be clear: these are Government enforced cuts and the inevitable consequence of the Government forcing the BBC to take over licence fees for over 75s. The consequences of these Government budgets cuts for the BBC is now clear as day. Ministers must not be allowed to hide.

Failing Graying has undone PM, now ISC must publish Russia report

Responding to the election of Julian Lewis as Chair of the Intelligence & Security Committee, against the wishes of Boris Johnson, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

With the ongoing pandemic, people are rightly worried. That is why it is more important than ever before that people can have faith in Government.

Sadly, we have seen Boris Johnson drive a coach and horses through public trust by appointing yes-men to the intelligence committee. True to form, however, failing Grayling has been undone in his bid to be Chair.

I hope we now have a committee with real teeth that can hold this Government to account. That starts by publishing the report into Russian interference of our democracy before the summer recess so MPs can scrutinise it fully.

PM running scared of real scrutiny from Intelligence Committee

Responding to news that Julian Lewis MP has had the Conservative Party Whip withdrawn following his election to the position of chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael said:

Chris Grayling was never an obvious choice for a committee dealing with intelligence and security – he is notorious for not having much of either.

Having failed to install a loyalist to the post, the Prime Minister is now running scared of real scrutiny. Removing the whip from Julian Lewis is an overreaction, most likely from Dominic Cummings rather than the Chief Whip.

The Prime Minister must stop interfering and let the Committee do its job. This starts with publishing the Russia Report immediately and allowing MPs to debate it before the Summer Recess. MPs across the House must stand firm in the face of overreach from No10.