15 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Conservatives are gambling with our future
  • Davey: Johnson’s trade tactics will hurt economy
  • Wrongheaded to reject spare spaces for schools, Lib Dems warn
  • Lib Dems call on PM “not to turn your back” on child refugees
  • Govt deliberately moving away from expert advice
  • Lib Dems celebrate victory in the Lords

Conservatives are gambling with our future

Responding to the new Boris Johnson has set a deadline of July to secure a deal with the European Union, Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds said:

The PM is trying posture his way out of the corner that he’s backed himself into. He wants to stage manage the situation so that he can blame the EU if talks fail.

A negotiation is a two way process. We cannot expect to lay down all our red lines and never budge, as Theresa May learnt the hard way. By refusing to genuinely negotiate the Conservatives are gambling with our future.

The PM needs to ditch this reckless deadline and commit to trying to secure a deal that enables Welsh farmers and businesses to continue to have tariff-free access to our vital European markets.

Davey: Johnson’s trade tactics will hurt economy

Responding to reports that the PM has said there needs to be a deal done with the EU by the end of July, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Boris Johnson’s arrogant assertion that he wants a Brexit deal rushed through in a few weeks shows he still doesn’t care about the impact a bad deal could have on people’s lives.

At a time when the UK is facing the deepest recession for 300 years, it is unthinkable that the government would rush through a half-heated deal, or worse get no deal at all.

A rushed, bad Brexit deal would hit our NHS, jobs, and the economy. It would impact the most vulnerable the hardest, making life more difficult for those already struggling to make ends meet.

Johnson should stop with the bravado. Liberal Democrats will continue to call on the government to extend the transition period and commit to ensuring we agree a Brexit deal that leaves no one behind.

Wrongheaded to reject spare spaces for schools, Lib Dems warn

Responding to the Government’s new guidance for schools, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The real test of this guidance is whether it will build the confidence needed for parents, teachers and pupils to go back to school without fear of putting their health at risk.

For schools that don’t have the capacity to have more pupils return within existing guidelines, the Government must do more. That includes providing laptops and internet access to all disadvantaged children in need.

It is also wrongheaded to reject Liberal Democrat proposals to use suitable empty buildings in the community as learning spaces. Ministers should think again.

Lib Dems call on PM “not to turn your back” on child refugees

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to commit to resettling 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children from elsewhere in Europe over the next ten years, following the closure of the Dubs scheme last month.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine warned child refugees who have been “forced to flee their homes and separated from their families” and is urging the Government to “do all we can to protect them.”

In a letter to the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, over 40 Liberal Democrat parliamentarians call on the Government to reverse its position in the Brexit negotiations not to seek to maintain the current arrangements to reunite unaccompanied asylum-seeking children with their family members.

The Dubs scheme, closed by the Government last month, resettled 480 unaccompanied refugee children despite the original cross-party “Dubs amendment” providing for 3,000 children to be resettled.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Child refugees who have been forced to flee their homes and separated from their families are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. We must do all we can to protect them.

The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but now the Conservative Government is turning its back on child refugees and failing to live up to our obligations to them.

The Liberal Democrats are standing up for child refugees and fighting for their rights to a safe home and hope for the future. The Government must listen.

Providing refugees with safe and legal routes to sanctuary in the UK is the best way to combat people smuggling and human trafficking, and to prevent people from making dangerous attempts to cross the Channel.

Govt deliberately moving away from expert advice

Responding to the press conference at Number 10, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The image of the foreign secretary standing alone at the press conference was stark.

We have seen over the past week a deliberate move away from expert advice and transparency at the daily press conferences.

It is absolutely crucial that people have faith in the government through their handling of the coronavirus crisis, particularly as the lockdown is eased and people come into more contact with each other.

Lib Dems celebrate victory in the Lords

Today the Liberal Democrats celebrate victory on an amendment to the Extradition bill.

Following her amendment, won by 314 votes to 230, on the first day the House of Lords voted remotely, Lib Dem peer Sally Hamwee said:

This victory is an important moment for Parliament.

It shows the concern the second chamber has for holding the Government to account, and that for all the difficulties in this difficult time, working remotely we can still do our job.

The Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill allows the UK police and border authorities to provisionally arrest people that are wanted for extradition on the basis of Interpol alerts, without first needing to obtain warrant from a judge. This power is limited to Australia, Canada, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Switzerland and the US but there is a power to extend this list by Statutory Intruments, which are not open to amendment by Parliament. The Lib Dem amendment requires that any such SIs must only contain one territory each. Otherwise if an SI contained a highly reputable country and one with a poor human rights record, Parliament would not be able to object to an unacceptable one without also objecting to a reputable country.