Ed Davey: Hostile environment must be completely scrapped
Responding to the news that NHS Digital has withdrawn from its immigration data-sharing arrangement with the Home Office, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:
The Home Office should never have been forcing NHS staff to supply patients’ data in the first place. Doctors and nurses’ time should be spent providing healthcare to those who need it, not acting as border guards in Theresa May’s hostile environment.
The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will completely scrap the Tories’ hostile environment and instead invest in an accountable, intelligence-led Border Force to prevent people entering the country illegally and quickly identify those who overstay their visas.
That way we can secure our borders and rebuild trust in the immigration system, while leaving NHS workers to focus on their jobs.
No deal Brexit could lead to food shortages in hospitals
Responding to reports that NHS trusts have been warned about food shortages in the event of no deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:
Yesterday the Prime Minister lost her Rail Minister over Brexit, and today it is confirmed that all NHS trusts have been warned about food shortages in the event of crashing out of the EU.
The idea that hospitals could be in a situation in which they can no longer guarantee food to vulnerable and ill people is diabolical and brought on only by the carelessness of the Conservatives.
The Prime Minister must listen to Liberal Democrats, now joined by several former ministers and Labour MPs and offer the people a final say and option to remain so that we can get out of this terrible Tory Brexit mess.
Another Johnson joins the campaign for a People’s Vote
Responding as Jo Johnson resigns from the Government to campaign for a People’s Vote Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, said:
We warmly welcome Jo Johnson’s support of the campaign to give the people the final say on the deal and a chance to exit from Brexit.
This is a fascinating situation in which Jo and his sister are united in opposing their brother Boris and his Brexit plans.
Meanwhile today the DUP have aired their concerns over the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans. Theresa May is caught between a rock and a hard place.
Government failing to meet promises made after Grenfell
Responding to the reports that more than 400 high-rise residential buildings still have the same type of external cladding blamed for the Grenfell Tower fire, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Housing Wera Hobhouse said:
Grenfell should never have happened. The fact that thousands of families are still living in unsafe high-rise buildings is a disgrace.
The Government is failing to meet the promises it made after the fire. The Secretary of State committed to fully fund the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding by councils and housing associations, but there are still over 150 publicly owned buildings that are unsafe.
Furthermore, those in private residential buildings cannot be ignored. The Government must not only meet its basic promises, but must go further and fund the same for the private sector. Money can be recovered at a later date but when it is about people’s homes, safety must come first.
Tory gagging clauses damage democracy
Responding to reports that the Government has used gagging clauses on 40 charities and more than 300 companies, including experts hired by the Government to test cladding 12 days after the Grenfell Tower fire, Liberal Democrat Housing spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:
Grenfell was a tragedy that should never have happened. Rather than gagging experts and prioritising reputational damage, this Conservative Government should be doing everything in its power to ensure that it never happens again.
It beggars belief that Theresa May and her ministers have squandered £25 billion on gagging clauses. Taxpayers money should never be used to deter people from speaking out.
Transparency and freedom of speech are vital for a healthy democracy, something this Conservative Government have no regard for.
Brexit legal advice must be published
Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has called on the Government to end their “murky games” and publish all legal advice on Brexit plans for the Irish border.
Mr Brake said:
Refusing to publish legal advice on Brexit makes a mockery of the discredited mantra ‘Take Back Control’. Choosing to withhold this information from the public raises serious questions about what Tory ministers are trying to hide.
Liberal Democrats demand better. The Government must stop these murky games and publish their legal advice in full. The people deserve access to this information, and the opportunity to reject the Brexit mess with a ‘People’s Vote’.
Tory Minister slammed for accusing police of exaggerating pressures
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has today slammed Policing Minister Nick Hurd for accusing police chiefs of routinely exaggerating the pressures they face.
Speaking in Parliament today, Ed Davey warned “Police chiefs say the pension deficit, if it’s filled, could cost up to 10,000 police officers.” He asked the Minister “Does he agree with them?”
Responding to Ed Davey, the Minister said: “No I don’t. I think the number is exaggerated, which is not unusual for the police.”
Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:
Police chiefs are warning of huge further cuts to police numbers, and the Conservatives’ response is simply to accuse them of exaggerating. It’s deeply alarming.
Unnecessary Tory cuts have already taken almost 5,000 officers off the streets since 2015. With serious violent crime on the rise, the last thing we need is even more cuts.
The Liberal Democrats demand better. Instead of cutting police budgets further and disparaging senior officers, we would stop the Tory cuts and give forces an extra £300 million a year to recruit more officers and make communities safer.
Government must end EU citizens rights uncertainty
Today the Liberal Democrats spokespeople for Home Affairs and Brexit, Ed Davey and Tom Brake will stand alongside representatives from the3million, advocating for EU citizens in the UK who fear for their rights in the event of a No Deal Brexit.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:
The Conservative Government’s chaotic approach to the Brexit negotiations is making ‘no deal’ more likely by the day. The millions of EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living elsewhere in the EU cannot just be left to cross their fingers and hope Theresa May secures a deal that guarantees their rights.
These five million people have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for more than two years now. The Liberal Democrats demand better. The Government must guarantee – in law – the rights of all EU citizens in the UK, no matter the outcome of the negotiations.
The Government should also offer a way out of this mess entirely by giving the people a final say on the deal with the option to remain – and give EU citizens in the UK a vote this time.
Best deal for UK is what we already have
Responding to reports in today’s Sunday Times that Theresa May has negotiated a deal with the EU that would see the UK remain in the Customs Union, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:
The deal the PM seems to have secured will leave us rule takers not rule makers.
It is time she conceded that the best deal we will get is the one we already have: in the customs union, in the single market and in the EU.
The PM must accept the growing calls around the country to put this to a People’s Vote and provide an option to remain on the ballot paper.
Lib Dems: Govt must close second homes loophole
Responding to the Government’s consultation on second homes, which was announced in the budget, Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb said:
It is encouraging that the Government has listened to concerns raised about this unfair loophole, but this must be followed by action. They cannot simply kick this problem into the long grass with the promise of a review. Liberal Democrats demand better.
Communities are facing higher council tax bills to fund vital local services, while some owners of second homes are allowed to exploit the system by registering them incorrectly as holiday lets, getting away with paying no tax at all on that property.
The Government must act urgently to close this outrageous loophole that results in already struggling councils losing out on huge sums of money that could be spent on critical services.