Govt is fostering a culture of senseless competition in our schools. Lib Dem Press Release 4th December

Moran: Govt is fostering a culture of senseless competition in our schools

Ofsted’s annual report has provided a damning assessment of secondary schools undertaking ‘off-rolling’ and has identified a ‘worrying gap’ in the provisions for schools attended by pupils with special educational needs or disabilities.

The education watchdog warned that thousands of pupils could be “disappearing” from the school system as a result of illegal off-rolling.

The report found that 19,000 children dropped off school rolls between January 2016 and January 2017, during the time that students are undertaking their GCSE exams.

Around half (9,700) of those dropping off rolls between Years 10 and 11 are not reappearing on the roll of another state-funded school.

‘Off-rolling’, a practice where schools move difficult-to-teach pupils off their rolls to boost performance data, is illegal and leaves the child without access to educational support.

Commenting on the report by Ofsted, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

It is shameful that thousands of children are being let down in this way. Every child has the right to an education and should be supported to achieve to the best of their ability in our schools.

This Government is fostering a culture of senseless competition between schools, where results from a single set of narrowly focused, high-stakes exams, are made to feel like the be all and end all when it comes to judging a school’s success.

All this does is force schools to give up on pupils who are struggling – a decision which will have devastating consequences for their education, job prospects and self esteem for years to come.

Increase in fares an insult to passengers. Lib Dem Press Release 30th November

Increase in fares an insult to passengers

Responding to the announcement of an average of 3.1% more for rail tickets from 2 January, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Baroness Jenny Randerson said:

Millions of people right across the country are paying over the odds for rail tickets despite not getting the service they pay for. It is frankly an insult to passengers to increase fares yet again.

Conservative Ministers have been conspicuously absent on this announcement, no doubt because they are aware the many problems with the rail network are a result of their incompetence.

People deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. There should be an immediate freeze on fares until the Government publish their review and fix the state of our railways.

Government has let down victims over second Leveson Inquiry. Lib Dem Press Release 29th November

Government has let down victims over second Leveson Inquiry

Responding to the announcement that the second Leveson Inquiry will not go ahead after victims lost a High Court fight against the Government, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said:

The Conservative Government has let down those families who had their privacy invaded and their lives turned upside down by some of the press who behaved appallingly.

A commitment was made during the coalition that the Leveson Inquiry would be completed and that justice would be sought.

It’s not acceptable that this issue has been kicked into the long grass for so long, in an attempt to get us to forget it. But for the families that were affected by this intrusion, it will never be forgotten. They deserve better and the Liberal Democrats demand better for them.

PM leaving us in the dark on immigration. Lib Dem Press Release 29th November

PM leaving us in the dark on immigration

Theresa May has today refused to confirm when the immigration white paper will be published. She was asked by Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb after Ministers originally promised to publish the white paper last year, but that deadline has been repeatedly postponed.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s failure to answer his question, Norman Lamb said:

It is unacceptable that Theresa May is still refusing to answer this question. She has spent years talking of ending free movement, but today has once again refused to tell us when we will find out what this means.

The continual delays arising from cabinet splits are clearly because they know her proposals are dangerous for our public services and for business. There is already a shortage of workers in the NHS and social care and her proposals would only exacerbate them.

This failure to produce the white paper is leaving everyone in the dark. It is vital the Conservative Government either publishes the paper or comes clean and admits their plans are simply unworkable.

Lib Dems accuse Govt of contempt over Brexit legal advice row. Lib Dem Press Release 28th November

Lib Dems accuse Govt of contempt over Brexit legal advice row

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has written to the Speaker to submit a formal complaint in light of the Conservative Government’s intention to obstruct the full publication of their legal analysis on Brexit.

Writing to the Speaker, Tom Brake said: “When the most critical decisions about the future of the UK are imminent, it is unthinkable that Parliament would not have the full legal advice to hand to ensure these critical decisions are taken with the best possible background information.”

The Liberal Democrat MP suggested a “precedent was set with the publication of the legal advice relating to the Iraq war” and requested the Speaker advise MPs what steps can be taken “to ensure that the Government complies with a binding motion and publishes the full legal advice on the Government’s Brexit deal.”

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Refusing to publish legal advice on Brexit not only makes a mockery of the discredited mantra ‘Take Back Control’ but is an insult to Parliament and the people MPs represent.

The Government’s political shenanigans suggest the Tories have something to hide. People deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

The best way to avoid a Brexit mess is with a People’s Vote, including the option to remain in the EU.

Tory failure to prepare for Brexit risks empty shops & disruption at ports. Lib DEm Press Release 28th November

Tory failure to prepare for Brexit risks empty shops & disruption at ports

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has slammed the Tories for “refusing to provide information people need” as a House of Commons Committee finds that failures in preparing for Brexit mean there is a high risk of disruption at UK ports.

The Public Accounts Committee has today (28th November) published its report entitled “Department for Transport’s Implementation of Brexit.”

The Committee concluded that:

  1. There is slow progress and poor communication around Project Brock (plans for a 13 mile lorry park on the M20).
  2. The ability of businesses to plan is hampered by secrecy, Non-Disclosure Agreements with transport companies and a lack of detailed information from the Government.

The Public Accounts Committee demands an action plan from the Government before Christmas.

Meanwhile, questions asked by Layla Moran in Parliament found that the Department for Transport has signed 28 Non-Disclosure Agreements with external companies and organisations – meaning they can’t say what the Government is planning as it prepares for Brexit.

Liberal Democrat MP and Public Accounts Committee member, Layla Moran said:

It is utterly irresponsible that Conservative Ministers are leaving businesses and the public in the dark about the risks of delays and chaos at British ports if we leave the EU.

To add insult to injury, the Department for Transport is being exceptionally secretive and has even signed 28 non-disclosure agreements with transport companies meaning they can’t discuss the Government’s contingencies for Brexit.

If we see massive delays, tailbacks and lorry parks on motorways like the M20 leading to Dover, then within days we risk shortages of food and other essentials. This isn’t acceptable.

Liberal Democrats demand better, including an urgent action plan to address public concerns. Ultimately, the best way to avoid this mess is with a People’s Vote, including the option to remain in the EU.

 

Lib Dems secure key concessions on counter-terror laws. Lib Dem Press Release 28th November

Lib Dems secure key concessions on counter-terror laws

The Liberal Democrats have secured a number of important concessions from the Government on its Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill.

Ministers have tabled amendments to the Bill at Report Stage in the House of Lords, to address concerns raised by Liberal Democrat MPs and peers. These amendments would limit some of the Bill’s impact on civil liberties, including by creating clear defences for the new offences of travel to areas designated by the Home Secretary and viewing terrorism-related material online, where someone has a reasonable excuse for doing so.

Liberal Democrat MPs opposed the Bill at Third Reading in the House of Commons, but Labour voted with the Tories to pass it by 376 votes to 10. Liberal Democrat Peers have raised concerns about many aspects of the Bill as it makes its way through the House of Lords, and will continue to do so despite the Government’s concessions.

Responding to the Government’s amendments, Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Lords spokesperson for Home Affairs, said:

Through our opposition to these unnecessary, illiberal new laws, we have secured important changes that will reduce the risk of innocent people being wrongly convicted.

However, we are still fundamentally opposed to much of the Bill, most of which is based on the discredited ‘conveyor belt’ theory: that simply expressing extreme views inevitably leads to radicalisation and terrorist violence.

Completely innocent people could be arrested and detained simply for expressing an opinion, for undertaking legitimate research or for visiting a dangerous part of the world, even if they had a good reason for doing so.

It would also allow people to be detained at ports, airports and the border area between Northern Ireland and the Republic, have the contents of their phones and computers gone through, even if they had no intention of committing any offence.

We must do all we can to protect our country but not at the cost of losing our own liberty.

Gov must recognise state of Palestine. Lib Dem Press Release 21st November

Moran: Gov must recognise state of Palestine

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran will introduce a Bill to the House of Commons today calling on the Government to give recognition to the state of Palestine.

The Palestinian Statehood (Recognition) Bill would require the Government to recognise the State of Palestine within 3 months of the Bill being passed. It has support from Lib Dem, Labour, SNP, Plaid and Green MPs.

Commenting ahead of the Bill’s presentation, Layla Moran said:

Since I was elected I have been dismayed at the progress the Conservative Government has made towards recognising the state of Palestine.

I am in favour of a two-state solution, but until the state of Palestine is recognised, the two actors can’t come to the table as equal partners.

Given the UK’s role in the Balfour declaration it is vital that Britain recognises the role it has played and the role is has to play in re-igniting the peace talks.

Whilst I acknowledge that the UK recognising the state of Palestine alone won’t be a solution, doing it would go some way to reigniting the spark of hope that has gone out in the hearts of Palestinians across the world.

Best deal for UK is what we already have. Lib Dem Press Release 4th November

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.

Govt must close second homes loophole. Lib Dem Press Release 2nd November

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.