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  • Christopher Townsend
    Article: May 21, 2017

    Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate, Christopher Townsend responded to the incoherence of the Conservatives' position on immigration.

    During BBC Radio 4's Any Questions on May 20th, David Gauke, the Conservative candidate, struggled to provide clear answers when facing questions on his party's immigration policy.

    Gauke floundered badly when responding to questioning on the Conservatives' implausible tens of thousands immigration target.

    He stated:
    "It is an aim, it doesn't have a timetable. We accept that."

    In response to Gauke's comments, Christopher Townsend, the Lib Dem candidate for South West Herts said:

    "The Conservatives are really tying themselves in knots. They are giving us their target for immigration, but not giving us any timetable."

    "So much for "strong and stable" - "wrong and wobbly", more like!"

    "This is yet another Conservative pledge that they will inevitably break. You cannot have a successful economy if you restrict immigration that much. It seems like the Conservatives are intent on harming our economy, first with a Hard Brexit that will yank us out of the Single Market and cost jobs, and now this!"

    "Liberal Democrat immigration policies, unlike those of the Conservatives, do not rely on unachievable political gimmicks."

    "The Lib Dem manifesto sets out a clear vision for a fairer and more efficient immigration system with strict control of borders, an annual debate in Parliament to establish immigration need and a new central fund to ease integration."

    Fellow panellist and Lib Dem member Rachel Johnson also made light of Gauke's position:

    "It's like saying 'I've got this target weight. It's ten stone.
    I may not ever reach my target weight.. but, hey, it's still my target... Right?'"

  • Article: May 21, 2017

    Liberal Democrats recognise the result of the 2016 referendum on the European Union, which gave the government a mandate to start negotiations to leave. But the referendum didn't ask for people's views on the shape of our future relationship with the EU on issues such as trade, travel or security.

    We believe that leaving the single market, ending freedom of movement and abandoning the customs union will make the UK poorer, and that this hard Brexit is not the outcome that many leave voters wanted. Already, the value of the pound has fallen, inflation has risen, growth in the economy has slowed, and the government has increased borrowing to fill the gap in lost tax revenue. A hard Brexit is the wrong choice for the country, and Liberal Democrats will fight to prevent it.

  • European Court of Justice
    Article: May 21, 2017

    In a blow to Theresa May's Brexit plans, the European Court of Justice has said that a free trade agreement with Singapore will need the approval of all EU governments and their parliaments.

    This opinion from the EU's highest court means any future EU-UK trade deal is also set to need the approval of all 27 EU countries and their parliaments.

    This will slow down talks and create political obstacles to any future deal, undermining Theresa May's recent claim that a trade deal with the EU after Brexit could be reached by 2019.

  • Article: May 21, 2017

    Lib Dems would give Hertfordshire police force an extra £4.25 Million a year

    Liberal Democrats have announced they would boost investment in police forces by £300m a year. This is in stark contrast to the Conservatives who have overseen devastating cuts to community policing. Theresa May as Home Secretary and now Prime Minister has cut policing budgets by over £2bn, eroding the very fabric of community policing.

    Under the Liberal Democrats Hertfordshire would see a funding increase of £4.25 Million a year. This could be used to restore a visible policing presence in the community and ensure the police have the training and tools to deal with the changing nature of crime.

    Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Mark Argent commented:

    "This investment in our police is absolutely vital. Under Theresa May - first as Home Secretary and now as Prime Minister, our police have had to deal with the most brutal of cuts. These are now cutting into the bone.

    "Our police work tirelessly to keep us safe and this Government has completely betrayed them.

    "Only the Liberal Democrats have a credible plan to reverse the increase in violent crime, boost community confidence and ensure the police have the resources they need to keep us safe."

  • Tim Farron with manifesto
    Article: May 21, 2017

    The Liberal Democrats would give a "start-up allowance' to help budding entrepreneurs with living costs in the first six months of setting up their business.

    The party is making a bold pitch to be the party of business with Tim Farron the only major party leader committed to Britain's membership of the single market. Tim Farron launched the party's business policy at the Liberal Democrat Entrepreneurs Network event on 16 May.

    Susan Kramer, Liberal Democrat Business spokesperson, said:

    "Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of a thriving economy but I know from my own time in business, the early months can be really tough. This will really help get small businesses off the ground and let the economy grow. It takes courage to set up a business, and we are on the side of entrepreneurs."

    Tim Farron said:

    "While the Conservatives focus on giving tax cuts to giant corporations, our focus is on small businesses seeking to grow. And unlike Labour and the Conservatives, we would stay in the single market."

    Other key policies include reviewing controversial business rates and expanding the state-owned British Business Bank to make it easier for firms to borrow.

    Tim Farron added:

    "Many firms are struggling to borrow to invest, and that is suffocating an economy being propped up on consumer spending. The Conservatives have lost the right to call themselves the party of business. The Liberal Democrats are now that party.

    "A Conservative landslide will be bad for you and your family. Bad for your job. Bad for your bills. Bad for the NHS. Bad for our schools. But have hope. A better future is available."

  • Alistair Carmichael
    Article: May 21, 2017

    The Liberal Democrats have warned the government's approach to Brexit is threatening to undermine cooperation in the fight against cybercrime, as the EU's crimefighting agency Europol has warned of the risk of more cyberattacks.

    Europol's Cybercrime Centre, set up in 2013, allows governments to share intelligence on cybercrime threats and coordinate efforts to fight it. It is headed up by Steve Wilson, who is a former detective superintendent at Police Scotland and used to chair the Scottish Government Cybercrime Group.

    Conservative ministers have threatened to quit Europol and to use security as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations.

    Liberal Democrat Shadow First Secretary of State Alistair Carmichael commented:

    "In the wake of these crippling cyber-attacks, the Conservatives must urgently re-evaluate their threats to put vital European cooperation at risk.

    "Britain has led the way in the fight against organised crime and cybercrime across Europe.

    "But instead of building on this success, Theresa May is threatening to deprive law enforcement of the tools they need to keep the country safe.

    "A bad Brexit deal would be a disaster for our security - it's another reason why the people, not politicians, must have the final say on the deal."

  • Norman Lamb
    Article: May 21, 2017

    The former head of the NHS David Nicholson has backed Liberal Democrat plans to put a penny on income tax to rescue the health and care service, in a major boost for the party.

    He is amongst a group of 26 leading health experts including the ex-heads of the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of GPs and Royal College of Psychiatrist who all backed the Lib Dem approach in a letter to the Observer.

    The letter states:

    "The human cost of this crisis is already painfully clear. Waiting times are rising, there is particularly poor access for people with mental ill health and operations are being cancelled.

    "For these reasons, we strongly welcome the Liberal Democrats' commitment to raise income tax by 1p, to generate additional, ringfenced revenue for NHS and social care."

    Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb commented:

    "It is fantastic to have this support from those who have worked in all levels of our health service and understand the pressure it is now under.

    "There is a real sense of urgency because the system is close to tipping point.

    "The NHS is in a very fragile state. It has had an extraordinarily tough winter without a flu epidemic and without cold conditions.

  • Tim Farron with manifesto
    Article: May 20, 2017

    Liberal Democrats have committed to protecting international development spending, set at 0.7% of gross national income.

    As one of their final acts in government, Liberal Democrats successfully made it a legal requirement for the UK government to adhere to the 0.7% pledge. This has prevented Conservative party and UKIP critics from stopping these vital funds getting to those who most need them.

    Liberal Democrats have again vowed to protect that legacy and ensure that the UK continues to alleviate poverty across the world, helping to build a more secure and stable international community.

    Liberal Democrat Leader, Tim Farron said:

    "Liberal Democrats are fierce internationalists, and I am proud of Britain's record as a world leader in providing help and support to some of the poorest, most vulnerable people in the world.

    "UK aid prevents suffering. It allows girls to stay in school, stops babies from dying of preventable illnesses, and ensures that farmers can sell their crops at a fair price. A healthier, safer and more stable world is the best interest of British families as well. That's why Liberal Democrats are today vowing to fight for Britain's legacy and protect the 0.7% target.

    "Our country's role as a caring and active player on the global stage is under threat from the far-right, with UKIP and the Conservatives attempting to reduce funding and turn Britain's back to our international commitments. But the British people don't have to settle for Theresa May's cold, mean-spirited Britain.

    "A better future is available. Vote Liberal Democrat. Change Britain's future."

  • Front Cover Manifesto
    Article: May 20, 2017

    In the introduction to the Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017, Tim Farron stresses that Theresa May's Conservative Party is likely to win the General Election on 8th June, while the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn offers only a continuation of the weak and ineffectual opposition that we have seen in the current parliament. Yet governments without strong opposition are bad governments.

  • Notice: Meet Aidan Van de Weyer, parliamentary candidate for Central Suffolk & North Ipswich
    Article: May 20, 2017