We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)
    • Mayor Dave Hodgson joins the celebrations on India Independence Day in Bedford
      Article: Aug 15, 2019

      India Indepedence Day celebrations took place in Bedford today, with a flag-raising, speeches and entertainment in Harpur Square in the town centre. Mayor Dave Hodgson was among the speakers at the event, which took place bright and early at 7:30am.

      Honoured guests in attendance at the event, organised by the band Han Bedford community group, included the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Ruchi Ghanashyam.

    • Article: Aug 15, 2019
      By Sarah Wollaston, MP in libdems.org.uk
      Meet our fourteenth Liberal Democrat MP - Dr Sarah Wollaston - and hear why she's joined the party.

      After very careful thought, I have come to the conclusion that I can best serve the interests of my constituents by joining the Liberal Democrats.

      Brexit has not only sucked all the political oxygen from government over the past three years, but it has also consumed the funding and energy that should have been invested in local communities, tackling climate change and supporting the workforce and infrastructure of our NHS, schools and transport.

      Just as we could and should have been benefiting from economic recovery after years of austerity, that has been put into reverse because of the march to No Deal.

      There is still no agreement either in Parliament, or across the country, about what Brexit should look like.

      As many of you know, after the referendum I committed myself to delivering the political result of that vote although I had personally voted Remain. I did so, because I respect the majority of those who voted that wanted us to take a different path.

      However, what most of us did not know at the time was the extent of the economic fall out of that decision, or the form Brexit would take.

      There is still no agreement either in Parliament, or across the country, about what Brexit should look like, and we now know far more about the trade-offs and compromises that will be necessary if we are to reduce the harms.

      As a doctor for over twenty-four years, I try to base my decisions on evidence, and as that emerges, to be open to changing course. As the economic facts unfolded, I found myself unable to support a version of Brexit with consequences that I know would hurt so many individuals, businesses, families and communities. Brexit does not just affect the 17 million who voted to Leave but all the 67 million people living in the UK.

      I cannot remember a more turbulent or divisive time in our politics. There is a deep and growing sense of unease about our country's future, our place in the world and the kind of environment and society we are leaving for the next generation.

      People want something better and fairer for our communities. They care deeply about rising homelessness, climate change, crime and the widening gulf in health between rich and poor. Many are asking the obvious question about why, if hard Brexit is such a great policy, are we having to spend billions preparing to mitigate the negative consequences?

      Good ideas rarely require planning for mass bailouts of collapsing businesses including farming or the emergency air-freighting of vital medicines and food supplies. This is money that could, and should have been spent tackling poverty, improving life chances and genuinely providing new resources for priorities like education, policing, social care and the NHS.

      Britain deserves better, and my fellow MPs need to read the evidence and act in the national interest rather than Party interest, and they need to act now before it is too late.

      Earlier this year I left the Conservative Party because I felt that the government had abandoned its promise to tackle the burning injustices across our society. It had moved to the right and become obsessed with a damaging form of Brexit.

      Several MPs from both main parties felt we could not passively watch our country slide towards economic ruin and the potential breakup of the United Kingdom, so we moved to set up a new grouping in the centre ground.

      We sought to maximise the total Remain vote in the EU election. The clear evidence following the result was this risked a serious fragmentation of the Remain vote in any future general election fought under our system of First Past The Post.

      I will be more effective in campaigning for positive change as part of an established team of MPs committed to working together in the national interest. That is why I am joining Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats who are speaking out on social justice, health and the environment and making the unequivocal case for the United Kingdom's place at the heart of the European Union where we can help shape it for all our futures.

      I will be more effective in campaigning for positive change as part of an established team of MPs committed to working together in the national interest.

      We are now entering the final weeks to prevent the dire consequences of the PM's 'do or die' approach to Brexit. Preventing that harm will take unprecedented cross-party working and my in-box has been full of messages urging me to be part of a Remain Alliance which I will be doing through joining the Liberal Democrats.

      My in-box also has messages from some who ask if I am calling a by-election in Totnes.

      The answer is straightforward; I will be backing an election in Totnes by voting no confidence in the government at the earliest opportunity.

      99.86% of the population had no choice whatsoever about our current Prime Minister and I believe the whole electorate deserves a say.

      It is a general election that is needed, not just a by-election, and it needs to take place before we leave the EU.

      The Liberal Democrats under the new leadership of Jo Swinson are outward looking and unequivocally committed to remaining at the heart of an evolving Europe.

      In this new political landscape, I feel this is the best political party from which to stand up for the communities I am privileged to represent.

      I hope that you will join me.

      Click here to find out more

    • A nurse talking to a woman and child.
      Article: Aug 15, 2019
      By Sir Ed Davey, MP in libdems.org.uk
      Plans to charge EU citizens for use of the NHS have been circulated to hospital staff. It's a flagrant breach of the PM's pledge to protect their rights and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

      I can think of about 350 million reasons why a promise from Boris Johnson isn't worth the paper (or bus) it's written on.

      The Government promised that the rights of EU citizens wouldn't change after Brexit. So did Vote Leave - many of whose senior figures are now Government officials.

      But now we're hearing that if Brexit happens, the Government plans to make EU citizens pay to use the NHS.

      Yet another Johnson promise broken. I'm angry and disappointed, but I can't say I'm surprised.

      EU citizens are vital to our NHS - both via their contributions via tax and as doctors, nurses and support staff.

      The Government says that EU citizens have until the end of next year to register for settled status. But now we discover Boris Johnson wants to subject them to the Tory hostile environment policy from November.

      It's a disgrace. EU citizens are vital to our NHS - both via their contributions via tax and as doctors, nurses and support staff. Brexit would be a disaster for our NHS.

      Liberal Democrats demand better. We're already leading the fight to stop Brexit and save free movement. But while the threat of Brexit still looms, we've tabled a bill. If passed, it'll grant full rights to all EU citizens in the UK.

      If Boris Johnson is actually serious about keeping this promise, he'll pass it as a matter of urgency. Over three million people from other EU countries call the UK their home. They contribute to our economy and to our communities. They deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats will not stop fighting for them.

    • Jo Swinson new Lib Dem leader
      Article: Aug 15, 2019

      Jo Swinson MP - leader of the liberal democrats

      "I stand ready to work with anyone to stop Boris Johnson and his hard-line Brexit government"

      to read Jo Swinson full speech click here

      In her first main speech since becoming leader Jo Swinson MP stood alongside new Lib Dem MP

      Sarah Wollaston and made it clear that she would work with all parties to stop Brexit including supporting a 'vote of confidence' but any plan for a temporary leader of an 'emergency government' had to command the confidence of the House something she doubted the Opposition Leader would be able to achieve, based upon his record on Brexit.

    • Article: Aug 15, 2019
      By Jo Swinson

      In just eleven weeks, however, our country faces an immediate crisis: crashing out of the EU without any deal. The most cavalier and catastrophic of Brexits: putting at risk hundreds of thousands of jobs , public services including our NHS , and even our national security.

      So in this moment of national emergency, I stand ready to work with anyone to stop Boris Johnson and his hard-line Brexit government.

    • Article: Aug 15, 2019

      This is a golden opportunity to put the public good ahead of private profit

      "Bircherley Green update: We have had an initial introductory meeting with Chase New Homes, who are in the process of purchasing the site from Diageo Pension Fund. We look forward to having further discussions with them over the coming months about their plans and how we can work together to address the concerns of our residents."

    • Sarah Wollaston
      Article: Aug 15, 2019

      The Liberal Democrats are delighted to announce that Totnes MP Dr Sarah Wollaston has joined the party.

      Sarah Wollaston joins the Liberal Democrats, having held the seat since 2010. She is the third new MP to join the Liberal Democrats in the last few months following Jane Dodds' by-election victory in Brecon and Radnorshire, and Chuka Umunna joining the party.

      Commenting, Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Wollaston said "I am delighted to be joining the Liberal Democrats under the leadership of Jo Swinson. I believe the best way for me to represent my constituents in Totnes is to be working as part of a fantastic team of Liberal Democrat MPs who are unequivocally making the case for us to remain at the heart of Europe, as well as campaigning for social justice, the environment and our public services."

      Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson said "I am delighted to welcome Sarah to the Liberal Democrats. We have worked together for many months to fight to stop Brexit and, as one of the most respected Members of Parliament, she brings real expertise to our team. The Liberal Democrats are growing - over 30,000 people, alongside Sarah, have joined us since our best ever results in the European Elections in May. As the strongest party for Remainers, we will lead the fight to stop Brexit."

    • Article: Aug 14, 2019
      By Jo Swinson

      Our party is going from strength to strength.

      We now have more than 116,000 members, as well as almost 15,000 registered supporters.

      Our team in the House of Commons is growing too. A little over a week ago, we welcomed Jane Dodds as our newest MP.

      Today, we welcome another addition to our team. Dr Sarah Wollaston.

    • Article: Aug 14, 2019
      By Sarah Wollaston

      After very careful thought, I have come to the conclusion that I can best serve the interests of my constituents by joining the Liberal Democrats.

      Brexit has not only sucked all the political oxygen from government over the past three years, but it has also consumed the funding and energy that should have been invested in local communities, tackling climate change and supporting the workforce and infrastructure of our NHS, schools and transport.

    • Mayor Dave Hodgson joining Pakistan Independence Day Celebrations in Bedford
      Article: Aug 14, 2019

      Today is Pakistan Independence Day, and the Pakistan flag was raised at Bedford's Old Town Hall today in a ceremony at lunchtime. The flag-raising was followed by a reception in The Harpur Suite, where Mayor Dave Hodgson was among the speakers.

      Commenting on Facebook, Mayor Dave said: "Happy Pakistan Independence Day! The Pakistan flag is flying today at the historic Old Town Hall, and I was pleased to help mark the occasion at the flag raising and reception earlier."