At midnight on Monday 21st October the deadline passed for the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive to prevent changes to legislation on abortion and same-sex marriage. As a result, the Government must legislate for abortion and equal marriage in Northern Ireland. This happy outcome, bringing Northern Ireland into line with the UK, the Republic of Ireland and other liberal nations, followed strenuous cross-party work.
We were pleased to see Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy lead this cross-party effort, with strong support from Liberal Democrats such as Layla Moran, despite unpleasant targeted attacks in Walthamstow by anti abortion protesters.
Meera Chadha, the Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Walthamstow, said:"Extending abortion and equal marriage rights to Northern Ireland is a hugely positive step in ensuring people can life safely and freely in all parts of the UK. We were hugely disappointed with the vicious campaign by anti abortion protesters in Walthamstow and will continue to fight for citizens rights locally and nationally."
During the countdown to the deadline, Ms Moran spoke on the historic significance of what has been achieved.
"The time for inequality in Northern Ireland is over. For decades, women in Northern Ireland have been subject to laws that have violated their human rights. With the midnight deadline rapidly approaching, this will finally come to an end. Despite a last minute stunt by the DUP, and a lack of support by this Conservative Government on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, we are finally closing the curtain on the historic inequalities in Northern Ireland.
The Liberal Democrats have a proud history of standing up for women’s rights and LGBT+ rights, from the Abortion Act 1967, to Liberal Democrats legislating for same-sex marriage in Government. And we will keep fighting for further progress. In the next few months the Liberal Democrats will not take anything for granted and will work to ensure that the necessary changes to the law are made so that women in Northern Ireland have a right to seek an abortion and anyone can marry the person they love."
I am passionate about addressing social inequality and tackling climate change and have worked in the non-profit sector for nearly a decade. My priority in Parliament is not just to stop Brexit, but to get on with addressing the social and economic divide that caused Brexit in the first place.
If you are an EU citizen living in the UK, you should obtain either settled or pre-settled status now. Doing so will ensure you are able to live and work here without problems after Brexit.
If you can prove that you have been in the UK for at least one day in the last six months, you can apply for pre-settled status. It's a quick process, and will give you the right to live and work in the UK long enough to obtain full settled status, if that is what you want.
To apply for pre-settled status you need evidence of being in the UK for at least one day from the past six months. This could be any one of the below (other forms of evidence are also acceptable):
- Used airline, train, ferry or ship ticket that shows the date you entered the UK.
- Stamp in your passport showing you entered the UK (relevant for non-EU spouses etc).
- Monthly bank statement showing money you've spent or received in the UK.
- Mobile phone bill in your name with your address in the UK.
- Council tax, water, gas or electricity bill.
- National insurance number.
- Letter or appointment card from your GP, a hospital or other healthcare professional.
If you have a document of this kind, you should be able to apply immediately (even if you only just arrived). Advice on how to do this can be found here.
Even if you're only applying for pre-settled status now, you will be able to apply for permanent settled status in the future. It will be easier if you have the documents ready - you should start collecting the evidence described below (in the settled status section) as soon as you can.
If you can prove that you have been resident in the UK for at least six months a year, for a five year period, you can apply for settled status (there are some exemptions that reduce these requirements). Further advice on the rules, and how to apply, can be found here.
The really important point is to have documents that prove that you were resident in the UK for this time. Single documents that give evidence for a long period are best, such as:
- tax documents - for example your P60 or P45.
- a letter from your employer confirming your employment (or college confirming your enrolment and attendance).
- pension statements showing your employer's pension contributions.
- mortgage statements for a house or flat.
- your tenancy agreement and evidence that you've made payments - for example a bank statement or receipt.
- annual bank statements or account summaries.
Even if you're not ready to apply now, you should start collecting these documents for the future.
I'm fresh back from #LibDemConference and feeling enthused and excited for the next few months (although feeling anything but fresh after a very intense weekend!). I joined, like many, in 2016 and this was my 4th autumn conference and definitely by far the best.
4 years ago I arrived at conference with a new local Liberal Democrat friend, both as newbies, and we mostly sat in the main hall listening to policy motions. It was a great insight into the democratic way that Liberal Democrats make policy, with everyone able to contribute and debate. Aside from the process, the content of the policies and debates aligned with my values and priorities, for example arguing for action on a zero-carbon economy, against the expansion of grammar schools, and for dignity in dying. I felt instantly at home.
Fast forward to conference 2019 and I'm Vice Chair of Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats and a Parliamentary candidate for Walthamstow. I've arrived with a strong contingent from the borough and bumping into people I know in the party. Every fringe event, debate, training session and social throws up more great people all of whom are welcoming and supportive. The quality of debate is high, with one session on Knife Crime and Youth Violence led by Siobhan Benita, the Liberal Democrat Candidate for London Mayor being one of the most pragmatic, evidence-based and informed discussions I've ever attended.
This conference felt different to previous ones. I started many conversations with people who were brand new members and attending a political conference for the first time, some of whom were already eager to dive right in and stand as a councillor or a Parliamentary candidate. There were also many who had joined from Labour or Conservatives (not just Sam Gyimah!), including one who had been a Conservative Councillor and candidate multiple times. All commented on how much friendlier and more welcoming they had found the Liberal Democrats than their previous parties and how impressed they had been at what they could influence even as an ordinary member.
I sadly could only stay for the weekend, needing to get back to my young daughter and the day job, but on the train back I was busy compiling follow up actions and things we can do in the Borough to help address some of the most pressing issues we face.
I am immensely proud to represent the Liberal Democrats and the more I get involved with the party, the prouder I become.
So now, it’s back to reality on a Monday morning and time to turn all those exciting opportunities into action. Let's get cracking!
Following a week of pantomime in Westeminster that no novellist could ever have imagined, Geoff, our parliamentary candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green, issued the following statement to the local press on his understanding of the readiness, or otherwise, of local businesses to make themselves ready for a No Deal (or in fact any deal) Brexit.
Geoff Seeff, our parliamentary candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green, has issued the following statement to the press on his response to the prorogation of Parliament in order to prevent discussion of the Government's intention to leave the EU without a deal (or indeed with a deal) . It has been published in the local Guardian but the words "Egged on by our arrogant, obsessive and misguided local MP" were edited out.........
In recent weeks the Liberal Democrats have been gaining MPs and members left, right and centre, and we'd like to build on this momentum in Waltham Forest. On Saturday 31st August, we will be holding a combined action day and social in Walthamstow Village, giving everyone an opportunity to get involved, meet the team and try campaigning! We'll be looking to build support heading into a crucial period for our country.
We will be running a stall in Walthamstow Village from 12pm. We'll be talking to local people at the stall, and also sending out volunteers to knock on doors and deliver residents' surveys to the local community. It's a great opportunity to get involved, whether you've campaigned before or not. Even if you're unsure about talking to voters, we'd love to see you down there - there are plenty of other ways you can help.
Afterwards, at 4pm, we'll be heading to the Village Pub for a well-earned drink. Everyone is welcome, whether you helped at the stall or not - we'd love to put some faces to the names on our membership list.
If you're interested, please sign up at the website: https://www.walthamforestlibdems.org/walthamstow_action_day_and_social or contact Tom Addenbrooke [[email protected]; 07533696954].
As we are now seeing with Johnson, so it will be with Corbyn- if you give autocrats an inch they will take a mile. In the case of Johnson, he promised his constituents (about 0.3% of the UK electorate) that if they made him Prime Minister he would ensure that the chances of a No Deal Brexit would be a million to one. Now he is Prime Minister he is doing his best to ensure that there will be a million to one chance of getting a deal and is using all the tried and trusted techniques of demagogues throughout history to engineer a No Deal scenario – proroguing parliament to thwart elected members from putting down opposing motions or threatening to ignore votes of no confidence are the marks of a mad dictator and the beginnings of a totalitarian state. But Corbyn and his acolytes would be no better.