The Will of the People?

Much has been written on this subject so it is difficult to say something that is completely different. However, in my view, there are three essential reasons why a No-Deal Brexit – or for that matter, any deal Brexit – does not reflect “the will of the people” and why, if we are ever to make a critical decision based on “the will”, it needs to be assessed with more science than a binary vote.

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Brexit: We Must Try to Stop this Madness

With the unelected and increasingly autocratic Prime Minister Johnson together with his cabinet of fanatical Europhobes telling us that, "do or die", with or without a "deal", the UK will leave the EU on 31st October 2019, the country is facing its greatest political crisis for generations and, to say the least, the threat of an uncertain future. However, Brexit in any form is not inevitable. LibDems are working with colleagues and campaigning groups inside and outside Parliament to find constitutional means of halting the process until there has been time for reflection on what has been learned over the past three years since the Referendum ... and there is a little something you can do to help support their efforts. 

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Jo Swinson is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats

Jo Swinson MP has been elected the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. Jo has already led the charge against Boris Johnson’s push for a destructive no-deal Brexit and will build on recent Liberal Democrat gains.

Having won the leadership election, Jo said: “Our first priority must be, of course, stopping Brexit. And as your new leader, it's right at the top of my agenda. We're at a pivotal moment. Our country needs a strong, liberal movement more than ever, and that is what we are going to build. This is only the country of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson if we let it be. We all know that Britain deserves better than both of them.”

Since Jo became leader, we've won a by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire and thousands of people have joined the Liberal Democrats as the best way to secure an exit from Brexit. Why not join them?

8 reasons why you should join the Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats

It is an exciting time to be a Liberal Democrat.  In the past month we have recorded our best ever European election results and gained the most seats ever in local elections. Recent polling shows that we can win huge numbers of seats in a general election. So many people are joining the Liberal Democrats at the moment that we are going through a massive membership surge - in fact our membership has just reached an all time high.  

So why should you join the Lib Dems - what’s the point? Here are eight reasons:

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Windrush Day

June 2019 marks the first ever national Windrush Day, aimed to help remember those who arrived in the UK on HMS Windrush on 22 June 1948. As Lib Dems, we called on the government to recognise 22 June as National Windrush Day in 2018 and Lib Dem Peer, Floella Benjamin has been leading the charge to have a memorial installed in London Waterloo station. She has also released a podcast, From the Heart, to share her own experiences arriving as one of the Windrush generation and her subsequent life in Britain.

A day honouring the Windrush arrivals is vital to counter the negative and devastating effects of the Conservative ‘hostile environment’ and the systematic victimisation of a whole generation, as seen in the Windrush scandal. Windrush citizens like Floella have lived here for decades, working, raising families and making a positive contribution to British society. Their generation answered the call to help address the UK’s post-WW2 labour shortage, yet many in the UK know nothing of that legacy.

As Vince Cable explained to Black History Month: “Our National Health Service is undeniably our greatest national treasure, yet its establishment and development would not have been possible without  the Windrush Generation. The arrival of Caribbean migrants at the point of our greatest need, not only built our public services but supplied much needed labour in sectors such as construction and agriculture. Yet, despite coming here by invitation, many were sadly victims of racism and discrimination and as the years have rolled by their contributions to British history have often been side-lined and overlooked.”

We hope that official recognition of a National Windrush Day will send out a message that diverse communities are to be celebrated for their enrichment of British culture and society.

Pride month

This month is Pride month, an opportunity to celebrate our sexual and gender diversity, but also to shine a light on the continuing injustices for LGBT+ community.

In Waltham Forest, we have a great opportunity to celebrate LGBT+ diversity through our unique position as the first London Borough of Culture. Throughout the year, music, culture and art will bring together the community not just for Pride month but for the whole year.

We know how important services like the East London Out Project are for supporting LGBT+ communities in our borough, and are proud that places like Leytonstone United Free Church led the way by being the first church in Waltham Forest to host same sex marriages in 2014.

However, as you may have seen, discrimination is still a daily reality for many as the recent attack on a same-sex couple on a London bus shows. Further still, same-sex couples in Northern Ireland are still denied the same rights as others in the UK by not being allowed to marry.

Liberal Democrats have always been clear that LGBT+ rights are human rights and that these rights are at the core of who we are as a party. It is why we pushed forward the amendment to repeal Section 28, it is why we legislated for same-sex marriage in the coaltion government, and it is why we are now continuing to campaign for same-sex marriage to be expanded to Northern Ireland.

Last year, the Lib Dem MP Layla Moran co-sponsored a Bill in Parliament that would bring same-sex marriage laws in Northern Ireland in line with those in England, Wales, and Scotland.

We are proud to be in a party that has been unequivocal in our support for equality and regardless of who wins our leadership battle, unlike the Conservatives, we know that equality will remain at the top of our agenda.

This Pride month, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come, celebrate our sexual and gender diversity, but please join us in tackling discrimination and prejudice wherever it exists.

If you identify or experience an issue of discrimination, whether for your sexual orientation, gender or otherwise - please let us know so can support you.

Liberal Democrats Select their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green

With their party’s popularity growing rapidly following the European and local elections, members of the Liberal Democrats in Redbridge and Waltham Forest have selected Dr Geoffrey Seeff as their prospective candidate for the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency. Woodford resident Dr Seeff is a long time campaigner for the Liberal Democrats and stood as a candidate in the constituency in 1997 and 2010.

Speaking to the members after his selection, Geoff reminded them that Chingford and Woodford Green voted to remain in Europe in 2016. He argued that the Lib Dem’s unequivocal message to call for a properly informed and fair second referendum and to campaign to revoke Article 50 had resonated with a substantial proportion of the electorate and it was evident that many "leavers" had changed their minds. He declared himself delighted to have the opportunity to lead the local efforts in the battle against Brexit.

Geoff said: "The nation has been polarised and Parliament paralysed since the ill-conceived and mismanaged referendum took place. Sadly, in the ensuing debate on the outcome, people have lost sight of the vision and values that inspired the founding of the European Union - raising the standard of living of the citizens of all member states and eliminating forever the prospect of war between them. It is apparent to all but the most rabid xenophobes that, having taken advantage of the benefits of open borders, we cannot simply unpick 45 years of political, business, academic and social relationships. Many authorities, including Government departments charged with assessing the impacts, predict that there would be economic chaos and carnage if the UK walked away from our commitments to our European partners without a deal, as threatened by most of the Tory leadership contenders."

Geoff recognises that while Brexit is currently the most critical issue facing politicians, it is not the only one of concern to the public. In order to reinforce the support they are now receiving, Liberal Democrats need to be promoting their distinctive policies on matters including: sustainable development in the context of climate change, preventative medicine and sensitive mental health provision, constitutional reform, including proportional representation, and improving corporate governance, particularly around taxation of digital businesses.

Asked about the chances of success in winning the seat, Geoff was extremely optimistic about his prospects and scathing about both the Tories and Labour. "The Tory party is in complete meltdown, with more positions on Brexit than the Karma Sutra. When a former Deputy Prime Minister votes Lib Dem, a former cabinet minister foretells his party’s extinction and former senior figures join other parties, you know they are in deep trouble. Iain Duncan Smith would recklessly take the UK over the precipice of no deal but constituents realise that it would be they who would suffer the consequences and not him. The pseudo-marxist ideology of Jeremy Corbyn does not sit well with the residents of Chingford and Woodford Green and the only reason that Labour polled strongly in 2017 was that voters erroneously thought the party would strongly oppose Brexit - how disappointed they have been. They won't make that mistake again."

Tributes to Justin Edinburgh (1970-2019)

Image credit:  By Nzd - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

All supporters of Leyton Orient FC, and the world of football generally, were shocked by the tragic news of the death of successful and highly-respected manager Justin Edinburgh. Edinburgh was only 49 years old, and leaves behind a wife and two small children.

Many O's fans rushed in mourning to the Orient's Brisbane Road ground, paying their respects to the man and recognising his achievements. Under Edinburgh's leadership the club finished top of the National League last seasoned and returned to division 2 of the English Football League. The LBWF Liberal Democrat team send their heartfelt condolences to Justin Edinburgh's friends and family, and all Orient supporters.

Personal tribute from Patrick C Smith (LBWF Liberal Democrat and Leyton Orient FC Fan):

I went to the O's Ground/Score Community Project, to read some of the many messages of sympathy in the blitz of floral tributes, that are inside Brisbane Road and along Oliver Road. They all applauded the late and never-to-be-forgotten Manager Justin Edinburgh.

Justin had started his football career at Southend United in 1988-1990, when the legendary Bobby Moore was their manager. He went on to play for Tottenham Hotspur 213 times in the Premier League, achieving prominence as a defender and FA Cup winner in 1993/94.

Justin Edinbugh was the guiding light and approachable Manager of the O's side, leading them to promotion last season and putting the team back into EFL D2. He was loved and respected for his sincerity and ambition in football by all. There is a growing campaign in the hearts and minds of O's fans that it will be possible to name a Stand in the memory of Justin Edinburgh, so that grateful supporters will be able to remember him and his achievements at each home match, in future seasons. 

Leadership contest: should Jo Swinson or Ed Davey lead the fight for a Liberal Britain?

Having lead us to incredible results in the 2019 Local and EU elections, Sir Vince Cable is stepping down as party leader. The race is now on to take up his mantle and lead the Liberal Democrats to further success: stopping Brexit, fighting for liberal values and winning elections. 

The two contenders, Jo Swinson and Sir Ed Davey, set out their visions at the London hustings on Friday. The excitement at the event reflected the newfound optimism of a party on the rise: appropriately enough, the sold-out debate was held at a school in Jeremy Corbyn's Islington back yard - a borough that we won in the EU elections only a week ago. 

Jo and Ed discussed building on this success to stop Brexit, and spoke passionately about the liberal causes that they would personally emphasise as party leader. Ed outlined the need to "de-carbonise capitalism" to tackle the climate emergency, and pressed the case for an internationalist perspective. Jo stressed the need to focus innovation towards making the economy work for people across society, and to lead the fight against nationalism.  

We have two strong candidates, both with impressive track records of fighting for, and advancing, liberal values at Westminster and beyond. It promises to be a close fought contest over the next few weeks; join the Liberal Democrats now to have your say!

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