Racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, sexism, transphobia, and bigotry in any form are not welcome in the Liberal Democrats, writes Vince Cable.
The last ten days have seen major stories of racism in both of Britain's major parties.
What is happening in the Labour party - and Boris Johnson's comments this week - are frightening to many Jewish and Muslim people living in Britain.
This is a reflection of the way the politics of identity dominates politics today and attracts comments, sometimes critical or offensive, about particular groups.
I expressed this concern 2 decades ago in two pamphlets for the think tank, Demos. I would stress now, as then, that liberals view people as individuals, rather than through the prism of their race, religion or sexuality.
The lazy use of group stereotypes should be unacceptable to us all. But we must not be blind to the fact that these issues affect our party as well.
The Liberal Democrats have always been at the forefront of the fight for equality, and we have a record on these issues of which we're very proud.
But sadly, the truth is that a very small minority of our own members do hold some views that are fundamentally incompatible with our values.
Our party’s constitution is clear:
We reject all prejudice and discrimination based upon race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation and oppose all forms of entrenched privilege and inequality.
As a liberal, I respect people's rights to hold different views to my own, but my message to everyone is that racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, sexism, transphobia and bigotry are not welcome, and not tolerated, in the Liberal Democrats.
If the last week’s events have disturbed you, as they have me, then here are a few practical things we can do about it together:
Stand up to prejudice - if you witness any of the issues listed above in this party, please, call it out. You will not find yourself alone - and you will always find allies in our members. You can also report these issues here: libdems.org.uk/complaints-compliments
Ask someone from an under-represented group to join the party. We are a stronger political force if we look like the Britain we seek to represent. You can ask someone from an under-represented group to join here: libdems.org.uk/ask-to-join
- If you know someone who would make a fantastic candidate - and is from an under-represented group, encourage them to stand for election. They can start that process here: libdems.org.uk/become-a-candidate
Our party must be a place where every person regardless of gender, religion, race or sexuality is treated fairly.
The Alderdice report I shared with you earlier this year made it clear that we still have much work to do to change the culture of our own party on diversity.
I promise we will not shy away from this issue, no matter how tough it gets.
Vince Cable - Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Ed Davey calls on Theresa May to protect her Modern Slavery Act, abandon the harmful policies that threaten it, and work to end slavery for good.
Theresa May once called modern slavery “the great human rights issue of our time”, and she was right. The very idea that human beings are held in bondage in the UK today – forced to pick fruit and wash cars, to work on construction sites and in nail bars – is sickening.
In 2015, the Coalition Government passed a Modern Slavery Act to make it easier to identify victims and bring traffickers to justice, and prosecutions have increased as a result. But now, many of Theresa May’s own policies are undermining efforts to tackle it.
The “hostile environment” approach she introduced as Home Secretary is making it harder for victims to come forward, whether to report crimes or seek medical help. In 2016, for example, she created a new offence of “illegal working”, which traffickers now use to keep victims in fear of prosecution if they speak up.
Meanwhile, Conservative cuts to the Border Force, as well as to police forces across the country, have left fewer officers on the frontline in the fight against trafficking. That simply isn’t good enough. The “great human rights issue of our time” can’t be tackled on the cheap.
Perhaps the biggest threat to efforts to combat modern slavery, though, is the Government’s pursuit of a hard Brexit. As the European Commission, the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee and respected security experts have all made clear, this puts at risk the vital cross-border institutions and co-operation that we rely on to fight organised crime and human trafficking.
Thanks to British leadership, human trafficking has become one of Europol’s top priorities. Even if we remain a member of the agency – and we must – Brexit will strip us of that leadership role. At the same time, the Prime Minister is sticking to her “red lines” that may cost us both the European Arrest Warrant and EU intelligence-sharing arrangements that have helped to put traffickers behind bars.
I know that Theresa May cares about tackling modern slavery, and the Modern Slavery Act stands as one of her greatest achievements. So I’m calling on her to protect that achievement, abandon the harmful policies that threaten it, and work to end slavery for good.
Ed Davey - Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Home Affairs and MP for Kingston & Surbiton
Response from Lord Newby on the news that Vote Leave broke electoral law
Today the Electoral Commission ruled on what we all knew - Leave cheated.
Vote Leave have been fined £60,000 for incomplete and inaccurate expenses and for working jointly with pro-Brexit group BeLeave – and using this to get around their spending ceiling of £7 million.
And, lest we forget, the referendum result was just 51.9% for Leave and 48.1% for Remain.
It is now clearer than ever that we need a vote on the final deal that Theresa May brings back from Brussels.
A vote where everyone plays by the rules.
One where there is a clear deal on the table for the British public to accept or reject.
And most importantly - a vote with an option to Remain in the EU.
Dick Newby - Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords
Donald Trump has claimed that the Conservatives' Brexit plan has killed off any chance of a UK-US trade deal.
Donald Trump is an enemy of Britain. His vile views and wild outbursts make the whole world a more dangerous place.
Like his terrible twin Boris Johnson he is consumed by self-obsession and self-promotion. And Trump has the cheek to nominate Johnson as our Prime Minister - in return I recommend ABD (anyone but Donald) for President of our American friends and allies.
This is the final wake up call on Brexit; the Conservatives’ fudged plans are dead in the water. Thousands of British businesses and millions of British jobs are in mortal danger.
Theresa May must pull back to stop us hurtling over the hard Brexit cliff. It is time to forget charlatans like Trump and secure more time to negotiate with our friends in Europe. Then we must give the British people the final say on any deal, including the option of an Exit from Brexit.
Theresa May's Cabinet is disintegrating, she cannot paper over divisions in her party, and confidence in her leadership is gone. What's next? Let's exit from Brexit.
Theresa May tried to portray strength as her Cabinet decamped to Chequers to review her Brexit plans. Rebels ministers were warned they would lose their official cars if they resigned, with taxis on standby to shuttle the disloyal back to London.
This was May's moment to bring her Cabinet in line.
For a moment, it appeared that May had managed to quietly stifle dissent. Then the dam broke.
Late Sunday night, the Prime Minister's own Brexit Secretary, David Davis, resigned.
Oops Theresa May.
The British people woke Monday morning to the image of a government in disarray as the PM's chief Brexit negotiator finally jumped ship.
The Tories then held their breath wondering if any other resignations would follow. Coincidentally, people couldn't pin down a certain Foreign Secretary...
In a huge blow to Theresa May's leadership, the Prime Minister lost her Foreign Secretary and Brexit Secretary within 24 hours, and a host of junior ministers too. Though not everyone was sad to see Boris go.
Strong and stable? Doesn't look like it anymore. Questions swirled over the Prime Minister's future.
People online were even having some fun recalling the promises of David Cameron years ago of a strong and stable Tory government, as this tweet did the rounds:
But at the end of the day, Theresa May's woes are a result of a messy and mishandled of a Brexit.
After this chaotic day, tens of thousands of people signed up to our campaign to Exit from Brexit. Theresa May has demonstrated clearly that Brexit would be an absolute disaster for the country, and that she can barely keep her government together.
It's time the people had the final say on the Brexit deal with the option to stay in the EU.
If you agree with us join us.
Baroness Liz Barker, GLA Member Caroline Pidgeon, Merton Councillor Hina Bokhari and Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake front our excellent turnout at Saturday's London Pride 2018 parade.
Participation in the parade is an important opportunity for Liberal Democrats to reiterate that self expression and equality are vital to what we believe in as liberals. Everybody should have the right to live and love free from fear and discrimination.
Liberal Democrats have much to celebrate in fighting for LGBT+ Rights over the past 50 years. Same Sex Marriage was steered through Government by Baroness Lynne Featherstone. Unfortunately there is more still do. Liberal Democrats are supporting Layla Moran (Lib Dem MP for Oxford West & Abingdon) in her Parliamentary campaign to ensure residents of Northern Ireland have the same rights to equal marriage as the rest of the UK. Liberal Democrats will also continue to fight for LGBT+ people elsewhere around the world, particularly in the 72 countries where homosexuality is illegal. Liberal Democrats believe in peoples' right to lead their the lives the way they choose and to celebrate love without persecution.
Caroline Pidgeon has called for TfL to tell people how they can reclaim their unused Oyster credit after it was revealed that they are sitting on a "cash mountain" of more than £321m. Caroline said "TfL never stops bombarding us with advertisements and information campaigns, but highlighting this cash mountain is one issue that they remain incredibly quiet about. It is time TfL devoted far more time and energy telling the public how they can get their own money back.”
Commenting ahead of tomorrow’s (30 June) 15-year anniversary of Oyster said “There is no question that Oyster has been an incredible success. It has made travel more convenient and provided real flexibility for millions of people.
“It is now so established that it is hard to believe how we managed before its creation 15 years ago.
“However, as we celebrate Oyster’s success we should not overlook the staggering rise of dormant Oyster cards, creating an immense cash mountain for Transport for London."
“The total amount left on dormant Oyster cards is soaring, almost certainly in part due to the increasing number of people who have switched to contactless payment. TfL never stops bombarding us with advertisements and information campaigns, but highlighting this cash mountain is one issue that they remain incredibly quiet about. It is time TfL devoted far more time and energy telling the public how they can get their own money back.”
“TfL also needs to ensure that a weekly cap on Oyster is introduced as quickly as possible. While there has been a weekly cap on contactless payment from the very beginning we still have no precise starting date for when Oyster will have a similar cap.
“Boris Johnson promised that a weekly cap on Oyster would be introduced in 2015. It is appalling that we are still waiting for TfL to treat Oyster and contactless payment travellers equally.”
Clyde’s funeral has been arranged for Monday the 16th July at 2pm at the South Chapel at the City of London crematorium.
Flowers or donations to the Alzheimer society UK via William Denys Funeral Directors
159 Leytonstone Road
It is with great sorrow that we mourn the passing of Clyde Kitson, who lost his battle with cancer yesterday morning.
Clyde was a Yorkshire man who moved to Waltham Forest over 40 years ago to pursue his career as a geography teacher. He never strayed far from education, serving as a governor of Buxton School for more than two decades.
Clyde was first elected as a Councillor for Cann Hall in 1982 and is credited with laying the foundations for the party’s future successes. He topped the polls on his first try and elected two other Liberal Councillors alongside him, turning a ward with a Labour majority of 712 into a ward with a Liberal majority of 213. An unprecedented turnaround and one which saw Cann Hall stay yellow for the next 36 years.
After serving as a Councillor for 20 years, sitting on a vast array of committees, Clyde retired from the Council in 2002. He never disengaged from local politics, serving as a governor of Buxton School and Chair of Governors for many years, he also served as Chair and Membership Officer of the local Liberal Democrats alongside a variety of other party roles. His most recent effort was to stand as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the local elections just a month ago.
Clyde’s rough northern charm and booming voice made him an instantly recognisable character at meetings, and although people might have found themselves locking horns with him on occasion he was universally respected. He was a man of great detail, often taking on tasks so monotonous they would drive anyone else to despair, and a great believer in knuckling down and getting on with the job. Because of this, he was often a driving force within the party; spurring us on to go the extra mile.
Clyde had Cann Hall in his blood and dedicated most of his time to trying to make Cann Hall a better place for the people who live there. Many residents know Clyde for his unrelenting work, and his stubbornness in not resting until a problem was solved. In ways big and small Clyde left Cann Hall a better place than he found it, and for that reason is an inspiration to all of us who want to see our communities flourish.
We are utterly devastated at the passing of former Waltham Forest Councillor Farooq Qureshi.
Farooq served as a Councillor for Forest ward from 2004 to 2014. Many will remember him as their friendly and approachable local Councillor who was always happy to stop and chat, and to whom no problem was ever too small. Farooq also served as Mayor of Waltham Forest from 2006 to 2007 and used the opportunity to raise funds to support the cardiology unit at Whipps Cross Hospital amongst many other worthy causes.
To Farooq, being a Councillor was not a title. It was a commitment and one which he took very seriously, and with a genuine compassion for the people he represented. He carried out his role with humility and truly invested himself in those who had trusted him to be their Councillor.
Farooq's achievements as a Councillor are far too numerous to list and many of them are small and personal because to Farooq being a Councillor was not about grand investments, or bids and schemes, it was about people and the little things we can all do every day to improve the lives of the people we share our community with.
Farooq has been a calming presence and a role model to many within the Liberal Democrats, and his absence will be sorely missed by those who were fortunate enough to experience his wisdom and good humour, and by those with problems big or small who found in Farooq a sympathetic ear and a man who would not stop until every avenue to solve their problem had been exhausted.
The Labour party has been in control in Waltham Forest in one form or another for the past 47 years. They have become stale, out of touch, and arrogant. Change is needed.
The Liberal Democrats have a plan for Waltham Forest. We have identified six key areas where a Liberal Democrat-run Waltham Forest could make a strong positive difference to the lives of the people who live here.
This is not just a list of pledges, but a statement of our values as a party who wants to see Waltham Forest Council be more innovative, forward-thinking, transparent, and above all a Council that actually listens to residents.
We hope you share those values, and that you will lend us your vote on 3rd May to help build a better borough.