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Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats

National News

  • Layla Moran
    Article: Oct 4, 2019
    By Layla Moran

    This week, the Office for National Statistics published a shocking set of figures. They show that 726 homeless people died in 2018 - a 22% increase since 2017.

    This is an epidemic that is claiming far too many lives, and the Conservative Government is completely failing to get to grips with it. This is an epidemic that is claiming far too many lives

  • Beatrice Bass
    Article: Sep 18, 2019

    Liberal Democrats have passed the "Music Venues" policy motion at Autumn Conference in Bournemouth.

    The new policy, which was introduced by our very own Beatrice Bass, Parliamentary candidate for Hove and Portslade, will protect music venues from closures through legislative changes, listing them as Assets of Community Value and providing more funding. The Liberal Democrats will be collaborating with existing organisations such as UK Music, the Music Venue Trust and the Arts Council.

    Commenting on this commitment, Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture Secretary Layla Moran said:

    "Liberal Democrats are committed to supporting the creative industries. This is good news for all local areas that have a thriving music scene.

    "Too many venues have been shut down over the years and we know how vital grassroots venues are in nurturing local talent. We will do anything we can to protect existing venues.

    "We will ask local authorities to implement the Agent of Change principle in local planning law, so that landlords and developers have to provide soundproofing to keep developments next to existing venues noise free."

    Beatrice Bass, who submitted the motion to Conference on Monday morning, added:

    "I am absolutely delighted that Lib Dem members passed my policy motion to save our music venues. As a former professional musician I am deeply concerned that over 35% of music venues have been closed in the UK in the last decade.

    "This policy will ensure that existing venues are protected so that young up-and-coming artists have the space and opportunity to develop into the Coldplays, Muses or Adeles of tomorrow. It demonstrates the Lib Dems' commitment to support the creative industries and our diverse music scene in the UK."

  • Jo Swinson
    Article: Sep 18, 2019

    21 years on from my first Liberal Democrat conference, I am thrilled to stand before you today as your leader.

    I'm delighted to see so many old friends who have kept the torch of liberalism burning bright through troubled times.

    And I'm excited to welcome thousands of new members to our cause,

    Flocking to the Liberal Democrats as the clear rallying point for a movement to create an open, fair, inclusive society.

  • Article: Aug 2, 2019

    Jane Dodds and the local Liberal Democrat team just WON the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election!

    And we're all thrilled!

  • Chuka Umunna (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)] https://pds.blog.parliament.uk/2017/07/21/mp-official-portraits-open-source-images/)
    Article: Jun 14, 2019
    By Chuka Umunna

    I went into politics to put something back into the community I am from and to take our country in a progressive direction. My progressive values lead me to strive to work for a fair and open Britain, which has a strong, mixed market economy, in which everyone can achieve their dreams regardless of their background.

  • Article: May 29, 2019
    By Dan Schmeising

    So as you may have heard - Vince is stepping down. That means a leadership contest has been triggered. Here's how to have your say on the future of our party!

    But who can vote for the next Lib Dem leader?

    The answer is simple - to vote, you need to join the Lib Dems as a member.

    Who's standing to be leader?

  • Article: May 10, 2019

    We have a chance on May 23rd to send a very loud message to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.

    They're trying to cobble together a deal to get Brexit over the line and we need to tell them that the "will of the people" has changed. A recent YouGov poll showed 61% of people would vote to remain versus May's deal - there is no longer a majority in the country for Brexit!

  • Article: Apr 24, 2019

    Five reasons to vote for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections on 23rd May.

    1. To vote against Brexit

    The Liberal Democrats are the only nation-wide party to have been fighting Brexit since the very beginning.

    We've spent three years campaigning for a People's Vote with an option to remain in the EU.

  • Article: Apr 19, 2019

    Local election campaigns around the country are going well with just under two weeks left. Like many of you, our home has moved into our regular election machine, and our driveway is the Watford garden poster factory!

    If you haven't yet, make sure to ask your local team for a garden poster (or window poster if you cannot have a garden one) and show your friends and neighbours that the Lib Dems are winning here!

  • Libdem Spring Conference York 2019 GLD Fringes (Graham Neale (c))
    Article: Mar 18, 2019
    By Frances Lindsay-Hills

    Over 1,000 Liberal Democrats traveled to York and were rewarded with some beautifully crafted and delivered speeches and some from nervous first timers but they were all united in their passion for justice. Delegates from all over Europe spoke about their sadness at the possibility we might be no longer a part of the European Union and all speakers were united in their anger that we will be cast away from the biggest market in the world and the union that had brought peace, solidarity and free movement to so many diverse nations.

  • Tom Brake
    Article: Mar 17, 2019
    By Tom Brake

    This week Jeremy Corbyn stuck two fingers up at Remainers.

    When the time came to vote on the People's Vote amendment, he sat on his hands and ordered his MPs to do the same. My colleagues and I were livid - and judging by the reaction on social media, so were millions of Remainers.

    If we've learnt anything this week, it's that Brexit is too important to be left in the hands of the politicians - a People's Vote is the only way forward.

  • Vince Cable at 2018 Spring Conference
    Article: Mar 17, 2019

    THE ROMANS

    It is a sobering thought that just under 2,000 years ago there were people gathered on this spot no doubt complaining about a treaty from Rome… with tiresome regulations about daily baths and straight roads; muttering under their breath that these legionnaires should go back to Gaul or Carthage.

    And you would have heard lots of people saying Interum sumo inferium. For those amongst you who don't converse in classical languages, that means: take back control!

    It then took them over 300 years to get their 'Rexit, when the Romans went home. That's the kind of timescale Theresa May seems to be working on. It then took about 700 years for York to recover from this early Brexit.

    Eventually it did, mainly thanks to French newcomers. They and their descendants left much that is beautiful in this city, like the Minster.

    But there are also reminders of past ugliness. Only a few hundred yards away from here one of Britain's early displays of organised antisemitism when Yorkshire's Jews were rounded up, locked up in Clifford's Tower and burned to death.

    That the country should still be battling the scourge of anti-Semitism today is a terrible reflection on our society.

    And after this weekend's horrors in New Zealand, Islamophobia is another scourge, indulged by populists and conspiracy theorists - with terrible consequences.

    But back to my home city. York is where my life, and my upbringing and my political career began. I have fond memories as a returning native, and I am heartened that York now enjoys a luxury which I hope will soon be more widely shared: a Lib Dem-led council.

    And it is a place which is proud of its traditions and identity as a great British city, but open and welcoming to outsiders. York University, a symbol of that openness, welcomed as its first ever student, in 1963, a young woman from Kenya who a few years later became my wife.

    And, by the way, the city voted to Remain.

    REMAIN

    Brexit is dominating the life of Parliament and the country and not in a good way. It is dividing families, communities, and even the United Kingdom and sucking the energy out of government. Last week's farcical debates have diminished even further the standing of Parliament.

    Many of the really big issues which will dominate the future - how we live sustainably; how we adapt to and control a new generation of technologies; how we plan for our ageing population - all of these are being put on one side: postponed, ignored, neglected.

    I am not surprised that growing numbers of people are simply reacting with a mixture of boredom and anger: boredom because the same arguments are being advanced with robotic regularity; anger because what we were told would be very simple and straightforward is, in reality, hideously complicated.

    I am proud of the role our party has played, unapologetically leading the case for Remaining for an Exit from Brexit through securing and then winning a People's Vote. Against all the odds, our cause is very much alive.

    We have been quite clear that the 2016 referendum, now more than 2½ years ago, was not a good basis for leaving. It was undertaken solely to satisfy an internal quarrel inside the Conservative Party. A narrow majority of voters, and only 37% of the electorate, voted to Leave.

    Facts change, and they have changed. We also now understand much better the scale of the cheating and lying, which went on to secure the result. Without a confirmatory referendum there will be no such thing as the 'settled will of the people': merely a feud without end.

    I remain astounded that some people claim a new referendum would be undemocratic. What is democracy if it is not the right for a country to change its mind?

    I, myself, serve as an illustration of this principle. In 2015, I was defeated in the General Election and lost my seat. Two years later, in another election, they told me on the doorsteps, and the in the privacy of the voting booth, that they had had a change of heart and I got back with a near 10,000 majority.

    Twickenham changed its mind. Britain is now changing its mind too.

    And anyone who imagines that getting Theresa May's proposed Brexit through Parliament at the - third, fourth, fifth - time of asking will bring closure and stability is suffering from serious self-delusion.

    The Withdrawal Agreement - the divorce - is the easy bit. If Brexit is a political Everest, we have only just got to the Base Camp.

    The brief, vague, woolly, Political Declaration doesn't even tell us where the summit is, let alone how to get there. It promises years and years of frustration and friction.

    We keep being told, not least by the Chancellor, that once Brexit is agreed and delivered, the fog of uncertainty will lift and there will be a surge of renewed confidence in the UK. Business investment will pour in. We will all live happily every after.

    But this is a triumph of political fantasy over economic reality. Any well-run business can see that chronic uncertainty would follow any endorsement of the Withdrawal Agreement. The cliff edge would merely have been postponed for 20 months. Not a great offer. 

    But it isn't just about business, and economics, important though they are.

    As an MP for a university area, containing one of the leading scientific research centres in the country, I see a generation's worth of work going up in smoke. Pan-European teams; the free movement of students and staff and crucial research funding… are all being seriously damaged.

    And we are turning our backs on the most successful peace project in European history; a project which brought democracy to Southern European military dictatorships and then to the former communist countries of the East.

    That is why Europe is worth fighting for. That is why we will continue to fight to Remain.

    Whatever happens in the next few weeks of parliamentary twists and turns, we must argue that none of the many, mutually exclusive versions of Brexit now on offer - soft or hard - are as good as the deal we currently have.

    To those outside the Westminster bubble, the parliamentary games on Brexit are baffling: a weird combination of snakes and ladders, chess and all-in wrestling.

    So I want to pay tribute to our anti-Brexit parliamentary team, led by Tom Brake, Sarah Ludford and Dick Newby, who together have helped us ensure that we are in the right place on the panoply of Brexit legislation.

    I am grateful, too, to all of you. You keep campaigning; You never give up; You continue to believe we can win this historic argument. I am looking forward to joining you and leading you once again in a show of Liberal Democrat strength on the march next weekend. Together we will make a statement, on the streets, that the fight continues, and can be won.

    I got into some hot water with some of you last year, suggesting that ours might be a 'movement for moderates'. Naturally, we are - economically - in the centre; supporters of private enterprise, unafraid of active government.

    But in the new world of identity politics, we are on one side, not in the mushy middle. We are Remain.

    The choice between good and bad, right and wrong, isn't to split the difference. As King Solomon once observed: you don't settle a dispute on the parentage of a baby by splitting it down the middle.

    In a world of Trumps, Le Pens, and Putins… the new champions of nationalism and Xenophobia… we are firmly on the other side.

    We are Remain. We are internationalist, liberal, outward looking.

    If there is one issue which exposes the motives of British politicians today, it is the current bitter arguments over the 'Irish backstop'. For the hard Brexiteers, the pure identity of the United Kingdom as a 'sovereign' entity - which can do what it likes and close its mind to the world - is more important than peace, trade, and prosperity.

    For them, our shared history with Ireland is irrelevant; of second order to their own obsessions with nationalism. And to make things worse, this government is so lacking in talent that it employs a Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who makes even Chris Grayling look like a serious figure.

    Karen Bradley says she doesn't understand sectarian voting patterns, and then compounds this public declaration of ignorance with a blatantly and naively one-sided view of the killings in the Troubles. Ireland, like Czechoslovakia in pre-war days, is seen as a faraway country of which they know nothing and care less. She has revealed an ugly truth: that peace in Ireland matters less than peace in the Conservative Party.

    CAUSES

    But just as we are committed to fighting the consequences of Brexit, we are committed to tackling the underlying causes. That isn't straightforward.

    We shouldn't be seduced by the lazy clichés and the simple idea that Brexit was caused by deprivation. In fact, some of Britain's poorest cities voted to Remain. And many of the most prosperous towns and villages, in the South voted Leave. But there was a clear pattern of towns in the North, the Midlands, Wales, and coastal England which felt neglected and voted Leave to give the Government, and the wider establishment, a good kicking.

    Government must invest heavily in the infrastructure and public services in former industrial or mining or seaside towns. I have set out in a pamphlet, which will be available as you leave, my ideas about how government should approach this. It may not be the most exciting bedtime reading, but it should provide some material for the train home!

    The big challenges which my booklet addresses have been obscured not just by Brexit, but by the upheaval in Britain's two main parties. The Conservative Party was, until recently, a broad church; but now it is narrowing to a party of English nationalism. The UKippers are quietly taking over that hollowed out, geriatric, structure and those that don't fit in are being pushed aside.

    This is a mirror image of what has already happened to the Labour Party. Ever since the Labour civil war 40 years ago, which led to the social democratic split, there has been an unresolved conflict between revolutionary and democratic socialism. And now there is a nasty twist; the anti-Semites who feed off the conspiracy theories of the 'far left' are back. Reminding us that there is more that unites the far left and far right than divides them.

    But the problems of the Labour Party are not just a problem for them, but for all of us.

    There are millions of Conservative voters who are disgusted with the incompetence, the self-indulgence and the inhumanity of this Tory Government but so long as Labour appears to be a nightmare, they will cling to the Tory nurse, for fear of something worse.

    THE CENTREGROUND

    The question I have been asked from the day I took on this job is "why don't the Liberal Democrats fill the political space created by these extremes?" I believe we should, we can and we will.

    But anybody who thinks it's straight forward to rush in and fill this so called 'centre ground' will soon encounter the barrier of which we are all too painfully aware. The first past the post voting system.

    Every parliamentary constituency and council seat in England and Wales is fought on this basis, crushing the life out of insurgent parties trying to operate as if they were in Holland or Sweden, where there is proportional voting.

    Dozens of new parties have been registered in the last couple of years, many claiming to be the Holy Grail of the 'Centre Ground'.

    They need to ask themselves a simple question: why isn't the Women's Equality Party running the country? With a potential voter base of over half the population; many sensible policies; lots of committees; a clear, attractive, brand; and some nice people…but they haven't got anyone elected.

    They can't get over the hurdle of 'first past the post'. So, when people tell me that a new force can win in France, why not here, the prosaic answer is: this isn't France.

    We don't have a Presidential system; and we don't have a transferable vote.

    REALIGNMENT

    These are the problems and we are all too familiar with them. But there's no reason for giving up.

    The massive challenge we face now is to create an alternative to the politics of fear and division; which has attractive, liberal and social democratic values; but is also grounded in the political reality and experience of winning in the current system and running things well at local and national level.

    This year's local elections must be the place where we finally shake off the set-back of two damaging general elections, and regain confidence, building on the advances of the last year. We can and will.

    The environment in which we do so has now changed. We are seeing early signs of some realignment. The breakaway group of independent MPs is a sign of that.

    I have been very clear that we must welcome a realignment of British politics and the opportunities it presents. I have also been clear that we should offer the hand of friendship to those who want to work with us rather than against us.
    Most of their statements of policy could have been cut and pasted from ours. But these are early days.

    The new group has a following wind from people who are curious about something new, and who admire their decision to break with their parties. But there is nothing yet beyond Westminster.

    No local infrastructure. No local base.

    They are very exposed to a wipe out in an early election. We aren't. As Tim Farron once observed, we would survive as cockroaches would survive a nuclear war. Speaking as Chief Cockroach, I would prefer a more flattering metaphor, but his point is well made.

    But I think we can do more than survive. We can do much more and much better by working with them and others who share our values, to take on the decaying and dysfunctional Labour and Conservative party machines, which have dominated British politics for far too long.

    The fringe this weekend where Jo Swinson welcomed Anna Soubry to conference was a very positive step.

    FRUSTRATION

    One of the reasons that there appears to be some public appetite for something new is frustration with the relentlessly negative and adversarial nature of British politics. There was some tut-tutting in the party when I forged an agreement with the Green Party covering national and local elections in my part of London.

  • Christine Jardine
    Article: Mar 17, 2019
    By Christine Jardine

    It's fantastic to be back here in York… and a bit eerie for me. You see making a speech on this stage to all of you was the very last thing I did before my selection process in Edinburgh West.

    A lot of things have changed since then… and there is a lot more we want to change.

    Some of them are about the party…. Some are about the country. And then there's Brexit,… but let's not bring the mood down. Certainly, that is one of the things we are working to change.

  • Jo Swinson (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
    Article: Mar 17, 2019
    By Liberal Democrats

    Jo started out with a heartfelt tribute to those killed in the Christchurch mosque shooting this morning. "The forces that sow hate and division and seek to turn fellow citizens against each other must not and cannot win"

    She then paid tribute to outgoing leader Vince Cable - "a powerful champion for liberalism"

  • Sir Vince Cable MP
    Article: Mar 16, 2019

    This has been a dramatic week in Parliament with Theresa May's Brexit proposals heavily defeated, and a very clear statement that a 'no deal' Brexit must be avoided. It is now clear that Brexit will be postponed, and very possibly stopped.

    The future is very uncertain but despite Labour's continued prevarication, there is still a real chance of securing a People's Vote and, indeed, of stopping Brexit.

  • March 25th C
    Article: Feb 25, 2019

    Why do people join the Lib Dems? Here's a piece by Duncan Stewart that gives you one new party member's thoughts.

    The curse of living in interesting times is surely upon us and the major casualty of the recent completely unnecessary upheaval in our political scene is the virtual disappearance of the political centre ground. We have been forced, and may have been so again by the time you read this, to vote either 'in' or 'out' at the referendum when 'don't know' would have been a reasonable third option ahead of informed debate.

  • Layla Moran
    Article: Feb 19, 2019
    By Layla Moran

    Yesterday, 7 MPs left Labour to form an independent group. I felt they were brave and said I hoped we'd be able to work together.

    What I didn't say is I felt the answer to many of their reasons for leaving are addressed right here, with the Liberal Democrats.

  • Article: Feb 15, 2019

    Jamie Stone, MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross and Scottish Affairs spokesperson has today backed young people who are striking over climate change.

    Inspired by 16 year old Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg, who held a solo protest outside the Swedish Parliament, this movement has now seen protests from 70,000 schoolchildren each week across 270 towns and cities worldwide.

  • Wera Hobhouse
    Article: Feb 13, 2019
    By Wera Hobhouse

    Tuesday 12th February saw two parliamentary bills become law.

    Two bills that the Liberal Democrats have been fighting on, to improve the lives of those living in Britain.

    Upskirting

    Back in June last year, my Private Members' Bill making upskirting a specific criminal offence was kicked out of Parliament by a Tory dinosaur - for no good reason. But we didn't give up.

  • Layla Moran
    Article: Jan 31, 2019
    By Layla Moran

    The title of this article should be common sense, shouldn't it?

    And yet, between 2014 and 2016 alone, over 3000 people were dragged before the court. Not for doing anything wrong, but for falling foul of a 195-year-old law.

    The 1824 Vagrancy Act was drafted with soldiers coming home from the Napoleonic Wars in mind. It's a cold, archaic relic from a bygone age. I will do everything in my power to ensure it doesn't reach its 200th birthday.

  • VInce Cable
    Article: Jan 18, 2019
    By Vince Cable

    All 11 Lib Dem MPs voted against this shambolic Conservative Government in Wednesday night's vote of no confidence.

    In the aftermath, Theresa May invited me to discuss the next steps. I accepted, but in our discussion, I was clear.

    There will be no progress until no deal is off the table. We won't vote for this needlessly destructive Brexit. We need a people's vote.

  • Article: Jan 10, 2019

    The Prime Minister has spent 18 months putting together a compromise Brexit deal that doesn't deliver on what the Brexiteers promised and pleases no one.

    Theresa May is making a mess out of Brexit and her deal is a national humiliation.

    She doesn't have the support of her backbenchers, or of the DUP. Fifteen government ministers have now resigned over Brexit.

  • Article: Dec 31, 2018
    By Greg Foster

    As we enter 2019, time is ticking down on Brexit, and with it the whole future of the country.

    The history books will look back on these coming three months as critical.
    It is almost unbelievable that Parliament is waiting a further week to return!

    After two long years of negotiation, the Prime Minister has brought back a Brexit deal that satisfies no-one. Her reaction is to try to scare people with the prospect of a 'No Deal' Brexit. In reality, that can't happen unless she decides it should.

    So the only way forward - now - for the country and the Prime Minister is for the public to have the final say, and the option to Remain.

    It's a campaign we Liberal Democrats started more than two years ago. Now millions of people have joined us in demanding a better future than Brexit Britain has to offer.

    And the power of the millions who have signed petitions, lobbied their MP, or marched on Parliament - 700,000 of them just this year - is beginning to bear fruit. A People's Vote has moved from being a possibility to being a probability.

    But only if we keep the pressure up. If we succeed, 2019 will be a year remembered not because we harmed our country with Brexit, but because we - the people - stood up and stopped it.

    And if we do that, our Parliament and Government can once again deal with big issues like climate change, rising crime, the social care crisis, homelessness and housing supply, all of which have been neglected because of Brexit.

    Enjoy your New Year celebrations and then let's get out there in 2019 and win the fight for a People's Vote and a brighter future for Britain.

  • Article: Dec 28, 2018

    Since learning of Paddy Ashdown's death last night people have been taking to social media to share their memories of this incredible man.

    We've collected a few of those memories of Paddy from members, supporters and the public at large here. You can also share your memories of Paddy and add your name to the book of condolence here: www.libdems.org.uk/book-of-condolence-paddy-ashdown

  • Article: Dec 14, 2018

    After years of putting pressure on the Government, on Tuesday they agreed major concessions on the Tenant Fees Bill.

    We campaigned to:

    • significantly limit the fees that could be charged to a tenant by their landlord or lettings agent,
    • require a greater amount of transparency when deciding not to refund a holding deposit, and
    • limit the maximum security deposit a landlord can require to five weeks rent.