Happy 20th birthday to the Human Rights Act!

20 years ago today the Human Rights Act became law, incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.

The Liberal Democrats had been campaigning for the Human Rights Act ever since we were founded, but our fight to protect people’s rights and freedoms didn’t end when it passed…

Conservative and Labour MPs consistently vote for illiberal new laws that curtail civil liberties.

We opposed Labour’s attempts to curb civil liberties with ID cards, 90-day detention without charge and suspicionless stop-and-search.

In coalition, we prevented the Tories from scrapping the Human Rights Act, blocked their Snoopers’ Charter and passed the Protection of Freedoms Act to roll back Labour’s illiberal laws.

We demand a freer society where rights and liberties are protected.

And, of course, we introduced same-sex marriage, so that the law finally upholds their right to marry. Because LGBT+ rights are human rights.

We’re still fighting hard to protect human rights. That’s why we’re opposing the Tories’ latest Counter-Terror Bill, which contains unnecessary new laws that seriously threaten those rights.

Conservative and Labour MPs consistently vote for illiberal new laws that curtail civil liberties.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We demand a freer society where rights and liberties are protected.

We will continue to defend the Human Rights Act, oppose any attempt to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, and fight laws that unnecessarily erode civil liberties.

The Government is failing to meet post-Grenfell promises

It has been reported that more than 400 high-rise residential buildings still have the same type of external cladding blamed for the Grenfell Tower fire.

When it is about people’s homes, safety must come first.

Grenfell should never have happened. The fact that thousands of families are still living in unsafe high-rise buildings is a disgrace.

The Government is failing to meet the promises it made after the fire.

The Secretary of State committed to fully fund the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding by councils and housing associations, but there are still over 150 publicly owned buildings that are unsafe.

Furthermore, those in private residential buildings cannot be ignored.

The Government must not only meet its basic promises, but must go further and fund the same for the private sector. Money can be recovered at a later date but when it is about people’s homes, safety must come first.

We are dangerously close to shortage of critical drugs

A group including representatives of major pharmaceutical companies have written to the Health Secretary to state that if urgent action is not taken the UK will not have a medicine supply that will suffice in a no deal Brexit.

The Government simply cannot guarantee that there won’t be shortages of medicines

This letter makes it clear that we are dangerously close to not having a secure supply of the critical imported drugs or medical devices our health service depends on in a No Deal Brexit.

The letter from organisations including the ABPI, the Brexit Health Alliance, and the ABHI urges the Government to raise the warning level to ‘red’ in regards a widespread shortages of medicines and medical devices in no deal Brexit.

The organisations note David Lidington’s report to Cabinet that ‘the normal Dover-Calais route could be at 12% capacity for six months’. They do not believe the border and transport infrastructure can be ready for March 2019 and that time is very tight to address the problem.

The Government simply cannot guarantee that there won’t be shortages of medicines, whether in a No Deal or a Chequers Deal scenario.

Liberal Democrats demand better than this chaotic Brexit. People are entitled to a final say on Brexit in a People’s Vote and put a stop to this unnecessary, draining mess.

A stunning victory!

A Liberal Democrat amendment by Tavish Scott MSP has committed Holyrood to “providing unequivocal support for a public vote on the final terms of the Brexit deal”.

It passed convincingly in the Scottish Parliament, with 66 votes for the amendment, 28 against and 21 abstentions.

The Scottish Parliament giving its full support to a People’s Vote is an important step in the UK-wide campaign for a vote on the deal.

Days like these are how we are going to stop Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats have been leading the fight against Brexit since 2016. It is the biggest campaign we have ever run outside of an election and it is working.

A year ago, 20% of the British public believed that we needed a final say on the Brexit deal. Now that number is 51%.

The Liberal Democrats are the only major political party campaigning for a People’s Vote.

The Government is sleepwalking into another Windrush type scandal

Millions of EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for more than two years. After being quizzed by MPs on two separate occasions, the Immigration Minister has utterly failed to offer them any clarity.

The Minister was still unable to answer what immigration checks EU citizens will be subject to after Brexit

Following a disastrous appearance at the Home Affairs Select Committee last week, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes was brought before the House of Commons yesterday. But she was still unable to answer what immigration checks EU citizens will be subject to after Brexit, and how these will apply to those who are already here are therefore entitled to ‘settled status’.

The one thing the Minister did admit is that the Conservatives will not be able to implement their much-vaunted immigration red lines for years to come.

The Home Office is currently trialling the scheme for applying for settled status, but it isn’t due to be fully open until March 2019. Nokes boasted that the Home Office has now granted settled status to 1,000 EU citizens, less than 0.03% of the 3.6 million EU citizens currently living in the UK.

The Conservatives are sleepwalking into another Windrush scandal, where hostile environment checks destroy the lives of people who have every right to be in the UK.

The Government’s chaotic approach to Brexit risks subjecting EU citizens to those same injustices.

Conservative Ministers must end this uncertainty and offer a way out of this mess entirely by giving the people a final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to remain in the EU.

We must end the uncertainty on EU citizens rights

The result of the EU referendum changed an awful lot: the Prime Minister, the economic outlook, Britain’s political discourse and our standing in the world. But there are 3.6 million people whose lives have been affected more than most. These are the citizens of other EU countries who live in the UK.

There are 3.6 million people whose lives have been affected more than most.

For them, the referendum created a cloud of uncertainty that they’ve been living under ever since. Would they be able to continue to live, work and study here if the UK leaves the EU?

After months of campaigning, we secured a promise from the Government that those rights would be protected, which is what the draft Withdrawal Agreement does.

However, there is no guarantee that a Windrawal Agreement will be finalised before 29th March next year. For the 3.6 million, the uncertainty remains.

@EdwardJDavey speaking up for the rights of EU citizens in the UK at the @The3Million rally.

Any deal is likely to affect EU citizens negatively and UK citizens in the EU

That is why we all need a #PeoplesVotepic.twitter.com/9piCX5BSsQ

— Tom Brake MP (@thomasbrake) November 5, 2018

And last week, that uncertainty was heightened by the Immigration Minister. Far from guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens after Brexit, she said that they would be subject to the same immigration checks as new arrivals, with no documentation to demonstrate their rights.

This confusion, delay and indecision is completely unacceptable

The Home Secretary soon contradicted his Minister, only for the Prime Minister’s spokesperson to contradict them both. “The work is ongoing and we will set out the details in due course,” he said, as if he was talking about a new extension on his house or his holiday plans for Christmas – not the lives of 3.6 million people.

This confusion, delay and indecision is completely unacceptable. The Conservative Government is holding millions of people in limbo while Ministers fight amongst themselves.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. The Government must honour the agreement on citizens’ rights to provide certainty. The current fingers-crossed situation is inhumane and unjustifiable.

Liberal Democrats call for Women’s Equality Day

Liberal Democrat MPs Layla Moran and Stephen Lloyd are calling on the Government to create a ‘Women’s Equality Day’ to fall on the Spring Bank Holiday.

2018 marks the centenary of the extension of suffrage to some women and the 90th anniversary of universal suffrage.

To mark this, Stephen Lloyd challenged female pupils from Willingdon School in his constituency to come up with a campaign which he could deliver in Westminster on their behalf. The winning idea was to create a Women’s Equality Day.

We are so proud that in the year of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, our own girls have been so empowered through this and demonstrated such personal excellence.

Emily Beer, Headteacher at Willingdon School

The idea is being taken forward by Education spokesperson Layla Moran and an Early Day Motion has already received cross-party support from MPs.

“A century ago great strides were made in the battle to acknowledge the importance of giving women a voice and the independence to vote for their representatives. But perhaps, a century later, we would have expected more progress,” said Layla.

“Across the country we see women routinely paid less than men, stifled from progressing in their organisations, and experiencing sexual harassment. This is not the message we want to send to future generations.

“The message that we want to send and that the girls of Willingdon school felt was the most important for Stephen to raise, was that of equality and in 2018, that should alarm us. There is a long way to go, and I hope that this day will be enshrined and will act as an annual recognition of gender equality.

Next week on 6th November Layla and Stephen will host an event in parliament for MPs and Peers in which they will call on supporters to commemorate these anniversaries of women’s suffrage. Marking the day will be a yearly recognition of the full and equal participation that we aspire for women to have in both society and public life.

Emily Beer, Headteacher at Willingdon School said: “We are delighted that our students have had a real taste of democracy. They chose their ideas, they discussed and debated and subsequently selected the best one.

“For our students to be involved in possibly making a national change to a bank holiday name is monumental and demonstrates to them how anything is possible.

“We are so proud that in the year of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, our own girls have been so empowered through this and demonstrated such personal excellence.”

Lib Dems demand more police to tackle violence epidemic

It is heart-breaking that the epidemic of violent crime is claiming the lives of so many children.

A senior police office has now revealed that children as young as nine are being caught carrying knives.

We urgently need more police officers on our streets to restore the community policing that helps to prevent violent crime.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats are demanding an extra £300 million a year for the police.

But we also need to tackle the root causes of this epidemic to stop it spreading in our communities.

That requires a public health approach involving not only the police, but also health professionals, social workers and teachers.

Government inaction on fixed-odds betting terminals is ruining lives

The delay in implementing a planned and much needed reduction in the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals is completely unacceptable.

These machines are a blight on our society and undeniably damaging to vulnerable people.

The Government’s inaction is ruining lives and they must not be allowed to continue making these excuses that only benefit bookmakers.

When the Minister responsible for a policy steps down, you know the Government is moving in the wrong direction.

The £2 maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals must come into force immediately. The damage that is being done to individuals by these machines will persist with hundreds of pounds being lost in seconds, day after day.

Theresa May should explain to the country why this will not be implemented for another year.