Lib Dems come closer than ever to giving the people the final say on the Brexit deal

Yesterday evening just a handful of votes stopped us from giving the British public the final say on the Brexit deal.

If the Labour leadership had voted with us last night, the amendment would have passed. But they didn’t.

On this key issue, the Labour party has gone missing in action.

At the outset of our campaign, few believed we would get this close. But the momentum is now with us.

This vote has shown that since we last voted on the issue a year ago there has been a large shift in favour of giving the people the final say on any Brexit deal.

60% of the British public now believe it is right that they have the final say on a Brexit deal.

Over the coming months, we’ll have more opportunities to secure people the final say on the Brexit deal.

We can do it, we are making a difference.

Votes like last night show just how close things are getting. The Government is weak and soon they will have to face the undeniable right of the British public to have their say. It’s the right thing for democracy and the right thing for our country.

NHS crisis

Over Christmas 4 Shropshire Maternity units were closed because of Staff shortages in Telford. The obvious concern being that this is a cynical strategy to undermine the midwife-led units and soften up protests to the idea of them becoming Birthing Centres. You may recall that Birthing Centres aren’t staffed overnight, where women in Labour must call the units to arrange for them to be opened or place an emergency call for an ambulance to take them A&E, which we all know are facing massive pressures already. Crazy.

The Bridgnorth Campaign Group have a meeting set up with Philip Dunn MP who might offer assistance as a Government Health Minister. We hope we are wrong but I expect platitudes and little or no action. According to comments on Facebook he has said that Bridgnorth Maternity Unit needs to have 100 births a year to stay open and currently has 80. Shropshire’s MPs have failed miserably to defend Shropshire’s Corner and ensure Shropshire got it’s fair share under the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) allocation. If Shropshire had received the same STP Allocation as Cornwall then Shropshire’s NHS services would have been better off to the tune of an extra £200m! Cornwall has a similar population to Shropshire but was allocated 24% more money. Shropshire’s Leaders asleep at the wheel it seems.

Shropshire Star article on the closures:

If you haven’t signed the petitions of the Government website yet here are the links to both Maternity Unit petitions:

Save Oswestry Maternity Unit

Save Bridgnorth and Ludlow Maternity Units

Both petitions are currently running at just under 1,500 signatures at the time of writing this.

Just about everybody knows the NHS is in crisis, apart from the Government it seems. For years the problems have been mounting and successive Governments have been content to pass the buck, tinker around the edges and allow the demands on the NHS and A&E to escalate. The current Conservative Government has taken this to new levels, propelling a crisis into a ‘Humanitarian Crisis,’ a term more usually associated with war-torn countries,  and a term dismissed as “irresponsible and overblown” by Theresa May.

We all know people who have been caught up in delays and heard stories of bed blocking because of the failure of the social care system. A social care system also facing a similar crisis. It is widely accepted that there will be a funding gap of £30bn in the NHS by 2020, and a shortfall of around £6bn in social care, which will have serious consequences for patient care.

Last September the Liberal Democrats set a new independent commission to examine the future of the NHS and social care system. The pressure being so severe that now we need to consider how we fund the NHS and Social Care in the national interest. The new Beverage Commission made up of industry experts was asked to explore how to fund the NHS and Social care, and if a new tax was part of the mix.

The Liberal Democrats think that a new ring-fenced income tax top up of 1p in the pound to directly fund the NHS and Social Care is now needed. We also think that the NHS and Social Care should be merged into a new National Care and Health Service. Research by YouGov shows the public are open to the idea of raising money through tax or National Insurance in the face of this crisis.

Under-funding of the NHS of the scale we are seeing is a scandal of massive proportions. Patients waiting on trollies in A&E corridors, because A&E departments are full. Two people dying on A&E trollies in Worcester – one after waiting for 35 hours for a bed is wrong on every level and IS an outrage to humanity. Ambulances are delayed at A&E waiting to hand over patients. A&E departments shut their doors to patients more than 140 times in December in England – a 63% rise on the same period in 2015. 42 such diversions happened over Christmas Week.

Last August, 237 hours of ambulance time were lost at the Royal Shrewsbury and a further 127 lost at the Princess Royal. 364 hours in total. Every minute an Ambulance is delayed at A&E or on a diversion it has potentially life-threatening consequences if those Ambulances are not out in the field.

No justice for the poor in UK

Magistrate resigns "No Justice for poor in UK"

Bridgnorth Magistrate has resigned sighting inequality for the poor in the justice system. Here is his letter published in the i newspaper on the subject.

I have today given my resignation as a magistrate as I can no longer abide by the judicial oath “will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will”. At my last sitting, I sat on two cases. One involved a theft of £5.86 and resulted in a financial penalty of £385 for an unemployed young mart. The second was an unemployed young man who put excessive toilet roll down a police cell toilet and ended up with a total financial penalty of £410. The ridiculous sums are down to the crazy new court charges.

After more than 21 years as magistrate, I am very afraid that these new court charges are going to destroy ordinary people’s conception of a fair British judicial system. Those facing any kind of court charge will now weigh up very carefully what a court appearance could cost them, irrespective of whether they believe they actually committed the alleged offence. Alleged offenders in Shropshire now travel vast distances regardless of their means or ability to get to court.

The British judicial system was based on the bedrock that justice must not only be done but be seen to be done. It should not be the case that justice should be done only to those who are rich enough to afford it.
R STILWELL