Responding to the news the government has ended talks with the EU, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
Responding to reports that the Prime Minister has said it's time to 'get ready' for no deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
The Liberal Democrats today led cross-party opposition to the Government’s Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, calling a vote against the legislation in the House of Commons.
The Bill, which would create a legal basis for certain government bodies to authorise undercover agents to commit crimes in the UK, has given rise to major concerns among MPs and human rights organisations for its breadth and the lack of sufficient limits, safeguards and oversight.
The Liberal Democrats voted against Third Reading this afternoon, but most Conservative MPs backed it and Labour abstained, so the Bill passed by 313 votes to 98.
A Liberal Democrat amendment (Amdt 16) would have restricted the powers in the Bill to the police, the intelligence services, the National Crime Agency and the Serious Fraud Office – in contrast to the Government’s plans to extend them to a much longer list of public bodies including the Environment Agency, the Food Standards Agency, the Gambling Commission and three government departments.
The amendment received cross-party backing from Labour, SNP, Green and Alliance MPs, as well as the Conservatives’ David Davis. However, most Conservative MPs voted against, defeating it 65-311 as Labour abstained.
People across the country have endured terrible hardships over the past six months. They’ve lost loved ones, lost livelihoods and been cut off from friends and family.
We have made huge sacrifices and played by the Government’s rules - we deserve to have confidence that these rules will work.
Instead, our efforts are being squandered by the incompetence of Boris Johnson. His Test and Trace system is not fit for purpose, and scientific advice is being ignored.
It is now clear the Government ignored calls from experts for a ‘circuit break' short national lockdown. We urge them to reconsider. No one wants to see businesses close again but if this gives time to fix the Test, Trace and Isolate system, it could be a vital step to getting the virus back under control and keeping it under control.
Alongside a circuit break, the Liberal Democrats demand Government take the following steps in order to get a grip on this crisis:
Responding to reports that London will face Tier 2 Covid restrictions from Saturday, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
The Liberal Democrats are calling on anyone "with the privilege of a public platform – including Government Ministers" to "condemn the irresponsible and divisive rhetoric that inflames hatred", as new official figures show hate crimes have risen to a new record high.
The Home Office figures, released today, show that:
- 105,090 hate crimes were recorded by the police in England and Wales in 2019-20 – a new record high.
- There was a particularly big increase in hate crimes against LGBT+ people, with a 19% year-on-year increase in sexual orientation-based hate crimes and an 18% increase in transphobic hate crimes.
- There was a big spike in the number of racially- and religiously-motivated hate crimes in June and July 2020.
Responding to the statistics released this morning showing that unemployment has reached 4.5%, the highest level in over three years, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said: