Responding to the daily press conference led by the DCMS Secretary and reports that the NHSX app will not be ready for 1 June, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Daisy Cooper, said:
Today, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has put forward a bill which, if passed, would force the government into a two year extension of the transition period.
An extension to the transition period is essential, ensuring that the government could focus its full attention on tackling the spread of coronavirus crisis.
The Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of risking public safety and warned “everyone deserves equal representation, including those who are shielding and those with family responsibilities.”
Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael MP raised these concerns with the Leader of the House, Jacob Ree-Mogg, having secured an Urgent Question in Parliament today.
Speaking via Zoom from Orkney, the Liberal Democrat MP accepted “none of us are blind to the inadequacies of online scrutiny," but added “if it is a choice between that and putting the safety of members, their families and the staff of this House at risk then that is no choice at all.”
In response, despite MPs taking part in debates and ask questions via Zoom over the last few weeks, Jacob Ree-Mogg rejected the call to allow MPs to work from home and refused to acknowledge any of the concerns raised.
The Government has announced today that it will issue a special honours list in Autumn, following Jamie Stone's calls to the Prime Minister asking for an additional honours round to celebrate coronavirus heroes.
In his initial letter, Jamie Stone made it clear that any honours round must go alongside an independent review of the salaries paid to those working on on the frontlines of the crisis. Despite taking up the idea to introduce an honours round, the Prime Minister has not announced a salary review for key workers.
The Liberal Democrats have criticised Conservative Ministers for having “dragged their feet” on an independent review of the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy and “now trying to wriggle out of their legal duty”, as the Government introduced a Bill that would scrap the statutory deadline for the review.
Following a cross-party amendment to the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill in December 2018, the Government is required by law to carry out an independent review of Prevent and publish its report by August 2020.
However, the Government was forced to remove its initial choice as reviewer, Lord Carlile, after legal action against his appointment. The Home Office then waited four months before launching the recruitment process for a new reviewer in April 2020, with applications closing on 1st June.
Today, the Government is introducing a Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill, which includes a clause that would remove the current August 2020 statutory deadline. It now says the “aim” is to complete the review by August 2021.
Responding to the UK Government's publication of legal texts for negotiations with the EU, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:
Today, Liberal Democrats will oppose the Government's Trade Bill, having tabled an amendment which would prevent the bill from progressing.
The Party is opposing the legislation not only on the grounds of a lack of Parliamentary scrutiny, but it contains no underlying principles that could form the basis of negotiations for future trade deals. For example, issues such as environmental standards, employment and animal welfare standards, or international development goals are ignored.