The Liberal Democrats have this evening passed a motion urging the Government to step up and tackle the spread of fake news and misinformation, especially in light of the coronavirus crisis.
The motion, passed at the Party's Autumn conference, also calls on the Government to improve its transparency with Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper demanding Ministers "get their own house in order".
The proposals agreed by conference include:
- Government to introduce stricter regulations for social media companies such as issuing fact-checked corrections to scientifically inaccurate posts, as well as amending their algorithms to de-promote misinformation and 'fake news'.
- The Leveson model of co-regulation for publishers to be extended to all platforms which allow comment from both paid and unpaid contributors.
- Mandating the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority to provide regular proactive comment on the presentation of official statistics by Government during COBR level crises.
- The UK’s political journalists to host regular press conferences where they choose which members of the government, or bodies and individuals of nationwide political importance appear, and to invite and determine which journalists and outlets ask questions, using the model of the German Bundespressekonferenz.
The Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference has today backed new plans to provide “world class” mental support for health and care staff, including calls for a 24/7 mental health support hotline for staff.
The motion was agreed as the latest figures from the NHS show that anxiety, stress, depression and other psychiatric illnesses accounted for over half a million days’ absence in May 2020. This is an increase of 37% on the same month last year, according to analysis by the Liberal Democrats.
The Party has now adopted policies that would see mental health support services strengthened for “under pressure and overstretched” health and care staff, including ancillary workers like porters and cleaners.
Specific measures include:
- That a mental health support phone hotline is made available 24/7 for health and care staff.
- Scrapping HR practices that encourage presenteeism and can deter staff from seeking support.
- The introduction of an 'occupational health passport' so workers do not have to relive mental health traumas when they change jobs.
Responding to reports that the R number in the UK has risen from 1.1-1.4 to 1.2-1.5, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Munira Wilson said:
In her first keynote address as Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Layla Moran will demand the Foreign Secretary does more to hold the Chinese Government to account in response to the treatment of the Uyghur population. She will warn "we can’t just sit by and watch while a genocide is being engineered against the Uyghurs".
Layla Moran is also set to call for the Government to ban the sale of products produced in the labour camps in Xinjiang, as well as condemning the Government's plans to cut foreign aid.
In her speech she is expected to say:
Commenting on ONS statistics showing that, in August, the Government borrowed £35.9 billion – the highest amount for August since 1993 – and that national debt exceeded £2 trillion for the first time, Liberal Democrat Economy Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
In her first keynote address as Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson will condemn the health inequalities “exposed in technicolour” through the COVID-19 crisis, and call for a Minister for Wellbeing to ensure that Government decisions are “fundamentally in keeping with health and wellbeing.”
Speaking on the opening of the Liberal Democrats' first digital conference today, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has warned the coronavirus crisis is taking an "enormous toll on people’s lives and livelihoods" and urged his Party to listen, challenge Boris Johnson's Conservatives and fight for what people really need. He said:
The Liberal Democrats have warned that the new Job Support Scheme outlined by the Chancellor "falls short of what people need" and are calling on the Chancellor to outline financial support measures for people still excluded from the Government's schemes.