The Liberal Democrats have today confirmed they intend to vote against the Coronavirus Act because of the Prime Minister's failure to reverse the reductions in rights to care for vulnerable people, particularly the disabled.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey warned he had "deep reservations about the serious implications for people’s wellbeing, rights and freedoms" and made clear the provision of care was a "red line."
The MP, himself a carer for his disabled son and a patron of the Disability Law Service, wrote to the Prime Minister ahead of the vote to stress the legal advice shows that the measures in the Act are a breach of the UK's obligations under international law.
The Liberal Democrats, who supported emergency measures before the UK went into lockdown, have also pointed to 141 people wrongly prosecuted under the Act and the reduction in safeguards for detention under the Mental Health Act as reasons to withhold their support.
The Liberal Democrats have today agreed plans at their Autumn Conference that, if accepted by Ministers, would see all Hong Kongers offered a path to citizenship and a new international ‘lifeboat’ system if the situation in the region deteriorates further.
Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, the Chair of the APPG on Hong Kong and a Patron of Hong Kong watch, warned “the UK has a moral and legal duty to stand with Hong Kongers and ensure no one is left behind to suffer under the Chinese Communist Party."
The debate at the Party’s first digital conference included contributions from anonymous members of the Liberal Democrats living in Hong Kong and saw speakers where a mask in solidarity with Joshua Wong, the pro-democracy protest leader in Hong Kong who was recently been under the National Security Law for a breach in 2019 of the anti-mask law in Hong Kong.
Mr Carmichael, who moved the motion, secured cross-party support before the summer recess for a Bill to require the Government to provide the "right of abode” to all Hong Kongers.
In a policy motion passed this evening at the Liberal Democrats’ Autumn Conference, the Party has condemned "Dominic Cummings’ long history of attacking the rule of law".
The motion stated "the rule of law is fundamental to our society", calling for the Government to drop plans "to restrict judicial review, weaken the Human Rights Act or undermine the rule of law in any way".
Today Ed Davey will make his first speech at the Party's Autumn Conference as Leader of the Liberal Democrats.
The Liberal Democrats have today reaffirmed their commitment to stopping a no-deal Brexit and oppose Boris Johnson’s efforts to “drag the country's reputation through the mud” by breaking international law.
During a debate at the Liberal Democrat Autumn conference, the Party’s new Brexit spokesperson Christine Jardine slammed Boris Johnson for “sacrificing everything and anything in his ideological pursuit of Brexit.”
The debate comes as talks between the EU and the UK on a free trade agreement have show no signs of progress, and amidst mounting controversy over Government plans to to break international law over Brexit.
Other proposals agreed by the Liberal Democrats include a commitment to campaign to protect and enhance the rights of UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK, and to uphold the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The Liberal Democrats have today called on the Government to join the EU Emission Trading Scheme as part of a package of policies to “build a green recovery and tackle the climate emergency.”
The proposal, agreed as part of the Green Recovery motion at the Party’s Autumn conference, come as talks between the EU and the UK on a free trade agreement failed to make progress with environmental standards cited as a major stumbling block.
Liberal Democrat Climate Action Spokesperson Sarah Olney has warned Conservative Ministers struggling to cut deals with the EU are "risking that recovery and abandoning the duty on all of us to tackle the climate emergency."
The Liberal Democrats are arguing that the UK should open talks to secure post-Brexit entry to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the European Union's climate change policy tool to help industries cut their CO2 emissions in a cost-effective way.
Other proposals agreed by the Liberal Democrats include a legally binding commitment to reduce emissions tied into coronavirus related support packages and major investment to encourage active travel through walking and cycling, which recent official figures show has stagnated.
At their Autumn Conference today, the Liberal Democrats have agreed proposals that would see the BBC licence fee level set independently next year after government cuts forced the BBC to end free TV licences for most over-75s.
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Daisy Cooper warned that the Government must never again be allowed to "force the BBC into a corner where it has to choose between cuts to programming or raising these fees on the most vulnerable."
The Party, which led a cross party group of 106 parliamentarians calling for a review of the decision to cut hundreds of BBC staff working across regional programmes, has agreed plans to protect the long–term future of the BBC.
Members have also called on the Government to uphold its promise to retain the licence fee model until the end of the current Charter period in December 2027, and for a transparent and independent body to review the cost of the licence next year.
The Liberal Democrats used the same policy motion to take a swipe at Boris Johnson ducking BBC scrutiny during last year's General Election by calling on all senior politicians to make themselves available for scrutiny in televised interviews and debates.
The Liberal Democrats have today adopted proposals to “tackle racial injustice now”, putting forward a series of measures to combat all forms of racism, “whether conscious or unconscious, individual or institutional”.
Affirming that Black Lives Matter, the motion - accepted at the Party’s Autumn Conference - calls on the Government to tackle discrimination and inequality across the UK. It includes calls to end the Hostile Environment, abolish suspicionless stop and search, and require the police, prison service, judiciary and other public bodies to adopt ambitious targets for improving the diversity of their workforce.
Wider calls include facilitating a review of the national history curriculum with the aim of diversifying the syllabus, creating local citizens’ assemblies to consider how the past is memorialised in public spaces, and forming a commission to establish the scale and extent of human rights abuses committed by the British Empire.
In a policy motion adopted today at the Liberal Democrats’ Autumn Conference, the Party has warned that the Government’s planning proposals will “disempower” councils and allow developers to “run roughshod” over local communities’ wishes.
The motion lays bare the risks of the Government’s proposals, which the Party argue amount to a Government “power grab” that will reduce investment in affordable housing, damage public scrutiny of planning decisions, and potentially undermine climate commitments.
By supporting the motion, the Liberal Democrat members reaffired their commitment to challenging the move through the Government’s consultation process and reject the “reduction of local control”.