Writing in the Guardian newspaper, the former Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, has called on the party to form closer links with other opposition parties, including Labour.
“Labour and the Lib Dems are distinct political traditions with a complementary capacity to beat the Conservatives. This point is misunderstood by those who say each party betrays the other by existing at all. The answer is not a wholesale takeover of one by the other, but more accommodation between the two. If each of the parties will move a little, there is much common ground to find: around constitutional reform, the environment, civil liberties and social justice.”
Cable also said that although first past the post was a problematic electoral system, but added it was unlikely to change, as “the turkeys aren’t going to vote for Christmas having just been given free range”.
Jo Swinson, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, has said that legislation to stop Brexit is ready to go should the party win the General Election.
Swinson, who is standing as the party’s candidate in East Dunbartonshire, said:
“We have legislation ready to go to secure a People’s Vote with the option to stay in the EU. As soon as Parliament returns, we would introduce two bills. The first would be a ‘Paving Bill’ to begin the referendum process with the Electoral Commission. The second would be on the referendum itself.”
Sir Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, has confirmed that he intends to stand down at the next General Election. Lamb has held the seat for the party since beating David Prior in 2001 and was also a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats in 2015.
Speaking in an interview with the local newspaper, the EDP, Lamb said:
“I think we’ve become a horribly divided country and we’ve got to persuade people from across the political spectrum that national unity is worth giving up their hard positions for.”
“I absolutely don’t want to stop working but the things I’m passionate about, are the things I can best promote outside parliament.”
Sarah Wollaston, the former Conservative MP for Totnes, has joined the Liberal Democrats. Wollaston resigned from the Conservative Party in February 2019 to join what became Change UK and has now joined Chuka Umunna, a former Labour MP who made a similar transition.
Wollaston said in a statement:
“After very careful thought, I have come to the conclusion that I can best serve the interests of my constituents by joining the Liberal Democrats. Brexit has not only sucked all the political oxygen from government over the past three years, but it has also consumed the funding and energy that should have been invested in local communities, tackling climate change and supporting the workforce and infrastructure of our NHS, schools and transport.”
Umunna said in a statement:
“Absolutely delighted that the wonderful Dr @SarahWollaston- hugely respected across the House of Commons and the country – has joined the @LibDems family! This underlines that we are the biggest and strongest #Remain party in the UK.”
Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, has been elected as the new leader of the party, replacing Sir Vince Cable who has stood down. She was first elected to the House of Commons in 2005 and she served as a junior Minister during the coalition Government.
Swinson beat Sir Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat MP for Kingston and Surbiton and the former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change during the coalition Government.
Chuka Umunna, the former Labour MP for Streatham, has left Change UK to join the Liberal Democrats. He will also serve as the party’s Treasury and Business spokesman, but has ruled out standing in the party’s leadership campaign.
Umunna said in a statement:
“I am unapologetically an internationalist which is why I oppose Brexit and am fighting for the UK to remain in the European Union. These are very much the values of those I represent in Streatham and the same things that I stood on at the last General Election.
Our country is one of the greatest in the world and has so much potential. But too many people in my constituency and across the UK face barriers in fulfilling their aspirations and people don’t get the support they need.”
The Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to provide tax breaks to employers who are able to show that they have improved mental health provision in the workplace.
Norman Lamb, the Shadow Health Secretary, said at the party’s conference today:
“We need to make a fundamental shift of focus to prevention. We now know that children who suffer trauma or neglect in early years have a higher risk of poor health, low educational attainment, worklessness and often fall into the criminal justice system”.
“As part of my work chairing a Commission on mental health in the West Midlands, I’ve proposed a ‘Wellbeing Premium’ – a temporary discount on your business rates if you take tangible steps to improve wellbeing at work. The evidence is there of what works”.
Vince Cable, the former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, has been confirmed as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. Cable replaces Tim Farron who resigned following the 2017 General Election.
Sal Brinton, the President of the UK Liberal Democrats, said in an a statement:
“With the resignation of Tim Farron on 14th June a leadership election was called to find our next leader to take our party forward.
Vince Cable has been the leading candidate throughout and has been unanimously supported by our MPs and has had a strong backing from the wider party membership.
As no other candidate has been nominated at the close of nominations then I am delighted to announce that Vince Cable is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Our new leader inherits a party that is in excellent health. Under the fantastic stewardship of Tim Farron our membership is at an all-time high and not only do we have our most diverse group of MPs but we have grown by 50% in the last election.
With the significant challenges that our country faces the need for the Liberal Democrats is bigger than ever and the election of Vince marks a new point”.
The Liberal Democratic party manifesto features a pledge to offer a second referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. A spokesman for the party said:
“This is the only manifesto that is based on the premise that we can remain in the European Union, we can remain in the single market and can have all the benefits for the future generations that entails”.
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, said:
“This momentous new manifesto sets out our hopes and plans for an open, tolerant and united country. From defending our place in Europe, to protecting universal human rights, to building a greener economy, it encapsulates our positive vision for the future”.
“At this historic moment, nothing is more important to us. A bad Brexit deal, with Britain outside the Single Market, will wreck our children’s future. It will wreak havoc on our economy, our schools and our hospitals. It will turn Britain into a regressive, isolated and inconsequential nation.
That’s why today, we are committing to giving you the final say – via a referendum – on the Brexit deal. And if you don’t like the terms? You should have the choice to reject the deal and remain in Europe. This is a democracy, after all”.
David Ward has been told by Tim Farron, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, that he cannot stand as the party’s candidate for Bradford East at the 2017 General Election. Ward had been the MP for the constituency from 2010 until 2015, but had become embroiled in allegations of anti-semitism.
When Ward’s candidacy was announced, Farron expressed his concern but initially didn’t block the decision of the local association. Following increased opposition, including from Theresa May and Eric Pickles at Prime Minister’s Question Time, the party decided to take action.
Farron said in a statement:
“I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him”.
Ward defended himself against the allegations, saying:
“The antisemitic thing is a nonsense. It is just used, it’s a well-known tactic. How do you avoid conversation or any criticism about Israel? Just say people are antisemitic. I am certainly not antisemitic”.
Labour’s Imran Hussein won the constituency, beating Ward, in 2015 with a majority of 7,084.