The Green Party want us to leave NATO

The Green Party's official policy is for the UK to leave NATO.  

Putin's psychopathic behaviour in Ukraine and his plan to subjugate the former Soviet republics and satellites show how naive the Greens are.

We support peace, we support NATO, the guarantor of that peace.

Link to Green Party's defence policy


The Tragedy of Ukraine

Our open letter on the illegal war and crimes against humanity in Ukraine

Read more

Rename Russian Embassy's street to Zelensky Avenue

Melton Sysonby campaigner, Jim Adcock, is supporting the call to rename Kensington Palace Gardens, the home to the Russian Embassy and Roman Abramovich, to Zelensky Avenue.
Lib Dem foreign affairs spokeswoman, Layla Moran, is asking the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to rename the London street as a gesture of solidarity with Ukraine following Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

See the full article in the Evening Standard Link


We stand with Ukraine


Melton Mowbray is thriving but where's the services

Read our Vice Chair's thoughts on developments in Melton link


Johnson. Is he fit to be Prime Minister?

I have taken an active interest in UK politics for more than 60 years. For most of that period I have respected the senior members of our government and have been confident in their democratic principles. You will not be surprised that I was horrified by the pathetic behaviour in the House of Commons on 31/01/22 by Boris Johnson, our Prime Minister.

He said "Sorry" but did not explain how he was going change his habits and become less selfish. Without any justification he suggested that Kier Starmer was responsible for Jimmy Savile not being prosecuted. He also implied that there would have to be personnel changes in Downing Street and in the Cabinet. Perhaps so that blame for his recent problems could be transferred to his staff and ministers as well as to the European Union?   In my experience, the most successful countries, businesses, schools and clubs are the result of great leadership. It is impossible to rescue a bad organisation without changing the leader. 

Johnson tried to convince MPs that his problems would not interfere with the great work which he believes his government is doing with major issues. However, on the same day, he cancelled his planned conversation with The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin and he seems to have overlooked a few self-inflicted problems such as:

Covid-19

Johnson appears to have ignored, or probably did not read, the internal government report about managing a pandemic which was leaked during September 2019 but never published.

He has regularly failed to respond promptly to scientific advice and has been rescued by the brilliant work of our scientists, NHS staff, pharmaceutical manufacturers and the UK people and businesses.

Despite claims that the government has recruited thousands of doctors and nurses, there appear to be 200,000 vacancies in the NHS and Social Care including approximately 20,000 NHS staff who have left the country after we left the EU.

Brexit

Johnson rushed into a Brexit deal without understanding it. Then he threatened to break the international legal agreement. The ONS has estimated that the agreement will cost the UK 2% of its GDP. Boris has infuriated the citizens of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, UK businesses and EU leaders. Import and Export trade has been damaged. Brexit has created a mass of documentation and government has had to employ more expensive staff in order to minimise delays and complications. Dominic Raab has said that benefits may take ten years to appear.

Local Councils and the Lib Dems

Councils have had to deal with increasing problems without corresponding increases in finance (NB "balanced and proportionate increases" in government parlance).

Liberal Democrats not only want to remove our Prime Minister in order to improve government at a national level. We are determined to provide better management at local Council level. Our councillors will protect green spaces, ensure that new housing will not harm local communities and the economy, work to address concerns over anti-social behaviour, and ensure that the voices of local residents and businesses are heard by councils.

Management of UK Government

Johnson's poor performance as mayor of London should have been a warning that he would be a dreadful PM. He is incapable of choosing quality staff or of retaining them. (eg Dominic Cummings, Lee Cain, Sajid Javid (when Chancellor of the Exchequer), Lord Agnew and civil servants). His Cabinet includes few ministers with business experience. He has consistently failed to provide UK citizens and businesses  with relevant guidance, advice, and active assistance.  

Johnson and his acolytes have a standard answer (with slight variations) for all problems: "We are taking it seriously and working very hard in Downing Street  to  produce  a balanced and proportionate approach."   Unfortunately it is not apparent. 

The UK has a leader without any leadership skills as confirmed by Sue Gray.

European Relationships with International Leaders

Johnson has had poor relationships with USA, Iran, India, Scotland and European Union leaders. He is not trusted to adhere to agreements. Can he be trusted to negotiate with Putin, support the leaders of the Ukraine or work with EU leaders for our mutual benefit? The UK will probably be distrusted and hated for many years to come long after he is gone. 

Economy

Many years ago I occasionally spoke on behalf of the Conservative Party. I, and other speakers, would be given a card with the Party's standard answers to frequent questions. Johnson and his ministers are so repetitive that I suspect that the old system is still in use. "The UK has the fastest growing economy in the G7 countries" is a regular response when the economy is being discussed. However, this is misleading as according to reliable sources, the UK could be the fifth or sixth fastest depending upon the dates used for the assessment. There seems to be more certainty that the UK suffered a fall in GDP of almost 20% in the first year of the pandemic because of a lack of preparation.

Another misleading answer they give is "The UK GDP has recovered to 0.9% above its pre-pandemic level ". However, if increases had continued at the pre-pandemic rate, the GDP would have been about 3% higher at the beginning of 2022.

Cost of Living and Inflation

Most economists agree that, during 2022, there will be a rapid increase in the UK cost of living. This is the result of several factors (Inflation in world energy costs, Brexit duties and administration cost increases, national insurance and other tax increases, etc.). There is no evidence that the government is taking effective action to minimise the potential problems and the damage to peoples lives due to this disproportionate increase in their expenditure. 

Security and International Relations

The magnificent co-operation of European nations in the post-war period was the result of fantastic efforts by the leaders and citizens of  countries to build back better. The citizens of the UK have enjoyed huge security and economic benefits created by these heroic people. Sadly, they have been severely damaged by Johnson in just a few years. 

Foreign Aid

The UK was the only G7 member to cut foreign aid last year, It reduced aid from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP with the result that several groups of starving and/or threatened people lost essential aid and may not survive.

 

For all these reasons and more, Liberal Democrats in Loughborough Charnwood and Melton would say that Boris Johnson is a failure as a Prime Minister and a danger to our economy, our security and to our country's reputation. 


Breaking the law with impunity

If you have a bottomless pit of money, you can break the law with impunity by making it too expensive for people to go to Court, says Jo Maugham of the Good Law Project. We increasingly see conduct with that flavour from this Government - but nothing quite like this: Government has estimated it will spend a staggering £1.2 million defending a challenge from Good Law Project. We only expect the hearing to take one day and the facts are simple. When the case was stayed, the costs were about £30,000. They repeatedly refused to give us the estimates of their costs so we could apply for a cap. Then, they told us they had spent over £600,000 and were continuing to spend.

Our lawyers tell us it’s an unprecedented sum. The evidence is that costs incurred by the Government in judicial review proceedings rarely exceed £100,000. We are a small non-profit, funded by donations from members of the public. We cannot carry this kind of  risk, a fact the Government well knows. We can’t help but wonder whether killing us, or dissuading us from using the law, is the point of their spending. We have now applied for a cap but are on the hook for a vast sum if we don’t get one.

This particular case involves a former Conservative politician who runs for a lobbying company who was brought into the Department of Health and Social Care as an advisor, and pushed for one of his lobbying clients to win a huge PPE contract.

This latest example of the Government’s attempts to price us out of litigation shows just what we are up against in 2022. They are trying to make this year the year the Empire strikes back. 

(This is a statement from the Good Law Project)


Tory MP's Blackmailed by their own Government?

Reported from Politics Home, today: "Senior Conservative MP William Wragg has accused the government of "intimidation" in their efforts to stop MPs from criticising Boris Johnson.
The Hazel Grove MP made several serious allegations against the government at an influential parliamentary committee session, including attempts to encourage the publication of "embarrassing" stories in the press to "intimidate" MPs who might criticise the Prime Minister.
Wragg said such attempts could "constitute blackmail" and urged any MPs who felt they had been targeted to contact the police.
In a statement to the Public Affairs Committee which he chairs, Wragg accused government whips of having breached the ministerial code by threatening those who had spoken out against the Prime Minister of having funding removed from their constituency.
"In recent days, a number of members of parliament have faced pressures and intimidation from members of the government because of their declared or assumed desire for a vote of confidence in the party leadership of the Prime Minister.
"It is of course the duty of the government's whips office to secure the government's business in the House of Commons. However, it is not their function to breach the ministerial code in threatening to withdraw investments from members of parliaments constituencies which are funded from the public purse."
The senior Conservative backbencher also accused Downing Street staff, special advisers and government ministers of behaviour which could constitute "blackmail".
"Additionally, reports to me and others of members of staff at Number 10 Downing Street, special advisers, government ministers and others encouraging the publication of stories in the press seeking to embarrass those they suspect of lacking confidence in the Prime Minister is similarly unacceptable.
"The intimidation of an MP is a serious matter. Moreover the reports of which I am aware would seem to constitute blackmail. As such, it would be my general advice to colleagues to report these matters to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police."
Wragg had previously called on Boris Johnson to resign over the Downing Street gatherings, saying MPs were "frankly worn out of defending what is invariably indefensible".
His comments come after reports that Christian Wakeford, the Bury South MP who defected to Labour on Wednesday, had made the decision to quit the party following threats from party whips to redraw his seat under proposed boundary changes."


Boris Johnson has learnt nothing from the North Shropshire by-election

Helen Morgan MP writes  in the Independent -  This week I arrived in parliament as a Liberal Democrat MP. It was the first time I had been to Westminster since winning the by-election in North Shropshire, a constituency held by the Conservative Party since 1832.

The result has been described by many as a shock and “totally unexpected”. Yet when you heard the anger and frustration that I heard on the doorstep each day, the result should have shocked nobody.

I spoke to hundreds of people during the campaign, each with their own story of dismay at a Conservative government which has totally ignored them and their daily concerns. On the doorsteps of Shropshire I heard heartbreaking stories of ambulances taking over 10 hours to provide emergency care, small businesses on the brink after months of uncertainty, and farmers who have been let down by botched trade deals. The anger at Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was like nothing I’ve ever heard before.

So when I arrived in Westminster after the Christmas recess, I expected to find a prime minister and a government willing to listen to voters in North Shropshire. How wrong I was.

On my first day, I managed to ask Boris Johnson in the House of Commons to set up an inquiry into dangerous ambulance waiting times in rural areas, an issue which dominated the by-election campaign far more than any sleaze story. In Shropshire, we’ve had four ambulance stations closed in recent months and waiting times among the worst in the country.

The response from the prime minister to this life and death situation was truly shocking. He brushed aside my calls for an inquiry. In one fell swoop, Boris Johnson showed he simply hasn’t learnt the lessons from losing the by-election. It is exactly this which makes people’s blood boil in my area.

My second day felt like deja-vu. Upon opening an email from the secretary of state for international trade bragging about the benefits to my region from the new UK-Australia trade deal, there was not a single mention of the rural economy. Perhaps that is because the government’s very own impact assessment of this trade deal admits it will cost British farmers almost £100m.

During the campaign I heard from farmers so furious with this government that they plan on never voting Conservative again. Perhaps if Boris Johnson or the secretary of state for international trade had bothered to speak to farmers in Shropshire, they might have thought twice about promoting a disastrous trade deal.

It raises the question: why won’t Boris Johnson and his Conservative colleagues listen to voters?

There is a growing revolt across the former Conservative heartlands. What we heard in North Shropshire is almost identical to doorstep conversations in the villages of Chesham and Amersham and across the English countryside.

At the next election, there will be endless headlines about the so-called “red wall”. However, the Liberal Democrat victories in North Shropshire and Chesham and Amersham have proven it is the “blue wall” that could prove the downfall of Boris Johnson’s government.


Subversion of Ofcom Recruitment

Boris is at it again; trying to get Paul Dacre, a Tory right-wing dinosaur appointed as the chair of OfCom. But the Good Law project is picking up ther cudgels here, and they have a good record of winning: "'But that’s not stopping ministers, who are now shamelessly pushing to appoint Mr Dacre by adjusting the requirements of the role and re-running the recruitment process with a different interview panel. The ad for the role now includes an amended person specification, from which the requirement for the Chair to work “collegiately” has been removed.

Dacre is being allowed to reapply, even in the face of calls for him to be banned from doing so by a number of Conservative MPs.

It all beggars belief. And unsurprisingly, we think this brazen string-pulling is unlawful.

Lawyers acting for Good Law Project have today written to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, stating that this “second competition raises very serious concerns, in particular as to whether it has been held, and designed, in order to favour Mr Dacre’s candidacy”.

Although the Secretary of State is responsible for the appointment of Ofcom’s Chair, Ofcom should be independent of both the Government and the services it regulates. The appointment process must follow the rules of the Governance Code for Public Appointments: whoever is hired should be selected on merit, through an open and fair process."

Sign the petition to prevent Paul Dacre becoming the chair of Ofcom -- Don’t appoint Paul Dacre as chair of Ofcom - Good Law Project

 


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