Tories' Immigration Bill will deal enormous blow to NHS and British business
Last night the Immigration Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons.
The passage of Priti Patel's Immigration Bill is hugely disappointing for so many people. MPs from all parties tried to transform this Bill into something which valued human dignity, the needs of our NHS and the interests of British business, but sadly the Government rejected our amendments.
Ending free movement will deal an enormous blow to our NHS, social care providers and employers across the UK - just as they are working to recover from the coronavirus crisis.
It was especially galling to see so many Conservative MPs line up to turn their backs on unaccompanied child refugees; to continue locking people up indefinitely in inhumane conditions; and to keep the ban on migrants receiving the financial support they need during the coronavirus pandemic.
Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to end the Conservatives' Hostile Environment, and to build a fair immigration system that the public can have confidence in and treats everyone with dignity and respect.
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to back a new Bill to scrap suspicion-less stop and search in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, which have exposed ingrained institutional racism and discrimination in the UK. If passed, the law would prohibit Section 60, suspicion-less stop and search, which currently leaves a black person almost 50 times more likely to be stopped than a white person.
The Liberal Democrats have called on James Grundyto backs calls for a review of the no-deal Brexit impact assessments in light of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter addressed to Mr Grundy, Liberal Democrat spokesperson, Sharron Honey for Leigh, said:"as the Prime Minister continues to refuse to rethink his position on accepting an extension to the transition period, it is time the facts were laid bare about what this will mean for our country."
The intervention coincides with the fourth anniversary of the EU referendum result this week, the 23rd of June. Despite concerns, the Government formally rejected the option to extend the transition period earlier this month.
Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
"Even before coronavirus, the Government had a tight timetable for the Brexit talks. As the Prime Minister continues to oppose extending the transition period, he must at least be honest about what this means for our country.
"By reviewing the impact assessments done last Autumn, as well as undertaking an economic assessment, the Government can be transparent with the public about the consequence of refusing to extend the transition period."
Liberal Democrat spokesperson,Sharron Honey,forLeighadded:
"Boris Johnson's refusal to even consider requesting an extension to the Brexit transition as we face a global health and economic crisis shows he is putting his Brexit ideology before the UK's national interest.
"The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on jobs, businesses and the wider UK economy. Tackling the coronavirus crisis must be the Conservative Government's priority, and people have a right to know to what extent a no deal puts this at risk.
"In the interests of everyone living across Leigh, the Liberal Democrats are urging James Grundy to join us in calling for this review."
PM must think again on DFID in face of COVID-19 global health emergency
Yesterday the Prime Minister gave a COVID-19 update, including the announcement that Dexamethasone has proven effective in treating COVID-19.
News that a drug has been identified that can help treat COVID-19 will be welcomed by all. But - to get a grip on this global pandemic - finding a vaccine remains vital.
Given the ongoing public health emergency, the Prime Minister must show global leadership, not least by working with our international partners to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine. Instead, he has chosen to set out plans to abolish the Department of International Development, which for years has funded vital work in public health, including the work of GAVI - the global Vaccine Alliance.
It was the Liberal Democrats who enshrined the 0.7% aid commitment into UK law. This is a commitment the UK should be proud to uphold. Yet Boris Johnson's decision threatens to undermine that commitment, and with it our global influence. It is no surprise three former Prime Ministers have condemned this move. The Prime Minister should think again.
The Liberal Democrats are urging the Government to extend furlough support until it is safe to do so and bring forward bespoke packages of support for key sectors, such as hospitality, or face local unemployment.
Acting leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey MP, who is asking the public to join his campaign to protect workers, said thousands of families face "financial uncertainty" and called for the Government to do more.
According to government statistics published this week, 11,500 people in Wigan have benefited from the job retention scheme.
Government statistics also show a further 3,100 people in Wigan are receiving financial support through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, following a successful campaign by the Liberal Democrats.
However, the Party has warned that many self-employed people are still excluded from this support, including those who became self-employed since April 2019, and called on the Government to urgently expand the scheme to cover them too.
Acting leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey MP said:
"The Coronavirus crisis is leaving thousands of families facing financial uncertainty. Financial support must be agreed to ensure no one is left behind.
"Liberal Democrats are calling for statutory sick pay to be increased to £220 a week to ensure everyone can self-isolate, following guidance, regardless of their type of work.
"Ministers must also resolve the gaps in their plans by helping those who recently became self-employed by expanding the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme."
Liberal Democrat spokesperson John Skipworth for Wigan & Makerfield added:
"The furlough scheme is a lifeline for so many. However, I worry what will happen to people here in Wigan who rely on furlough support if it ends before it is safe to go back to work.
"Many parts of our economy, such as hospitality, will simply not be back up to speed by October. The Government must bring forward bespoke packages of support for these industries to save jobs and prevent mass unemployment."
PM must not jeopardise economic recovery with threat of no-deal
This morning, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) statistics showed the UK's economy shrank by 20.4% in April.
We face the most serious economic challenge in generations. This is not a time to exit the world's largest market. This is not a time to increase trade barriers. This is not a time to deny business skills they need with a damaging new immigration system.
We can create jobs and protect the environment by investing in new, green technologies but we need imaginative new policies and strong political leadership. The Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for a Green Recovery Plan and policies that back responsible businesses.
The Prime Minister should not be putting Britain's chances for an economic recovery in jeopardy by insisting on an arbitrary Brexit transition deadline and risking a devastating no-deal.
Yet more dishonesty from the Govt on test and trace system
It was reported yesterday that the Health Secretary has been misleading about the number of contacts that have been traced using the governments test and trace system.
This is yet more obfuscation from the Health Secretary on the testing and tracing system. In normal times this kind of dishonesty from the government is extremely problematic, during a pandemic it is dangerous.
If people do not trust the government they are less likely to have faith in a test and trace system and less likely to follow guidelines, people want clarity and honesty from Ministers.
Without a comprehensive test, trace and isolate system it is almost impossible to keep people safe as we move out of lockdown. Ministers have failed to make this happen and apparently won't be able to until September.
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