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Today's Headlines

May 15, 2020 12:00 PM
By Danny Simm

Lib Dems oppose Govt's Immigration Bill

The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment in the House of Commons that would prevent the Government's Immigration Bill from progressing.

  • The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, which would end EU free movement, will be debated in the House of Commons on Monday. The Liberal Democrat amendment would refuse to grant the Bill its Second Reading, stopping it from becoming law.
  • The "reasoned amendment" sets out the party's opposition to the Bill - including its failure to fully guarantee the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK, something Boris Johnson repeatedly promised to do. It also criticises the Government for failing to set out "an immigration system to replace free movement that would allow businesses and public services to recruit the workers they need.
  • It is hard to believe that in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Conservatives are still pressing ahead with their destructive plans.
  • Now more than ever, we should be celebrating the enormous contributions that workers from all over the world make to our NHS, social care and across our society. Priti Patel may consider care workers to be 'low skilled', but they are on the front lines protecting us and our loved ones every single day.
  • If the Conservatives go ahead with these plans, they will deal a massive new blow to the NHS and British businesses, just as the economy is beginning to recover from the coronavirus crisis.
  • Liberal Democrats are opposing this Bill and arguing instead for a fair, effective and compassionate immigration system that works for our economy and treats everyone with the dignity they deserve.

Govt must publish science behind decision to reopen some schools from 1 June

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government's scientific advisers to publish the guidance informing the decision to reopen some schools as early as 1 June, to ensure that the decision was taken purely on public health grounds.

  • In a letter sent yesterday to Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran has asked for the advice to be published, given the concerns of many about the prospect of schools reopening.
  • Transparency during this crisis is vital. We all want schools to reopen, but only when it's safe to do so. That's why publishing the scientific advice that informed the decision to open schools to some pupils in just a couple of weeks must be the first step.
  • The Government has failed to adequately consult with school leaders, teachers and unions on the details of its guidance for reopening schools, and that's just not good enough. We need reassurance that the decisions are being made based on public health advice only, and not economic fears.
  • That's why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the scientific advice to be published without delay and made available for everyone online as soon as possible, as the Education Secretary promised the Commons yesterday.

EU Commission launch legal action against UK government's failings over citizens' rights

Yesterday it was reported that the European Commission has launched legal action against the British government for its "failure to comply" with European Union rules on free movement.

  • It is beyond frustrating that it has got to the point where the UK Government is facing legal action to protect the rights of people who contribute so much to this country. The fact that the Commission feels it has to take this action to protect rights after the transition period reflects terribly on the UK government and their actions.
  • The current crisis has made it clear just how vital immigration is. For our NHS and social care systems, EU workers are key.
  • Liberal Democrats will continue to call on the Government to scrap its damaging immigration plans and instead build a fair, effective immigration system that treats everyone with dignity and respect.

Govt misled businesses over post-Brexit customs checks

Yesterday, the Government was forced to admit that there will be customs checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea after the Brexit transition period ends.

  • Johnson's Government has failed to give businesses much needed clarity on this issue. It now seems Johnson was deeply dishonest with businesses when he previously asserted there would be no checks and businesses could put paperwork "in the bin".
  • His Brexit deal will mean extra costs and bureaucracy for businesses in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, at a time when many are already struggling with the impact of coronavirus.
  • Liberal Democrats will continue to call on the Conservative Government to do the right thing and protect UK businesses. As part of this, it is vital the Government extend the transition period to help prevent any additional economic damage.

Govt must continue to help businesses and families

Yesterday the OBR released figures showing the economy could shrink by up to 35% this quarter.

  • Families across the country are facing great hardship, with millions furloughed and on universal credit.
  • The Government must continue to support businesses and families through this crisis. It must not add to their difficulties by freezing pay for the many public sector workers that have been on the frontline of tackling this pandemic.
  • There must be no austerity after the coronavirus crisis and we must build a fairer, greener economy for the future.