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Below you'll find a range of local and national news about the Liberal Democrats i

News from the local Liberal Democrats

  • Article: Jun 11, 2020
    By Rachel Dineley

    Rachel Dineley, the Diversity Officer for the Chiltern Liberal Democrats, has written to the Chesham and Amersham MP, Dame Cheryl Gillan, following recent events relating to race equality in Bristol and elsewhere:

    Dear Dame Cheryl,

    I have been watching the news from Bristol (my home town, where I grew up in the 1970s.) Peaceful protest is important, and it is striking that people want to go out and protest, with face masks on, notwithstanding the pandemic and the disproportionately higher risk to the BAME members of our society.
    Online I have seen the tearing down of the statue of Colston, the slave trader, and being unceremoniously dumped into the docks. Perhaps a fitting place for his statue to end up, since as a slave trader he must have been responsible for the death of so many men and women, whose bodies ended up being thrown overboard in the course of ocean-crossings. Personally, I think the statue should have been put in a museum long ago. I certainly do not condone acts of violence or criminal damage.
    In case you are not familiar with Colston's history ( he was an MP), here is a handy summary taken from Wikipedia:
    Edward Colston (2 November 1636 - 11 October 1721) was a Bristol-born English merchant, philanthropist, slave trader, and Member of Parliament. He supported and endowed schools, almshouses, hospitals and churches in Bristol, London and elsewhere, and his name is commemorated in several Bristol landmarks, streets, three schools and the Colston bun. Many of his charitable foundations still survive. A significant part of his wealth was acquired through the trade and exploitation of slaves.
    As a schoolgirl in the 1970's I sang in concerts in the Colston Hall, entirely oblivious of how the "philanthropist" had made his fortune - through the destruction of black lives.
    More than 40 years on, I can recall all too many incidents here in the UK, when it seemed that the lives of BAME members of society featured in headlines in a way that white lives did not. The Stephen Lawrence tragedy, to name but one. As an MP you will have noted these too.
    The protests across the country - and indeed around the world - over this last week have shown that things must change. In the UK there is still much to be done to ensure that there is real equality in the functioning of our institutions, in education and job opportunities, as well as the legal systems, and in our communities.
    Change requires action. Big change requires significant action.
    So, my simple questions to you are these: what will you do to lobby the government to address race inequality and take urgent and effective action to tackle its many causes? What will that action be?
    Yours sincerely,
    Rachel Dineley
    Diversity Officer
    Chiltern Liberal Democrats

  • Buckinghamshire logo
    Article: Jun 11, 2020

    The new Buckinghamshire Council was born on 1 April (perhaps someone's idea of a joke!). As we couldn't have local elections this May because of the Coronavirus, all the existing councillors from the old County Council and the District Councils are automatically councillors on Buckinghamshire Council until May 2021, when elections should finally be held.
    There were 202 councillors altogether on the various previous councils but several have resigned, which reduces the number slightly to 197. They are nearly all Tories, of course, but we Liberal Democrats have no intention of letting them behave like a one-party council.
    There are 18 Liberal Democrats, and we have joined with a Green, a number of Independents and two Denham Conservatives to form an Alliance group of 30 to be the main Opposition. There is also a Labour group of nine, which remains separate, and a small number of Independents who have not joined the Alliance group. The advantage of being an Alliance group of 30 is that it gives us two members on most of the committees, and means we are better able to hold the Conservative Council to account.
    And that's what we mean to do - work hard, ask questions, make our voice heard, and make sure that residents are kept informed about what is going on. We won't allow Buckinghamshire to be a one-party county, even though our outdated electoral system gives the Tories many more seats than is actually justified by the number of votes they get in elections.
    From the old Chiltern District Council, there are now three Liberal Democrats: Peter Jones, who represents the Ballinger, South Heath and Chartridge area; Mark Titterington, who has left the Conservatives and who represents Holmer Green; and me from Chesham. Peter Jones and Mark Titterington were both very experienced members of the Planning Committee at Chiltern District Council and will continue in that role on the new council. I have got a place on the Health and Adult Social Care Committee, which seems to me like one of the most important committees to be on at this time. I'm looking forward to it.

  • Carers Week
    Article: Jun 10, 2020

    Carers Week runs from Monday 08 until Sunday 14 June 2020 and this year the charity Carers UK has joined forces with five others, Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness, plus organisations and individuals across the UK, coming together with the aim of Making Caring Visible.
    Research released for Carers Week shows the following:
    • 4.5 million additional people caring for older, disabled or seriously ill relatives or friends since the Covid-19 pandemic. This is on top of the 9.1 million unpaid carers who were already caring before the outbreak, bringing the total to 13.6 million.
    • 2.7 million women (59%) and 1.8 million men (41%) have started caring for relatives who are older, disabled or living with a physical or mental illness.
    • Typically, they will have been supporting loved ones from afar, helping with food shopping, collecting medicine, managing finances and providing reassurance and emotional support during the pandemic.
    • Some will have taken on intense caring roles, helping with tasks such as personal care, moving around the home, administering medication and preparing meals.
    • 2.8 million people (62%) who have started caring since the outbreak are also juggling paid work alongside their caring responsibilities, highlighting the need for working carers to be supported as they return to offices and work sites.
    • The six charities supporting Carers Week are calling on the UK Government to recognise and raise awareness of the role unpaid carers are playing during the pandemic and ensure they are supported through it, and beyond.
    • Both unpaid carers (71%) and adults without caring responsibilities (70%) said managing the stress and responsibility of being an unpaid carer was/ would be the top challenge when caring. Families are under a huge amount of pressure managing their caring roles and are worried about how they will cope in the weeks and months ahead.

  • Article: May 27, 2020

    Today, a cross-party group of six former parliamentary candidates from the Greens, Labour and LibDems joined together to write to our MP, Dame Cheryl Gillan. Trust in the government of PM Johnson is being seriously undermined by the recent revelations surrounding Mr Dominic Cummings and his interpretation of the lockdown regulations. We believe it is vital that trust in this government is rebuilt if we are to collectively fight off this deadly virus. We are still in a public health emergency; here is the letter:

  • Equal Pay Act
    Article: May 26, 2020

    Friday 29 May is the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Equal Pay Act. The world has changed a lot in the ensuing 50 years, and although there is much more to achieve, the gender pay gap has narrowed considerably over that period. But the world has changed in a quite different way in the last 50 days, and it is increasingly evident that it will never be the same again. The impact on the economy will be huge and it is already being recognised that women will be disproportionately adversely affected in the job market, as many people lose their jobs and will need to seek fresh employment in a highly competitive job market.