Liberal Democrats Local Elections Success

The 2nd May 2019 saw one of the largest quantities of local elections across the country for a long time, and Surrey was no exception. People turned out to elect their new local councillors, and it was a great success for the Liberal Democrats in Surrey.

There were 110 Liberal Democrat Councillors elected across the 11 boroughs and districts, and the Liberal Democrats gained control of the Council in Mole Valley.

Cllr Chris Botten, Leader of the Liberal Democrats at Surrey County Council, said:
"I am delighted that the Liberal Democrats are again a real force in Local Government, with our greatest success since the nineties. Our commitment, to all residents of Surrey, is to work together to represent them, work hard to restore lost services, ensure all councils' budgets are sound, and ensure that we have the infrastructure to support a growing population. The years of austerity will take time to roll back sustainably, but we are here to stay!"

Liberal Democrat seats and gains across Surrey:

Surrey Borough/District Liberal Democrat Seats Liberal Democrat Gains Status of Council
Waverley 14 13 Con lose to NOC
Mole Valley 22 9 LD Gain
Guildford 17 9 Con lose to NOC
Surrey Heath 10 9 Con hold (by 1)
Spelthorne 8 5 Con hold
Runnymede 3 3 Con hold
Tandridge 11 2 Con lose to NOC
Reigate and Banstead 3 2 Con hold
Epsom & Ewell 2 2 RA hold
Elmbridge 10 1 NOC
Woking 10 1 NOC
  110 54
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Membership surge ahead of Euro elections

The Liberal Democrats have confirmed over two thousand people joined the party in the days after the party’s best ever gains of Councillors in local elections.
 
This surge in membership shows that more and more people have had enough of the national embarrassment Brexit has become. They deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.
 
The Liberal Democrats, with over 100,000 members and nearly three thousand Councillors across the country, are clearly the strongest party for remain going into the European Elections. Every Liberal Democrat vote is a vote to stop Brexit.

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Lib Dems: It’s time for a compulsory levy on gambling firms

The Liberal Democrats have today renewed calls for a compulsory levy on gambling firms following GambleAware’s announcement that the 2018/2019 voluntary levy has raised less than the minimum £10 million asked for.

The Liberal Democrats have long argued a compulsory levy should pay towards the cost of research, education and treatment for people with gambling problems.

Liberal Democrat Peer, Lord Foster of Bath, said:

“I’m pleased that GambleAware has listed all the donations they have received so we can see, for example, that SkyBet, 888 and BetFred are notable by their absence. Bet365 has also given less than the recommended 0.1% of the Gross Gambling Yield.

"These companies make huge profits and must surely be forced to pay towards dealing with the misery their operations can cause for some people.

“The compulsory Horse Race Betting Levy raises almost 7 times more money to support horse-racing than the voluntary betting levy raises to help people.

“The time has now come to force ALL gambling companies to pay up. Or does the government believe “four legs good, two legs bad."

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Local Elections Morning Bulletin

The results we have seen so far show that the Liberal Democrats are the story of the night. We are the big winners in these elections. The momentum is right with us and people have backed us in large numbers; winning councils and councillors across the country in our best results in over 15 years.

Be in no doubt, we are the real alternative to the tired old politics of Labour and the Tories who have both made such a mess of things. It is clearer than ever before: if you want to stop Brexit, vote Liberal Democrat in the European Elections on May 23rd.
 
We have made stunning gains in Chelmsford, Hinckley and Bosworth, Cotswold, Winchester, North Norfolk, Bath and North East Somerset, North Devon, Somerset West and Taunton and held Eastleigh and South Lakeland – gaining hundreds of councillors across the whole country. And there is more good news on the way. 

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Local Elections

Liberal Democrats across the country are fighting a positive campaign to build on the track record of Lib Dem councillors, councils and Mayors of listening, working hard and getting things done for their residents. 
 
Residents have the right to expect well-funded frontline services that work for them. Sadly, too many are suffering from the financial ineptitude and a lack of care from Conservative councils, and out-of-touch Labour councils that are failing to give real value for money.
 
Liberal Democrats demand better for our communities, and by electing Liberal Democrat councillors people can have better in their local area. Our priorities in these elections are fighting to give people real value for the council tax they pay with Liberal Democrat Councils working for clean, green environment, properly funded local services – from social care to transport –and ensuring people are able to live in a home they can afford. It is also a vote against the Conservatives underfunding of our police – with violent crime rising, we need more funding for frontline police officers.
 
A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for a brighter future for your community, councillors who care, and more opportunities for people in life.

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Brexit threatens European work colleagues – even in Parliament

The Liberal Democrats have warned that flaws in the Conservative Government’s EU Settled Status scheme will threaten the rights of EU citizens, including 175 people across Parliament.
 
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey asked “With all their scandals and reputation for inefficiency, how can anyone believe the Home Office will process applications from our 3 million European neighbours, friends, family and colleagues, within just two years?”
 
“Without documentation, thousands could be abandoned to the Tories’ hostile environment, including members of staff working right at the heart of Parliament.”
 
The warning comes as the Liberal Democrats reveal through a Freedom of Information request that 175 EU citizens work in the House of Commons and House of Lords.
 
In total, some 7.4% of the 2,715 members of staff who work in Parliament - passholders ranging from kitchen staff to policy advisers and researchers - are citizens of the European Union.
 
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

"The Tories’ Brexit chaos has made EU citizens deeply anxious about their future in our country. Many European work colleagues fill vital roles in our NHS, our schools and even across Parliament.
 
“Frankly, I am lost for words that so many reckless MPs sit in Parliament voting through a Brexit that puts at risk the rights of people they work with on a daily basis - not to mention their own European constituents. 
 
“EU citizens who live and work here deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. Ultimately, the best way to avoid all of this mess is by giving the people the option to stay in the EU with a final say on Brexit.”

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DEFRA on “Brexit red alert” with thousands hired as deadline looms

The Liberal Democrats have today warned that DEFRA is on “Brexit red alert” as the party reveals the government have hired nearly 3,000 new staff to prepare for the potential fallout.
 
Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: “This is a Conservative Government panic buying because, like farmers up and down the country, they know Brexit will only bring chaos.” 
 
A Liberal Democrat Freedom of Information request has revealed that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has employed 2,700 new staff to prepare for Brexit.
 
Of those hired, 320 come from other government departments and 400 from the arms length bodies, such as Natural England.
 
According to the National Audit Office, DEFRA is one of the government departments “most affected by EU Exit.”
 
Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: 
 
“Hiring almost 3,000 new staff, particularly when it means taking staff away from the important work they do elsewhere, shows how unprepared Tory Ministers are. It doesn’t need to be this way.
 
“At a time when Michael Gove should be cleaning up our air, cutting plastic pollution and tackling our biodiversity crisis he is instead scrabbling to reinvent the wheel for things the EU currently help with. 
 
“Liberal Democrats demand better. We should stop the madness of Brexit and instead concentrate on the things that matter. That’s why Liberal Democrats are calling for people to be given the final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to stay in the EU.”

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Liberal Democrats announce South East region candidates for European elections

The Liberal Democrats have today announced their list of MEP candidates in the South East constituency for the European elections on the 23rd May.

The diverse list of candidates includes a current MEP, Councillors and other hard working community activists.

The Liberal Democrats will fight the elections as an unapologetically pro-European Party campaigning hard to stop Brexit and restore Britain’s tarnished reputation in Europe.

Lead MEP candidate for the South East region, Catherine Bearder MEP, said:

“Today we’ve announced a strong, diverse mix of candidates ready to positively represent the South East region in the European Union.”

“We will fight these elections on a clear message: a Liberal Democrat vote is a vote to stop Brexit.”

Antony Hook, Faversham's elected representative on Kent County Council said:

“Liberal Democrats are determined to give a voice to the millions of people who demand better than Brexit Britain.”

“With 16 years’ service as a barrister including with international experience, I believe I am well placed to skilfully represent South East England in Brussels at this critical moment for our country.”

Judith Bunting, Activist and TV producer, from the West Berkshire area, commented:

“If elected, I will work in Europe to reduce Carbon emissions, combat climate change and tackle the cross border crime that plagues our communities. I am committed to stopping Brexit. The Liberal Democrats are the only true party of remain. “

Martin Tod, Hampshire County Councillor & Winchester City Councillor, said today:

“I am sick of seeing footage of Nigel Farage and Dan Hannan spout nonsense in the European Parliament as they betray our national interest. As a Liberal Democrat MEP, I will go back at them, hard.”

“Britain should be leading in Europe, not leaving.” 

The Liberal Democrat European list for the South East region 

South East (10)

Catherine Bearder

1

Anthony Hook

2

Judith Bunting

3

Martin Tod

4

Liz Leffman

5

Chris Bowers

6

Giles Goodall

7

Ruvi Ziegler

8

Nick Perry

9

John Vincent

10

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Time to end ‘teaching to the test’ culture

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran this week spoke at the National Education Union to demand an end to the ‘teaching to the test’ culture by scrapping league tables, Ofsted and high-stakes testing in primary schools.

On Ofsted:
 
"The Ofsted brand is fundamentally broken. It has long ago lost the trust of the teaching profession. Which is why I think tinkering around the edges simply isn’t enough. We need a complete overhaul, replacing this inspection scheme altogether.

"So I propose build a system which looks at the culture of a school and focuses on the wellbeing of teachers and pupils, as much as on academic results.

"Where a school is struggling, the system should support that school to improve, not punish it. This system should be led by teachers, for teachers – with peer-to-peer support to help schools where they need to do better."
 
On league tables:
 
“Why is it that Government continues to publish state-sanctioned league tables? Why encourage schools to compete so ferociously for the highest number, forgetting their true purpose of improving education for all?

"Choosing a school shouldn’t be like renewing home or car insurance. Schools are so much more than just numbers.

"Gather together and publish parent and teacher feedback from surveys. Ask neighbouring school leaders to look at the quality of pastoral care or the breadth of subjects offered."
 
On high-stakes testing in primary schools:
 
“It is high time we ended the unnecessary stress placed on pupils and teachers by high-stakes testing in primary schools. Which is why we should scrap SATs and reception baseline tests altogether.

"With teachers constantly having to focus on these and other tests throughout a child’s life, important parts of the curriculum get pushed to the back of the queue. Rather than preparing students for life, we’re teaching students how to be tested.”

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And another Conservative councillor joins the Liberal Democrats

Following the news from Woking, comes the switch from Conservatives to Liberal Democrat of Caroline Neville in Chichester.

Caroline Neville, councillor for Stedham since 2015, will be standing for the Liberal Democrats in this May’s local elections.

She explained her move, saying:

This was an extremely difficult decision. The Liberal Democrats in the District Council are working together to improve the lives of local residents and campaigning on the things that really matter. I felt that by joining the Liberal Democrats I would be better able to make a difference in my ward.

Kate O’Kelly, Liberal Democrat district councillor for Rogate and county councillor for Midhurst, said,

We are delighted to welcome Caroline to our Midhurst team. Caroline supported our work reversing some of the cuts to essential local bus services. She stood up to the out-of-touch council who imposed Velo South and a care home on residents without proper consultation. If re-elected, together we will be able to achieve much more for our residents.

Adrian Moss, Liberal Democrat group leader, said:

We all welcome Caroline as a candidate. In recent months Caroline has been very supportive of our initiatives. She has strong environmental credentials and has a really good reputation of standing up for her residents.

[Mark Pack]

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