Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

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London 2020 : Better with Benita

by Siobhan Benita on Sat, 17 Aug 2019

London is a liberal city. Over 250 languages are spoken in the capital, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. As host to one of the largest Pride events in Europe and the biggest carnival outside Rio, London and its residents celebrate diversity and embrace difference. 

London is also a Remain city. It is home to a third of all the EU citizens living in the UK and every sector in the capital – from hoteliers to health-workers, builders to bankers – relies on EU migrants to thrive. 

So the frustrating conundrum until recently, was why weren’t more Londoners voting for the Liberal Democrats? Well, the European elections have changed all of that. 

With our unambiguous, anti-Brexit message, we topped the poll in London, securing three of the eight London MEP seats and winning 16 boroughs outright. It was an unprecedented win for the Liberal Democrats in London. We are now the popular and credible choice for voters across the capital.

 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Sal Speaks

by Sal Brinton on Sat, 17 Aug 2019

Congratulations to Jane Dodds and the Welsh Lib Dems for the brilliant result in Brecon and Radnorshire! Thank you to everyone of you who helped, both by appearing in the constituency to knock on doors and deliver leaflets, and for those who phoned, helped with admin tasks from a distance too. Jane is already showing that she will be an exceptional MP, joining Jo Swinson’s parliamentary party.

sal_and_jane_2.JPG

Sal with Jane and team in Ystradgynlais during the campaign

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Trump or Johnson: who said it?

by Liberal Democrats on Fri, 16 Aug 2019

There are plenty of similarities between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery - maybe it's Johnson's way of sucking up for that trade deal. Which probably makes him the only person in the country looking forward to chlorinated chicken.

In fact, in a speech a while, Trump said "they call [Johnson] Britain Trump and people are saying that's a good thing. They like me over there."*

*poll after poll has found that British people definitely do not like him.

Trump's administration has been open in how much they want Johnson's no-deal. They can't wait for American corporations to get their hands on our NHS and flood our supermarkets with low-quality produce. 

Anyway, another one of those similarities is their history for remarks ranging from dodgy to flat-out bigoted. So here's our challenge to you: Trump or Johnson, who said it?

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Get the latest on Sheffield Hallam

by Chris Lovell on Fri, 16 Aug 2019

Coming straight off the back of the Brecon and Radnorshire campaign, we launched our election campaign for Sheffield Hallam at the weekend, with more than 100 people who joined us to knock on doors, deliver leaflets, and help with clerical work in the office.

It seems like promising Lib Dem by-elections are like buses – you wait for a long time and then two come along at once!

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

We must work together to stop no deal

by Jo Swinson on Thu, 15 Aug 2019

People are fed up of seeing politicians arguing for things that put their party’s interest above the country. We have to come together to prevent Boris Johnson crashing us out the EU without a deal. I'm proud of the work that the Liberal Democrats have done with MPs from all parties and none to make stopping Brexit a real possibility.

I have made several suggestions of a way forward. From amending legislation that already exists to new laws, or an emergency government led by the two most experienced MPs in the House of Commons.

Jeremy Corbyn's demand to lead any emergency government shows that he's only willing to oppose no-deal on his own terms.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

We can stop a no deal Brexit

by Jo Swinson on Thu, 15 Aug 2019

In just eleven weeks, however, our country faces an immediate crisis: crashing out of the EU without any deal. The most cavalier and catastrophic of Brexits: putting at risk hundreds of thousands of jobs , public services including our NHS , and even our national security.

So in this moment of national emergency, I stand ready to work with anyone to stop Boris Johnson and his hard-line Brexit government.

Despite saying that No Deal was a million to one chance, that is clearly the destination Boris Johnson is headed towards.

He was prepared to say anything in his selfish quest to become Prime Minister at all costs. And there will be costs. Because let’s be frank – a no deal Brexit is an utterly irresponsible pursuit.

No decent public servant should even contemplate risking that level of damage to our country.

A no deal Brexit will be a bad deal for our public services and our economy.

So bad that we’ll have to stockpile medicines, accept food shortages, and spend taxpayers’ money bailing out otherwise healthy businesses.

 

Read the full text of the speech here.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Sarah Wollaston joins the Liberal Democrats

by Sarah Wollaston on Wed, 14 Aug 2019

After very careful thought, I have come to the conclusion that I can best serve the interests of my constituents by joining the Liberal Democrats.

Brexit has not only sucked all the political oxygen from government over the past three years, but it has also consumed the funding and energy that should have been invested in local communities, tackling climate change and supporting the workforce and infrastructure of our NHS, schools and transport.

Just as we could and should have been benefiting from economic recovery after years of austerity, that has been put into reverse because of the march to No Deal.

There is still no agreement either in Parliament, or across the country, about what Brexit should look like.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Welcome Sarah!

by Jo Swinson on Wed, 14 Aug 2019

Our party is going from strength to strength.

We now have more than 116,000 members, as well as almost 15,000 registered supporters.

Our team in the House of Commons is growing too. A little over a week ago, we welcomed Jane Dodds as our newest MP.

Today, we welcome another addition to our team. Dr Sarah Wollaston.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Boris Johnson is breaking promises to EU citizens. Already.

by Sir Ed Davey MP on Wed, 14 Aug 2019

I can think of about 350 million reasons why a promise from Boris Johnson isn't worth the paper (or bus) it's written on.

The Government promised that the rights of EU citizens wouldn't change after Brexit. So did Vote Leave - many of whose senior figures are now Government officials.

But now we're hearing that if Brexit happens, the Government plans to make EU citizens pay to use the NHS.

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My first week as an MP

by Jane Dodds on Mon, 12 Aug 2019

As I spent my first week in Westminster on my induction programme, in the forefront of my mind is that there are less than 80 days until Boris Johnson tries to take us out of the EU without a deal. So, of course, my first priority was to learn my way around so I am able to find Boris Johnson like I said in my victory speech:

Entering parliament as a new MP, the sheer size and sense of history of the place is overwhelming. Corridors that seem to go on for miles, walking underneath Big Ben, and working out which lift goes where is something I still need to come to terms with.

Boris Johnson needs to hear about the real effects his Brexit plan will have and he needs to stop playing with the lives of people across the country.

Part of my induction was a tour, learning which line I go in to vote yes or no and how to find the department to help me with tabling an amendment and a motion. But what hit home was being escorted into the chamber from behind the Speaker’s Chair, walking past the green benches and a real sense of duty struck me. I'm here to represent the people of Brecon and Radnorshire and give them a voice in our country’s highest body.

I wasn’t able to find Mr Johnson this week, so the hunt continues. But when I do find him, I’ll tell him in no uncertain terms that he needs to meet with Welsh lamb farmers. He needs to hear about the real effects his Brexit plan will have, and he needs to stop playing with the lives of people across the country.

It’s simple. Take no-deal Brexit off the table.

So there's much to do, and now I know my way around, I'm going to find Mr Johnson wherever he is hiding. And then I'm going to do what I am there to do; be a voice for people in Brecon and Radnorshire.

I look forward to the work ahead!

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Celebrating Eid

by Jo Swinson on Sun, 11 Aug 2019

For those who have taken part in Hajj, this is a season of new beginnings and Muslims across the globe will be taking time out to reflect on the significance of their faith in their own individual lives.

Sadly, we are witnessing a horrifying rise in Islamophobia which is often accompanied by exclusionary, right-wing nationalism. Islamophobic tropes are becoming commonplace and attacks on Muslims have been espoused by the man who has just become our Prime Minister. This is unacceptable. We must confront this poisonous rhetoric which, if left unchecked, will permeate our communities in the most extreme and hateful ways.

As Leader of the Liberal Democrats, I will continue to defend our country’s liberal values and will redouble our Party’s efforts to defeat discrimination in all its forms.

As we celebrate Eid, let us let us recognise the enduring and valuable contributions of Muslim communities across the country and let us refuse all attempts to divide our nation.

My warmest wishes to all those celebrating. Eid Mubarak!

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Eid and Hajj, a time for togetherness

by Rabina Khan on Sun, 11 Aug 2019

This year, Eid ul-Adha (The Festival of Sacrifice) begins on Sunday 11 August and end on Thursday 15 August. It is the second Eid occasion during the Islamic year; the first, Eid-ul-Fitr, marks the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Eid ul-Adha signifies the end of the Hajj Pilgrimage — the world’s largest annual pilgrimage to Makkah — and is a time for Muslims around the world to share, help others and be thankful, whilst remembering those who are less fortunate.

I was sent many messages from Muslims taking their leave as is the custom before one embarks on the pilgrimage of Hajj.  Messages from an affluent Arab, a Syrian woman fighting cancer supported by the generosity of her local community to fulfil her one last wish, a volunteer from the Grenfell tragedy, many constituents from my borough and my own personal farewell to my brother and his wife.

We make this journey of a lifetime to Makkah to remember many things, but in the end we are all human beings and that compassion is the only emotion that can truly build humanity as it should be.

We celebrate Eid with family and friends, gathering to socialise and enjoy food, and we give money to charity to assist those in need.  It is also an opportunity to interact with non-Muslims and share the purpose of Eid and its significance, whilst helping to dispel myths surrounding Islam and tackling Islamophobia. True Islam is a peaceful religion, which sadly has been hijacked by a minority of extremists of every faction and has had a hugely negative influence on public perception of Muslims.

Media reporting about Islam and Muslims is also alarming. A 2018 study revealed that 59% of all articles associated Muslims with negative behaviour and over a third of articles misrepresented or generalised about Muslims, with terrorism being the most common theme. 43% of all broadcast clips also associated Muslims with negative behaviour.

Is it any wonder that some Muslim communities are accused of not integrating when they are viewed with suspicion and isolated as a result? To quote the words of former Prime Minister, David Cameron, “Integration is a two-way street.” And as Sir Peter Fahy said, “Integration is not about extremism”. Nevertheless, the situation is not helped by comments from people like Nigel Farage — one of the most prominent Brexit advocates — who previously made many inflammatory comments about Muslims.

According to the anti-fascist group Hope’s annual State of Hate report, more than a third of people in the UK believe that Islam is a threat to the British way of life.

As a Muslim, I have often been told that soon all UK banks will be controlled by Sharia law - this is offensive to me in the same way that a member of the Jewish faith finds the Rothschild bank slur offensive. There is no difference in the hurt caused or the hatred spread. 

We should be celebrating the positive impact that Muslims have on our nation. They make a significant contribution to the UK economy and more are emerging as prominent figures in politics, particularly women who have had greater struggles in fighting against stereotypes and adversity to become successful and prominent citizens; people such as Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai; Great British Bake Off Winner, Nadia Hussain, and Mishal Husain, leading presenter the for BBC.  Young British Muslims are also becoming more liberal, but no less religious, as it appears that they are “finding ways to reconcile British culture with religion.”1

As a child who grew up in the late 70s and early 80s in Kent where there were very few Muslims, my childhood was a great deal about connecting faith and people.  Recollections of harvest time — and the gifts and sharing of food from that harvest — mirrored the giving of alms from my own faith and of my mother getting my basket of food ready for the elderly on our school visit.

I do remember my mother dressing our neighbour in one of her saris for a wedding and celebrations during Eid.  I remember that our white neighbours brought food to our home when my mother lost her father.  I remember that there were moments that all my identities became submerged into one, of compassion and understanding, that of peace and friendship.

Eid is a time to celebrate life, forget our differences and join together as a community.

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Agenda and Directory - published!

by Liberal Democrats on Sat, 10 Aug 2019

Thank you all

by Jane Dodds on Fri, 02 Aug 2019

We did it!

We won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election!

We won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election!

I am so incredibly grateful to every person that got me here.

Thank you to everyone who traveled, from near and far, to get here and campaign with us. Thank you for the thousands of doors you knocked on, for the tens of thousands of leaflets you delivered, the letters you wrote and stuffed, the leaflets you bundled.

Within a week of Boris Johnson’s premiership, we’ve reduced his majority to just one vote.

Thank you to the members in Brecon and Radnorshire, and in nearby constituencies, who opened your homes to host campaigners.

Thank you to the hundreds of people who helped us by making calls to voters.

Thank you to everyone that donated to this campaign, with money or food or office supplies - to make sure we could run the biggest operation possible.

Thank you to the core campaign team of staff and activists. They have gone above and beyond to mastermind this campaign – and I am so lucky to have them in my corner.

And thank you to the Green Party and Plaid Cymru, who stood aside in this seat.

We overturned an eight thousand majority, we’ve won a swing of 14% - and within a week of Boris Johnson’s premiership, we’ve reduced his majority in the House of Commons to just one vote.

Together, we’ve proved that united we can turn the tide on Boris Johnson. We can hold back his plan of crashing out of the EU without a deal, and we can demand a different future.

Every day, the Liberal Democrats fight to stop Brexit, and offer an alternative – a richer, greener and safer future for Britain within the EU.

The Liberal Democrats offer an alternative – a richer, greener and safer future for Britain within the EU.

And the fight continues.

We have two more huge by-elections happening.

In Shetland, Beatrice Wishart is standing to be a Member of the Scottish Parliament, as long time Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott steps back from politics.

And in Sheffield Hallam (Nick Clegg's old seat) the Labour MP recently announced he will be stepping down as MP when Parliament returns in September. Laura Gordon, our candidate, has spent so much time in Brecon and Radnorshire campaigning for me - and I can't wait to do the same for her.

I hope you take some time to rest and celebrate this huge success - and then I hope to see you back on the campaign trail soon.

Thank you once again from the bottom of my heart.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Winning here!

by Greg Foster on Fri, 02 Aug 2019

Jane Dodds and the local Liberal Democrat team just WON the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election!

And we’re all thrilled!

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Cummings Dark Arts have no place in Downing Street

by Layla Moran on Sun, 28 Jul 2019

The appointment of Dominic Cummings should send shivers down the spines of UK citizens.

This is a man who has peddled lies and flouted the truth for sheer, cynical political gain.
 
The dark arts that he proffers should have no place in Government, and no place in Downing Street.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

By announcing his intention to resign Jared is doing the right thing - both for himself and his constituents.

People in Sheffield will now get their chance to have their say, both on Boris Johnson's dangerous Conservative Government and on Jeremy Corbyn's failure to provide effective opposition at a time of national crisis.

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Johnson’s immigration plan is completely meaningless

by Greg Foster on Fri, 26 Jul 2019

The likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage like to talk about an ‘Australian-style’ immigration system because it sounds tough.

But as with most things Johnson says, it’s actually completely meaningless.

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Thank you

by Sir Ed Davey MP on Fri, 26 Jul 2019

I have been hugely touched by the many messages I have received since the result of the Leadership election was declared on Monday afternoon. 

Thank you to everyone that supported me, and thank you so much to my incredible campaign team. 

I am incredibly proud of our campaign we fought - and know we made a huge difference to the party.

Congratulations to Jo, our new leader. I cannot wait to play a pivotal role for the Liberal Democrats under Jo’s leadership - and with us only 2% behind the Tories in the most recent poll, we have an amazing opportunity to change the future of our county.

The new Cabinet announced yesterday makes two things clear: compassionate conservatism is dead and we are heading for an early General Election. But before then, we have another election to win - in Brecon and Radnorshire.

With the Parliamentary numbers as tight as they are, electing Jane Dodds could make all the difference between a No Deal Brexit and getting the People’s Vote we need.

Jane will be an excellent MP for Brecon and Radnorshire. She is a true Liberal committed to the constituency and committed to stopping Brexit.

Will you be a part of our Brecon and Radnorshire campaign?

Come to the by-election HQ - we're open every day from 9am-7pm
Volunteer to help our campaign
Make calls from anywhere in the world
Donate to the campaign

We need help now, as polling day is on 1st August. The Tories are throwing everything at the campaign: they don’t want to see Boris Johnson embarrassed so early in his Premiership. Whether it’s making calls or visiting Wales yourself, please make sure you help us win Brecon and Radnorshire.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

In Uxbridge and South Ruislip Boris Johnson is big on words, little on action, and completely lost when it comes to listening. When I talk with constituents, three key issues come up time and again: Brexit, Heathrow, and Police presence in the constituency.

On Heathrow, his words were just sound and bluster, leading to disappointment for local residents

These key issues are invariably raised alongside frustrations that Boris Johnson’s words are meaningless because he cannot be trusted. Take policing, for example: in November 2017, Mr Johnson claimed he was ‘disappointed and mystified’ at the police station being closed in his constituency. Yet it was Boris Johnson who introduced the closures of 65 police stations across London, including that in his constituency, during his time as Mayor of London.

Heathrow is another case in point where his words were just sound and bluster, leading to disappointment (and that’s putting it mildly) for local residents. Johnson famously claimed on LBC that he would lay prostrate ‘in front of the bulldozers’ to ensure that Heathrow’s third runway would not go ahead. Yet when the vote came in 2018, he scarpered to Afghanistan rather than remain in the UK and support his constituency.

I have consistently argued that we must Stop Brexit

And speaking of Remaining, YouGov polls have consistently shown since mid-2018 that Uxbridge and South Ruislip is a Remain constituency. Once again, he refuses to listen. That said, it’s also hard to get the Labour candidate, Ali Milani, to listen. He refuses to talk about Brexit, and was a no-show at the recent People’s Vote event in Uxbridge (14 July 2019). Nor has he attended any of the marches (including Pride, for that matter). The silence is stark and revealing.

I have consistently argued that we must Stop Brexit and I stand with our new leader, Jo Swinson, in her unswerving commitment to do so. I’m also helping empower constituents to ensure their voices are heard at the forthcoming Heathrow consultation day (20 August). And I am collating concerns and evidence on the impact of Johnson’s closure of our Police station, advocating for residents.

I am the one, clear and loudest voice championing the Remain cause for residents

The wonderful people of Uxbridge and South Ruislip have been let down for too long. I am the one, clear voice championing the Remain cause for residents, and I will not let ego or petty political sparring get in the way of supporting people who deserve our assistance and who need a role model against soundbites, hate speech, and the cult of personality. Together, we can achieve so much and we will – along with that much-needed Exit from Brexit.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →