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Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats

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What Is our Mission?

The Liberal Democrats are the heart of Liberalism on the Isle of Wight. We are a party that is made by local Islanders that exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open island for all!

The Isle of Wight Liberal Democrat objective is to build a society that protects individuals and gives islanders the tools and freedom to be successful and build the lives they want. We believe in opportunity, self-reliance and a healthy respect for communities to help create a fair and free society on the island. We put forward a progressive platform where individuals in communities are the drivers for change, and people are at the heart of decision making.

The Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats believe that we offer an alternative to the Left and Right fight that we experience around the country, and on the island. We don't believe in the "cutting culture" of the Conservatives, but also do understand the need to eliminate the deficit. We believe that a balanced and reasonable approach is what is needed to sort out the finances on and off the island.

However, it's not just the economy of the Isle of Wight that the Liberal Democrats wish to fight for. We are also committed to a much more democratic and engaged Island community. We believe it should be our duty as Liberals to actively inform and encourage more people to be a part of the community they live in. We believe that the success of a truly balanced society comes from the diversity of people from all different backgrounds. To us, their are no class or groups, just different individuals all with their own views and aspirations.

Lib Dems Isle of wight team

If you would like to find out more information, and keep up to date with local news and events, then please follow us on the links below.




If you wish to get in contact directly, please find us under "contact us" and send us a email. Alternatively, you can contact us or via Facebook and Twitter, and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

For further facts on staying in the EU please have a look at our published European Referendum Key Issues Guide here!

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Recent updates

  • Article: Apr 10, 2019

    These past few months have been nothing short of a national humiliation.

    For nearly 3 years, the government has used a wafer thin referendum majority to sow division in our towns, our cities and even in our families.

    But those who seek to divide us will never win. We demand better than Brexit.

    Labour and the Conservatives are fighting amongst themselves, and they have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to local services.

  • Article: Apr 5, 2019

    One of our strengths as a party is our broad, committed base of activists. Sometimes, it can be hard to pick out who in your area might be willing to help - so we've put together a guide for you!

    You likely already have a large amount of data that you can use to identify potential volunteers - even without canvassing. When someone signs a petition on the national party's website, the data they provide is synced to Connect too.

  • Article: Apr 5, 2019

    Vince Cable kickstarted our local election campaign today in Yeovil.

    And what a place to get the ball rolling.

    After the last lot of elections in 2015, the Liberal Democrat group was the largest on South Somerset District Council.

    South Somerset is just one of many councils up for election this year which last elected councillors in 2015.

  • Article: Apr 3, 2019

    Last night, the People's Vote option got more support from MPs than any other option.

    When MPs get the chance to vote on it again, I want to make sure it passes with a majority.

    We've asked you to help us by contacting MPs to persuade them to back a People's Vote in the past.

    You responded in your thousands.

  • Article: Apr 3, 2019

    The Conservative MP for Brecon & Radnorshire has pleaded guilty to two charges of making a false expenses claim.

    It's likely that this will lead to either his resignation or a recall petition. This means that we could be fighting a by-election in Brecon & Radnor as early as next week! We have to be ready for this. Will you chip into our fighting fund today?

  • Article: Apr 2, 2019

    Last night, the Liberal Democrats could have delivered Brexit.

    True, it would have been a 'softer' version of Brexit than Theresa May is pursuing. But it would still be a Brexit that stopped the free movement of people, a Brexit which made us rule takers but not rule makers and a Brexit that does nothing to protect 80% of our economy.

  • Article: Apr 1, 2019

    Last week's damning report from the Chief Inspector of Probation makes it clear. We need a radically new approach to rehabilitation.

    The primary purpose of our penal system should be to prevent crime by rehabilitating offenders. Right now, it's failing.

    Prisons are overcrowded and understaffed. Violence, riots, drug use, self-harm and suicide are all far too common.

  • Article: Mar 29, 2019

    The Supporter's Scheme

    We launched a new Lib Dem supporter scheme at conference - and thousands have already joined us as a supporter from across the country.

    Find out more about the supporter scheme here: www.libdems.org.uk/supporters-local-party-guide
    And ask your friends and family to become supporters of the Lib Dems here: www.libdems.org.uk/build-our-team

  • Article: Mar 29, 2019

    Nigel Farage must be fuming.

    Today was supposed to be his day of victory, but it's a damp squib. Thanks to almost 3 years of Lib Dems fighting, we've pushed Brexit back until at least the middle of next month.

    And we're not stopping there - we have the momentum. A People's Vote gets closer by the day.

  • Article: Mar 29, 2019
    By Richard Flowers and Alex Wilcock

    Most people meet and get married within a few years, but not us. We got married on our twentieth anniversary. We had to wait 20 years before we could tie the knot, not because we didn't want to, but because to do so before 2014 would have been unlawful.

    Throughout the years the LGBT community has been marginalised, demonised and ignored

  • Article: Mar 29, 2019
    By Richard Flowers and Alex Wilcock

    Most people meet and get married within a few years, but not us. We got married on our twentieth anniversary. We had to wait 20 years before we could tie the knot, not because we didn't want to, but because to do so before 2014 would have been unlawful.

    Throughout the years the LGBT community has been marginalised, demonised and ignored

  • Article: Mar 28, 2019

    Brexit Latest

    This week parliament moved into the uncharted territory of 'taking back control' from an arrogant and incompetent executive. Apart from making an unholy mess of Brexit, Ministers have operated for far too long as though the sole purpose of government is to serve the Conservative Party. The absence of a majority finally came to bite them as the Commons wrested control of the business.

  • Article: Mar 27, 2019

    After months of deadlock, on Monday night Parliament voted to take control of Brexit away from the Government.

    Today we will be going through a process of "indicative votes". This might be a normal way of doing things in just about any other walk of life but in Parliament it is novel and I wanted to share with you a few thoughts about how we shall approach these votes and what we want to achieve.

  • Article: Mar 24, 2019

    Many of these private members' bills simply fell off the parliamentary order paper this week - the Tory government failed to give us to debate these vital issues. Others were outright blocked. We must demand better than this broken government, distracted by their Brexit mess.

    Here are our 14 progressive private members' bills the government doesn't want you to know about.

  • Article: Mar 24, 2019
    By Ed Davey

    I am SO proud of our Party today

    The fight against Brexit is not over. We showed we're closer than ever to a People's Vote

    Alongside other pro-Europeans, we showed the fight against Brexit is not over. We showed we're closer than ever to a People's Vote.

    There were a million people marching today with a million reasons why they want to stop Brexit - but in my speech to our huge Lib Dem contingent, I chose one: Climate Change.

  • Article: Mar 21, 2019

    I'm on the train returning home from Brussels after a day speaking to European liberal leaders, ahead of the European Council, and then briefing the gathered media on the Liberal Democrat campaign for a People's Vote, to stop Brexit.

    Given that the United Kingdom has caused such huge difficulties and tumult in the European Union, the warm reception given to us by our sister parties - patient, rather sad - is always impressive. I emphasised to the danger the Prime Minister is placing both the UK and Europe in, by arguing for a short extension which simply postpones the cliff edge we have been facing. What is needed now is a long extension to Article 50, to permit a real rethink and a final public say on the deal.

  • Article: Mar 21, 2019

    In the news this week, it was announced that an increasing number of schools across Birmingham have stopped their LGBT+ relationship education directly as a result of protesting parents.

    This should be a national scandal.

    A select few parents have protested against teaching children that same-sex relationships exist and are ok.

  • Article: Mar 19, 2019

    Warning: use of a trigger word in this article

    A few days ago, I was surprised to receive an email with 'Vice President' in the subject title.

    'Why would the Vice President of the Party be writing to me?' I asked myself.

    Then I realised that the 'Vice President' WAS me…

    That email was the first of many congratulatory messages. It was sent to me by the 'tour de force' that is Roderick Lynch, the Chair of the LDCRE (Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality).

  • Article: Mar 19, 2019

    In 1919, the Lloyd George government's Ministry of Reconstruction published the Report on Adult Education. The report set out the fundamental importance of educational opportunities throughout life:

    "Adult education is a permanent national necessity, an inseparable aspect of citizenship, and therefore should be both universal and lifelong."

  • Article: Mar 17, 2019

    Liberal politics for the age of identity

    In a wide-ranging set of essays on Britain's future, Vince Cable casts his party not at the centre of the tranditional left-right axis, but as the leading proponent of a values-based politics, which is open, inclusive and outward-looking, not closed or narrow-minded.

    He examines how liberals should respond to the 'age of identity' and proposes an ambitious program of radical reform.

  • Article: Mar 17, 2019

    Jo started out with a heartfelt tribute to those killed in the Christchurch mosque shooting this morning.

    "The forces that sow hate and division and seek to turn fellow citizens against each other must not and cannot win"

    She continued to pay tribute to outgoing leader Vince Cable - "a powerful champion for liberalism"

  • Article: Mar 17, 2019

    Read Vince Cable's speech to Liberal Democrat Spring Conference, 2019 in York:


    It is a sobering thought that just under 2,000 years ago there were people gathered on this spot no doubt complaining about a treaty from Rome.

    …with tiresome regulations about daily baths and straight roads; muttering under their breath that these legionnaires should go back to Gaul or Carthage.

    And you would have heard lots of people saying Interum sumo inferium. For those amongst you who don't converse in classical languages, that means: take back control!

    It then took them over 300 years to get their 'Rexit, when the Romans went home.

    That's the kind of timescale Theresa May seems to be working on.

    It then took about 700 years for York to recover from this early Brexit.

    Eventually it did, mainly thanks to French newcomers. They and their descendants left much that is beautiful in this city, like the Minster.

    But there are also reminders of past ugliness. Only a few hundred yards away from here one of Britain's early displays of organised antisemitism when Yorkshire's Jews were rounded up, locked up in Clifford's Tower and burned to death.

    That the country should still be battling the scourge of anti-Semitism today is a terrible reflection on our society.

    And after this weekend's horrors in New Zealand, Islamophobia is another scourge, indulged by populists and conspiracy theorists - with terrible consequences.

    But back to my home city. York is where my life, and my upbringing and my political career began.

    I have fond memories as a returning native, and I am heartened that York now enjoys a luxury which I hope will soon be more widely shared: a Lib Dem-led council.

    And it is a place which is proud of its traditions and identity as a great British city, but open and welcoming to outsiders.

    York University, a symbol of that openness, welcomed as its first ever student, in 1963, a young woman from Kenya who a few years later became my wife.

    And, by the way, the city voted to Remain.


    Brexit is dominating the life of Parliament and the country and not in a good way.

    It is dividing families, communities, and even the United Kingdom and sucking the energy out of government.
    Last week's farcical debates have diminished even further the standing of Parliament.

    Many of the really big issues which will dominate the future - how we live sustainably; how we adapt to and control a new generation of technologies; how we plan for our ageing population - all of these are being put on one side: postponed, ignored, neglected.

    I am not surprised that growing numbers of people are simply reacting with a mixture of boredom and anger: boredom because the same arguments are being advanced with robotic regularity; anger because what we were told would be very simple and straightforward is, in reality, hideously complicated.

    I am proud of the role our party has played, unapologetically leading the case for Remaining for an Exit from Brexit through securing and then winning a People's Vote. Against all the odds, our cause is very much alive.

    We have been quite clear that the 2016 referendum, now more than 2½ years ago, was not a good basis for leaving. It was undertaken solely to satisfy an internal quarrel inside the Conservative Party. A narrow majority of voters, and only 37% of the electorate, voted to Leave.

    Facts change, and they have changed. We also now understand much better the scale of the cheating and lying, which went on to secure the result.

    Without a confirmatory referendum there will be no such thing as the 'settled will of the people': merely a feud without end.

    I remain astounded that some people claim a new referendum would be undemocratic. What is democracy if it is not the right for a country to change its mind?

    I, myself, serve as an illustration of this principle. In 2015, I was defeated in the General Election and lost my seat. Two years later, in another election, they told me on the doorsteps, and the in the privacy of the voting booth, that they had had a change of heart and I got back with a near 10,000 majority.

    Twickenham changed its mind. Britain is now changing its mind too.

    And anyone who imagines that getting Theresa May's proposed Brexit through Parliament at the - third, fourth, fifth - time of asking will bring closure and stability is suffering from serious self-delusion.

    The Withdrawal Agreement - the divorce - is the easy bit.

    If Brexit is a political Everest, we have only just got to the Base Camp.

    The brief, vague, woolly, Political Declaration doesn't even tell us where the summit is, let alone how to get there. It promises years and years of frustration and friction.

    We keep being told, not least by the Chancellor, that once Brexit is agreed and delivered, the fog of uncertainty will lift and there will be a surge of renewed confidence in the UK.

    Business investment will pour in. We will all live happily every after.

    But this is a triumph of political fantasy over economic reality. Any well-run business can see that chronic uncertainty would follow any endorsement of the Withdrawal Agreement.

    The cliff edge would merely have been postponed for 20 months. Not a great offer. 

    But it isn't just about business, and economics, important though they are.

    As an MP for a university area, containing one of the leading scientific research centres in the country, I see a generation's worth of work going up in smoke.

    Pan-European teams; the free movement of students and staff and crucial research funding… are all being seriously damaged.

    And we are turning our backs on the most successful peace project in European history; a project which brought democracy to Southern European military dictatorships and then to the former communist countries of the East.

    That is why Europe is worth fighting for.

    That is why we will continue to fight to Remain.

    Whatever happens in the next few weeks of parliamentary twists and turns, we must argue that none of the many, mutually exclusive versions of Brexit now on offer - soft or hard - are as good as the deal we currently have.

    To those outside the Westminster bubble, the parliamentary games on Brexit are baffling: a weird combination of snakes and ladders, chess and all-in wrestling.

    So I want to pay tribute to our anti-Brexit parliamentary team, led by Tom Brake, Sarah Ludford and Dick Newby, who together have helped us ensure that we are in the right place on the panoply of Brexit legislation.

    I am grateful, too, to all of you. You keep campaigning; You never give up; You continue to believe we can win this historic argument.

    I am looking forward to joining you and leading you once again in a show of Liberal Democrat strength on the march next weekend.

    Together we will make a statement, on the streets, that the fight continues, and can be won.

    I got into some hot water with some of you last year, suggesting that ours might be a 'movement for moderates'.

    Naturally, we are - economically - in the centre; supporters of private enterprise, unafraid of active government.

    But in the new world of identity politics, we are on one side, not in the mushy middle. We are Remain.

    The choice between good and bad, right and wrong, isn't to split the difference.

    As King Solomon once observed: you don't settle a dispute on the parentage of a baby by splitting it down the middle.

    In a world of Trumps, Le Pens, and Putins…
    ….the new champions of nationalism and Xenophobia… we are firmly on the other side.

    We are Remain. We are internationalist, liberal, outward looking.

    If there is one issue which exposes the motives of British politicians today, it is the current bitter arguments over the 'Irish backstop'.

    For the hard Brexiteers, the pure identity of the United Kingdom as a 'sovereign' entity - which can do what it likes and close its mind to the world - is more important than peace, trade, and prosperity.

    For them, our shared history with Ireland is irrelevant; of second order to their own obsessions with nationalism.

    And to make things worse, this government is so lacking in talent that it employs a Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who makes even Chris Grayling look like a serious figure.

    Karen Bradley says she doesn't understand sectarian voting patterns, and then compounds this public declaration of ignorance with a blatantly and naively one-sided view of the killings in the Troubles. Ireland, like Czechoslovakia in pre-war days, is seen as a faraway country of which they know nothing and care less.

    She has revealed an ugly truth: that peace in Ireland matters less than peace in the Conservative Party.


    But just as we are committed to fighting the consequences of Brexit, we are committed to tackling the underlying causes. That isn't straightforward.

    We shouldn't be seduced by the lazy clichés and the simple idea that Brexit was caused by deprivation. In fact, some of Britain's poorest cities voted to Remain. And many of the most prosperous towns and villages, in the South voted Leave.
    But there was a clear pattern of towns in the North, the Midlands, Wales, and coastal England which felt neglected and voted Leave to give the Government, and the wider establishment, a good kicking.

    Government must invest heavily in the infrastructure and public services in former industrial or mining or seaside towns.

    I have set out in a pamphlet, which will be available as you leave, my ideas about how government should approach this.

    It may not be the most exciting bedtime reading, but it should provide some material for the train home!

    The big challenges which my booklet addresses have been obscured not just by Brexit, but by the upheaval in Britain's two main parties.

    The Conservative Party was, until recently, a broad church; but now it is narrowing to a party of English nationalism. The UKippers are quietly taking over that hollowed out, geriatric, structure and those that don't fit in are being pushed aside.

    This is a mirror image of what has already happened to the Labour Party. Ever since the Labour civil war 40 years ago, which led to the social democratic split, there has been an unresolved conflict between revolutionary and democratic socialism.

    And now there is a nasty twist; the anti-Semites who feed off the conspiracy theories of the 'far left' are back. Reminding us that there is more that unites the far left and far right than divides them.

    But the problems of the Labour Party are not just a problem for them, but for all of us.

    There are millions of Conservative voters who are disgusted with the incompetence, the self-indulgence and the inhumanity of this Tory Government but so long as Labour appears to be a nightmare, they will cling to the Tory nurse, for fear of something worse.


    The question I have been asked from the day I took on this job is "why don't the Liberal Democrats fill the political space created by these extremes?" I believe we should, we can and we will.

    But anybody who thinks it's straight forward to rush in and fill this so called 'centre ground' will soon encounter the barrier of which we are all too painfully aware. The first past the post voting system.

    Every parliamentary constituency and council seat in England and Wales is fought on this basis, crushing the life out of insurgent parties trying to operate as if they were in Holland or Sweden, where there is proportional voting.

    Dozens of new parties have been registered in the last couple of years, many claiming to be the Holy Grail of the 'Centre Ground'.

    They need to ask themselves a simple question: why isn't the Women's Equality Party running the country? With a potential voter base of over half the population; many sensible policies; lots of committees; a clear, attractive, brand; and some nice people…but they haven't got anyone elected.

    They can't get over the hurdle of 'first past the post'. So, when people tell me that a new force can win in France, why not here, the prosaic answer is: this isn't France.

    We don't have a Presidential system; and we don't have a transferable vote.


    These are the problems and we are all too familiar with them. But there's no reason for giving up.

    The massive challenge we face now is to create an alternative to the politics of fear and division; which has attractive, liberal and social democratic values; but is also grounded in the political reality and experience of winning in the current system and running things well at local and national level.

    This year's local elections must be the place where we finally shake off the set-back of two damaging general elections, and regain confidence, building on the advances of the last year. We can and will.

    The environment in which we do so has now changed. We are seeing early signs of some realignment. The breakaway group of independent MPs is a sign of that.

    I have been very clear that we must welcome a realignment of British politics and the opportunities it presents. I have also been clear that we should offer the hand of friendship to those who want to work with us rather than against us.
    Most of their statements of policy could have been cut and pasted from ours. But these are early days.

    The new group has a following wind from people who are curious about something new, and who admire their decision to break with their parties. But there is nothing yet beyond Westminster.

    No local infrastructure. No local base.

    They are very exposed to a wipe out in an early election. We aren't. As Tim Farron once observed, we would survive as cockroaches would survive a nuclear war. Speaking as Chief Cockroach, I would prefer a more flattering metaphor, but his point is well made.

    But I think we can do more than survive. We can do much more and much better by working with them and others who share our values, to take on the decaying and dysfunctional Labour and Conservative party machines, which have dominated British politics for far too long.

    The fringe this weekend where Jo Swinson welcomed Anna Soubry to conference was a very positive step.


    One of the reasons that there appears to be some public appetite for something new is frustration with the relentlessly negative and adversarial nature of British politics. There was some tut-tutting in the party when I forged an agreement with the Green Party covering national and local elections in my part of London.
    One irate member told me that he was appalled that I was collaborating with people whose stance on NATO and nuclear weapons was different from ours. But the public liked the collaboration and rewarded both our parties.
    And anyway, I'd suggested that nuclear weapons weren't a great help in devising environmentally sensible traffic management in Twickenham.


    And in a year when we remember with gratitude and affection the legacy of Paddy Ashdown it is worth recalling his last major political initiative which was to establish More United; bringing together politicians of different parties, much as he sought to do with the semi-formal alliance he - and we - had with Tony Blair's Labour Party in 1997.

    In the event, the nature of Corbyn's Labour Party kills off meaningful frontbench collaboration. But Paddy's instincts were right: the organisation has gone on to unite backbenchers on opposite sides of the traditional divide.

    And let me be clear: I identify with this approach to politics and I believe it is part of our duty to Paddy's legacy to promote it.

    Our mission to move from survival to success, from protest back to power, takes place in a world where liberal values are under siege and in retreat.

    Nothing quite defines liberalism like its opposite, illustrated by Theresa May's policies on immigration.

    Slamming the door on refugees, including children. Threats of deportation for decades-long legal residents who don't have the right papers. No appeal against arbitrary refusal of visas. Separation of partners from their loved ones. Using landlords, teachers and health professionals to create a hostile environment of suspicion of those who sound and look different. Depriving the destitute of the right to work.

    What a sad state of affairs that our main safeguard against Home Office tyranny is its own chronic inefficiency.

    Immigration is a touchstone issue which has defined liberals from long before Theresa May stepped into the Home Office.

    I recall the panic half a century ago when a British government slammed the door on British subjects from Kenya, including my late wife's family and friends.

    Only a small group, led by the then Liberal Party opposed the government.

    And you may remember that one of Paddy's great campaigns was the then - unpopular - defence of the rights of Hong Kong Chinese, who faced loss of their citizenship.

    As we forge a new politics, we must never lose our edge on this issue. We do not argue that immigration should be unlimited or unmanaged but we will never give in to populism.

    Ours will always be a distinctive voice, speaking up for the benefits of migration to our society and our economy; and our party will always open its arms to refugees when others turn their backs.

    It may be uncomfortable for many people of my generation but there is an enormous gap in attitudes and interests opening up between the old and the young.

    That is true of Brexit where an overwhelming majority of young people voted Remain, and most of the two million who have turned 18 since would do so now.

    It is also true of the environment. There is now a climate emergency. But you wouldn't think so from the complacent attitude of the government, which has quietly dumped the relentless focus on carbon reduction, which we maintained when Ed Davey was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change;

    Whether it is the short-sighted cancellation of the Swansea Tidal Lagoon Project or the cynical sell-off of the Green Investment Bank, Conservative Ministers are frankly put to shame by the children who have walked out of school to put the future of the planet first.

    I believe there are four other issues which matter above all.

    The first is housing. Housing inflation has created paper millionaires of large numbers of older home owners who have repaid their mortgages. Young families by contrast are forced into insecure, unsatisfactory and often exploitative rented accommodation.

    We are, therefore, committed to massive affordable house building of social and private homes, as an absolute priority. And that, in turn, means breaking the existing model of developer-led housing which depends on rising land prices and grotesque profits and bonuses.

    The second issue is the wave of violent crime. The victims are overwhelmingly young and male (and often black).

    What is clear is that cuts to police have undermined crime prevention; diminishing their ability to gather intelligence and to catch perpetrators.

    I started my involvement in politics 50 years ago representing a tough ward in Glasgow. Gang violence was endemic; the weapons of choice were open razors and broken bottles; and the catalyst was drink rather than drugs.

    Glasgow was once a far more violent place than inner London. Today the city is leading the way in treating knife crime as a public health as much as a law and order issue. This is an example we must follow across the whole country.

    Thirdly, there is mental ill health. I am shocked on visits to schools and colleges by the prevalence of mental illness among young people.

    A few weeks ago, I was at a lovely infant and primary school in a comfortable, middle class part of my constituency. But the Head told me that over 10% of his pupils were coping with mental health problems. At the neighbouring secondary school, it was over 20%.

    Lib Dems will always challenge the underfunding of mental health services - building on the work we did together in Coalition, led by Norman Lamb.

    Finally, education, where Layla Moran is taking the lead to argue for a world-class academic and vocational education system.

    By contrast, this Government is taking education backwards with the scale of school and college cuts:

    Head teachers asking for financial contributions from parents; schools closed down on Fridays to save money; the curriculum narrowed because of a lack of staff; neglect of Special Needs; and a general deterioration of morale.

    There is no shortage of issues to campaign on. We have good ideas and clear messages. The challenge now is to translate our values and those messages into electoral success.

    The next big test at the ballot box is the local elections in May. These aren't opinion polls but real elections.

    And they matter enormously, not just because we want, and expect, to do well, but because local government reflects our belief in localism and community politics.

    If ever you feel pessimistic, the councils which we run, or lead coalitions: Bedford, Watford, Portsmouth, South Cambridge, South Somerset, Eastbourne, Eastleigh, Three Rivers - and indeed right here in York.

    With 9,000 seats up for grabs these elections are a big challenge but a great opportunity.

    An opportunity to get more Liberal Democrats elected, and to recruit more Liberal Democrat members and supporters across the country. I hope that all of you will channel your energy into these campaigns whether as a candidate or activist. If you don't have elections in your part of the UK, you can still get involved somewhere that does.

    Success and persistence banishes the negativity we encounter in the media.

    I became a parliamentary candidate for the seat I now hold at a time when we didn't register in the polls at all; but we then won the seat at the second attempt.
    And what always lifts my spirits is to meet up with those who fought in previous campaigns and are still fighting today; like those who were here in York with me over four decades ago and are now running the city as Lib Dems.

    Friends, we have every reason to be optimistic that our party can grow and make real progress.

    And if, as I sense, the two old, tired and increasingly discredited major parties are to fracture,

    we shall move forward not in small steps, but in leaps and bounds.

    There is everything to fight for.

  • Article: Mar 17, 2019

    Our justice system is failing the vulnerable, and we should all be embarrassed about it.

    Legal aid spending in England and Wales has been cut by £933 million in the last eight years. And as a direct result, we've seen huge reductions in support.

    • The number of civil cases receiving early advice has dropped by 80%.
    • The number of criminal cases receiving legal aid funding has fallen by a third
    • The number of legal aid providers has fallen by a third, leaving parts of the country with no provisions at all.
    • The number of people representing themselves in count has increasing significantly.
  • Article: Mar 17, 2019

    No parent should have to bury their child.

    It's crushing to see it happening so much the news.

    Knife crime is an epidemic on our streets. The Conservative Party's fixation on cutting police to the bone is causing harm. In 2017-18, over 800 teenagers were admitted to hospital with stab wounds.

    High-quality youth work has been proven time and time again to help vulnerable young people escape the clutches of gangs. But the Conservatives have repeatedly defunded these vital outreach programs. We owe it to our children to fight for this funding to be restored.

  • Article: Mar 17, 2019

    Across Britain, you can't have failed to notice that our high streets and town centres are run down.

    Local businesses are closing, leaving our high streets empty of anything bar charity and betting shops.

    People have to travel further for necessities like groceries, needlessly adding more cars to our busy roads.

  • Article: Mar 17, 2019
    By Tara Copeland

    The Sutton Trust estimates 40% of young interns are working for free. Many of them are probably entitled to the National Minimum Wage. But a loophole in the law lets employers pass their roles off as "voluntary" unpaid internships.

    They're common in the modern job market - I actually interviewed for one after I graduated. What would I get in return for 40 hours a week of work? Travel and lunch expenses.

  • Article: Mar 16, 2019

    The Liberal Democrats are changing.

    Politics is utterly broken right now. Labour and the Conservatives are being dragged to the ideological extremes, leaving millions feeling powerless and frustrated with the direction our country is taking.

    That needs to change. Liberal Democrats will be that force of change.

  • Article: Mar 16, 2019

    We can't afford to ignore the health problems caused by roadside air pollution. 42% of primary school children attend schools in areas which breach the legal limit of toxins from traffic exhaust.

    Our children breathe this toxic air every day. It means an increased risk of asthma and other breathing problems. Not to mention health problems that can last a lifetime.

  • Article: Mar 16, 2019

    Q: In view of Labour's abstention on a People's Vote, is there any avenue to resubmit a vote on a People's Vote? Now Jeremy Corbyn has betrayed Remainers, what will the Liberal Democrats do?

    A: On the parliamentary side of things, we didn't get close to winning because Jeremy Corbyn abstained. The Labour Party has committed to supporting a People's Vote but he refuses. He is personally committed to delivering Brexit, in keeping with his political philosophy. He is worried about his party which is now falling apart and he doesn't want to antagonise the Brexiteers in his party.

  • Article: Mar 16, 2019

    I'm delighted that Conference has just overwhelmingly passed a motion committing to the creation of a registered supporter's scheme for the Liberal Democrats.
    The debate was split into 7 votes. Here's a summary of how they went down:

    Vote 1: Do you want registered supporters to be able to sit on working groups? PASSED
    Vote 2: If we had a registered supporters' scheme, would you want to ban members of other political parties from being registered supporters? PASSED - 453-327
    Vote 3: Do you want the Party to establish a registered supporters' scheme in the form set out in F10 but in accordance with the results of Votes One and Two? PASSED
    Vote 4: Should registered supporters be permitted to vote for the Party Leader? FALLEN
    Vote 5: Should people other than Liberal Democrat members of the House of Commons be permitted to stand for Party Leader? FALLEN
    Vote 6: Do you want to permit new members to apply to be included on the list of approved Parliamentary Candidates? PASSED - 513-245 (68%-32%)
    Vote 7: F9 (the conference motion) as amended or not: PASSED

Isle of Wight Lib Dem photo