Chris Lucas

Liberal Democrat Campaigner, living and working in Weston Ward in the beautiful city of Bath. Learn more

Read more on this

Read more on this

Today kickstarts an important week in Parliament, with votes taking place on key amendments to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, tabled by Liberal Democrats.

In our fight to hold this Conservative Government to account on its Brexit agenda, we are fighting to protect EU citizens’ rights as well as those of unaccompanied child refugees.

Last week, Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates tabled amendments that would automatically guarantee EU citizens’ rights in law.

EU citizens are our families and friends, our colleagues and carers. That is why we are urging Boris Johnson to honour his promise and back our legislation to guarantee their rights.

Boris Johnson previously promised to guarantee these rights, but has failed to do so. Under his policies, tens of thousands of EU citizens will be left without legal rights in less than 18 months. This puts them at risk of eviction, detention and even deportation.

EU citizens are our families and friends, our colleagues and carers. That is why we are urging Boris Johnson to honour his promise and back our legislation to guarantee their rights.

Tomorrow we will be voting for another amendment, which would protect the rights of unaccompanied child refugees in Europe to be reunited with their families in the UK.

Child refugees who’ve been forced to flee their homes and separated from their families are some of the most vulnerable people in the world, and we must do all we can to protect them.

Sadly, Conservatives voted to drop the UK’s commitment to support child refugees and their rights to family reunion in the House of Commons.

Liberal Democrats know that we should be expanding family reunion rights, not rolling them back. That is why we are continuing to fight for these children.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Lib Dems pay tribute to Lord Robert Maclennan

by Liberal Democrats on Sun, 19 Jan 2020

The Liberal Democrats have today led tributes following the death of Lord Robert Maclennan.
 
Lord Robert Maclennan of Rogart, known as Bob Maclennan, was the last leader of the Social Democrat Party before it merged with the Liberal Party. He then became joint interim leader of the new party. 
 
Bob Maclennan was a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001. Upon stepping down as MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Bob Maclennan was elevated to the House of Lords. 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

We can do more for bereaved families.

by Ed Davey on Wed, 15 Jan 2020

Do you think we care well enough for the more vulnerable in our society?

Have we figured out how best to care for people who’ve experienced bereavement, people who get ill in old age, those with mental ill-health or adults with learning disabilities?

My own personal experience tells me we haven’t. Whether in my own life or for many constituents in my advice surgeries over 20 years, all too often the care and support systems either don’t work well enough or aren’t even there at all.

Liberal Democrats must make our voice heard on caring – and lead this debate.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Lighthouse Update

by Greg Foster on Wed, 08 Jan 2020

Happy New Year!

Over Christmas and New Year, a team of HQ staff and almost 60 volunteer testers from across the party as well as the team at Prater Raines have been hard at work testing Lighthouse, the party’s new Local Party Management tool.

The feedback from those users has been really encouraging, they’ve found the system really intuitive and easy to use.

It’ll also work for all parts of the party - from branches up to state parties and will solve a number of other long-standing issues as well (though not all on day 1!)

Of course, launch day is fast approaching - and you’ll all soon be able to get your hands on it.

This is how we’re planning to roll out Lighthouse:

The launch version should be a like for like replacement for the current portal. You’ll be able to do everything you can do now.

Friday 10th January

The team will be deploying the final Alpha test version on Friday. This should have all of the features the release version has and we’ll be testing it over the weekend to make sure it’s as top-notch as possible. 

The launch version should (effectively) be a like for like replacement for the current portal. You’ll be able to do everything you can do now.

Monday 13th January

Once that testing has been completed, we’re planning to launch the closed Beta test of the new system on Monday 13th January. Anyone who was involved with the Alpha testing team or anyone who has registered as a Super User by the 9th January will be sent a login. We expect the logins to be sent out in the late afternoon or early evening.

You’re looking for an email from “Lighthouse” using the email address “[email protected]”. The subject line should begin “You’ve been granted access to”

This will be to the live system with all of your member, supporter and donor data present.

If you’re in this initial group and you spot anything that doesn’t look right with the system, just drop [email protected] an email with “Lighthouse” in the subject line and we’ll take a look.

Friday 17th January

We’re then planning to run that initial closed Beta test until Friday 17th January, when we hope to have updated the system again and from the following Monday 20th January, we’ll start adding on more users and move into an open Beta test.

The open Beta will keep running until we’re satisfied that all of our core milestones are in place and working as intended. We hope this will be completed in plenty of time for the Spring Conference in York.

These dates are obviously potentially subject to some slippage. We’ll update you if that's the case.

We’re planning to keep adding more features and refining things to make your lives easier and make managing your local party simpler.

Training & support

The team has also been hard at work drafting step by step guides to every feature in the system. 

We should have around a dozen of these task guides ready to go and we’re uploading them to www.libdems.org.uk/lighthouse as they’re finished. You’ll also be able to find them in the knowledgebase on Lighthouse.

We’ve also updated the Membership Geek Sheets to reflect the new system and will be producing more of these soon.

Lastly, we’re hosting some webinars to run people through how to use the system and answer your questions. You can find all of the details here: www.libdems.org.uk/lighthouse - and there’ll be more webinars coming.

We’re also hoping to be able to run training at all of the Regional and State conferences (and if you’re organising one of these, please keep a spot open for me!) this spring and will be running two sessions on how to use Lighthouse at Spring Federal conference.

Longer term

The launch next week won’t be the end of development on Lighthouse. 

We’re planning to keep adding more features and refining things to make your lives easier and make managing your local party simpler.

Future developments that we’re looking at include allowing bulk import of donations from other party systems and making training that your members are doing visible to you.

If there’s anything else you’d like to see in the system, please do let us know and we can build it into our development roadmap.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Meet our new Commons team

by Ed Davey on Mon, 06 Jan 2020

Today I've announced my team of spokespeople in the House of Commons.

We'll speak up for the millions of people who voted for the Liberal Democrats in the general election, and the millions more who are dismayed with the actions of this Conservative government.

The team's portfolios can be found below:

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Lib Dems respond to Iran Crisis

by Ed Davey on Fri, 03 Jan 2020

Iran is governed by a brutal regime which has been openly hostile to the West.

Donald Trump has yet again radically and recklessly escalated tensions in an area where peace-keeping was already on a knife-edge.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Sal Speaks - the final edition

by Sal Brinton on Tue, 31 Dec 2019

As my Presidency draws to an end on New Year’s Eve, I wanted to write to you with a final thank you for the extraordinary help that you have given the liberal cause over the last five years.

To have faced three General Elections and the EU Referendum during these five years - as well as the snap European elections this year - has been unprecedented, draining for everyone who has worked in them. Our candidates and teams, party staff and the many members and supporters who have continuously found that extra bit of energy and effort kept fighting the liberal cause.

Added to this, our local government teams, led by ALDC, have worked consistently hard in elections every year and their success has been rewarded with substantial growth in councillors and councils that we control or run jointly with others. And in Scotland our MSPs hold the SNP to account, and Kirsty Williams is a brilliant Education minister in the Welsh Assembly.

I have been really proud to campaign with colleagues across the UK over the last five years, seeing members building the party in their areas and I want to thank you for your warm welcome over my Presidency. In 2017 alone I covered over 4,000 miles, getting to every part of the country! I have also witnessed the party develop its use of online campaigning, not least honed on the Stop Brexit campaign over the last three years.

 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Ed Davey's New Year's Message

by Liberal Democrats on Mon, 30 Dec 2019

Ed Davey's Christmas Message

by Liberal Democrats on Tue, 24 Dec 2019

Happy Chanukah!

by Sir Ed Davey MP on Sun, 22 Dec 2019

A happy and peaceful Chanukah to all Jewish people around the world!

Chanukah is a special time of the year for so many reasons. It’s about solidarity with friends and family. It’s about overcoming adversity in impossible circumstances. Most importantly, it’s about the power of faith and how it can make wonderful things happen.

It’s not an easy time for Jewish people at the moment – antisemitism is on the rise and terrible events like Pittsburgh remind us how important it is that people are allowed to practice their faith freely and openly.

We will always fight for the rights of Jewish people. The right to be free. The right to be safe. The right to remain in a Europe that represents home to millions of Jewish people around the world.

Times may be difficult but we will always be proud to stand side by side with Jewish people and say no to intolerance, division and hatred.

As Jewish people across the world light their menorahs and chanukiahs tonight, we are reminded of the power in standing together and uniting to change the world for the better.

Thank you for standing with us this Chanukah. We will safeguard our place in Europe. We will stand up to hate crime. We will fight antisemitism in every form.  And we will win.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Our plan for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill

by Liberal Democrats on Fri, 20 Dec 2019

Boris' bad Brexit bill is before the House of Commons today. 

So what are we doing to fight the damaging and dangerous effects it will have on democratic scrutiny, workers' rights, the battle against the climate crisis, and more?

Today, we tabled an amendment to block the Withdrawal Agreement Bill because:

  • It fails to give the people the final say on the Brexit deal
  • It fails to ensure continued tariff-free access to the Customs Union and Single Market
  • It fails to guarantee the rights of UK citizens in the EU, and EU citizens in the UK
  • It fails to safeguard protections for workers' rights, children's rights, and the environment

The Bill is now progressing to Committee Stage, where Layla Moran is tabling the following amendment to protect the Erasmus+ scheme and the opportunities it provides. 


Implementation period negotiating objectives: Erasmus+

(1) It shall be an objective of the Government to secure an agreement within the framework of the future relationship of the UK and the EU before the end of the implementation period that enables the UK to participate in all elements of the Erasmus+ programme on existing terms after the implementation period ends (“the Erasmus+ negotiations”).

(2) A Minister shall lay before each House of Parliament a progress report on the Erasmus+ negotiations within six months of this Act being passed.


The Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose Brexit every step of the way and fight to stop the avalanche of harm it looks set to unleash.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

A disgrace

by Sir Ed Davey MP on Fri, 20 Dec 2019

Today, Boris Johnson will take his reckless Withdrawal Agreement to MPs. It will be rushed through to meet the arbitrary deadline of January 31st.

Johnson and his government don't care how it will affect British people, or how the worst off in our society will be hit hardest. 

They just want to push Brexit through, whatever the cost.

A harmful Brexit deal isn’t the only plan they have which will irreparably damage our country. Among the announcements in the Queen’s Speech are plans to:

  • Set a legal deadline to end the ‘transition period’ with the EU in December 2020 - with or without a trade deal
  • Scrap freedom of movement and introduce a discriminatory points-based immigration system
  • Require photo ID to vote, disenfranchising thousands if not millions of British people

This is a disgrace. 

The Conservatives are already running roughshod over our democracy and our human rights.

Labour won’t hold the Conservatives to account. They’re too busy fighting amongst themselves.

Only the Liberal Democrats can take on this Conservative government, before they do irreversible damage to our country.

We have a lot of work to do.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

We must fight for better democracy

by Wera Hobhouse on Fri, 20 Dec 2019

Voting reform is not about the electoral advantage of any party.

It is about better democracy.

As politicians we have a responsibility to ensure voters across the UK do not feel disenfranchised.

In this election the Liberal Democrats increased their vote share by 4%, more than any other party, but achieved fewer seats in Parliament.

In comparison, the Conservatives increased their vote share by just 1% and achieved a huge majority.



This election result does reflect the votes millions made across our country.

However, a healthy democracy also relies on a strong and functioning opposition.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to hold Boris Johnson's government to account and fight for an inclusive, open and democratic society.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Boris Johnson's damaging agenda for UK

by Sir Ed Davey MP on Fri, 20 Dec 2019

Boris Johnson’s government has set out a disastrous agenda which will force through a hard Brexit, undermine our public services, destroy opportunities for our communities and cripple living standards.

Brexit will hinder our ability to safeguard our NHS and reduce our capacity to tackle the climate crisis. 

The fact that radical climate action has been ignored is a hallmark of a government which is setting all the wrong priorities.

Boris Johnson has the votes to secure much-needed legislation to reduce emissions such as: 

  • insulating our homes
  • investing in renewables
  • increasing uptake of electric vehicles

But he clearly just doesn’t care about our planet. 



The Liberal Democrats will continue to scrutinise this Conservative government, hold Boris Johnson to account and fight for the liberal, inclusive, compassionate society we want to see.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Boris Johnson set to crash UK economy

by Sir Ed Davey MP on Wed, 18 Dec 2019

This news is yet more evidence that Boris Johnson's government looks set to crash our economy thanks to his disastrous Brexit plans.

Whether its putting people's livelihoods on the line in our factory sector, or increasing prices with the pound weakening in 2020, it is clear that Boris Johnson's promise to unleash Britain's potential is nothing more than empty rhetoric.

We haven't even left yet. 

But the damage to communities right across the UK is already being felt, not to mention the no deal threats he is now trying to force into law.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose Brexit and hold the Conservative government to account for the damage they look set to unleash.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

New figures show 2.3 million EU citizens without Settled Status

by Christine Jardine on Wed, 18 Dec 2019

The latest EU Settlement Scheme Statistics, published by the Home Office, show more than 140,000 EU citizens applied to live and work in the UK after Brexit in November.
 
These figures show 361,900 people are still waiting for a decision, with 2,592,800 applications received but only 2,230,900 concluded.

361,900 people left in limbo over Christmas, not knowing if they'll be forced to leave the country they live and work in. 

Too many EU nationals are deeply anxious about their right to stay.

Many of them fill vital roles in our health service and our schools.

It’s disgraceful for the Conservative government to leave them in legal limbo like this.
 
Boris Johnson continues to break his promise to automatically guarantee the rights of EU citizens in law. Thousands of EU citizens are set to miss out on Settled Status and be left vulnerable to the Tories’ Hostile Environment.
 
The Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for EU citizens by opposing Brexit.
We will fight to guarantee their rights to live and work in the UK.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Boris Johnson plans to remove the safety net in the Withdrawal Agreement by making it illegal for Parliament to extend the transition period beyond December 2020.

Nothing is safe from this Tory Government's reckless approach to Brexit.

It will send the country straight off the no-deal cliff.

cliff

The only way Johnson can meet the December 2020 timetable is by breaking all his promises to Leave voters and agreeing to all the demands of the EU.

People deserve better than a future where a Prime Minister willingly threatens jobs, the environment and the NHS.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for Remainers up and down the country and oppose Brexit.

 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

What's next

by Sal Brinton on Sun, 15 Dec 2019

I want to thank you for all your hard work over the last six weeks. Everyone did everything they could in this campaign but the result has been deeply disappointing.

Despite Liberal Democrats gaining 1.2m votes and our share of the vote increasing in every region of the UK, we are now one seat down compared to 2017. Under a proportional system, we would now have 84 MPs.

Under a proportional system, we would now have 84 MPs

In many contests, we achieved some of the biggest ever swings in election history. But in six tight races, we lost by just a few hundred votes.

For me, Jo missing out by just 149 votes was heartbreaking. In her time as Leader, she gave us hope about a new progressive politics. If you missed her moving speech you watch it here or read it here.

We also lost too many other exceptional MPs: Jane Dodds, Tom Brake, Stephen Lloyd, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Sarah Wollaston, Sam Gyimah, Philip Lee, Angela Smith and Antoinette Sandbach. Each had made their mark as outstanding MPs standing up for liberal principles. We will miss them all.

For me, Jo missing out by just 149 votes was heartbreaking

Our task now is to learn and look ahead.

Under the Party Constitution, if the Leader loses their seat, the Deputy Leader in the Commons and the President jointly take on the role of co-interim Leader. Ed Davey and I are already working closely together.

I am delighted to say that Mark Pack has been elected as Party President from 1 January, and I will hand my share of that role to him then.

Our task now is to learn and look ahead.

We have opened an initial review for members to feed in their views about the European Election and General Election Campaigns this year. Please do take the time to respond here: https://digitallibdems.typeform.com/to/DPE1nf

We will also set out the arrangements for electing a new leader next year.

Right now, our urgent political priority is to hold the Conservatives to account over their Brexit preparations and their election promises.

Thank you again for everything you have done over the last six weeks. I hope you get some rest over the Christmas period and come back feeling refreshed in January.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Thank you

by Mark Pack on Sat, 14 Dec 2019

I am honoured and delighted to have been elected as President of the Liberal Democrats.

The news is overshadowed by the results of the general election where, in amongst the individual brilliant results, there were so many disappointments and tragedies. After such a promising start as our party leader only a few months ago, Jo's own defeat is particularly saddening.

Our increased share of the vote, more second places and enlarged party membership, added to the fantastic growth in our local government base earlier in the year, does, however, provide us with the foundations to recover from. As does the welcome progress in making our Parliamentary Party more diverse.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →