Chris Lucas

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

Families across the UK have had an extremely difficult year being separated from their loved ones. They deserve a Christmas that is as normal as possible.

So far, Boris Johnson's government has been badly prepared and slow to act at every stage throughout the Covid-19 crisis. That can't happen again, especially for Christmas.

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Learning from 2019 and packing a punch in target seats

by Lisa Smart on Mon, 26 Oct 2020

This committee knows that to get ourselves back to winning ways, we need to be ambitious going forwards and honest about the recent past.

In that vein, this month we discussed the internal investigation we commissioned into the Liberal Democrat response to the Unite to Remain campaign, and its structural and electoral implications for the Party.

The discussion was frank and robust, and it was agreed that we must ensure that lessons are learned and in particular that prior to any future negotiations we must have a clear objective together, with protocols established to protect the democratic, administrative and political interests of the party, and full administrative support for the negotiation team.

Speaking as the Chair of the FCEC, I am keen to highlight my, our, commitment to making sure that these recommendations translate into real action.

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The Weekly Whip

by Alex McBeath on Mon, 26 Oct 2020

Welcome to the Weekly Whip. Your one-stop shop for Lib Dem Parliamentary updates, covering the week that was and the week to come. 

For up to date information from the Lib Dem Whips Office, follow us on Twitter: @LibDemWhips

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All Hong Kongers must be offered a pathway to UK citizenship

by Alistair Carmichael on Fri, 23 Oct 2020

If ever there was a time for us to act in support of Hong Kongers, it is now.

Many Hong Kongers have suffered grave persecution at the hands of the Chinese Regime. 

With repeated reports of police brutality, the UK has a moral and legal duty to stand with Hong Kongers and ensure no one is left behind to suffer under the Chinese Communist Party.

My Bill to grant all Hong Kong Citizens a pathway to UK citizenship was due to have its second reading today but unfortunately we ran out of time. It has now been postponed to 15 January 2021 – just two weeks before the government’s recently announced (but still not detailed) visa scheme is due to come into force. 

This issue may have been postponed but it will not go away until we win justice for Hong Kongers with BNO Passports.

By expanding British National Overseas (BNO) status to all Hong Kongers, the Bill goes well beyond the Conservative Government’s current citizenship commitments, which extend only to specific groups currently eligible to claim BNO status. 

This clear route to citizenship for all Hong Kongers will strengthen the UK’s historic bond with the people of Hong Kong and show our continued commitment to the Joint Declaration, something that the Chinese regime has utterly betrayed.  

We also need to make sure that the citizenship offer is affordable.

The Home Office’s claim that it will only cost £250 is deceptive given the upfront costs of the Immigration Health Surcharge. 

The UK has a moral duty to act. 

We urge the Conservatives to do the right thing for all of the people of Hong Kong and back this Bill.

In addition, we need to see measures to put in place an international lifeboat system as a matter of urgency, should the situation deteriorate further.

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The Government is failing to protect jobs and livelihoods

by Christine Jardine on Thu, 22 Oct 2020

Despite the massive effort people have made to fight coronavirus it’s clear that the road to recovery is going to be rockier than we first feared.

With millions of workers worried about their livelihoods, the British people deserve a Government that listens to their concerns and does everything in its power to protect them. Sadly, this isn’t the case.

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Getting our new party team in place

by Mark Pack on Wed, 21 Oct 2020

The Government must protect British farmers

by Liberal Democrats on Tue, 20 Oct 2020

The Conservatives have continually promised to back British farmers throughout the Brexit process, but their failure last week to uphold our high food standards reveals just how hollow those promises were.

Our high agricultural standards must be protected in international trade deals and after the transition period.

Farmers across the country are incredibly worried about the future - they're worried that the UK is about to be flooded with poor quality food and drink, undercutting their high quality produce.

The Conservatives voted against protecting our farmers and food standards last week, bringing us a step closer to this worrying reality.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for our farmers. If the Government doesn't protect our food standards, they will only sow more uncertainty and worry for our farming industry.

We strongly believe that our high agricultural standards must be protected in international trade deals and after the transition period.

That's why today, our Liberal Democrat Peers will be fighting to stop the Government from undermining British Farmers.

Our Lords will be fighting for a National Food Strategy, better climate policies and to give the Trade Commission teeth with statutory footing and the ability to report on the agricultural and food impacts of every international trade agreement.

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The Tories are risking a new Windrush-style scandal

by Alistair Carmichael on Mon, 19 Oct 2020

Conservative MPs have rejected all 10 cross-party amendments to the Government’s Immigration Bill passed by the House of Lords earlier this month, including three from the Liberal Democrats.

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The Weekly Whip

by Peter Munro on Mon, 19 Oct 2020

Welcome to the Weekly Whip. Your one-stop shop for Lib Dem Parliamentary updates, covering the week that was and the week to come. 

For up to date information from the Lib Dem Whips Office, follow us on Twitter: @LibDemWhips

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Why we voted against the Tories’ crime authorisation Bill

by Liberal Democrats on Thu, 15 Oct 2020

Today, Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael led cross-party opposition to the Government’s Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, calling a vote against the legislation in the House of Commons.

Writing in the Independent ahead of the debate, Alistair set out our concerns:

“The Bill gives vast powers not only to the security agencies but also to a questionable collection of public bodies. There are no real limits, weak safeguards and inadequate oversight.

The Bill has no limits on the types of crime that could be authorised. Murder, torture – it is all on the table as written. Nor is there any independent approval of a decision to authorise a crime – or even a requirement for police or prosecutors to be informed about it at all...

It is essential that there is a clear legal basis for the actions of government agents. It has been lacking for far too long.

The Tories are using their majority to ram through things that no responsible Government should do

This Bill, however, is not fit for purpose. Parliament must stand up to this disturbing government overreach, and anyone who cares about the rule of law must oppose this Bill as it stands.”

The Liberal Democrats voted against Third Reading, but most Conservative MPs backed it and Labour abstained, so the Bill passed by 313 votes to 98.

Following the vote, Alistair said:

This is a dangerous Bill from a Conservative Government that is careless with our rights and freedoms.

“We all understand the need for MI5 and the police to authorise undercover agents to do things that would, in normal circumstances, be illegal. If the Government had restricted itself to that, it would have resounding cross-party support.

“Instead, the Tories are using their majority to ram through things that no responsible Government should do. They are trying to award far too broad powers to far too many parts of government, with virtually no safeguards.

“That’s why the Liberal Democrats worked cross-party to try and fix this law. With the Government blocking our amendments, we had no choice but to vote against the Bill.”

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I am pleased to announce today that in Wales we have secured free school meal provision for all school holidays until at least Easter 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic has presented countless challenges this year, but with the Welsh Government now guaranteeing £11 million for these provisions, we can help support those who look to school for more than just education. 

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5 steps to get a grip on the coronavirus crisis

by Ed Davey on Thu, 15 Oct 2020

People across the country have endured terrible hardships over the past six months. They’ve lost loved ones, lost livelihoods and been cut off from friends and family. 

We have made huge sacrifices and played by the Government’s rules - we deserve to have confidence that these rules will work. 

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Domestic Premises (Energy Performance) Bill

by Don Foster Of Bath on Thu, 15 Oct 2020

I have a bill going through the House of Lords right now, the Domestic Premises (Energy Performance) Bill.

It requires the Government to ensure (with certain reasonable exceptions) that all fuel poor households are properly insulated and heated to achieve Energy Performance Certificate band C by 2030, and all other households by 2035.

These are already Government targets, but my Bill merely puts these targets into law.

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Ed Davey's response to the London lockdown

by Ed Davey on Thu, 15 Oct 2020

The Government have completely lost control of coronavirus across vast swathes of the country, and the situation in London is looking very difficult.
 
In the north of England, and now in London, the sacrifices of millions of people have been squandered by this Government.

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We must end hair discrimination

by Wera Hobhouse on Wed, 14 Oct 2020

On behalf of the Liberal Democrats, I have written to Equalities Minister Liz Truss calling on her to stop all forms of hair discrimination.

We must combat racism wherever we find it in our society, and this all-too-prevalent form of prejudice must end. 

Read my letter in full... 

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People across this country have endured terrible hardships over the past six months: losing loved ones, losing livelihoods and isolating from friends and family.

People are angry to see their hard work and sacrifices utterly wasted by the incompetence of Boris Johnson.

That’s why people are so angry to see their hard work and sacrifices utterly wasted by the incompetence of Boris Johnson.

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Ending Child Hunger - Your Questions Answered

by Daisy Cooper on Sat, 10 Oct 2020

What are we calling for?

We want the Government to commit to three steps which will make a world of difference to struggling families and help end child hunger:

  1. Extend eligibility for free school meals to every pupil in primary and secondary school, whose parents or guardians are in receipt of Universal Credit
  2. Food vouchers for every one of those pupils in every school holiday
  3. Food vouchers for every one of those pupils during any period of lockdown

Why is this needed?

The coronavirus pandemic has shone a spotlight on the issue of child hunger. But this is not a new problem, and it will not go away when we finally beat this virus. We need the Government to commit to practical and long-term measures, to stop any child going hungry, on any day of the year.

All too often, families with children simply do not have enough to eat

Each year as the school holidays approach, many parents dread the fact they will have to find an extra £30-40 per week to buy meals for their children which are usually provided at school. With further local and national lockdowns rumoured, parents now also have to worry about how their child will access a free school meal if their school has to close.

There have been widespread reports that foodbank usage has soared during the pandemic and that all too often, families with children simply do not have enough to eat. But even before the pandemic, many parents would skip meals so they could afford to feed their children during the school holidays.

Who gets free school meals currently?

In England, every child in reception, year 1 (age 5-6) and year 2 (age 6-7) is entitled to a free school meal. However from year 3 onwards (age 7-8), eligibility is based on whether the child’s parents or guardians are in receipt of certain benefits.

With regard to Universal Credit, a child may only be eligible for a free school meal if their household income is less than £7,400 a year after tax (and excluding any benefits). We believe that threshold has been set too low and means that many children who are living in poverty are missing out on a free school meal altogether.

The Children’s Society estimated that more than a million children living in poverty in England are missing out on a free school meal - and in over half of these cases it is because they are not eligible for them.

What is the Government doing about this?

Following a fantastic campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford, the Government performed a u-turn and agreed to provide a ‘COVID Summer Food Fund’ - food vouchers during the school summer holiday, for children who are usually entitled to benefits related free school meals.

More than a million children living in poverty in England are missing out on a free school meal

While this was a welcome relief for many struggling families, it didn’t go nearly far enough. Many families who needed the vouchers missed out under the scheme, and the Government have made no commitment to extend this in future school holidays or if schools have to be closed during periods of lockdown.

What are the Liberal Democrats doing about this?

We are calling for a plan to tackle child hunger - both during the pandemic and afterwards.

We will be writing to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, calling for him to make funding available in the Spending Review this autumn, to extend Free School Meals to every child whose parents are in receipt of Universal Credit, and to provide vouchers to every child who usually gets a FSM during school holidays and lockdown.

We will be reaching out to charities and campaign groups to work with us on this and calling on MPs from other Party’s to support us too.

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World Mental Health Day

by Munira Wilson on Fri, 09 Oct 2020

This World Mental Health Day, it’s more important than ever that we take the time to reflect on our wellbeing.

The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated mental ill health for many people across the UK, and although tackling Covid-19 is the most critical battle our health system is facing right now, it’s crucial that we remember to take care of our mental health too.

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The Weekly Whip!

by Alexander McBeath on Fri, 09 Oct 2020

Welcome to the Weekly Whip. Your one-stop shop for Lib Dem Parliamentary updates, covering the week that was and the week to come. 

For up to date information from the Lib Dem Whips Office, follow us on Twitter: @LibDemWhips

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Fighting for Free School Meals

by Daisy Cooper on Fri, 09 Oct 2020

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to extend access to Free School Meals to all children whose families are on universal credit, and guarantee food vouchers to those children when schools are closed for holidays or during periods of lockdown.

Coronavirus has shone a new spotlight on the issue of child hunger - but this is not a new issue

The coronavirus crisis has shone a new spotlight on the issue of child hunger, with demand for food banks soaring and almost a fifth of households with children unable to access enough food in the first weeks of lockdown.

However this is not a new issue - and sadly, it will not go away once we’ve beaten the virus.

Every year many parents feel a real dread as the school holidays approach, at the idea of having to find an extra £30-40 per week to buy meals for their children which are usually provided at school. Now the same parents are worried that access to free school meals will be put at risk if schools have to close for further lockdowns.

Many children living in poverty also miss out on free school meals altogether, because the earnings threshold for eligibility is set too low.

We are calling on the Government to take the following steps to help stop child hunger for good, in the Comprehensive Spending Review this autumn:

  1. Extend eligibility for free school meals to every pupil in primary and secondary school, whose parents or guardians are in receipt of Universal Credit
  2. Food vouchers for every one of those pupils in every school holiday
  3. Food vouchers for every one of those pupils during any period of lockdown

Please join us in calling on the Government to stop child hunger. 

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