Stephen Graham, NEC members and Liberal Party Nominating Officers were recently invited to give an interview on the party, its origins, policies and how it stands apart from other parties:
The Liberal Party is confident that the period after December 2020 will be more hopeful for the UK, than at any period since the UK definitively voted to leave the EU.
We must now turn our attention to actions we can take independent of the EU.
We must encourage investment to return manufacturing and diverse and sustainable agriculture and horticulture to the UK.
We must secure our fishing waters and invest in delivering sustainable forms of fishing to our costal fishing communities.
We must support local growers to reduce waste by ensuring more of the product they grow is sent to market or to a local processing cannery to be preserved to meet future needs or export.
We must enter into trade deals favourable to the commonwealth and other developing countries and the goods and services they supply.
We must form strategic trade and reciprocal migration alliances with our closest allies. It’s time for the UK to take its place in CANZUK.
We must exploit our world leading role in medical science, research, banking and other professional services to the benefit of the UK and our strategic partners.
In all endeavours, we must ensure that standards are maintained or improved.
The Liberal Party notes with dismay the defeat of the Parliamentary motion to extend free school holiday meals for disadvantaged children.
We believe that such privation should be dealt with throughout the pandemic and therefore call on government to commit the public purse until after Christmas to provide holiday meals for the 2.2 million children who currently receive free school meals.
We feel a quarterly review would be appropriate to identify changing needs, for creating certainty and for managing budgets and we call on government to establish an all-party working group (APWG) to make recommendations for future actions.
According to data from The Food Foundation more than 1.4 million children experience food insecurity during the school holidays, such a shameful situation must be addressed as part of a broader review of social policy in this country.
In September 2011, the Palestinian Authority applied for membership of the United Nations. Since then the threat of further illegal settlements and now annexation of their lands has continued unabated.
We call upon the United Kingdom government to send a clear message against illegal settlements, forced evictions and failure by Israel to give genuine recognition of Palestinian rights and interests, by supporting the Palestinian Application to the United Nations. Also, in a clear gesture of support to extend an invitation for Palestine to join the Commonwealth, should they wish to do so.
We should not remain silent and timid in the face of brutal evictions and annexation in the West Bank
The Liberal Party notes with grave concern increased media reports that the Israeli Government intends to annex sections of the West Bank as early as July of this year.
Such a move would effectively end any prospect of a viable Palestinian state by reportedly taking control of 30% of the disputed area and thus deny Palestinians the right to self-determination and statehood.
Any such annexation must be roundly condemned by the international community and pressure brought to bear on the Israeli Government to accept a workable two-state solution which guarantees Palestinians the right to self-government.
The party again reiterates its call for the British Government to actively and urgently promote Palestine’s entry into the United Nations as a full member and for an invitation to join the Commonwealth, to be extended to Palestine immediately, with an offer of tacit and practical support to ensure they meet the criteria for membership if they wish to apply.
Liberal Party president Cllr Steve Radford sums up Liberal Party thoughts on political behaviour during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Some of the criticism of the government about not clarifying an exit strategy is little more than obscene point-scoring.
Why on earth would any government have a policy and make it public when all the conditions needed are not yet in place?
The level of infection has not shown a sustained drop, regional analysis still needs to be undertaken.
The production levels of Personal Protective Equipment and Testing are not yet in place.
Even more to the point, talking about an exit policy now is irresponsible as it would undermine public commitment to keep to the current lockdown procedures.
Some of the point-scoring lacks integrity or any sense that we are dealing with circumstances not seen for many generations.
Liverpool Tuebrook Hope Group is planning to continue support for vulnerable neighbours by age or medical condition for at least nine weeks so that they are reduced to exposure even when isolation is lifted until it is clear that a secondary wave of infection is no longer a real danger.
We encourage Liberals active in other areas to do what they can to be a part of the solution”.
The Liberal Party notes the increasing emphasis being placed on self-isolation to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Firstly, the party would like to emphasise how community groups can safely support older people and other vulnerable groups during these difficult times.
Self-isolation restricts many groups from activities such as shopping, exercise and the social contacts which allow their wellbeing to be checked-on and delays prompt assistance.
We would ask people to be aware of those in their local community who may need a courteous check and to offer what assistance we can without compromising the isolation regime which is in place.
The current pandemic is expected to have a protracted impact on our daily life and community action can act as a stabilising factor.
Over 300 candidates were stood down by parties to avoid splitting the vote and polls indicate that nearly 1 in 5 voters, voted tactically, rather than support their preferred candidate, and yet millions of votes were wasted.
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John Edge is a graduate in English creative writing and has lived in Hattersley for six years with his wife Delia Edge since moving from Salford. John is 42 years old and is self-employed, providing online web services.
John has been an active campaigner for Liberal policies such as Freedom of Speech and took the decision to get more directly involved by seeking election and giving people the opportunity to learn about the Liberal Party and Liberalism and vote Liberal. Although this is John’s first election campaign, he is clear on what his objectives are.
When interviewed to be a candidate John said “I could not sit by and watch our political system decline any further. I hope to give people a voice, people who like me were losing faith in the entire political system as our elected representatives in government moved away from the very principles our Democratic system was founded on”.
“I want to tackle local issues such as the protection and preservation of our Greenbelt which will be essential in any further action on climate damage reduction. I will also campaign to see our local public transport infrastructure strengthened to give more options for those seeking to commute to and from major cities”.
“The Liberal Party is committed to honouring the 2016 referendum vote to Leave the EU. Democracy is a cornerstone of our society and to disregard it when the result is not to the liking of those who gave us the option in the first place is an affront to the Liberal principles this country was founded on.”