I want to lead the Liberal Democrats because I am ambitious about our future.
I believe we are the only party that can represent the millions of liberal-minded people alarmed by the direction this country is taking: people, whether they voted remain or leave, who hate the intolerance, xenophobia and division that the Brexit vote unleashed.
I want the Liberal Democrats to be at the centre of political life: a credible, effective party of national and local government, and a voice of sanity on Europe.
To achieve this, we will have to fight for every vote and every seat.
It can be done: we have a record membership and the enormous energy that thousands of new members have brought to the party.
I believe I have the ability to give that energy a lead, to hit the headlines and to put our party at the centre of political debate.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Islington Lib Dems have called on Islington Council and the borough's two Labour MPs to support Lib Dem MP Tom Brake's campaign for the UK to honour those who work in the emergency services with a national day of recognition.
Tom’s campaign started after he discovered that the UK does not have a day of appreciation for those who work in front-line services like the Ambulance, Police and Fire Services. Tom has reached out to several other MPs and gained cross-party support for his campaign from five of the major parties.
The UK has many national days, such as national doodle day, national doughnut week, and international ‘talk like a pirate’ day. But, the UK lacks a day of recognition for the emergency services.
Former Islington Council Leader, Lib Dem Terry Stacy said:
“Those who work in emergency services do so much for us. They are always there to answer our calls for help, without expecting anything in return. These people are the last to boast about the work they do. They deserve a national day of recognition, especially given the recent tragedies that have struck our country."
People who work for the emergency services have put their lives on the line during incidents like the Manchester attack, the London Bridge and Borough Market attacks, the Grenfell Tower fire and in the Finsbury Park attack. These people are heroes. Surely, we can find it in our hearts to acknowledge the critical, often life-saving work of the emergency services, which we have seen at first hand here in Islington.
Tom and several other MPs such as Caroline Lucas, Peter Bottomely, Norman Lamb, Jim Fitzpatrick and Chris Stephens have joined together to advocate for a national day of recognition for those who work in emergency services.
“That this House recognises the extraordinary work of our emergency services; understands that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the fantastic work they do to keep us all safe; recognises the importance of providing our emergency services with the funding they need to keep our country safe; calls for an official annual National Emergency Services Day to remember and recognise their work; this day shall be recognised by our nation as a day to remember their heroic acts, daily work and to raise awareness of, educate people about and promote public safety." – Early Day Motion
The Liberal Democrats have today announced that £1 billion of the party's additional health funding would be spent tackling the "historic injustice" faced by people with mental ill health.
Last weekend, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron and Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb unveiled a Five Point NHS and Care Recovery Plan to increase funding for health and social care services, including a penny on income tax to provide a £6 billion funding boost.
Today the Liberal Democrats announced that £1 billion of this extra money would be ring-fenced as dedicated funding for mental health services.
This would help to deliver on 12 key priorities, including improving waiting time standards for mental health care on the NHS and providing support for pregnant women and young people suffering from mental health problems.
Alain Desmier, parliamentary candidate for Islington South and Finsbury said: "We need more investment into mental health services in Islington and the Liberal Democrat plan will ensure proper investment into local NHS services to ensure we treat mental illness properly.”
Only two days ago, the BMA revealed that: “Seven out of 10 children and adolescents with severe mental health problems were admitted to hospitals outside of their areas last year.” The lack of access to nearby beds for these patients is ‘alarming’.
Lib Dems candidate for Islington North, Keith Angus commented: “The lack of decent provision of mental health services - for all people but in particular young people - is shameful. Investment in mental health services should be on an equal footing with physical health.”
The Liberal Democrats will also set out to end the inappropriate use of force against people with mental ill health, end out of area placements for mental health patients and prioritise national action to reduce the number of suicides.
Commenting on the plan, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb said: “The Liberal Democrats are committed to ending the historic injustice against people with mental ill health.
"Under the Conservative government, services have been stretched to breaking point at a time when the prevalence of mental ill health appears to be rising.
“Neither Labour nor the Conservatives have outlined how they will fund mental health services. We’ve made it clear that our priorities will be funded from our ambitious plan to inject £6bn a year into the NHS with an additional penny on income tax.
"We will invest in improving waiting time standards for mental health care in the NHS, end the scandalous use of force against people with mental ill health and prioritise national action to dramatically reduce the number of people who take their own lives.
“The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservatives, and the only party fighting for genuine equality for those who suffer from mental ill health.”
“Young patients placed further from home”- BMA, 9 May 2017
While the world rushes to congratulate Macron on his spectacular rise and his triumph over the Front National, here in the UK Tim Farron’s congratulations must be the most heart-felt. Macron’s unashamedly liberal, pro-European and centrist views reflect those of the Liberal Democrats.
His motto, "Rassemblement!" is mirrored in the Liberal Democrat's, "Open, Tolerant and United". The two liberal movements are agreed on a broad range of issues from a strong NATO, the need for effective policies, English/French language lessons for immigrants, secularism and house insulation.
The Liberal Democrats are, on this side of the channel, the natural and obvious allies to the En Marche! movement of Macron. In France, the Mouvement Democrate and its leader Francois Bayrou endorsed Macron and his nascent movement early on, providing infrastructure support for the upcoming legislative elections. Bayrou is the co-president of the European Democratic Party which, alongside the Liberal Democrats and others, forms part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe parliamentary group.
In Britain the Labour party and the Tories chose to win back voters, fed up with their tired, confrontational party politics, by lurching to the left and right of the spectrum. Macron’s success shows us that it is possible for liberals to win by confidently sticking to the centre ground. The Liberal Democrats may be leading the fight back in the UK, but we are not alone.
Brexit is the first thing people want to talk about on the doorstep in Islington South and Finsbury. Local people are concerned about the NHS, our local schools and a lack of affordable housing. But they worry that Brexit in the hands of the Conservatives will devastate our economy, our public services and our tolerant country.
I’ve been asked, “what will you do about Brexit” hundreds of times during the campaign.
On the evening of the 21st of May 2017, Saint Mary’s Church on Islington’s Upper Street was filled by a passionate crowd who came to listen to Islington South and Finsbury five parliamentary candidates. Our leading local newspaper and the event organiser, The Islington Gazette, commented the following day:
“Predictably, Alain Desmier (Lib Dem) took just seconds to attack Mrs Thornberry over her Brexit stance in his opening speech.