Cllr Ryk Downes

Liberal Democrat Councillor working all year round for Otley & Yeadon Learn more

Lib Dems Respond to ITV Ruling

by Sal Brinton on Tue, 19 Nov 2019

"This law needs to change. ITV needs to change."

"The Liberal Democrats' position in this election and that of our leader is unique: Jo Swinson is the only leader of a national party fighting to stop Brexit.

"Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn should not be allowed to sidestep debating the issue of Brexit with someone who wants to remain, and ITV should not give them the opportunity to do so.

"That is why this is an incredibly disappointing verdict. Not just for the Liberal Democrats but also for democracy in this country, and for every Remainer who deserves to have a voice in this debate.

"It is worrying that the OFCOM guidance allows TV Executives to decide, not the voters, whether the biggest issues of the day are debated openly in the ITV Debate.

"We will not set our principles aside, we will continue this fight."

"This campaign is undeniably dominated by Brexit, the single biggest issue for our country, perhaps in the last 75 years.

"Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are determined to drag this country down in the name of Brexit.

"This law needs to change. ITV needs to change.

"Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats brought this court case because our politics needs to change too."

Televised debates between political party leaders should be framed in stronger legislation.

"But more than that, our democracy should not be in the hands of invisible corporate structures, and arrangements for such debates should always be accessible and transparent.

"We will not set our principles aside, we will continue this fight.

"Not just for this General Election, but for our future democracy too."

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5 Reasons to vote Liberal Democrat

by Greg Foster on Tue, 19 Nov 2019

1. To Stop Brexit

Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote stop the Brexit mess the that Conservatives and Labour have left us in.

A Liberal Democrat government will Stop Brexit on day one. Then we’ll use the £50 billion Remain Bonus to properly fund our public services and tackle inequality across the country.


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The Liberal Democrats' £35 billion pledge to protect the NHS

by Liberal Democrats on Tue, 19 Nov 2019

We need to protect our NHS. Under the Conservative government, it's struggling to cope with severe staff shortages, chronic under-funding and crumbling hospital buildings.

All of these problems would be made much worse by a Tory or Labour Brexit that would end free movement and make it harder to attract nurses and doctors from the EU.

The Lib Dems will tackle the NHS staffing crisis and invest in mental health services, social care, public health and more.

That's why we've set out our plan to safeguard the NHS; stop Brexit and invest an extra £35 billion in the health service and social care over the next five years.

The Liberal Democrats would raise £7 billion a year in additional revenue, ring-fenced for the NHS and social care services, by adding a penny on income tax. 

On top of this, we will use a £10 billion capital fund to upgrade equipment, ambulances, hospitals and other NHS buildings to bring them into the 21st century.

A Liberal Democrat government will tackle the severe staffing shortages across the NHS and end the current shortfall of GPs within five years. This will be done by retaining free movement including for the 65,000 EU citizens working in the NHS, reinstating nursing bursaries and establishing a national workforce strategy to match training places to future needs.

We are the only party with a credible plan to protect the NHS and build a brighter future by tackling the staffing crisis, investing in mental health services, social care, public health and future-proofing our NHS buildings.

Learn more about our Plan for the Future here

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Seven Ways The Liberal Democrats Will Fight The Climate Crisis

by Liberal Democrats on Tue, 19 Nov 2019

Five Reasons Why Jo Swinson Is The Voice For The Future

by Liberal Democrats on Tue, 19 Nov 2019

Britain just isn’t working the way it should be. People feel disillusioned. The old parties have failed to provide find solutions for the problems we face. Britain desperately needs change.

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Welcome to the family!

by Greg Foster on Mon, 18 Nov 2019

I’m sure you’ve noticed. It’s pretty hard not to.

There’s rather a lot of few new faces among our ranks.

In recent months, the Liberal Democrats have welcomed more and more brilliant, progressive MPs into our ranks. MPs like Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger have joined us from the Labour Party, while MPs like Sarah Wollaston and Sam Gyimah have joined us from the Conservatives.

They have joined the Liberal Democrats as the biggest movement fighting to stop Brexit and build a Brighter Future for Britain. 

But it’s just not MPs. 75,000 people have joined our party as members and supporters in recent months... and many of them are also former Labour or Conservative members!

So why are so many coming to the Lib Dem family? Well, we asked them!

Fiona Dryburgh, Former Labour Councillor

"Having been a Labour member for over 20 years, I was devastated to have to leave the party but it had become unrecognisable to me - a refusal to commit to Europe, rising anti-Semitism and a dogged lurch to the left, meant I no longer felt it was my political home.

"I wanted a party committed to the future, not the politics of the past - it was Jo Swinson's Liberal Democrats that were the obvious choice as a party to deliver a brighter future for the whole of the UK."


Gabriel Rozenberg, Former Conservative Councillor

The Conservatives have become a party promoting an extremist view of isolationism. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but I could no longer campaign for them.

"The Lib Dems are a proudly internationalist party and the only pro-business party left."

We are incredibly grateful to have so many fantastic new members like Fiona and Gabriel, joining our diverse, bold family. Together, we can stop Brexit and build a brighter future.

Think we can do it?


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Mental Health Policies Announcement

by Luciana Berger on Mon, 18 Nov 2019

We have already lost more than 5,000 EU nurses in the last two years.

Day in, day out, millions of people are affected by mental health issues across the country. But when they ask for help, it’s often not available.

The NHS has been driven to crisis point by chronic underinvestment by the Tories. Their reckless pursuit of Brexit means we have already lost more than 5,000 EU nurses in the last two years. 

Mental health care is one of the most neglected areas. One in ten consultant psychiatrist roles are vacant.

The Tories promised sweeping reforms to mental health. Instead, they have crippled our NHS.

This is unacceptable, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

We have set out a bold, new vision for how we improve mental health support for everyone.

We have set out a bold, new vision for how we improve mental health support for everyone. 

In our manifesto, we commit to:

  • Treat mental health with the same urgency as physical health
  • Increase access to clinically-effective talking therapies
  • Increase the number of psychiatrists and specialist mental health practitioners 
  • Put a focus on children’s services, eating disorders, and bipolar disorders.
  • Provide 24-hour mental health services in all hospitals.
  • End the use of prison cells to hold those suffering from severe mental distress.

Through these policies, we will build a better future for those suffering from mental health issues and their families. 

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The Remain Bonus

by Liberal Democrats on Mon, 18 Nov 2019

Brexit has already taken far longer and cost far more than anyone said it would. But this is just the beginning. New research has uncovered a shocking figure:

Brexit will slash our economy by £50 billion over the next five years.

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Phone Banking

by Naomi Farhi on Mon, 18 Nov 2019

Come and join the phone canvassing team!

We're hitting the phones hard this election, and we need you to lend your voice to the cause.

Come and join our evening group at the new Volunteer Hub!

RSVP here

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Come help out at our Volunteer Hub!

by Naomi Farhi on Mon, 18 Nov 2019

Want to help during the election? We're open for business.

The work done here is so important - and we make it fun!

We've got a brand new Campaigns hub in Charing Cross - and we need you to join us! 

RSVP here

All you have to do is RSVP here and then come along. 

We have everything - admin, surveying, phone canvassing - to get done and less than a month to do it in!

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Spotting false news stories on social media

by Dan Schmeising on Mon, 18 Nov 2019

Dodgy Tory video clipping has set off a wave of disinformation around this General Election. Both old parties are desperate to cling onto power - to the point that some of their supporters are resorting to creating and sharing fake stories to discredit their opponents. 

The Liberal Democrats are the future - and they see us as a threat to their cozy stitch-up on power. They want to drag us out the EU and take our country backwards - we're standing in the way, and they're willing to play dirty to stop us. Fake news does real damage to our democracy and we all need to play our part in cracking down on it. Here's how to recognise and deal with it:

Telltale signs

It's too good (or bad!) to be true - it's highly unlikely that a party leader has just been caught shoplifting at their local supermarket, for example.

Suspicious Will Ferrell GIF

No credible source listed - generally speaking, party/candidate press releases about their own party can be trusted. So can articles from major national newspapers. If the source is a small blog you've never heard of before - it's probably worth further research.

Vested interests - people are less likely to do due diligence on a story if it lines up with their beliefs. Be a little more sceptical if the article someone's sharing lines up a bit too nicely with their political agenda.

New account - this can be a sign that someone has set up a lot of accounts to automatically retweet a story and give it more credibility than it actually has.

Not the bot you're looking for.


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This Week In Policy Announcements

by Liberal Democrats on Sun, 17 Nov 2019

The campaign is now well underway.

And the Liberal Democrats are announcing fantastic policies every single day.

In fact, we’ve announced so many brilliant ideas this week that it can be hard to keep up.

So we’ve rounded up everything we’ve announced this week right here:

Skills Wallets 💰

We will create “skills wallets” - a bold new initiative to give adults £10,000 to spend on education and training throughout their lives. They will help everybody to develop the skills needed to work in a 21st-century economy.

Check it out!

Free Childcare From 9 Months 👶

We will introduce free childcare from 9 months old. That will give parents the option to return to work whenever they choose, rather than taking away the choice for parents who can’t afford childcare.

Find out more ➜

£100bn for a Climate Fund 🌍

We will spend an extra £100bn on climate action and environmental preservation over a five-year Parliament. Tackling the climate emergency is vital, so we’ll do just that.

Catch up here

Flood Resilience Fund 💪

We will create a £5bn flood prevention and adaptation fund, to prevent disasters like those seen recently in Northern England.

Read more

Plan to plant 60 million trees 🌱

We will undertake the largest tree-planting programme in UK history, as part of our plan to tackle the climate emergency.

Have a leaf

Tackling Knife Crime

We will invest £500 million in youth services and adopt a public health approach to youth violence.

Find out more

Equality and Human Rights 👍🏽👍🏿👍🏻

We will fight for equality and human rights with a whole host of policies.

Take a look ➜


As you can see, we’ve been busy!

And that’s not all - there are plenty more fantastic policies that we will announce in our manifesto launch next week!

You could be there! If you’d like to join us to celebrate our manifesto launch, RSVP here:

And if these policies sound right up your street, why not let us know you'll be voting Lib Dem?

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Conservative austerity has left a fifth of UK citizens in poverty, unable to afford even the most basic essentials.

Since 2015, the Tories have bungled the roll-out of Universal Credit, made brutal cuts to benefits and introduced their senseless two-child limit that is fuelling child poverty. 

By fixing our broken welfare system, we can ensure that everyone has the same opportunities regardless of where they come from.

Millions of people’s lives have worsened as a result of this government - and so today, the Liberal Democrats are announcing our bold proposals to invest £6 billion per year to strengthen the welfare system over the next Parliament. 

We will prioritise tackling the crisis of child poverty by abolishing the cruel two-child limit for Universal Credit and ending the unfair benefits cap. 

A Liberal Democrat government will tackle in-work poverty by using part of the Remain bonus - the £50 billion of extra funding that would be generated by stopping Brexit - to restore Work Allowances and introduce a second-earner Work Allowance. We will also invest in boosting the Local Housing Allowance by linking it to average rents in each area.

Our plans to strengthen the UK's welfare system will protect the most vulnerable and help to build a brighter future. 

By fixing our broken welfare system, we can ensure that everyone has the same opportunities regardless of where they come from. 

Learn more about our Plan for the Future here

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The Tories’ Health Record Is Shameful

by Liberal Democrats on Sun, 17 Nov 2019

This week NHS England released statistics on the NHS’s key performance measures - and they are abysmal.

Almost 1 in 5 patients attending A&E in England were not treated or admitted within four hours. This is the worst performance ever recorded since the target was introduced in 2004.

Meanwhile, just 76.9% of cancer patients are starting their treatment within target waiting times. And only 85% of patients referred for non-urgent treatment were seen within 18 weeks.

And this is not a one-off. By all measures, the NHS has done much, much worse under Tory rule.

These are not just statistics. They represent millions of patients who are not getting the quality of care that they need.

Patients waiting for hours in A&E for treatment. Patients being left alone on trolleys in corridors. Some patients even spending months waiting to begin treatment for cancer.

The Conservatives have failed patients and have failed the NHS.

They have refused to invest properly in our health service. Local hospitals are underfunded, overstretched and understaffed.

Instead of working hard to address these issues, they are spending countless hours and millions of pounds on their extreme Brexit.

And they are planning to make the situation worse. The Tories want to impose the cruel nurse tax, which will drive away the European nurses the NHS desperately needs to staff services.

We have to fix this.

And the Liberal Democrats have a plan for how to do just that.

We will stop Brexit, and allow the NHS to continue to recruit the highly skilled staff it needs from EU countries.

And we will put a penny on income tax for the NHS. This will raise an extra £35 billion, to invest in the staff and equipment that are so badly needed.

Everybody deserves access to excellent healthcare, free at the point of use. For over 70 years, people in the UK have had just that.

And under a Liberal Democrat government, we will continue to have a world-class NHS for decades to come.

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Are you registered to vote?

by Liberal Democrats on Sun, 17 Nov 2019

The election campaign has started in earnest, and we're delighted about how it's going.

Jo Swinson has introduced herself to the country as a potential Prime Minister.

We've released our ambitious plan to change Britain for the better, and ensure a brighter future for all.

We've even put Jo on the side of a bus.

jobus.jpg“Finally, a British Bus without lies on it” - @GuyVerhofstad

The election is only 4 weeks away, but there's a very important date coming even sooner.

The deadline to register to vote is 5pm on 26th November - less than 2 weeks from now.

Register to vote now!

If you haven't already, please register today to make sure your voice can be heard. It takes less than 5 minutes and all you need is your address and national insurance number.

tea.pngYou can do it in the time it takes to make a cuppa.

If you aren't registered, you won't be able to vote, and you'll miss out on having your say in possibly the most important election that we will ever see. Yeah, that would be pretty bad.

Register to vote now!

You might also want to arrange a postal vote.

A postal vote means that even if you're busy or something unexpected happens on polling day, you'll still be able to have your say. It's just a short form that you post to your local council.

imtoobusy.gif...but at least he already sent his postal vote

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is also 5pm on 26th November, and you can find out how to apply by clicking the button below.

Apply for a postal vote today!

We need to win this election to stop Brexit and ensure a brighter future for Britain.

You can help us to do just that by:

  1. Registering to vote today
  2. Applying for a postal vote
  3. Sharing this page with friends and family to encourage them to register -

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

If you’ve done all that and you’re hungry for more, have a look at this post for ideas!

joehorsev2.pngIf you do all that we might just see this after the election!

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Hate crimes against trans people have gone up by 81% in the UK.

This Transgender Awareness Week, we must reflect on how much further we must go.

The profile of trans issues is higher than it ever has been, yet we are no closer to trans people being treated as equals.

Our system is ill-equipped to meet the needs of those who are transitioning. It is a long, arduous and expensive process.

We must do more to help those who wish to transition.

But this is by no means the worst situation facing the trans community.

Horrifyingly, a recent report stated that hate crimes against trans people have gone up by 81% in the UK.

This is an appalling statistic.

Unfortunately, it is hardly anomalous. The most recent Trans Report by Stonewall makes for disturbing reading. From those trans people interviewed:

  • 41% had experienced hate crime or a similar incident
  • 25% had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives
  • And 28% of those in a relationship had faced domestic abuse from a partner.

These statistics illustrate how far the trans community is discriminated against. There is so much more that we all must do.

Yet the government continues to drag its heels on this issue.

The Liberal Democrats continue to be allies of and advocates of the trans community.

Last year’s consultation on the Gender Recognition Act descended into dangerous farce. The media circulated wildly inaccurate and misinformed newspaper articles. These fanned the flames of vitriol against the trans community - any goodwill around the consultation was all but undone.

Since then, the government has been largely silent on the issue.

In recent weeks the Prime Minister has used increasingly inflammatory rhetoric. This has doubtless made a bad situation worse.

The trans community is one of the most marginalised in our society, and most at risk. The fact that our government would stoke the fire of unrest, knowing the damage it might do to those in danger, is shameful.

But the Liberal Democrats continue to be allies of and advocates of the trans community.

We will continue to push as hard as possible for reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). At conference this year, the Liberal Democrats voted to remove the Spousal Veto from the GRA. Baroness Liz Barker has since raised this as a Private Members Bill in the House of Lords.

We will continue to push for it to be swiftly passed through Parliament.

Removing the Spousal Veto is only a small part of GRA reform, but it will be the first step towards more widespread change.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to live up to the values as we set out in our Constitution:

“The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full….”

Being advocates and allies of the transgender community is at the heart of that message.

The Liberal Democrats will fight to give hope to our friends in the trans community. Together, we will build a brighter, more inclusive future.

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Our plan to plant 60 million trees a year

by Liberal Democrats on Sat, 16 Nov 2019

A Liberal Democrat government will plant 60 million trees every year, increasing UK forest cover by 1 million hectares by 2045.

The climate emergency is destroying our natural environment and threatening our children’s futures. It’s clear that the Conservative Party doesn’t take climate change seriously.

Just 13% of the UK is currently covered by woodland, far below the European Union average of 35%.

The Conservatives have woefully failed to meet their own targets for planting trees in the past year. Only 1,420 hectares of trees were planted in England in the year to March 2019, 71% short of the Conservative government’s target of 5,000 hectares for the same period.

Liberal Democrats see the climate emergency for what it is: an emergency. That’s why we’ve come up with a radical and ambitious plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, and to halve emissions by 2030 compared to today.


Our plan to tackle the climate emergency will involve the largest tree-planting programme in UK history. Planting trees is one of the most viable ways of removing carbon from the atmosphere and is vital for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Reforesting will have other benefits such as helping reverse our declining biodiversity, reducing air pollution and improving public spaces. It will also increase the use of timber products in construction, which capture carbon and reduce construction emissions. 

Only the Liberal Democrats have a radical plan to make a real impact in the fight against climate change and build a brighter future for our planet. 

Find out more about our plan to build a brighter future.

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Stop Brexit & fight the climate crisis

by Ed Davey on Sat, 16 Nov 2019

It was a pleasure to be in Leeds today to give my keynote speech as Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor. 

Things need to change. Too many people can’t live a secure, happy and fulfilling life. And too many businesses face crippling uncertainty over their future. 

The economic debate in this election has been between two fantasies. Between Conservative fantasies of the days of empire or Labour fantasies of failed '70s socialism. Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn will only take our country backwards.

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The climate crisis is doing irreversible damage to our planet, and our country deserves a government that has a clear, ambitious plan to tackle the climate emergency. That's the Liberal Democrats.

We previously announced our bold green plan to build a brighter future, and today we go a step further as Ed Davey unveils the Liberal Democrats' latest economic pledge in taking urgent climate action. 

A Liberal Democrat government will jump-start an economy-wide programme to tackle the climate emergency. Across a five year parliament, we will spend and invest an extra £100 billion of public finance on climate action and environmental preservation. 

A Liberal Democrat government will jump-start an economy-wide programme to tackle the climate emergency.

This will include a new £10 billion Renewable Power Fund to leverage in over £100 billion of extra private climate investment.

This will fast-track deployment of clean energy, to make Britain not just the world leader in offshore wind, but also the global number one in tidal power too. There will also be a £15 billion investment to make every building in the country greener, with an emergency ten-year programme to save energy, end fuel poverty and cut heating bills.

This election debate on the economy and public spending has Brexit at its heart, and the simple fact is, no party’s economic plan is remotely credible unless it starts with stopping Brexit.

With stopping Brexit as our number one economic policy, the Liberal Democrats won’t just grow the economy faster, but we’ll generate a £50 billion Remain Bonus and invest it in public services and tackling inequality.

Learn more about our Plan for the Future here

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Our plan for equalities and human rights

by Chuka Umunna on Thu, 14 Nov 2019

We have always been fierce advocates for human rights. We believe in a Britain where nobody has to fear discrimination. A Liberal Democrat government will put equality at the heart of society and the workplace.

We've announced a huge raft of policies on rights and equalities. They are our blueprint for a government that respects the rights of the individual. This will be our foundation for a society where dignity, privacy and equality are valued.

A Liberal Democrat government will put equality at the heart of its agenda and strive towards a brighter future.

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