Lib Dems launch campaign to save Erasmus programme for Canterbury students
The Liberal Democrats have launched a campaign to safeguard access to the Erasmus exchange scheme for hundreds of students in Canterbury. A petition has been launched that urges both the government and EU leaders to preserve Erasmus opportunities for UK students in the coming Brexit negotiations.
We are planning to hold an event in Canterbury to welcome new members to the Liberal Democrats, to which you are warmly invited.
The evening will be quite informal, but we feel it is very important to listen to your views, the reasons why you've joined the party, and hope you might enjoy talking about that. If you are interested in campaigning in some way we will be very happy to discuss what you might want to do. There will also be a number of our longstanding local members present who will be able to talk about the party's plans going forward, both locally and nationally.
Liberal Democrat European Union spokesperson and former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has launched the first briefing paper of his Brexit Challenge project, which analyses the options facing the Government if it intends for Britain to retain significant access to the Single Market.
While Single Market access is essential to the British economy, and retaining access remains the best of a series of bad options for the economy post-Brexit, it comes with significant challenges and trade-offs. The analysis shows that even if the Government were able to achieve concessions on freedom of movement, seeking to retain significant access to the Single Market would still mean adherence to its rules and regulations, while not having any control or influence over them. It also concludes that the biggest benefit of Single Market access is the removal of non-tariff barriers, such as shared rules and harmonised standards, as opposed to tariffs.
Writing for the Kent on Sunday, Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats casts a light on the impact of leaving the European Union on the county and why it is vital to keep the pressure on. To read Tim's article click here.
"Once again the woeful lack of traffic planning in Kent has been exposed." declares Aston Mannerings, Liberal Democrat and Capel-le-Ferne resident.
Heightened security checks at Calais had knock-on effects for local residents on Friday, as roads around Dover and Folkestone became gridlocked. Capel, or the 'Village-in-the-Clouds, as residents affectionately call their home on top of Dover's white cliffs, awoke on Saturday morning to find itself cut off from Folkestone and Dover, with New Dover Road (B2011) gridlocked by traffic trying to reach the Port of Dover.
The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Government for slipping out an announcement that Cedars pre-departure accommodation is to close.
It raises the prospect of children once again being held in immigration detention centres - a practice ended by the Liberal Democrats in Government.
Liberal Democrats in Coalition established the centre to end the detention of children, and the Conservatives have used the final day of the Parliamentary session to reverse the move.
Prior to 2010, thousands of children were being detained in prison-like conditions. During Labour's last 5 years in government, over 7,000 innocent children were held in adult detention centres, sometimes for weeks and months at a time.
The establishment of the centre was driven by Sarah Teather and Nick Clegg and following the news of its closure the Liberal Democrat Seekers for Sanctuary have set out 10 questions the government must answer.
Aside from scrapping the centre the Conservatives have failed to offer any assurances on what will replace it, the emotional support that vulnerable children will be given or any preparations that will be made for them ahead of their return to a country that many of them may not even remember.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesman Alistair Carmichael said:
"Ending the detention of children for immigration purposes was one of the first priorities of Liberal Democrats in government. It is the mark of our society how we treat the most vulnerable and it is disgusting that the Conservatives are now rolling back such an important measure.
"It is outrageous they slipped out this announcement on the last day of Parliamentary business, and they must now set out what exactly is going to happen to children in the future. We cannot have a return to the days of children being locked up in immigration detention centres, as happened under Labour. The Government has a lot of questions that remained unanswered."
Chair of Liberal Democrat Seekers for Sanctuary, Suzanne Fletcher, who has visited Cedars, and been part of an Independent Monitoring Board until the change of Government last year said:
"Cedars provided an oasis of care and calm at a very traumatic time for those families with children who very sadly were being sent against their will back to their country of origin. , and our Government should be ashamed of such a backward step."
The Liberal Democrats have branded the Conservative's Flagship Married Couples Tax Allowance policy a 'pathetic failure' after figures revealed that only a fraction of eligible couples had bothered claiming the allowance.
Only 330,000 people have taken advantage of the allowance, equivalent to 8% of those eligible.
Alistair Carmichael has demanded the government rule out the prospect of children being kept in prison cells.
This follows the government slipping out an announcement of the closure of the Cedars facility, which supports families who are being returned overseas by the Home Office. Ending child detention was a major Liberal Democrat achievement in the coalition government. The facilities were described as "exceptional" and their closure has also been attacked by Barnardo's.