Councillor Amanda Taylor

News and views about Cambridge and Cambridgeshire politics, especially Queen Edith's Learn more

Read more on this

Read this post

Read more on this

Read this post

Meet your Election Review Team

by Dorothy Thornhill on Sun, 16 Feb 2020

Last month, the Chair of the Election Review, Dorothy Thornhill, was announced. Now, we're pleased to be able to announce the full review team.

They bring a wide range of skills and experience, in the party and outside to the review and will help the Chair ensure the review that is conducted is thorough.

Meet the team:

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

If not us, who? If not now, when?

by Lisa Smart on Sat, 15 Feb 2020

That’s the saying I live my life by, because taking action is the only way to change things in this world, and bugger me this world needs some change.

That saying has led me to a lot of places. I joined the party, started delivering leaflets, knocked on doors, stood for council and stood for parliament because I needed to act.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

The spring conference motions - explained

by Geoff Payne on Fri, 14 Feb 2020

Is a full programme of training, events, networking and parties not enough for you? At spring conference this year we have a huge package of policy motions, which all members have the chance to debate, amend and vote on. Here's a quick run-down for you! And if you haven't yet, book your place right here:

Book now →

F4 - Hong Kong

This motion introduces new party policy on the human rights situation in Hong Kong. It calls for:

  • Extending of the right to abode to all British National (Overseas) citizens
  • The government to use its relationship with China to persuade Beijing to not end the protests through military force
  • An indefinite suspension of export licenses for crowd control equipment to Hong Kong.

Read the full motion here

F6 - Children's Social Care

(England only)

This motion updates party policy on children's social care. It calls for:

  • Extra funding for children's social care
  • Higher priority for looked-after children in the education system
  • More care places for children who need it
  • A new scheme to help older looked-after children find accommodation to transfer into when they are ready to live independently
  • The government to review allowances and pay for foster carers
  • An exploration into whether an allowance scheme for kinship carers (who look after children of their relatives) should be set up
  • A national workforce strategy for social workers and children's home managers

Read the full motion here

F8 - Electoral Reform

This motion updates party policy on electoral reform. It calls for:

  • The use of Single Transferable Vote as the voting system for all Parliamentary elections and English local elections
  • The voting age to be lowered to 16
  • The rights of EU citizens to stand and vote in local elections to be protected, and extended to general elections when they've lived here for 5+ years
  • The use of Alternative Vote for elections to single positions like directly-elected mayors in England
  • The scrapping of voter ID law plans
  • A legal requirement for local authorities to inform citizens of the steps required to be successfully registered to vote. This includes a far greater effort to register under-represented groups

Read the full motion here

F13 - Supporting The Trans and Non-Binary Communities within the Liberal Democrats

This is a business motion (one that deals with how the party works internally). It seeks to improve accessibility to Liberal Democrat events for trans and non-binary people and protect their rights by:

  • Requiring Lib Dem HQ and all conference venues (Federal and Regional) to have at least one gender-neutral bathroom
  • The option to have your preferred pronouns on your conference pass
  • The option to include your preferred pronouns on speaker's cards
  • Training for presenters at party events on how to avoid unnecessarily gendered language

Read the full motion here

F16 - Welcoming Child Refugees

This motion calls on the Government to fulfil its existing obligations to provide sanctuary to child refugees, as well as to:

  • Extend family reunion rights so child refugees in the UK can sponsor family members to join them
  • Provide specialist legal advice for all child asylum seekers
  • Resettle 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees from elsewhere in Europe over the next 10 years

Read the full motion here

F17 - Student Mental Health Charter

(England only)

This motion calls on the Government to legislate for universities to ensure a strong provision of mental health support for students by:

  • Developing a Student Mental Health Charter for universities in consultation with students, universities and mental health charities
  • Including in the Charter guaranteed access to quality mental health support and the recording and reporting of waiting times
  • Ensuring all universities have the aim to reach zero suicide

Read the full motion here

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Not all your recycling is actually being recycled

by Wera Hobhouse on Thu, 13 Feb 2020

When a person puts their empty plastic bottle in a recycling bin, they understandably assume it gets recycled.

When I was the Cabinet member for the environment on Rochdale council, and when we sent our paper and cardboard to be recycled, we knew it had new lives as cardboard inserts to kitchen roll.

The plastic bag tax introduced by the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition government was hugely successful, but it was only ever intended to be the first step.

However, this is not always the case.

Far too often our waste, including recyclable items, are sold to private contractors who can incinerate or export waste to unregulated facilities.

We’ve all become aware of the devastating effect that plastic pollution is having on our oceans.

This isn’t the fault of our cash-strapped councils, who need to balance good waste management with ever-decreasing funding from the government.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Losing a parent can be devastating

by Sir Ed Davey MP on Thu, 13 Feb 2020

When my dad died, my mum was left with three boys under the age of ten. At age four, I remember her going to pick up her widow's pension every other week. It was a lifeline for her and for us. It helped her adjust, and to take good care of my brothers and I.

For any family, losing a parent can be devastating not just emotionally, but financially too. My family weren't particularly poor, but I still don't know what we'd have done without that support.

Bereavement Support Payments are supposed to help families adjust to life after the tragedy of losing a parent.

From my own experience, and from working with my constituents and nationwide bereavement charities, I know how overwhelming it can be to suddenly find yourself a single parent. You have sole responsibility of putting food on the table and paying for childcare while dealing with your own grief. Add to this the needs of grieving children, such as specialist counselling, and an overwhelming financial burden is placed on families needing breathing room to heal.

Bereavement Support Payments are supposed to help families adjust to life after the tragedy of losing a parent. Yet for 2,000 families a year, the law says they aren’t entitled to this support, because the parents weren’t married.

With cohabiting couples being the fastest growing family type in the UK, how many more children need to suffer before the Government takes action?

Last week the High Court ruled that the difference in Bereavement Support Payments between married and cohabiting couples is a breach of children’s human rights. In 2018, the Supreme Court made a similar ruling.

Today, I asked the Prime Minister to make sure that all grieving children are supported, whether their parents were married or not.

Enough is enough. Today, I asked the Prime Minister to legislate to respond to both rulings, and make sure that all grieving children are supported, whether their parents were married or not.

I am pleased that Boris Johnson has agreed to look into the issue, and I hope that his Government will legislate to make sure that no child is left without the support they need.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

My campaigning priorities

by Christine Jardine on Thu, 13 Feb 2020

The tiniest of silver linings in that of the Tory majority and the near enough certainty that this Parliament will sit for at least the next four years, is that we now have time to be strategic. We have time to plan.

The fact that our leadership race will not take place until the summer also allows us time to pause, reflect, and consider what we need going forward.

How do we reconnect with the voters and who will be the right person to do that for us?

We have had some spectacularly good leaders, but the next will also have to be someone special to break the cycle in which we find ourselves trapped.

They will need Tim’s ability to hold and inspire a crowd.

The current law on assisted dying offers no dignity, choice or compassion to those in the final stage of their life.

Jo’s steely determination and vision.

But most of all they will need something of that particular gift which both Paddy and Charles had in spades. Empathy.

That indefinable ability to connect with people on a level that says:  “I understand, I know, I appreciate what you are going through and I’ll do my damnedest to fix it”.

Over the next few months we will have the time and space for that leader to emerge.

In the meantime I will concentrate on three progressive, liberal campaigns that will make a real difference to peoples’ lives.

This first is to push for a change in the law on assisted dying.  

The current law offers no dignity, choice or compassion to those in the final stage of their life. It also criminalises family members who support their loved one’s wishes. 

We often pride ourselves on how far have come as a liberal, progressive society that treats everyone with compassion and equality. But, at the end of their lives, we’re letting them down.

The prescription of medicinal cannabis is legal but many sufferers of pain are still not getting easy access to the relief they need.

Then there is cannabis. 

The prescription of medicinal cannabis is legal. It was hard won, but the law remains so overly rigid and ambiguous that many sufferers of pain are still not getting easy access to the relief they need. 

The only way to properly solve this is to introduce a legal, regulated market for cannabis. 

This would also protect young people, free up precious police time by breaking the grip of criminal gangs and raise an estimated £1.5bn, which could be used to treat addiction and fight crime. 

A common sense, grown up and evidence-based policy that would radically change the lives of thousands of people. 

Just like changing the law to allow asylum seekers the right to work while waiting for their applications to be processed. 

A simple change in the law would help the economy and, more importantly, allow people who have risked everything the opportunity contribute fully to our society, and give them the dignity they deserve.

They are liberal, radical and what we need.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

My first LGBT+ History Month as an openly pansexual MP

by Layla Moran on Thu, 06 Feb 2020

Earlier this year, I came out as pansexual, becoming the first openly pan MP. This February is of particular significance for me. It is the first LGBT History Month I have openly celebrated as part of the community.

I did not come out to be heralded as a trailblazer. But upon coming out, I realised that my public visibility meant a lot to a lot of people. Many people in the LGBT+ community, especially those who fall under the ‘B’, ‘T’ or ‘+’, don’t feel visible to or accepted by the rest of society. These identities are often treated with suspicion or cynicism because people simply don’t know what they are.

We need to actively engage people in this conversation now. This is why LGBT+ education is so important.

This is where visibility comes in. When I came out, I found myself having to define pansexuality and I believe that the more we speak on the topic, the greater the understanding and acceptance of people who identify as LGBT+. Additionally, by having more elected officials who identify as LGBT+, we shine a light on a community and individuals who often feel hidden.

Increasing sexual diversity in politics and the media has the power to help those people who are afraid of being misunderstood to feel accepted by society. But there is more that needs to be done to teach the world about different identities and sexualities. We need to actively engage people in this conversation now. This is why LGBT+ education is so important.

By teaching children about different kinds of relationships, we remove the gap in knowledge and challenge stereotypes. We stop an LGBT+ teenager feeling there is something wrong with them. We stop them being bullied for who they are attracted to or who they love. We can help to build a world where people are comfortable to be themselves.

By teaching children about different kinds of relationships, we remove the gap in knowledge and challenge stereotypes.

No, LGBT+ education in schools is not a one size fits all solution. It will take time for the education to disperse through society, but by educating children, we can actively improve attitudes.

Homophobia and hate often come from a place of miseducation and lack of interaction. People who don’t meet or learn about the LGBT+ community, are more likely to believe misguided stereotypes about the community and the individuals.

While it is important to look at LGBT history, we must also look to the future. Look to improving visibility, and education for the LGBT+ community. I am excited to celebrate my first LGBT History Month as part of the community and reflect on the achievements we have made. But I keep at the forefront of my mind that there is a lot that we need to do to keep making a difference.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Week in, week out, either at my constituency surgery, in my inbox or just through conversations with friends and acquaintances, I hear yet another tragic story of a child or young person struggling with their mental health. They're having to battle to get any sort of help.

Inadequate funding under the Conservatives has left Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) close to breaking point

Stories include teenagers self-harming and attempting suicide, being excluded from or staying away from school because their school or they themselves simply cannot cope. Stories include a ten-year-old - yes, a ten-year-old - with a severe mental health disorder. She's already been waiting four months for her initial assessment and will have to wait months more for treatment.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Celebrating LGBT History Month

by Ed Davey on Sat, 01 Feb 2020

LGBT History Month is a welcome opportunity to celebrate the activism, strength and the spirit of the entire LGBT+ community. This is the time to look back at the key moments in the struggle for equal rights and to reflect on how we can build a more just world for everyone.

This month we celebrate iconic LGBT+ pioneers and strengthen our efforts to give meaningful attention to LGBT history.

Introducing the amendment that led to the repeal of Section 28 remains one of my proudest moments in parliament

In the UK, LGBT History Month falls in February to coincide the repealing of Section 28 in England and Wales. Introducing the amendment that led to the repeal of that abhorrent act remains one of my proudest moments in parliament.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

What we've done together

by Mark Pack on Fri, 31 Jan 2020

For the last four years, the Liberal Democrats have proudly fought to stop Brexit. 

I am immensely proud of everything we did. We stood up for our values. We campaigned so hard. But I also accept that at 11pm tonight, we will no longer be members of the European Union.

Our European story is not over. Tomorrow our fight continues, to make sure Britain has the closest possible relationship with our allies in Europe. 

Today, I want to take stock of everything we did achieve in our fight to stop Brexit. 

When the results of the European referendum were announced on that sad day in June 2016, we knew that something must be done. Our leader at the time, Tim Farron, did not wait to say that we deserved a vote on the final Brexit deal. 

We were a lone voice at first. But more and more people joined our cause, to call for a People’s Vote on the final deal. 

Our membership surged to the highest numbers in our party’s history. 

We backed the cross-party People’s Vote campaign. Its rallies attracted hundreds of thousands of people, making them the biggest marches since the protests against the Iraq war. 

Our MPs worked across parties in the Commons and the Lords to inflict more than 30 defeats on the Conservative government’s Brexit bills. 

We stopped a catastrophic no deal and we stopped the government charging EU citizens to apply to stay in the UK.

Last year, we went into the European elections with an unapologetic message on Brexit. 

I’m so proud of that campaign. We fought unashamedly for our liberal, progressive values, and we made a strong case for why the UK should continue to be members of the EU. 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Could you be a Lib Dem candidate?

by William Dyer on Fri, 31 Jan 2020

Being a Liberal Democrat candidate is a rewarding way to make a difference anywhere from your local town council to nationally in Westminster. Our new candidates process makes it far easier to get the ball rolling on your application. If you’re thinking of standing, we have just made it easier for you to apply! There is a link to a short form below that you can use to express interest.

Our candidates process is designed to be inclusive and transparent. You won’t be judged based on who you know or what qualifications you have. We’re more interested in your skills and capabilities, which can come from your political, work, voluntary or social life!

Florida Girls Sign Up GIF by Pop TV

Expressing interest in becoming a councillor

You can use the form below to express interest in being a council candidate - your local party will receive a notification that you’re interested and will be in touch with further details. With your permission, your information will also be shared with the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors (ALDC), who can offer guidance and advice on how to become a Lib Dem councillor.

Expressing interest in becoming a Parliamentary or Assembly candidate

Becoming a parliamentary or assembly candidate is a three-stage process. Firstly, you should register your interest using the same form below.  with various Lib Dem groups like the Parliamentary Candidates Association and the Campaign for Gender Balance where relevant, who can provide support with your application.

We welcome applications from people from all walks of life: there is no such thing as a typical Lib Dem candidate

You will then receive an email about the candidate application process, which will also contain an application form for you to tell us about yourself. After completing this form, you will be invited to a Candidate Assessment Day, where you’ll take part in a mix of written and spoken exercises, and a panel of impartial assessors will let you know how you did within two weeks.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

We fought the good fight - now what next?

by Ed Davey on Thu, 30 Jan 2020

Good morning.

For the last four years, the Liberal Democrats fought to stop Brexit.

We held street stalls, town hall meetings and we marched in our millions.

Today we stand strong in the knowledge that we did everything we could.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Let's make 2020 the year we scrap the Vagrancy Act.

by Layla Moran on Wed, 29 Jan 2020

In 2018 a homeless man, Gyula Remes, died in Westminster Tube station. He was one of over 700 homeless people who died that year, and the second to die in Westminster station that year.

71% of people think arresting someone for sleeping rough is a waste of police time

There's a gate in the station - near the entrance to Parliament. It's designed to push homeless people just a little bit further away. How many times did MPs just walk past him and turn a blind eye?

I see homeless people every day when I arrive at Parliament. It breaks my heart. It makes me absolutely determined that 2020 is the year that we scrap the Vagrancy Act.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Getting nominated for a party committee

by Greg Foster on Wed, 29 Jan 2020

So, you want to run for a post that’s currently open for nominations (the full list is here) but you’re not sure how to get started?

We’ve put together a guide to help you navigate the process and get nominated.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Holocaust Memorial Day

by Sir Ed Davey MP on Mon, 27 Jan 2020

On Holocaust Memorial Day, we pause to remember one of the darkest chapters in human history. We remember a time of unimaginable evil which resulted in the death of 6 million Jewish people and countless others who perished under a state-sponsored policy of hate and systemic violence.

This year marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz which led to the release of 7000 people and exposed the depth of the horrors committed there and elsewhere. 

Although time has moved on, the poison of anti-Semitism has not gone away. Across the globe we are witnessing a worrying increase in anti-Semitic violence. When hate crimes against religious communities rise and when people in the Jewish community speak out about the fear they feel, we must all sit up and act, because any pledge to end division rings hollow if it’s not followed by meaningful action.

History has taught us many hard lessons and although we often repeat the admonition “never again”, the pain of genocide has been experienced in many parts of the world since the Holocaust. As we remember the victims of the holocaust and let’s also remember the victims of subsequent genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur.

This year’s theme “Stand Together” is an important reminder that we all have a duty to stand up to hate. We must all challenge any attempts dehumanise, degrade or demean any community, because a failure to do so could have dire consequences.

Finally, let us recognise the strength and resilience of holocaust survivors and let us resolve to preserve their stories and testimonies. And let us never forget.

Ed Davy signing the signing the Holocaust Memorial Day book

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Happy Chinese New Year

by Sir Ed Davey MP on Sat, 25 Jan 2020

I would like to send best wishes to everyone celebrating Chinese New Year!


Across the world friends and loved ones will be coming together, to reflect on the year gone by and look ahead to the future.


Chinese New Year celebrations are marked by wonderful traditions that date back thousands of years. Each year they remind us of how alive and vibrant Chinese culture is in Britain today.


As we usher in a new year, let us also celebrate the ongoing contributions of British Chinese communities who have helped to shape the economic, social and cultural identity of our nation.


This year, we enter the Year of the Rat. Rats are known symbols of wealth and new beginnings and those born in the Year of the Rat are said to be resourceful, quick-witted and adaptable.


Liberal Democrats will work to ensure that the Year of the Rat is one marked by success and prosperity for all our communities.


To all those celebrating, I wish you good health and joy this Chinese New Year.


Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Today kickstarts an important week in Parliament, with votes taking place on key amendments to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, tabled by Liberal Democrats.

In our fight to hold this Conservative Government to account on its Brexit agenda, we are fighting to protect EU citizens’ rights as well as those of unaccompanied child refugees.

Last week, Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates tabled amendments that would automatically guarantee EU citizens’ rights in law.

EU citizens are our families and friends, our colleagues and carers. That is why we are urging Boris Johnson to honour his promise and back our legislation to guarantee their rights.

Boris Johnson previously promised to guarantee these rights, but has failed to do so. Under his policies, tens of thousands of EU citizens will be left without legal rights in less than 18 months. This puts them at risk of eviction, detention and even deportation.

EU citizens are our families and friends, our colleagues and carers. That is why we are urging Boris Johnson to honour his promise and back our legislation to guarantee their rights.

Tomorrow we will be voting for another amendment, which would protect the rights of unaccompanied child refugees in Europe to be reunited with their families in the UK.

Child refugees who’ve been forced to flee their homes and separated from their families are some of the most vulnerable people in the world, and we must do all we can to protect them.

Sadly, Conservatives voted to drop the UK’s commitment to support child refugees and their rights to family reunion in the House of Commons.

Liberal Democrats know that we should be expanding family reunion rights, not rolling them back. That is why we are continuing to fight for these children.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Lib Dems pay tribute to Lord Robert Maclennan

by Liberal Democrats on Sun, 19 Jan 2020

The Liberal Democrats have today led tributes following the death of Lord Robert Maclennan.
 
Lord Robert Maclennan of Rogart, known as Bob Maclennan, was the last leader of the Social Democrat Party before it merged with the Liberal Party. He then became joint interim leader of the new party. 
 
Bob Maclennan was a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001. Upon stepping down as MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Bob Maclennan was elevated to the House of Lords. 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

We can do more for bereaved families.

by Ed Davey on Wed, 15 Jan 2020

Do you think we care well enough for the more vulnerable in our society?

Have we figured out how best to care for people who’ve experienced bereavement, people who get ill in old age, those with mental ill-health or adults with learning disabilities?

My own personal experience tells me we haven’t. Whether in my own life or for many constituents in my advice surgeries over 20 years, all too often the care and support systems either don’t work well enough or aren’t even there at all.

Liberal Democrats must make our voice heard on caring – and lead this debate.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →