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Stunning result in Sandford-on-Thames by-election

October 18, 2015 8:21 PM

Lib Dem Simon Thompson came within 43 votes of beating the Tories as the Lib Dem vote surged from 20% in May to 37% now. The by-election was for the South Oxfordshire district council ward of Sandford & the Wittenhams. Voters switched from all other parties to the Lib Dems, putting the party within a few percentage points of victory.

Sue Cooper, Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate in May said, "It shows that the actions of the Conservative Government since May, coupled with their poor stewardship of Oxfordshire County Council, are causing increased dissatisfaction in south Oxfordshire. As a result, Lib Dem membership is rising. Now is the time to join the fight back."

  • Blossom
    Article: Jul 25, 2016

    It is with great sadness that we have to pass on the news of the death of Mair Thomas, a former member of the Lloyd George Society from its very beginning and a loyal supporter of the weekend schools, who passed away on 14 July at the University Hospital of Wales. She was 95 years of age and had been in failing health for some months. Mair Thomas was the sister of the late Sir Maldwyn Thomas and and the sister-in-law of Dame Maureen Thomas. Sir Maldwyn was a former Liberal parliamentary candidate, President of the Welsh Liberal Party and the first President of the Lloyd George Society.

  • Thomas Cole
    Article: Jul 25, 2016
    By Thomas Cole

    Whilst the UK population took the decision on 23 June to vote to leave the EU, there are still countries which are looking to join the bloc. The UK had been a champion of EU enlargement, looking to extend the single market and also to widen the EU's membership. In spite of the UK referendum decision, EU enlargement will continue for the time being, although 'enlargement fatigue' within the EU will need to contended with, where the rise of populist parties has made enlargement, and subsequent immigration from newer to older member states, a less popular policy for EU governments to pursue.

  • Article: Jul 22, 2016
    By Cllr. John Howson
    The Education Secretary, Justine Greening, has announced that the new National Funding Formula for schools won't now come into force next year, but in 2018-19 at the earliest. It will be introduced then only after a consultation sometime in the autumn.
    This is bad news for Oxfordshire schools that might have expected to be winners out of any new formula. The government shouldn't have raised hopes by starting a consultation process this spring that they couldn't finish within the announced time scale.
    Cllr. John Howson, Spokesperson for Education says "Raising hopes only to see them dashed won't win the Tories many votes, especially as the announcement was slipped out at the end of term in a written answer. Lib Dems believe that our schools in Oxfordshire need proper funding"
    Cllr. John Howson
    Lib Dem spokesperson on Education
    Oxfordshire County Council
  • Suzanne Fletcher, Chair of Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary (LD4SOS)
    Article: Jul 22, 2016

    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."

  • A pair of wedding rings (Jeff Belmonte. Licensed as Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.)
    Article: Jul 22, 2016

    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.

  • Dr Alan Bullion
    Article: Jul 22, 2016
    By Alan Bullion

    This should be combined with a commitment to quality trade deals, even if these take a bit longer than 'quick and dirty' agreements, experienced hands from Australia and New Zealand advised today (July 18) at a Policy Exchange event in London.

    "The more I look at the post-Brexit outlook for the UK on trade deals under the World Trade Organisation, the more complicated it becomes," said Dr Geoff Raby, former Australian ambassador to China and the WTO.

  • Article: Jul 21, 2016

    Coming to the Liberal Democrat conference? If so join us at our fringe meeting. Scheduled for Saturday 17 September 2016 from 8.15pm until 9.30pm in the Sandringham Room, Hilton Metropole, Brighton.

    How is the International Community reacting to the UK electorate's decision to leave the European Union (EU)? How will the Article 50 process and recasting our trade relations with EU members evolve? How will Brexit affect the UK's political and security relations with neighbours, in particular Ireland? What are the implications for the UK's economy and inward investment?

  • Child in prison cell mental health
    Article: Jul 21, 2016

    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.

  • Nick Clegg (The Guardian)
    Article: Jul 20, 2016

    Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has returned to the Liberal Democrat front bench as the party's European Union spokesperson in order to hold the Government to account over its plans for Brexit.

    Nick Clegg is uniquely well placed to challenge the Conservatives on their plans for Brexit. Not only did he sit around the cabinet table with Theresa May, Liam Fox and others, he was also a leading Member of the European Parliament and a trade negotiator in the European Commission under Leon Brittan. During the coalition years he established himself as the highest profile pro-European voice in British politics and is well known and respected in capitals across the continent.

  • Article: Jul 18, 2016
    By Cllr. Jean Fooks in The Oxford Times

    At the County Council meeting on April 1st 2014, Cllr Jean Fooks proposed a motion asking the Council to make reducing pollution by traffic a priority . It was supported by all Liberal Democrats, Labour, Green and Independent councillors - though most Conservatives just sat on their hands! Public Health officers were very pleased to have Council approval for working on this issue and the latest version of the Local Transport Plan (LTP4) has a new chapter detailing the work to be done to reduce the risk to health. In September 2015 at the full council meeting, Cllr. Jean Fooks' amendment was finally accepted and resulted in this separate chapter to the new plan. This recent version of LTP4 was voted through unanimously by all councillors at the full council meeting in July.