Local Lib Dem Barry Holliday has reacted with shock that Remain supporting Labour MP Lilian Greenwood voted last week for the triggering of Article 50 before April 2017.

Barry, Nottingham Lib Dem Spokesperson said: “Labour are meant to be the official opposition yet they won’t even force the Government to give people a say on what sort of Brexit we get. There are so many potential paths to take. We had a say on leaving and we should have a say on the destination.

“It amazes me that an MP who supposedly supported remaining in the EU should suddenly abandon her constituents. Nottingham South voted to remain in the EU and we deserve better than having our MP ganging up with the Brexit Conservatives to accelerate our exit from Europe.”

Just hours after MPs decided on Article 50, Labour were pushed into fourth place in the Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election in Lincolnshire. The Lib Dems increased their vote share more than any other party just one week after their shock win in Richmond Park.

Mr. Holliday continued: “Across local and parliamentary elections, the Labour vote share is going down and the Liberal Democrat vote share is going up. The trend is clear. People are noticing that Labour seem to have given up being an opposition party and that’s shocking at such a crucial crossroads for our country.”

The Liberal Democrats have won the Richmond Park by-election following a swing of 21.7%.

Folllowing the victory Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

“The message is clear: The Liberal Democrats are back and we are carrying the torch for all of those who want a real opposition to this Conservative Brexit Government.

“We are the only party fighting to keep Britain open, tolerant and united, and the only party that has said, loudly and proudly, that we want Britain to remain a member of the Single Market and that we want the people to be given the final say over the Brexit deal. That message has been resoundingly backed by the people of Richmond Park.

“This was a remarkable, come-from-nowhere upset that will terrify the Conservatives. A year and a half ago, their man won by nearly 40% and had a majority of more than 20,000. In one fell swoop we have wiped that out completely.

“If this was a General Election, this swing would mean the Conservatives would lose dozens of seats to the Liberal Democrats – and their majority with it. No one believes the Labour Party will win any seats off the Tories – and the SNP could only possibly take one off them. But there are dozens in our reach. So, as this by-election has demonstrated, the only way to prevent a Conservative majority at the next election is to vote Liberal Democrat.”

Nottingham’s Liberal Democrats have hit out at a local councillor who has attended just one meeting in the last six months. Cllr Ilyas Aziz, who was suspended from the Labour Party in April for allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks on Facebook attended a meeting in September, the first time since his suspension.

Nottingham Lib Dem Spokesperson Barry Holliday said: “Turning up for one meeting and claiming over £6000 is a disgrace. The people of Radford and Park have been robbed of democratic representation and charged for the privilege. Cllr Aziz should resign and do it now. He should also examine his claims and his conscience.

“Labour have been inept in dealing with this. They’ve spent six months dithering about two Facebook posts. If they can’t make a decision about two Facebook posts in that time, how on earth are we supposed to have faith in their decision making abilities for our city? Nottingham deserves better.

“Radford and Park only has two thirds of the democratic representation it should have. It is supposed to have three local councillors but only has two. Where has Councillor Aziz been? We’ve not seen him at local surgeries, council meetings or even out and about in the ward. All we have had is radio silence. In fact, so far his only comment has been ‘no comment’.

“The Conservatives are providing ineffective opposition and we need Labour to be held to account. While they are riding roughshod over our democracy, the Conservatives seem willing to sit on their hands, keep silent and let it happen. We need effective opposition in Nottingham – at the moment our local democracy is being seriously disrespected.”

This story was covered by the Nottingham Post, their story is here – http://www.nottinghampost.com/suspended-nottingham-councillor-who-has-missed-almost-all-meetings-has-been-paid-more-then-6k/story-29801547-detail/story.html

Nottingham Liberal Democrat, Barry Holliday, has called for “better opposition and better scrutiny” of the city council’s activities after it was revealed that Nottingham City Council has remained the most complained about authority in the county.

The Local Government Ombudsman’s report showed the council clocked up 105 complaints last year. Nottingham Lib Dem spokesperson, Barry Holliday said:

“This isn’t good enough. 52 out of 55 councillors are Labour and right now they are too busy fighting with themselves over who should lead their party nationally. Meantime the three Conservative councillors are so silent I’m concerned that they’ve been fitted with a TV-remote style mute button.

“We have an incredible city and fellow residents deserve better. Part of that relies on a governing party that isn’t navel gazing. The other part of that requires an opposition that actually scrutinises what the ruling body on the council does. At the moment, neither of those essential elements of local democracy are functioning properly and it’s clearly having an impact on local residents.”

The Liberal Democrats have seen a huge jump in members locally. Since the 2015 General Election, membership has risen by over 150% in the city and continues to rise.

“While the Conservatives fail in their elected duties to hold Labour to account, we will continue to help people on a local level and help them with the various issues they face” said Barry.

If you have an issue you’d like the Lib Dems to help with please use our online contact form – http://nottinghamlibdems.org.uk/en/views

Hate crimes up 42%, but Tories give discrimination helpline contract to inept G4S

A lifeline for people facing human rights issues and discrimination is set to be privatised. With hate crimes up by 42% since the EU referendum result, the Conservative government is privatising the EASS (Equality Advisory and Support Service).

After a tendering process, they are awarding the contract to G4S. The same company which has demonstrated shocking track record of human rights breaches, and for failing government contracts wasting millions in taxpayers’ money. Prime Minister May wishes to put them in charge of the national helpline responsible for providing support to people facing discrimination, something which is deeply concerning considering their history.

Nottingham Lib Dem spokesperson, Barry Holliday, said:

“This would be like putting BP in charge of enforcing environmental protections.

On top of that it appears that the government may have failed to follow all the necessary steps before awarding the contract to G4S. Online campaign group SumOfUs are currently trying to fundraise to bring a legal case to reverse the decision to award G4S the contract.

With G4S’s very public failings, surely the company has no business anywhere near a contract like this. They bungled the Olympics security contract, recently left a dialysis patient stranded at home after taking over the contract for patient transport in Kent, and in Lincolnshire; G4S control room staff were suspended for making bogus 999 calls to improve their perceived performance. Even more seriously, they stand accused of assaulting children in a UK young offenders’ unit, torturing prisoners in South Africa, and putting the life of an unborn child at risk while deporting a wheelchair-using pregnant woman.

Now the Conservatives want that same company to run a helpline to support those facing discrimination or human rights abuses. It beggars belief!

Theresa May must step in to prevent this contract being handed over, and proper due-diligence checks should be made before awarding such a sensitive contract over to a private company.”

For more info / sources:

Increase in hate crimes, National Police Chiefs’ Council – http://news.npcc.police.uk/releases/hate-crime-undermines-the-diversity-and-tolerance-we-should-instead-be-celebrating-1

EASS to be privatised, Access All Areas – http://www.accessaa.co.uk/g4s-to-run-government-discrimination-helpline/

Medway youth jail scandal, The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/09/scandal-of-g4s-run-medway-youth-jail-deepens-as-five-further-people-arrested

G4S scandals, International Business Times – http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/g4s-scandals-london-2012-security-fiasco-jimmy-mubenga-death-1440233

SumOfUs campaign against G4S – https://actions.sumofus.org/a/don-t-hand-the-government-s-discrimination-helpline-over-to-g4s