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"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."
(Preamble to the Party Constitution).

Monday, June 08, 2009

Lib Dems become main opposition at Essex County Council

The Liberal Democrats are celebrating a significant increase in councillors at county hall. The group went from 8 councillors to 12, taking seats from both the Conservatives and Labour and becoming the official opposition to the ruling Conservatives on Essex County Council.

Labour have been left with a single county councillor, from Colchester. In Harlow, all three Labour county councillors were defeated, making this the second year in a row in which Labour has come away from local elections winning not a single seat in Harlow.

Essex County Council Lib Dem group leader Tom Smith-Hughes said:
"We are delighted with our performance in these elections which has come off the back of well run local campaigning. We have some very able councillors who have been doing outstanding work in their local areas and this was reflected in the results. Our group is now the official opposition at Essex County Council and we take our role of holding the Conservative administration to account very seriously. We will press for them to get the basics right.

It has been an astonishing result for the Labour group who have been virtually extinguished - left with a single councillor. Clearly Labour is finished here in Essex. The shambles that is the Labour government was no doubt a factor in the way people voted this time, although the Labour presence has been in steady decline at county hall for over a decade."

Duff welcomes steady progress of Liberal Democrats across East Of England

On Sunday 7 June Andrew Duff was re-elected as the Liberal Democrat Euro MP for the East of England. In a statement at the count in St Ives, Huntingdon, he said:
"This was my sixth election campaign for the European Parliament - and undoubtedly the most gruelling. As the Westminster expenses scandal took over, the important issues about the future of the European Union, and of Britain's place within it, were driven underground. It is a shame that the serious problems facing the country - including jobs and climate change - were barely addressed by our opposing parties or the media.

Despite the rise of the nationalist right, Liberal Democrats across the region have proved very resilient - Stronger Together indeed. It is encouraging for us to be elected ahead of Labour in the European polls.

In Thursday's county council elections, we finished 9 seats up. In the new unitary authorities of Bedfordshire we have also made a good showing, becoming the largest party in Bedford.

The party has made steady progress in these difficult times. Many thanks to all council and European candidates, especially my colleague Linda Jack, and to all Lib Dem activists.

Now it's back to work."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

TAKE BACK POWER: Change politics for good

In the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has unveiled a 100-day plan to reform 'every nook and cranny' of Britain's political system.

The plan would make it possible for MPs to be sacked by their constituents; abolish the House of Lords; get corrupt money out of politics; and change the electoral system to give a voice to everyone.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lib Dems hope for second MEP in East of England

East of England Liberal Democrats are in a good position to gain a second seat in the European Parliament at the election next Thursday, 4 June. As their door-to-door campaigning intensifies across the region, Andrew Duff MEP says:
"Anger at the Westminster expenses scandal is turning into a more serious effort to engage with the political reform agenda that Liberal Democrats have advanced for years.

The huge challenges posed by the financial turmoil, economic crash, climate change and international insecurity make a powerful case for a stronger and better European Union.

Liberal Democrats believe that Britain has a choice between being stronger together in Europe, or poorer apart.

We are well known for getting things done in our county councils, and for providing real opposition at Westminster. As leader of the Lib Dems in the European Parliament, I am helping to ensure that Europe delivers benefits for our region, our country and the wider world.

Voters would be wise to avoid single issue parties which have no answers to the big political agenda.

I hope that the nationalists and isolationists are heavily defeated in the East of England. It is frankly a disgrace that we have had two UKIP MEPs for the last five years who have been either useless or embroiled in corruption scandals.

As people react against failing Labour and avoid a Tory vote that would further marginalise the UK in Europe, they are turning to the Lib Dems. Engaging with the electorate we find encouraging support. Linda Jack has a good chance of becoming our second MEP next week."
The Lib Dems need only a 3% swing on the 2004 result to win two seats in the European Parliament.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Harlow Council Lib Dems announce leadership team

Cllr Chris Millington has been re-elected unopposed as Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Harlow Council. Cllr Robert Thurston has also been elected unopposed as the group's Deputy Leader.

Cllr Lesley Rideout is the Group's new Chair, taking over unopposed from Cllr Eleanor Macy who has stepped down from this role. Cllr Lorna Spenceley was re-elected unopposed as Group Secretary.

The Group thanked Eleanor for her hard work as Group Chair over the last year.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Essex Liberal Democrats manifesto

Liberal Democrats in Essex have launched their manifesto for the Essex County Council elections on Thursday 4 June:

It's time for a change.
Liberal Democrats will put services before spin

1. Get basic services right
Liberal Democrats will Make It Happen by:
  • Taking action needed to protect vulnerable children

  • Repairing potholes all year round - not just before an election

  • Developing better public transport, cycle paths and footpaths
Instead of the Conservative policies:
  • Nearly £5 million each year on glossy brochures and spin

  • 'Jobs for the Boys' - special allowances for Conservative Councillors

  • Self-promoting trips around the world
Independent inspectors have ranked Essex County Council just average overall, but services for vulnerable children have been rated amongst the worst in the country. Money spent on spin can no longer be allowed to cover up such catastrophic failings.

2. A greener, fairer future
Liberal Democrats will Make It Happen by:
  • More recycling of waste

  • More money for young people's services, particularly the voluntary sector

  • New housing to be carbon-neutral and built with community facilities
Instead of the Conservative policies:
  • Massive waste treatment plants/incineration

  • Cuts to the youth service budget

  • Believing that outsourcing services is always the best option

3. Supporting the economy
Liberal Democrats will Make It Happen by:
  • Council Tax rebate of £50 for those in Band A-D houses

  • Income Tax cuts for low and middle earners

  • Creating job opportunities and apprenticeships
Instead of the Conservative policies:
  • Council Tax up 130% over 12 years

  • Tax cuts for millionaires

  • Meals on Wheels charges doubled

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Liberal Democrats launch European election campaign

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has launched the party's European election campaign, warning that Britain must lead within the EU to protect families from crime, climate change and the recession. Nick published the Party's European manifesto Stronger Together, Poorer Apart in central London, and said:
"We can only protect British families from crime, the recession and climate change if our country works with other EU countries.

Criminals, business, climate change - these things cross borders. So the police, regulators, and environmental action have to cross borders too. It's the EU that makes this essential cooperation possible.

Only the Liberal Democrats know how to provide security, jobs, and a clean environment by leading in the European Union.

Liberal Democrats backed EU plans for the fast track extradition of thousands of criminals suspects across Europe - including 21/7 bomber Hussein Osman who was extradited in just three weeks from Rome. It would have taken months if UKIP and the Conservatives had succeeded in blocking these new rules.

Liberal Democrats support EU police and judicial cooperation, which have achieved a huge amount in particular in relation to people trafficking and internet crime.

One investigation known as Operation Koala managed to close down a website which contained 150 sexually explicit videos of underage girls and prosecute the people who ran it and its customers.

Because the operators and users of this site were in a total of 28 different countries, it was only because of EU cooperation that the prosecution was swift and successful."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Harlow Lawn Tennis Club

Liberal Democrat councillors Manny Doku and Lorna Spenceley were at the Latton Bush Centre to watch tennis legend Greg Rusedski officially open the new indoor tennis courts. Cllr Spenceley, whose council ward includes the courts, said:
"The decision by the bowls club to release some of their surplus courts for this project was a great opportunity to overcome the problems with the initial proposals.

It's excellent news that the courts could be built without using open green wedge land, and that children and adults alike now have the opportunity to play tennis whatever the weather."

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