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Human rights and the recession are both key issues for Birmingham, says Liz Lynne MEP

February 9, 2010 5:24 PM
Liz Lynne MEP, Cllr Jerry Evans with Cllr Tanveer Choudhry, Cllr Gwyn Neilly, Mohammed Fiaz and party supporters at the Punjab Paradise

Liz Lynne MEP, Cllr Jerry Evans at the Punjab Paradise with Cllr Tanveer Choudhry, Cllr Gwyn Neilly, Mohammed Fiaz and other LibDem supporters

The battle for human rights across the world and beating the recession at home are key issues where Liberal Democrats can make the difference, Euro MP Liz Lynne told a dinner of Lib Dem supporters at one of Birmingham's leading balti restaurants.

She also predicted that the Liberal Democrats had every chance of gaining Birmingham Hall Green at the general election and sending respected local councillor Dr Jerry Evans to Westminster as their next MP.

Euro MP Liz Lynne and Cllr Jerry Evans were guest speakers at the event at the Punjab Paradise in Ladypool Road. The event was organised by restaurateur and local councillor Tanveer Choudhry.

In her speech, Liz Lynne said the battle for justice and human rights and policies to help the region beat the recession had both been high on her agenda since her re-election last year.

She said: "The financial crisis and credit crunch has had very serious effects not just on banks but on businesses big and small here in Birmingham.

"I have been working to try and cut the amount of red tape and pointless bureaucracy that faces small business in particular. It is very important that we do all we can to help businesses here in Birmingham survive in a fit state to grow again when the economy recovers."

Liz reported she was continuing to lobby for progress in Kashmir, discussing recent developments in the territory with former Prime Minister Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry at a meeting in Brussels last week

"As President of the Liberal Democrat friends of Kashmir and as a member of the European Parliament Delegation to Southern Asian Countries I have continued to work for dialogue and positive steps towards a just solution which involves the Kashmiri people.

"Kashmir has slipped out of the Western media headlines, but the continued human rights violations and injustice means that this crisis remains as big a threat to peace as ever."

Liz added that she was also continuing to lobby for the European Union and President Obama to put pressure on Israel to restart the peace process and in particular to end the terrible suffering caused by the blockade of Gaza.

She repeated her pledge to oppose the renewal or extension of the EU Israel Trade Agreement until Israel took action to abide by international law and end civilian suffering.

"Just today we heard that senior Israeli commanders admitted firing phosphorus shells and targeting civilians during the attack on Gaza last year. The only way the peace process in Palestine and Israel can be restarted is for a full and independent inquiry to be held, as the United Nations has demanded."

"I also have condemned Hamas or anyone else who fires rockets on Israeli civilians. But it is vital that the Israeli government respects human rights and stops the disproportionate repression of civilians which fuels terrorism everywhere."

Turning to the political situation locally, Liz Lynne predicted that the new constituency of Hall Green, which includes Sparkbrook, Springfield and Moseley had every chance of being a Liberal Democrat gain at the general election.

She congratulated Cllr Jerry Evans and Mohammed Fiaz on leading the constituency party to one of the highest Liberal Democrat votes in last year's European elections anywhere in the UK, at 29%, just 3 points behind Labour.

"Jerry Evans is one of the most hardworking campaigners I know and his commitment to justice and human rights has won him huge respect across all communities in this part of Birmingham. He would make a superb MP for Birmingham Hall Green - the election here is now clearly a close fight between Dr Evans and the Labour MP. Respect can't win because they are only strong in one ward, while the Conservatives came fourth here in the European and the council elections.

"Mohammed Fiaz is a hardworking local campaigner who would make an ideal councillor in Springfield, working with Jerry Evans and the Focus team for all local communities."