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North Shropshire Liberal Democrats

  • Mar 31, 2020:
    • Migrant NHS heroes should be given indefinite leave to remain

      The call follows reports that doctors, nurses and paramedics will automatically have their visas extended, free of charge, for one year.

      The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat and people are rightly worried. In times like this, we cannot thank front-line staff enough for going above and beyond to look after us all.

      Extending the visas in the NHS is welcome, but the Government must also do so much more for the social care system and urgently rollout adequate PPE and testing.

      If someone is prepared to risk their life for this country, they must be allowed to live in it with indefinite leave to remain. https://t.co/itdMUPA3cN

      - Lib Dems (@LibDems) March 31, 2020

      Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

      "There is a moral principle here. If someone is prepared to risk their life for this country, they must be allowed to live in it. All foreign national NHS workers fighting for our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic are heroes. They should be awarded indefinite leave to remain."

      We can do better than that can't we? How about automatic indefinite leave to remain or citizenship if they wanted it? The least we could do surely. Imagine if the Home Office kicked them out after what the service they gave? These are the NHS equivalent of Gurkhas @JoannaLumleyUKhttps://t.co/ejtNSjDVI2

      - Layla Moran 🔶 (@LaylaMoran) March 31, 2020

      The post Migrant NHS heroes should be given indefinite leave to remain appeared first on North Shropshire Liberal Democrats.

  • Mar 30, 2020:
    • John Stevens passes away
      John Stevens on the campaign trail during the last General Election
      John Stevens on the campaign trail during the last General Election in Oswestry

      Yesterday we learnt that our dear friend and colleague, John Stevens, died late last week. North Shropshire Liberal Democrats offer our heartfelt condolences to John's friends and family at this difficult time.

      John was a long-standing member of the Liberal Democrats and a member of St Martins Parish Council. He was very active in the community, a trustee of St Martins Centre and Editor of the St Martins Village Life Magazine. John was a Strategic Partnership Manager for the Citizens Advice between 1999 and 2012. He was also a representative on the Shropshire Association of Local Councils local area committee.

      John was the Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Weston Rhyn between 1993-1997 and 2001-2005. John stood for Parliament for the Liberal Democrats in North Shropshire in 1992 against John Biffen and then Owen Paterson in 1997. On a regional level, he was an Assistant Returning Officer for West Midlands Liberal Democrats. He was an Executive member of North Shropshire Liberal Democrats. John had previously been heavily involved in the party in the South West Region as an Agent and Organiser before moving to Shropshire with his late wife Sue.

      Chair of North Shropshire Liberal Democrats, David Walker, said: "This is very sad news. John was heavily involved in the community and will be greatly missed by everybody.

      "As a Liberal, he has been a huge asset to the local party and his clinical insight was widely appreciated. He had a great skill for finding a weakness in service delivery and filling the gaps to improve the outcome for local people. Something I have witnessed when we were both County Councillors between 2001 and 2005, and later on our Executive committee.

      "Since 2017 John helped me rejuvenate North Shropshire Lib Dems as vice-chair and our Membership Development Officer. John oversaw rapid membership growth of 250% during this time and played a key role in the last general election organising supporters, helping us to grow our vote share more than any other party.

      "In 1992 John achieved the highest vote share for a Liberal since the merger of the Liberal Party and the SDP in 1988. He often joked that it was his fault we had been lumbered with Owen Paterson.

      "His insight and knowledge was a huge asset to us all. Indeed, if he was writing this it would be half as long and four times as good. He will be greatly missed."

      Shropshire Councillor for Wem, Chris Mellings, said: "John joined the Liberal Party in the 1960s and was an enthusiastic supporter of the merger of the two Alliance Parties. He had stood for Parliament elsewhere in the 1970s before being selected to fight the North Shropshire Constituency at the 1992 GE.

      "I worked alongside John in the 1990s as his Press Officer at the 1992 General Election, his Agent at the 1997 GE and then as his Deputy Group Leader from 1994 to 1997.

      "No one understood the finances of the County Council better than John - other than the County Treasurer of course. He knew that the way to influence what happened at the Council depended on who controlled the purse strings! After the 1993 County elections, the Group formed an coalition with Labour to control the Council. Recognising the influence finance played, it was he who ensured it was the Liberal Democrats who chaired the all- important and influential Resources Sub Committee - of course it was John who then chaired that Committee and proved to be a very effective one too ! He was also a very effective Deputy Leader of the Council and powerful advocate within both the Council and the Administration for the Liberal Democrat perspective. He was no fool and would be at his best when challenging Officers and carving out what he thought was the best strategy and direction for the Administration at a time of financial difficulties resulting from central Government's failure to adequately finance counties such as Shropshire - some things don't change! He was very driven and determined to great effect and developed a very effective working partnership with the Labour Leader of the Council to get things done. It was a great loss to both the Council and Group when he lost his seat at the 1997 County election. Though he regained his seat in 2001 it was not the same John Stevens as eight years previously.

      "That said, during his time as a County Councillor, he was an effective Councillor, a strong voice for his community and the Liberal Democrats and someone who made a huge. He will be sadly missed."

      Please feel free to comment below to pass on your own condolences, to share a story or a memory of our friend John:

      The post John Stevens passes away appeared first on North Shropshire Liberal Democrats.

  • Mar 29, 2020:
    • Plans for Autumn Conference on hold

      Plans for Liberal Democrat autumn conference on hold, online options to be explored instead

      In the light of the coronavirus epidemic, the Federal Board has decided to put on hold plans for the preparation of a traditional party conference in the autumn and will make a final decision on whether to cancel the event in May.

      In the meantime, the Federal Conference Committee will consider the feasibility of an online event, which might include some elements of a formal conference.

      Part of that will be the way in which the key elements of party accountability might operate online if a traditional party conference did not go ahead.

      A final decision will be made in May once those plans have been developed, taking into account both what is practical to organise online and the latest state of public health advice about large groups gathering together.

      In the meantime, party members, supporters and other attendees are advised against booking any travel or accommodation for the autumn conference.

      The post Plans for Autumn Conference on hold appeared first on North Shropshire Liberal Democrats.

  • Mar 25, 2020:
    • Postponing our Leadership Election

      Not only are we going through what could become the country's biggest crisis since 1945, but we're also entering a very new world that will persist once the immediate crisis is over.

      I'm proud of what we have achieved so far by championing NHS workers and pressing the Government on issues such as offering a better deal to the self-employed.

      Throughout our history, we have always put the national interest first.

      Our Federal Board has decided that we will not have a leadership election until May 2021, so that we can focus on dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

      We know that coronavirus will have many implications for our society, public services, economy and day-to-day lives.

      It will also have important implications for how we operate as a political party. In particular, even when current lockdown restrictions are relaxed, we still be living in a world where for months, if not years, to come it is possible lockdowns will have to be reintroduced at short notice.

      That risk will hang over us all until we have a vaccine or effective and widespread treatment.

      The Board therefore also started to address how the work of the Lib Dem HQ operation needs to adjust.

      But it isn't only the Board and the party centrally which needs to adjust to this new reality.

      It's a new reality that will require every part of the party to adjust too. If you are involved in running any other part of the party and have not yet started thinking this through, I hope you and your colleagues can start soon.

      We also finished the appointments to the Party Bodies Review Group, with Steffan Aquarone, Flo Clucas and Bess Mayhew joining Tim Pickstone.

      Amongst its roles is to undertake a strategic review of party bodies, the way they operate and how they interrelate with the rest of our organisation. Though, of course, this work will not be at the forefront of minds at the moment, this is going to be an important piece of work to ensure we build a broad and healthy movement to fight for our values.

      The post Postponing our Leadership Election appeared first on North Shropshire Liberal Democrats.

    • Thank you to the NHS

      The NHS takes care of us and keeps us safe every day.

      Coronavirus is affecting every part of our lives and is already putting a huge strain on the NHS and NHS workers. We want to say thank you to the people working so hard to keep us all safe.

      We are so lucky to live in a country where we have access to such high-quality healthcare that's free at the point of use. It's saved countless lives and, over the coming weeks and months, it's going to save many, many more.

      To everyone working in the NHS and in our social care system: every doctor, nurse, carer, paramedic, health care assistant, manager, cleaner, administrator, pharmacist, those on the front-line and those keeping the NHS working behind the scene - thank you.

      The best thing we can do for our healthcare staff right now is to follow the official NHS advice. That means staying at home if you're not a key worker, keeping your distance in

      supermarkets, and quarantining yourself when you're showing symptoms.

      Not all of these are easy steps to take - but we owe it to our NHS to help them help us.

      We are also circulating a letter of appreciation to NHS staff, to show our thanks to them for putting themselves at risk to keep us all safe.

      If you'd like to add your thanks, you can do so by signing the card:

      Sign the card

      The post Thank you to the NHS appeared first on North Shropshire Liberal Democrats.

  • Mar 24, 2020:
    • How to help in a lockdown

      This week, the UK has gone into lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus.

      Those of us who can are staying at home and adapting to a new way of life, where we work from home, have hobbies at home and socialise only through video calls.

      It is an uncomfortable transition, butit is absolutely worth doing to slow the spread of coronavirus, preventing the NHS from being overwhelmed and saving thousands of lives.

      We need to do all we can to encourage our friends and family to stay home and save lives.

      It is all of our responsibility to make sure that this happens- and we need to do all we can to encourage our friends and family to stay home and save lives.

      We need to get that message out. We've made a graphic that you can share on social media reminding people to stay at home to save lives.Will you share it with your friends and family?

      Share this graphic

      Share on Facebook

      Share on Twitter

      We'll also be releasing more graphics and ways to help over email and also in our Online Champions Facebook group (you can join the champions here) over the coming days.

      In these troubling times, I've found that the best thing that I can do to ease my worry over what the future holds is to reach out to others and offer assistance. And that's what I want us to do, party-wide.

      That's why we've set up the Liberal Democrat Community Taskforce.Our taskforce will coordinate the efforts of local Lib Dems across the country, suggesting tangible ways to help those who need it most - the vulnerable, those in quarantine, and our key workers.

      Our taskforce will coordinate the efforts of local Lib Dems across the country, suggesting tangible ways to help those who need it most

      We are continuing to add lots of resources for campaigning during the COVID-19 pandemic(you can find them here:https://www.libdems.org.uk/coronavirus) and we have updated our guidance for campaigning now that we are formally in lockdown.

      There are resources for phone banking, for how to help your neighbours who may be quarantined and fighting off COVID-19, or may be a key worker in need of assistance. We hope these are helpful to you as we continue to do what Liberal Democrats do best - serving our communities.

      The post How to help in a lockdown appeared first on North Shropshire Liberal Democrats.

  • Mar 23, 2020:
    • We must support the self-employed

      Last week, the Government set out a package of financial measures to support UK workers, highlighting just how threatening coronavirus is to our economy and our society.

      As soon as these measures were announced, Liberal Democrats stated our concerns that far too little was being provided to help the self-employed through this crisis. Days later, and no new support has been announced by the Government.

      "The 5 million self-employed people across the country are in real stress & deeply worried. In many cases, they are simply running out of money."-@EdwardJDavey

      With so many set to be dependent on this support for a period of time, it's vital we ensure they receive enough money. pic.twitter.com/96W3ysQmf5

      - Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) March 24, 2020

      There are five million self-employed people in the UK. These are our construction workers, our childminders and our delivery drivers.

      Each day that we fail to take action to protect the self-employed, millions of people remain worried and unsure of how they are going to support themselves or their families. Leaving them with no reliable safety net is unacceptable.

      Ministers cannot keep hiding from the insecurity these individuals have been put in by the coronavirus crisis. It is not good enough to say it is "operationally difficult" to pay them.


      The Liberal Democrats have put down amendments to the Government's coronavirus legislation to support the self-employed. They are:

      • increasing the weekly rate of Statutory Sick Pay from £94.25 to £220

      • guaranteeing 80% of self-employed individuals' earnings, up to £35,000

      The post We must support the self-employed appeared first on North Shropshire Liberal Democrats.

  • Mar 22, 2020:
    • I have high hopes for the next three years - let's get to work!

      It's been just weeks since Brexit ended my brief term as an MEP, but today I'm very happy to announce that I've been elected as Chair of the Federal People Development Committee.

      I wouldn't be where I am today without the outstanding training and support offered by the party.

      Like many of you reading this, I'm a relative newcomer to politics and to the Lib Dems. I joined in 2016, so I think I bring a fresh perspective to this role as a newbie. I'm eager to help the party expand and improve on its strategy, structures and processes for recruiting, engaging and activating members.

      Although it's been a short time, I'm no stranger to campaigns, at any level. In addition to winning election to European Parliament last May, I currently serve as a Hertfordshire County Councillor and stood for Parliament in 2017. I think that I'm a good example of what is possible if you engage a new member and provide the right resources. I wouldn't be where I am today without the outstanding training and support offered by the party.

      Just a few months after joining I was able to attend my first party conference. I spent nearly the entire time in training sessions. Clearly I got a taste for it, attending my first ALDC Kickstart weekend a few months later with other members of my local party. Since then I've been lucky enough to attend more conferences and more training events. Our face-to-face training opportunities are unparalleled - but the percentage of members who can access that face-to-face training is minuscule. We haven't been quite as strong at providing other forms of training and resources. That's something I'm keen to change.

      The Liberal Democrats are already leading the way in modern campaigning, and I look forward to supporting this in my new role.

      In the past four years, our party membership has boomed, meaning that newbies now outnumber long-time members. We need, now more than ever, to quickly develop the knowledge and skills of a larger number of people than ever before. Add to that the fast-changing landscape of UK politics and new and innovative ways to engage voters, and it's clear that we can't just do what has worked in the past. The Liberal Democrats are already leading the way in modern campaigning, and I look forward to supporting this in my new role.

      Outside of the Liberal Democrats, I have spent 25 years in the corporate world, and 10 years training and lecturing, including developing learning content both for face-to-face and online learning. I have also led a large voluntary organisation. I can't wait to bring this experience to the role and to work closely with both staff and FPDC members to take our people development strategies, structures and resources to the next level. We have an outstanding committee, including a diverse mix of perspectives and experiences. I have high hopes for the next three years - let's get to work!

      Members of the FPDC, serving a three-year term, are:

      • Abi Bell
      • Barbara Gibson
      • Bess Mayhew
      • Jon Ball
      • Lisa Maria Bornemann
      • Mary Regnier-Wilson

      The post I have high hopes for the next three years - let's get to work! appeared first on North Shropshire Liberal Democrats.

    • Short term prison sentences for women don't work

      The Government's analysis shows that they lead to higher rates of reoffending than community sentences. The President of the Prison Governors Association has described them as "pointless". They need to end for both men and women.

      But we also need to recognise that prison is especially damaging for women.

      Most women in prison are vulnerable people. The majority experienced abuse as a child, and many are survivors of domestic abuse as adults.

      Self-harm rates in women's prisons are almost five times the rate in men's prisons and rising

      Self-harm rates in women's prisons are almost five times the rate in men's prisons and rising. Eight women died in prison last year; five of them by suicide.

      We need reform to prevent more of these tragedies.

      Not only that, but two-thirds of women in prison are mothers of dependent children. More often than not their children are moved out of their home when their mother goes to prison. That's a huge disruption to their wellbeing.

      The current system is punishing children for their parents' crimes and putting even more pressure on our public services. The best interests of children need to be taken into account when making decisions about whether to send their mothers to prison.

      Having a parent in prison is a traumatic experience. It can have serious effects throughout a child's life. They're more at risk of physical and mental health problems, from liver disease to depression and alcoholism. Their performance at school will suffer and they're more likely to be involved in violence.

      There's precedent for saying we should do something about it. Baroness Corston's review for the Labour government in 2007 recommended that "custodial sentences for women must be reserved for serious and violent offenders who pose a threat to the public". She also called for women's prisons to be replaced with smaller, multifunctional community centres.

      The Government accepted the suggestions in principle, then did nothing about it.

      Then, in 2018, the Conservatives published a "Female Offenders Strategy." It committed them, too, to sending less women to prison for short sentences. There's a cross-party consensus for this - so I'm taking action.

      We're liberals, which means we believe in rehabilitation first

      My Sentencing (Women) Bill would ensure women are only sent to prison when they've committed serious crimes or are a danger to the public. If not, we'll impose tough community sentences instead. The priority of our legal system should be to prevent reoffending - and this will help these women turn their lives around.

      Nobody benefits from locking women up in prison when it isn't absolutely necessary. We're liberals, which means we believe in rehabilitation first. Here's hoping other parties get behind us and help us make a justice system that works for women.

      The post Short term prison sentences for women don't work appeared first on North Shropshire Liberal Democrats.

    • Our role as community champions

      As I'm sure you've all heard by now, the local elections we were expecting in May have been postponed until 2021. For many of us, this is disappointing news - especially after months of hard work - but it is absolutely the right call to keep us and our communities safe.

      In addition, any by-election that comes up and would be due before May 2021 will also be held off until then. Depending on the public health situation by-elections may restart sooner than May next year.

      Our plans for this year's local elections might not have gone as we expected, but this is an opportunity to let our Lib Dem values shine through and continue to work hard for our residents.

      I'd like to pass on a huge thank you to everyone who was planning on standing for election in May. Being a candidate, while rewarding, is always hard work. I hope all candidates and their teams know that all of their work so far has not gone to waste. It is a sound investment to ensure we win those seats, and more, next year.

      Some of you, on the other hand, were planning on standing down in May. It must come as a shock to have to continue for another year. We're so grateful to you all for your continuing commitment to your residents in such difficult times.

      Looking to next year, 6th May 2021 will be a 'Super Thursday'. Many places will have multiple elections. The party is currently advising traditional campaigning is put on pause for now, and replaced with digital, phone-banking and community activism to support the vulnerable people in your area. While traditional campaigning may be suspended, there are some things you can do to get a headstart on the 2021 elections.

      If you don't have a full slate of candidates, you could take this extra time to fill in the gaps. You could get in touch with your members and check they are okay. And, of course, please use this time to check in on elderly or vulnerable people you know in your community. Whether it's an offer to pick up bits and bobs from the shops or just a friendly chat on the phone, I'm sure it would be greatly appreciated.

      Here are some resources to help you get started:

      Coronavirus - helping in your community

      Finding candidates webinar

      In the coming months, people will be looking to us for support. Our role as community champions will be needed like never before. Our plans for this year's local elections might not have gone as we expected, but this is an opportunity to let our Lib Dem values shine through and continue to work hard for our residents.

      The post Our role as community champions appeared first on North Shropshire Liberal Democrats.