• Article: Apr 19, 2018

    As the Scottish Parliament debates safe injecting facilities, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has reaffirmed his support for such facilities and called for new steps to educate people on the dangers drugs pose and tackle record numbers of drug deaths.

    Mr Cole-Hamilton's amendment to the Government's motion calls for:

  • Article: Apr 19, 2018

    Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie used his question at FMQs today to lambast the government for its "record of shame" on mental health and call for investment in perinatal mental health services across the country.

    New research by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance has revealed Scotland is trailing behind the rest of the UK in terms of new investment in mental health services for new and expecting mothers and the provision of local specialist services.

  • Article: Apr 19, 2018

    Responding to Work & Pensions Secretary Esther McVey's appearance before the Social Security Committee, where she explained the processes behind the so called "rape clause", Scottish Liberal Democrat social security spokesperson Caron Lindsay said:

    "The Secretary of State's justifications for the two child tax credit cap and the rape clause were both unconvincing and shameless.

  • Vince Cable in Twickenham
    Article: Apr 19, 2018

    He criticised the effective monopolies enjoyed by the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon - comparing their market dominance to that of big oil companies in the past - and suggested ways they could be broken up.

    "Data is the new oil. Data is the raw material which drives these firms and it is control of data which gives them an advantage over competitors. These companies have acquired their pivotal position by providing a service or platform through which data can be extracted, collected and used.

    Just as Standard Oil once cornered 85% of the refined oil market, today Google drives 89% of internet search, 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook product, Amazon accounts for 75% of E-book sales, while Google and Apple combined provide 99% of mobile operating systems.

    National government and, even more so, supranational bodies like the EU can and should look to break up enterprises where size is detrimental to the economic well-being of the country, its citizens and its capacity for innovation.

    There is a case for splitting Amazon into three separate businesses - one offering cloud computing, one acting as a general retailer and one offering a third-party marketplace. Other examples would be Facebook being forced to divest itself of Instagram and WhatsApp as a condition for operating in the EU, creating two new social media networks. Divesting Google of YouTube would be another.

    What is striking that the most effective competition authority in the capitalist world - the European Commission - is probably the only body with the clout to take these decisions. The UK could quite obviously never do it alone.

    Britain commits an act of serious self-harm by doggedly setting itself apart from the power of shared sovereignty with our neighbours.

  • The House of Lords. Image: UK Parliament
    Article: Apr 18, 2018

    Having sat through over 100 hours of debate so far in the House of Lords on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, I have been angered by the combination of arrogance and incompetence which has characterised the Government's response to a very wide range of concerns expressed.

    From how we continue to regulate and licence the supply of over-the-counter medicines to working with our European neighbours on security policy; from how to maintain reciprocal roaming charges to protecting our hard-won rights and freedoms, the Government has displayed indifference and the inability to answer the most basic of questions.

  • Palace of Westminster.
    Article: Apr 18, 2018

    The Government has tonight been defeated in the House of Lords on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

    An amendment on the customs union supported by the Liberal Democrats, Crossbenchers, Labour, and Conservative peers has passed by 348 votes to 225.

    The defeat forces the government to lay a report before Parliament outlining the steps taken to negotiate a customs union as part of the framework for a future UK-EU relationship, and prevents the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 until these steps have been taken.

    This is a hugely significant moment, the House of Lords has come together to show the government that remaining in a customs union is key to the UK's future prosperity.

    Securing this win on a cross-party basis rams home how out of touch the government have been on this issue and that they drastically need to change tack from the destructive hard Brexit they are pursuing.

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