Cole-Hamilton presses the government for urgent measures to tackle violence against women

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today repeated his party's calls to establish a commission to tackle violence against women and called for this to deliver recommendations to parliament within a year.

Data shows a significant rise in the reporting of domestic abuse during the lockdown period. According to Government statistics published this summer, there were 33,425 charges reported in 2020-21 which were identified as being related to domestic abuse, the highest number reported since 2015-16. Furthermore, statistics published this week have shown that in 2020-21, 1,045 stalking charges were reported to the COPFS. Of these, 592 were identified as domestic abuse.

In March Scottish Liberal Democrats put forward proposals for an expert commission to prevent violence against women and girls. Responding, Cabinet Secretary Huma Yousaf, said that the Government “would certainly be willing to explore the idea of a commission, with an open mind” and that “a commission might help bring all he strands of work together.”

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Scottish Liberal Democrats vote no to Covid IDs

Speaking as the SNP and Scottish Greens vote to introduce Covid ID cards in Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton condemned the decision and confirmed that his party will continue to campaign for their abolition. 

In his speech in the debate, Mr Cole-Hamilton warned the government that given the potential for those who have been vaccinated to still transmit the virus, vaccine passports would give people a false sense of security 

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: 

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Rennie: Justice Secretary should admit cavalier closures led to tragic M9 deaths

Responding to the Justice Secretary's statement on the M9 crash, Willie Rennie said:

"To use this week of all weeks to claim the centralisation of the police was a “success story” is both insulting and offensive.

"The Chief Constable admitted that for three years the call centre system was unsafe.

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'Commitment to refugees will fail without funding to local councils' Jamie Stone MP

Speaking on an Urgent Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross and spokesperson for Defence today urged the Government to supply proper funding to local councils to support refugees coming to the UK from Afghanistan. 

After speaking in the Chamber, Mr Stone commented:

"It is absolutely crucial that local councils across the whole of the UK are supported as we welcome refugees into our country. We cannot allow for our communities to crack during this time of increased pressure. It's simple, if local councils are not properly funded by the UK Government, the commitment to refugees will fail. This will worst of all affect the most vulnerable in society and ignite a fire for Afghan refugees who only recently escaped the frying pan. 

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Incredible pressures on businesses not helped by absolutist politics - Rennie

Businesses and the Scottish economy are under incredible pressure from the pandemic, much needed climate change reforms and Brexit, according to Willie Rennie MSP, and additional uncertainty added by the absolutist politics of the SNP, Conservative and Green parties will only damage recovery.     

Speaking in a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the Programme for Government this afternoon, the Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson responded to speeches by colleagues on the nationalist and conservative benches which focused on the constitutional debate rather than supporting businesses and aiding recovery. 

In one faux pas, a Conservative MSP claimed that 'Independence would be ten times worse than Brexit', despite her party's positive view of the latter.  

Mr Rennie said: 

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Rennie on the M9 statement: Ministers must apologise

Speaking ahead of the Ministerial Statement, due to be heard in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow, on the tragic M9 crash where John Yuill and Lamara Bell lost their lives six years ago, Willie Rennie MSP said:

“The Scottish Government have a lot to answer for tomorrow.  

“Ministers drove through a rushed centralisation of Scotland’s police service, paying little heed to the concerns of those on the ground. It was evident in yesterday’s judgement that those decisions had consequences.

“Police Scotland were clear that the call handling system in place between 1 April 2013 and 1 March 2016 wasn’t up to the job. That is because centralisation forced experienced staff away from the frontline, to disastrous effect.

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Cole-Hamilton urges emergency recruitment drive to fix broken test and protect system

Responding to today’s Scottish Parliament update from the First Minister, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has urged an emergency recruitment drive to fix the broken Test and Protect system.

Today 5,810 new cases of Covid were reported, 82 more Covid positive people were admitted in intensive care yesterday, and 17 people lost their lives to the virus.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

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Scotland needs new hope, not a new white paper

Responding to the publication of the Programme for Government 2021-22, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole Hamilton MSP said:

“The pages of this programme do not contain hope for a better future for young people, patients or the climate. Instead, it is old hype, reheated and rebadged.

“For the fourth year in a row, Scottish Liberal Democrats have listened to the First Minister promising to bring down waiting times for mental health services. Each year the waits for children, young people and adults increase.

“The further details on a national care service show that term is disingenuous. It is a ministerial power grab.

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Auditor General highlights decade of SNP overpromising and under-delivering

Commenting in response to a blog published by Audit Scotland, where the Auditor General Stephen Boyle reports a “mismatch” in SNP policy delivery, explaining that “audit work consistently shows a major implementation gap between policy ambitions and delivery on the ground”, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:  

“Stephen Boyle’s scathing assessment just about sums up the SNP’s fourteen years in power: over a decade of overpromising and under-delivering.

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Rennie on M9 crash: 'Political decisions have consequences'

Responding to the news that Police Scotland have admitted “corporate criminal liability” for the M9 crash in 2015, Scottish Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie MSP, who has sought answers for the past six years, said:

“Political decisions have consequences. This is one of the darkest.

“The Scottish Government were cavalier about their centralisation of the police, rushing it through despite all the warnings. Experienced staff were replaced with officers from the frontline who didn’t know how the call handling systems worked.

“Six years after John Yuill and Lamara Bell died, Police Scotland now accept that from the very date that forces merged, failures in the call handling system created an unacceptable and long-lasting risk to the public. That ended in tragedy.

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