Lib Dems discuss plan for building a federal UK

The Scottish Liberal Democrat spring conference has today discussed a new report entitled Federalism: Still the best future for Scotland, outlining a series of radical proposals for reforming the United Kingdom and how the party will work with others to fix the union.

The report outlines five steps to a federal union:

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Carmichael: Scots Tories are preparing to go backwards

Responding to Douglas Ross' speech this morning declaring that he is in charge of the Scottish Conservative election campaign, not the PM, Scottish Liberal Democrat campaign chair Alistair Carmichael MP said:

“The idea that the Douglas Ross tail is going to way the Boris Johnson dog is laughable. He nominated Johnson to be party leader. He got his own job because Boris Johnson wanted him in post. He even switched sides on Brexit to match Boris Johnson.

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Davey: Independence is Brexit 2.0

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey has today used an address to the party's virtual spring conference to criticise the Conservatives and SNP and warn that independence would be Brexit 2.0

Ed Davey said:

"Brexit is already the disaster we said it would be - with huge costs for business.  

"From the record increase in red tape hitting our exporters to the loss of the Erasmus scheme, Boris Johnson’s Conservative Government’s response to the worst economic downturn in 300 years is - to make it more difficult to trade. More difficult to do business. More difficult to keep your job. The Tories seem determined to make us smaller, poorer and more isolated... 

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Scottish Liberal Democrats unveil new plan for business and fair work

The Scottish Liberal Democrat spring conference has today adopted a package of proposals designed to boost the economy and help Scotland to put the recovery from the pandemic first, with a focus on skills and long-term career advice, new graduate placements with small businesses, new retraining grants for people who need them, and enabling more employee and community ownership of businesses.  

The conference voted to adopt the policy paper Business and Employment – Now and for the Future, authored by economy and fair work spokesperson Katy Gordon, which notes “The serious costs borne by all in society, but particularly by the young, during the pandemic” and sets out a twenty-point plan for putting recovery first, including:  

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Rennie: Indyref2 threatens to divert resources away from those who need them

Responding to comments from Ian Blackford saying another independence referendum could take place in 2021, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

"Another independence referendum will do nothing for the hundreds of thousands of people whose operations have been cancelled, or the children whose education has been disrupted.

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It shouldn't take a vote of no confidence to make the Government act on OECD education report

Speaking after he pressed the First Minister to release the OECD report into Scottish education, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

"It should not take a threat to the job of the Deputy First Minister before the Government complies with the will of parliament once again.

"It’s been two weeks since the parliament voted for the OECD education report to be published. The First Minister said we should judge her on her record on education but that can’t be done if such an important report is hidden from the voters at the election.

"The Government already has the report, but the Deputy First Minister has still not released it. The First Minister’s belligerence in the parliament on this matter will not aid the debate on the future of our education system.

 

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Carmichael welcomes end to US tariffs on Scottish whisky

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has welcomed news that the United States will end retaliatory tariffs imposed on Scottish whisky, which have cost the industry as much as £500m and lowered US exports by 35% since they were first imposed in 2019. The Biden administration has agreed to lower the 25% tariffs for four months ahead of wider negotiations with the EU. The drop in tariffs also applies to other products including cheese, pork and cashmere.

Commenting on the news Mr Carmichael said:

“It may be a good time for us all to raise a glass to President Biden! US tariffs have caused distillers enormous harm since they were imposed by Donald Trump in 2019 and so a respite is welcome. It is vital that the Government uses the negotiating time that they have to ensure that tariffs are not renewed in the future.

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Cole-Hamilton comments on First Minister's evidence session

Speaking after the First Minister's appearance at today's harassment inquiry, Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

“The answers from the First Minister on the handling of the identity of complainers, the offer of assistance to Alex Salmond and the separation of party and government business were concerning.

“The failure of the government to engage in timely and full disclosure of important evidence has frustrated the inquiry.  In fact, five minutes after the end of the session today, the government released more information that the committee asked for months ago. 

 

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Budget: Crushed hopes for small businesses

Christine Jardine MP, Treasury Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, reacted to the budget:

“Small businesses across the country remain on the brink, while millions of workers remain excluded from Government support altogether.

"Small businesses were looking to the Chancellor to give them a lifeline - something to give them hope of getting through the next few months. Instead for many, the Chancellors paltry proposals for small business support will have crushed those hopes.

 

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“I’m in-awe-cculated!” Stone receives the vaccine.

Jamie Stone, Highlands MP, was this afternoon called to receive the first dose of the vaccine against Covid-19. The MP was overjoyed to receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, administered by NHS staff at the Tain Health Centre.

 

After receiving the vaccine, Mr Stone commented:

 

“When I received the call from my local health centre inviting me to come and be vaccinated, I couldn’t book my appointment fast enough. I am in awe at the efficiency of NHS professionals when it comes to administering these jags. My experience was pleasant, quick, and painless. 

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