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We are a band of dedicated individuals pledged to keep liberal, democratic values flourishing locally, nationally and internationally; to promote greater equality, environmentalism and to fight for the people of Dudley, Stourbridge and Halesowen. We care about community-based local politics, and we work hard to get individual Liberal Democrats elected to all levels of Government, with a focus on Dudley Council especially. Our aim is to keep in touch with the local communities through residents' surveys and by distributing our local "Focus" leaflets, not just at election time but all year round.

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  • Article: Sep 16, 2020
    By Mark Johnston
  • Article: Sep 16, 2020
    By Mark Johnston

    Extract from Commission president's annual State of the Union speech, 16 September 2020, Brussels. Full version here.

  • Article: Sep 16, 2020
    By Anthony Harris

    Our Remit

    The Federal Finance and Resources Committee (FFRC) is responsible for the budget and finances of the Federal Party and overseeing the administration of the Party. A key element of its role is oversight of compliance with external regulatory bodies.

    Guest Appearance by Geoff Payne (Chair of the Federal Conference Committee)

  • Hero - EU flags
    Article: Sep 15, 2020
    By Mark Johnston

    Due to a combination of factors the Executive has decided to postponed our Annual General Meeting that was due to take place on Saturday 19 September online

    A new date and time, Saturday 24 October at 10am, has been set. Further details will be sent to LDEG members in due course.

    Mark Johnston
    Secretary, on behalf of the Executive Committee
    15 September 2020

  • Article: Sep 15, 2020
    By Lisa Smart and Iain Donaldson

    Last week we officially welcomed our newest member - Director of Strategy, Research and Messaging Mimi Turner.

    Mimi provided for us her perspective on the Party's strategic and campaigning position, as well as an initial summary of what we might do differently in future. There is much to be done but we are excited by the steps the Party is taking to get more Liberal Democrats elected and our newly elected Leader's listening tour.

  • Pen and paper (Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash)
    Article: Sep 15, 2020
    By Mark Johnston

    Nick Hopkinson, our Vice Chair, has written to his MP about the outrageous Internal Market Bill. If you have not already written to your MP, you may wish to use some of Nick's wording and/or adapt it for a letter to your MP. For your ease of reference, your MP's contact details can be found here.

    Dear (name of MP),

    I write to request you oppose the Internal Market Bill which, if passed as it stands, would put the UK in breach of its obligations under international law with regard to the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

    The issue is far bigger than just our relations with the EU.

    Firstly, it undermines the legitimacy of the 2019 General Election and thus the Conservative party's right to be in government. The principal plank of the Conservative manifesto was to "Get Brexit Done" on the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement which Boris Johnson signed and Parliament ratified. Reneging on parts of the Withdrawal Agreement shows there is no "oven-ready deal" which was promised to the electorate.

    Secondly, Article 27 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (signed by the UK) states "A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty." As Baroness Taylor, Chair of the House of Lords Constitution Committee, wrote to Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland on 11 September "Whether that breach is 'specific and limited' or not is irrelevant. Any breach of international law threatens to undermine confidence in future treaty commitments made by the UK Government and increases the likelihood that the governments of other countries will breach their international law obligations (to us)."

    Already US Congressional leaders have said they will not agree a trade deal with us unless we honour in particular the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement. I mention a possible US trade deal not only because of its potential importance to our economy, but also because of the public support you have given a US deal.

    Thirdly, it is patent nonsense for the Government to suggest the Internal Market Bill preserves peace in Northern Ireland and the integrity of the United Kingdom when clearly the opposite would be true.

    It is unacceptable for Parliament to pass laws and for the Government expect we follow them, only for the Government to breach its own legislation. I urge you to stand up for the rule of rule and in particular the removal of the provisions in the Internal Market Bill which are inconsistent with international law.

    I also urge you to press for a prompt and mutually satisfactory conclusion to negotiations with the EU to avoid an even more damaging No Deal Brexit.

    Kind regards,
    Your name
    Your address

  • Article: Sep 14, 2020
    By Mark Johnston

    Leader's speech in 2nd reading debate of UK Internal Market Bill on 14 September 2020

    Full text ex Hansard:

    "I agree with the right hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell): this Bill breaks the rule of law. It is against the national interests, and my party will oppose it. That might not surprise people. We have argued for Britain to work with our European partners at the heart of Europe, but in our opposition to the Bill, I am determined that we represent the views of leave voters as well as remain voters.

    "From the Prime Minister's promise that he had an oven-ready deal to his promise that he wanted a global Britain, this Bill breaks those promises made to leave voters. If the Government were to carry out their threat and breach the international treaty that the Prime Minister himself signed, it is clear that there would be no deal. The oven would not even be opened. If the Government deliberately and intentionally break international law, global Britain's ability to exercise influence in the world would be weaker than at any time since the first half of the 18th century.

    "As the arch Brexiteer and former Conservative party leader Michael Howard said, what message does this send to China, Russia or Iran? What credibility will Britain have in urging other countries to uphold international law if our great Parliament votes for this Bill? What about the future trade deals that Britain so desperately needs as we leave the world's largest single market while trying to recover from covid and this deep recession?

    "Our Prime Minister likes to portray himself as a modern-day Churchill, but Churchill said that the rule of law is part of the "title deeds of freedom". Churchill will turn in his grave if this Bill passes tonight. Let us remember what we teach our children in every school across this country. We teach them about British values of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. This Bill is against the very values that we teach our children about the importance of obeying the law.

    "For a Government to send this law-breaking signal would be appalling at any time, but we are in the middle of a pandemic, and if we are to beat this dreadful virus, people need to obey the law, even when the emergency covid laws were among the most draconian that the British people have faced for centuries. The rule of law has never been more precious to the health of our nation, and yet the Prime Minister has chosen this moment to trash the rule of law. This House must stop him tonight."

  • Article: Sep 14, 2020

    Liberal Democrat MPs have put forward measures to the Internal Market Bill that will remove controversial clauses that breach the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    Respecting the rule of law is fundamental to any self-respecting Government.

    The clauses in question allow the UK to unilaterally scrap "exit summary" forms for goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain, and to apply UK state aid rules in Northern Ireland - contrary to what was agreed with the EU. A third clause seeks to protect the above changes from being considered unlawful.

  • Article: Sep 14, 2020

    I've been a member for many years but like many others, I'd never taken the plunge and dived into conference.

    That all changed last year when I went to the 2019 Lib Dem Party Conference in Bournemouth.

    I didn't know what to expect, but before I knew it, I was meeting fellow Lib Dems from across the country, sharing stories, learning new tricks, and feeling at home with over 3,000 like-minded members who share my values.

  • European flags
    Article: Sep 14, 2020
    By Mark Johnston

    As debate rages over Boris Johnson's Internal Market Bill, some Tory MPs and Brexiters are claiming that law has not been broken yet. This is untrue.

    As the text below shows, both the UK and EU are legally bound to act in good faith throughout the process.

    Moreover this provision in international law was made effective in UK domestic law by European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2018 and in particular Section 7A.