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Horsham Liberal Democrats

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Lib Dem Action in the House of Lords (w/c11 July 2016)

July 9, 2016 5:15 PM
By Derek Deedman in House of Lords newsletter

Jenny Randerson is asking Ministers what the Government policy is for determining when a rail franchise has failed to provide the service required and should therefore be terminated. The question follows the announcement by Southern Railway that they have had to cancel 350 services a day.

lan Beith will be asking what recent discussions the Government have had with the governments of the Crown Dependencies about the Dependencies' relationships with other countries and with the European Union.

Roger Roberts is asking the Government what steps they are taking to fulfil their pledge to accept 20,000 refugees from Syria into the United Kingdom by 2020.

And last week….

Looking ahead from Brexit

In a rare two day debate on the outcome of the EU referendum. Over 100 peers spoke including 27 Liberal Democrats. Spokespeople from the Liberal Democrat front bench highlighted the various ways in which Brexit will affect their areas.

Jenny Randerson warned of the various changes needed to our transport infrastructure, she highlighted the new problems facing our rail, air and road networks:

"There is a simple, practical fact about which nobody-no referendum, no decision-can do anything: the continent of Europe, the land mass, stands between us and much of the rest of the world.

"The dream of the Channel Tunnel long predates the European Union, but the tunnel was constructed while Britain was a member and it has been executed and managed with EU membership at the forefront. It is privately financed and privately run by an Anglo-French consortium and its scale is simply enormous-400 trains a day, 50,000 passengers a day and 54,000 tonnes of freight a day. The point is that the British border is in France, and that arrangement has already been placed in doubt."

House of Lords Health Spokesperson Joan Walmsley criticised the Leave campaign saying: "Three hundred and fifty million pounds extra per week for the NHS" was plastered all over the campaign buses and, even though it was frequently pointed out that this could not happen, the leave campaigners cynically waited until after the result reluctantly to admit that it was not true. Where does that leave those who voted leave because they thought it would help the NHS which so desperately needs more funding?"

"It is estimated that 10,000 EU doctors and 52,000 EU nurses are working in our NHS today. What have we heard from the Government ​and from those wishing to lead it about these people? Only that they are to be used as pawns in the negotiations to leave the EU."

Susan Kramer, Treasury Spokesperson, said: "I work a lot with financial technology companies. We are an absolute leader in this area. Young entrepreneurs come from all over Europe to set up in FinTech here in the UK, and they are terrified of the consequences. As the digital single market forms, they cannot afford to be outside it. Berlin is a serious rival to London. They desperately want to stay here, but they are looking at the realities, and funding has dried up for many of them."

Putting Southern back on track?

On Wednesday Navnit Dholakia, former Brighton Councillor and current Sussex resident, asked the Government what assessment they have made of the decision to cut the number of services provided by Southern Rail by 350 trains a day.

Navnit called for the Government to strip the failing company of the franchise .

Navnit told the Minister: "Meltdown", adequately sums up the daily chaos suffered by people on Southern Rail. Fewer, shorter, cancelled or no trains; passengers turfed out of trains; and a complete lack of information-such has been the daily reality in the lives of many people for months, and there is no end in sight.

"Is it not time for him to call Thameslink management to his office and tell them that they are not fit and proper persons to run our railways and that the only thing that should be slashed is their franchise."

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson added: "The beleaguered passengers are being used as hostages in the power struggle between Govia and the RMT. Whatever the Government say at this point, the situation developed because Govia tried to run the franchise with an inadequate number of trained drivers from the start."

Jenny will be asking further questions on Monday to pursue the Government's response to the failing franchise.