MEP Life- starter for 10

This week has been extraordinary from a political climate perspective and also in terms of the galvanising of thousands of people to step out of their usual lives and stand up to be counted to stop the current Government removing their say.

We need a People’s Parliament; a way for everyone to get their voices heard again. If Parliament is silenced, the people are silenced. We voted for them. They represent us. To suspend Parliament is a blow to the very democracy that Number 10 purports to protect. It was a cowardly act at the very time people need to see their MPs acting on their behalf. However chequered each constituency is in terms of voices, each deserves to have their opinions brought to parliament.

I was at College Green on Wednesday evening and was heartened by the show of support from (almost) every party and all walks of life. There was hope at this point that a legal petition could stop a suspension of parliament and our MEPs supported this move. So far, the work goes on… This week will bring profound changes to the UK. If you haven’t yet signed the petition against Proroguing Parliament do sign here. Still angry? Join us to #StopBrexit

This positive feeling continued throughout the week. Across the whole country people are clearly angry and determined to #StopBrexit and halt the imminent suspension of democracy.

 

My LibDem MEP and MP colleagues have been out speaking to their constituents throughout the past week. I caught up with @ReadingLibDems at the glorious Reading Pride on Saturday where, once again, hundreds of people took #StopBrexit stickers as well as filling out the Brexitometer. 

 

My different roles within the European Parliament mean that I sit on a number of committees and have a role on the EU Delegations to India and Korea. In such a role at the end of the week I met the Indian Foreign Minister, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and had a chance to speak to him about the current situation in Kashmir and Jammu. I challenged him to hold formal investigations into reports of beatings and torture and called on the Foreign Minister to respect and protect the human rights of all Indian citizens in this situation. I hope to meet with representatives from Kashmir next week.

This, as well as the work in the UK, shows me regularly the changes that can happen with collaboration, If we work towards a common purpose. I was elected to #StopBrexit and find common solutions that might be achieved with our closest neighbours. We work better when we work together, when we speak with the voice of many.

This coming week I will be back to work in Brussels on your behalf. Please continue to send me your questions and concerns, I love to hear from you, whatever your views.

Best wishes, Judith

 

 

This is a Climate Emergency, Dirty Air Knows no Borders!

Judith Bunting MEP, in European Parliament, delivering her speech to the European Parliament on Climate Change.

Following her speech in the European Parliament last month, Judith Bunting MEP highlights the case for calling a Climate Emergency.

“Ill health caused by air pollution costs the economy billions in lost working days. Causing 400,000 premature deaths per year in Europe alone, it is currently the number one cause of premature deaths. We need to work smarter, we have the technology to do this and we should embrace that.”

The Government has passed a Net-Zero target for Carbon emissions by 2050 whilst also making chaotic decisions that will undermine this target. They have slashed subsidies for solar power, banned the cheapest form of renewable onshore wind energy generation and ended the ‘Green Deal’, which aimed to improve the energy efficiency of people’s homes. As well as these cuts, there is a policy of pursuing fracking to access fossil fuels throughout Britain, including areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the Weald Basin in the South Downs covering Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Kent, to further compound their policy of supporting expanding the airport provision in one of busiest Airports in Europe, London Heathrow.

TrafficJudith continues, “Unfortunately Dirty Air knows no borders, the problems in the South East will affect the nearby areas of the country and impact the health of the world. We can do better than this and the South East deserves better.”

Judith Bunting calls for a stop to meaningless targets on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and a reversal of the cuts to incentivise a change of approach for each and every citizen. Instead we should adopt meaningful policies, which can make a difference to climate change from day one.

Air pollution from carsThe Liberal Democrats demand better and have set out a way of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. We are fighting for a net-zero EU by 2050 across the 28 member states of the European Union. Dealing with carbon emissions will not only deal with the climate emergency but cut air-pollution, reduce fuel poverty and create thousands of jobs in the renewables sector. These targets can be positive for our health, our economy and the planet.

An eventful week in politics- MEP Life – week 5

MEP Life

They say a week is a long time in politics, well they are not wrong!! From the London march through to two new party leaders, this week was super-eventful. Thanks to all who attended the March for Change in London, the many photos and videos from the day are just brilliant. We must keep up the pressure and be vocal of our need to Stop Brexit.

Jo Swinson, Leader of the Liberal DemocratsMonday saw the Liberal Democrat leadership announcement, with Jo Swinson elected as the first female leader of the party. Jo gave a barnstormer of a speech that was powerful and motivating and she was clear: “I stand here as a candidate for Prime Minister”. 
And if you have any doubts about how realistic this is, take a look at the latest You Gov polls on Westminster voting intention.

Jo’s election continues the LibDem surge and we have seen well over 20,000 new members join us after our successes in both local and European elections. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to join us. This is the fightback for liberal Britain.

Judith Bunting officeArriving back in Brussels I have recorded another MEP Life podcast with Caroline Voaden, where we discussed everything from travel, pollution, elections, and the heatwave. In Brussels, this was a week of committee work. Committee weeks come twice a month and are where the real legislative and policy work gets done. On the Education and Culture committee, the Renew team is currently campaigning to increase the budget for Creative Europe, Erasmus Plus and other educational schemes by 10%. On the Industry and Science committee, I was involved in proposing a visit to the fascinating Chalk River Research Facility in Canada, where they do a lot of good work from which I believe the EU could learn, The suggestion was welcomed and the visit may well go ahead in 2020. 

Outside of committees, our MEP delegation joined colleagues in co-signing a letter to the Polish Prime Minister in response to the attacks on the Pride March in Bialystok, and distribution of ‘LGBT-free zone’ stickers. This goes against the Liberal Democrats fundamental principle of a ‘free, fair and open society’. We firmly believe in tolerance, respect, and anti-discrimination for all.

We also met with the group ‘British in Europe’ and counterpart campaigners, the3million, to talk over what will happen to the 1.3 million Brits currently living in Europe and the 3 million EU citizens living in the UK if Boris Johnson goes ahead with a no deal Brexit. These citizens are our friends, family and neighbours. They set up cross-border families and working lives in good faith, while no one had any thought of the UK leaving Europe. If our government chooses to break that contract, they should receive special dispensation to live as Europeans for the foreseeable future. We also discussed the ‘Denied my vote’ movement is raising money to take the UK government to court over the electoral chaos which surrounded the most recent European elections. They have the lawyers and a great case, now they need the cash.

This week saw the launch of my monthly newsletter, you can sign up here. Other ways to keep in touch are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Podcast, Website, or email.

Thank You for your support.

Thank you, thank you to everyone who voted for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections 2019. You are amazing.

HUGE THANKS
Huge thanks go in particular to the campaigners across the South East of England who bundled, delivered, tweeted, facebooked and put up those fabulous stake boards and posters. With little media coverage, this is what we rely on to get our message out.

RESULTS
The Liberal Democrat vote in the South East of England more than tripled. We elected three MEPs. Please seek us out on social media. You can read about us, here:

ACROSS THE UK
In a fantastic result spread across the UK, Liberal Democrats elected 16 MEPs. Our biggest team ever. This is a clear indication that people want to STOP BREXIT.

REMAIN WON
The papers are parading a Brexit Party victory, but the total vote for all the Remain-leaning parties clearly outweighs UKIP and the Brexit Party.

  • Lib Dems, Greens, SNP, Plaid and Change UK – all backers of a second referendum polled 39.1%.
  • No-dealers, Ukip and the Brexit Party collectively achieved just 33.7%.

It’s not often that I post links to the Daily Telegraph, but it is particularly sweet to read their report on the result: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/05/27/won-uks-european-elections-leave-remain/

Here, in the South East of England, Nigel Farage’s home territory, we held the Brexit Party to four seats only – the same number of seats that UKIP won in 2014. This time, UKIP won no seats. There was no improvement in representation for Leave.

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MEPs
You can find out more about the full Liberal Democrat team across the UK, here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/meps

THIS IS NOT THE END
I will write more in the next day or so, but this is just the beginning. Our campaign to Stop Brexit goes on and will continue until we win a People’s Vote.

JOIN US
If you would like to join the team – please sign up here:
https://www.libdems.org.uk/joining-us

Business leaders clear that Tory policy on Brexit is against wishes of majority

Lib Dem Business policies on Europe vs Tory policies

More than 50 business leaders have backed the Lib Dems as the only party which is “speaking for the majority of Britons” by campaigning to stay in the European single market, saying that the Conservatives policy on Brexit is bad for business, bad for the economy and against the wishes of the majority of Britons

Richard Reed, the co-founder of Innocent Drinks and board member of Britain Stronger in Europe, Dinesh Dhamija, the founder of the Ebookers travel site and the businesswoman Nicola Horlick are among the signatories, calling for Britain to stay in the European single market and customs union.

They have warned, in a letter to The Times, that Britain’s departure from the EU is being run by “hardcore Brexiteers” who have failed to recognise public support for staying in the single market or customs union.

The 53 signatories, who say they intend to vote Lib Dem, include senior players in the investment and IT sectors, two industries that could be hit by a poor Brexit deal. They represent small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) rather than FTSE 100 companies.

“The Conservatives’ failure to even mention a transitional deal threatens Britain’s status as one of the best countries in the world with which to do business,” the letter reads. “While we may not have voted Liberal Democrat in the past and we may not agree with the party on all issues, they are now the only party speaking for business and the majority of Britons on the key issue at this election.”

It comes after the Conservatives scrapped the election tradition of organising a letter signed by business leaders to demonstrate support.

Vince Cable, a Treasury spokesman for the Lib Dems, said: “The Liberal Democrats now have support from a large number of serious figures in the business community showing that we are rapidly emerging as the party of business, big and small. Theresa May’s determination to take us out of the single market would devastate our financial sector while taking us out of the customs union would cause incalculable disruption to our manufacturing sector.”

The full text of the letter is below…

LIB DEMS AND THE SINGLE MARKET

Sir, We represent a broad range of businesses across the UK collectively employing tens of thousands of people. As business leaders and owners, we believe that leaving the single market and the customs union would be destructive to the British economy and to our businesses.

At present, we have full access to a market of 500 million customers and the best and most skilled workers across the EU. If we leave the single market, thousands of businesses would lose their competitive edge.

We cannot stand by while our country’s future is hijacked by hardcore Brexiteers who do not represent the views of the majority. Polls show two thirds of voters believe staying in the single market should be the priority, and three-quarters want EU citizens working in the UK to continue to be allowed to do so.

The Conservatives’ failure to even mention a transitional deal threatens Britain’s status as one of the best countries in the world with which to do business. While we may not have voted Liberal Democrat in the past and we may not agree with the party on all issues, they are now the only party speaking for business and the majority of Britons on the key issue at this election.

The simple fact is that we can’t have both a hard Brexit and a strong economy. We choose a strong economy. That’s why we will be voting for the Liberal Democrats.

David Angell, director, Peter Bennett-Jones, PBJ Management, Roger Billins, director, RB Law Limited, Lee CameronProfessor Chris Bones, chairman, Good Growth Limited, Simon Clement-DaviesGeorge CoelhoJeremy CookSimon Curtis, senior maritime lawyer, Peter Crystal, senior lawyer, Stephen DawsonAlex DaleGuy De Selliers, vice-chairman of group board, Ageas, Dinesh Dhamija, founder, Ebookers, Jay Dias, founder and managing director, Leela Capital, Andrew Dixon, managing director, ARC InterCapital, Craig FletcherJohn Forbes, partner, John Forbes Consulting LLP, Jessica Frankopan, co-founder, Curious Group of Hotels, Kevin Gibson, founder, Hanzo Archives, Stephen Goldstein, chairman, Alexander StevensPeter Guilford, co-founder and executive chairman, G+ Europe, Tony Harris, angel investor, Paul Hennemeyer, managing director, Tom Hogg, chairman, Cheshire Datasystems Limited, Nicola Horlick, CEO, Denmark Square Limited, Leslie Hurst, Melissa Johnson, director, Cheshire Datasystems Limited, Phillip Kerle, co-founder, Tranzacta Ltd, Adam Knight, co-founder and board director, Social & Sustainable Capital, Robert Laurence, CEO, Resolution Property, Paul LucraftTilly McAuliffe, co-founder and non-executive director, Think, Carl Michel, chairman, Firedrop.ai, Turi Munthe, partner, Jo Owen OBE, Tim Parlett, co-founder, Zopa, Mark Petterson, executive director, Warwick Energy Limited, Neil Phoenix MBE, founder, FRICS, Alex Proud, CEO, The Proud Group, Professor Nathu Puri, founder, Purico Group of Companies, Richard Reed, co-founder, Innocent, Mark SainsburyRodney Schwartz, co-founder and CEO, Clearlyso, Rahul Sharma, CEO, Careline Lifestyles, Richard Steer, chairman, Gleeds, Peter Tuvey, managing director, Fleximize, Justin Urquhart-Stewart, co-founder and head of corporate development, Seven Investment Management, Madeleine Weightman, co-founder, The Work Crowd, Ben Whately, co-founder and COO, Memrise, Joseph Zammit-Lucia, CEO, Clinical Insights

Judith Bunting discusses Brexit and local businesses with Catherine Bearder MEP

Judith Bunting, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Newbury, Judith Bunting, welcomed Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder to Newbury on Monday (22nd May) to discuss the future of Newbury’s business sector, with particular reference to leaving the European Union.  

Judith Bunting with local businessman Richard Deal & Catherine Bearder MEP
Judith Bunting with local businessman Richard Deal & Catherine Bearder MEP

Richard Deal, who owns Deal Varney a property management company in Newbury and describes himself as politically neutral, was pleased to have the opportunity to lobby an MEP and to discuss the Liberal Democrat manifesto commitments that will affect the local economy, including the referendum on the terms of Brexit. He told Judith and Catherine:

 Our work here (at Deal Varney) is closely associated with local businesses. If they are succeeding, we will succeed”.

Explaining the Liberal Democrat demand for a second referendum, Catherine Bearder said:

“Contract negotiations often include a cooling off period. That is all the Liberal Democrats are asking for. If the deal the Conservative team negotiates with Brussels is not good enough, the British people deserve an opportunity to change direction of the UK and a vote on whether to Remain within the EU.  

Judith Bunting briefed Catherine Bearder on the local economy and the needs of the local business sector. Referring to the Al Shaqab Lockinge Day meeting at Newbury Racecourse, which she attended on Saturday, she told Catherine Bearder how last year the event drew an audience of 13,000 racegoers into the town. 

Judith Bunting at the Al Shaqab Lockinge Day race meeting
Judith Bunting at the Al Shaqab Lockinge Day meeting at Newbury Racecourse

Judith Bunting said:

We have a diverse economy in Newbury and West Berkshire with major employers such as the racing industry and high tech global businesses. All are dependent on a strong infrastructure whether transport or rural broadband.

“But as well as the need for public infrastructure investment, the role of entrepreneurs and small businesses in delivering a thriving economy is fundamental I believe there is a vital need for access to finance for new businesses, and those wishing to scale up.

“Creating true competition means allowing new businesses to rise and challenge established companies. There are also many well-established small businesses and traders which form the backbone of our local economy in West Berkshire. Our priority in supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses is to ensure that they have access to the funding they need, and in particular long-term capital.”

The Liberal Democrat manifesto for business includes plans to:

  • Expand the activities of the state-owned British Business Bank, enabling it to perform a more central role in the economy by tackling the shortage of equity capital for growing firms and providing long-term capital for medium-sized businesses.
  • Create a new ‘start up allowance’ to help those starting a new business with their living costs in the crucial first weeks of their business
  • Support fast growing businesses seeking to scale up, through the provision of mentoring support.
  • Review business rates to reduce burdens on small firms, and make them the priority for any future business tax cuts.
  • Reform the Regulatory Policy Committee to remove unnecessary regulation, reduce regulatory uncertainty, and support new markets and investment, particularly in low-carbon and resource-efficient innovation.

Find out more about the Lib Dem manifesto commitments here.

Judith Bunting announces Lib Dem plans for funding boost to give children in West Berkshire a brighter future

Judith reading to preschool children
Judith reading to preschool children

This week, at Park House School, Newbury, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate Judith Bunting launched the Liberal Democrat’s manifesto policies for young people and children.

Under the plans, 3-4 year-olds in Newbury and West Berkshire would benefit from Liberal Democrat plans to triple funding for the early years pupil premium, which gives extra cash to nurseries, pre-schools and school receptions when they take on children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The cash would triple the funding to £1,000 per pupil per year – up from £302 in 2015-16.  This will increase the allocation for West Berkshire Council from around £75,000 (£74,591) to £223,773, and will pay for every disadvantaged child who benefits to receive 570 hours of state-funded early education. This forms part of a series of policies the Liberal Democrats are announcing with a focus on giving children and young people a brighter future.

Judith Bunting said: “I was delighted to be able to tell the 6th formers today about key Liberal Democrat policies that will significantly improve the lives of young people.”

These include:

  • Helping people buy their first home for the same cost as renting, with a new model of ‘Rent to Own’ homes
  • Restoring housing benefit for young people
  • Creating a discounted bus pass for 16-21 year olds, giving a 66% discount
  • Introducing votes at 16 for elections and referendums across the UK

As well as:

  • Investing almost £7bn in our schools and colleges
  • Doubling the number of businesses that take apprenticeships
  • Tripling the early years pupil premium
  • Extending free school meals to all primary school students

Judith Bunting added: “We will give children in Newbury and West Berkshire a brighter future, by investing in those from more deprived backgrounds to give them the best possible chance in life.

“This forms part of a package to build a fairer Britain and ensure no child or young person is left behind. Education is at the heart of everything I stand for, as a Liberal Democrat.

“I want the opportunity to help the Liberal Democrats provide a strong opposition to this Conservative government and to give the people of Newbury and West Berkshire a voice in standing up against the cuts to our local schools, hospitals and regional funding.

“A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for a brighter future for people across Newbury and the surrounding area.”  

“Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has let us all down by voting with Theresa May and UKIP on Brexit. “The Liberal Democrats will stand up to Theresa May and give the people the final say on Brexit, with the choice to remain in Europe if they don’t like the deal on offer.”

Lib Dem Judith Bunting unveils manifesto plan to fund more nurses, teachers and police in West Berkshire

The Liberal Democrats have launched their manifesto plans today for a brighter future, with pledges to reverse Conservative cuts and increase funding for the NHS, schools and police.

The Party’s landmark policy would give the people the final say on the Brexit deal which would include the option to remain in the EU.

The Liberal Democrats would put a penny on income tax for health and care, which would raise £8m for the NHS in Newbury and District Clinical Commissioning Group – enough to fund 48 more nurses.

An additional £28,953,046 of funding for schools in West Berkshire paid for in part by reversing Conservative cuts to corporation tax, would be enough to pay for 159 more teachers.

Meanwhile an additional £8.3m funding for Thames Valley Police would pay for 166 more officers, helping to cut crime and ensure a stronger police presence in the area.

Other key policies in the Liberal Democrat manifesto include plans for a £100bn infrastructure fund to build more homes, improve road and rail links and install fibre-optic broadband across the country.

The Liberal Democrats will also give the people a chance to change Britain’s future by holding a referendum on the final Brexit deal, with the option to remain.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Newbury, Judith Bunting said:

“These plans would build a brighter future for people in Newbury and West Berkshire and reverse Conservative cuts to our schools, hospitals and police.

“We want to build a fairer Britain, with good schools and hospitals, a clean environment and an innovative economy.

“You don’t have to accept Theresa May and Nigel Farage’s cold, mean-spirited vision of Britain.

“The Liberal Democrats will stand up to a bad Brexit deal that will cost jobs and put up prices and give you the final say.

“As your Liberal Democrat MP, I will fight for a better deal on Europe, more money for the NHS and schools and a brighter future for Newbury and West Berkshire.” 

Judith Bunting outside West Berkshire Community Hospital
Judith Bunting outside West Berkshire Community Hospital

The Lib Dem Manifesto (and Easy Read, BSL and Braille versions) can be found here.

Judith Bunting voices Brexit fears for West Berkshire

“Many small and medium enterprises do not trade with Europe directly,
but almost all depend on supply chains that in turn depend on the EU.”

image1.JPG

Judith Bunting and Liberal Democrats in Newbury and West Berkshire are calling on the Conservative Government to ensure Britain has full access to the European Single Market when Brexit takes place.

At the recent Liberal Democrat party conference in Brighton, Judith Bunting, Parliamentary Candidate, said:

“The EU is the biggest single market in the world. It will be hugely damaging to our economy and to jobs in West Berkshire if large employers, such as the transport and logistics companies in Greenham and Colthrop, are cut off from the single European market.

“Our MP has now declared his intention to toe the Conservative party line, quoting that glorious, meaningless phrase, “Brexit means Brexit”. Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats believe that putting barriers between UK businesses and our greatest export market would be very damaging to the national economy.”

“The Liberal Democrats are getting more support from businesses across the UK now than ever before, because business leaders understand that we are the only party fighting to get the best deal for the British economy.”

Judith went on: “I want to encourage local businesses, large and small, to talk to me about their Brexit worries and to lobby the government directly about what their business needs from any Brexit deal.

“Many small and medium enterprises do not trade with Europe directly, but almost all depend on supply chains that in turn depend on the EU.

“There is simply no way we can tie up a free trade deal within two years. That means years of uncertainty for British companies and a profound impact on our jobs and our economy. With members of the European Movement and other Remain supporters, we need to keep up the pressure for the Tory government to do the best for Britain.”

To read the full story: http://newburyobserver.co.uk/lib-dem-voices-brexit-fears-for-west-berkshires-economy

 

 

EU cross-party Q&A in Hungerford

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 12.24.23

Answering questions about Europe in Hungerford this evening (Monday 20th June):

Judith Bunting (Liberal Democrat)
Richard Benyon MP (Conservative)
Jonny Roberts (Labour)

Thank you to all who came along to the debate in Hungerford this evening. We were faced with a great set of questions and had at least one clear conversion in the room.

A couple of follow up notes: 

* Re EU borders, new members and Turkey: Yes, Britain has a veto. Accession of any candidate state must be approved unanimously by the Council of the EU, which is made up of representatives from each member state, and ratified by all national parliaments. 

* Re Democracy in the EU. People say the EU is led by people who are unelected, call it a dictatorship, say it’s undemocratic. To build on answers given this evening explaining how this is not the case:

1/ The Council of Europe sits at the top of the tree. It’s members are government ministers from each EU country according to the policy area to be discussed – ie: for us, MPs elected in the UK. In the Council, these government ministers from each EU country meet to discuss, amend and adopt laws, and coordinate policies. The ministers have the authority to commit their governments to the actions agreed on in the meetings.

2/ The European Parliament is the directly-elected EU body with law-making, supervisory, and financial responsibilities – ie: this is where EU law is made, where international agreements are decided, where the people WE elect as MEPs sit to represent us and supervise policy motions that come down from the Council of Europe (see above).

3/ The European Commission: The European Commission proposes new laws, manages some policies and represents the EU in trade agreements. Most staff of the Commission are akin to our civil servants. They number approx 33,000, a group about the size of Birmingham City Council.

The Commission is led by a group of Commissioners, 1 from each EU country, each of whom has responsibility for one area of governance eg Energy, Environment, Trade. Yes, these people are unelected, but a) they are effectively senior civil servants and b) each is appointed by the elected government in the member state. Britain’s current Commissioner is Jonathan Hill, appointed by David Cameron in 2014. He is Commissioner for Financial Stability in the EU and Financial Services.  

If you have a question there wasn’t time to ask, do drop me a line at judithbunting@wbld.org.uk. 

 Phot from Hungerford Lib Dems

This event was hosted by the Stronger IN Campaign