Political

Lib Dems withholding support on tier system amid Tory rebellion

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A party press release brings the news…

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has slammed the Government for failing to build a plan to “bring the virus under control and keep people safe” and warned that Ministers must address growing concerns before his Party can vote for the new system.

In a letter to the Prime Minister ahead of the vote on the new measures in Parliament, the Liberal Democrat leader made clear that “without the assurances the public need” the Liberal Democrats “cannot in all conscience vote for this plan.”

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Prime Minister to first address a series of concerns before the party’s MPs will vote for a new system. They include:

  • Full release of the scientific evidence underpinning the tier system, including economic and health impact assessments.
  • An ongoing commitment that tier decisions and local rules will be made in partnership with local authorities, and subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.
  • A new approach to the failed test, trace and isolate system that partners properly with local authorities on tracing, and provides proper incentives for people to isolate, to keep people safe and prevent new surges.
  • Urgent financial support for pubs, including removing the requirement for alcohol sales to be accompanied by a substantial meal in outdoor areas.
  • A clearer exit route from tiering with a comprehensive strategy to roll out a vaccine.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

As it stands, we cannot in all conscience vote for this unsafe plan. The Government has failed once again to put together a plan to bring the virus under control and keep people safe.

The new tier system is arbitrary, confused and chaotic and the Government has failed yet again to deliver the test, trace and isolate strategy to beat this virus and end this pandemic.

Boris Johnson’s incompetence is now clear for all to see – with his failure to engage local authorities, failure to explain the criteria for the tiers and failure to communicate with the public and keep our trust.

What the country needs is a transparent system of local restrictions, an exit plan with a comprehensive strategy to roll out vaccines and a test, trace and isolate system that works.

Time and time again, the Government has squandered the sacrifices the British people have made through Ministers’ unbelievable incompetence.

Full text of Ed Davey’s letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

The country is desperate to get life back to normal, particularly given how much has already been sacrificed.

For months, Liberal Democrats have been urging the Government to get to grips with test, trace and isolate and deliver what has been continually promised. Getting that right is the best hope we have until a vaccine is ready, but Ministers have been far too slow to ramp up testing, have failed to work properly and consistently with local authorities on tracing and have been utterly lamentable in implementing a workable scheme to encourage people to isolate.

Moreover, given less than 50% of people understood the rules last time, it is clear you and your Ministers have again failed to put together a plan to bring the virus under control and keep people safe.

The new tier system that you are putting before Parliament is arbitrary, confused and chaotic. It has been created without proper engagement with local authorities while the criteria for the tiers has lost the trust of the country.

For the Liberal Democrats to continue to support Government restrictions – as up till now we have throughout the pandemic – we need to see:-

  • Full release of the scientific evidence underpinning the tier system, including economic and health impact assessments.
  • An ongoing commitment that tier decisions and local rules will be made in partnership with local authorities, and subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.
  • A new approach to the failed test, trace and isolate system, that partners properly with local authorities on tracing, and provides proper incentives for people to isolate, to keep people safe and prevent new surges.
  • Urgent financial support for pubs, including removing the requirement for alcohol sales to be accompanied by a substantial meal in outdoor areas.
  • A clearer exit route from tiering with a comprehensive strategy to roll out a vaccine.

I look forward to your response.

Ed Davey
Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Update: tweets from the night of the vote

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2 responses to “Lib Dems withholding support on tier system amid Tory rebellion”

  1. This is excellent information Mark. It’s a pity the Party does not regularly send briefings to their members explaining their position and the reasons for it.

  2. But, by the Lib Dems and Labour not voting against thay allowed this unsafe plan to be approved.
    The Brexit Government could have been defeated if those who had abstained had voted against, thus forcing Boris to present a new plan taking into account all the concerns the Lib Dems have.

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