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  • Article: May 27, 2020

    Responding to the First Minister's announcement that testing and tracing will restart on Thursday, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

    "The expectations for test and protect system are very high.

    "It will need to be fully operational on day one this week as we start the easing of the lockdown.

  • Article: May 26, 2020

    Responding to the announcement of plans to restart jury trials in Scotland by July, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice Liam McArthur MSP said:

    "Safe and socially distant jury trials have always been a possibility, and I'm glad to see that they are soon going to be a reality.

    "Juries are a key pillar of Scotland's justice system, and Liberal Democrats opposed the Scottish Government's ill-thought through plans for their abolition from the outset. We also recognise the harm caused by ongoing delays.

  • Article: May 26, 2020

    Commenting on Douglas Ross' resignation as a Scotland Office minister, Scottish Liberal Democrat constitutional relations spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

    "The volume of correspondence that I have had from constituents appalled at Dominic Cummings has been unprecedented.

    "Douglas Ross has done the honourable thing. Now Jackson Carlaw should join him in calling for Cummings to be sacked. He has utterly undermined the government's public health message while my constituents have missed birthdays, illnesses and funerals by staying home and doing the right thing.

  • Article: May 21, 2020

    Responding to the First Minister's statement outlining how lockdown will be lifted in Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

    "The possibility of the country being in different phases for different activities at the same time will need careful and clear explanation if we are to avoid confusion and risk increasing the spread of the virus. The First Minister suggests we could be in phase two for work but phase four for schools and phase three for getting around. That might confuse many people.

  • Article: May 21, 2020

    Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has today pressed the First Minister to agree to publish the number of Covid-19 tests being carried out in each local health board area.

    In response to the First Minister's statement today, Mr McArthur asked the First Minister to agree to share local testing figures, in the interests of transparency and building public confidence in the decisions being made as restrictions start to be eased.

  • Article: May 20, 2020

    Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, as new official figures show 73,780 EU nationals living in Scotland have not been granted permanent Settled Status to remain in the UK.

    Pointing to the contribution of EU nationals working in the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine urged the Government to "show its own support for the people's heroes by extending the right to remain to all EU and foreign nationals, many of whom are fighting for our lives."

    Of the 173,090 EU nationals across Scotland who have applied for permanent residency, only 97,710 have been granted settled status.

    14,410 EU nationals living in Scotland have applied to the Home Office scheme but are still waiting for a final decision to be made. Another 59,370 have been given only temporary Pre-Settled Status, meaning they will have to reapply within five years or be forced to leave the UK.

    Although the Home Office has announced a one-year visa extensions for certain health and care staff, the Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support for their campaign to give all health and social care workers on the frontline of this crisis indefinite leave to remain.

    Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

    "The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat. NHS staff, social care workers and other health professionals are putting themselves in harm's way each and every day to keep us safe.

    "The Government has a chance to show its own support for the people's heroes by extending the right to remain to all EU and foreign nationals, many of whom are fighting for our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic."

  • Article: May 20, 2020

    The Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of risking public safety and warned "everyone deserves equal representation, including those who are shielding and those with family responsibilities."

    Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael MP raised these concerns with the Leader of the House, Jacob Ree-Mogg, having secured an Urgent Question in Parliament today.

    Speaking via Zoom from Orkney, the Liberal Democrat MP accepted "none of us are blind to the inadequacies of online scrutiny," but added "if it is a choice between that and putting the safety of members, their families and the staff of this House at risk then that is no choice at all."

    In response, despite MPs taking part in debates and ask questions via Zoom over the last few weeks, Jacob Ree-Mogg rejected the call to allow MPs to work from home and refused to acknowledge any of the concerns raised.

    Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said:

    "Tens of thousands of people have already died during this pandemic. To protect vulnerable people, we should all follow public health advice and work from home when we can. We must set the right example.

    "It is an insult to those who have suffered and died for Jacob Rees-Mogg to suggest that MPs should put their communities at risk by traveling hundreds of miles to London each week for the whims of the Government.

    "Parliament has demonstrated in recent weeks that we can scrutinise the Government while working from home and ensure communities across the United Kingdom have their voices heard. Everyone deserves equal representation, including those who are shielding and those with family responsibilities.

    "We should instead be looking at how we can retain the best features of the virtual system to ensure safe and equal representation for every part of the UK. The Government must think again."

    The Liberal Democrats have also submitted proposals to make remote voting as a permanent alternative to physical voting to the House of Commons Procedure Select Committee's inquiry on procedure under coronavirus restrictions.

  • Article: May 20, 2020

    The Government has announced today that it will issue a special honours list in Autumn, following Jamie Stone's calls to the Prime Minister asking for an additional honours round to celebrate coronavirus heroes.

    In his initial letter, Jamie Stone made it clear that any honours round must go alongside an independent review of the salaries paid to those working on on the frontlines of the crisis. Despite taking up the idea to introduce an honours round, the Prime Minister has not announced a salary review for key workers.

    Responding to the announcement, Jamie Stone said:

    "It is great to see the Prime Minister has listened to the calls to officially recognise the bravery of our Coronavirus heroes this autumn.

    "However, these honours cannot ever be a substitute for properly paying those working on the frontline. There must be a full and thorough review of the pay and conditions for all NHS and care staff when the pandemic is over.

    "Without a salary review, this honours list will face accusations of gesture politics. The Prime Minister must put his showmanship to one side and allow a review into the pay of health and care staff - it is the very least he can do."

  • Article: May 19, 2020

    The Scottish Liberal Democrats have today called on the Scottish Government to begin publishing a daily breakdown of coronavirus testing numbers by key sector, as is being done in countries such a Cyprus, and by local area.

    The government in Cyprus publishes daily statistics broken down by testing setting/group and identifies how many of each type of test were positive. This includes information about the number of tests and cases identified via the tracing regime, and in some key sectors such as construction.

  • Article: May 18, 2020

    Speaking ahead of the First Minister setting out plans on how to ease the lockdown in Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

    "As we ease the lockdown, I urge the First Minister to prioritise those suffering most at home, in isolation or trapped in hospital. We need to be cautious but, as the First Minister acknowledged, we can't remain locked in our own homes until a vaccine or cure arrives as that may be a very long time yet.