For detailed policy on any of these issues please see our manifesto at http://www.libdems.org.uk/manifesto
"The Lib Dem manifesto happens to be clever, coherent and costed.... Conservatives should read it with an open mind." The Times, Editorial
What is your position on Fox hunting?
I'm against hunting foxes with dogs for sport. We have dogs and we have had cats and rabbits and guinea pigs too. Even my daughter's Chihuahua 'Bella' agrees that hunting foxes with dogs is wrong. And I agree with Bella.
The Liberal Democrats will work to uphold animal health and welfare across the UK and along side the our EU Single Market area.
During the coalition government, the Liberal Democrats demonstrated their commitment to maintaining the fox hunting ban by resisting Conservative attempts to relax the law.
So, in 2017, rather than reignite the divisive issue of fox hunting, Theresa May should show real leadership and focus instead on the damage and instability that Liam Fox and their UKIP friends would bring to farmers, rural communities and animal welfare standards.
The Tory regressive alliance is showing its teeth with this backward looking measure. Instead, we should be moving forward and changing Britain's future for the better for all - foxes and wild animals included.
Do you care about animal welfare / cats / farm animals
Yes - please see our manifesto section 5.4
Will you support Battersea's call for five year animal cruelty sentences
Yes. This is in our manifesto section 5.4 / page 55
Page 50 of our manifesto says
Our key priority is ensuring British farming remains competitive and doesn’t lose out – refocusing support towards producing healthy food and public benefits.
Many tourist business are small businesses and employ a large number of people in rural areas. Our review of business rates will be important for may tourist business, but so too is our desire to remain members of the Single Market as that allows visa free travel across the EU and into the UK as well as access to multi-lingual EU labour too.
We believe that small businesses play a vital role in maintaining communities and providing local jobs.
We will review business rates to ensure a level playing field between small high street retailers and large warehouses selling via the internet.
Pubs are small businesses too and play a key role in the success and cohesion of local communities. In addition to the review on business rates this is from our manifesto - section 6.9
"A thriving rural community needs local services and community facilities such as schools, public transport, local shops, cultural venues and pubs. It needs enough homes, affordable for local families, to ensure those services are viable. Liberal Democrats understand the changes needed to support a living, working countryside."
See section 2.3 of our manifesto
Continue to promote and invest in the Frontline programme to fast-track exceptional graduates into children’s social work, as well as the Think Ahead scheme aimed at encouraging high-achieving graduates to pursue a career in mental health social work.
We will end the 1% pay cap on public sector workers.
The criminal courts need modernising. There are too many people in prison. Our re-offending rates are terrible and our prisons, many old and squalid, are in crisis – overcrowded and woefully understaffed, with drug abuse, violence, suicide and self-harm endemic. We need reform and have a full package of priorities.
●● Introduce a Victims’ Bill of Rights that will create a single point of contact for
victims in the criminal justice system, increase victims’ access to information
about their cases, and give victims the right to request restorative justice
rather than a prison sentence.
●● Introduce a presumption against short prison sentences and increase the use
of tough, non-custodial punishments including weekend and evening custody,
curfews, community service and GPS tagging.
●● Promote community justice panels and restorative justice that brings victims
and wrongdoers together to resolve conflict, reduce harm and encourage
●● Extend the responsibility of the Youth Justice Board to all offenders under 21,
giving it the power to commission mental-health services.
●● Establish a Women’s Justice Board with a remit to meet the special needs of
●● Transform prisons into places of rehabilitation, recovery, learning and work,
75 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017
with suitable treatment, education or work available to all prisoners; adopt a
holistic approach to prisoners with multiple problems, and ensure that
courses started in custody can be completed on release.
●● Review the investigation, prosecution, procedures and rules of evidence in
cases of sexual and domestic violence.
●● Ensure that trans prisoners are placed in prisons that reflect their gender
identity, rather than their birth gender.
●● Reduce the overrepresentation of individuals from a BAME background at
every stage of the criminal justice system, taking into account the upcoming
recommendations of the Lammy review.
●● Secure further funding for criminal legal aid from sources other than
the taxpayer, including insurance for company directors, and changes to
I do not support Theresa May's Dementia Tax. Instead, we propose an extra 1p on income and dividends to pay for our NHS and social care.
We will also publish a National Wellbeing Strategy which puts better health and wellbeing at the heart of government policy.
On section 2.5 / page 24 of our manifesto we say
"Review the rules for exemption from prescription charges to ensure they are fair to those with long-term conditions and disabilities."
End the scandal of rough sleeping by increasing support for homelessness prevention and adequately funding age-appropriate emergency accommodation and supported housing, while ensuring that all local authorities have at least one provider of the Housing First model of provision for long-term, entrenched homeless people.
Section 6.6 of our manifesto
Section 3 of our manifesto
Our three key priorities are
1. Investing nearly £7 billion extra in our children’s education – increasing school budgets and the Pupil Premium to protect against rising costs
and pupil numbers, and introducing a fairer national funding formula.
2. Investing in high-quality early years education, tripling the Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000.
3. Opposing any new selective schools and giving local authorities proper democratic control over admissions and new schools.
Walking Britain and access to the countryside
Britain’s natural environment is precious. The countryside, wildlife and urban
green spaces are critical to health, wellbeing and a sense of community. The
quality of the environment also underpins key industries such as agriculture and
● Establish a £2 billion flood-prevention fund focused on providing support for
small community and council-led schemes to reduce upstream flooding, and
the knock-on effects in downstream and coastal areas, in addition to
improving flood defences, and introducing high standards for flood resilience
for buildings and infrastructure in flood-risk areas.
● Pass a Nature Act to put the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) on a statutory
footing, set legally binding natural capital targets, including on biodiversity, clean
air and water, and empower the NCC to recommend actions to meet these
● Significantly increase the amount of accessible green space, including
completion of the coastal path, and create a new designation of national
nature parks to protect up to one million acres of accessible green space
valued by local communities.
● Protect and restore England’s lakes, rivers and wetlands, including through
reform of water management and higher water-efficiency standards, and
establish a ‘blue belt’ of protected marine areas.
● Reverse the current sharp decline in the rate of woodland creation by aiming to
plant a tree for every UK citizen over the next 10 years, and protect remaining
● Suspend the use of neonicotinoids until proven that their use in agriculture
does not harm bees or other pollinators.
Wage growth in the UK has been exceptionally low and for the UK to have 3.8m working poor is unacceptable.
The Lib Dems will being by lifting the 1% public sector pay cap and set pay increases at the rate of inflation instead.
However, longer term, we need to grow our economy so that both private and public sector wages can grow. Current 'per head' GDP growth is at 0.1% for the first quarter of 2017 - that is 0.4% annualised.
To change away from the Labour and Conservative built low wage economy we need a transformational approach to our economy. We need to make substantial infrastructure investments, we require government backed banks - British Bank - ready to lend to mid sized firms making long term investments and we need a radical upgrade to our skills and training.
However, firstly, we must avoid the massive economic self harm that would be caused by exiting the Single Market or worse, leaving the EU without a deal.
To protect working people, we will establish an independent review to consult on a genuine living wage across all sectors and commit to pay this wage level for all central government departments.
We establish and promote a 'good employer' kitemark covering areas such as paying a living wage, avoiding unpaid internships and using name-blind recruitment. We will also stamp out abuse of zero-hours contracts.
See section 4.5 of our manifesto for more details.
Rights & Liberties
You can read about our commitment to rights and liberties at section 7.1 of our manifesto.
On a personal note, I describe myself as a Liberal Christian and I am seeking your support to be your representative, not to be your priest, guru or spiritual adviser, for which I do not pretend to be qualified.
For me, the key principle is to treat others as I would wish to be treated myself. So, that is action on refugees whereby Britain takes its fair share of people fleeing the dreadful and appalling Syrian civil war. I also believe that our country must stand up and honour its commitment to accept the 3,000 unaccompanied children that we have already agreed too. I also support wholeheartedly the Lib Dem commitment to end rough sleeping on our streets and to ensure that people living in this country have access to affordable homes too.
As a Christian I am proud to be working with the Lib Dems to reverse the Conservative welfare cuts which hurt the most vulnerable people in our society. In addition, I believe we need a change of direction for our economy such that we no longer have 3.8 million working people living below the poverty line.
I support LGBT rights, gender choice and the rights of same sex marriage. I am pro-choice in that I believe a woman should have the right to decide what happens to her body and be free to make her own choices - subject to the laws that surround abortion.
I support people's right to express their spiritual beliefs in an open and tolerant society as I support that right for people of all beliefs and those of no belief. I support the Lib Dem policy of an Ambassador-level Champion for Freedom of Belief to drive British diplomatic efforts in the field of international freedom of speech.
We believe that everyone should have the freedom to practice their religion in line with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that this should include the wearing of religious symbols.
Whilst I support freedom of speech in an open and tolerant society, I do not support incitement to hatred under any circumstances.
I also believe that all children should have age-appropriate sex and relationship education. This is the only effective way to protect our children in a digitally connected age and all children should receive the same teaching as all children have the same access to online content - regardless of how teachers or parents may attempt to filter or curate content.
Human Rights and Anti-Poverty
We Liberal Democrats are international in outlook and will defend our engagement with the International community on defence and international development spending (2% and 0.7% GDP).
UK international development between 2010 and 2014 has been focused on getting 10 million children into schools and 55 million provided with clean water. In the years to come, we will use this money to continue to expand educational opportunities for the poorest, provide clean water and small scale loans to enable enterprise to flourish as well as set the goal to eradicate FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) within a generation.
I have friends who took their own lives and that's why I'm willing to stand up for mental health services and local action to save lives.
We are willing to hold Mr Trump to account even if Mrs May is not for the damage he seeks to do to our planet and the crucial international agreement to cut emissions.
We are the 'greenest' of all the major parties and our three key objections (see section 5 of our manifesto) are
● Ensuring that four million properties receive insulation retrofits by 2022, prioritising fuel-poor households.
● Preventing 40,000 deaths a year with our Air Quality Plan to reduce air pollution.
● Ensuring British farming remains competitive and doesn’t lose out – refocusing support towards producing healthy food and
Ageing and loneliness
Ageing well is an essential part of a civilised society. However, the UK now has some of the highest levels of loneliness, made worse by the way we build our towns and cities.
There are three things we should do - firstly, build the support for older people via organisations such as Age UK, rapidly develop self-driving cars so that older people do not become isolated when they can no longer drive and thirdly, we must focus on building suitable high quality homes close to infrastructure, communities and village / town centres where older people can live well whilst having close access to all facilities.