HMPPS, the responsible body for public prisons in England and Wales responded today to a letter from the Howard League CEO Francis Crook detailing the contingency plans they have laid out in response to the declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
As Chair of Liberal Democrats for Penal Reform, I am relieved that HMPPS are recognising the potential for Prisons to act as inadvertent breeding grounds for the virus to spread.
I am however, concerned about the lack of reference regarding protection of prisoners’ civil liberties and the knock on impact on the welfare of wider society.
The Liberal Democrats have a proud history of standing up for the rights of the LGBT+ community.
A timeline of events
In the 1970’s, we began to campaign for equal treatment
In 1991 we began to campaign for an equal age of consent
In 2003, Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey successfully repealed section 28
In 2010-15 coalition, the Liberal Democrats passed the Equal Marriage Act
With our fantastic record on LGBT+ rights in mind, it was therefore a pleasure to invite Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, an Adviser to the Liberal Democrats on equality issues, to Essex to hear him speak about Trans rights and mental health.
The callous plans by Conservative run Essex County Council to shut libraries, cutting nearly 1 million people off from a free educational resource, need to be stopped
That is why I have been active in the anti-library cut campaign, speaking at the Save Our Libraries Rally in Chelmsford, as well as delivering leaflets in Clacton to help raise awareness about the issue.
Please see this article about how I want to bridge the divide between leave voters and remain voters and help us fix the mess our politics is in, to allow us to focus on the problems like poverty, job insecurity and climate change that really matter.
The Lib Dems work hard for Clacton, our local team in Burrsville came just 42 votes off winning in 2019 and Clacton North Cllr Andy Woods works really hard.
However, we are not always about serious politics, we have lovely fundraising dinners which are really good and family friendly. If you want to come along or come to one of our Lib Dem pints at a local pub, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]
Clacton is a great place, there are few that have a character quite like it. However, it is also a place that has great wealth that goes alongside worryingly high unemployment rates and deprivation.
However, we need to be a community that is resilient, this is why I was brilliantly impressed when I read about this in the news. I have also been privileged to work with the Essex Law Clinic to provide free legal advice in Clacton. But the goodwill of volunteers isn’t enough.
We need large scale investment in our town, for example, we can apply to the European Regional Development Fund to get a project in Clacton like the ones that received millions of pounds in Cornwall, they transformed local communities with jobs programs, new businesses and up-skilled people.
The Economist and former Lib Dem leader, Sir Vince Cable, has written extensively about up-skilling. This is where we don’t just fund university places for young people, but help people gain new skills so they can change careers or adapt to new working environments.
With Clacton, this would be transformative in helping regenerate the community and create jobs for the local area and the people who live here.