Statement regarding Covid-19

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.

LGBT+ History Month

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  • In 2003, Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey successfully repealed section 28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.

Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, LGBT+ Adviser (right) and Callum Robertson, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesman for Clacton (left)

Thank you

I want to take a moment to say a massive thank you to the people of Clacton, Frinton and Walton, who chose to go out and support me to be our MP.

Unfortunately, we did not make it this time, but that is not to say that we did badly.

In the 2014 Clacton by-election, we came fifth with 1.3%, this was improved slightly in 2015 where we got 1.8%, but still came fifth.

In 2017, we came fourth with 2%. But in 2019, we held our deposit, with 5.8% and came third, our best result for ten years and a sign that we can begin to rebuild in Clacton, Frinton and Walton.

So now, the fightback needs to begin with 5 years of hard work before the next election.

Why I’m backing eco-initiatives, article

Recently, as the Lib Dem Candidate for Clacton, I outlined my plans for tackling the Climate Emergency through practical action.

My six point plan to tackle the climate crisis addresses the need for national, international and local action.

  • Plant 60 million trees
  • Invest in another Green Investment Bank to replicate the success of the first under Lib Dem Climate Minister, Sir Ed Davey MP
  • Improve recycling rates in Tendring by working with other local authorities to utilise economies of scale
  • Cut back on my personal usage of private vehicles (preferring public transport instead)
  • Cut Carbon omissions to net zero by 2045
  • Continue my pro-bono legal work with Extinction Rebellion, ensuring people are not criminalised for fighting the climate crisis

Check out the article here

Standing up against library closures!

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.

Speaking at the (very cold) rally in front of 1000 people
With Cllr Andy Woods and Keith Pitkin, campaigning to stop our libraries being shut

More than just a political party; we have fun too!

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]

Bridging the divide: how to make our community prosper

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.