Speaking at the count following her shock victory in the Richmond Park by-election, newly elected MP Sarah Olney said:
"Let me start by thanking the other candidates for a hard-fought campaign – and to Zac Goldsmith in particular, I wish you well and assure you that I will continue your fight against the expansion of Heathrow.
"I also would like to thank the returning officer, the staff that have worked so hard today and yesterday and of course the police. I want to thank my amazing campaign team led by James Lillis and the thousands of volunteers who have taken time to support me over the course of the campaign. I want to thank my family and friends for the wonderful support they’ve given me – particularly my husband Ben and our children. I want to thank our leader Tim Farron, and all the other party members who could not have been more supportive. And I'd like to thank the Greens, More United, the Women's Equality Party and all the other people beyond the Lib Dems who have supported me in this campaign.
"A year and a half ago, I wasn’t involved in politics. I wasn’t a member of a political party. I’d never been involved in a political campaign. I’d never thought about being a politician. But I knew I was a Liberal – I believed in openness, tolerance, compassion, working with our neighbours at home and around the world – and when I saw what happened at the General Election and I felt I had to get involved.
"I think a lot of people in this community had the same feeling this summer. Richmond Park is full of people like me who felt that something was going wrong. That the politics of anger and division were on the rise. That the liberal, tolerant values we took for granted were under threat. We were seeing the UKIP vision for Britain in the ascendancy – intolerant, backward-looking, divisive; just as we see it in America and across Europe.
"Well today we have said no. We will defend the Britain we love. We will stand up for the open, tolerant, united Britain that we believe in. The people of Richmond Park and North Kingston have sent a shockwave through this Conservative Brexit Government. And our message is clear: we do not want a ‘hard Brexit’; we do not want to be pulled out of the Single Market; and we will not let intolerance, division and fear win."
Nobody loves rule-makers, but despite the grumbles the UK had a good deal from the EU on financial services.
Ask the French, they say we always got what we wanted and if I’m allowed to blow my own trumpet, we did.
Now there is uncertainty stalking everything.
Following Lib Dem pressure to help renters afford a home and reduce upfront costs, the Government has announced a ban on letting fees for tenants in the Autumn Statement.
Liberal Democrat Peer Olly Grender has been promoting the campaign and is the author of the Renters’ Rights Bill, which was debated just five days ago in Parliament.
The Bill calls for:
- A ban on letting fees for tenants
- Public access to a database of rogue landlords
- Compulsory electrical safety checks for renters
- A ban on rogue landlords obtaining an HMO licence
Tom Brake MP has been supporting the Bill and has himself sponsored an Early Day Motion calling for fees to be banned.
Liberal Democrat Councillors across the country have been pushing for renting reform, with successful council motions passed in support of the Renters’ Rights Bill in Hull and Haringey.
Commenting on news of the ban, Baroness Olly Grender said:
This is a Government that is just about managing. The official figures have revealed a £220 billion Brexit black hole- hundreds of billions taken out of our economy when we need it most. Given how bad the outlook is, it’s no wonder the Chancellor doesn’t want to have to do another Autumn Statement.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the ground-breaking BBC film Cathy Come Home, the gripping and controversial 1966 film about poverty and homelessness.
Nick Clegg explores possible approaches that the Government could take towards EU negotiations.
In his fourth Brexit Challenge paper, Nick Clegg sets out the challenges facing the Government on Freedom of Movement.
Earlier this month, I was delighted to welcome 20 young, bright campaigners here to the Parliament to protect their rights to live, study and work abroad.