Burkini ban is an attack on individual freedom

The Liberal Democrats have denounced moves in France to ban the burkini, stressing that people must be free to wear what they want.

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Tim Farron's speech to conference rally

Tonight Tim Farron raised the curtain on the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton. 

Here's what he had to say:

At exactly this time, eight days ago in Sheffield, Liberal Democrat activists, including dozens of new members, were working their socks off.

They’d been up delivering and campaigning since before the crack of dawn.

They kept on campaigning until polls closed at 10 o’clock in the Mosborough by election.

Because failure is not an option!

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NHS must fund HIV prevention drug prophylaxis

The HIV preventative drug prophylaxis should be made available on the NHS for high-risk groups including gay men and BAME communities, the Liberal Democrats have urged.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a once-a-day pill that reduces the risk of HIV infection by 86%. In August, the High Court ruled that NHS England could fund the drug. NHS England had argued that because PrEP was preventative it was not its responsibility, and has now said it will appeal against the ruling.

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£60m fund to tackle homelessness

An additional £60 million should be spent on tackling soaring rates of homelessness in the UK, the Liberal Democrats have urged today.

The funding would help local councils tackle homelessness by providing emergency accommodation and intervening early to prevent people losing their homes.

The Liberal Democrats are also calling for a clampdown on rogue landlords who unfairly evict private tenants, through the Renters’ Rights Bill currently going through Parliament.

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Norman Lamb's speech to Autumn Conference

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb will announce plans today for a 'New Beveridge Group' of independent health experts to consider the case for a dedicated NHS and care tax.

Speaking to party members at the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference in Brighton, former health minister Norman Lamb will call for “honesty and straight talking” on the cash crisis facing the health and care sector, raising the possibility of an extra penny on a new dedicated NHS and care tax. The proposal builds on his previous calls for the introduction of a separate health and care tax which would be marked out on people’s payslips.

The expert panel will report its recommendations to the party in six months’ time.

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Tax havens must open up their books by 2017

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that British Overseas Territories such as the British Virgin Islands are given a fixed deadline to end secretive tax arrangements that allow companies to avoid paying billions of pounds of tax.

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Lib Dems call for targeted surveillance not Big Brother

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that the Government end indiscriminate mass surveillance, scrap the failed "Prevent" strategy and introduce a more targeted and effective counter-terrorism policy.

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Growing stronger by the day

"A consistent, positive party"

Siobhan Benita, former Independent Mayoral Candidate, now a Liberal Democrat.Siobhan Benita, independent candidate in the 2012 mayoral election

I’d always felt an affinity with the Liberal Democrats, and when I ran for mayor in 2012, I suggested to Brian Paddick that we join forces, as our manifestos were so similar.

Having worked in the civil service for so long, I had become slightly cynical about political parties, and therefore nervous about joining one, but Brexit was the final ‘stop thinking and actually do it’ moment. I joined the Lib Dems on the day the result was announced.

I had become slightly cynical about political parties, and therefore nervous about joining one, but Brexit was the final ‘stop thinking and actually do it’ moment.

From a party point of view, the Lib Dems were the only ones with a consistent and positive message about EU membership.

And the party’s line now – that we will fight to stay in the EU, or re-enter – is a really important one that no one else is saying.

There were big issues that were underplayed in the run-up to the referendum, such as the fact that the EU had been such a positive force for peace in Europe. I think it was only Tim Farron and Nick Clegg who were trying to say those things, and maybe it wasn’t heard through the awful noise that was the campaign.

The Lib Dems have a fight on their hands but they have won some council seats lately, and – depending on the Labour leadership result – I think there are going to be a lot of centre/centre-left people looking for a longer-term sustainable party.

People are also beginning to realise you need a consistent, robust opposition – a party that is challenging and holding the party to account. Labour isn’t doing that at the moment, so hopefully there’s another way in which the Lib Dems can come through.

So, yes, it might be difficult for a while, but the Lib Dems have already shown they can play a really significant role in this country.

Now is the time to seize the moment.

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Tories must reverse cuts to school budgets not open grammar schools - Farron

Responding to Theresa May's plans for a wave of new grammar schools, Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

"If the Conservatives care about our children's education they should reverse their cuts to school budgets. We need to improve all schools not just let some become grammars. Too many pupils are let down by a divisive system that doesn't work.

"The Conservatives have to stop harking back to a bygone era - grammar schools are not the answer to raising standards in our children's schools." 

Mike Storey, Liberal Democrat Lords Education Spokesperson, added:

“The Conservatives know if they bring forward any legislation for grammar schools we will block it in the Lords.  The Liberal Democrats are the party of education and we believe in opportunity for all.  We believe in an open, tolerant and united society and not the rose tinted view of a few right wing Tories that belongs in another age.”

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PAPER: What does Brexit mean for the UK's trading relationships?

Membership of the EU determines our trading relationship not just with Europe but the rest of the world. Some have claimed that we will be able to strike multiple new trade deals within a matter of months. This paper explains why that view is wrong, and why a transitional agreement is essential to avoid serious damage to the UK economy.

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