February 2012

Sarah's bulletin: 3rd February

Reshuffle  1

Following Chris Huhne’s resignation while he defends himself against criminal charges, I am delighted to be able to congratulate London region MP Ed Davey on being appointed to the cabinet as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. I am also pleased that Norman Lamb becomes a minister with Vince Cable in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and that 2 of our excellent women MPs get promotion, Jo Swinson Parliamentary Private Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg and Jenny Willott as an Assistant Government Whip.

Reshuffle 2

The Times 'save our cyclists' campaign putting important issues in the spotlight

Sarah Ludford has welcomed the launch of a campaign by The Times to ‘save our cyclists’ while noting all the work that Liberal Democrats are already doing to make cycling less dangerous.

 

She has been an active campaigner on road and especially cyclist safety since she was an Islington Councillor, and is supportive of the ‘See me, Save me’ campaign which was started by the mother of Eilidh Cairns who was tragically killed when she was knocked off her bike by a lorry on her way to work in London 2009.    

 

Making London citizens aware of 112 emergency number

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford is reminding people about the existence and importance of the European emergency number 112.

112 is the emergency number common to all 27 EU countries including the UK and can be used to connect to ambulance fire or police services. 74% of Europeans are still unaware of the number despite the fact it has been in existence for more than 20 years.

Saturday 11th February is European 112 Day dedicated to raising awareness of the pan-European number.

Sarah Ludford commented:

Borders, boundaries and bureaucracy

The thesis underlying UK non-participation in the EU's Schengen zone is that as an island state we are better-placed than our partners on the Continent to defend ourselves from border threats through national controls.

It is certainly true than Schengen states - which have abolished border checks between them - do have to rely on effective enforcement by their partners of their portion of the EU's external frontier combined with tighter cross-border police cooperation and exchange of data.

Sarah's bulletin: 10th February

Abu Qatada and the European Court of Human Rights

Theresa May is of course fully entitled to appeal to the ‘Grand Chamber’ of the European Court of Human Rights against the judgment of a division of the court that Abu Qatada cannot be deported to Jordan because of fears that evidence obtained through torture might be used in a trial. If she can convince the Court that there is a real guarantee that would not happen and that he would have a truly fair trial, then I would be as delighted as anyone to see the back of this man. 

Shaker Aamer decade of detention stains Obama record

Sarah attended a rally calling for Guantanamo Bay to be closedCommenting on tomorrow's 10-year anniversary of Shaker Aamer's detention without charge in Guantanamo London MEP and vice-chair of the European Parliament's delegation to the US Sarah Ludford said:

MEPs should tighten own belts

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford is calling for the European Parliament to freeze MEPs' allowances until the end of the legislature in 2014 as well as to seek freezes on travel costs and administrative spending in all EU institutions.

Commenting ahead of tomorrow's vote in the European Parliament on the 'guidelines' for the EU's budget in 2013 Sarah Ludford commented:

"At this time of national austerity the EU's budget also needs to be shaken up to get rid of waste. MEPs must lead the way in tightening our own belts. Freezing our allowances and capping our travel budget at its present level is a good start."

Sarah's bulletin: 17th February

Byelection successes and Sutton's Worcester Park

We are doing pretty well in byelections, and you can see in this article in the Independent, we made three gains in the past month alone, two of these landslide gains from the Conservatives.

MEPs lead EU challenge to Hungarian democratic threat

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed the adoption by the European Parliament today of a resolution condemning the controversial new Hungarian constitution.

Sarah Ludford commented:

"The European Commission and Hungary's fellow EU governments have been slow to act on the blatant erosion of civil liberties in Hungary taking place under Viktor Orban and his right-wing ruling party. They have twiddled their thumbs as Orban misused a two-thirds parliamentary majority in parliament to restrict dissenting journalism suborn independent bodies and entrench discrimination and party hegemony through a highly partisan constitution."

MEPs vote for thrift and single seat

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed the endorsement by a majority of MEPs for the European Parliament to end the 'travelling circus' to Strasbourg in favour of one permanent seat which would be in Brussels.

Voting on EU budget guidelines for 2013 MEPs also decided to freeze their own allowances until mid-2014 and cap their travel budget at its present level in line with their demand that all EU institutions cut their administrative spending.

Sarah Ludford commented:

"MEPs must tighten their own belts. But to ensure taxpayers are getting maximum value for money we need an independent evaluation of the EU budget to point up scope for cuts."

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