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Tim Farron's Recent Appearances in Parliament

Tim Farron speaking on unaccompanied refugees (Liberal Democrat Newswire)Content supplied and updated by theyworkforyou.com

  • Dec 13, 2018:
  • Dec 12, 2018:
  • Dec 11, 2018:
    • NHS: Staffing Levels | Cat Welfare | Westminster Hall debates

      The hon. Lady is being generous. Does she agree that the problem with the recruitment and retention of staff also stretches to our mental health services? In Cumbria, three years ago, the Government promised a specialist one-to-one eating disorder service for young people, which has yet to be delivered. Does she agree that it is not good enough for the Government to make promises that they cannot deliver because they cannot recruit the staff?

    • Support for the High Street | Oral Answers to Questions - Treasury | Commons debates

      Some 51,000 shops on the UK's high streets closed in the past year. Local businesses in even successful places such as Kendal and Windermere struggle because they are forced to pay huge taxes while mega-online retailers get away with paying next to no tax at all. Will the Chancellor give a well-deserved Christmas present to the high street by halving business rates there paid for by taxing internet firms on the basis of their turnover, not just their profits?

  • Dec 10, 2018:
    • New Homes | Housing, Communities and Local Government | Commons debates

      Will the Minister meet me to discuss funding new affordable homes in rural communities such as mine in Cumbria by allowing councils to increase council tax on second homes? Excessive second home ownership robs our communities of a permanent population. A second homes tax could help to fund affordable homes for local families and keep our communities alive.

  • Dec 5, 2018:
    • [2nd Allotted Day] | Immigration (Time Limit on Detention) | Commons debates

      I totally agree with my hon. Friend. The damage that it would do to our economy would be utterly immense.

      If the Prime Minister's deal is passed, it kicks the can down the road for a number of years, and we carry on talking about Brexit into the foreseeable future. It traps the UK into EU rules, but with no say over what those rules are. It is the absolute opposite, then, of taking back control. Millions of those who voted leave would feel that they had been betrayed. Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland backstop seriously threatens the future of the Union, and every family and every business in this country will be hit by our exit from the single market. If Members think that we should honour the wishes of the British people, they cannot vote for this deal. If they think that we should protect the interests of the British people, they cannot vote for this deal.

      Option two, which we have already covered, is that we leave with no deal. The upside of that is that we would-to use the vernacular-take back control. We would not be bound by EU rules or judgments, but the hit to our economy would mean that what sovereignty we would regain from the EU, we would lose immediately to the international financial markets, with all the impact that that would have on my constituents and the constituents of every other Member. There are already 2,200 children living below the poverty line in my community. I will not vote for any course of action that puts even one more child or one more family, let alone thousands more, in poverty. That is why I will vote against no deal.

      A third option is that the Prime Minister has the courage of her convictions and puts the deal to the country in a referendum. Let us not kid ourselves: like most referendums, a referendum on the deal-a people's vote-has the capacity to be divisive. However, I disagree with the right hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Sir Michael Fallon), as I believe that it would be decisive. Whichever option was chosen by the people would come into effect without further debate or delay.

      Option four might be an early general election. There are 2,700 hours until Brexit. The country will not forgive us if we waste 1,000 of those hours on a self-indulgent general election. The same applies to option five, which is that the Prime Minister is sacked as the leader of her party. Again, that would be seen as the actions of the self-indulgent, the vain and the personally ambitious-the very antithesis of the national interest.

      A sixth option is to withdraw article 50 and to renegotiate. As the right hon. Member for Putney (Justine Greening) said earlier, we leapt from the aircraft when we triggered article 50 without checking whether we had a parachute, and we are now within a few metres of hitting the ground with a great big splat. There is now a miraculous option to get back in the plane. We could withdraw article 50 and allow the Prime Minister to renegotiate a better deal, which she certainly could do if she changed her red lines. She could, for instance, seek membership of the single market, which is not dissimilar to the arrangement that Norway enjoys. The Prime Minister's decision to rule out the single market was an entirely arbitrary and self-imposed choice made not to reflect the will of the people, but to placate the European Research Group in her own party. It should now be crystal clear to her that those folks are unplacatable, so she should instead seek to find a consensus with people who might be a little more reasonable.

      I am a reasonable man. I am no EU flag-waving federalist, no apologist for all that emanates from Brussels, I do not have "Ode to Joy" as my ringtone, I do not know a single word of Esperanto, and, in 2008, I resigned from the Front Bench over the Lisbon treaty, but I have never been more convinced that Britain's future must lie in Europe and that to leave would be a tragic, tragic mistake. I do not have time to go into all the reasons, but given that the focus of today's debate is security, let us remember that 11 of the countries in the European Union today were once behind the iron curtain. Six of those countries had nuclear weapons on their soil pointed right at this city. Just as the nations that fought two bloody wars in the 20th century sit together, so do those from either side of the cold war divide. If that was the only reason for staying in the European Union, that would do for me. How short must memory be to cast that away?

      I spend a lot more time in Westmorland than I do in Westminster, so last night I listened to my constituents and did my sums to find out how people in my communities think we should vote in this debate. Here are the votes of the Westmorland jury: 3.5% want us to leave with no deal; 10% want us to leave with the Prime Minister's deal; 17% want us to remain in the EU without a people's vote; and 68% want a people's vote.

      After taking the time to listen to people's motives, it is clear to me that many of those who want a people's vote hold a similar view to me-that referendums are poisonous and dangerous. If we did not see another referendum for the rest of our lives, it would be far too soon. Nevertheless, we cannot let what began with democracy end with a Whitehall-Westminster-Brussels stich-up. If the people voted for our departure, they must also have the right to vote for our destination, and to choose a better destination than the one that the Prime Minister presents to them, if they consider it not to be good enough.

      This deal fails all its own internal tests. It would mean that we were run by European rules but without any ability to have a say over them, which would make us poorer, weaker and less safe. It would divide our Union, so it would make us less British. I love my country, so I will reject any deal that harms it. I reject no deal and this bad deal. There are better options; the Prime Minister should take them.

    • [2nd Allotted Day] | Immigration (Time Limit on Detention) | Commons debates

      In this crisis, there are many temptations to find someone other than ourselves to blame, to say "I told you so", to exploit the situation for personal ambition, or to cry betrayal. We need to resist those temptations. Indeed, we need to act in the national interest. We are on a short 100-day journey to no deal, but there are turnings that we could take off this dangerous road, which would otherwise lead us to doing a Thelma and Louise on 29 March.

      I admire the Prime Minister for many things. She and I coped well together as we toured the working men's clubs of North West Durham in 1992, on our way to being crushed by Baroness Hilary Armstrong. Then, as now, I was impressed by the Prime Minister's fortitude in the face of certain defeat. The one thing that I do not really admire her for is her attempt to hoodwink the British people into thinking that the only choice that we have in this vote is between a bad deal and no deal. She knows that that is not true, and to keep repeating it is beneath her.

      We have six options. None of them is great, but some are better than others. First, we can accept the PM's deal, which kicks the can down the road and keeps us thinking and talking about Brexit for many years to come.

  • Dec 4, 2018:
    • Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools | Westminster Hall debates

      It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Stringer. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Layla Moran) on securing this vital debate.

      Early intervention and preventive work on mental health are massively important and schools play a colossal part in it. Fifty per cent. of mental health problems in adult life take root before the age of 14; 10% of schoolchildren today have a diagnosable mental illness, which means that in an average class of 30 young people three will be living with a mental health condition. That is three children in every class. Stress about exams, fear of failure, concern about body image, bullying, and the crushing weight of the aspirations and expectations of materialism have a huge impact on people's mental health. Unchecked, those concerns can spiral into acute long-term mental illnesses that will lead to serious problems all the way through adulthood.

      The Prime Minister characterised the colossal failure to treat mental health conditions as a "burning injustice", but that is an injustice that the Government have failed to fight in practice. There are few things more frustrating than a Government who speak the right political language in a debate but fail to deliver. Investment in preventive measures and early intervention has only got worse in recent years. Councils' public health budgets, which include funding for school nurses and tier 1 mental health services, have been reduced by £600 million between 2015 and the present. In my constituency central Government cuts to the public health budget mean that the NHS in Cumbria currently spends only £75,000 a year on tier 1 mental health preventive care. That is just 75p per child per year. In 2015 the coalition Government agreed to allocate Cumbria £25 million a year in public health money. Now it gets only £18 million a year. That is a £7 million cut-a huge proportion. It is not just unacceptable; it is an insult. As a direct result, we no longer have any school nurses directly attached to schools anywhere in the county.

      Alongside the situation I have described, there are additional pressures. Many young people with special and additional needs are at greater risk of acquiring mental health difficulties. We have a special educational needs funding system that punishes schools that take children with additional needs and rewards those that do not fulfil their responsibility; so the system compounds the difficulties. Like the rest of the hon. Members present, I get letters in my postbag about many issues of great emotional significance. They weigh heavily on all MPs as we seek to help people out of difficult situations. However, nothing keeps me awake at night like the plight of young people with mental health conditions. I have noticed in recent years that the volume of my case load taken up by that issue has rocketed. We are clearly a society that breeds poor mental health.

      I am proud of the young people in Cumbria with whom I have worked and who are determined to fight for better mental health provision for themselves and their friends. In my constituency, for example, CAMHS was not available at the weekend or after school hours in south Cumbria until our community ran a campaign and forced local health bosses to change that. What an outrage that we had to fight for those changes. Alongside a focus on the provision of timely, top-quality treatment, there needs to be a focus on preventive care. That is why 2,500 mostly young people in my constituency signed the petition that I shall soon present to the House, calling for a mental health worker to be allocated to every school in Cumbria, so that we can manage to prevent problems before they arise and get out of control.

      Perhaps the biggest single issue affecting young people's mental health is eating disorders. In South Lakeland, three quarters of children reporting with an eating disorder are not seen within the target time of a month. Not a single one of those children presenting with an urgent need is seen within the target time of one week. The most appalling aspect of the situation is not just those statistics but the fact that the number of children they represent is 15 in a year. That is utter nonsense. I deal with at least one new eating disorder case among young people every single week in my constituency. Children are clearly slipping through the loopholes and are not being pushed into the system. As the hon. Member for York Central (Rachael Maskell) said, they are told that they have to come back when they are more sick as they have not yet lost sufficient weight to enter the system. That is an outrage. In 2016, the Government promised Cumbria a specialist one-to-one eating disorder service, and it has failed to materialise. Wonderful people work in CAMHS, but they do not have the support that they desperately need. As others have said, young people's mental health is the crisis of our age. It needs more than platitudes; it needs real action, and it needs it now.

  • Nov 30, 2018:
  • Nov 29, 2018:
  • Nov 27, 2018:
    • Public Health Funding (Local Authorities) | Health and Social Care | Commons debates

      The underfunding of public health in Cumbria means that the NHS spends only 75p per child per year on preventive mental health care. Added to that, over three quarters of young people with eating disorders are not seen within the target time of a month, and in the event that they are seen, there is no specialist one-to-one eating disorder service to see them, despite the Government promising three years ago that there would be. Will the Minister meet me and our local NHS so that we can get a better deal for our young people on all three of these points?

  • Nov 20, 2018:
    • Road Safety and the Legal Framework - [Mr Clive Betts in the Chair] | Westminster Hall debates

      The hon. Lady is making an extremely good set of points. I represent an area where walking, road running, horse riding and cycling are probably even more prominent than in the rest of the country. Since 2014, when action was first mooted, 1,800 people have died on the roads from all four of those categories and others as well. Does the hon. Lady agree that it is time to stop navel-contemplating and to start acting to protect people's lives?

  • Nov 19, 2018: