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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

  • Mar 26, 2021:
  • Mar 25, 2021:
    • Coronavirus | Commons debates

      As my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Munira Wilson) said a moment ago, Liberal Democrats will not support the proposals on the table today. We consider the request for extended powers for the period of time to be an overreach-these are powers the Government do not need, and certainly do not need for a period of six months, taking us right into the autumn.

      My great concern is that the Government's default, knee-jerk attempt to seek these draconian powers for a lengthier period is beginning to fit into a pattern. We saw the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in this place just a week or so ago, under which the Government are seeking powers to incarcerate people for up to 10 years if they protest against the Government. We are also seeing reports of the Government wanting to force carers to be vaccinated, when they have done so by choice already. That shows a complete lack of respect and tenderness towards people who have put their lives on the line for this past 12 months and longer to support others in their deepest moment of need. Of course we now have pub landlords being asked to be, in effect, border guards in their own pubs and to check a vaccine passport.

      All this seems to indicate that we have a Conservative party in government that loves talking about liberty until it has to do something about it in practice, and when it comes to dealing with these issues in practice, its instincts are authoritarian. As always, if you care about liberty, you need your Liberals-and so the Liberals are guaranteed to be voting against this draconian set of powers on the table today. It is also worth bearing in mind that I do not think the police are crying out for additional extensions to their powers. What they want is two things: resources and clarity in the guidelines and laws that they do seek to enforce.

      Throughout this pandemic the strictness of the laws has not been the issue; it has been the clarity of the guidance. The Government have very often been contradicting themselves, mixing messages and sending out the wrong messages, as well as not keeping the guidance themselves as individuals and therefore setting a terrifyingly awful lead.

      I want to make just one suggestion. On the road map out of this difficult time that clearly we are all experiencing as a national community, outdoor education has no place whatever. We know when nightclubs are going to open, but outdoor education facilities in my constituency in the lakes and dales, and across the rest of the country, have no date for reopening. The Government are killing off a vital industry that is there to support our young people. Its skills are especially needed at a time like this, when we want to reconnect young people with a love of learning.

      The lack of a date and of bespoke funding is killing off outdoor education. My friend Kirsty Williams, the Minister for Education in Wales, announced just the other day a particular package for outdoor education centres in Wales. There is a package in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Why is there not a bespoke package for outdoor education centres in England today? Today is surely the day for them to do just that.

      It is also worth bearing in mind that as people become able to move in significant numbers, as of next Monday, to beautiful places such as the Lake District, we need-and have needed for some months now-investment in popularising the countryside code. That is so that people know how to behave in beautiful places, how to treat the local residents with respect and how to look after the environment that they have come to enjoy. I am pleased that the Government are, as of the Easter weekend, putting resources into the countryside code. They should have done it nine months ago when we asked them to.

      My final point is about hospitality and tourism businesses beginning to reopen. They will not all be able to open at capacity when they are allowed to. That is why financial support for them must continue until the autumn.

  • Mar 23, 2021:
    • Education After Covid-19 | Battle of Barnet: 550th Anniversary | Westminster Hall debates

      I will start my remarks by focusing upon the plight of our outdoor education centres. I am deeply concerned about them. We know that of the 15,000 people who worked in the sector at the beginning of the pandemic, 6,000 have already lost their jobs, and there will be many more who are freelance workers and who have not been taken on again for the seasons that have been missed.

      There has been a complete drying-up of the market for these outdoor education centres and of course there is no direct bespoke financial package for them either. We should remember that in Scotland and Northern Ireland there has been a specific financial package to help outdoor education centres. The fact that there has not been one in England is a reason why we are losing thousands of staff and beginning to see the closure of such centres.

      On 22 February, which is now more than a month ago, the Prime Minister read out his road map for the unlocking of the country. Lots of things are on that road map-an opening date for nightclubs was on it. That is very good; I am glad it is there. However, there was nothing for outdoor education centres. If, as I do, the Minister speaks to the heads and teachers of primary and secondary schools, he will discover that those heads and teachers throughout primary and secondary education are desperate to be able to confirm, or indeed to book, day sessions and residential sessions at our outdoor education centres, many dozens of which are in Cumbria, especially in my constituency. So, I ask the Minister this: why have he and the Government not added outdoor education centres and their reopening to that road map?

      Will the Minister today do three things? First, will he announce the road map for the reopening of outdoor education centres? Secondly, will he provide a bespoke financial package to keep our outdoor education centres going and the outdoor education industry's head above water, as Scotland and Northern Ireland have done? Thirdly, will he do something truly radical and positive, which is to deploy the talent within our outdoor education centres within schools, to help reconnect our young people with a love of learning, building up the confidence they may have lost during the pandemic and connecting them to education again? Outdoor education centres contain people with exactly the set of skills that we need at this time; the tragedy is that that is exactly the time when this Government are allowing those skills to wither on the vine.

      So, will the Minister do those three things? Will he also pay tribute to the teachers who have made such an outstanding contribution in every part of education over the last 12 months? Many people are reflecting-indeed, we all are-that 12 months has passed since the start of this pandemic. It is right to pay tribute to so many different people who have been public servants throughout that time, but it is also right to focus in particular today on the service provided by our teachers.

      Thinking about what teachers did at the drop of a hat last March-teach remotely from scratch-we see that, throughout the time since, they have cared for the vulnerable and the most needy, very often providing food for them directly out of their own pockets. We have also seen how, at short notice, they provided ways of ensuring that assessments were made when exams were cancelled; we have seen how they went through their school holidays without taking any break whatsoever, in order to get ready for new arrangements, such as covid testing; and we have seen how schools have reopened again, and how they have done so seamlessly and with attendance maintained at such a high level. Teachers have ensured that our young people get the best possible education, in school if they are the children of key workers, and at home by remote teaching.

      Teachers' performance has been outstanding; they are national treasures. On behalf of every parent in my constituency-indeed, I think every parent in the country-I pay tribute to every single one of them.

  • Mar 18, 2021:
  • Mar 17, 2021:
  • Mar 16, 2021:
    • Levelling Up | Commons debates

      During this pandemic South Lakeland has had the biggest increase in unemployment and has the highest proportion of its workforce on furlough of any community in the country, and yet the Government have our community in the bottom priority for levelling-up funding because they are using old pre-pandemic data. The Lake district is Britain's biggest visitor destination outside London, and so if the Government rethink, using accurate data, and choose to invest in the Lakes line, in rural bus routes, in cycling, and in culture and our visitor economy here, they will not just be preventing hardship in our South Lakeland communities but boosting the whole British economy. So will the Minister rethink?

  • Mar 9, 2021:
  • Mar 4, 2021:
  • Mar 3, 2021: