Parliament has voted to hold a general election on 12th December. We will be going to the polls in a little over 6 weeks.
Commenting, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Colin Green said "I would have preferred a People's Vote as the best way to solve Brexit. But Labour and Conservative MPs blocked this every time it has come to parliament. So I welcome a general election. It is the next best way to give you the chance to decide what we do next.
"I want to stop Brexit because of the damage it will do to jobs and to the NHS. I want the people to have another say on Brexit because the promises made about Brexit cannot be kept. The Tories want to deliver Brexit knowing the harm it will do to the country. Labour want to negotiate their own Brexit.
"Voting for Lib Dem MPs on 12th December will help put a stop to Brexit, so we can concentrate on tackling the Climate Emergency, the Housing Crisis and protecting our NHS."
Our health and social health services are at crisis point. It is a credit to our NHS staff that they continue to care for millions of us every year.
Healthcare is getting less reliable. Waiting times have increased, staff feel undervalued, patient care is suffering. Mental health under-funding is failing those who need support.
Many EU doctors and nurses have left Britain because of Brexit. We now have a staff shortage that is affecting patient care. Brexit also threatens medicine shortages and delays to key treatments.
The Lib Dems have a plan for getting the NHS back on its feet. Putting a penny on income tax will help fund social care, reverse cuts to public health, and invest in mental health.
We would welcome back doctors and nurses from EU countries. Then we would set up a cross-party commission to develop a long term plan for integrating a healthcare service fit for the next decade and beyond.
There is a desperate shortage of socially rented housing in Birmingham. Thousands of local people live in overcrowded homes, with no hope of being re-housed.
We have homeless residents living for months in temporary accommodation, sometimes outside the City. Its time more than token action was taken.
The right to buy has gradually sold off council houses. The majority of those have ended up in the private rented sector and are no longer available at social rents.
The Thatcher government took all the money from council house sales, replacement social housing was never built.
The Lib Dems want to suspend the right to buy until more houses are built. We want 100,000 social houses a year to be built, with Birmingham getting its fair share. Housing is the most basic human need. Too little has been done about it for too long. We will lobby the government hard until it allows us to get our houses built.
There is no Brexit that will be good for our country. Not a Deal, not no-deal. The promises of Brexit have been broken.
We’ve called for a second referendum for years, so you can choose whether to continue or not. The Conservatives refused a referendum. Labour insisted on a general election instead, then on a general election first. We’re running out of time but still want you to have your say. So we will fight their election on a simple platform. A Lib Dem majority government will revoke Article 50 on day one. Brexit will just stop.
A Tory no deal or Labour deal will mean Brexit negotiations will carry on for years. A Lib Dem majority will make it stop.
Local campaigner Colin Green has been reselected to contest Birmingham Edgbaston at the next election. Not only is Brexit damaging Britain directly, the Brexit crisis in parliament is stopping anything else being done. To stop this mess, we need to change our MPs.
Colin Green’s Top 3 priorities
The UK has 3 million more households than it has houses. People are forced to share houses, or to live in temporary accommodation. Housing costs are being driven up because demand exceeds supply. We must build decent, affordable homes to house everyone.
The threat of climate change is growing, but tackling it needn’t mean hair shirts and cold houses. Britain is able to live sustainably, but we need to get on with it. The switch to electric cars will reduce CO2 and improve air quality. We just need to build the charging points and renewable energy sources to make it happen. The Lib Dems care about the environment enough to get on and do it.
Brexit is not just damaging jobs, trade and our reputation. It’s stopping anything else being done. This Tory civil war over Europe has stopped the government working to solve the nations problems. The Lib Dems comfortably defeated both Labour and Conservatives in the euro elections.
With the parties being so close together in the polls since then, the Lib Dems could be the biggest party in the next government. As a voter in Birmingham Edgbaston, you could help make that happen.
Stunning results from the EU elections in May show that the Lib Dems won the vote in Harborne and Edgbaston wards. We finished in second place across the whole constituency too.
Lib Dems won a record 16 MEPs across the country, including Phil Bennion here in the West Midlands. Nationally, the Lib Dems finished in second place, with more MEPs than Labour and Conservative combined.
The Lib Dem’s message was clear: Stop Brexit
Labour’s contradictory message tried to offer everything to everyone and failed. The Tories seemed to offer nothing to no-one and succeeded. Both parties have lost the support of the public, both at the election and in polling since.
Where the Tories have divided our country, we must bring it back together. Where Labour have dithered on the future of our country, we will remain clear. Brexit is no longer the will of the people. It’s promises cannot be delivered. It will continue to harm us.
We will continue to fight for a second referendum to prove that remaining in the EU is the will of the people. Then we will stop Brexit. If you want that too, join us.
Lib Dem councillors led the way in getting the council to take action on hate. In the light of recent events at schools and mosques, we got the council to adopt the APPG definition of Islamophobia:
Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.
Birmingham is a city of many communities, nationalities and faiths but we all have one thing in common. We are all Birmingham citizens and we all deserve respect.
No community should live in fear and no community should feel singled out and victimised.
We won agreement that the council undertakes a Community Cohesion Strategy to ensure that people from every community can live free from discrimination and able to speak out against intolerance whenever they see it.
On the 3rd of May Birmingham will elect a whole new council. It will run the city for 4 years. The Lib Dems have a plan to fix the councils failings. Failure to empty the bins, failure to clean the streets, failure to spend our money effectively. Download our manifesto here for more details.
Summary - 14 to Fix
1/ Clean up our city – we will reverse cuts to street cleaning, ensuring that crews work with local communities to build pride in neighbourhoods.
2/ Clean up our city - We will set targets for prosecuting flytippers, providing the necessary resources, until the problem is dealt with, and incentivising householders to use legal means to dispose of bulky waste
3/ Green up our city – we will set and meet demanding recycling targets, bringing levels past the 2012 achievement of 30% and significantly beyond the present 23%
4/ Make our city safer – we will work with the police authorities to enhance the role of PCSOs and restore neighbourhood policing teams based in communities We will fight for sufficient funding for police services.
5/ Provide basic services – we will reform the waste collection services bringing In external partners and increasing community influence on how the service is delivered,
6/ Build our communities – we will put serious financial power and power to make change in the hands of local communities.
7/ Build our communities - We will ensure that land that is available for housing gets housing, meeting demanding targets for new homes.
8/ Make our city happier – we will reverse cuts to parks budgets, placing them at the heart of our communities
9/ Make our city happier – we will ensure that nobody needs to sleep rough on the streets of our city
10/ Strengthen support for families – we will provide the support needed to keep families together when they are let down by the housing sector, getting tough on poor private landlords and ending the need to use bed and breakfast for those who lose their homes. We will fight for sufficient funding for schools and social services.
11/ Strengthen support for families – We will fight for sufficient funding for schools and social services.
12/ Build our communities – we will take the necessary steps to ensure that bereaved families in Birmingham have ready access to non-invasive CT scanning.
13/ A city that works – we will keep the city moving, improving the quality of road maintenance and pressing for the introduction of a Brummie bus ticket.
14/ A city that works – we will support high quality apprenticeships and training.
The Labour Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for the West Midlands is proposing to close 24 buildings across the force area to save some £5 million a year in ongoing costs. The closure list includes Harborne police station, but other buildings closed in Birmingham include Quinton and Edgbaston.
One big impact would be on our Neighbourhood Policing Team. The police station on Rose Road is the base for our Neighbourhood Police Team. It's closure would mean they will either have to travel in from Bournville Police Station or find another nearer base. One suggestion in the PCC's paper is that they could co-locate with fire stations - in our case the nearest is Woodgate Valley. This would clearly be better than Bournville, but would still mean wasted time at the start and end of each shift, getting to and from the fire station.
We believe in the importance of our Neighbourhood Police Team. The Lib Dems led a debate in Full Council calling on the Government to increase funding in Neighbourhood Policing. Our motion was passed following a minor amendment.
Neighbourhood Policing survived the post crash cuts in reasonable shape for many years, but the past couple of years have seen significantly increased demands on police time, coupled with further cuts from the Conservative Government. It's a tough situation, but we believe closing our police station, without having already identified a new base, in Harborne, for our Neighbourhood Police Team, would be a major mistake. The Lib Dems are committed to protecting and increasing the role of the Neighbourhood Policing Teams in our city.
The Lib Dems have drawn up a plan to help the growing number of people who are sleeping rough in Birmingham. Local campaigner Colin Green said “To tackle rough sleeping properly, we need to know the real extent of the problem. Council claims that during their recent count only found 57 rough sleepers across the Birmingham seem too low. Anyone can see this is not the case and doesn’t included the thousands of hidden homeless who are sofa surfing or in temporary accommodation.”