Local Lib Dems campaign to save Weston’s A&E

It has been over a year since overnight services were closed at Weston General Hospital A&E. Funding cuts by the Conservative Government have led to the overnight closure of A&E services, meaning patients have to travel to Bristol to receive care.

Local Lib Dems joined a protest march in the center of Weston last Saturday, together with Labour and Green activists and NHS staff, to raise awareness of the issue and call for action to save local NHS services.

John Penrose, Weston’s Tory MP, was noticeable by his absence, having refused an invitation to join the rally.


Lib Dem Leader lends support to Save Weston A&E campaign

The campaign to protect Weston-super-Mare’s Accident and Emergency unit and reinstate overnight services received a boost on the first anniversary of overnight closure this week.

Liberal Democrat Leader, Sir Vince Cable, has given his support to local campaigners fighting NHS cuts.

Sir Vince said: “The overnight closure of Weston-super-Mare’s emergency unit is another symptom of the crisis in our NHS. Every day seems to bring yet more bad news about the state of the health service, and patients are paying the price.

“Despite talk of the fictional Brexit dividend, Ministers have no idea how they will fund the NHS to the extent top NHS officials tell us is necessary. It’s time to give the NHS and social care the extra cash desperately needed by putting a penny on income tax.”

Councillor Mike Bell, the Lib Dem Leader on North Somerset Council, and a leading member of the ‘Protect Our NHS’ campaign group, said: “It’s great to get Vince Cable’s support for the fight we are making.

“But more important than politicians, is the support of members of the public who want to get our A&E open 24 hours a day again. We’ve got a protest march and rally taking place on Saturday 7th July, started at noon in the Italian Gardens in Weston. Please come along and show your support.”

The Protect Our NHS campaign group will hold a candlelit vigil at the hospital on July 4 at 9.30pm – a year to the day since Weston Area Health NHS Trust introduced the ‘temporary’ measure.

The department has been closed from 10pm-8am every night since, with hospital bosses saying it would be unsafe to run a 24-hour service due to staffing shortages. Recruitment of consultant and middle-grade doctors is ongoing and no date for a return to around-the-clock emergency care in Weston has been announced.

Protect Our NHS will also hold a picnic on the beach near the Grand Pier on July 5 at 5.30pm to mark the NHS’ 70th birthday. Cake and games will be provided.

And it has organised a march and rally to start at the Italian Gardens at noon on July 7.

Weston and the villages are in the grips of a housing crisis, say local Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democract Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Weston-super-Mare, Worle and surrounding villages is supporting plans announced this week by Vince Cable to tackle the housing crisis in Britain.

Patrick Keating said “Successive Governments have failed to address the housing challenge and have made it worse. Today the Lib Dems have announced plans to tackle the crisis. It won’t be easy but we want to build a fair, free and open society.”

The Liberal Democrat plan for tackling the housing crisis includes :

  • A programme of large-scale affordable housing. Of the 300,000 new homes a year, at least 50,000 should be social rented housing, rising to 100,000 a year as soon as we can. Our ambition should be to build 500,000 homes a year in total within the next few years.
  • A big expansion in ‘rent to own’. Housing associations would build properties for occupiers to pay a market-level rent. The additional margin would yield the occupier an increasing stake in the property over time. Variants of this model are already in use in Liberal Democrat controlled local authorities like Eastleigh, and these just show the capacity of local government to step up to the plate and tackle housing affordability head-on.
  • A new, arms-length body that will be empowered by law to acquire land of low amenity and market value through compulsory acquisition and build houses available for five-year rentals which could be converted into freehold acquisitions with a mortgage.
  • Raising quality, safety and environmental standards in existing residential properties. Liberal Democrats have detailed plans for a zero carbon Britain by 2050, and the existing – as well as new – housing stock is at the heart of it.
  • Ending exploitative, greedy, negligent or neglectful practices in the private sector, which give the majority of good landlords a bad name. Measures include a publicly available database of rogue landlords; capping upfront deposit and banning letting agencies’ fees for tenants.
  • Strengthening the sanctions for leaving homes empty, with fiscal measures to incentivise domestic use. For example, increasing the 200% council tax on homes deliberately left empty to 500%.

Blagdon resident and Lib Dem prospective MP Patrick Keating said:

“While it is clear that new homes will have to be built, the Tory run North Somerset Council is failing to deliver a proper housing policy that is fit for purpose in the town and the villages.

Uncontrolled development in rural areas will have a negative impact on the unique character of villages such as Churchill and Blagdon, while failing to invest in infrastructure will put additional pressure on schools, GPs and already congested roads. We have seen the council fail to listen to the concerns of Churchill residents about the major new development in their village.

Across the county, the Council allows new house building to take place without considering affordability while there are too many people in both the town and the rural areas who cannot afford to buy their own home.”

Local resident and Lib Dem Campaigner for North Worle Alan Rice said:

“I have long campaigned for an improvement for tenants living in the private sector. Conditions in some houses are so bad that tenants suffer from things such as illnesses and mental health issues. Too often greedy letting agencies are abusing the tenants.”

Liberal Democrat Councillors on North Somerset Council will continue to fight for a fit for purpose housing policy that will ensure that enough affordable homes are made available where they are needed, the rights of tenants are protected and the views of local residents are taken into account.

Liberal Democrats select new Parliamentary Candidate for Weston super Mare, Worle and the villages.

Weston super Mare Liberal Democrats have selected local resident Patrick Keating as their prospective parliamentary candidate for the next general election.

Patrick lives in Blagdon with his wife Lindsay and dogs Junior and Monty. Is a strong believer in community action Patrick is a trustee of the Community Council for Somerset which provides services to rural communities across the county and is a non-parent governor of a local primary School.

A life-long supporter of the Liberal Democrat vision of an open, tolerant and united Britain, Patrick was pushed into action the morning after the Brexit referendum. “The morning after the EU referendum, I thought – did I do enough to fight for what I believe in? So I took action and joined the only party that is fighting to protect Britain’s place in Europe and give the people the final say on the Brexit deal – the Liberal Democrats.”

Two years after having joined the Party, Patrick is now the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Weston super Mare constituency, and will hoping to stand for the at the next North Somerset County Council elections to ensure local residents views and concerns are heard in the council chamber.

Weston-super-Mare Liberal Democrat Chairman Cllr Ray Armstrong said “As a local resident living in the Weston Constituency, I and the local party are looking forward to working with Patrick so that’s Weston, Worle and surrounding villages voice is heard locally and nationally.”

Patrick said: “I am delighted to have been selected to fight the next General Election for the Liberal Democrats. It will be a big challenge, but the Conservative Government is failing the residents of Weston and the villages as the economy and public services are suffering as a result of their policies.”

“The Liberal Democrats have been invigorated by a surge in new members who are passionate about our vision for an open, tolerant and united UK. I encourage anyone thinking about joining to do so, and for new members to get active however they can, whether that’s simply helping with leafletting or standing for the upcoming local council elections. It all makes a huge difference to our community!”

Patrick currently works in public affairs and policy for a multinational car manufacturing company. Working in the automotive industry, and having lived and worked across Europe, Patrick knows first-hand the dangers the Conservative’s hard Brexit poses to jobs and prosperity in the South West of England, as well as the future and opportunities of young people.

Patrick is passionate about the community, and will fight to ensure that the people of Weston, Worle and the villages have access to the services they need and that local business can thrive.

Liberal Democrat Candidate for Weston slams Tory Government over not listening to local business such as Airbus.

Local resident and recently appointed Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Weston-super-Mare, Worle and surrounding villages said a Tory Hard Brexit will mean local job losses as Airbus plans a move away from UK.

Today, Airbus has announced that the Tory government’s failure to provide clarity on the UK’s trading relationship with the EU means that it is seriously considering closing its UK operations.

Many of the aerospace company’s 3,000 employees at its Bristol factory live in the Weston super Mare area and Brexit job losses at Airbus and its suppliers will seriously impact families and businesses across the South West of England.

Patrick Keating, Liberal Democrat Prospective MP for Weston, Worle and the villages said: “The government’s reckless approach to the Brexit negotiations, failure to listen to business and pursuit of a damaging hard Brexit will have a real impact of the livelihoods of people in Weston and surrounding area. Only the Liberal Democrats are fighting for an Exit from Brexit and to give the people the final say on the Brexit deal.”

Meanwhile, the Conservative MP for Weston super Mare, John Penrose has joined Jacob Rees Mogg and other hard Brexit supporters to pursue a damaging hard Brexit. And Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party have failed to provide an effective opposition to the Government’s damaging Brexit plans.

Tell your MP the UK needs to stay in the Customs Union

On Thursday, MPs will be voting on a motion call on the UK to stay in the Customs Union after Brexit. Staying in the Customs Union would support manufacturing business that rely on frictionless access to European customers and suppliers, ensure our farmers are not hit by tariffs on their exports and importantly protect the Irish peace process by avoiding the need to impose a hard border across the island or Ireland.

We need MPs from all parties to vote in favour of this motion – this will send a strong signal to government that we do not want a damaging hard Brexit.

Please the template letter below to send an email to your MP asking them to vote in favour of staying in the Customs Union this Thursday:


Dear [your local MP, who can be found here]

On Thursday you will have a chance to vote on a motion for the UK to stay in the EU customs union after Brexit. I am emailing you now to ask you to vote in favour of this motion on my behalf.

The first and most important reason why we need to be in the customs union is to protect our industry. As I’m sure you are aware, the CBI has made a strong case for our continued membership, with Carolyn Fairbairn making the case that such a relationship is a ‘practical, real-world answer’ that is best for jobs, wages and living standards after the transition period ends. The purpose of a customs union is to remove tariffs between countries and so cut administrative burdens as goods move across borders, which is why the CBI is so supportive.

Some of the largest employers in the region, including Honda and Airbus have made clear that membership of the customs union is essential to their business.

The customs union is also vital for the many food and farming businesses that our economy depends on. Outside the customs union our farmers would be faced with paying the external tariffs on the huge proportion of the exports that go to other European countries. When margins are so tight and competition so fierce this is likely to mean the end of many farm livelihoods. I am entirely unconvinced that this trade can be replaced by trade with Australia or Argentina, both because of the additional costs associated with transport to distant markets and because many of the countries that the government proposed trade deals with are already major food exporters.

Finally, we have the question of the Irish peace process. I am sure you agree that the achievement of peace in the island of Ireland should not be put at risk by the process of Brexit. Staying in the customs union would considerably ease the issue of the Irish border. Brussels has made clear that it is entirely unconvinced by the so-called technical solution proposed by the government and that this will mean the need for a hard border unless the UK stays in the customs union.

Please do not be distracted by the argument over whether it should be the existing customs union or a new but similar arrangement. It is clear that for Brussels to agree such an arrangement the UK would be required to meet the conditions of the customs union as it currently exists: a bespoke deal is simply not on the table.

I am emailing you now to ask you to have the courage to vote for a strong future for your constituency and our national economy. Please have the courage to vote for the UK to stay a part of the customs union on Thursday.

[Be sure to add your name and address so your MP knows you are a constituent]