Neil Darby

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Ingol & Tanterton Learn more

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Improving mental health in schools

by Layla Moran on Sat, 15 Dec 2018

A toxic combination of exams, which needlessly heap pressure onto pupils from a young age; unhealthy competition between schools, leaving teachers dreading the next Ofsted inspection; and funding cuts which mean numbers of school nurses have been reduced, is having devastating consequences.

The NSPCC say the number of schools seeking help from mental health services is rising and on average, 183 children a day are referred to NHS child and adolescent mental health services.

Children shouldn't be made to feel a failure because of exams

Among teachers, studies have shown 75% of the UK’s education professionals suffered from either mental or physical health issues in the last two years due to work. 

It is no wonder we have such problems of retention and recruitment in the profession, with talented teachers being driven out of the jobs they love.

We cannot hope to deliver the excellent education children deserve, or a work environment which nurtures teacher’s passion for their jobs, without radical reforms to testing, inspection and funding.

I know that tests can be helpful. I used to set them all the time! The problem is how many exams have unnecessarily high stakes attached.

Children shouldn’t be made to feel a failure because their talents and learning style are not best reflected when sitting in silence, reiterating a bunch of facts they’ve learnt by heart.  

I am proud that our Party is committed to scrapping SATS – removing some of these pressures on young pupils.

Tests also unhelpfully absorb the focus of teachers and school leaders. They know the school’s position in league tables, and in some cases even their own jobs, depend on how well pupils perform. Fear of the next Ofsted inspection is part of the same problem.

Teachers should be giving their classes a broad and balanced education. This does not just mean literacy and numeracy – as important as these are! We must trust that teachers know how to do this, rather than reducing them to teaching to endless tests.

Parents have a right to information, but league tables and inspections should reflect all a school has to offer – not just test scores. They should include pastoral care and how well they look after the well being of teachers and pupils.

Our Party would radically reform both league tables and inspections – including scrapping the discredited Ofsted model altogether.

Far, far too many children and young people still wait a very long time for care

Of course, while prevention and early intervention are vital, when a young person needs mental health care, we must ensure it is provided. In the NHS, despite promises of extra funding, not enough has materialised. Far, far too many children and young people still wait a very long time for care, if they access any at all.

This is simply not good enough. The Government have warm words on this issue, but we need much more – both in resourcing for schools and the NHS, and ambitious reforms to the culture in our schools.

For our Party this issue will always be a priority and we will continue to demand better for teachers and pupils

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Looking back on 2018

by Vince Cable on Sat, 15 Dec 2018

Two years ago Brexit seemed inevitable. Now, with 117 Conservative MPs unable even to support the Prime Minister as Conservative leader, it is hard to see how she can get any version of her deal through when the Commons returns in January. 

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Chaos and Crisis

by Jo Swinson on Fri, 14 Dec 2018

Brexit is a national embarrassment

The Prime Minister pulled her Brexit vote; but if that wasn’t bad enough her MPs’ leadership challenge also spoke volumes: Conservative MPs can change their minds, but the British people cannot!

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8 Brexit Bungles

by Liberal Democrats on Fri, 14 Dec 2018

1. Theresa May rules out revoking Article 50

The European Court of Justice rules that No Brexit is an option but Theresa May blindly ploughs ahead with her broken deal. We were given the option to get out of this mess and Theresa May turned it down.

Only by having a People's Vote will Theresa May listen and cancel Brexit before it's too late.

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Renters' Rights Victory!

by Olly Grender on Thu, 13 Dec 2018

Prohibition isn't working

by Norman Lamb on Wed, 12 Dec 2018

Brexit Vote Delayed

by Tom Brake on Mon, 10 Dec 2018

The Government is in absolute chaos. We are closer than ever to securing a People’s Vote on Brexit, thanks to your hard work and support.

Today Theresa May was forced into an embarrassing delay of her Brexit vote. She knew she was going lose by a huge margin. She is running scared.

It’s a huge moment, and it has been driven by Liberal Democrats.

I would like to thank everyone who has supported our campaign. All of you who have lobbied MPs, knocked on doors, shared our message online and offline – you’re holding this government to account and fighting this Brexit.

We can stop this mess, and it requires you continuing that fight. The Government cannot continue to delay and dodge the fundamental need for a People’s Vote.

Keep up the fight. This is your victory today, and if we keep pushing, we will win.

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Human Rights Day: Demand better for freedom and dignity

by Vince Cable on Mon, 10 Dec 2018

On 10th December 1948, history was made. The United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In the shadow of the Second World War, the nations of the world came together to declare that everyone – no matter who they are and where they live – has the same fundamental rights.

With one voice, we pledged to “strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.”

That was a mission statement for the world. But it equally serves as a mission statement for the Liberal Democrats today.

We are committed to promoting and protecting human rights, here in the UK and around the world.

And, as we celebrate the momentous step that was taken 70 years ago today, we must also rededicate ourselves to that mission.

Because too often and in too many places, human rights and freedoms are not effectively recognised and observed.

Almost a thousand people were executed last year, and more than 20,000 are languishing on death row. Women are tortured, imprisoned and even murdered simply for demanding that rights are respected.

We are committed to promoting and protecting human rights, here in the UK and around the world.

65 million people have been forcibly displaced or left stateless, including the 1 million Rohingya Muslims who are the victims of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

Here in the UK, more than 2,000 people are being held indefinitely in immigration detention centres, including 240 who’ve been there for more than six months.

State intelligence agencies routinely invade our privacy by intercepting electronic communications, and the Government is pushing through a new Counter-Terrorism Bill that unnecessarily erodes individual freedoms.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We demand a freer society where rights and liberties are protected.

That’s why we will continue to #StandUp4HumanRights – on Human Rights Day and every day. Stand with us.

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For two years the Liberal Democrats have led the fight to give the people the final say on Brexit and the opportunity to Exit from Brexit.

Tuesday’s vote is the best chance yet to secure a People’s Vote and the Liberal Democrats will be using every opportunity to demand better than Brexit.

The Conservatives have made a mess of Brexit, aided and abetted by the Labour leadership.

This is a touchstone issue for the Liberal Democrats. Our passionate support for remaining in the European Union has helped us grow our party to more than 200,000 supporters. Stephen’s commitment to his constituency has proved impossible to reconcile with the position of the party on this most important of issues.

Stephen has been a valued colleague and we shall miss his contribution to our work in parliament.

Letters between Stephen Lloyd and Alistair Carmichael

The Liberal Democrats will continue to passionately campaign to give the people the final say on Brexit, and the chance to end the national embarrassment of Brexit.

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Theresa May’s Brexit deal would make Britain less safe

by Sir Ed Davey MP on Thu, 06 Dec 2018

To try and sell a plan that would rob us of many vital cross-border crime-fighting tools on the basis of national security takes quite the brass neck.

Consider the European Arrest Warrant. It enables us to bring criminals who’ve fled our shores back to justice in the UK, as well as to extradite thousands of others to face justice in other European countries.

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Gender neutral school uniforms in Wales

by Rhys Taylor on Wed, 05 Dec 2018

At our 2018 Spring Conference the Welsh Liberal Democrats followed in the footsteps of our Scottish friends and passed policy calling on Welsh Government to overhaul its guidance on school uniforms to make then more inclusive for trans and non-binary young people.

I am proud to be in a party where members' shape our policy - and can directly make a real difference in peoples' lives.
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Three government defeats in a day 😳

by Tom Brake on Wed, 05 Dec 2018

Parliament found the Conservative Government in contempt over its failure to release their Brexit legal advice

Yesterday, Parliament found the Conservative Government in contempt over its failure to release their Brexit legal advice.

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

by Sal Brinton on Mon, 03 Dec 2018

Today as we mark the international day for persons with disabilities, I am very aware that one billion people around the world live with a disability – that’s roughly 15% of the global population. I am one of them, mainly using a wheelchair and sometimes walking with sticks. I could have written something smooth and supportive, but I am angry at having to be an afterthought in our society today.

I am angry at having to be an afterthought in our society today.

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We need bold action on climate change

by Sir Ed Davey MP on Mon, 26 Nov 2018

Climate change isn’t just an environmental problem, it’s a human one too.

Climate change isn’t just an environmental problem, it’s a human one too.

Look at our country – and the impact of weather extremes likely linked to climate change. This summer, Manchester’s Moorlands were turned into an inferno. Food prices spiked as farmers struggled in an unseasonal heatwave. Back in March, parts of the country were brought to a standstill with massive snowfalls from the Beast from the East.

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We need to talk about homelessness

by Wera Hobhouse on Fri, 23 Nov 2018

Lib Dems announce London Mayoral candidate

by Liberal Democrats on Wed, 21 Nov 2018

"I am delighted to have been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London.

I will show the Lib Dems can offer a fresh alternative

I will show the Lib Dems can offer a fresh alternative to London's tired two party politics.

Sadiq Khan isn't delivering the right solutions to violent crime and only the Liberal Democrats can provide a genuinely public health approach. The Tories have shown how out of touch they are with London's values by selecting an illiberal, pro-Brexit candidate.

Only the Lib Dems have truly stood up for Londoners against Brexit and we will continue to be a strong, liberal voice for our city." Siobhan Benita

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Celebrating local government

by Wera Hobhouse on Tue, 20 Nov 2018

Local government is the bedrock of our communities. It is central to people living happy, healthy and productive lives, and if properly funded, has the potential to solve some of the biggest problems in our society.

Local government is the bedrock of our communities.

Local government faces many challenges.

I’ve argued repeatedly in Parliament and in the press that local government has experienced deliberate and systematic destruction over recent years, and I see this as one of the great political tragedies of our time.

But #OurDay is a day for positivity. I want to focus on the potential that local government has to tackle some of the biggest issues in our society.

Let’s take the housing crisis. The private sector has proved beyond doubt that it’s incapable of building housing that people can genuinely afford. The task now lies with local government. Our policy of building 50,000 to 100,000 new homes for social rent every year is a project for the good of the nation. The local state has a role here in securing the wellbeing of its citizens, and ensuring they reach their full potential by providing everyone with a home.

They know what's best for schools serving their communities.

This responsibility goes further than housing. Local government has a key role to play in the shaping and delivery of social care and public health services. And it also should have full responsibility for the start of people’s lives.

Local government is accountable to local people, and they know what’s best for schools serving their communities. Local government can solve the Tories failed education policies, if they are given the responsibility to do so.

Local services, for local people, delivered locally is how our country should be structured.

#OurDay is a celebration of the people who dedicate their lives to doing this.

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Rally for a final say

by Vince Cable on Fri, 16 Nov 2018

Within hours of Theresa May speaking to Parliament about the deal she negotiated, hundreds of Lib Dems gathered on Parliament Square to make clear they opposed it.

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New Brexit Campaign Pack

by Claire Halliwell on Fri, 16 Nov 2018

We're closer than ever

by Jo Swinson on Fri, 16 Nov 2018