Welcome to the official website of the Tring and Berkhamsted Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

  • Cambridge Charge Up Leaf
    Article: Oct 7, 2020
    I feel encouraged by the September 2020 car registration figures.

    Year to Date, the largest percentage increase is for Battery EVs (+165.4%). This is followed by Mild Hybrid Petrol EVs (+142.8%).

    What is a "Mild Hybrid", I hear you ask? Well it's a petrol driven car with a small electric range which has batteries charged by the engine (i.e. not plugged in) - and it doesn't go long distances under electric power.

  • EU flag
    Article: Oct 4, 2020

    The Liberal Democrats held the Virtual Conference from 25th to 28th September, 2020.
    On 27th September the Conference Re-Affirmed the Party's Commitment to the UK being Part of Europe within the EU

    The UK and Europe - Motion as passed by conference

    Mover: Christine Jardine MP (Spokesperson for Europe).

    Summation: Daisy Cooper MP (Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats)

    Conference notes with deep concern:

    1. The decision by the Conservative Government not to seek an extension to the post-Brexit transition period beyond 31 December 2020 despite the apparently deadlocked 'future relationship' negotiations between the UK and the EU on economic, transport, migration, welfare, fisheries and security arrangements.
    2. That the UK cannot afford to crash out of the EU without a deal in place or to accept a rushed, bad deal at a time when the UK is already facing the biggest crisis in generations as a result of COVID-19 against a background of intensified China-USA-Russia rivalry.
    3. That the rights of UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK remain at risk, as the Conservative Government attempts to roll back from the commitments it made in the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement.
    4. The Conservative Government's Internal Market Bill, which the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has admitted will breach international law "in a very limited and specific way", trashes the UK's reputation, sets a dangerous precedent and almost certainly precludes any chance of a Free Trade Agreement with either the EU or the USA unless the offending sections are removed.

    Conference believes that:

    1. There is no deal that could be negotiated that could be more beneficial than continued membership of the EU, and the damage caused by Brexit to the UK's economy human rights, security, and standing in the world will be profound and long-lasting.
    2. The UK and its people share fundamental values of liberalism, democracy and respect for the rule of law with our European neighbours and allies; the European Union is our natural home and the UK's rightful place should be at the heart of the EU.

    Conference affirms the party's immediate priorities to:

    1. Hold the Conservative Government to account unstintingly as it fails to deliver what it promised, and expose the damage of this Government's Brexit to our economy, security, society and national unity.
    2. Campaign vigorously against measures which are prejudicial to British industry, agriculture and democracy, and in so doing point to the benefits of closer relations with the EU.
    3. Continue to work with others in Parliament (including in the House of Lords) to halt or amend damaging legislation such as measures in the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill.
    4. Support international cooperation and a global rules-based system, and oppose isolationism and economic nationalism.

    Conference calls for:

    • The Conservative Government to honour the commitments it made in the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration.
    • The rights of UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK not to be further eroded - and where possible enhanced - and the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and Charter of Fundamental Rights to be respected for all UK citizens.
    • The closest possible alignment between the UK and the EU towards customs union, single market and freedom of movement, including minimising tariff and non- tariff trade barriers, no lowering of environmental, food and animal welfare standards, and the maintenance of strong diplomatic, developmental, defence, security, judicial, educational and scientific cooperation.

    Conference RESOLVES to support a longer term objective of UK membership of the EU at an appropriate future date to be determined by political circumstances, subject to public assent, market and trade conditions and acceptable negotiated terms.

  • Traffic at Eaton on Eaton Street at the busy junction with Bluebell Road to the left, and Church Lane to the right. Picture: Denise Bradley (http://images.archant.co.uk/polopoly_fs/1.5513395.1525976163!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_630/image.jpg)
    Article: Oct 4, 2020


    We need to preface this particular posting with the caveat that all the figures are derived from pre-covid sources. Covid has of course wrecked a lot of traffic and transport scenarios - however not only may covid produce some permanent reductions in some activities but it may also make the achievement of some of our environmental objectives somewhat easier. However, as far as we can tell, many things - apart from aviation - are likely to bounce back to within 10% of previous levels. But we might be quite wrong...

    On the other hand, what a tragedy it would be:
    * if people used covid as an excuse to give up on the environment or;
    * if they decide that their grand-children will either not be in any danger after all (because it'd false news) or;
    * if they think that the grand-children will just have to take their chances (because they don't care) and/or;
    * there's nothing anyone can do about it (because they don't like to face problems).

    So... take all that on board but use the figures as a picture of the world as it was - but let's see if we can build back better!

    * There will be a 21% increase in the population of Herts (252,000 extra) by 2039 which will increase travel demands.

  • Document: Oct 4, 2020
    9.11 MiB drawing or desktop publishing document
  • Justice
    Article: Sep 28, 2020

    Emergency motion at the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference 28th September, 2020:
    Defending the Rule of Law

    Mover: Wera Hobhouse MP (Spokesperson on Justice and Equalities).
    Summation: Lord Thomas of Gresford QC (Shadow Attorney-General)

    This Conference:

    1. notes that, on 31st July 2020, the Conservative Government announced an Independent Review of Administrative Law to examine judicial review and reportedly plans to establish a future panel to "update" the Human Rights Act, both with the aim of restricting the ability of individuals to challenge the Government in court.

    2. further notes Dominic Cummings' long history of attacking the rule of law, from his complaints about civil servants trying to prevent Michael Gove from acting unlawfully as Education Secretary to his petulant outbursts over recent court rulings against the Government.

    3. is deeply alarmed at Number 10's plans to weaken the courts, limit judicial review and unpick the Human Rights Act, which would allow Ministers to break the law with impunity, enable the Government to violate people's rights and make it harder to secure inquiries or put things right when mistakes are made.

    4. believes that the rule of law is fundamental to our society. When the Government rides roughshod over people's rights, the law is our vehicle for justice.

    5. further believes that threatening to weaken the courts because they sometimes rule against you is the act of dictators and despots, not democrats.

    6. reaffirms the Liberal Democrat commitment to promoting justice and human rights and building a free, fair and open society where everyone's dignity and wellbeing is respected.

    7. affirms that Liberal Democrats will always defend individuals' abilities to challenge the Government in court and uphold their rights.

    8. strongly opposes any proposals to restrict judicial review, weaken the Human Rights Act or undermine the rule of law in any way, and calls on the Government to drop these plans.

    I was proud to add my personal vote in support of this Motion at the Liberal Democrat Conference this evening.

    I stand against moves by this present government to remove the universal Human Rights which UK citizens and others currently enjoy in this country and to replace them by a nationally based code of more limited rights which will not be universal and subject to political tests for eligibility.

    I stand against the actions of this present government in introducing legislation such as the Internal Market Bill which amounts to a declaration of an intent to break International Law, weakens the UK itself by damaging devolution, amounts to a breach of the Withdrawal Agreement, is in conflict with the Northern Ireland Protocol and is inconsistent with the Rule of Law to which government in England has been subject since Magna Carta.

  • iPort Rail (Verdion)
    Article: Sep 24, 2020

    Freight being in the news at the moment, Cllr Nick Hollinghurst, County Councillor for Tring, remembering that the County Council is a Transport Authority, thought he should pay some attention to the publicity around the much vaunted iPort in Doncaster, of which iPort Rail forms an important part.

    iPort is the name of a very large warehousing and logistics estate (800 acres) build on the site of the former Rossington Colliery. iPort Rail is a 30 acre road/rail intermodal terminal with one 770 m train reception bay and two handling bays. It can handle 8 trains a day and receives trainloads of containers from Southampton, Felixstowe, Teesport, Immingham and Thamesport. At present, two years after it opened it is already up to capacity. However the facilities are able to comply with the requirements of international freight and there is a longterm plan to double capacity to match that of its rival. Let us hope that is going to be possible, because the iPort is connected by a single-track spur off an old single-track freight line which has to be used to reach the main line and the rest of the UK network.

    So it's just as well that there's also an existing railfreight terminal, the Doncaster International Railport, operated by Freightliner (now owned by Genesee & Wyoming Inc) which has been quietly handling container traffic since 1995 without the fanfares associated with the new arrival in Rossington. This older terminal handles has a container handling capacity double that of iPort Rail plus specialised facilities for handling motor vehicles and enjoys a direct connection to the main line. It was designed and intended to receive freight trains direct from Europe but due to technical and financial issues (the Channel Tunnel freight tariffs among them), together with a lack of political will to resolve matters this never happened. Now it probably never will.

    This just underlines the chronic neglect of railfreight in general in the UK and of trans-Tunnel freight in particular. But more topically, as we read in the papers and see on the television the construction of vast lorry parks in Kent for expected delayed HGVs, there are 35 - 40 vacant freight train slots through the Channel Tunnel per day that are never taken up. That could have been over 2,500 HGVs per day taken off our motorways, with customs clearance being carried out at the destination, in places like Doncaster, far from the crowded ports.

  • Lib Dem MPs 2020
    Article: Sep 23, 2020

    Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey has announced a new team of spokespeople who will hold the Government to account and rebuild our party.

    Christine Jardine

    Spokesperson for Treasury, Brexit, Europe & Trade
    Liberal Democrat Leader, Ed Davey, announcing the Party's new Leadership Team on August 31st said,

    "The formidable Christine Jardine will be Treasury Spokesperson and put forward the case for a greener, fairer UK. Christine will show that now is the time to build back better.

    Christine will also speak for us and the country on the other key issues of Brexit, Europe and Trade. On these she will hold the Conservative government to account."

    In accepting this responsibility, Christine responded,

    "I am delighted to take on these important role in Ed's team for the Liberal Democrats and I am looking forward to getting to work on that greener, fairer UK."

  • Nick Hollinghurst's Nissan Leaf
    Article: Sep 20, 2020

    The Department for Transport recently ran a consultation exercise starting on 8th July and closing on 31st August, 2020. This was open to the public and we were asked to submit our ideas for and about the steps we should take to reduce emissions from transport. THis was to assist the government in creating a plan to ensure the UK transport is net zero in emissions by 2050.

    Cllr Nick Hollinghurst, who represents the Tring Division on Hertfordshire County Council and who was an early adopter of all-electric motoring, overcame any feelings of cynicism about government consultations and decided to make a full and positive response, uploading his completed questionnaire his responses in the final quarter of an hour!

    These are the answers he gave to the more specific and detailed questions.

  • Housing ()
    Article: Sep 17, 2020

    There has been widespread concern among Planning Authorities about several of the proposals in the Government's recently published White Paper, Planning for the Future. The matter was raised and discussed at a meeting of Dacorum Liberal Democrat Councillors and researched by Cllr Liz Uttley and Cllr Nick Hollinghurst. Cllr Uttley found that the Local Government Association, a government supported body which represents all councils and councillors, including of course those that are, like Dacorum Borough Council, Planning Authorities, had produced its own guidelines on this matter and drawn up suggested motions to be put to councils. She then used this as a model to produce a motion to be put to the Council Meeting held on 16th September, 2020.

    Following discussions between Councillor Ron Tindall, Leader of the Opposition on the Council and Cllr Andrew Williams, Leader of the Council an amendment was agreed upon which was acceptable to both and which would enable cross-party support for a demonstration of disquiet at some of the Government's proposals and the possible consequences.

    (Amended) Motion proposed by Councillor Ron Tindall and Seconded by Cllr Andrew Williams

  • Daisy Cooper MP Deputy Leader of Lib Dems
    Article: Sep 13, 2020

    Announcing this news, Daisy Cooper said,

    "I'm proud to have been elected, by my fellow MPs, as Deputy Leader of the

    Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons.

    Using my experience of winning St Albans, we can start now to become a lightning rod for those who share our values, to build a campaigning force and to stop Johnson's Tories."

    Liberal Democrat Members and Councillors throughout Hertfordshire, many of whom had helped in St Albans during the recent General Election, were delighted that Daisy had been elected to this post.