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Latest Updates

  • Palace of Westminster.
    Article: Apr 19, 2018

    British jobs should be protected, following a vote in the House of Lords. Liberal Democrats helped defeat the Government and voted to keep Britain in a European Customs Union, which is key to Britain's future prosperity.

    An amendment on the customs union (supported by the Liberal Democrats and some Crossbenchers, Labour and Conservative peers) was passed by 348 votes to 225.

  • Vince Cable in Twickenham
    Article: Apr 19, 2018

    He criticised the effective monopolies enjoyed by the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon - comparing their market dominance to that of big oil companies in the past - and suggested ways they could be broken up.

    "Data is the new oil. Data is the raw material which drives these firms and it is control of data which gives them an advantage over competitors. These companies have acquired their pivotal position by providing a service or platform through which data can be extracted, collected and used.

    Just as Standard Oil once cornered 85% of the refined oil market, today Google drives 89% of internet search, 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook product, Amazon accounts for 75% of E-book sales, while Google and Apple combined provide 99% of mobile operating systems.

    National government and, even more so, supranational bodies like the EU can and should look to break up enterprises where size is detrimental to the economic well-being of the country, its citizens and its capacity for innovation.

    There is a case for splitting Amazon into three separate businesses - one offering cloud computing, one acting as a general retailer and one offering a third-party marketplace. Other examples would be Facebook being forced to divest itself of Instagram and WhatsApp as a condition for operating in the EU, creating two new social media networks. Divesting Google of YouTube would be another.

    What is striking that the most effective competition authority in the capitalist world - the European Commission - is probably the only body with the clout to take these decisions. The UK could quite obviously never do it alone.

    Britain commits an act of serious self-harm by doggedly setting itself apart from the power of shared sovereignty with our neighbours.

  • The House of Lords. Image: UK Parliament
    Article: Apr 18, 2018

    Having sat through over 100 hours of debate so far in the House of Lords on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, I have been angered by the combination of arrogance and incompetence which has characterised the Government's response to a very wide range of concerns expressed.

    From how we continue to regulate and licence the supply of over-the-counter medicines to working with our European neighbours on security policy; from how to maintain reciprocal roaming charges to protecting our hard-won rights and freedoms, the Government has displayed indifference and the inability to answer the most basic of questions.

  • Palace of Westminster.
    Article: Apr 18, 2018

    The Government has tonight been defeated in the House of Lords on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

    An amendment on the customs union supported by the Liberal Democrats, Crossbenchers, Labour, and Conservative peers has passed by 348 votes to 225.

    The defeat forces the government to lay a report before Parliament outlining the steps taken to negotiate a customs union as part of the framework for a future UK-EU relationship, and prevents the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 until these steps have been taken.

    This is a hugely significant moment, the House of Lords has come together to show the government that remaining in a customs union is key to the UK's future prosperity.

    Securing this win on a cross-party basis rams home how out of touch the government have been on this issue and that they drastically need to change tack from the destructive hard Brexit they are pursuing.