Category Archives: Blog

The poisonous climate of racism/xenophobia UKIP rhetoric creates

This morning an ex-flatmate of mine, a Yorkshire girl of Indian heritage (UK born and raised British citizen), had a very unpleasant experience on her commute to work. Two older men were sat near her on the train talking loudly about how they were goin…

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Liberal Democrat manifesto supports vapers!

PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release 15 April 2015

Liberal Democrat manifesto supports vapers!

The Liberal Democrats manifesto released today Wednesday 15 April 2015 recognises that electronic cigarettes are a way out of tobacco for many people, and that any restrictions should be proportionate and evidence based. (1)

The party has also ruled out a ban on vaping in public places. There is no evidence of bystander harm from vaping and making it more difficult for people to vape risks discouraging smokers from making the switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes. In addition, forcing vapers to stand with smokers and be exposed to the product they are trying to avoid, seems somewhat perverse.

Rebecca Taylor, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Morley and Outwood, former Yorkshire and Humber MEP and campaigner on tobacco harm reduction (2) welcomed the move:

“I am very glad that my party has taken a Liberal and pragmatic position on e-cigarettes and vaping. I hope that other political parties will see through the misleading research put out by some (3) and come to the same conclusion”.

ENDS

Notes for editors

(1) The manifesto text (on page 76 http://www.libdems.org.uk/read-full-manifesto) is: “Carefully monitor the growing evidence base around electronic cigarettes, which appear to be a route by which many people are quitting tobacco, and ensure restrictions on marketing and use are proportionate and evidence based. For example, we support restrictions ton advertising which risks promoting tobacco or targets under 18s, such as those introduced in 2014, but would rule out a statutory ban on “vaping” in public places.”

(2) In a personal capacity Rebecca Taylor is an associate of the New Nicotine Alliance (http://nnalliance.org/about-us/associates/40-taylor) and is on the advisory board of a large scale study on the use of e-cigarettes, which is currently applying for funding.

(3) For a good explanation of much of the misleading research on e-cigarettes, please see: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/02/12/a-marathon-not-swings-and-roundabouts-the-evidence-on-e-cigarettes/

Contact:

email: rtaylorlibdem@gmail.com
Twitter @RTaylor_LibDem

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Things I learned about Morley and Outwood no 2 – people care about nature

Many voters care about natureI have received many emails from voters in Morley and Outwood asking me to “Vote for Bob”.A vote for Bob (FYI Bob is a red squirrel) is a commitment to put nature higher up the political agenda and Bob’s biggest supporter i…

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Things I learned about Morley and Outwood no 1

Ed Balls invites working people to meet him at daytime coffee mornings during the week (!?)When I announced that I was standing for the LibDems in Morley and Outwood against Labour MP Ed Balls, a friend who lives in the constituency joked “Will you be…

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Why I am standing in Morley and Outwood

I am very pleased to have been selected as the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Morley and Outwood.

I was born, grew up and studied in West Yorkshire and spent 2.5 years as one of the region’s MEPs, so I understand not only the problems, but also the potential that areas like Morley & Outwood face. I also have friends who live in the constituency.

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MPs should focus on being MPs!


I was a Member of the European Parliament for two and a half years during which time I worked on average 6 days a week, including some rather unsocial hours. Sunday was usually my only proper day off and I often did some catching up on emails that day.
The job of course also involved a great deal of travel, mainly between Leeds and Brussels, but also across the Yorkshire and Humber region and to Strasbourg once a month. I didn’t have much time for family and friends and many complained to me about this.
The life of an MP is similar (although possibly with less travel). I know MPs who work 80 hours a week pretty much on a permanent basis. I therefore struggle to comprehend how an MP has the time for a second job.
If they have time for another job, what are they not doing as an MP as a consequence? Perhaps they only show up to very few parliamentary debates, hold few or no constituency surgeries, don’t visit local businesses, schools and colleges and rarely venture out to meet their constituents? And if they’re not working full-time as an MP, why are they receiving a full-time salary?
Any MP foolish enough to claim they need to earn extra money because £67k isn’t enough to live on (yes Malcolm Rifkind I’m talking to you!), is so out of touch with ordinary life they deserve all the criticism they get. I managed to live in London, the most expensive city in the UK, on a bit more than a third of an MP’s salary. Doing so did require careful budgeting (my top tips: walk or cycle to work, take a packed lunch every day and never buy take away coffee), but it is possible and many people do it. In fact, many people manage on less.
I understand that some MPs earned considerably more before they entered politics and if that is the case, then good for them for making a choice to earn less in order to take up public office. That is not however, a justification for a 2ndjob/outside consultancy work.
I do however understand that for MPs in certain professions, e.g. the medical profession, there may be a need to undertake training/education or even some professional practice in order to remain qualified and able to practice. I think it’s fair enough to allow an MP time for such activities, but I strongly suspect they don’t come to anything like the time commitment of a 2nd job.
I am uncomfortable about an MP being paid for advice on matters that relate to parliamentary business. As an MEP, when I met with representatives of businesses, charities, NGOs, industry associations, public sector bodies etc, they often asked whether their organisation’s aims in their campaign/concerning a piece of legislation et were realistic and achievable, and if certain of my colleagues were worth approaching. I was happy in such situations to give my opinion (and it was only my opinion). The idea of being paid to do that while holding elected public office not only seems wrong, but seems possibly undemocratic, as I’m sure only a minority of organisations have the money to do that.
And finally, the thing that annoys me the most about the second job debate is that it paints a picture of MPs that is wholly unfair to all those who dedicate long hours serving their constituents sometimes at great personal cost.

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Liberal Democrats stand up for British trade & jobs; UKIP and Eurosceptic Tories pretend you can have your cake and eat it

Following a number of Twitter exchanges about trade with Eurosceptics (mostly UKIP supporters), I decided I needed a bit more than 140 characters to properly address this crucial topic.

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Good news for tobacco control; less so for e-cigarettes

Today I abstained on the final Tobacco Products Directive vote.  My position on this Directive has always been clear: I wanted strong tobacco control measures and sensible regulation of e-cigarettes.   I was therefore not willing to vote against the Directive …

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Outdated, outmoded and increasingly inaccurate: is it time follow our European neighbours and say goodbye to "Miss"?

It has long been unfair that women can be identified by their marital status through the use of  “Miss” or “Mrs” whereas men cannot via “Mr”. “Ms” was introduced as an alternative for both married and unmarried women, although is not universally used or liked.

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Use of electronic cigarettes: blanket bans are not appropriate!

I am hearing about blanket bans on people using e-cigarettes on public transport and in some public places like bars and pubs e.g. Wetherspoons, etc. I have even seen a notice banning the use of e-cigs in a comedy club where you can eat and drink whil…

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