I ended last year with a newsletter saying how buoyed we all were by our by-election successes. That's why I begin the new year with a plea: please find the time to get to either Stoke or Copeland (or both)! to help out. Our recent by election and council election successes have been down to the indomitable force of the Lib Dem ground campaigning machine and they now need you to dig in again. Help from home on the telephone, go and help on the ground or donate to the fighting fund, whatever you can do will help build our support, and we know there are many voters who now see the Lib Dems as the only consistent voice of opposition in this country, standing up to Mrs May's hard Brexit government so let's make sure we begin 2017 with a bang!
I also have an exciting update: there are plans afoot for the party to host a European Action Weekend on 4th/5th March. As you will know the party has grown its membership massively since the referendum - with more than 20,000 new members since the referendum, now is the time we must mobilise and ensure our voices continue to be heard in the European debate. To do that we need YOU!
Your event can take any form - be it canvassing, a street stall or leafleting a railway station - materials will be made available on the party website, just as we did in the referendum campaign. To register your interest, sign up here, we will contact you with further information about publishing your event on the federal website and accessing materials.
Thank you so much for your continued support.
Europol visit: taking wildlife crime to the top
I was delighted to be able to visit Europol, the EU’s crime fighting body, in The Hague this month to underline the importance of upgrading wildlife trafficking to a serious crime.
I was there ahead of Europol publishing its 2017 Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA) which will set the EU’s security priorities for the next four years.
I have already underlined the importance of upgrading the listing to a serious crime in my Wildlife Report, which received overwhelming support in the Parliament.
What many EU governments often don’t realise is it’s the same criminal gangs trafficking arms and people as well as wildlife.
I made the clear point that only by giving Europol the due powers to tackle wildlife trafficking can we effectively crack down on this brutal trade. I'll keep you posted on the outcome!
Only by giving Europol the powers and budget to tackle wildlife trafficking can we effectively crack down on this brutal trade. This will require political will from each of the member countries, and whilst the people I met are keen and anxious to get on with fighting these criminal gangs, we need the support from each Environment, Justice and Home Affairs ministers from the 28. I am now writing to them asking them to support this issue. I'll keep you posted on the outcome!
Debating Brexit in Lewes
One of the campaigning techniques my team and I have developed is weekly letters to Ministers. We plan to send a letter each week to a different Minister to highlight the issues with the Government’s Brexit plans.
These letters will be available on my website and we will also be posting them on our Facebook page and into various Facebook groups.
Please use them as a tool to highlight these issues and share with friends and relevant groups.
In addition, if you aren’t already signed up to my letter network which provides you with a bi-weekly letter for your local press please do get in touch with Elliot Chapman-Jones on email@example.com
Catherine Bearder MEP