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Incredible how technology changes so quickly. I remember setting up this WordPress blog eight years ago thinking how cutting-edge the platform was. And now blogging (for politics at least) feels so last year. Of course it is important to retain the time and space in life to have reflections that are longer than 140 characters! But if you want to follow my up to the political minute thoughts and interests, please follow me on Twitter and Facebook: @nickperrylibdem

Amber to take free school lunches off over 500 #Hastings #Rye children assessed to be living in poverty

Nick serving school dinners at Sacred Heart, Hastings back in 2014

Up to 562 children living in poverty across Hastings & Rye will have their lunches taken away under Theresa May’s plans to abolish universal free school lunches for infants, Liberal Democrat research has revealed. In total nearly 3000 children are set to lose out under the plans.
Those families losing out are expected to have to pay around £440 per child per year for their school lunches.

The Liberal Democrats have also calculated that under Conservative costings of just under 7p per child’s breakfast, each child could expect to receive either half a boiled egg, one slice of bread with 12 baked beans or 37.5 cornflakes and 100ml of semi-skimmed milk.

Commenting on the figures, Lib Dem candidate for MP, Nick Perry said:

“Theresa May’s cruel policy will mean 562 children living in poverty in Hastings & Rye will lose out on free school lunches.

“This will mean greater inequality and struggling families having to pay hundreds of pounds on lunches a year.

“The Conservatives’ promise of a free breakfast is cynical and clearly not designed to reach all children. They have set aside a meagre 7p per breakfast per child, the price of half a boiled egg or just one slice of bread with 12 baked beans.

“The Liberal Democrats will stand up against this mean-spirited vision of Britain and extend free school lunches to all primary school children.”

#Hastings #StLeonards #Rye: #Brexit is a risk to national security

Nick Clegg has accused Theresa May of putting national security at risk by pursuing an extreme Brexit that will see Britain locked out of an EU police database used by UK police and security services 16 times a second.

The Schengen Information System (SIS II) is an EU-wide database on organised criminal and terrorist suspects across 28 countries, including 35,000 people wanted under a European Arrest Warrant. It includes alerts on suspected ‘foreign fighters’ – people who have travelled to Syria and elsewhere to fight for ISIS.

  • UK police and security services queried the database over half a billion times in 2016 – equivalent to 16 checks a second.
  • 53 people are detained and questioned under anti-terrorism laws at ports and airports every day, where they can be checked against the database by UK Border Force officers.
  • In April 2016, the UK received 25 hits on alerts issued by other participating countries in relation to individuals who could pose a risk to national security.
  • The UK would lose access to the database under Theresa May’s plans to leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Unless this position changes, UK authorities will see their access to the database cut off on 29th March 2019.

Nick Clegg has challenged Theresa May to answer three vital questions:

  1. How will we maintain access to SIS II without accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice?
  2. What contingency plans has she put in place to mitigate the loss of this information on the movement of terrorist suspects across the continent?
  3. How will we issue instructions to other EU countries to stop and question terror suspects if we are no longer part of this system?

Nick Clegg commented:

“Theresa May’s extreme approach to Brexit will have the direct consequence of severing our ties to a fantastically useful weapon in our armoury against terrorism.
“By refusing to accept a role for the European Court of Justice in policing this European-wide database, she has ruled out our future participation it.  
“It is hard to overstate the importance of this database. We check it 16 times a second, looking for security threats that have been flagged to us by other European countries. And we use it to tell other countries to stop and question people who we think are potential terrorists. 
“This is euroscepticism gone mad. If she fails to back down, Theresa May’s approach to Brexit poses a direct threat to our national security.”

Amber’s TV refusal to come clean on #DementiaTax is disrespecting families in #Hastings #StLeonards #Rye

Commenting on Amber Rudd’s admission the Conservatives are “not sure” what any future cap on social care costs will be, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb said: 

“The refusal of the Conservatives to tell us what the cap on social care costs will be shows they are holding the public in contempt.

“Theresa May must stop flip-flopping and do what her party had committed to, implement a £72,000 cap on care.

“Conservative plans for a dementia tax are cruel and not properly thought through. It shows Theresa May is taking people for granted.

“The Liberal Democrats will keep campaigning to scrap the Dementia Tax and ensure no-one has to face catastrophic costs to pay for their care.

“People who want to support us should back our campaign at”

Speaking ahead of key hustings meetings, Lib Dem candidate for MP in Hastings & Rye, Nick Perry, said:

“As many local people know, I have spent my career in social care, supporting vulnerable adults. Constituents can be sure that I will fight for answers from Amber on these questions over the coming days and weeks, until we are clear just what the Tories are proposing. Sadly, Amber is disrespecting local families with her current position.”

Older citizens in #Hastings #StLeonards #Rye being betrayed by social care plans of Mrs May and Mrs Rudd

Nick has spent the last 15 years working to support vulnerable adults with social care needs

Conservative manifesto plans will mean the average household in Hastings & Rye could be forced to pay a massive percentage of the value of their homes for social care after they die, it has been revealed.

The manifesto plans, which would mean that people would be forced to hand over assets worth over £100,000 to pay for social care at home, would have a particularly damaging impact on sufferers of dementia, who have complicated long-term health needs.

The Liberal Democrats have hit out at the plans and are calling for a cap of £72,000 to protect people from crippling care costs.

Liberal Democrat candidate for MP Nick Perry, who works as a social care professional locally, said:

“The Conservative Manifesto shows us that the nasty party is back. Mrs Rudd and Mrs May are betraying older homeowners and their families by planning to snatch their homes when they die.

“Many older citizens currently face the difficult situation of having a deferred payment, to cover the costs of residential care.  Now the frail and elderly receiving social care support in their own home will face what is effectively a ‘Personal Death Tax’ charged against their assets. And the more help you need, the more Amber says should be snatched away when you die.

“It’s clear that if the Conservatives get their way, as you get old and frail the costs are down to you and you alone.

“The Liberal Democrats will fight this cold, mean-spirited assault on Britain by Amber Rudd and Theresa May. We will protect those that need the most help. We want to secure the £72,000 cap on social care costs which we won from the Tories during the Coalition years.”

My #Hastings #StLeonards #Rye election statement, as published by Hastings Online Times

Theresa May is channelling Nigel Farage; only the Liberal Democrats have offered any serious opposition

Don’t be fooled.

Theresa May isn’t trying to get the best Brexit deal for Britain, she’s trying to get the best deal for the Conservative Party.

A landslide general election victory won’t make her appear any stronger to the EU negotiators, but it will give her a much stronger mandate to push through policies that will weaken the economy, damage the NHS, undermine our children’s education and result in making the rich ‘richer’ and our poorest even ‘poorer’ than they already are.

Sending a cohort of Lib Dem MPs to Westminster will send a loud message to Theresa May that she can’t ignore the voices of all those who recognise the stupidity of a hard Brexit, and want to keep Britain open, tolerant and united.

As many of you will know, I have spent the last 10 years fighting for Hastings, St Leonards and Rye. These are my priorities for #GE2017:

  • To provide effective opposition and scrutiny regarding the disastrous hard Brexit that Theresa May and Nigel Farage want imposed on our country. The Lib Dems will fight to keep Britain in the Single Market, and for a reformed EU that offers the best future for our young people.
  • To protect our NHS from a government that has not only failed to provide the money and reforms it so desperately needs, but has also shown that it would rather pander to the ‘anti-immigration’ lobby than ensure that we have adequately qualified medical and nursing staff, and enough of them, so that the system can run effectively.

The Lib Dems will increase NHS funding by putting an extra 1p on Income Tax; and fight to ensure that doctors, nurses and essential staff from the EU are able to carry on working in the NHS where they are so desperately needed. We will provide an extra £1bn for mental health services.

  • To fight to reverse the Tory cuts to our school budgets that have resulted in schools in deprived areas getting less money, and those in richer areas getting more.

Theresa May plans to slash over £3bn from school budgets by 2019/20 – effectively reducing spending by 8% per child. This is the opposite of what is needed to ensure that our children get the education they deserve, and the country gets the well-educated workforce it needs.

The Lib Dems will guarantee our own Pupil Premium (which protects the most disadvantaged children) and reverse Theresa May’s cuts by investing £6.9bn into school funding.

Please don’t let Theresa May destroy our children’s chances of a decent education.

  • To work to ensure that local businesses are protected from the crippling import and export tariffs, increased red-tape and, for some businesses, the inability to recruit the ‘specialist’ workers they need, that will result from a hard Brexit.

Our livestock farmers will struggle to keep their animals healthy without the 50% of non-British vets currently working in the UK, and local fruit producers won’t be able to pick their crops without easy access to European casual workers.

Our language schools are likely to see falling student numbers if (as seems probable) EU students face the same costs and restrictions in obtaining ‘student visas’ that currently apply to non-EU students, making Hastings much less attractive for the young Germans, Italians and Spaniards who’ve been so vital to our local economy.

  • To continue to fight for better rail and road services, because without radical improvements to our transport infrastructure there won’t be any step-change in regeneration for Hastings and Rye.

There need to be drastic improvements to our existing roads, an end to industrial action on Southern Rail and an immediate start on the St Pancras/Ashford HS1 extension so that we have an efficient, affordable and fully integrated rail system that links Hastings and Rye to both London and Europe.

Some improvements have been made, but these have slowed since Amber embarked on her ministerial careers.

  • To protect the environment and the future of Green Industry by challenging the Conservative Party to prioritise the environmental.

Every year between 40/50 thousand people in Britain die prematurely due to the polluted air they breathe, and, despite being told twice by British Courts that its policies were ‘illegally poor’, the Government has yet to publish an acceptable plan for reducing the lethal levels of toxins in the air.

The Lib Dems are committed to improving air quality and creating a safer, healthier and more sustainable environment.

We will be the effective Opposition that Labour has failed to be.

*BREAKING* Lib Dem candidate statement regarding #Hastings #Rye #GE2017

The local party has successfully submitted nomination papers on Tuesday.

As there has been talk, in recent days, of a Hastings & Rye progressive alliance, I make the following statement as the Liberal Democrat candidate for MP:

‘I confirm that over the past week I have had talks with James Corre at Compass. I have been clear that with the imperative of reducing the impending Tory landslide at Westminster, joined-up actions are required across East Sussex.

‘I have been clear that if Labour Party candidates in Eastbourne and Lewes are prepared to make public their commitment to divert resource elsewhere, and not to impede Liberal Democrat victories in these seats, then I am willing to make a similar commitment here.

‘There was a request made via Compass to be able to take these draft statements to my local party this evening, but nothing has been made available by Labour. Therefore the Liberal Democrats will continue to represent those opposed to Brexit in Hastings & Rye; those who want more investment in our NHS; those opposed to schools cuts across our constituency.’

#EastSussex County Council result: Lib Dems make progress; Labour falls away

Nick campaigning with Stephen Lloyd at the weekend – where Eastbourne Lib Dems held all their County Council seats and fought off the Prime Minister’s visit to Upperton

As someone who has spent the last 10 years working in mental health care locally, I was grieved to see the Tories gain majority control of the County Council on Thursday night. 

The side story however is that the Liberal Democrats have made progress whereas Labour has fallen away – in Hastings.

The Lib Dems continue to have strongholds in Eastbourne, Seaford, Newhaven, Lewes, Battle and their rural hinterland. Labour’s erstwhile strength has been in Hastings borough. But on Thursday night they lost three seats to the Tories and another nail in their General Election coffin has been hammered home.

The reality is that across East Sussex the Lib Dems are the real opposition to the Tories. This is true across the country too as, in all likelihood, it will only be Liberal Democrats taking parliamentary seats from the Tories on 8 June.

I have now spent a quarter of my life fighting the Tories in Hastings & Rye. It gives me no pleasure to predict Amber’s comfortable return here.

What is needed is effective Opposition to the Tories at Westminster. So. If you are someone that would fight Brexit with every fibre of your being, like I would (and have), please get in touch. Please join the team.

En Marche!

#Hastings #StLeonards #Rye – this is a Brexit Election

As Mrs May fires the starting gun for the 8 June election, Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron MP says:

“This is a Brexit election and chance to change the direction of Britain.  On one side of the debate is Theresa May, UKIP and Labour and on the other side is the Liberal Democrats.

“The Prime Minister admitted that she is rolling the dice on her Brexit talks and if we don’t get it right then our economic security will be at risk.  Despite admitting these talks could end in disaster the Prime Minister refuses to give the people the final say on the Brexit deal.
 “We need to judge the Prime Minister on her record and a matter of days after her personal intervention the Brexit bill rocketed from 50 billion to 100 billion.  She is the person behind the go home vans, blocking child refugees and the rape clause.  Her vision of the world is cold and uncaring.
“If you want and believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united and reject Theresa May’s view of the world I urge you to vote for the alternative, vote for the Liberal Democrats.”

My statement for the #MLAG AGM in #Rye this evening.

Nick campaigning with Norman Baker – a Minister who actually had a passion for improving our rail infrastructure…

Dear Stuart,

Please pass on my apologies to your members for not being able to attend your AGM this year, as I have in the past. As you are aware, I fully appreciate the necessity of radical improvements to our transport infrastructure if any meaningful regeneration for Hastings and Rye is to be achieved, and regret that I will not be able elaborate on this in person.

Both myself and the Liberal Democrats (styling ourselves, since the beginning of the Great Brexit Folly, as the new party of business) have been consistent in our belief
that an efficient, affordable and fully integrated rail system that
links Rye and Hastings to both London and Europe is essential to our future economic prosperity.

The drive to achieve this has slowed since the end of the Coalition government. The Liberal Democrat Minister and former MP for Lewes, Norman Baker, hasn’t been replaced by anyone who shares his same level of enthusiasm and capability; and Amber
Rudd’s efforts have dwindled since she embarked on her ministerial careers.

If elected as your MP on 8 June I will beaver away to ensure that work begins on the extension of the St Pancras/Ashford HS1 train link to Rye, Hastings and beyond as soon as possible. And, in order fully to realise the potential of Ashford as
a transport ‘hub’, linking East Sussex to Europe, I would also press for more Eurostar and other European bound trains to stop at Ashford International.

The Lib Dems have been very actively helping to ensure that there is an end to the ongoing
industrial action that has blighted the lives of ten of thousands of
Southern Rail passengers, and seriously damaged the local and regional economy, by pressing the Government to make a positive intervention in the dispute. Southern Rail doesn’t have a standard franchise arrangement. It is effectively acting as an agent for the Department of Transport
and, as such, the Government has both the powers and the moral
responsibility to use its influence to bring a permanent end to the
seemingly endless succession of damaging strikes.

Similarly, I share your concerns regarding some aspects of the ‘new’
South Eastern Trains franchise and will certainly lobby the Government to review its current proposals and change those aspects that will have a negative impact on the frequency and quality of service.

If you have any further queries, please contact me direct or via my press officer, Lee Allane (

Your members are welcome to do the same.

Kind regards.