A damning report by the North Devon Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee has flagged up the problems faced by the NHS in North Devon and identified that one of the solutions would be to reintroduce Nursing Bursaries. This was a key pledge in the Liberal Democrat Manifesto of 2017, after the Conservatives scrapped them as part of their ideologically driven austerity measures.
Dr Kirsten Johnson, the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Devon and a Mental Health First Aider, entered politics because of her concern over mental health provision. She welcomes the debate in Parliament on January 17th on incorporating Mental Health First Aid into First Aid at Work legislation.
Kirsten says, “One of the reasons I entered politics, as a career musician, was my concern over mental health and lack of provision for those experiencing mental ill-health.”
In March 2015 Kirsten Johnson successfully amended Liberal Democrat party policy on Mental Health to include incorporating mental health first aid into physical First Aid at Work courses.
North Devon Liberal Democrats, led by Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Kirsten Johnson are confident that the campaign they launched in 2016 to save Royal Marine Base (RMB) Chivenor has been successful.
MoD sources are saying that the decision was made before Christmas and will be announced in late March. Lib Dem faith in the strategic military value of Chivenor to the UK, and the local economic benefits it brings to North Devon, will have been vindicated.
Kirsten Johnson says, “This has been a long and hard-fought Liberal Democrat campaign in North Devon, as well as at Westminster. I would like to thank Sir Nick Harvey and other senior Lib Dems, including the late Paddy Ashdown, who have helped to bring this anticipated reprieve about. The Lib Dem Groups on, Braunton Parish Council, North Devon District Council and Barnstaple Town Council have also all played their part. This is an example of real Lib Dem team effort, which DOES change lives for the better in North Devon. This decision, when it comes, which has taken this Conservative Government so long to make, means that jobs at Chivenor will be secure. It means that the enormous economic contribution the base brings to North Devon can continue.”
As the Conservative Government teeters on the edge of a No Deal Brexit, North Devon Liberal Democrats are continuing to put pressure on Conservative led North Devon District Council (NDDC) to URGENTLY start planning for Brexit in North Devon.
In September Liberal Democrats on NDDC successfully led a motion which would have ensured that businesses and services in North Devon would have a chance to prepare for Brexit by making them aware of any new regulations that might impact on them, post Brexit.
However, Tory Leader of NDDC, Cllr Braily, has cancelled meetings of the Cross Party Working Group set up to address this increasingly vital work. Speculation is increasing that NDDC Conservatives are fearful of the shambolic state of affairs within their own Conservative Government.
North Devon Liberal Democrats are saddened to hear of the death of former Leader and inspirational campaigner, Paddy Ashdown.
Lord Ashdown died today, 22nd December 2018 from bladder cancer.
He was a life-long public servant as a Royal Marine, diplomat, MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and a Peer in the House of Lords.
Paddy Ashdown was a regular visitor to North Devon where he was loved by many.
Paddy had very close connections with North Devon. A really great Leader of the new Liberal Democrat Party formed in March 1988. I was Local Party Secretary then (!) and I believe Mike Knight was Chair. We had a massive lunch of the new Party at the Barnstaple Hotel which I jointly organised.
This photo was taken in April 2010 when Paddy came to Chivenor to help campaign for Nick in the 2010 General Election. Joe Tucker and Paddy made a brilliant campaign duo!! – marching around and giving orders!! A first class military exercise! (pic courtesy of Derrick).
Paddy will be sorely missed.
Liz (& Derrick) Spear
Picture shows Paddy Ashdown campaigning with Nick Harvey, Joe Tucker, Liz Spear and other North Devon campaigners at Chivenor during the 2010 General Election.
Kirsten Johnson, an internationally acclaimed concert pianist and Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for North Devon, attended the Young Musicians' Support (YMS) Concert at St Anne's Chapel, Barnstaple, on Saturday 15 December, 3pm.
Kirsten says "I was impressed with the high standard of musicianship and the talent on display. Well done to YMS for sponsoring lessons for young people and building up the future generation of musicians in this country."
Kirsten Johnson, Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Devon, attended the Barnstaple Library Friends coffee morning on Saturday 15 December. She had a good chat with the Friends. Austerity measures mean that libraries now receive very little funding. Provision of library services, particularly in rural locations have been cut after funding was withdrawn by Conservative Devon County Council as a result of central Government austerity measures. Many local people in North Devon have fought long and hard to prevent these vital services from being cut further.
Kirsten Johnson, the first woman to be selected by the Liberal Democrats to become MP for North Devon, hosted a commemorative Coffee Morning at Barnstaple Library on Friday 14th December, 2018 from 10.30am until 12.30pm. This marked the date, to the day, when 100 years ago, some women first got the right to vote in the UK.
Kirsten was joined by nearly 100 people, of all ages, from across North Devon who shared their thoughts on the importance of female suffrage; the progress that has been made on women’s issues since 1918 and the work that still needs to be done.
Kirsten Johnson, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for North Devon, visited the Winter Wonderland in South Molton, which included a range of stalls in the Assembly Rooms and in the Pannier Market. She listened to the Children's Choir from West Buckland Prep School and enjoyed the fairground attractions in the square.
Kirsten also attended the superb Christmas Tree Festival at St Mary Magdalene Church.