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Thank you for taking the time to visit my website. Since being elected as Bradford East's Lib Dem MP in May 2010, I have been kept busier than I ever believed possible. I've spoken to many constituents in my weekly surgeries - covering every possible subject, from apprenticeships to the Odeon cinema. I am grateful to everyone who voted for me in 2010 and I will continue to stand up for the hard-working people of Bradford in Parliament.

This website contains a lot more information about my work, both in Bradford and in Parliament, the campaigns I am involved in, as well as news from the Liberal Democrats across Bradford East.

David Ward, Bradford's Campaigning MP

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  • Article: Oct 31, 2014

    During her visit to Bangladesh, Liberal Democrat International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone wrote the following article on the issue of ending child marriage - girls not brides.

    Imagine your life if you were married at 15, against your will, to an abusive husband. It's the same for almost all the women you know. Your education came to an abrupt end once you were married, and you're not allowed to have a job - other than having babies, that is. And because you got married young, you're probably experiencing some sexual and reproductive health problems.

    This is the reality for most women and girls in Bangladesh.

    Bangladesh has the fourth highest rate of child (under-18) marriage in the world, and the highest rate in South Asia: 65%. And studies show that around 87% of women have experienced some form of violence: 65% physical violence and 36% sexual violence. Of course, in reality those percentages could be higher - most domestic abuse is unreported in Bangladesh because many women feel ashamed and guilty about the abuse they suffer. And there's hardly any access to justice anyway.

    Earlier this week, I travelled to Bangladesh in my role as the UK's ministerial champion for tackling violence against women and girls overseas. It was the third leg of my violence against women and girls awareness-raising mission around the world, after the United Arab Emirates and Somalia. And though the stats on child marriage and domestic abuse are shocking, there is very clear room for optimism and momentum for change.

    At this summer's Girl Summit in London, hosted by the coalition government and UNICEF, we helped mobilise domestic and international efforts to end child, early and forced marriage, as well as female genital mutilation, within a generation. There, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made some fantastic pledges to end under-15 child marriage by 2021 and end all under-18 child marriage by 2041, and I admire her leadership. If Bangladesh can end child marriage, it can set the model for others to follow.

    On Monday, I went to the follow-up Bangladesh Girl Summit, where Bangladeshi ministers, civil society, women and young people united against child marriage and discussed how to tackle it, from the community to the national level.

    And I saw how child marriage really can be stopped at the community level. I met a young girl called Shabnaz in one of Dhaka's slums, who through the support of her community's women's group was able to escape child marriage. She told me how her father had been about to marry her off at 14 and how she went to Dolly, a leader of her community group, for help. Dolly spoke with Shabnaz's father, told him about the detrimental impact marriage would have on Shabnaz's health and well-being, on her entire future. He was convinced! The marriage was called off, Shabnaz is continuing her studies and she'll be able to support herself and give back to her family. And I'm proud that DFID, through our support to the Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction Programme, is helping to set up and train even more community groups like the one that helped Shabnaz.

    At the national level, the Bangladeshi government has announced plans to change the Child Marriage Restraint Act by increasing the maximum penalty for violations from 2 months to 2 years in prison with heavier fines. Strengthening and enforcing this law would be a great step forward.

    However, the Bangladeshi government's proposed changes would also decrease the marriageable age for girls from the current age of 18 to 16. This seems directly at odds with Sheikh Hasina's commitments at the Girl Summit, and there is seemingly a lot of confusion about this change even among Bangladeshi politicians. But it's not over yet. I met Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament, who said she will be writing to Sheikh Hasina to convene a meeting on the rationale for lowering the marriageable age before the legislation comes to Parliament. I, along with the UK High Commission and DFID office in Bangladesh, will be watching developments closely and encouraging the government not to lower the age.

    Overall my visit to Bangladesh was a real source of inspiration. I particularly admire the energy, enthusiasm and talent shown by those young people whose lives have been affected by child marriage and violence and are working so hard to put an end to it. Violence against women and girls is one of the most systematic, widespread human rights abuses in the world. And it will take all of us to end it. But the committed campaigners I met in Bangladesh - including, crucially, men - are proof that what we seek to achieve is possible.

  • Cannabis Drugs
    Article: Oct 30, 2014

    The UK's drugs laws need radical change, Liberal Democrat Home Office Minister Norman Baker has said today.

    Norman's call comes as the government publishes a major report on drugs policies around the world.

    The report finds that tough criminal sentences for drug users make no difference to the rates of drug use.

  • Social Care
    Article: Oct 30, 2014

    NHS England today approved a local plan to use part of the Government's national £5.3 billion Better Care Fund to improve care for the elderly and those with complex health needs in Bradford and reduce hospital admissions.

    In Bradford, health and care organisations are investing £37.5million in delivering better care. They aim to reduce hospital admissions in this area by 3.7%, saving £3.5mwhich canbe re-invested in local health and care services.

  • Liberal Democrat Logo - Libby
    Article: Oct 30, 2014

    Have your say on Government consultations (Open/Closed/Outcomes) which have been released between Thursday 23rd October - Thursday 30th October.

    Land Registry: Wider Powers and Local Land Charges

    • 29 October 2014
    • Land Registry
    • Consultation outcome
    1. Climate Change Agreements target review 2016: discussion paper and call for evidence
  • FCA Smart Scam
    Article: Oct 29, 2014

    David Ward helps launch new awareness campaign to protect those most at risk of investment fraud.

    Finance regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has this month launched a new campaign to warn people about investment fraud and how to spot a potential scam.

    Investment scams generally involve unexpected phone calls and high-pressured sales tactics, for products which often do not exist, including land-banking schemes, carbon credits and rare earth metals.

  • Liberal Democrat Logo - Libby
    Article: Oct 29, 2014

    The Conservatives have pulled the plug on their own EU Referendum Bill, despite being given the opportunity by the Liberal Democrats to take it before the House of Commons.

    Questions are now being asked as to whether this was a short term tactic to distinguish themselves form UKIP by being able to promise a referendum at the next election, which they couldn't have done if the Coalition had made it law.

  • Rainbow Flag - Sexual Equality
    Article: Oct 29, 2014

    Schools will be offered £2m to help them tackle homophobic bullying.

    The funds will be offered to charitable and not-for-profit organisations that suggest creative ideas to stamp out homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools across the country.

    Liberal Democrats want to stamp out homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying once and for all. You can show your support for this too by backing our campaign here.

  • Tax
    Article: Oct 28, 2014

    High paid executives who take a redundancy payment from the public sector and then to return to work in the same part of the public sector within a year will need to repay the taxpayer Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has announced today.

    Under proposals published by the government, individuals earning over £100,000 who take a new job in the same part of the public sector within 12 months of being made redundant will have to repay all or some of their redundancy payment.

  • Lynne Featherstone MP
    Article: Oct 28, 2014

    Liberal Democrat International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone recently visited Somalia. Here she writes about breaking the silence of violence against women and girls in Somali and beyond.

    When you think of Somalia, you probably think of Black Hawk Down, Al Shabaab terrorism and piracy. But if you're born a girl in Somalia, you face so many other risks, both severe and everyday.

  • Survey: Oct 27, 2014
    1 question

    Treatment for mental health conditions will be brought into line with other NHS services with the introduction of the first ever waiting time standards thanks to David Ward and the Liberal Democrats in Government.

    For the first time, from April 2015, most patients needing talking therapies - for conditions like depression - will be guaranteed the treatment they need in as little as six weeks, with a maximum wait of 18 weeks.

The full programme of Liberal Democrat achievements in Government can be found here.