Cannabis, tuition fees, student rent: Lib Dem leader Ed Davey answers your questions

The unofficial king of political photo opportunities, Sir Ed Davey, has been getting himself noticed this General Election campaign with a range of silly stunts, but the Liberal Democrats leader has told ITV News he is not worried about appearing silly himself.

He thinks politicians should "take voters concerns seriously, but not take themselves quite so seriously", which is why - with almost a month until polling day - he's already been pictured falling into Lake Windermere and interviewed on a waterslide.

Rather than display the "pomposity among some politicians", Sir Ed says he plans to show Britons "through a bit of fun that we have some serious policies that will address people's concerns".

"Getting rid of this appalling government," is his main job, he told ITV News. And in a bid to do that, he's answered a range of questions sent to @itvpolitics on Instagram and TikTok.

ITV News will be replicating the same format of asking the party leaders questions sent in by you, throughout the campaign before the General Election on July 4. Follow @itvpolitics on Insta and TikTok to get involved.

What's the main thing a Liberal Democrat government would like to achieve?

It's important to point out here that a Liberal Democrat majority government is highly unlikely, but there is a decent chance the party could get into a power sharing agreement with one of the other parties.

Sir Ed, who is a carer for his disabled son, said the main things he wants to secure is improvements to the health and care service, with some "pretty ambitious proposals about primary care, GP's, NHS, dentists, pharmacies".

Among the policies announced so far is a pledge to support young people with mental health issues by having relevant medical staff stationed in schools, a scheme he said would be funded by an increased tax on social media companies.

He said he's also committed to addressing the sewage scandal, which is why he was on a paddleboard on Lake Windermere, which has been the site of illegal waste dumping.

How can voters trust the Lib Dems after breaking promise on tuition fees?

The last time the Liberal Democrats were polling as well as they are now, they got into power through a coalition with the Conservatives but voters punished them so severely at the next General Election that they were nearly wiped out of Parliament - Sir Ed even became the first Cabinet minister to lose his seat since Michael Portillo in 1997.

That's understood to be mostly because they broke their manifesto pledge to abolish university tuition fees by allowing the Conservatives they were sharing power with, to triple them.

Sir Ed sought to defend his party's time in government when asked whether it showed Liberal Democrats cannot be trusted to stick to their promises.

He said: "We fought the Conservatives during that government. It wasn't easy. I'm not going to pretend it was easy... we achieved a lot of things. Unfortunately, thanks to the Conservatives, we were not able to achieve everything."

Would he consider a cap for student rent?

With the cost-of-living still biting, many people sent in questions asking about the idea of a rent cap to help protect tenants. The idea of a rent cap across the whole UK has been discredited by various campaigners, who say it would be detrimental to the market.

So we asked the Liberal Democrat leader about capping rent for students instead.

He said it is "something that should be looked at" and he is "committed" to helping young people get affordable accommodation but the "key thing is building more affordable homes".

"We've got a community-led approach to building houses, and it's been shown that can lead to more homes and more homes, crucially, that are affordable," he said.

"So Liberal Democrats are very committed to making sure young people get the homes they need at prices they can afford."

Would the Liberal Democrats legalise cannabis?

In 2016, the Lib Dems became the first major political party to back the legalisation of cannabis, which is currently a Class B illegal drug.

At the time, the party said it would reduce drug-related crime and raise around £1bn in tax revenue. A majority of US states have now legalised the drug either entirely or for medical use. In 2018, the UK allowed doctors to prescribe medicinal products using cannabis compounds but they are heavily restricted.

Asked whether his party would bring back the pledge to legalise the drug, Sir Ed did not rule it out.

"We're going to publish our manifesto soon," he said. "People will see about those issues and many, many others. And I don't want to break the surprise. So I'll keep you in suspense a little longer."

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How would he solve the small boats crisis?

There's already been a record number of asylum seekers cross the English Channel in small boats this year, compared to the amount at the same point in previous years.

Every party wants to address the problem, given people are regularly dying in the sea, and the UK is spending millions each day look after the people who do make it.

The government's flagship policy to stop crossings is deporting migrants to Rwanda after they arrive in the UK, to deter them from making the journey.

Sir Ed said his top policy is "to work with our nearest neighbors in Europe to make sure we can tackle these appalling international crime gangs" which take money from migrants to smuggle them into Britain.

"The human traffickers who are behind this, they need to be put in jail," he added.

Ed Davey has been highly critical of Donald Trump, wouldn't it be awkward for UK - US relations if they both won?

Sir Ed has never shied away from criticising Donald Trump even saying he would join a demonstration in 2019 protesting against the president's UK visit. But, depending on General Election results either side of the pond, there is a chance the pair could have to work with each other.

The Lib Dem leader again took his chance to hit out at the former president following Trump's conviction for falsifying business records to cover-up a sex scandal ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

"I would not be voting for Donald Trump," he said, adding: "Anyone who cares about the freedom of Ukraine and our own defence and own security in the UK should be worried about a Trump presidency."

Asked if it would be awkward between the pair if they both won their elections, Sir Ed said: "British governments have to work with whoever heads another country.

"But there's no point pretending that we see eye to eye with someone when we don't. I didn't share any of President Trump's values, and I think the vast majority of the British people don't."

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