Category Archives: Parliament

Anything connected with business in the Houses of Commons or Lords (eg, PMQs).

Yesterday in the Lords, 3 on the #EURef

The other day, a very senior German Minister said to me, “Whenever I go into a European Union meeting with my British colleagues, their very first question is: ‘Excuse me, please tell me the way to the exit?’”. They are spending so much energy trying to get out that they spend none building the alliances to try to win the things that we want. Canning and Castlereagh would be spinning in their graves. The truth of it is that there ​are things we can win in the European Union, but we will not win them by removing ourselves from it.

So said Paddy Ashdown yesterday in the Queens speech debate which touched on the imminent EU referendum. You can read the full speech here.

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When the Minister didn’t quite get Alistair Carmichael’s sarcasm…

This week, Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael  put down an Urgent Question to the Home Secretary after she all too casually said that the UK should leave the European Convention on Human Rights. It’s clear that ,whatever the result of the Referendum, the Tories are desperate to have a big bonfire of all of our most basic rights. What they could object to about things like the right to privacy and freedom of expression is beyond me.

Anyway, Theresa May didn’t bother to turn up to face Alistair. She sent Attorney General Jeremy Wright instead. He didn’t really answer her question, prompting Alistair to say:

I am grateful to the Attorney General for that answer. I should make it clear that I hold him in the very highest regard; I enjoyed working with him as a Minister in the previous Government. But he is not the Home Secretary, and he should not be responding to the urgent question today. The Home Secretary was the one who could make the speech yesterday and she can, apparently, come and make a statement tomorrow. She should be here today. Yesterday she went rogue; today she has gone missing.

There is total confusion at the heart of Government policy. What the Attorney General has just said at the Dispatch Box contradicts clearly what has been said previously. Yesterday the Home Secretary said:

The ECHR can bind the hands of parliament, adds nothing to our prosperity, makes us less secure by preventing the deportation of dangerous foreign nationals – and does nothing to change the attitudes of governments like Russia’s when it comes to human rights. So regardless of the EU referendum, my view is this: if we want to reform human rights laws in this country, it isn’t the EU we should leave but the ECHR and the jurisdiction of its court.”

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‘Fee waiver’ system for immigrants not working

Much like schoolchildren, Peers have returned from the Easter break this week. We’re now within a month or so of the end of this parliamentary ‘session’, and so there will be lots of battles as the government attempts to secure the last parts of its legislative agenda for this year.

Looking at the business ahead, on immigration, on housing and on trade union legislation, I don’t envy the task of our team leaders and whips. They’ve got to decide which are the crunch issues on which we can bring together a coalition of peers to beat the Government in …

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The tirade of Government defeats on housing has begun

warmer homesA few weeks ago I wrote on Lib Dem Voice about the full throttle attack that Lib Dems in the Lords are undertaking on the Housing and Planning Bill – one of the shoddiest pieces of legislation put before Parliament for well over a decade.

Yesterday the votes began and the Government was defeated twice – a sign of things to come. Getting this controversial bill through may prove Cameron’s toughest legislative battle yet.

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What our busy peers will be up to this week

Here are some of the things our team in the House of Lords will be doing this week:

Monday: Roger Roberts will be pushing the Government to take action to relieve the situation of unaccompanied refugee children. Tim Farron has been pushing the Government to accept 3,000 at risk refugee children but David Cameron has recently rejected the proposal. The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to find a solution which does not leave these children vulnerable.

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Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches: Dorothy Thornhill on housing and planning

Dorothy Thornhill at Bournemouth
Last Tuesday, Dorothy Thornhill, Mayor of Watford, made her maiden speech in the House of Lords. She spoke in the debate on the Housing and Planning Bill. Here it is in full:

When I mentioned to my noble friends that I was excited but concerned about my maiden speech

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Farron’s response to principle of banning Trump is right in principle but…

Tomorrow, Parliament debates whether Donald Trump should be excluded from the UK. MPs are doing this because getting on for 600,000 people signed an official e-petition calling for him to be banned from the UK after his appalling anti-Muslim comments. We’ve talked about this on LDV before. In December, I said that he should be allowed to come here:

Much as I understand that people are repelled by his views, there is a certain irony in them responding to his ignorant call to ban a group of people with a call to ban him.

I have less than no time for the man. Hell, he called a friend of mine who had the temerity to question his plans for his golf course a “national disgrace, scoundrel and extremist”. However, I was never comfortable with the idea of “no platform” because I think that sweeping prejudice under the carpet doesn’t get rid of it. It finds oxygen from somewhere and lurks there, waiting or an opportunity to re-emerge and spread even more intensified hate. When people express views like Trump’s, they need to be challenged, satirised and shown up for the nonsense that they are.

I’d love to see the likes of Lynne Featherstone, Shirley Williams, Jo Brand, Tim Farron or his new mate Russell Howard take him down with carefully chosen words. In that way, they can also challenge similar views held by those who aren’t quite as rich and powerful as The Donald.

I didn’t, therefore, sign the petition, but Millicent Ragnhild Scott did, not because she wanted to see him banned, but because she wanted Parliament to debate what he’d said to show that we reject his poisonous ideas:

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarAl 29th Jun - 1:19pm
    If the argument in the article was correct then the areas with the highest levels of immigration in England (eg London and Manchester) would have...
  • User AvatarJenny barnes 29th Jun - 1:08pm
    Inter alia, the leave campaign was very focussed,on sovereignty. "Take back control" . Parliament is sovereign, or the crown in parliament, so a general election...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 29th Jun - 1:01pm
    Equally, had a mandatory (as opposed to advisory) referendum been requested, that would also have been written into the referendum bill, and it would have...
  • User AvatarSteve Way 29th Jun - 12:52pm
    The other South Hams MP, Gary Streeter (Con) also supported remain although with less national press coverage.
  • User AvatarDavid-1 29th Jun - 12:41pm
    "the margin of “victory” was insufficient for the result to be clear" The only clear and necessary margin of victory was one vote. Had a...
  • User AvatarNorman McIlwain 29th Jun - 12:30pm
    On the matter of yellow islands in a sea of blue: Liverpool voted 58% remain and has learned from bitter experience not to buy the...