Category Archives: Parliament

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

What’s on in our Parliaments next week? 7-10 April

Houses of ParliamentThe Scottish Parliament and Welsh Senedd are in recess next week, but Westminster is still sitting.

House of Commons

The Commons is still dealing with the Finance Bill, implementing the measures in the Budget. There, is however, a Justice and Home Affairs debate on Monday.

Communities & Local Government, Foreign Office, the Department of International Development (therefore Lynne Featherstene) and Business, Innovation and Skills face questions.

photo by: wwarby
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Lord James Palumbo’s maiden speech

"Frozen Poetry" - Houses of Parliament, LondonIt is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. On 6 March, Lord Palumbo made his maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on the contribution of women to economic life. His words are reproduced below.

Lord Palumbo of Southwark (LD): My Lords, I thank my …

photo by: Gaurav Pradhan
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Vince Cable in his own words on the sale of Royal Mail

Vincent CableThe publication of a report today by the National Audit Office criticising the “deep caution” of Vince Cable’s department in setting the sale price of shares in Royal Mail has, inevitably, been leapt on by opponents of the policy. Critics who would, of course, have been equally happy crowing if the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills had set the price too high causing the flotation flop.

Vince Cable went to the despatch box of the Commons today to defend his department’s actions, making headlines for unambiguously stating, “The last thing …

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Congratulations, Jo Baker: Lib Dem Researcher of the Year!

Huge congrats to Jo Baker – researcher for Mark Williams, Lib Dem MP for Ceredigion – for winning The House Magazine and PoliticsHome.com’s Liberal Democrat Researcher of the Year!

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Nick Clegg’s tribute to Tony Benn

Tony_BennTributes were paid in the House of Commons today to the former Labour MP Tony Benn, who died last week. Deputy Prime Minister
Nick Clegg led them – here’s what he had to say…

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Nick Clegg):
May I, on behalf of the House, commence the tributes to the right hon. Tony Benn, following the warm words from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition yesterday?

As others have already commented, Tony Benn will be remembered as a dedicated constituency Member of Parliament, a tireless campaigner and, of course, an astute political diarist.

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A longer read for the weekend: Nick Harvey on how “the whole model of local Government funding is now fundamentally broken”

There was a mini-Lib Dem rebellion this week, when five MPs – Tim Farron, Nick Harvey, Andrew George, Stephen Gilbert and Adrian Sanders – all voted against this year’s funding settlement between the Treasury and local government.

As the New Statesman’s George Eaton points out here, “By the end of 2015-16, the budget of the Department for Communities and Local Government will have been reduced by a remarkable 60.6 per cent, with several years of austerity still ahead.” But Whitehall will have been emboldened by this recent ICM poll highlighted by the BBC showing 60% of the public …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Scotland’s place in the UK 

As the Referendum date quickly approaches, I was glad to have the chance to speak in a House of Commons debate last week on Scotland’s place in the UK.

As part of the United Kingdom we have fantastic economic opportunities through the single market, greater security due to having a seat at the top table at NATO, and the ability for Scotland to punch above its weight internationally due to the UK Foreign Office network around the world.

It …

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A longer read for the weekend: Lord (Paul) Strasburger’s submission to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament recently issued the following call for papers:

On 17 October 2013, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) announced that it would be broadening its inquiry into the laws which govern the intelligence agencies’ ability to intercept private communications. In addition to considering whether the current statutory framework governing access to private communications remains adequate, the Committee is also considering the appropriate balance between our individual right to privacy and our collective right to security. The ISC is now inviting written submissions from those who wish to contribute to the inquiry.

Lib Dem peer Paul Strasburger has sent us his submission, which we’re printing in full…

Submission to ISC Inquiry

paul strasburgerby Lord Strasburger

1. In January 2014 President Obama said to his country and the world “Our system of government is built on the premise that our liberty cannot depend on the good intentions of those in power. It depends on the law to constrain those in power.”
2. In the UK, the Snowden disclosures have confirmed that the legislation intended to constrain intrusive surveillance of its citizens by the State is not fit for purpose. In addition, scrutiny of the security and intelligence agencies which is supposed to protect the privacy and liberty of the British people has comprehensively failed.

The difference between watching anybody and watching everybody

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Lord (Mike) Storey writes on the Children and Families Bill: “At its very core, this is a Lib Dem Bill”

We’ve just had the final days of ‘Report’ of the Children and Families Bill in the House of Lords and on Monday, MPs will consider our amendments – including the proposal to ban smoking in cars carrying children. But as the dust settles on the red benches (or perhaps I should say, smoke has lifted?) I wanted to let Lib Dem Voice readers know about some of the things we’ve achieved, which Liberal Democrats can rightly be proud of.

I should start by saying that, at its very core, this is a ‘Lib Dem Bill’. The …

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Vince on Scottish independence: RBS would ‘inevitably’ move to London

It’s not often we hear from the Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable on constitutional matters. But today he appeared before Parliament’s Business, Innovation and Skills Committee to discuss the implications for business of Scottish independence, ahead of September’s referendum. Here’s what he said (via the BBC):

RBS would “inevitably” move its headquarters to London if Scotland votes for independence, UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has claimed. Mr Cable told a committee of MPs that the bank would want to be based where it was “protected against the risk of collapse”. …

William Bain, Labour MP for Glasgow North East, asked

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

A Stronger Economy 

Last week, I welcomed the announcement of the strongest GDP growth figures since before the financial crisis began in 2007, with the UK growing by 0.7% in the last financial quarter and 1.9% throughout the whole of 2013.  Growth is vital for our prosperity so this is a really important development.

We have also seen the inflation rate dropping to 2% from a peak of 5.2% in September 2011, decreasing unemployment and both the World Bank and the IMF indicating …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Free Childcare

My colleagues in the Scottish Parliament have been making the case for extending child care provision in Scotland for some time. So the fact that from August 2014 thousands of two-year-olds in Scotland will be entitled a free childcare place for 15 hours a week is excellent news for families across the Borders.

This means that we now catch up with the situation in England where the Liberal Democrats have helped to deliver a similar plan for two years now. The …

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Vince Cable nails Labour’s crass and inaccurate attacks on Lib Dems’ support for the minimum wage

Sometimes you’ll hear Labour folk claim, with absolute certainty, that the Lib Dems opposed the introduction of the minimum wage in 1998. They’re wrong, as a glance at the voting record shows not a single Lib Dem MP voted against and 26 voted in favour.

Today Labour’s shadow secretary of state for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves, upped the ante, demanding to know:

where was the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable)? He was nowhere to be seen in the debates. He was nowhere to be seen on the voting record. On Second Reading and Third Reading, he failed to vote. Apparently, he abstained because he had reservations about a minimum wage. Perhaps he will stand up today to profess his concern for the plight of the low-paid.

Vince didn’t respond directly immediately. But he did respond:

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“Annoying” behaviour – Baroness Sally Hamwee responds

On Wednesday the House of Lords debated the first part of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill. As has been reported , the main issue discussed concerned the definition that will be used in the new ‘Injunction to prevent anti-social behaviour’ of IPNAs that will replace ASBOs. The Government was proposing the IPNAs can be issued against behaviour that can reasonably be expected to cause ‘nuisance or annoyance’.

However, an amendment by Lord Dear proposed changing this test (except when it comes to social housing) likely to cause ‘harassment, alarm and distress’.

I know many Lib Dem Voice readers feel a …

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What’s on in the Commons next week? 6-10 January 2014

MPs return to Westminster from their Christmas holidays next week. What does the parliamentary agenda have in store for them and when are Liberal Democrat ministers in action?

On Monday, it’s Education questions, followed by the completion of Commons stages for the Water Bill. I wonder how quickly the first Blackadder reference will creep in.

On Tuesday, Nick Clegg’s in action at Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions. Then the Mesothelioma Bill completes its Commons stages.

Wednesday sees the first PMQs of the year. I can’t see any prospect of this weekly pantomime becoming any less depressing. It would be so nice if our MPs …

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Lord Rumi Verjee’s maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Last Thursday, Lord Verjee made his maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. His words are reproduced below.

Lord Verjee (LD): My Lords, it is with a very full set of emotions that I stand before noble Lords this afternoon …

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Baroness Christine Humphreys’ maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. On 28 November, Baroness Humphreys made her maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on broadcast media and its role in the economy. Her words are reproduced below.

Baroness Humphreys (LD): My Lords, I thank my noble friend for initiating this debate and for allowing me the opportunity to make …

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EDMWatch #6 Pubs, badgers and elephants – but what about people?

We take  an occasional look at the Early Day Motions tabled by MPs. These are basically House of Commons petition and are used to raise awareness of an issue. One of the biggest elements of an MP’s postbag or inbox is a pile of requests from supporters of a particular organisation or charity to sign a particular EDM. As a rule, ministers don’t sign EDMs.

Most popular

Winning for this session so far is our own Greg Mulholland’s EDM 57, on getting pub tenants a fair deal from breweries, signed by 166 MPs.

Now this is where I get annoyed, …

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Lord Jeremy Purvis’s maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. On 28 November, Lord Purvis of Tweed made his maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on broadcast media and its role in the economy. His words are reproduced below.

Jeremy PurvisLord Purvis of Tweed (LD): My Lords, it is a daunting task to follow the noble Lord, Lord Birt, in this debate. However, I crave the indulgence of your Lordships’ House to make my maiden speech. In doing so, I will perhaps draw the House’s attention north from London and the south-east towards the north of England and Scotland.

I am conscious that many maiden speeches have been made in recent weeks, including in this debate. I, too, add my congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Holmes of Richmond, and to my noble friend Lady Grender; I associate myself with the kind words of the noble Lord, Lord Birt, in paying rich tribute to her maiden speech. I have been a poor pupil of media training by my noble friend Lady Grender; participation in this House was perhaps not a topic on our agenda. However, there is a perverse pleasure in seeing her now having to tackle the tough questions on behalf of her party.

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Nick Clegg’s Commons tribute to Mandela: “let us honour his memory by ensuring that the hope he gave lives on”

clegg on leveson 2Nick Clegg offered his tribute on behalf of the Lib Dems today to Nelson Mandela’s immense contribution to leading South Africa away from apartheid and towards democracy. Here’s what he had to say:

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Nick Clegg):
On behalf of the Liberal Democrats, let me add my voice to the many tributes to Nelson Mandela, the father of modern South Africa. Our thoughts and condolences are with his loved ones, the people of South Africa, and everyone around the world who is grieving his loss.

Nelson Mandela’s message

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Baroness Alison Suttie’s maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Last Wednesday, Baroness Suttie made her maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on human rights. Her words are reproduced below.

Baroness Suttie (LD): My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Alton, on securing this timely and important debate. I congratulate my noble friend Lord Finkelstein on his …

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Norman Baker writes… “We’re not turning into authoritarians!”

Today the Independent published a story about the Coalition Government’s plans to reform anti-social behaviour legislation.  I know that many Lib Dems may well be concerned by the story. Indeed, if it were true I would be worried! But it is not. It is utter nonsense to suggest we are targeting skateboarders, ramblers, youngsters playing in their local park, or anyone else going about their daily lives perfectly reasonably.

In reality the new anti-social behaviour powers are designed to protect such activities. Rather, the power is designed to stop problem drinking, aggressive begging, dog fouling – any behaviour that spoils the …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Mike Moore rocket look of wonderment croppedLiberal Democrat MP Michael Moore writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Apprenticeships Campaign

Over the last few months, I have been campaigning to encourage local businesses to take on apprentices. I have visited many businesses across the constituency to see how they have managed to create very successful apprenticeship schemes.

As part of this ongoing campaign to increase apprenticeships in the Borders, last week I visited Hawick Cashmere to meet the apprentices there.

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Liberal Democrat Peers: they’re your secret weapon, if only you’d use them!

Last week, the outreach programme of the Parliamentary Party in the Lords moved into its next phase. There is, unfortunately, a catch, in that, through no fault of their own, the earlier phases haven’t reached quite as far as they might have hoped.

The campaign for Liberal Democrat Peers to make one thousand constituency visits before the 2015 General Election continues – Suffolk Coastal were very hospitable – but too many Local Parties seem oblivious to the possibilities that nearly one hundred (very occasionally) ermine-clad Parliamentarians, with four thousand years of service to the Party between them*, can offer. I …

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Baroness Cathy Bakewell’s maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Last Thursday, Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville made her maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on housing. Her words are reproduced below.

My Lords, it is a privilege to be able to address your Lordships’ House on a subject so dear to my heart, and I thank the noble Baroness, …

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Lord Brian Paddick’s maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Last Tuesday, Lord Paddick made his maiden speech in the House of Lords during the debate on the Second Reading of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill. His words are reproduced below.

My Lords, I think the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, was confusing my name with my current state of mind. …

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Lord Ian Wrigglesworth’s maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Last Thursday, Lord Wrigglesworth made his maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union. His words are reproduced below.

My Lords, it is a great honour and a great pleasure to address your Lordships’ House for the first time. I do so with

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

As local MP, I am determined to do as much as possible to boost job opportunities for young people here in the Borders.  I believe that apprenticeships offer a great opportunity for businesses and young people.  They are not just for the traditional trades but can be in anything from marketing to business administration and customer service.  Apprenticeships help businesses reduce recruitment costs, lower staff turnover and improve productivity.

Over the last few months, I have been campaigning to encourage local businesses …

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Lord Greaves writes… We must make the Lobbying Bill work

Big Ben Orange Blue 200It is rightly said that this Bill has had a disgraceful lack of scrutiny, and I agree with that. But we are where we are. The Government are not going to withdraw it, and it is not going to stop. If we can work together as a House and the Government can work with us, we can make a much better fist of this Bill than we have at the moment.

Tony Greaves writes on the Transparency of Lobbying, Third Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act, commonly known as the Lobbying Bill, drawing on his statements during the Second Reading on Tuesday. The committee stage begins on Tuesday 5th November, at which amendments will be tabled.

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Baroness Zahida Manzoor’s maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Today, Baroness Manzoor made her maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on drugs policy. Her words are reproduced below.

My Lords, it is a real honour and a privilege to take my place on these distinguished red Benches. I have been overwhelmed by the sincerity of the welcome and the

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