Category Archives: Parliament

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

Tom Brake fights for the rights of EU citizens in the UK

The 3 million EU citizens currently resident in the UK must not be bartered over in this country’s exit negotiations with the EU. They must not be treated as political pawns, or like children caught up in their parents’ divorce. So said Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake as he introduced his “EU Citizens in the UK (Right to stay) Bill to the Commons this week. The Bill has support from MPs from Labour, SDLP, SNP and Greens.

I’m glad to see Lib Dems calling the Brexit vote for what it is – a disaster. Someone needs to point out that we are on the edge of a massive precipice and the tanking of the pound is just the start. Already business is starting to feel the pinch as investors delay investing in the UK. The collapse of the travel firm Lowcostravel is just one example of jobs being lost as a result of the Brexit vote. People haven’t yet even begun to experience the effects of Brexit and when they do, they need to see who was speaking out from the start.

I’m very proud that it is our lot who are working to preserve the rights of people who are already worrying about their future. It is only fair that those who have made their lives here are allowed to stay and not have the goalposts moved. Imagine if you have moved here, fallen in love, established a social network, a family, a career, in this country. Would you like to be treated that way?

Here is Tom’s speech in full:

Also posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

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.”

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

‘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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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSimon Banks 26th Aug - 6:44pm
    So I take it the Scottish Liberal Democrats have decided that in a choice between leaving the EU or leaving the UK, they opt for...
  • User AvatarSimon Banks 26th Aug - 6:41pm
    I want to respond to the comments on consultations in general, not the specific social security issue. I'm told the party has no rules on...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 26th Aug - 6:33pm
    Glenn, I was proud to see the anti-burkini ban protest outside the French embassy in London yesterday. Even if people have very little interest in...
  • User AvatarJohn Roffey 26th Aug - 5:49pm
    JamesG 26th Aug '16 - 3:52pm "Abrupt climate change goes back to Wally Broecker should you wish to read some science rather than just the...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 26th Aug - 5:48pm
    Caron makes strong and eloquent points here in defence of , not so much or only , liberty ,as traditional mainstream practices , and notions...
  • User AvatarJamesG 26th Aug - 5:43pm
    Paul I have taken the trouble to find out rather than make a sweeping assumption. You can take that route too if you like.