Category Archives: Parliament

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

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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Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches: Alan Beith on the National Lottery

EuroMillions ticketsThis week, we are catching up with our new Lib Dem peers’ maiden speeches. Today, it’s Alan Beith on the National Lottery.

The noble Lord, Lord Holmes of Richmond, was very kind and generous in his references to me and to the circumstances of my election, 42 years ago. It was with a majority of only 57 votes. I never imagined that I would manage such a long political survival, still less that I would find myself in this haven of political survival, the House of Lords. But I believe in the need for a Second Chamber and it will be an honour to serve in it, just as it was an honour to represent in the other House the beautiful Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency, covering 1,000 square miles of Northumberland.

I am very grateful for the warm and friendly welcome I have received in this House from noble Lords and the very helpful staff. I am delighted to renew so many friendships with those on all sides of this Chamber whom I have worked with, taken evidence from or contended with in years gone by. As I seek to follow the slightly different ways of doing things at this end of the building, I have been allocated a widely respected mentor and guide who knows exactly how to keep me in order: the noble Baroness, Lady Maddock, has been doing that ever since I married her.

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Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches: Sharon Bowles on the importance of proper scrutiny

This week, we’re featuring the maiden speeches of our newest Lib Dem lords. This one is still warm from the press. Sharon Bowles only made it on Wednesday.  As part of the Strathclyde Review, she drew on her experience in the European Parliament when it came to dealing with secondary legislation:

My Lords, I rise for the first time, deeply conscious of the honour that it is to serve in your Lordships’ House. I am grateful for the kind way in which noble Lords have received me, for the friendliness of all staff and for the elegant and discreet way in which the attendants and doorkeepers have steered me from uncertain manoeuvres. I thank the noble Lords who introduced me, my noble friends Lord McNally and Lady Falkner of Margravine, and all those who have enriched my life and learning, without whom I would not be here.

I hope to contribute to various deliberations drawing upon my experience from both strands of my career. The first strand was that of scientist, engineer and patent attorney for over 25 years, running a professional business and immersed in leading-edge technology. The second strand was nine years in the European Parliament, culminating in five years as chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, facing a vast and profound agenda due to the financial and eurozone crisis.

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Oates and Scriven show why Britain needs the Liberal Democrats

Jonny Oates on ID cards
The Palace of Westminster is quite disorientating. There’s an escalator that goes from the bright modern Portcullis House into Westminster that I always call the Time Machine because it really feels like you go back 300 years in 30 feet. This afternoon, if you’d wandered into the House of Lords, you might be forgiven for thinking you’d gone to sleep and woken up in 2005, because here were Labour and Tory peers trying to bring back ID cards. And just like 2005 (who remembers Police, not Plastic), it was Liberal Democrat peers cutting their way throughout the authoritarian smog like Mr Muscle on a greasy kitchen worktop.

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Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches: Lynne Featherstone on the commonwealth, LGBT rights and international development

This week, we’re catching up on Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches. Today, it’s Lynne Featherstone who spoke following the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. “From wild child to the heart of the British establishment”, she says:

My Lords, I am so very honoured to be here and to have a continuing platform from which to pursue the political passions of my life. But first I thank noble Lords across the House for the warmest of welcomes. I have been utterly charmed and beguiled by the doorkeepers, Black Rod’s Office and the police, all of whom I thank for their kindness and courtesy, and not infrequent rescue from a wrong turn. I am delighted to make my maiden speech on the recent Commonwealth meeting, and I thank the noble Lord, Lord Luce, for bringing forward this opportunity to me.

The Heads of Government emphasised the need to protect individuals from all forms of violence and discrimination. Violence and discrimination abound across the world. From the almost two women a week here in the United Kingdom who are killed by their partners or former partners, as you go across the world it just gets worse: acid attacks, female foeticide, breast ironing and rape as a weapon of war. I have raised these issues at the very highest levels in countries where women have no rights and in those where there are laws, but no implementation. However, there is nothing more totemic to illustrate the lack of women’s power in this world than female genital mutilation. I am proud to have introduced and spearheaded the campaign in the coalition Government to address FGM both here and abroad.

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    Paul Holmes How many of the 57 Lib Dem seats had a female candidate in 2015?
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    If I want to stand as a candidate in say my home constituency where I have lived for my whole life could I be prevented...