Tag Archives: house of lords

The Immigration Bill: 23 Liberal Democrat Lords rebel on “stateless” power, 12 on child trafficking guardian

immigrationThe Immigration Bill was back in the Lords this Monday where the Government suffered two defeats. The first was to overturn the power of the Home Secretary to deprive terror suspects who had acquired British citizenship  (note, suspects, not anybody who has been convicted of anything) of that citizenship even if so doing would render them stateless.

Of the 242 peers supporting Lord Pannick’s amendment, 23 of them were Liberal Democrats. And their ranks included more than the usual Awkward Squad.

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Ros Scott speaks out against food waste

Food waste 215 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK each year.

122 million tonnes wasted in the industrialised world (which makes the British contribution of an eye-wateringly high proportion).

The latter figure is equal to the entire food production of sub-Saharan Africa.

It’s a far cry from the days when we were growing up. Any waste at all horrified my Granny. She went to the shops every day and bought what she needed for that day and no more. Most of what she bought was relatively locally produced, unprocessed and fresh.

photo by: Nick Saltmarsh
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Liberal Democrat peers support asylum seekers’ right to work

Advocates disrupt transfer of asylum seekers from VillawoodThe Immigration Bill is currently going through its final stages in the House of Lords. On Thursday, Liberal Democrat peers, led by Roger Roberts, tried to amend it by inserting a clause which would have entitled asylum seekers to work after 6 months.

Roger told me that he was not able to press the amendment to a vote because it received no support from either Labour or Conservative front benches. This, he felt, was grossly unfair given George Osborne’s desire for full employment and Labour’s …

photo by: kateausburn
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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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Lib Dems amongst the top ten peers’ peers

House of LordsEd Lowther at the BBC has identified the ‘top ten peers’ peers of 2013‘, defined as backbenchers in the House of Lords who were name-checked most frequently by their colleagues in the chamber. As he says: “This approach may not measure popularity or power, but it gives an impression of impact. “

And are any of those lordly sociometric stars Lib Dem, by any chance? Of course they are.

At number 4 – drumroll, please – is ….

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Opinion: Time to step back from the brink

Recent events have shown us that. Like many other similar organisations including other political parties and trades unions and some charities we are good at telling others what should be done and then falling short ourselves.  Partly this is due to the fact that money and resource available to tends to go straight to campaigns and partly because when you count a large number of volunteers as part of the party, it is harder to have a clear structure.  Whatever.  We haven’t covered ourselves in glory despite the high quality of many of the individuals concerned.  Employment law didn’t do …

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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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The Independent View: Lobbying Bill protects multinational corporate interests at expense of charity campaigns

The Robin Hood Tax campaign is facing a tough opponent – not just from the usual source of the financial sector and their allies, but from legislation currently going through the House of Lords.

The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill is due to go to its report stage next week. The Robin Hood Tax campaign cannot support it for a number of reasons, and we urge peers of all political colours not to rush the bill through just to get it passed in time for the 2015 election. The legislation would hamper our campaigning abilities whilst empowering …

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Lord Roger Roberts writes…Focussing attention on the humanitarian cost of the Syrian civil war

This afternoon, the House of Lords will discuss the tragedy of the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Syria. Lord Roberts secured the debate, and here he sets out his views exclusively for LDV.

The crisis in Syria, which the UN has described as ‘the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of modern times’ is now reaching overwhelming levels. The total number of Syrian refugees is now estimated to be 2.3 million, of whom 0.5% – around 12,000 souls – are spread across the whole continent of Europe. Bulgaria, the EU’s poorest country, is bearing the brunt of this: an estimated 100 Syrians enter Bulgaria daily, many of them illegally. The country simply cannot cope.

The United Nations and its non-governmental organisation and local government partners in the region face many pressures. These organisations are fighting to ensure social stability. In Lebanon, in light of extraordinary population growth, essential resources, space, and labour are all causes of significant social tension. In East Lebanon, a makeshift refugee camp providing shelter for hundreds was burnt down last month, and the Lebanese town of Tripoli saw bloodshed mirroring the Syrian conflict in the latter months of 2013. Alarmingly, car bombs in Beirut are once again headline news. The spread of violence will continue, threatening to destabilise the whole region, unless practical and immediate measures are taken to relieve the pressure on Syria’s generous but inundated neighbours.

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“Annoying” behaviour – how did Liberal Democrat peers vote?

The first really controversial parliamentary vote happened last night, on the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, which I wrote about yesterday.

The Government suffered a pretty comprehensive defeat, by 306 votes to 178 on their Clause 1. However, the amendment on which they voted wasn’t much better as it kept the “capable of causing annoyance” threshold for housing situations. Now, given that the people most likely to fall foul of this are the most vulnerable people with addictions and conditions which affect their behaviour, there is  a high chance that incidents will happen at or near their home. Making them homeless helps how, exactly?

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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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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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Baroness Olly Grender’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, Baroness Grender 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 Grender (LD): My Lords, I would like to thank my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury for introducing this debate. I …

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Liberal Democrats bring Doctor Who into the Lords

Yesterday, Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords held a debate on broadcast media. Falling in the week after the triumphant 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, it’s hardly surprising that the BBC’s flagship drama was heavily referenced during the contributions.

Olly Grender was one of a trio of Liberal Democrats to make their maiden speeches during the debate. We’ll put them all up in full separately as is our custom, but here are some highlights of Olly’s. First of all, she talked about the advice she’d received about her debut:

 I am sure, like me, most will have received a great deal

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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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David Steel: Scotland and the Lords after 2014 – Full speech

Yesterday evening, Lord Steel delivered a lecture on Lords reform and the forthcoming Scottish referendum. Here is the speech in full.

Stone Memorial lecture, Strathclyde University 31 October 2013

Scotland and the Lords after 2014

My intention in this lecture is to look forward and discuss what fundamental changes and improvements could be made to our parliaments at Westminster and Holyrood once we get past the Scottish referendum this time next year. But before I do that, considering that this Sir Alexander Stone memorial lecture is decreed to be broadly on the subject of rhetoric I want as a prelude to remark on …

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David Steel on the Scottish referendum and reforming the House of Lords

David Steel 200Yesterday evening, Lord David Steel delivered a lecture on Lords reform and the forthcoming Scottish referendum. He called for a wide constitutional overhaul, including reforming the House of Lords into an indirectly elected chamber.

Speaking earlier to Scotland Tonight, he called for a grown-up debate about whether Scotland wants to be a separate nation or not. He rejected David Cameron’s assertion that an independent Scotland would be more vulnerable to terrorist attacks and Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that fuel bills will come down, saying such comments obscured the real issues of the campaign.

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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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Jim Wallace new leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords

Lord Wallace of Tankerness was today elected as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.

The former Deputy First Minister of Scotland replaces Tom McNally, who stepped down earlier this month after nine years at the helm.

Lord Wallace was the only candidate to have put his name forward when nominations for the leadership contest closed at 12pm today.

Lord Wallace said:

It is a great privilege as well as an exciting challenge to have been elected as Leader of the Liberal Democrat peers.

As someone who has already led a parliamentary group in coalition

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Who will follow in Tom McNally’s ermine footsteps?

The news Helen Duffett posted this week — Tom McNally to stand down as Leader of the Lib Dem Lords — was rather drowned out by the Tory conference and the row over the Daily Mail’s smearing of Ralph Miliband. But as the BBC’s parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy (no, not the fictional Mr Bridget Jones: different guy) points out here, it’s a role that matters lot these days, especially with the House of Lords here to stay for the forseeable…

The decision of the avuncular Lib Dem Lord to stand down as deputy leader of the House and leader

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Tom McNally to stand down as Leader of the Lib Dem Lords

Tom McNally has today written to Dick Newby (Lib Dem Deputy Chief Whip) to say that he intends to stand down as Leader of the Lib Dem group in the House of Lords.

Lord McNally’s letter is as follows:

1 October 2013
Dear Dick,

I will shortly be coming to the end of my ninth year as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. Before that I served as deputy to Shirley Williams for three years. It seems to me that now would be an ideal time for the Group to select a new leader to serve out

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Brian Paddick writes… A seat in the House of Lords

When Nick called me to ask if I would be a Peer, he said, amongst other things, that it was time I had my own political platform. So that got me thinking about what my political platform might look like. Here are some initial thoughts.

I know we are in Coalition with them but I can find few redeeming features in Tory economics. Of course work should pay more than benefits but have benefits really have reduced to the level where families have to resort to food banks? Are those with disabilities having to give up independent living and are families …

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Party Reform: The Interim Peers List, is it fit for purpose?

House of Lords. Photo: Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of ParliamentTim Farron, our Party President has long championed concerns about how democratic  the Lib Dems really are and how can we do better.  Federal Executive has now set up the Democratic Reform Group which I chair.  Our first task has been to take a hard look at the Interim Peers List and we have published a consultation paper on this together with organising a meeting at Glasgow to consult members about improvements to the process.  The Interim Peers list is an group of people elected by Conference Representatives from which the Party Leader can make nominations to the House of Lords.

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House of Lords: only slightly larger but much more active

House of LordsFor all of the brouhaha about stuffing the Lords, it is interesting to note that, despite what many might think, the number of Peers on the ‘active list’, i.e. not on leave of absence, disqualified or retired, hasn’t increased that much. After all, Peers die, often surprisingly unnoticed. They get old – the average age is already 69 – or sick. But the place definitely seems more crowded, as many Peers noted during the debate on Lords reform last year.

Conveniently, the House of Lords newsletter for members, ‘Red Benches’, …

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Opinion: Why no UKIP Peers?

House of Lords chamberBy surrendering the principle of proportionality we surrender part of ourselves

The Coalition Agreement stated that “Lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber that is reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election”. It is therefore difficult to justify why UKIP, having secured over 3% of the vote at the last General Election and only currently having 3 of the over 500 Peers aligned to a political Party, has not been given the opportunity to have ennobled a cohort of Peers of its choosing. The same is true for other minor parties.

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What can be done about food waste?

It is a little known fact that the European Union has a target for reducing food waste, aiming to reduce the 2011 level by half by 2020. Astonishingly, it was estimated that 89 million tonnes of food were wasted in 2011 across the European Union. As part of their efforts to reach their target, the European Commission have recently launched a public consultation on the subject.

In response, the House of Lords European Union Committee has launched an inquiry, seeking to establish a common understanding of the issue, identify and scrutinise proposed EU-level solutions, consider their implications and identify …

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Opinion: The party needs a better nomination system for the Lords

Like many others, I let out a sigh of resignation when I saw that yet more appointments are being made to the unelected and unaccountable House of Lords. Nothing against the individuals receiving a peerage this week (some of whom I have known personally and all of whom I’m sure will be excellent representatives), but yet again it’s a fairly predictable mix of ex-MPs and party insiders.

Liberal Democrats are right to nominate their own choices for these positions – better off having an influence over a broken system than being excluded from it altogether – but it got me …

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New Liberal Democrat Peers: Has Nick got it right?

I will start by getting it out there that I just hate having to write this post. The very idea that the power of patronage exercised by 3 men, with a tiny fig leaf of scrutiny by a committee can choose people who make the laws I have to obey almost brings me out in hives. I can forgive Nick Clegg, because at least he tried to do something about it before he was defeated by the combined forces of Britain’s two conservative parties. While we’re stuck with an appointed second Chamber, it would be foolish for us to decide not …

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So, who are these new Liberal Democrat peers, then?

Earlier today, we told you about the ten new Liberal Democrat peers. We thought you might like to know a little more about them.

Cathy Bakewell

Cathy was first elected to Somerset County Council in 1993 and has since gained expertise in a number of fields: fire and rescue, policing, equalities, safeguarding children and further education. Her appointment bolsters our local government experience in the Lords. She also served on Ruth Kelly’s 2007 commission which looked at the barriers to people becoming councillors. She may have similar ideas about addressing our under-representation of women in other areas.

Olly Grender

Olly Grender’s career has …

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Baroness Judith Jolly writes… Welcome to our new Peers

We heard this morning of new members swelling our ranks on the red benches in the House of Lords.

It seems only yesterday since I arrived in January 2011, fully expecting to serve only five or maybe ten years before standing down for those elected to the Upper House. We now know that it is not to be (yet!) but it was not for want of trying.

If I were to give advice it would be to get involved in something you know something about and something you know nothing about but find interesting. Join some all-party groups. Challenge our government …

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