Tag Archives: house of lords

Lord Paul Tyler writes…Farce in the Lords

Any interested fellow citizen who was told how the latest recruit to their Parliament was chosen would be first baffled, then outraged.  Is it any wonder that there are more electors who favour the complete abolition of the House of Lords than support retention of the existing arrangements?

The provisions for the replacement of one of our hereditary Peers, when deceased, are confusing, complicated and downright contradictory.

The latest election result, announced by the Lord Speaker on Wednesday afternoon, may seem to be relatively simple:  our new Liberal Democrat colleague will be Raymond Asquith, otherwise known as the Earl of Oxford and Asquith and descendant of the distinguished Liberal Prime Minister.  He was chosen in an AV election, but gained 50%+ on the first count, so no reallocation of the votes of lower scoring candidates was required.

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Liberal Democrat storms to by-election win – in the House of Lords

House of Lords - Some rights reserved by UK ParliamentWe have a new Liberal Democrat Parliamentarian tonight after a by-election win. It’s a wee while since we could say that. But it’s a very different type of by-election and one that raises more than a little disquiet. I have to say I find it pretty objectionable that you can get a seat in Parliament not through election by actual voters but because of the circumstances of your birth.

The House of Lords Act of 1999 left 92 hereditary peers in place after the Labour government backed down from full reform. That’s the Labour party, blocking reform at every turn whether in government or opposition. When one of them dies, there is a by-election held to admit a new one. The electorate is the whole House of Lords.

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Dave Goddard writes … Challenging, probing and plain speaking

House of Lords - Some rights reserved by UK ParliamentDave Goddard was made a peer in August this year, and writes here about his aspirations:

When I was offered my peerage the first thing that went through my mind was, what I could offer the House of Lords? After all I was just a Stockport lad born and raised, who happened to end up the leader of the council.

On reflection however I believe I would bring exactly the same attributes that have served me well for almost thirty years in local politics. Honesty, strait talking, passion and an unshakable belief that we can all make a difference as Liberal Democrats, step by step, inch by inch, day by day as we fight to give people a stronger economy and a fairer society.

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Chris Fox writes … My primary aim will be to promote engineering in the UK

House of Lords chamberChris Fox – Lord Fox, of Leominster in the County of Herefordshire – was one of six new Lib Dem peers announced in August. 

When I walked off the street and joined the Liberal Party in Leominster on my way home from school my aim was to help Roger Pincham in his campaign to win a seat in Westminster. With two elections that year we had plenty to do, and came so very close to winning. At that time, 40 years ago, Parliament seemed a world away and I would not have believed that today I would be preparing for the honour of taking a seat in the House of Lords.

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

Paul Scriven writes … From a council estate to the House of Lords

House of LordsPaul Scriven was made a peer just a month ago, and here he reflects on the path he has taken through life.

As the son of a dustbin man from a council estate in Huddersfield it was never in my wildest imagine that I would ever be in the House of Lords. Now that I have it is with a sense of both pride but just as important with a clear duty not to forget my journey in life and to fight for a more Liberal and fairer UK.

I know very well that the Liberal Democrats core aim to make sure all have opportunity to reach their full potential is a touch stone that makes us different from other parties. I wish to use my new role to fight to open opportunities and make sure that ladders for people to climb to reach their full potential are firmly planted for more people. I will make sure I shout up to ensure this happens. Also to fight with all my northern spirit those who seek to deny opportunities.

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LibLInk: Lord (Paul) Tyler – Just Deserts?

Paul TylerOver at Lords of the Blogs, Lib Dem peer Paul Tyler gives short shrift to the complaints of his parliamentary colleagues complaining that the red benches cannot accommodate the 22 new peers appointed last week:

What a nerve! If on 10th July 2012, having given the Government’s Bill a huge second reading majority, those very same MPs had allowed it to make progress, this alleged problem would have been solved. Egged on by Peers and journalists, they broke their manifesto promises to bring democracy to the Lords by playing party games. Had the Reform Bill passed, political appointments would have ceased by now and we would be preparing for the first election of 120 members representing every region and nation of the UK, next year. The choice was theirs two years ago: popular election or party patronage. They are now getting what they asked for.

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Six new Lib Dem peers named

House of Lords - Some rights reserved by UK ParliamentThe names of six new Lib Dem peers have been published today. They are:

  • Chris Fox – Director of Group Communications for GKN; former Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats
  • Cllr David Goddard – elected Member of Stockport Metropolitan Council; former Leader of Stockport Council; former Member of the Greater Manchester Police Authority; former Non-Executive Director of Manchester International Airport
  • Cllr Barbara Janke – elected Member and former Leader of Bristol City Council; former teacher
  • Cllr Kath Pinnock – elected Member and former Leader of Kirklees Council
  • Posted in News | 59 Comments

    Lord Monroe Palmer writes…Armed Forces Bill is a step towards a fairer society

    090103-M-6058R-012This week saw the Second Reading in The Lords of a Bill welcomed by the Liberal Democrats. It bears the unattractive title ‘Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill’ but builds towards our manifesto pledge to create a fair deal for our service personnel. A promise that has particular significance ahead of Armed Forces Day on Saturday.

    The Bill deals with three matters: the creation of a Service Complaints Ombudsman; the reform of the service complaints system; and ensuring financial assistance to charities and other organisations which support the Armed Forces …

    photo by: isafmedia
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    Baroness Dee Doocey and Lord Monroe Palmer pay tribute to Lord Anthony Jacobs

    Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 21.30.52Many long standing members of the party will be very sad to hear of the death of Anthony (Lord) Jacobs last Saturday.

    Anthony was a lifelong supporter of the party and served in many roles including Economics and Taxation Advisor from 1973 to 1978.  He twice fought the Parliamentary Constituency of Watford increasing the Liberal share of the vote from 6% to 24%. In 1984, he was elected Joint Treasurer of the Party and was returned unopposed each year until he stepped down in 1987. He was a …

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    Lord Robin Teverson writes…Infrastructure Bill delivers a cluster of Liberal Democrat priorities

    House of Lords. Photo: Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of ParliamentA very Liberal Democrat bill got its second reading in the Lords yesterday – the Infrastructure Bill.  Lib Dems have already driven through this Parliament an Energy Act which will not just make sure that when it comes to energy infrastructure the lights stay one but that we decarbonise our energy supply.  We’ve been rolling out super fast broadband across the British countryside.  Often forgotten we also have a £35 billion railway investment programme over the next five …

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    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 …

    Posted in Parliament | Also tagged | 22 Comments

    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 …

    Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged | 16 Comments

    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 …

    Posted in News, Parliament and Speeches | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

    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.

    Posted in News, Parliament and Speeches | Also tagged | 2 Comments

    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 …

    Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged | 12 Comments

    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.

    Posted in News and Scotland | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

    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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      The words "building bridges", used by Marc, leap off the page as I read this. Because building bridges is what we fail to do. What...
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      I don't entirely buy the narrative that Matthew Green is advocating that , ' In 1974 Britain was a miserable place, Terrible public services, lots...
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      T-J But the campaign behind it was selling green socialism paid for by oil exports and corporate tax breaks, In other words, playing to the...
    • User AvatarT-J 24th Oct - 4:22pm
      The SNP faithful expect to either monopolise or at least dominate the Scottish seats next year, and in all honesty I am seeing very little...
    • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 24th Oct - 4:18pm
      JohnTilley So it would appear that in 2014 in Scotland the poor, alienated and dispossessed have found a place to go, and that includes going...