Tag Archives: house of lords

Judicial Review: Parliamentary Ping Pong delayed until New Year

It had been originally thought that the House of Commons would debate the Lords amendments to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill yesterday.

This has now been delayed, probably until the New Year, indicating that there may be some chance of a Government compromise on the points of dispute.

The Lords have now voted twice to give judges some discretion about letting cases proceed even if they fail the “highly likely” test. The Government hasn’t yet given way on this one but you would hope that they would accept Lord Pannick’s amendment passed last week which would allow cases to proceed if it was in the public interest for them to do so.

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24 Lib Dem peers “rebel” as Lords reject government’s judicial review proposals

The Guardian reports:

A rebellion in the House of Lords has inflicted a second defeat on the government’s plans to restrict access to judicial review challenges.

The vote by 274 to 205 means that for a second time peers have rejected keys proposals in the criminal justice and courts bill. It will restore to judges their discretion in handling such cases.

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Liz Barker leads first ever Lords debate on Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women’s health

Last Wednesday, Baroness Liz Barker, who made one of the most fantastic speeches of the entire debate on same sex marriage,  led the first ever debate on health services for lesbians and bisexual and transgender women.

The ignorance and even ridicule LBT women have faced from health professionals in the accounts Liz and others shared during the debate is truly astonishing. There does not seem to be a widespread understanding of even the very basic issues they may face.

The Minister’s reply was a bit frustrating because he basically agreed with everything that was being said but didn’t offer any actual, concrete proposal to make things better.

You can read the whole debate here, but Liz’s speech in full is published below:

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Baroness Sally Hamwee writes…Lords push for a stronger Modern Slavery Bill

Parliament is never short of Bills coming from the Home Office, but the Modern Slavery Bill is different.  At the end of the second reading in the Lords last week, the Minister pointed to the warm reception given by every speaker who followed this with seven minutes on all the things that could be added to it.  The view on the Lib Dem benches, like others, was to welcome the Bill both for what it is and for the opportunity it provides to do even more to address the abomination (and very big business – this is often highly profitable …

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Dee Doocey writes … Protecting children should be at the centre of the fight against slavery

DisappointmentAccording to the US State Department at a global level people trafficking ranks as the third largest source of income for organised crime, coming after only drugs and the arms trade.

So as someone who has campaigned over many years to highlight the significance of human trafficking, especially of children, it is obviously welcome that we finally have a Bill recognising the shocking reality of modern day slavery going through Parliament.

photo by:
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Brian Paddick on Homelessness, Domestic Violence and Social Exclusion: “We need a change of attitude in society and across the political spectrum”

brian-paddickBrian Paddick — former Deputy Assistant Commissioner in London’s Metropolitan Police Service, twice Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London and now a Lib Dem peer — spoke in this week’s House of Lords debate, ‘Women: Homelessness, Domestic Violence and Social Exclusion’. Here’s what he said…

Lord Paddick (LD): … As the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Leicester has already said, the issues of homelessness, domestic violence and social exclusion of women are linked. In particular, it is male violence against women that lies behind many of these problems. For example, as my noble friend Lady Tyler of Enfield said, the homeless charity, St Mungo’s, reports that half of its female clients have experienced domestic violence compared with only 5% of its male clients. Research already referred to by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, shows that between 50% and 80% of women in prison have experienced domestic or sexual violence. Two-thirds of domestic violence survivors say that their problematic substance misuse began following domestic violence. The evidence is compelling, not only that women are disproportionately victims of domestic violence and abuse, almost always but not exclusively perpetrated by men, but that violence and abuse lies behind much of the homelessness and social exclusion faced by women.

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Olly Grender on Homelessness, Domestic Violence and Social Exclusion: “Housing supply lies at the heart of the solution of some of these complex issues”

olly grenderOlly Grender — former director of communications for housing charity Shelter, now a Lib Dem peer — spoke in this week’s House of Lords debate, ‘Women: Homelessness, Domestic Violence and Social Exclusion’. Here’s what she said…

Baroness Grender (LD): My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady King of Bow, for initiating this debate. I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Rebuck, and the noble Lord, Lord Farmer, on their moving and inspirational speeches. We look forward to many more. I also take this opportunity to congratulate my noble friend Lady Garden of Frognal on her return to the government Benches. It will not surprise her to hear me, as a woman on these Benches, say the more the merrier—more please.

The noble Baroness, Lady King, has managed to take three complex areas of social policy and combine them in one impressive debate. They are complex in part because the reasons behind the homelessness of women are sometimes hard to detect and far too often hidden away. They are complex indeed, but at the heart of this debate is a very simple truth, which is that there is a terrible cost when a woman has no home, no escape from violence and no apparent way back from social exclusion, as was so movingly described by the noble Baroness, Lady Newlove. It is likely that the cost is not just to her but to the children she may have with her, and to us as a nation as they grow up.

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‘Drones could be used to deliver Focus leaflets’ – peer

FocusIn a House of Lords debate on drones this week, Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Lee of Trafford said:

It may even be possible to develop a delivery system that delivers Focus leaflets which I would have thought would be very much appreciated by these benches.

That could eventually provide material for a Glee song…

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Opinion: Electoral reform – How to

House of Commons at NightWe all know that electoral reform to both houses is important to us a party, quite rightly so. The current system is appalling, First Past The Post for the Commons does not bring fair votes for the electorate and at best only around 40% of voters voted for any government of the day (meaning of course 60% didn’t). The House of Lords is even worse, un-democratic and reeking of an old boys’ network.

However, that’s not to say that we shouldn’t have a two house system – of course we should. The scrutiny of a second chamber of government is vital to well thought out and properly debated laws and policy. But how do we get to the utopia of two proportionally elected chambers?

The answer is, I think, remarkably simple: piecemeal.

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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.

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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 …

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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 …

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

    • User AvatarMark Argent 22nd Dec - 2:51am
      If we do find ourselves in the position of being the king-makers, might the argument not be partly pragmatism (deciding which party would offer a...
    • User Avatarstuart moran 22nd Dec - 2:04am
      Sarah Noble So there is one based on your (not unbiased) view. Looking at the odds, the best I can see are 5/1 on for...
    • User Avatarmalc 22nd Dec - 1:57am
      Sesenco It really isn't that complicated. I was in Withington when the LibDems won the seat, it has a large student population and nearly all...
    • User AvatarRichard Dean 22nd Dec - 1:36am
      Re-train to control the machines!
    • User AvatarSarah Noble 22nd Dec - 1:02am
      This is the thing: people are just looking at David's tiny majority, and the fact it's Bradford, and assuming we've lost already. We still hold...
    • User AvatarChris Manners 22nd Dec - 12:44am
      That was a by-election. A win over Labour by only 365 votes in Bradford East last time looks too small.