Tag Archives: jim wallace

LibLink: Jim Wallace: House of Lords must not become an impotent debating society

Following the publication of the Strathclyde Review, the Tories’ revenge attack on the House of Lords, Jim Wallace has written for Politics Home to say that we need a strong second chamber to keep the Government under control.

He looks back at the Tax Credits issue and criticises the Government’s strategy of trying to limit the debate in the Lords:

The Government proposed this change in an SI, for which the scrutiny process is considerably weaker. Each House would only have a single debate on an issue, with the Commons’ time severely limited. It could, of course, have brought the measure forward in primary legislation, where much more detailed scrutiny is possible. And if they had inserted clauses into the Finance Bill, the Lords could not have touched it. But Ministers, fearing perhaps that a number of Tory rebels might join forces with the opposition in the Commons to amend the Bill, chose the route which offered least resistance. Or so they thought.

But, the House of Lords voted to delay implementation of the changes to tax credits until transitional protections were put in place. The Government’s response was to throw its hands up in horror at the temerity of the Lords daring to express a view that was contrary to theirs.

Having lost the argument, says Jim, the Government is now trying to change the rules:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

IfG interviews former Lib Dem ministers, feat. Browne, Swinson, Hughes, Featherstone, Cable, Huhne

The Institute for Government did a lot of work during the coalition looking at how this (by English standards) unusual arrangement was working, and could work better. Now we have (for now at least) moved beyond coalition, the IfG has been interviewing ministers who served in the last government, seeking their reflections on their time there.

The IfG website has transcripts of a number of interviews with both Conservative and Lib Dem former ministers. The Lib Dems featured are:

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For Human Rights Day: Jim Wallace on falling foul of the Human Rights Act

It’s Human Rights Day today. Earlier this week, Jim Wallace spoke to the Legal Services Agency Conference about protecting our rights. He remembered that he had found himself on the wrong end of a Human Rights Act judgement. His attitude was much better than Alex Salmond’s was when the SNP were found wanting 12 years later. At that point, he referred to people bringing actions under the Act as among “the vilest people on the planet.”

For my part, I spent decades as a Liberal and Liberal Democrat candidate and MP, supporting campaigns to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into our domestic law. “Bringing Rights Home” was our call; and so I understandably welcomed the passing of the Human Rights Act 1998. What never occurred to me during all the years of campaigning was that I would be the first government minister in the UK to be on wrong end of a decision under that Act. Yet on 11th of November 1999 that’s exactly what happened.

On that day, the Court ruled, in Starr & Chalmers v Ruxton that Temporary Sheriffs were unable to provide an independent and impartial tribunal and, as a result, as Justice Minister, I was forced to suspend every temporary Sheriff overnight.

Let’s not pretend. At the time,I would much rather that the case had been won. Losing put significant pressure on resources and made, for a time, the operation of our sheriff courts more difficult.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Jim Wallace’s inaugural Charles Kennedy Memorial Lecture: Charles’ legacy should be a call to refresh our radicalism

Five days before what would have been Charles Kennedy’s 56th birthday, Jim Wallace, who entered the Commons on the same day as Charles in 1983, delivered the inaugural Charles Kennedy Memorial Lecture in Fort William. Seeing Charles Kennedy and Memorial in the same sentence still freaks me out slightly. It feels very wrong.

Jim has very kindly provided us with a copy of his lecture so that those of us who couldn’t make it up to Fort William can hear what he had to say. His subject was Charles, the legacy he left of internationalism and an example of always conducting his politics with respect and how his values were shaped by his highland background. He talks about the challenges we now face as a party and how we can learn from Charles as we deal with the challenges we face.

Here is the lecture in full. It’s long, over 5000 words, but, do you know what, every single one is worth reading. Go make yourself nice cup of tea, put your feet up and enjoy.

In keeping with many public lectures in the Highlands, albeit of a somewhat different nature, I start with a text: from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 51, verse 1 –

Look unto the rock from which you are hewn.

It is an enormous privilege to have been asked this evening to deliver the inaugural Charles Kennedy memorial lecture; to speak about one of my closest friends in politics, Charles, and how his politics were shaped by his roots in this Highland community, and the Highland Liberal tradition.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

Lord (Paul) Tyler writes…Government is playing a dangerous game by resisting democratic reform of the Lords

 

This week the House of Lords is set to do one of the things it loves most: talking about itself. How wonderful it is; how learned are its members, but how beastly it is that anyone new is ever placed here. We will hear many wise heads opine that the Prime Minister is guilty of a gross abuse of process in appointing new peers this year, and that he is making the place “unsustainable”.  We will hear over and over that the “reputation of the House” is under threat. Some Peers seem to imagine that the public would view as entirely peachy an unelected chamber of Parliament predicated on patronage, just as long as only those who have already been appointed are the only ones ever allowed in.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Jim Wallace: Statement on refugees falls short of a moral response

Here is Jim Wallace’s response to the Government’s statement in the House of Lords on the drone strikes and the refugee crisis. Here it is in full:

My Lords, I also thank the noble Baroness the Leader of the House for repeating the Prime Minister’s Statement on these very profound and serious issues. I also endorse what the noble Baroness the Leader of the Opposition said—we appreciate the fact that there will be an extended period for Back-Bench questions.

Probably nothing is more important than the Government’s primary responsibility of security of the realm and its citizens. The Prime Minister acknowledges that in his Statement. Clearly, we do not have the evidence, nor would it be appropriate to share that evidence publicly, and therefore we must accept the judgment of the Prime Minster in responding to perhaps one of the most serious calls that has been made on him. However, it would be interesting to know whether this is a matter that the Intelligence and Security Committee will be able to look at.

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Jim Wallace: The Human Rights Act gives us the ability to challenge the state on ordinary day to day issues

Yesterday was Lib Dem Opposition Day in the Lords and we chose two subjects very close to our heart. We’ve already covered the debate led by Paddy on foreign affairs.  Jim Wallace led one on human rights and civil liberties. He outlined how he frustrated he felt as a minister on the wrong side of a human rights judgement but that made him no less committed to the principles of the Act. Here’s his speech in full.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment
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