Tag Archives: john lee

Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: John Lee: Treating EU nationals like pawns is immoral and demeaning

The Lib Dem Lords have made some cracking contributions to the debate on the Article 50 Bill. Ahead of its next Lords stages, we’re bringing you all the Lib Dem contributions over the course of this weekend. That’s no mean feat. There were 32 of them and cover more than 30,000 words. You are not expected to read every single one of them as they appear. Nobody’s going to be testing you or anything. However, they will be there to refer to in the future. 

Our Lords excelled themselves. Their contributions were thoughtful, individual, well-researched and wide-ranging and it’s right that we present them in full on this site to help the historian of the future. 

Former Tory MP John Lee slammed the government over its failure to offer the right to stay to EU nationals.  He also became one of the few Lib Dem rebels. He doesn’t support our position on a referendum although that seems to be because he thinks the right wing press would stir up trouble.

My Lords, increasing anti-European sentiment was a prime reason for me to bid farewell to the Conservative Party in 1997, 20 years ago, after 13 years as a Member of Parliament, from 1979 to 1992. That sentiment continued unabated, and finally resulted in the 2015 Conservative manifesto commitment, and of course the 23 June referendum. At the referendum, a simple question was put: in or out? There were no sub-questions on hard or soft Brexit, the single market or the customs union. Of course, there were exaggerations and untruths, many voted for all sorts of reasons, and many did not realise all the implications. But all that, I am afraid, is true of all elections and referendums. As we now know, there was a clear, albeit small, majority to leave—a decision I bitterly regret in so many ways, and a tragedy both for our country and for Europe. Looking back, the referendum was fundamentally flawed. Clearly, we should have given young people a vote—after all, it is their future—and I suggest that a higher barrier to leave than just a simple majority would have made sense. However, all that is hindsight; we are where we are.

It is fair to say, as a remainer, that our economy and financial markets have held up rather better than expected in the short term, but we are just in the foothills of negotiations. Tortuous paths lie ahead. I fear that Europe will ensure that we pay a heavy price for leaving, not least to discourage other countries from following us. However, we are already experiencing some of the negatives: a fall in sterling, resulting in rising inflation, which increasingly pressurises family budgets; a vile rise in hate crimes; uncertainties over future investment plans of major international companies; and a question mark over London as the dominant financial centre. However, one plus is that cosmetic surgery, apparently, has fallen 40% since Brexit, although I know of no reason for that and will not go down the route of speculation.

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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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Next week in the Lords… 22-25 April (and there shall be ping pong enough for all)

House of Lords chamberYes, I know, I’ve been rubbish at keeping up with this in recent weeks, but it’s a busy week ahead in the Lords, as they return from their early Spring recess for a hectic week of tying up loose ends before the end of the Parliamentary session when they… go off for the recess before the Queen’s Speech…

So, without further ado…

Monday sees the introduction of the Bishop of Truro, just in time for consideration of Commons amendments on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and

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This week in the Lords: 28 January – 1 February

House of LordsYes, just as late as has been the habit recently, here’s your heads up for events in the upper chamber this week… anyone would think that I didn’t have a day of my own…

It’s another long week for our Parliamentary Party, with a nod to the recent wintry weather, but Monday sees Day 2 of the Committee Stage of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, where Tony Greaves will seek to remove attempts to place further limits on the power to require information with planning applications. Frankly, when I see …

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Opinion: Anti-reform peers shame our party

I confess. I am usually a bit of a loyalist. I believe the time I invest campaigning for the Liberal Democrats is best spent publicising our good ideas and our opponents’ bad ideas, rather than picking fights with fellow party members. On Lords reform however I feel forced to engage in an internecine war of words with some of our peers.

The Times newspaper recently commissioned a poll of members of the upper house to gauge their views on reform. It’s no surprise of course that our coalition colleagues, the Tories, are dead set against anything as vulgar as democracy creeping ...

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