Tag Archives: private members bills

Lord Dick Newby writes: A simple solution to an otherwise blurred vision

adjustable spectacles

Yesterday, I introduced a Bill in the Lords to permit over-the-counter sale of adjustable focus spectacles. At present only reading glasses can be sold in this way, with all other types of eyewear requiring a visit to a qualified optician or optometrist.

The spectacles in question achieve the required focus for each eye by turning a dial found at the side of each lens. They are produced to a very high quality and are useful for both to deal with some medical issues – eg types of diabetes where sight varies from day to day – and more generally as a spare or temporary pair of glasses. They are manufactured by an Oxford-based company, Adlens. They are sold in 57 countries worldwide including Japan and the US, where 500,000 units have already been sold, many without prescription.

However, in the UK, the only glasses which can be sold without a prescription are reading glasses. Although technically the Department of Health could just amend the legislation, it relies on advice from the General Optical Council (GOC) – the opticians’ regulatory body. Despite supportive expert opinion, the GOC has come up with a raft of issues – some of which are entirely spurious and none of which are decisive – to prevent the Adlens glasses being readily available.

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Baroness Judith Jolly writes…Why we need a UK register of arms brokers

I never expected to come anywhere near the top of the ballot for private members bills. My record for the Lib Dem raffle over thirty odd years is less than five or six wins. And I came third! That means I have second reading next Friday (10th June).

My bill calls for arms brokers to be registered and a fit and proper test applied to would be brokers. At present there are few restrictions so you or I could set up as a broker. In the US they are regulated.

Save the Children and Amnesty International are supporting us. Save the Children said:

Our Yemen work in Parliament has mainly focused on humanitarian access and the credible reports of breaches of international and human rights law. Whilst we recognise the positive impact that the Government’s humanitarian response and interventions have made, we remain concerned that the Government’s current support for Saudi Arabia-led military action is undermining the protection of civilians and is inconsistent with its support to the humanitarian response. We believe more robust action is needed to ensure that existing standards and norms are upheld by all parties to the conflict, in line with Government commitments under the new National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review, and to ensure full compliance by the UK with legal obligations under national and international law relating to the sale of arms.

Amnesty International added:

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Martin Horwood MP writes…Pavement politics

Pavement_parking_1 by PeterEastern
It is a badge of honour for Lib Dem MPs, Councillors and activists when people call us pavement politicians. We are a party that is relentlessly focused on community politics and the issues that matter on streets up and down the country.

That’s why, when I was drawn earlier this year in the Private Member’s Bill ballot, I decided to champion a Bill focused on an issue that blights tens of thousands of streets across the country – pavement parking.

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Michael Moore MP writes…Securing the UK’s commitment to international development

Lynne Featherstone in UgandaI am pretty sure I have taken every chance available to enter the ballot for a Private Member’s Bill since being elected to the House of Commons in 1997.

What is certain is that I have never succeeded in securing one of the highly coveted slots that give backbench MPs a chance to pilot legislation through Parliament – until now, that is.

In the old days I am sure that those lucky enough to emerge in the “top 20” of the ballot would have learned of their good fortune by letter or maybe even messenger. By contrast, I became aware of securing the second slot by text messages and a sudden spate of social media ‘notifications’. The letter duly followed.

In the weeks since, I have had many enquiries asking which issue I would choose and have had just as many (mostly) helpful suggestions – my thanks to all who took the trouble.

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It’s been a while since Liberal Democrats got 25% in a ballot…

JUMP 4 JOYThat got your attention, didn’t it?

Actually, it wasn’t so much a ballot but a great big raffle. This morning the annual draw took place to select twenty MPs to select Private Members’ Bills. Five Liberal Democrats were allotted slots, with the top two places going to Andrew George and Michael Moore. John Hemming, Sarah Teather and Martin Horwood complete our quintet.

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Crockart’s Nuisance Calls Bill to be debated tomorrow as All Party Group recommends action

Nuisance calls banner

Mike Crockart’s Private Member’s Bill (or the Communications (Unsolicited telephone calls and texts Bill to give it its proper name) is up for its second reading tomorrow. It’s the only Liberal Democrat measure being discussed. The Bill aims to ensure that people are not bothered by unwanted calls if they don’t want to be. The explanatory notes to the Bill are here.

By amazing coincidence, the  All Party Parliamentary Group on Nuisance Calls, of which Mike is co-chair,  published its report on the unsolicited marketing industry this morning. It …

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Protecting children, nuisance calls, delivery charges and supporting deaf people – the Liberal Democrat private members bills

Stephen Tall told us all about the private members’ bills brought in by Tory MPs in their “alternative Queen’s Speech” – everything from burka banning to reintroducing the death penalty to naming the August Bank Holiday after Margaret Thatcher.

I thought I’d look into the measures the Liberal Democrats who were successful in the Great Parliamentary Raffle are hoping to bring into law. As you might expect, they’re a bit more practical and relevant.

Sir Malcolm Bruce’s Bill is all about improving communications support for deaf people. Signature has more details:

Sir Malcolm is a tireless advocate for the deaf community

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 20th Oct - 8:23pm
    Well Joseph, that just looks like one law for some and another for others. Illiberal.
  • User AvatarBarry 20th Oct - 7:41pm
    Re Daniel Walker, your policy of supporting proportional representation is a good one. We do need to get rid of the archaic and clearly not...
  • User AvatarDJ 20th Oct - 7:30pm
    "though it perhaps serves the purposes of those seeking any excuse for a second independence poll." If the Lib Dems do want to be the...
  • User AvatarDJ 20th Oct - 7:25pm
    "I’m not saying it shouldn’t be done, but if we want votes we need to be crystal clear how the increase in benefits is going...
  • User AvatarPeter 20th Oct - 7:25pm
    The Lib Dems are surely not major supporters of parliamentary democracy given the party's willingness to transfer sovereignty to the EU and its unelected commissioners,...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 20th Oct - 7:22pm
    Eddie, The International Criminal Court has to be for the leaders of the losing side. Otherwise, the logic is that Stalin, Churchill and Harry Truman...