Tag Archives: tony greaves

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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Lord Tony Greaves calls for action to register young people and ex-pats for the referendum

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Tony Greaves used the committee stage of the European Union Referendum Bill to press the government to sort out the voting system for people living in other European countries who may be at risk of losing their chance to vote in the Referendum which is due before the end of 2017 and perhaps as early as June next year – together with some in the UK itself.

Sounds simple enough, although in this year’s general election the system had a shortfall of several million UK citizens living abroad who were eligible to vote but could not physically do so due to administrative problems in getting registered, being correctly identified and actually receiving the postal ballot paper itself.

Out of more than two million UK nationals living in EU countries, only 100,000 were able to successfully vote in this year’s general election. Lord Greaves said:

If only 100,000 were able to be on the register for the general election, clearly, the system up to now has not worked – even though the figure was increased by three times. Three times not many is still not many.

He moved an amendment to the Bill to make sure that the Electoral Commission makes special efforts to get votes on the register once the date is known – both British citizens living in the EU and those who will be missed off the register when the new system of individual registration starts a year early (something the Liberal Democrats in the Lords tried to stop and failed by just 11 votes the previous week).

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How did shuttleworths get their name?

imageIt is a truth universally acknowledged that if you want to know anything about the olden days of liberalism, you ask The Lord (Tony) Greaves. A few days ago, somebody emailed a group of friends how shuttleworths got their name. For those of you who don’t know, these are the pads that used to have the names and addresses of supporters in a particular area for use on polling day. I knew I’d heard the story before and the various answers  that were being told didn’t seem right but I couldn’t remember what it was and, frankly, I had lots of voters to talk to so I didn’t look any further.

Then, with extraordinary serendipity, a comment from Tony Greaves got caught in auto-moderation. I actually saw his slight grumble about it in the main thread before I saw the actual comment. Anyway, it was the first thing that made me smile all day yesterday, so I emailed him to tell him. I also too my chance to ask him. This is his reply, reproduced with his permission.

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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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Three reasons why criminalising “annoying behaviour” makes me really uneasy

This afternoon, the House of Lords will debate amendments to the Government’s Anti Social, Crime and Policing Bill. Clause 1, which currently states that the new Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAs) can be granted if:

the court is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the respondent has engaged or threatens to engage in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person (“anti-social behaviour”)

is one of the main points of concern.

These provisions should make any liberal feel extremely uncomfortable. Campaigners, including the National Secular Society, the Evangelical Alliance and the Christian Institute have joined the usual suspect like Liberty and Big Brother Watch  in mounting vociferous opposition to this clause. George Monbiot, in the Guardian today, takes a very dim view of the legislation:

These laws will be used to stamp out plurality and difference, to douse the exuberance of youth, to pursue children for the crime of being young and together in a public place, to help turn this nation into a money-making monoculture, controlled, homogenised, lifeless, strifeless and bland. For a government which represents the old and the rich, that must sound like paradise.

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Next week in the Lords: 13-16 June… God bless Her Majesty!

House of Lords chamberAfter the pomp of the Queen’s Speech, comes the dissection of its content. Of course, that’s not all that gets done, so let’s dive into the week ahead…

Monday sees the debate on elements of the Speech relating to business, economy, local government and transport, whilst crossbench peer, Baroness Young of Hornsey has a particularly salient oral question, seeking a view on how UK clothing sector retailers might ensure that people working throughout their supply chains enjoy safe and secure working conditions in light of the Rana Plaza disaster.

On …

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Next week in the Lords: 4-7 March

House of Lords chamberYes, we’re back, after this column’s regular late winter break to study comparisons between government systems in the Caribbean. And whilst the House of Lords and the Cuban leadership do have some similarities – having octogenarians in prominent positions, for example – you would probably want to see more of Eric Avebury than you would Fidel Castro…

So, on with the motley…

Monday kicks off the week with the main business being Day 2 of the Report Stage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. Amongst the …

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