Author Archives: Dee Doocey

‘Fee waiver’ system for immigrants not working

Much like schoolchildren, Peers have returned from the Easter break this week. We’re now within a month or so of the end of this parliamentary ‘session’, and so there will be lots of battles as the government attempts to secure the last parts of its legislative agenda for this year.

Looking at the business ahead, on immigration, on housing and on trade union legislation, I don’t envy the task of our team leaders and whips. They’ve got to decide which are the crunch issues on which we can bring together a coalition of peers to beat the Government in …

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Baroness Dee Doocey writes… Protecting tenants in estate regeneration schemes

In January, the Prime Minister announced in The Sunday Times that he wanted to see 100 of Britain’s most run-down estates transformed.  His ambition is apparently ‘nothing short of social turnaround…with massive estate regeneration, tenants protected and land unlocked for new housing all over Britain.’

‘Together,’ he said, ‘we can tear down anything that stands in our way.’ What fighting talk! Yet what stands in the way is usually the fact that people actually live on these estates. Several generations of the same family may have done so.  People cannot and should not just be swept aside in these waves of prime ministerial purple prose.

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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.

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Wanted: Your views on slavery

“Slavery?” I hear you cry. “In this day and age?”

Sadly, slavery is still very much with us. And it’s not a problem found only in far away countries. It’s happening right here, right now, in Britain.

The extent of the problem and proposed remedies were set out in the Report of the Modern Slavery Bill Evidence Review, chaired by Frank Field MP and published on 16th December 2013.

The government is now proposing new legislation to tackle the problem. As part of the process of preparing this legislation, a Joint Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill has …

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Dee Doocey writes: Vigilance over Olympic tickets

With just 100 days to go to the London Olympics, you might be interested to read this quote about the interaction of sport and commercial interests:

“Of course sponsors have to receive value for money, but sport has to remain sport, a concept rooted on the track and not in the balance sheet. It must not become another consumer-entertainment package. In all sports we have to protect the fundamentals of sportsmanship, self-determination of the individual and the pursuit of excellence free of commercial expediency, and as Voltaire said ‘the price of freedom is eternal vigilance’.”

You might be surprised to discover that …

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Baroness Dee Doocey writes: Legal Aid and Welfare Reform, spot the problem

As one of the Liberal Democrat peers engaged in the debate on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill as well as the recent Welfare Reform Bill debates, I am pushing today for a vital amendment which I hope will mitigate the worst aspects of cuts facing the legal aid system– something that is proving to be a controversial issue for the Party.

The coalition agreement committed to reforming legal aid to reduce its costs to the public purse; it did not commit to abolishing it for whole categories of law. Chief amongst these excluded categories in Legal Aid, …

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Dee Doocey writes… Questions now must be answered over the Met’s record of undercover policing

Last week, it was revealed that an undercover Metropolitan police officer, Jim Boyling, had been arrested and tried for a public order offence under his cover name, Jim Sutton. Yet at no time during the trial did he reveal the fact that he was using a false identity. At the time, in 1996, he had been posing as a member of the non-violent, pro-cycling ‘Reclaim the Streets’ campaign.

At the trial, Boyling would have given evidence under oath about who he was and what had happened – while maintaining a false identity. He had allowed himself to be arrested, charged, prosecuted and potentially convicted of a criminal offence. As it turned out, he was found not guilty. But Sutton’s police minders were prepared to allow him to face possible conviction for a criminal offence – an offence committed by a serving undercover police officer, giving evidence on oath with the benefit of privileged legal advice that he shouldn’t have had.

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Dee Doocey writes: Riots – a case for reason and not posturing

The TV comedy The Thick of It brilliantly satirised the tendency of New Labour to govern by ‘initiative’. Politics was reduced to public relations. Policies were created on the hoof with an eye to the next morning’s headlines.

If you thought those days ended at the last general election, think again. The recent riots should have given everyone pause for thought. Instead, many politicians and commentators were shooting from the hip or trotting out predictable responses.

Playing to the gallery pays only short-term dividends. Yes, “something must be done”. But politicians of all parties have a duty to think before they open their mouths, and not try to cash in on gut reactions or tabloid hysteria – despite the media’s hunger for sensational news and tendency to incite sensational comment.

Despite the pressure to meet emotionally-driven imperatives, only an intelligent, long-term, considered response will prevent a recurrence of these riots. What needs to be done?

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Dee Doocey writes… Getting Olympic ticketing right

At one minute to midday on Tuesday 15 March, applications for tickets for the 2012 London Olympics will open.

Over the past twenty years, ticketing arrangements for every Games have created bad headlines. Controversy has ranged from empty seats to excessive prices, ticket touting and counterfeit tickets.

It’s a tough challenge to get the right balance between maximising income to cover the costs and ensuring that each event is accessible – especially as the actual running of the Games by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic & Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is paid for entirely by non-public money.

As ticketing is such a …

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Baroness Dee Doocey’s maiden speech

In recent months, LDV has been bringing 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 Friday, Baroness Doocey made her maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill . Her words are reproduced below. Baroness Susan Kramer also made her maiden speech in the Lords during the same debate; we featured it yesterday.

My Lords, I also begin

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Dee Doocey writes… Just the ticket?

The organisers of the London 2012 Olympics promised the most inclusive Games ever. We were told that the Games would be “highly affordable” and that “half the tickets would cost £20 or less”.

On 15th October, we discovered what is really going to happen.

Of the 8.8 million tickets that will go on sale, only 2.5 million (about a third) will cost £20 or less. Of this 2.5 million, 1.3 million will be reserved primarily for schoolchildren, leaving just 1.2 million £20 tickets for everyone else in London, the UK and the rest of the world.  And of those 1.2 million …

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