Author Archives: Michael Hall

What this country needs: the conversion of life peerages into hereditary ones

House of Lords - Some rights reserved by UK Parliament

The House of Lords (Maximum Membership) Bill was published only yesterday and was scheduled for a second reading today.

It is one of a number of Bills introduced by backbench Conservative MPs listed for second reading which seem off the wall and it is a wonder that they were scheduled for second reading debate without having first been printed.

One would assume from its title that this Bill has the sole purpose of limiting the number of active peers. It does that and, no doubt because the Bill has been rushed into print at the last minute, the dates for it to take effect are all in the past.

It provides for a maximum number of 650 peers, and it also provides for compulsory retirement in order of seniority to reduce the number of active peers to that magic figure.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 11 Comments

The Chancel Repairs Bill 2014 (more interesting than you might imagine)

Creeting St Peter churchI am delighted that Lord Eric Avebury has moved the first reading in the House of Lords of the Chancel Repairs Bill. Eric ( the former MP, Eric Lubbock – the famous Orpington Man) must be our longest serving Parliamentarian. Having been elected as MP for Orpington in 1962, with a massive swing from the Conservatives, he succeeded to the Peerage as Baron Avebury in 1971, and has held his seat as one of the 93 elected hereditary peers.

Over the years he has continued as a keen and active supporter of the Liberal Democrats in Orpington, and one of our most hard working peers.

He has also published an Explanatory Note with the Bill.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Reform of the Duchy of Cornwall – on the cards?

Lord Berkeley’s “Rights of the Sovereign and Duchy of Cornwall Bill” is due to have its second reading in the Lords on 8 November. He has been quoted as saying he wants to “provoke a debate”, and it may be supposed that Bill is likely to be defeated at its second reading. As it would affect the Prince’s private interests, it would require his consent in order to progress. He has given his consent to several bills in the past, according to the Parliament website. It is surprising how many bills require his consent. This is

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

Opinion: Civil Liberties or taking liberties?

On 11 March we will debate at our Spring Conference in Gateshead an innocuous- sounding motion about Civil Liberties, but it needs to be looked at carefully to see if it is not more about letting people take liberties, than protecting our right to protest.

I know the Liberal Democrats do not support anarchy and mob rule, but you could be forgiven for thinking they do if you just read the motion, to be moved by Dr Julian Huppert, the MP for Cambridge and summed up by Tom Brake MP for Carshalton and Wallington.

I cannot see why the offence of aggravated …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 30 Comments

Opinion: Public services and tax policy

Nick Clegg shocked me when he said that the UK fiscal deficit is increasing by £400m every day.

Since then we have had a broadly fiscally neutral budget from George Osborne, intended to stimulate the economy. True, VAT rose to 20% but in other ways, this was a give-away budget. VAT is a regressive tax, which we all have to pay, when we buy what we need, whether we can afford it or not. There should be lower rates for household essentials such as fuel. There should be no VAT on the first £1,000 of fuel bills.

The income tax …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 33 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn B 12th Dec - 8:10am
    Peter Watson: If the Lib Dems had followed your guidance, they would only have stood in 50 seats in this election (the only seats where...
  • User AvatarFrank West 12th Dec - 7:30am
    I am amazed at the lack of urgency amongst people I know who have expensive property a metre or two above sea level, suggestions that...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 12th Dec - 5:50am
    Peter Watson: "success will be determined by the performance in individual well-worked target seats rather than by a national vote share" I have always thought...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 12th Dec - 1:11am
    @Paul Barker "All Polling averages are out-of-date, by definition but The BritainElects/New Statesman only uses the last Poll from each firm & thus more behind...
  • User AvatarHywel 12th Dec - 12:16am
    Now that votes are in I think it's fair to cast a critical eye over the LIb Dem campaign... {Looks quizzically at calendar.....} Oh.......
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 11th Dec - 11:13pm
    @David Raw "the narrow social base of the post 2010 Liberal Democrat Party" Some interesting graphics for this here (, especially this one ( going...
Tue 7th Jan 2020