Category Archives: Parliament

Anything connected with business in the Houses of Commons or Lords (eg, PMQs).

This week in the Lords (30 October – 2 November) – the preview…

Welcome, once again, to Liberal Democrat Voice’s preview of the week in Parliament or, to be more precise, the (usually) more dignified end of the Palace of Westminster.

It feels a bit like a phony war at the moment, with the Lords to some extent killing time until the EU Withdrawal Bill finishes its passage through the Commons, but there is still plenty to interest the connoisseur.

Diving straight in, Monday sees the first day of the Committee Stage of the Data Protection Bill. Leading for us will be Tim Clement-Jones, accompanied by Brian …

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WATCH: Liberal Democrat MPs slam Government’s contemptuous approach to Parliament

This afternoon, Alistair Carmichael led an emergency debate, which he had secured, to raise the many ways in which the Government is marginalising Parliament. From ignoring Opposition Day debates to curtailing debate on legislation to the Henry VIII powers.

His speech introducing the debate was excellent. Watch it here.

My favourite bits are this:

The best Governments—and if ever there was a time in our country’s history when we needed the best possible Government, this is surely it—are those that are tested by Parliament, by the Opposition parties and by their own Back Benchers. Time and again, our system fails when the Government and the Opposition agree and arguments remain untested. How different might the debates on the case for going to war in Iraq in 2002 and 2003 have been if the then Opposition had been prepared to take a more questioning approach to Tony Blair’s case? I am sad to say that this Government, however, do not welcome scrutiny by Parliament, but rather seek to avoid it.

and the bit where he challenged MPs to get assertive:

In one sense, the Government have done us a favour by bringing this issue to a head, because it forces us as a House to decide what our role in the future of this country is going to be. Is it to be an active participant, with a strong voice and a decisive say, or is it to be a supine bystander as the Government continue to do as they wish, regardless of their lack of a mandate and, as is increasingly obvious, their lack of authority.

I have been a member of many debating societies over the years. They have all been fine organisations that provided entertainment and mental stimulation in equal measure. I mean them therefore no disrespect when I say that I stood for Parliament believing I was doing something more significant than signing up for a debating society. The difference is that in Parliament—in this House—we can actually effect change. Whether we choose to do so is in our own hands.

I loved the fact that the Tories responded by slagging off the Liberal Democrats in the most immature way as they clearly had no defence.

Christine Jardine said that MPs were there to serve the electorate, not to play games. She talked about seeing Parliament as others see it and the impression it gives to people outside who were not involved in politics.

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It’s Swinson vs Lamb today

Today, MPs elect their Select Committee chairs. The Liberal Democrats are to chair the Science and Technology Committee. The House will have the chance to choose between two of our MPs, Norman Lamb and Jo Swinson.

Each has produced a statement in support of their candidacy:

Jo Swinson

Statement

“more collegiate than tribal” – Telegraph

Collegiate

Even the Telegraph said I’m collegiate, and they’re not known for their love of Lib Dems.  If you’ve been in Parliament for many years, I hope you agree that I engaged constructively with MPs regardless of party when I was a Minister: from pubs to payday lending, employment rights to equalities.  If you’re newer, you don’t need to take my word for it, do ask your colleagues.  And feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or ideas.

Fair

Select Committees are about the art of asking good questions to get to the heart of an issue.  It’s a wonderful privilege – and fascinating – to be able to quiz experts on any given subject, and I hugely enjoyed my time on the Environmental Audit Committee from 2007-2010.  Every member of a Select Committee has an important role to play.  In creating reports and recommendations for Government, Select Committees should be both challenging and constructive: giving credit where it’s due, and being bold about where change is needed.

Enthused by science and technology

Science and technology offer hope for the advancement of society, as an engine of growth for the economy, and to solve the big problems we face as humanity, from climate change to disease.  The UK has a pivotal role to play, with a well-respected scientific community that should be supported and celebrated.  I’m enthused by these opportunities, as an early adopter of technology for democratic engagement, a former Vice-Chair of the Prime Minister’s Digital Taskforce, and having served as a Non-Executive Director of a data science start-up.  My constituency is home to the Beatson Institute, a world-class science facility focused on cancer research.

Can v Should

Science rightly pushes the frontiers of knowledge, and asks “Can we?”.  In public policy terms, we must also ask “Should we?”  Ethical questions range from balancing online privacy with security to preventing artificial intelligence entrenching current inequalities, from how to assess the benefit of new pharmaceuticals to understanding fully the impact of drones and driverless cars on employment.  The Select Committee should play a crucial role in exploring these dilemmas and finding a path forward.

Norman Lamb

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What have our lot been up to in the Commons this week?

We’ve had Jamie Stone’s maiden speech, but what else have our MPs been up to in Parliament this week?

Jo Swinson  intervened on Emily Thornberry to make a point about the recognition of Palestine.

I am interested in and listening with great care to what the right hon. Lady is saying about recognition of Palestine, and particularly about what the Government’s position was some years ago. Does she share my concern that, given the Minister’s comments today, it seems that that position has moved and that recognition is being ruled out until the end of talks on a peace process rather than

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WATCH: Jamie Stone’s maiden speech

Jamie Stone completed the quartet of Liberal Democrat Commons maiden speeches today. Watch it here:

Note the tribute to Charles Kennedy and the illustrious people who contested the seat in centuries gone by.

Thank you for calling me to speak, Madam Deputy Speaker, and may I congratulate you on your appointment?

It is a great honour to speak in this House. I am the first member of my Stone family ever to be elected as an MP, and standing here I like to think of my mother and father looking down on me with pride. I also owe sincere thanks to my wife Flora and my three children. Without their support and great help, the likelihood of my being elected to this place would have been rather smaller.

It is customary for new Members to mention their predecessors. Dr Paul Monaghan is a passionate nationalist and while here he took a close interest in middle east matters, the welfare of former inhabitants of the Chagos islands and, in particular, animal welfare. That is his record. I acknowledge it and thank him for it.

In addition, I really must mention my great friend who once represented part of my constituency, the late Charles Kennedy. He is much missed and will never be forgotten, by me in particular. I was for a time his constituency chairman.

Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross is the second largest and most remote constituency on the UK mainland. For that reason it presents special challenges to the Scottish and UK Governments. Sparsity of population, distance and severe winter weather all necessitate taking a different approach to the delivery of vital services. What works in Surrey or Glasgow is not necessarily going to work at all where I come from.

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WATCH: Layla Moran’s maiden speech

There is a plot afoot for all the newbies to make their maiden speeches during the Queen’s Speech debate. We’ll bring them to you. Here is Layla Moran’s from yesterday. The text is below:

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++Second government defeat – Lords vote for parliamentary veto on final Brexit deal

The BBC reports:

The government has suffered a second Brexit defeat in the House of Lords as peers backed, by 366 votes to 268, calls for a “meaningful” parliamentary vote on the final terms of withdrawal.
Backing the move, former deputy PM Lord Heseltine said Parliament must be the “custodian of national sovereignty”.

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Meet Paul Tyler’s (almost) unused cooker…


Paul (Lord) Tyler shows the nation the oven he has only used once (to warm up a pizza that “was a bit flabby”).

The second episode of “Meet the Lords” aired last night and is available here on BBC iPlayer for the next 29 days. I mentioned, in my review of last week’s opening show, that our own dear Paul (Lord) Tyler was popping up in the programme. Well, this week I am delighted to say that the great Cornish Liberal is featured at some length. The film crew visit him in his little flat and follow him on his daily journey to the Lords.

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Sarah Olney holds first Westminster Hall debate on Heathrow expansion

There’s a lot of firsts when you are a new MP. Your first Early Day Motion (like a House of Commons petition), your first speech, your first question, and your first Westminster Hall debate. These debates, held outside the main chamber, concentrate on one subject and allow an MP to raise an issue directly with the Minister.

It will be of no surprise that Sarah’s first Westminster Hall debate was on the subject of Heathrow expansion and the effects in terms of road congestion and pollution of a bigger airport.

You can read the full debate – including the Deputy Speaker’s rebukes to both Sarah and a colleague for breaking the rules and a fairly patronising response from the Minister – here. Below is Sarah’s speech in full.

And she shouldn’t worry about a minor rebuke from the Speaker. Others have done worse and survived. Willie Rennie forgot to turn his phone off before one debate in 2007 and got a right telling off when one of his staff (not me) rang him during a Westminster Hall debate.

This is what Sarah said yesterday:

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Meet the Lords – or at least two Lords and one Baroness….

Manderston House 2005

BBC2 started a new series last night called “Meet the Lords”. In the style of last year’s documentary series about the House of Commons, the film crew wondered around the corridors of the House of Lords, and produced some interesting sights.

In fact, it centred on three peers:

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What is the collective noun for peers?

 

If you didn’t drop into LDV over the weekend you will have missed Caron’s marathon effort in reporting on all the speeches made by Lib Dem Lords last week on the Bill on Article 50.  There were 32 of them, amounting to over 30,000 words.

You can find all the speeches listed here.

It was an excellent reminder of what an important job our peers are doing and how important the second chamber is. In the Lords the decisions in the House of Commons are subjected to in-depth scrutiny and challenge, and we don’t hear enough about the impact this has on virtually every Bill that goes through Parliament.

Of course, we want the House of Lords to be reformed, but we can’t allow it to stagnate while we wait for another opportunity to bring in a directly elected second chamber. We have an excellent cohort of active peers, who between them have immense experience in politics, business, social action, law, academia and diplomacy.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Sarah Ludford: Brexiteers fear the people realising the disastrous truth

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. 

After two days of debate, it fell to Sarah Ludford to sum up for the Liberal Democrats. She brought together all the strands of the debate. She took on the two days of vitriol that had been directed at the party from the Brexiteers. What were they frightened of, she wondered. They were, she said, so keen to stamp on dissent for fear of the disaster of Brexit being realised by the people. She summarised the massive negatives to business, to jobs, to prosperity, to EU nationals and their British families and made the case for a referendum on the deal.

There were times during this mammoth task of putting all the speeches up that we wondered what on earth had possessed us to think that it was a good idea, but we now have in one place a comprehensive rebuttal to everything the Government says on Brexit. Our lot did us proud as they drove a coach and horses through the Government’s arguments. The sheer vitriol they took from the Brexiteer zealots shows that their arguments were very effective.

My Lords, I draw the attention of the House, and perhaps the Daily Mail, to the fact that my receipt of an MEP pension is in the register.

We have had a long and intense debate, with many excellent speeches. I concur with the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, in thanking Gina Miller for the fact that we have had this debate. It has been a marathon rather than a sprint, just as the Brexit process itself will prove to be over possibly a decade of blood, sweat and tears. Those who swallowed the myth perpetrated by some Brexiteers that it would mean “With one bound, we are free” are going to be cruelly disappointed. This is just one of the many disillusionments to come. Another is the unravelling of the notion that leaving the EU will solve all our problems. There are in fact many sources of valid dissatisfaction, grievance and frustration among the people of the United Kingdom today. To most of these problems, Brexit will bring no relief but there is no spare capacity in this Government to focus on anything but Brexit. As Tony Blair so rightly said in his recent speech:

“This is a Government for Brexit, of Brexit and dominated by Brexit. It is a mono-purpose political entity”.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Andrew Stunell: Hard Brexit will cripple the construction industry

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. 

Andrew Stunell started by pointing out one irony. The Lords making the most noise about democracy and how the Lords had to do what the Government had said because it was the will of the people were the very ones who argued against the Lords being reformed and elected.

His main point was about the effect on the construction industry of Brexit. Government plans require it to grow by 35%, yet the many combined effects of Brexit would cause it to shrink.

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Davies, has given me a wonderful introduction to what I was going to say in any case. Leaving the European Union is strongly against the long-term interests of the United Kingdom and it will hit hardest those citizens who rely most heavily on public services for the well-being of themselves and their families, and for whom economic prosperity is crucial for their job, the roof over their head and the money to pay for the services on which they depend. Several noble Lords have urged us to surrender the best interests of those hard-pressed citizens without a fight, misusing words like “democracy” and “accountability” to do so. But it is not anti-democratic to speak up for the views and interests of the 16 million people on the remain side of the debate, and it would be anti-democratic to leave their voices unheard in Parliament.

However, I also note a paradox. The same noble Lords who complain so bitterly about those of us in the House who have the temerity to speak up and say that Brexit will leave Britain weaker and poorer, diminished abroad and shrivelled at home, are also, almost without exception, against this House actually being representative of public opinion. While my noble friends have consistently advocated and fought for the democratic accountability of this place, our critics in this debate have argued over the years that a representative and accountable second House is the last thing they want to see.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Paul Strasburger: PM chooses to destroy, for ever, Tory reputation for economic prudence

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. 

Paul Strasburger did not mince his words. He came up with a very good analogy from business – what would you do if your chief executive decided to remove the company from its biggest market and concentrate on customers that you didn’t know so well.

My Lords, we find ourselves in a situation that most of us would not have thought possible a year ago. Our Prime Minister seeks not only to invoke Article 50 but also to needlessly destroy our country’s tariff-free and frictionless access to the largest market in the world, thereby doing serious damage to our economy. Stranger still, this is not some dystopian, Corbynista nightmare—it is a Conservative Prime Minister choosing, at a stroke, to destroy for ever her party’s reputation for economic prudence. She is putting at risk the prosperity that our country has enjoyed since we joined what was then the Common Market. She will also be undoing the success of the coalition in pulling our economy back from the brink after the 2008 crash. She and her party will not be forgiven for their collective madness when everything goes pear-shaped—as it surely must.

What is this lunacy for? It is for a small reduction in immigration, which in itself will damage our economy. Can it be that Mrs May is so scarred by her failure to meet the impossible target of cutting immigration to below 100,000 in her six years at the Home Office that she is hell-bent on having another go through the most extreme and damaging of Brexits?

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Alan Watson: EU divorce brings disaster, division and catastrophe

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. 

Alan Watson recounted his experience working for Roy Jenkins in the Commission decades ago. He talked about the importance of building a positive partnership with the EU – something there is little sign of at the moment.

My Lords, I declare a historic interest and note that I have no contemporary interest. I worked with the late—and great—Lord Jenkins in the European Commission for just over four years, at the end of which period I decided to come home. It was an interesting revelatory moment with regard to working within the European Commission, because when I attempted to resign, the head of personnel, who as it happens was an Englishman, said, “You can’t possibly do that—you are a fonctionnaire permanente!”. He meant every word. However, I persisted, and came home. I took my pension agreement with me at that point and I no longer have one from the European Commission. I make that clear.

On 15 June, a number of days before the referendum, we had a debate in this House on the referendum itself. By then, it was already clear that the referendum was in many ways dangerous, certainly divisive, and likely to be damaging. But for me, the most important thing about it was its folly. It was an unnecessary referendum, a miscalculation, and a high price has been paid. However, for the time being, as many noble Lords have said, this is water under the bridge. Cruel events over the next two years may well change the electorate’s perspective, but meanwhile, what can be done? I find three imperatives compelling and possibly hopeful.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Martin Thomas The Charge of the Brexit Brigade

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. 

Martin Thomas compared the rush towards Brexit to the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade. He also highlighted the huge cost of leaving the EU. Where would we find the tens of billions? The Government seems to have no plan on how to deal with this.

My Lords, the Telegraph reports today that the EU Bill for a Brexit divorce is €60 billion. It is made up of existing annual budget commitments until 2019, pension obligations and other longer term liabilities. The European Commission concedes that the United Kingdom should be allowed to offset against that Bill its share of the assets of the EU, perhaps between €15 and €20 billion, so we are left with a net hefty €40 billion or so to stump up as the price of divorce.

What does the Government’s White Paper say about this prospective liability? Absolutely nothing. Do the Government agree we have a price to pay? If so, how much? We do not know. This is not a poker game, and this is just one card in a whole stack of cards. The Government’s argument is that to disclose our negotiating position on any issue would harm our national interest. I do not believe for a moment that that is the reason for their reticence. If you do not disclose your hand, and keep your cards close to your chest, there is no measure by which the public can judge whether your negotiations are a success or failure. Whatever deal can be dragged out of the negotiations can then be termed victory. That is exactly what David Cameron did a year ago. The Government cannot be seen to fail. Where they create a desert, they call it peace.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Roger Roberts: Referendum campaign was won on a lie on a bus built in Poland by a German company

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. 

Roger Roberts pointed out that the most famous phrase from the campaign, the one which the Leave campaign’s director credits it with winning, the £350 million a week for the NHS, was a blatant lie and that alone justifies the people being given a vote on Brexit. He also added that the Government could not be trusted on its reassurances as it had already broken promises on refugees.

My Lords, when we are told that the people have spoken, we are referring to the one-third of the electorate who supported the Leave campaign. I would say that the people have not spoken. They were taken on a ride in a bus built in Poland by a German company. On its side it said, “When we are out of the EU, we will have £350 million a week to spend on the NHS”. That was the promise, yet in Arron Banks’s recently published book, The Bad Boys of Brexit, he says that from the beginning they knew that it was a blatant lie. One of the biggest donors, giving £5 million to the Leave campaign, has said that they knew from the beginning that it was a blatant lie.

If it was a lie, is it not possible that the result of the referendum was because of a lie on the side of a bus? In all probability, by the Leave campaign’s own admission, the referendum was won on a blatant lie. If that was so, we have every right to ask the people to consider it again when the time comes. It will determine the future of every one of us—our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This House can either go along with a lie or it can decide that we are going to stop this here.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Barbara Janke: Remain voters have spoken too and nobody is listening

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. 

Barbara’s theme was the effect of Brexit on young people and businesses in her home town of Bristol and the need to recognise the worries of those who voted Remain and not to forget about them.

My Lords, I wish to speak about some of the issues that have been raised by people and organisations in my own city of Bristol. The first thing to say is that the moralistic argument that “the people have spoken” has a rather hollow ring in my city, where a large majority voted to remain in the EU. They have spoken too and they feel that no one in government is listening to them.

Bristol is a highly successful city with an economy driven by an innovative business community which is based on strong links with the EU, particularly aviation and its supply chains throughout the south-west. Through the partnership of its two world-class universities, it is also a test bed for technological and environmental development and a trailblazer in the creative, media, digital and microelectronic industries. It is Britain’s leading smart city and was the European Green Capital in 2015. Bristol is a city of small companies. Having read some of the case studies in a local chamber of commerce survey, I do not recognise the description that I heard from the noble Lord, Lord Cavendish. The small firms in Bristol very much value working with the EU. Due to the skills shortages in this country many of them are dependent on recruitment from the EU and EU workers’ freedom of movement. They feel that the constraints that may be put in their way may well lead some of them to consider operating from Europe, where access to skills and freedom of movement fit much more with the kind of businesses they run.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: David Chidgey on the effect of Brexit on African trading partners

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. 

David Chidgey spelled out some of the consequences of Brexit on our trading partners in Africa.

My Lords, from the Prime Minister’s 12 point plan, the clear intention is that the UK should be destined to leave the single market and the EU customs union. It does not require too much scrutiny to work that out. That is in order to pursue bilateral trade agreements with faster growing economies outside the EU. In considering this Bill, it is not therefore unreasonable to consider the impact on the economies of the countries with whom we trade within the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific groups and beyond.

In the Prime Minister’s 12 point plan, point 8 refers to the establishment of free trade into the European market through a free trade agreement, and point 9 is about concluding new agreements with other countries. It is blindingly obvious that this means that the UK will leave the EU customs union and the single market, while assuming it can establish a free trade agreement with the EU that is unlike any existing agreement.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Dick Taverne: Dictatorships don’t allow people to change their mind

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. 

Dick Taverne looked at the nature of democracy and concluded that the people must be allowed to change their mind. He also spoke about parliamentarians having a duty to speak out against the country taking a disastrous course of action.

My Lords, like the noble Lord, Low, who is not in his place at the moment, I want to talk about democracy. I never thought that, one day, speaker after speaker in a Commons debate, on an issue of immense significance for Britain’s future, would announce that, although they believed that Brexit would gravely damage our national interests, they would nevertheless vote to leave because the will of the people must be obeyed. They did not say, “Of course, we have to take the decision of the people very seriously, but in the end we have to make up our own minds”; they declared, in effect, that they were not in Parliament to exercise their own judgment but were delegates who had to vote the ticket of populist correctness.

Out goes the tradition of parliamentary democracy, with its checks and balances; out go Locke, John Stuart Mill and others, who created liberal democracy, which has been much admired; and out goes Edmund Burke, who argued that MPs were representatives, not delegates. The doctrine of Rousseau now rules in Westminster, that the will of the people must always prevail, a doctrine much admired by autocrats ever since the days of Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety. With great respect to my noble friend Lord Ashdown, the idea that the will of the people equals democracy or the national interest is a fallacy. Before the Second World War, Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin all commanded overwhelming public support and represented the will of the people. That hardly made them democrats or left their countries better off. Today Putin and Erdogan are among the most popular populists. They boast about their majority support. Are they democrats, even though they suppress dissent and trample on the rule of law?

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Jeremy Purvis: We need to be careful how we bind future generations

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. 

Jeremy pointed out that out of nearly 200 speakers, only 3 were, like him, born after we joined the EU. He talked about how younger people would have to live with the consequences of Brexit, despite being against it. The Government’s hard brexit approach harmed their future.

My Lords, it remains a remarkable piece of good luck if you are born in our country and a remarkable judgment if you choose to make our country your home, but I am fearful about our union of nations and I am especially fearful for the views that our young people have about their future.

The Leader of the House and I have at least one thing in common: with our birthdays 18 months apart, we have lived all our lives in a country that has been a member of the EU. We are, I understand, two or only three Members taking part in this debate, of 190 speakers, for whom the UK’s membership of the EU is older than we are. The majority of the people of our country of our age and below voted to remain; the Leader of the House is in a minority. Britain’s youngest voters will have an average of 60 years to live with the consequences of the Government’s decisions in the coming two years. Sixteen and 17 year-olds—those with the most at stake—were denied a say, and very many of them are now frustrated that they are denied a voice. If with some good fortune I am now at the halfway point of my life, I fully acknowledge that I may need to come to terms with living in a country that I passionately believe is going on the wrong path. I may have to come to terms with that and we may not be able to turn back.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Jenny Randerson: Transport industry can’t cope with hard brexit

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. 

Transport spokesperson Jenny Randerson made the point that it was going to be much more difficult to transport goods across Europe – giving the example of the 88 documents it took in 1988 to export something to Italy. At the moment it’s just 1, but if that increases, business will suffer.

My Lords, I start by making a point about the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Robathan. I just want to clarify that the Liberal Democrats are not asking for a second referendum; we are asking for a first referendum on the outcome of the Government’s negotiations. I see nothing at odds with democracy in the electorate changing their mind. In my experience, they change their minds every four or five years.

I am a member of one of the EU sub-committees of this House, and week after week we take evidence from major British businesses. When asked what sort of trading arrangements they would like to see in the future, almost without exception they have said, “Something as close to what we have at present if possible, please”. They want, and indeed expect, the Government to honour the promise in their manifesto to remain in the single market.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Judith Jolly: Brexit is bad for defence and security

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. 

Defence spokesperson Judith Jolly continued on the theme of peace and security. She said that losing our place in the defence infrastructure of Europe would be harmful. She also made the point that the exchange rate changes since 23 June had added hundreds of millions of pounds to the cost of our defence imports.

Yesterday, the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Basildon, spoke of the vision of what was known as the Common Market. My first vote was in 1975, in the referendum to remain in that Common Market. Although I was born in the 1950s, the war still cast a shadow. I was a young woman, newly married to a junior officer in a very, very much larger Royal Navy—one which could certainly cope east of Suez—and the idea of binding states in trade to avoid conflict appealed to me then, as it still does.

Britain’s withdrawal from the EU comes at a time of great global instability. Russia, resurgent and hostile, flies nuclear sorties through UK airspace, harasses NATO’s eastern flank and claims to be seeking a “post-West world order”. The American President expressed ambivalence towards NATO as recently as last Wednesday. Europe has been wracked by a wave of extremist attacks, and the chaos swirling in the Middle East shows no sign of abating. Against this bleak backdrop, the passage of this Bill will set in motion the greatest upheaval of UK foreign, economic and domestic policy in recent history. I submit that the triggering of Article 50 will also have—and, indeed, has had—a profoundly negative effect on the UK’s defence and security.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Brian Paddick: You can’t keep people safe without ceding sovereignty

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.

As a former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Brian Paddick knows his stuff when it comes to matters of crime and security. He talks about the process of inter-country information sharing taking weeks or months rather than instantaneously as present. So much for Brexit making us safer. 

My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, is in his place, I will thank him for the opportunity to debate this legislation which we might not have had if he had not played such a good role in the Supreme Court. As our party spokesman on home affairs I want to make absolutely clear that I support the protection of the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK and of UK citizens living in the EU.

This afternoon I seek to make only one point and to use one example to illustrate that point. The British people did not know the full consequences of leaving the EU at the time of the referendum and did not therefore make an informed choice. They are entitled to a vote on the final deal. As the noble Baroness, Lady Murphy, said, none of us, on either side of the argument, knew what the full consequences of leaving the EU were going to be at the time of the referendum—and, of course we will not know definitively until the negotiations are complete, although there are some things of which we are certain and which I will come to.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Robin Teverson: Remain voters who want to stay EU citizens have been abandoned by the Government

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. 

Robin Teverson was the first Lib Dem peer to talk about citizenship and specifically the rights and freedoms granted to us by our EU citizenship that we are about to lose.

My Lords, I have tabled an amendment on Euratom. Contrary to what the Leader of the House said yesterday in her opening speech, there is no mandate to leave Euratom. It is not part of the EU and it seems that, as a country, we are in danger of cutting off our nose to spite our face for no reason in terms of an electoral mandate.

Today, I want to speak primarily about my great-grandfather, Samuel Miller. He was a master sergeant in the Middlesex Regiment in the late 19th century. I think that he served in South Africa but in the late 1870s he was posted to Dublin. There, he fulfilled his military duties and one year later, in 1880, my grandmother, Edith Blanche—later Leddra—was born. Because of that accident, I was able to take on Irish citizenship and indeed did so in 1996. I am a dual national. Therefore, after Brexit takes place, I will be able to have all the privileges of a European citizen, but that will not be the case for the 16 million people who voted to remain part of the European Union. Not just those with relatives who were born in other EU nations but those born in Ireland will also be able to decide whether to continue to have those privileges as European citizens in the UK beyond Brexit.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Sue Miller Narrow minded nationalism could replace outgoing internationalism

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. 

Sue Miller talked about her worries about peace and security and that Brexit would hasten the rise of nationalism and populism in Europe. She also highlighted concern for EU nationals and the distraction that Brexit causes from other issues which need to be dealt with.

 

My Lords, one effect of growing up as a post-war child was hearing the amount of discussion and determination among the political classes that we would never have another war in Europe. At the top of my list of worries about Brexit is that we shall see an insular, narrow-minded nationalism taking hold and turning us from an outgoing, internationalist nation into an inward-looking nation.

We have heard much in the past day and a half about interdependence, which has to be one of the keys when we think about what we should do next. Brexit is not all about trade, although to listen to the Government you might think that it was. I firmly believe that, first and foremost, it should be about peace and security. I agreed strongly with the noble Lord, Lord Carlile of Berriew, when he said yesterday that endangering peace and security in Europe would be grounds to reject the deal. Incidentally, although I agreed with some of the speech made by Tony Blair, I thought it ironic he should tell everyone to rise up. When more millions than were ever seen all rose up and marched when he was Prime Minister, he took not a blind bit of notice.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Shas Sheehan: Boris’s sunny uplands quote is a shameless parody

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.

As you would expect from Shas, who has done so much to speak up for and help refugees, she mentioned the border with France and asked what happens to the Le Toucquet agreement. She also pointed out the irony of Boris Johnson’s comments that Brexit would be like sunlit uplands. When Churchill used that phrase, he was talking about a united Europe.  

My Lords, as a signatory to the amendment of the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, I would like to draw attention to the impact of Brexit on the UK’s trade, aid and security policies relating to developing and post-conflict countries. Aid to developing countries is under attack almost daily by elements of the press. Just this Sunday there was a report in the Sunday Times about using Brexit as an excuse to divert aid to eastern European countries to buy their good will. Will the Minister give an assurance that Brexit will not be used to divert the 0.7% of GNI devoted to development aid and that only countries on the DAC list are eligible for ODA? The fact is that development aid fulfils an essential task: not only is it right to help the poorest in the world but it is essential if we are to reduce the factors that push people out of their own countries and, in desperation, lead them to seek shelter with us.

It is a pity that on leaving the EU we will not be able to influence its attempt to manage the largest mass movement of people we have seen since the Second World War. The Calais camp on our doorstep may have been demolished but the problem has not gone away, and refugees are returning to the region because they have nowhere else to go. Can the Minister say, now that we have declared ourselves to be on the road to a hard Brexit, what consideration the Government have given to the Le Touquet agreement between ourselves and the French, whereby they police our border on their soil and vice versa? Can the Government guarantee the border will not move to Dover?

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Lindsay Northover: We can’t have no cliff edge AND be willing to walk away

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. 

Lindsay Northover concentrated on the cake and the eating of cake that is inherent in the Government’s position – and points out that Government is unlikely to get what it wants. She looks at the effect on trade and universities.

My Lords, with 190 of us speaking, there are about 23 of us for every line of this short Bill, but that shows how important the Bill is. There were powerful speeches yesterday, including from the noble Lord, Lord Malloch-Brown, who spoke at 12.07 last night. There was even unprecedented applause from the Public Gallery for my noble friend Lady Smith of Newnham after her passionate defence of EU citizens living here. There have been brave and passionate speeches today, such as those from the noble Baroness, Lady Altmann, and the noble Lord, Lord Liddle. But, for me, the most moving speech yesterday was that of the noble Lord, Lord Hennessy, who likened the debate to an elegy. The UK’s involvement in the European project might turn out to be, he said,

“a fine, if ultimately doomed, cause”.—

We appear to be on course for much more than a Lord Patten Hong Kong moment.

In the UK, we rarely learned about the EU as a project for peace, even though in recent memory on our continent there have been conflicts in the Balkans, Northern Ireland and Cyprus, with freedoms brutally suppressed in eastern Europe. Nor was it often pointed out in the UK that almost half of our trade is with the EU. We look at the US and marvel at how it could possibly have elected Donald Trump. Round the world, including in the Commonwealth, I have found that people wonder at how we could have voted to leave the largest, wealthiest and strongest trading bloc in the world.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Kishwer Falkner: The UK will have to renew its relationship with the EU to survive

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. 

This speech was the exception as Kishwer is the one peer who will be supporting the Bill. We covered earlier in the week her decision earlier in the week. Here she explains her position and says that we should just leave now and then re-engage with the EU in a different way further down the track.

My Lords, I need to make a few declarations. The first is that I have the privilege in this House of chairing the EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee. I would say this, but in my opinion it is the most significant committee at this point in terms of the angles that it is looking at, such as financial services and the EU budget. My other declaration is more personal. I am married to a German, I have lived and worked in France, and I have a house in Italy. So I have a big dog in this fight, not a little whippet.

However, I have to tell the House that on the passage of this Bill I will be voting with the Labour Opposition and the Government Benches. Why do I take the position I do? It is not because I am any less a remainer today than I was on 23 June—I am every bit a remainer; as I explained, I have a deep and personal motivation to wish that the result of last June had not happened. But I believe that a second referendum entails risks for which the price is too high: too high for the country overall and too high for the other European countries. It has been stated that the people voted for a departure but not a destination. In my view, people had a very clear idea of the destination: the destination was a break from the EU. I agree that they did not know exactly what the terrain would look like, but they knew they were taking a risk.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Susan Kramer: Brexit’s impact on financial services could ruin jobs and economy

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. 

Treasury spokesperson Susan Kramer concentrated her remarks on the financial services industry and the impact of its decisions on our economy and the current £75 billion we take in tax from it.

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, said that he is very sympathetic to EU nationals in this country. However, he is perfectly happy for them to be used as a bargaining chip. Frankly, I do not think that is consistent with the view of this House or with British values.

Given the pressure of time, I will focus on the importance of giving people a second vote—that is, not a second vote on the original deal but a second vote that is a first vote on the final terms of exit from the European Union. I concur with those who have said that the June referendum gave the Government a mandate for Brexit but did not give them a mandate to choose the most extreme form of economic separation from the EU. It has been Theresa May’s choice and that of her Ministers to opt for a hard Brexit, leaving both the single market and the customs union.

I want to look at the impact of that decision by the May Government on just one sector of our economy—the financial services sector. This sector makes up 7% of the UK’s GDP, pays more than £75 billion a year to the Treasury and provides over 2 million jobs, most of them outside London. It is one of the few industries in which we are a global leader, clearing over 95% of the world’s $600 trillion a day in interest rate swaps, leading not just in traditional areas such as foreign exchange and specialist insurance, but also at the cutting edge of fintech. We damage financial services at our peril.

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