So where exactly were the UKIP peers during the Immigration Bill?

house of lordsNoticeable by their absence during the Lords debates on the Immigration Bill were the three Peers who are members of UKIP. A cross-party group of peers, including our Shirley Williams, Roger Roberts, Bob Maclennan, Jonathan Marks, Alex Carlile, Nigel Jones, David Chidgey and Mike Storey thought this was worth mentioning in a letter to the Standard.  This is what they said:

The report stage of the Immigration Bill concluded in the House of Lords on Monday April 7.

During this (three-day) phase of the bill’s passage through the House, peers continued to examine its provisions in fine detail. Many members took part in these vitally important debates, showing the upper chamber at its very best. Many hundreds voted in some, or all, of the five divisions that took place.

However, we find it surprising that not one of the three Ukip-affiliated peers chose to vote — let alone speak — during the passage of the bill: be it during report, committee or indeed second reading debate. Lord Stevens of Ludgate seemed to be ill — but where was former party leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch? Or Lord Willoughby de Broke?

There are of course no Ukip MPs and, as such, the House of Lords is their key avenue by which to hold the Government to account. When one considers the attitude of Ukip’s (would-be) parliamentarians to their roles in Westminster and elsewhere, their silence is deafening.

Immigration is something that UKIP goes on about the whole time. Why, then, did they not bother to turn up and say their piece?

We know from Giles Goodall’s piece that in the European Parliament, that they are just as absent on some important issues. They didn’t bother to vote to reduce mobile roaming charges, something the Lib Dems had been championing for years. They did, however, bother their backsides to vote against the concept of equal pay for men and women.

Interesting priorities.


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  • “… where was former party leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch? Or Lord Willoughby de Broke?”

    Where is Bohun? Where’s Mowbray? Where’s Mortimer? … Nay, which is more, and most of all, where is Plantagenet? They are intombed in the urns and sepulchres of mortality.

  • Mark Thompson 11th Apr '14 - 7:08am

    Erm, you moan at Ukip regarding the house of lords, THE VERY THING YOU WANT TO ABOLISH?!

  • Charles Rothwell 11th Apr '14 - 7:57am

    There are signs that the message about UKIP and expenses are starting to get though. I enjoyed some excellent TV viewing the other evening on Channel Four news when Farage had gotten to Basingstoke as soon as he could in the light of Miller’s resignation and had an interview with Jon Snow. The latter just tore him about UKIP’s record in the EP in terms of expenses and would not let go along the lines of “Pot, kettle, black”. You could see Farage was rattled, although it must also be admitted that you can see why Farage is (without a shred of doubt) by far the strongest asset they have got as he kept his cool overall (while some of the blazer-wearing morons around him would have exploded, like the famous ex- (very ex-) MEP ho hit the Channel Four reporter over the head with their manifesto! Pity the media is so fixated just on Farage. Interviewing some of the people around him would be very revelatory (and even more so some of the people who have walked away from UKIP in disgust).

  • @Mark Thompson

    Don’t shout. Putting an irrelevant comment in capitals doesn’t make it look any more intelligent.

  • @Charles Rothwell
    Yes I too saw the Ch4 News destruction of Farage. Jon Snow was great.

    What a shame that we did not have a hour of “Snow v Farage”.

  • Mark Thompson,
    Yes, we want to replace the House of Lords, but while it still exists in its current form it is important to use it to best effect. Governments conspire to leave laws unscrutinised, even largely unconsidered, by the Commons, so it’s the job of the second house to attempt a decent job. I don’t lament the absence of the rather peculiar UKIP lords but it’s worth pointing out how badly they pursue their supposedly strongly held views.

    Charles Rothwell,
    Godfrey Bloom is still an MEP, merely ex-UKIP. And Farage does have at least a couple of decent lieutenants among the fruitcakes. Paul Nuttall and Diane James (of fond memory) are serious debaters.

  • “Immigration is something that UKIP goes on about the whole time. Why, then, did they not bother to turn up and say their piece?”
    Put simply, …because this is a battle to wrench true democracy, out of the cynical closed fist of the cosy establishment, such that the voting public can get to “… say their piece…” via an in/out referendum. Which in its turn, returns immigration policy back to the UK where it ought to belong.

  • Joe.
    I’m simply trying to relay that if the starting point of Lib Dem thinking on the Ukip phenomenon is wrong, (and it is), then you will quite naturally fall into the trap of asking irrelevant questions such as this.
    Think it through. If being in the EU negates any real border control from EU citizens, does it matter a jot what they think (or vote on), in the House of Lords, or even Westminster.? Whilst we are part of the EU, any (EU related) immigration policy sent through one or both Houses, is little more than academic, talking shop ‘noise’?

  • Mick Taylor 11th Apr '14 - 4:03pm

    What complete cobblers. The EU has no control over immigration from outside the EU. The UK government sets the rules and enforces them. Free movement of people within the EU is a good thing and millions of Brits have taken advantage of it to live and work in the other countries of the EU. EU migration isn’t a one way street.
    If UKIP are concerned about immigration – and they bang on about it a great deal – then they should be present when it’s debated and voted on. End of

  • Tony Greaves 11th Apr '14 - 4:56pm

    Not sure what the picture illustrating this thread is all about. Looks like the old Law Lords on some dressed up occasion??? Anyway they are no longer with us and that picture has as much to do with the working Lords discussing a major Bill as a Mickey Mouse cartoon.

    It’s typical national media laziness, sad to see it here.


  • “The EU has no control over immigration from outside the EU.”

    And therein lies the problem.

  • John Dunn
    You really should not use words like “cosy establishment” to attack others if you are defending Lord Pearson of Rannoch.

    As well as being a former leader of UKIP he owns the 20,000 acre estate surrounding his country home . To quote the advertising blurb — “. It provides first class stalking and hind shooting, with about 70 stags and 80 hinds being shot each year.  A few grouse are shot over pointers.  The estate can also provide exceptional trout and pike fishing.  There is a tennis court.”

    That sounds quite “cosy ” to me and if he is not a member of “the establishment ” well I can only assume you have changed the entry qualifications. He sure as hell sounds, looks and lives like a member of the establishment. Or do all UKIP members live like this? I know some UKIP MEPs have a dodgy record of over their allowances but this is ridiculous.

  • “Sigh. Control over immigration from outside the EU is exercised by national governments. This thread’s UKIP advocate is now complaining about this.”
    That is not what Mick Taylor said. I’m willing to accept that he probably worded his response poorly, when he said that “The EU has no control over immigration from outside the EU” But the core point is that the doors are open to anyone who enters by the EU door, irrespective of where they originated. That is the issue.

  • John Tilley
    I frankly neither know nor care who, or what, Lord Pearson of Rannoch is, was, or might be.
    What matters to me and the growing numbers of Ukip supporters is that the British public have a say on their future within Europe. The Liberal Democrats have proved time and again their rank cynicism, with their denial of democracy over the EU, and that the ‘voice of the people’ via a referendum is a very low priority in their ‘shallow’ thinking, and must be avoided at all costs, just in case they ( British voters), foolishly make the ‘wrong’ decision over the EU.
    When did hypocrisy become the default position of Liberal Democrats? Was it sometime around Clegg’s 2008 Real referendum leaflet?

  • Nobody should be surprised at the poor UKIP presence in the House of Lords as they only turn up to half the time to represent the people who vote for them in the European Parliament. Needless to say though even if they are part-time MEPs, they still claim “full-time” expenses though – while loudly condemning MEPs who have much, much better attendance records (90%+) for “abusing the expenses system”.

  • John Dunn
    What changed between your comment of 1.30 pm and your comment of 8.34 pm?
    You moved from strongly defending Lord Pearson to neither knowing nor caring who he is.
    Yet he was leader of UKiP until recently and is a UKIP member of the UK Parliament (upper house).

    In your 1.30 comment you expressed very trenchant views about what you described as
    “…the cynical closed fist of the cosy establishment….”.
    But by the time of your 8.34 comment you did not mind about the cynical closed fist of the very establishment Lord Pearson who is only a member of the UK parliament as a matter of hereditary privilege, Suddenly you do not care that he is in parliament for UKIP even though he has not been voted for by the British electorate ?

  • roger roberts 14th Apr '14 - 4:47pm

    Replies received today explaining UKIP’s non appearance !

    From Lord Willoughby de broke
    I have only now seen your interesting letter which I am sorry to see appears to have been widely ignored by the press and public alike.
    For your information I do not believe in wasting my time on discussions about immigration policy when it is now an EU competence; the EU calls the shots on immigration,
    I speak only for myself on this matter, not for Lord Pearson or Lord Stevens.

    From Lord Pearson of Rannock
    Forgive me if I did not reply to your e-mail,but I can’t trace having received one from you.I suppose we should have taken the trouble to point out that the Bill was a waste of time,but Their Lordships haven’t taken any notice of what we have been saying,rightly, about the EU and its wonderful euro for many years,and so on this occasion I am afraid we just didn’t bother; the wretched thing is starting to collapse anyway.Was there much press coverage? I would be most grateful if you could send it to me.

    From Lord Stevens
    My silence is deafening for two reasons, one is treatment for cancer the second and more important is that you should know that the UKs Immigration policy is decided by Brussells .

  • Richard Dean 14th Apr '14 - 5:31pm

    @roger roberts

    … and what is the Libdem response to the substantive point that UK immigration policy is decided by the EU ? And will continue to be unless we leave? Will we eventually fulfil the conditions needed to join Schengen?)

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