Tag Archives: palace of westminster

Welcome to my day: 5 February 2024

February already, eh? And, with a May General Election seemingly less likely – would you really go to the country twenty points behind in the polls? – and the Government apparently focussed on nothing more than sabotaging an incoming Labour administration, it’s going to be a long Spring and Summer of misdirection and guesswork. For example, the Lords February recess, which is usually just over a week, has been shortened to a long weekend. Does that suggest an attempt to clear the legislative “decks” in anticipation of a May election, or does it simply reflect the fact that Peers are doing their job of scrutiny in a way that the Conservatives hadn’t calculated? At least my timeline is full of campaigning Liberal Democrats, which is always reassuring.

Rwanda, and Labour’s quest not to be controversial

A Bill which breaks international law, is opposed by the legal profession, human rights activists and which wasn’t in the 2019 Conservative manifesto? If ever there was a justification to vote a Bill down at Second Reading, this was it, yet Labour Whips in the Lords instructed their benches to stay away. And, whilst eight Labour peers did break ranks to support the Liberal Democrat motion to vote down the Bill, it was left to sixty-seven Liberal Democrat peers to provide the overwhelming bulk of the opposition. And yes, it will doubtless be claimed by Labour that they will seek to amend the Bill at later stages but how do you amend a Bill whose fundamental premise is illegal under international law?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 24 Comments

What should we do with the Palace of Westminster?

The Houses of Parliament currently function as the location in which Parliament expresses and exercises its sovereignty. It seems obvious that they no longer fit that function well: archaic logistics, terrible accessibility, lack of office and meeting space, and chambers designed perfectly for the cheap game show otherwise known as PMQs, but not for deliberation or wise governance.

Soon the buildings are to have a very expensive makeover during which time MPs and Lords will have to decamp. Perhaps we should make the decampment permanent. Build a site suitable to house the legislative body of a modern democracy.

Some argue that such …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 29 Comments

From our Lords Correspondent: 15-18 October – the phoney war continues…

It increasingly appears as though the Government is a rudderles hulk, limping towards a harbour of dubious safety, and business in the Lords is reflecting that, as a series of Bills, related to Brexit, either are delayed in the Commons or await publication.

Monday‘s main business related to the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to “amend the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in relation to procedures in accordance with which a person may be deprived of liberty where the person lacks capacity to consent, and for connected purposes”. In other words, it …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

From our Lords Correspondent: another step towards the restoration of the Palace of Westminster

Six months ago, in my increasingly erratic reporting of events in the House of Lords, I touched upon the debate on the restoration and refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster.

So, what happened next?

There was agreement that, as bits of the building were either falling on people or were in danger of burning down or filling with sewage (or both at the same time), that it was really high time that Parliament vacated the building so that it could be modernised for the new age, with technology built in and new services …

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