Paul Tyler: Partisan Peers (via Lord of the Blogs)

Lord Tyler
Lord Tyler

I am really sad to report that the House of Lords seems to be drifting further into the unthinking partisanship that Peers often accuse MPs of habitually exhibiting.

Today’s debate on mandatory sentencing for knife crime was characterised by some particularly powerful speeches from all sides of the House. The clear majority of the contributions – not least from eminent lawyers with direct experience of relevant criminal cases and former Ministers who had previous relevant responsibility – was that the clause added in the Commons was seriously defective. Even the Minister responding explained that the Government could not support it in its current form.

Full article here

 

Roger Roberts: Exit checks and the Eurotunnel: A logistical nightmare (via Lib Dem Voice)

Lord Roberts of Llandudno
Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Coalition Agreement included a commitment to reintroduce exit checks by the end of this Parliament.

But any means of noting or recording who enters and who leaves the UK was removed in 1998 by Labour, who considered the checks, ‘an inefficient use of resources … contributing little to the integrity of the immigration control’. Clearly, today’s debate on immigration has moved on considerably.

Since the early ‘Noughties’, successive attempts have been made to restore some form of border records, principally through the introduction of technology-based checks for anyone departing the UK as part of a new ‘e-Borders’ programme. It was hoped that these checks would limit the escalating numbers of people illegally entering and staying in this country. These e-Borders were originally scheduled to be fully implemented by March 2014, but the programme has, unsurprisingly, fallen behind schedule.

Full article here

Ken Macdonald: How the Drip bill will help us convict criminals (via The Guardian)

Lord Macdonald
Lord Macdonald

This new emergency surveillance bill poses no threat to privacy. The coalition should be proud of it.

For supporters of the use of intercept evidence in criminal trials – that’s to say real-time recordings of conspirators convicting themselves out of their own mouths – there is something surprising about some of the reaction to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (the unfortunately monikered Drip), before the House of Lords tomorrow. People involved in serious crime talk to each other, just like the rest of us do. They use telephones and the internet, and they send each other emails.

And if, bizarrely, prosecutors are still not permitted to rely on recordings of conspirators discussing their crimes, at least they have long been allowed to make use of the fact that the conversations took place.

Full article here

Raj Loomba awarded Honorary Degree by University of Northampton

Lord Loomba
Lord Loomba

After being awarded his Honorary Fellowship at the Royal and Derngate theatre today, Lord Loomba said: “I feel very honoured and proud to have received this award.

“It was a great occasion and I still can’t believe that I have been given this honour.

“Years ago, the problem of widows was completely unknown. People didn’t recognise it, they just swept it under the carpet.

“But I saw at first hand the discrimination and prejudices against my mother.

“I was only 10-years-old, so I didn’t understand what was really going on. But when I got married that all changed.

“During the wedding, the priest who was conducting my marriage turned around and asked my own mother to walk away from the alter. It is then when I got very angry and realised what was happening.

“It really inspired me to do something to change the status of widows.

“Slowly I grew up, while witnessing the suffering of my mother, and became a successful businessman.

“It was then when I decided I should do something for other unfortunate children of widows, and that’s what I am doing now.”

Full article here

Paul Tyler: Partial affections? (via Lord of the Blogs)

Lord Tyler
Lord Tyler

The House of Lords had the nearest thing it ever has to an almighty row on Wednesday.  Peers on all sides are really angry that the Cabinet game of musical chairs seems to have ended up with no proper seat for the Leader of our House.

I know from experience at both ends of the building (having shadowed the Leader of the Commons for eight years) that the two Leaders have very considerable responsibilities to their respective Houses, over and above their Party and Government roles.  Hence, members of were understandably upset that the new Leader – Baroness (Tina) Stowell of Beeston – had suffered an apparent demotion.

Full article here

 

Paul Tyler: Progress in Magna Carta’s Birthday year (via Lib Dem Voice)

Lord Tyler
Lord Tyler

In a week when the big news is about changed faces in government, there is also much manoeuvring in the political undergrowth about the rules which govern government:  our constitution.

The House of Commons Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform (P&CR) has launched a debate on a written constitution for the United Kingdom.  This has been a Liberal and Liberal Democrat objective for all my time in politics, but the question has always been how such a document would be drawn up, agreed and entrenched beyond the usual parliamentary processes and partisanship.

Such a process could today be so much more open than it might have been had all our allies in Charter 88 made it start 26 years ago.  Today, this need not be the preserve of a closed convention of the great and good.  The Select Committee is asking expressly for the public to give their views through their A New Magna Carta? website.

Full article here

 

The Liberal Democrat peers in the House of Lords

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