Category Archives: House of Lords

Jim Wallace announces Lib Dem spokespeople in Lords

Lord Wallace of Tankerness
Lord Wallace of Tankerness

The full list of Lib Dem spokespeople in the House of Lords has been announced today by Lord (Jim) Wallace of Tankerness, Leader of the Lib Dems in the Lords.

The new principal spokespeople will lead a strong team of Lib Dem Peers, operating in Parliament, the media and across the country.

Lord Wallace said: “Liberal Democrats are, and have always been, a formidable fighting force in the House of Lords. I will be actively leading a team of new Liberal Democrat Frontbench Spokespeople in protecting liberal values and promoting radical policies.

“There has never been a more important time for Liberal Democrats to be at the forefront of the fight against authoritarian and illiberal policies. Our Spokespeople will take every opportunity to champion Liberal Democrat priorities in Parliament and out in the country.”

Lord Wallace was re-elected unopposed as Leader of the Group and has re-appointed Lord Newby as Chief Whip.

The full list of spokespeople is below

Continue reading Jim Wallace announces Lib Dem spokespeople in Lords

Paul Tyler: House of Lords reform was within reach but Labour blew it (via The Guardian)

Lord Tyler
Lord Tyler

Your editorial comment (Too many peerages. First cap the total, then change the system, 10 February) reignites the case for reform of the House of Lords. On 10 July 2012 the House of Commons gave an unprecedented 338 majority to the second reading of the coalition government’s Lords reform bill, squarely based on Jack Straw’s 2008 white paper. Conservative MPs voted 193 to 89 in support, Labour 202 to 26, and Liberal Democrats were unanimous.

Only then did the Labour leadership refuse to support a programme motion – anyprogramme motion, no matter how many days’ debate it allowed – choosing instead to play party games to embarrass the government.

Had Labour stuck to its principles, we would by now be within weeks of the first elections to the Lords, with the resultant end of political appointments and a consequent reduction in the size of the house. Will the UCL Constitution Unit recommend the reintroduction of the bill immediately after the general election?

Letter of the Lords – 26 January 2015

This week’s newsletter on the work of the Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords


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Letter of the Lords – 19 January 2015

This week’s newsletter on the work of the Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords


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Cathy Bakewell’s speech opening today’s debate on the natural environment, green transport and protecting wildlife

Baroness Bakewell
Baroness Bakewell

My Lords I am delighted to be able to lead this debate this morning.  This is a very wide ranging topic and one which can cause strong views to be taken on differing sides of the argument.  However, this debate is really about planning for the future.  How do we maintain our green environment for future generations and how do we put in place infrastructure to make best use of green technology as it becomes available.

Some believe the effects of climate change are with us, others believe that is all just part of the nature cyclical process of the earth and can point to events in history which mirror our current predicaments.  There are those taking part in this debate whose credentials are excellent and far outweigh my own interest in this matter.  I look forward to hearing from them and also to the maiden speech of my noble friend Lord Callanan.

Almost on a weekly basis we can see examples of global natural disasters on our television screens.  Whether it be excessive flood waters, extreme droughts or the melting of the Arctic Polar ice cap.  Last winter saw unprecedented rain fall in Britain resulting in distressing floods in Somerset, the land around the Thames and many other areas. Continue reading Cathy Bakewell’s speech opening today’s debate on the natural environment, green transport and protecting wildlife

Letter of the Lords – 8 December 2014

Jenny Randerson welcomes Wales Bill passing through House of Lords

Baroness Randerson
Baroness Randerson

Lib Dem Wales Office Minister Baroness Randerson welcomed the Wales Bill passing through the House of Lords as an important milestone towards creating a lasting and robust devolution settlement.

The Bill will devolve a range of tax and borrowing powers to Wales including landfill tax, stamp duty land tax and, subject to a referendum, some income tax.

It had its third reading in the Lords yesterday where the UK Government’s amendments to give the power to the Welsh Assembly to determine whether 16 and 17 year-olds should have the right to vote in an income tax referendum were also approved.

The Bill is expected to reach Royal Assent in the New Year once it is has been debated in the House of Commons.

Jenny Randerson said:

The Wales Bill will mean big changes for everyone in Wales with more local decisions over how taxes are spent and more powers over how much Wales borrows.

In devolving these powers we are giving the Welsh Government the tools to help build a stronger economy and fairer society in Wales.

Paul Tyler: Farce in the Lords (via Lib Dem Voice)

Lord Tyler
Lord Tyler

Any interested fellow citizen who was told how the latest recruit to their Parliament was chosen would be first baffled, then outraged.  Is it any wonder that there are more electors who favour the complete abolition of the House of Lords than support retention of the existing arrangements?

The provisions for the replacement of one of our hereditary Peers, when deceased, are confusing, complicated and downright contradictory.

The latest election result, announced by the Lord Speaker on Wednesday afternoon, may seem to be relatively simple:  our new Liberal Democrat colleague will be Raymond Asquith, otherwise known as the Earl of Oxford and Asquith and descendant of the distinguished Liberal Prime Minister.  He was chosen in an AV election, but gained 50%+ on the first count, so no reallocation of the votes of lower scoring candidates was required.

There are, however, two absurdities:  First, by one of the many “charming quirks” of the composition of the Lords, the replacement for Robert attracted 13 Hereditary Peer candidates advertising themselves as Conservatives and Crossbenchers, in addition to the two Liberal Democrats.  Under a special provision of the cross-party carve-up of 1998/9, they were permitted to stand – and all Members of the House were entitled to vote – because Robert Methuen had been a Deputy Chairman.    And yet it was said to be a solid convention that the winner had to be from and for the political group of the Peer to be replaced.  Other groups had to exercise a self-denying ordinance in preferring our candidates!

Second absurdity:  no complaints at all from the arch opponents of the Alternative Vote system during the 2011 referendum that we have the benefit of it here in the House for internal elections.  For them it’s a case of “accept what we say” not “do as we do”.

You can read more about this typical Lords farce on LordsoftheBlog here and here.

Earl of Oxford & Asquith elected to the House of Lords

The Earl of Oxford & Asquith is the newest Lib Dem hereditary peer to join the House of Lords following yesterday’s by-election.

The Earl of Oxford has stated that his focus will be foreign and defence policy, foreign trade and commercial affairs as well as farming and environmental issues.

The by-election, to fill the hereditary seat of the late Lib Dem Lord Methuen, saw 15 candidates from across the main parties, standing for a single seat.

Unwritten rules (the ‘Carter Convention’) mean that Lib Dem, Tory, Labour and Cross-Bench peers were all expected to follow convention and vote for a Liberal Democrat candidate.

The result was announced at the end of Lords questions today.

Jim Wallace, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, says:  

“The system is far from perfect, but on this occasion it has meant the welcome addition to our ranks of the Earl of Oxford & Asquith, whose knowledge and expertise will be of great benefit to our group and to the House as a whole.”