Tag Archives: baroness hamwee

Kate Parminter makes 1000th constituency visit (via Lib Dem Voice)

Kate & Lucy
Baroness Parminter & Lucy Hurds, PPC for Hereford

Early Friday morning, as others made their way to Liverpool for Conference, I set off to Hereford, following in the footsteps of a large number of my colleagues in the Lords. Our local candidate Lucy Hurds has been hugely successful in getting our Peers out of the House of Lords and onto the streets of Hereford including John Shipley, Jenny Randerson, Nigel Jones, Sally Hamwee, Shirley Williams and Chris Fox. She’s clearly been effective in getting others out too and it was great to see a good number of Lucy’s campaign team out with us and working hard to reclaim the seat for the Lib Dems.

Dick Newby, our Chief Whip, called for 1,000 visits to be made before the election. After many months of hard campaigning this was our 1,000th.

On my visit we got a chance to discuss what can be done to help local dairy farmers, supporting renewable energy & rural services and, as the party’s spokesperson on DEFRA matters in the Lords, I got a chance to highlight all the things the Liberal Democrats have been doing over the last 5 years.

The visit gave me an opportunity to talk to local Councillors Anna Toon and Polly Andrews who were keen to hear how local retailers can support local environmental charities and groups as a result of the 5p levy on plastic bags, due to come in this Autumn, which Liberal Democrats have championed in Government.

It was great too to meet newly selected PPC Jeanie Falconer, from the adjacent constituency of North Herefordshire and talk about our evidence based approach to tackling bovine TB and the pilot badger culls.

I also got a chance to visit the local RSPCA branch with Lucy, after Duncan Starling, the local RSPCA chairman and LD campaigner had invited me, as a Vice-President of the organisation. It was fantastic to talk to the local volunteers who are rescuing and rehoming local animals and raising funds through their shop for the vital ‘4th emergency service’ that the RSPCA is. Having had the Control of Horses Bill safely complete its passage through the House of Lords the day before it was good to talk about how Parliament and local action together can help voiceless animals.

Later on in the evening I joined Lucy, Jeanie and the Herefordshire team at spring conference in Liverpool at a reception they’d organised to campaign for fairer funding for rural areas. With some of the best refreshment the county offers (Jeanie runs a vineyard) it was a happy ending to a day spent with some of our indefatigable campaigners!

But there is no rest for the wicked and Dick has now called for a new target, 50,000 doors knocked by election days. Something that our team of 100+ Lords should be able to achieve (with a few cups of tea and some elbow grease). If you want to get a Peer to help out in your campaign, then contact our visit organiser Louise Furness (louise.libdems@gmail.com).

The original article is here

Sally Hamwee: ”Pesky Lib Dem” Lords win crucial civil liberties changes to Counter Terrorism Bill (via Lib Dem Voice)

They call it the heavy lifting, or – less physical, more forensic – using a fine-tooth comb.  The second chamber is where detailed and precise scrutiny of legislation occurs.  For Bills which raise vital questions about civil liberties, such as the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill this is all the more important.  It was therefore to the surprise of Lib Dems in the Lords that it was, aside from a misplaced attempt to reintroduce the so-called “Snooper’s Charter”, almost exclusively Lib Dem peers doing the heavy lifting .  At one point I passed a note to Brian Paddick and Sarah Ludford, the team with me on the entirety of it: A lot of people want to talk about the issues we’ve raised but they couldn’t be ****d (complete to taste) to write their own amendments.

Our concern, really to make sure that this sort of legislation is fit for purpose and balances the need to protect the public with precious civil liberties, is often derided.  It is important to get every dot and comma right.  It is therefore a badge of honour to be accused by Norman Tebbit of “dancing around on pins” or, in Michael Howard’s words, “the pesky Lib Dems”.

The Bill that came to the Lords was very different from when it was first trailed by the Prime Minister, speaking to the Australian Parliament about “excluding” people from the UK.  Lib Dems in Government ensured that such claims, made for electoral reasons, were not reflected in the legislation that was finally published.  This is not to say it came to the Lords in a perfect state and our work has ensured that checks and balances on the State have been increased.

 

The full article is here

 

Letter of the Lords – 26 January 2015

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

 

To subscribe to this email please contact davidm.shaw@parliament.uk

 

Sally Hamwee: Sending overseas students home is ‘economic nonsense’ (via Politics Home)

Baroness Hamwee
Baroness Hamwee

Around Christmas, it was reported that the Home Secretary proposed changing the immigration rules so that overseas students at UK universities who wanted to stay on to work would have to return home after graduation and apply from outside the UK.

It is widely acknowledged that the presence of overseas students is important. Their fees represent considerable income for the universities, but perhaps more significant is whether they feel welcomed by this country and how, as a consequence, their home countries regard the UK.

There are various schemes which allow new graduates to stay on: for post-graduate study, as an entrepreneur, for professional training and to take up employment in jobs requiring higher skills. For these, the graduate has to earn a minimum amount (£20,500 or more depending on the job) and the employer does not have to demonstrate the job has been advertised.

The full article is available here

 

Letter of the Lords – 19 January 2015

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

 

To subscribe to this email please contact davidm.shaw@parliament.uk

 

Sally Hamwee: Lords push for a stronger Modern Slavery Bill (via Lib Dem Voice)

Baroness Hamwee
Baroness Hamwee

Parliament is never short of Bills coming from the Home Office, but the Modern Slavery Bill is different.  At the end of the second reading in the Lords last week, the Minister pointed to the warm reception given by every speaker who followed this with seven minutes on all the things that could be added to it.  The view on the Lib Dem benches, like others, was to welcome the Bill both for what it is and for the opportunity it provides to do even more to address the abomination (and very big business – this is often highly profitable organised crime) of trafficking and forced labour.

And something else very significant has happened.  Forced labour featured in a recent episode of “Scott and Bailey”.  Will that do as much to raise public awareness of slavery as the body under the patio in Brookside did for domestic violence?  (No-one else mentioned this in the debate though I did hear comments outside the chamber – apparently peers don’t like to admit to watching TV!)

The Bill brings the offences of holding someone in slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour together with human trafficking for exploitation, and increases the maximum penalties to life imprisonment.  There is a new offence: committing any crime (for instance stealing a car) with the intention of trafficking.  There are powers to require an offender to pay compensation to the victim.

Full article here

Sally Hamwee: Proud of Lib Dem ideas in the Serious Crime Bill

Baroness Hamwee
Baroness Hamwee

This week the Serious Crime Bill started in the Lords. It is primarily aimed at cracking down, in various ways, on organised criminal gangs.  Organised crime remains a significant problem in the UK. There are perhaps as many as 5,500 organised groups operating in the UK, causing huge suffering through activities such as drug and people trafficking, and making an enormous financial impact: they cost the UK an estimated £24 billion a year.

Crime is down significantly since this Government was formed without resort to reactionary and unjust proposals by our Tory partners (though Labour support put through harsh – and to my mind probably ineffective – knife crime penalties last night). The Bill will make important changes, such as criminalising those who knowingly assist organised gangs, such as helping with logistics, and making it harder for those benefiting from the proceeds of crime from hiding their assets, something that Martin Thomas has forcefully argued needs to be tackled.

Full story here

Baroness Hamwee: Family migration rules have provoked outrage, puzzlement and anguish

Baroness Hamwee, the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration’s Family Migration Committee yesterday led a debate on the issue in the chamber. It is time, she writes here, for the Government to review the year-old restrictions on family migration which are causing such “unfairness”

Baroness Hamwee
Baroness Hamwee

I got 10 minutes yestderday to urge the Government to review the rule on family migration introduced a year ago next week.  I could have filled 10 hours with the experiences I have heard – I don’t like to call them case studies as if people’s stories are of only academic interest.

The themes of the new rules were to stop abuse, promote integration and reduce any burden on the taxpayer.  Stopping abuse (sham marriages) – does that mean separating a couple who have been together for 12 years, but only she and their British-born daughter can come to the UK, and he and their foreign born son cannot?

Promoting integration – how they do so is beyond me.  And reducing the burden on the taxpayer – an attractive proposition, if it didn’t mean single parents looking to the state for support which would not be needed if both parents were together to look after the children.  In fact, an academic study, using government figures, suggests that the rules will cost the UK £850m over 10 years in lost economic activity.

A British sponsor of a non-EEA spouse or partner has to show an income of £18,600 (a level that getting on for half UK wage-earners could not meet), and more if there is a child.  It is now in effect impossible to bring in elderly dependents.

The separation of children from a parent is particularly worrying.  Early years are crucial developmentally as well as in terms of well-being.  The Children’s Commissioners of the four UK nations have supported the call for a review made by the all-party inquiry which I chaired.  And only this week, in another part of the legislative forest, we were discussing a clause in a government bill that the court is to presume that the involvement of a parent in the life of a child will further the child’s welfare.

The detail of the rules is worse than confusing, and the forms and evidence required are problematic.  Not much other than straight salary counts, so it’s difficult if the non-Brit is the main earner, or if the Brit is self-employed with a fluctuating income.  Savings can be counted in lieu – up to £62,500 may be needed – but only cash held for a period (it strikes me that anyone holding a lot of liquid cash is likely not to be handling his assets well).  Third-party support doesn’t count, which is felt particularly acutely by grandparents who would like to be part of their grandchildren’s lives.

And yet, and yet… if you are able to live and work in another part of the EU with your non-EEA spouse/partner, after a few months you can both come into the UK, settle and work here.

No surprise that the rules have provoked outrage, puzzlement and anguish.  British citizens and taxpayers not able to live with their families in their own country.  Of course the sense of unfairness is so evident.

 

Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.