Tag Archives: Lords

Lords upset Tory plan to strip people of UK citizenship without warning

Priti Patel: does she look like a reasonable person to you? No? Then she’s not likely to persuade the Lords to accept her racist plan to change immigration law.

Here’s a sticky mess for the Tories – their hugely controversial plan to strip people of their UK citizenship, without warning, has been overturned in the House of Lords.

According to the BBC,

The Nationality and Borders Bill would allow the UK authorities to strip someone of their British citizenship without warning.

But crossbench peer Baroness D’Souza, who argued this would be “unjust”, submitted an amendment which was passed by a majority of 44 votes.

The bill will now go back to the House of Commons.

Until the two Houses can agree on the final wording of the bill, it cannot pass into law.

This is known as “Parliamentary ping-pong” – a frivolous phrase for a process that can cause a huge amount of harm to a huge number of people.

In practise, the government would normally steamroll over the Lords’ objections – but it seems Priti Patel doesn’t have time for that.

The current Parliamentary session is expected to end within the next few weeks, and all its business will end with it – whether it has been concluded or not.

So Patel will need to work out whether she’ll need to make compromises before the Lords give up.

She is adamant that the change is needed as a matter of national security, but we can all see that this is nonsense – can’t we?

Minority groups say the Bill is an attempt to turn them into second-class citizens, to be dismissed from the UK at the whim of an uncaring (racist?) Tory government.

So the Lords are unlikely to cave in if they have a good chance to kill this legislation, and Patel is not known for giving ground in a reasonable way.

This will be worth watching.

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Raab was wrong: process that made Lebedev a peer can be easily perverted

Dominic Raab: as Foreign Secretary, he refused to return from a foreign holiday when the Taliban took over Afghanistan – and the public reacted appropriately. Should we really expect his comments on Lord Lebedev to be any more reliable than his reaction to that crisis?

We should not be surprised that Dominic Raab has emitted a flurry of falsehoods in defence of Evgeny Lebedev’s elevation to the House of Lords.

His prime minister, Boris Johnson, has been accused of creating a security risk to the UK by letting the son of a former Russian KGB agent have access to Parliamentary documents via the front door.

So Raab appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Morning Programme spouting a lot of nonsense that “There is a very strict and stringent process when anyone is granted a peerage” and that the rules around the honours process were “applied very rigorously in this case. This was done properly and correctly and we have procedures and systems in place to make sure it is.”

It is possible that he was right in all these statements but they are nonsense because the procedures he described do not prevent people who are a huge security risk from being granted a peerage.

We know about this because The Guardian told us, back in October 2020 [boldings mine]:

Two days before Johnson met Lebedev in March [he did this on March 19, right after telling us all to stay in our homes because of Covid-19, so this happened on March 17], the House of Lords appointments commission (Holac), which scrutinises all nominations, wrote to the prime minister. It is understood to have expressed concerns about Lebedev’s proposed peerage and asked Downing Street to reconsider.

The commission, made up of cross-party peers, carries out “propriety checks” on candidates. It does not have the power of veto. But it can suggest that a party come up with an alternative, which is what is understood to have happened in Lebedev’s case.

Peers were apparently alarmed following a confidential briefing from the UK security services. They told the commission Lebedev was viewed as a potential security risk because of his father, Alexander Lebedev, a one-time Moscow spy. During the late cold war period, Lebedev Sr worked undercover at the Soviet embassy in London. His real employer was KGB foreign intelligence.

In reality, the security risk has been defined as low – because peers do not see classified documents.

But in reluctantly accepting Johnson’s insistence on ennobling the Russian-born son of a spy, Holac allegedly called on Johnson to examine Russian influence in the House of Lords, something highlighted by parliament’s intelligence and security committee in its Russia Report.

And the security services said Lebedev’s “family links” meant he was still regarded as a potential concern.

So Keir Starmer’s call for Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee to review all the reports on Lord Lebedev that Holac saw seemed entirely reasonable and proportionate.

Downing Street’s claim that “all peerages are vetted by the House of Lords Appointments Commission” fails to acknowledge that Holac can’t veto an appointment, which always remains within the gift of the prime minister. Neither does Raab’s.

So these government representatives, it seems, are deceiving us about their treatment of a potential Russian security risk at a time of high international tensions between the UK and Russia. Fit to lead?

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#PoliceBill: The Lords have blocked the #Tory plan to outlaw #protest

This is a bit huge, isn’t it?

Members of one House of Parliament have shown that they are capable of listening to the public, and have voted to block a plan by the Tory government to outlaw “noisy” and/or “disruptive” organised protests.

The decision to erase this part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has come after a weekend of “noisy” and/or “disruptive” organised protests against this government policy.

And it followed a debate that was punctuated by the noise of a demonstration against the Bill outside the Lords Chamber, to which peers did not object at all.

Home Office minister Baroness Williams tried to persuade peers that police would only use the proposed new powers where “necessary” and “appropriate” – but it seems nobody believed her on that. Once the law is passed, police will be allowed to adhere to its letter, not whatever meaning is being applied to it now. That means they’ll be able to do what they like – and that’s not acceptable in a democratic society.

Baroness Williams tried to gather support by saying the noisy protest outside would not be stopped – which is odd, as part of the Bill would have banned protest from Parliament Square.

Instead, she said noisy anti-vaccination protests outside a school or nursing home were a different matter – and that police should have the powers to intervene if necessary. But such protests are unique to the Covid-19 crisis; they don’t need a permanent law.

So it seems Priti Patel’s Bill is intended to address only current, short-term issues – but will then leave the measures to address them on the statute books in order to oppress people who would otherwise be described as entirely law-abiding exercisers of their democratic rights.

Again: not acceptable in a democratic society.

The Lords also voted to make misogyny a hate crime in England and Wales, in spite of the government’s policy not to.

Baroness Williams reckoned any evidence that a crime was misogynistic would be entirely subjective, and police would get tied up in reporting and monitoring statistics and data which are unlikely to be reliable.

Well, This Writer is not convinced. Misogyny is quantifiable and I’m sure people who investigate crimes will know how to do that. Perhaps Priti Patel could try talking with police sometime, instead of talking at them.

The Bill cannot be passed into law until both Houses have agreed on what it should be – so it will go back to the Commons, where the Tory majority will undoubtedly reverse these changes, along with several others agreed by the Lords.

They won’t think about it; they’ll just nod the stupidity back in.

And so the long year begins.

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Tory donors pay £3 million for a seat in the House of Lords? Bargain!

Tories will sell anything: or so it seems. This particular Tory seems to have been selling seats in the House of Lords for £3 million a time.

Boris Johnson does it again.

Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, the country that was to become the United Kingdom was plagued with places known as Rotten Boroughs. These were Parliamentary constituencies with very few voters, whose choice in elections could be bought by corrupt politicians.

They were outlawed many years ago but the concept is explored very thoroughly in an episode of Blackadder The Third.

Now we have ‘Rotten Boris’ Johnson who, it seems, has been selling places in the House of Lords instead – at £3 million a pop!

A complaint has been lodged with the Metropolitan Police…

… but will officers investigate?

Some would say the Met, under its current commissioner, Cressida Dick, is as corrupt as Johnson; we have allowed our institutions to degrade to a point where it is impossible to find an honest person who will hold the criminals to account.

I wait to be proved wrong. But I won’t hold my breath.

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Starmer backtracks on yet another Labour leadership election promise. He’s a grubby liar

All in it together: Keir Starmer (right) is on better terms with Tory prime muppet Boris Johnson (left) than with the party members he deceived into electing him as their leader under false pretences.

Keir Starmer has admitted that yet another of the promises he made to Labour Party members in order to be elected their leader was not true.

He said, in order to be elected leader in April last year, that a Labour Party under his leadership would replace the House of Lords with an elected chamber of regions and nations.

But on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on November 7, he backtracked, saying he would “change” the House of Lords, rather than abolish it:

This is u-turning on one of his so-called ’10 pledges’, made to Labour Party members in order to encourage them to elect him as party leader:

He was never serious in this promise – as he was not serious in any of the 10 pledges he made.

This Writer would suggest that his deliberate deception of the Labour membership makes Starmer lower even than the Tory vermin he pretends to oppose.

As Boris Johnson has been criticised only days ago for even considering granting disgraced corrupt former Tory MP Owen Paterson a place in the Lords, it seems to me that Starmer wants to make sure he has a place to go – and more cash flowing in – when he is finally ejected from the role he cheated his way into winning.

Considering the fact that he no longer intends to carry out any of the promises on which he was elected, shouldn’t this charlatan step down as Labour leader and make way for a candidate who is – at the very least – honest?

Ah, but that would require this knight of the realm to act with integrity.

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Aftershocks of the Paterson scandal: qui bono?**

Owen Paterson: he quit his job as an MP, but will he – and his corrupt Tory party – be REWARDED for it?

If you’ve been locked away for the past couple of days, here’s the situation:

The primary result of Paterson’s fall is that there will be a by-election in North Shropshire.

No indeed. It will be an opportunity for Keir Starmer to parachute his ex-Tory trophy John Bercow in (perhaps), but Bercow would not be an acceptable choice for the Labour Left, so such a decision may lead to a further split in that party.

Labour has refused to countenance the possibility of a single Opposition candidate, chosen from among all the non-Tory parties. Presumably Starmer sees no advantage for him, especially if such a candidate – from another party – wins and then reneges on any agreements.

So the Conservatives are likely to retain North Shropshire, even if they put up a shaved monkey for the seat (and they probably will) – because the other parties are squabbling among themselves.

Meanwhile, the Tories who are actually occupying Parliamentary seats have been disgracing themselves all over the place. Here’s Nadhim Zahawi, admitting that he didn’t bother to read the report on Owen Paterson’s behaviour before voting to support him last Wednesday (November 3).

Note his scrabbling attempt to backtrack with a claim that he didn’t take in every detail. It’s nonsense, of course; he didn’t read the report. He was told to support Paterson so he did, without thinking. That’s Fascist Britain for you.

Here’s a good question:

The fact is that Zahawi would not have been able to answer, as he would know that either position would be unsafe for him.

Still, his choice seems to have been less difficult than that faced by other Tory MPs who (presumably) were leaning against supporting Paterson.

We are told that they were threatened with sanctions if they didn’t vote the way Boris Johnson wanted:

So much for justice, honesty and decency in Boris Johnson’s Conservative government. Even if you’re on his side, you have to do what you’re told, without thinking, or face sanctions. There’s another fairly recent national government that did much the same but I can’t quite recall where it was…

To prove the point, Tory Angela Richardson was fire from her job as a secretary to Michael Gove, because she stuck to her principles and refused to support Paterson. The following morning, when it had become clear that the Tories would not be able to save him and their plan to corrupt the standards system had failed, she was reinstated:

One would hope that her stand would put her in a much better position than her blindly line-toeing colleagues (including This Writer’s MP, Fay Jones. I’d like to know her reasons for supporting corruption!) in a general election. But in tribal England, that seems unlikely. Sad.

And what of Owen Paterson himself?

Perhaps we should all lobby the production team of HIGNFY, never to invite a corrupt, disgraced former MP to guest on the show?

As for the knighthood, why stop there?

So it seems he’ll be heading for the House of Lords – which is already bursting at the seams with Tories after previous efforts by David Cameron and Boris Johnson to fill the place with people who don’t deserve to be there:

Crime really does pay in Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, doesn’t it?*

It seems the Tories will keep the Parliamentary seat that their corrupt MP just vacated, even though their conduct throughout the affair shows that none of them deserve to be in Parliament at all.

And Paterson himself is set up for a nice little peerage and more than £300 per day for turning up at the House of Lords.

*All right, what he did is not defined as a crime, otherwise he would be facing criminal charges. But it is certainly not acceptable behaviour, as this entire affair demonstrates.

**What an illiterate! I meant cui bono. After realising my mistake I decided to leave it in, mostly because I reckon more people might read the article, simply to correct my spelling! What a world we live in.

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Lords inflict two defeats on government over ‘spy cops’ bill – but Keir Starmer could have made it three

Keir Starmer: he thinks the government and its agents should be above the law.

The Tories bid to allow spies working for government agencies like the Financial Conduct Authority to commit crimes like murder and rape without fear of prosecution has been foiled by the Lords.

Peers supported amendments to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill as follows:

Peers inflicted two significant defeats on the government on Wednesday evening over a bill to regulate the use of undercover informants, passing amendments to stop them participating in murder and rape, and to curtail the use of children as informants.

The government was also defeated by 299 to 284 on an amendment from the peer Doreen Massey, which proposed explicitly banning those acting undercover from being allowed to participate in a list of serious crimes, including murder, torture, rape or other sexual offences as they gained information.

Ministers had ruled out introducing such a list previously, arguing that creating a list of forbidden offences could give terrorists and serious criminals ways to unmask infiltrators by asking them to engage in such banned activities.

Campaign groups welcomed the result, arguing that it would put the UK on a par with similar western countries in setting clear limits.

Sadly, this result is notable for another reason – Labour leader Keir Starmer’s unacceptable support for the Bill with all immunities against criminal prosecution intact.

If he had whipped Labour to oppose it in the Commons, it would never have got as far as the Lords. But he didn’t.

Worse still, after former shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti put forward an amendment to remove immunity from prosecution for crimes from government agents who commit them, saying there would otherwise be a “grave risk” of human rights abuses by undercover agents, Starmer whipped Labour peers to abstain and it failed:

Peers were debating the bill at the second day of its report stage. On Monday, an amendment from Shami Chakrabarti seeking to strike out immunity for undercover agents acting within authorised guidelines was defeated by 309 to 153, after the Labour leadership chose to abstain.

It seems clear that this former Director of Public Prosecutions thinks the government and its agents should be above the law.

It is an unacceptable attitude for any potential national leader to have.

Source: Lords inflict two defeats on government over ‘spy cops’ bill | House of Lords | The Guardian

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Johnson told to drop parts of plan to break international law – after Lords defeat

It seems Boris Johnson is living up to his new nickname as a #ShapeShiftingCreep once again.

He has just suffered a major defeat in his plan to break international law – contradicting his own EU Withdrawal Agreement, signed in January – after the House of Lords carved huge chunks out of his Internal Markets Bill before sending it back to him:

According to the Huffington Post:

Peers voted by 433 to 165 to strip out clauses in the Internal Market Bill which would allow the UK to renege on its obligations in the withdrawal agreement signed with the EU.

The defeat, one of the largest of any government in the Lords since hereditary peers were slimmed down in the 1990s, means that Johnson will have to weigh up whether to reinsert the clause in the House of Commons next month.

In another overwhelming show of strength, the Lords also voted by 407 to 148 to remove any breach of the northern Ireland protocol in the EU withdrawal treaty.

Senior Tories went on to tell Johnson his best course of action is to “quietly drop” those parts of the Bill that the Lords have excised.

The Evening Standard said Tories including Theresa May’s ex-chief of staff Gavin Barwell, former chancellor Ken Clarke and former Conservative Party leaders William Hague and Michael Howard all voted against Johnson’s government:

Lord Barwell told the Standard: “I don’t see any positives that come from those clauses.

He said the clauses were affecting the UK’s ability to get a trade deal with the EU and “rule out” any possible trade deal with the US while “damaging relations” with the new Joe Biden administration [in the United States].

After the vote, Johnson’s government insisted it would not back down and would re-table the clauses when the bill returns to the Commons in December.

Ah… but then there was the issue of Joe Biden. The new US president, who claims Irish ancestry, has said he will take an extremely dim view of any UK legislation that harms the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland.

And it seems certain that he would have made that clear when Johnson telephoned to congratulate him on his win in the presidential election:

Johnson now faces a hard choice: reinstate the controversial – illegal – clauses and face the wrath of Biden, or quietly let them drop and face ridicule here in the UK.

He is a weak prime minister – who allows public perception to sway his decisions. I think we all know how this will end.

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Tory heretic Baker says Church of England could lose official status for criticising Brexit

Steve Baker: what’s the line I’m looking for? “Before he demands the bishops remove the mote from their eye, he should remove the plank from his own”?

Perhaps Steve Baker should be excommunicated? His true religion appears to be Brexit, anyway.

After Church of England bishops spoke out in the House of Lords against Boris Johnson’s ridiculous ‘Australia-style’ (read: ‘no deal’) Brexit, the oily Baker slithered straight to The Times with his ridiculous suggestion.

The Times is behind a paywall, which limits the damage. I certainly won’t pay Rupert Murdoch any money just to see what he said… but then I don’t have to. Here’s what he said:

I don’t know why Tories say stupid things like this, though. It only lays them wide open to mockery and ridicule, viz.:

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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This former Commons speaker can still put a prime minister firmly in his place

This clip speaks for itself.

Former Commons Speaker Lady (Betty Boothroyd), speaking in today’s (October 19) Lords debate on how badly Boris Johnson has cocked up the UK’s departure from the European Union, said the following:

“Never in my Parliamentary experience have I witnessed such a collapse in the people’s trust.”

That is a warning.

Johnson will be too stupid – or too selfish – to take it.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook