The role of the House of Lords

The unelected Lords has two important tasks. It is there to provide detailed scrutiny of legislation to see if improvements can be made given the purpose and political context of the Bill provided by the government with its Commons majority. It is also there to ask the Commons to think again about its political judgements where it thinks the whole idea of a Bill or policy is misjudged. In this second role the Lords could  persuade  the government or  the Commons to cancel a measure or amend it substantially.

There is a long standing convention that the Lords does not ask the Commons to think again about a Bill or measure that was in the governing party’s Manifesto. That makes sense, as such an idea has been well tested by the exertions of election debate as well as in subsequent Commons exchanges. It has been directly voted for by  the electorate who voted in the case of a prominent pledge, or has gained the implied consent of the electorate for a lesser pledge which probably  avoided prolonged attention because it did meet with general approval.

Yesterday the Lords broke their Salisbury Convention again by pressing for a second reconsideration of the Conservative Manifesto pledge on press freedom. The Commons rejected the Lords revised amendment by 301 to 289, so I expect that will be the end of the matter. This vote also is of interest because it casts light on the progress of the EU Withdrawal Bill. I trust it will give the government the confidence to have an early debate and vote on the unhelpful amendments the Lords have put through to the EU Bill.

This Bill is a central Manifesto Bill of the Conservatives and the DUP. Those peers who say the Salisbury convention no longer applies because the Conservatives fell just short of a Commons majority have to acknowledge that the Coalition does have a majority and the Bill featured in the manifesto of both parties. On that basis Salisbury should apply.  For that matter it also was in the Labour Manifesto, so an overwhelming majority of MPs were elected on the pledge to carry through the necessary legislation for our exit. There is also the point that a well supported nationwide referendum should also be an override against the Lords seeking a different outcome.

Some peers try to argue that their amendments to the EU Bill were “improvements” not designed to prevent Brexit. It is difficult to interpret some of them in this favourable light. Removing the date of exit means their Bill would leave us plunged into legal uncertainty on the day we leave the EU under international law in accordance with the Article 50 letter. It is most important the parallel UK Bill comes into effect at the same time.  Wanting us to stay in the Customs Union or single market is a denial of what was clearly voted for in the referendum, when both sides agreed leaving the EU meant leaving both the single market and the Customs Union. Some of those peers who have urged these amendments on the Lords have made no secret of their opposition to the whole policy of Brexit which was freely chosen by voters in the referendum and then again in the results of the General Election.

I trust just as the Commons has twice now voted to uphold a Manifesto promise of the governing party against Lords amendment over press issues, so we will do the same to the amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill that seek to slow down, water down or prevent Brexit.

 

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181 Comments

  1. Gulliver
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Today, I received an email reply from “the Petitions teamUK Government and Parliament” regarding the petition which I signed “Give the electorate a referendum on the abolition of the House of Lords”
    In the message there was no smiley emoji 🙂 with a note “Hahahaha, of course we are abolishing the House of Lords, do you think we are idiots!!!???

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Yes, I also got that this morning, and its focus is on a secondary issue:

      “Whilst comprehensive reform is not a priority, the Government will also continue to work to ensure that the House of Lords remains relevant and effective by addressing issues such as its size … ”

      followed by a whole paragraph elaborating the same.

      The primary issue is not the size of the chamber but its power.

      We could spend another century discussing various competing models for the reform foreseen in the Introductory Text to the 1911 Parliament Act, which reform “cannot be immediately brought into operation”, and in the meantime the Lords however constituted would continue to have excessive power.

      I do not object in principle to the Lords blocking secondary legislation where the parent Act as passed by the Commons has given them the power to do so, that could be seen more as a consequence of carelessness on the part of MPs rather than as a constitutional outrage as represented by George Osborne.

      But as far as primary legislation is concerned the maximum period for which the Lords can delay a Bill should be cut to just one month for all Bills sent up from the Commons, not just for Money Bills as now.

    • Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Yes, Gulliver, I’ve just read that. It didn’t seem at first reading to be a very comprehensive and clear reply – more of ”letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’ ”. Even wily weasel words….

      No change there then.

    • Hope
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      It has become clear to me and millions of others that the Lords no longer serve any democratic purpose for the electorate. It must now be scrapped with an elected chamber of no more than 100. The same principle is true with the shinangans about Brexit in parliament. Letwin was right the vote of the public is more important than any issue before parliament. We do not live in a dictatorship where politicos later ignore or act in stark contrast to those who voted for them or what they promised/pledged in a manifesto if it does not suit their personal wish.

      The majority voted leave and leave single market and customs union. That was very clear. Parliament is rightly expected to do that. Why has May not withdrawn the whip or taken sanctions against those who failed to act on govt policy and the civil servants KitKat policy which is to undermine Brexit and act against published govt policy? May is till untrustworthy and must be ousted.

      The same with Corbyn with the likes of Starmer and ultra EU fanatics.

      We see MPs siding with a foreign body to undermine the will of our nation and national interest. To be governed and ruled by a foreign power against the wishes of the people. It s difficult to reach any other conclusion than traitors.

    • Hope
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      JR, this was clear to all Tory MP like Mr Bone and Clarke who voted against the govt and Tory manifesto. Will May take any action against them?

      Reply Mr Bone voted with the government yesterday

      • Hope
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Per Guido, How about Morgan who wanted to leave the single market and customs union when supporting Gove’s leadership bid but now changes her mind standing alongside the opposition. Her changing view based on career prospects not manifesto, govt policy, or national vote! Will May ask her association to deselect her?

        Morgan discredits herself, your party and our country. There is no place in public office for people like her. Putting career before national interest.

        • Hope
          Posted May 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply. So? There were lots of Tory MPs in the 295 who wanted to get rid of press freedom. The first vote was won by 9 votes. DUP saved the day. All knew it was against the Tory manifesto they stood on to get elected.

          Reply Practically all Conservatives voted with the government. The Coalition majority is only 13 at full voting strength

          • Hope
            Posted May 20, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

            Practically is trying to be misleading. Factually They voted against govt policy. What action was taken against them?

  2. Helena
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    What rot. You proposed this to the people of Britain and we rejected it at the General Election. There was no manifesto of the “Conservative and DUP” party. As usual, you are whining because the people of Britain rejected your party at the General election. Just as they rejected your plans to pull out of the customs union

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:34 am | Permalink

      The Tories won the election despite the dithering robotic May and despite the absurd punishment manifesto and despite the appalling Hammond. Imaging if we had sensible leadership of the Party. Anyway Corbyn we promising the same on the EU issue but with magic money and totally bogus give away promises on top.

      • Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        You are SO right, Lifelogic. ”Despite”. If there’d been any other credible party for which to vote, then I would have done so. Unfortunately, the Tories were there, and no-one else was. But they let us down with their (as you say) ‘punishment manifesto’. We voted to give them another chance, despite this, but how are we rewarded for our loyalty?

        Yes – imagine how well they would have done with a proper manifesto. They’d have swept the board, and no mistake!

        So – who is to blame?

    • Edward2
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      Helena,
      Over 80% of votes went to parties that had manifestos stating they would carry out the result of the referendum vote and leave the EU.
      The Greens and Lib Dems who were against leaving the EU, did poorly.
      There was a manifesto of the Conservatives Party and the DUP.
      The DUP are entitled to vote the way they want to.
      Leaving the EU means leaving the Single Market, he Customs Union and ECJ as the Leaflet and our PM and Chancellor and Clegg and others stated.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      They rejected a punishment manifesto against pensioners.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:56 am | Permalink

        The LibDems got trounced and Nick Clegg was unseated. They were the only Remain party.

      • roger
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        And that’s the truth of it. What ever was May thinking?
        A plague on both their houses if they kill democracy stone dead.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Not just pensioners but most people especially those who provide for themselves.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      I think the people rejected to the idea of voting for a party that wanted topunish them with more taxes. That and the appeal of what the opposition were offering with their, “more free stuff” manifesto.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      Leaving the customs union and being free to negotiate our own trade deals was in the Labour manifesto too. The only party who didn’t have it in their manifesto were the LibDems who were comprehensively rejected at the election.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      On what possible basis did the electorate reject pulling out of the customs union? The customs union was needlessly debated during the referendum, it was very clear that if the country voted out, perhaps the single most obvious consequence was we’d be out of the customs union. As pointed out by JR, both the Conservative and Labour parties had this as a policy at the election. Please could you think before you post.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

        Endlessly debated!

    • sm
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Helena, I struggle to understand your comment. Since we have a Conservative PM and Cabinet, it is apparent that the ‘people of Britain’ did not reject Mr Redwood’s Party at the General Election.

      Under what manifest have ‘the people of Britain’ rejected plans to pull out of the Customs Union?

    • MattCronin68
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      Hi Helena,

      I would disagree with your comment “Just as they [the people] rejected your plans to pull out of the customs union”.

      Both the Conservatives and Labour had leaving the Customs Union in their manifestos, which means 26,515,144 people voted for it through one or the other. With only +/- 4,000,000 people voting for the other parties, I would say this is a pretty clear mandate to leave the Customs Union.

    • SecretPeople
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      The only rot spouted here is your post, Helena. You twist yourself in knots to justify your partisan beliefs. John is right in saying that the Lords are meant to be a revising chamber and have zero justification from straying from the Salisbury convention. They ought to inspect draft legislation and point out anything needing clarification, any anomalies – NOT attempt to overturn the entire purpose of the legal instrument altogether.

      Had the electorate supported Remain, or had changed their minds about Leaving, the Liberal Democrats would have achieved way more than 12% in the GE. They didn’t. It is appalling they are overrepresented in the Lords. For that matter, Labour won’t pin their colours to the Remain mast because they too know that they would haemhorrage votes.

      • Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps Helena would like to spend a few words here on telling us what it is, exactly, that is so ”right” about the EU and our (now rejected) membership of it.
        It would be interesting to know where these ‘remainders’ are coming from – what it is about their EU masters they find so admirable and exciting, and why they think why our country has been wrong in rejecting membership of their much admired EU and wishing to rid ourselves of its shackles.
        Please, Helena, don’t waste time telling us how we’ll suffer – but tell us why we should wish to ‘remain’! Talk UP your beloved EU – instead of talking DOWN (y)our country.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      I must have missed that second act of rejection by the people of Britain … I find it hard to believe that an electorate who made the momentous decision that the UK should leave the EU altogether would still want the EU to have control of UK trade policy, which according to the EU itself is the “logical consequence” of the customs union. Perhaps you didn’t know that, but you can read it here:

      http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/press/index.cfm?id=493

      “Treaty of Lisbon enters into force – Implications for the EU’s trade policy”

      I wonder where you stood on the broken promises over the Lisbon Treaty, and just to stay more on topic the failure of the House of Lords to insist that it and previous EU treaties must be put to national referendums.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      80 % of voters voted for leave manifesto.
      That means leaving the Customs Union and single market as the government taxpayer flier pointed out.
      John is not whining by pointing out that a large number of unelected,unaccountable and unwanted Peers many on the EU payroll.

      • Ian wragg
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        Continue to try and thwart 17.4 million voters.

    • Bob
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      @Helena
      You have incorrectly ascribed the Tories’ GE result to their Brexit policy.
      General election manifestos contain a raft of policies which the voters have to choose from. Inexplicably, Mrs May decided to insert the poison pill of dementia tax and other things relating to tuition fees etc. into her manifesto which cost the Tories an overall majority. Labour and Tories manifestos both supported Brexit, but unlike the Tories, Labour offered undeliverable candy coated policies such as free university tuition, rather than poison.

      Maybe Mrs May wanted to throw the election in order to throw a spanner into the Brexit works.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Dear Bob–I reckon she put idiots in charge of the drafting and didn’t study the thing herself–The manifesto should have had nothing in it except a recogntion that it was about the single issue of Brexit–Agony to know she would have walked it if she had just shut up about the other stuff till another day–And her conceit showed through at every turn which didn’t help–She is not another Maggie Thatcher

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 17, 2018 at 3:46 am | Permalink

        I do not think it was a deliberate attempt to throw the election by T May, just breathtaking gross incompetence from her and her lefty team of PC, high tax, big government lefty buffoons.

    • Hope
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      The people did not reject the Tories, there was a majority. That is how democracy works, one side wins and one loses. Good grief Helena what a dim post.

    • Adam
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Helena:

      You state ‘we rejected’. ‘We’ applies to you & at least one other person; perhaps millions. However, it is the Conservatives who are in power with superior numbers.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      This reply is on some kind of Parallel Universe.

    • NickC
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Helena, I don’t know where you’ve been lately but you obviously missed the actual vote in the Referendum which was to Leave the EU. That’s the specific mandate. Your subsequent guesses don’t equal the Referendum result, however strenuously you shout.

      Both VoteLeave and Remain campaigners to the highest political levels (eg Cameron, Osborne, Gove, Johnson, Clegg) agreed that leaving the EU meant leaving the single market and forming our own trade policy (which is not possible within the EU’s customs union).

      The “customs union” is not some separate treaty (neither is the “single market”). They are simply parts of the TEU and TFEU, as modified by the single Lisbon treaty. Leave the EU, and we leave the SM and CU. It’s that simple.

    • Zorro
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Dear helena, take a deep breath – The vast majority of votes at GE2017 were for parties who stated that they would take the UK out of the the SM and CU. It is the parties like the Lib Dems who proposed the opposite which were thoroughly rejected!!….. Hoisted by your ample petard methinks!

      Zorro

    • Andy
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Mrs May won 13,636, 684 votes in 2017. Turnout 68.8%
      Mr Cameron won 11,334,226 votes in 2015. Turnout 66.4%
      Your assertion that ‘we rejected it at the General Election’ is quite false: Mrs May won the largest number of votes, largest number of seats and managed to increase the number of votes she won and the share thereof.

      • Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        ” …. lies, damned lies and statistics” perhaps, Andy?

    • libertarian
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Helena

      The very WORST part of the whole EU project is the Customs Union you would need to be some kind of brainless fool to want to stay in it under any circumstances

      • Nicky Roberts
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        But according to The Telegraph tonight it looks as though that is what May is doing. If true we can kiss our freedom goodbye. Surely now is the time to put forward a vote of no confidence in her leadership.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Alas the Lords is stuffed with dire people chosen by people like Cameron, Brown, Blair, Clegg, Major …… People like all the old Cabinet Secretaries or people who are there just for gender, races or religious balance. Essentially a house stuffed with people who nearly all think that state knows best and want more government, more Europe, more tax, more daft religion(s) and more regulation.

    “Economy is menopausal, says Bank deputy Ben Broadbent” not perhaps the most sensible choice of words in this PC age but totally wrong anyway. You do not get over a menopause and start reproducing again.

    We are not between technical revolutions. There are endless technical advances and revolutions all over the place every day, technology is racing ahead.

    The reasons for slow economic growth are very clear indeed and nothing to do a gap between technologies. We are suffocating from overpaid and largely incompetent state sector bureaucrats usually talking complete drivel (while delivering very little of any value but spending approaching 50% of GDP in doing so), climate alarmist drivel and the expensive energy religion, a lack of real competition in banking, the highest taxes and most complex taxes for 40 years, over regulation of everything, low paid immigration undercutting wages (and being a net liability to the public purse), a silly, slow and rather expensive planning system, zero vision from the PM, genderpay reporting drivel and costs, work place pensions, attacks on the self employed, the apprentice tax, Hammond’s lunacy or a tax system …..

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      In short low growth and productivity is almost entirely the fault of the appalling government, the BoE idiotic leadership, an appalling chancellor, green crap, over high taxes, bonkers regulations, attacks on the gig economy (T May and the Taylor Report) and bloated & hugely misguided government.

      We could of course go for a Singapore model with GDP per cap about double and tax as a % of GDP of about 15% rather than 45%. Why does the BoE chap not address the real issues? Of course we cannot have this with socialist dopes T May or P Hammond in nos 10 & 11.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      So Ben Broadbent apologises for his un-PC words but, not for his entirely misguided and daft economic analysis.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Using the word menopause was rather daft as women do not often start reproducing again after it. Was he suggesting the UK economy was permanently done for? Typical pesimism from the BoE.

  4. margaret
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Yesterday ( to take my mind off local issues) I immediately sought to find suitable definitions of the Salisbury Convention. Myself and the general voting public know little about politics and often go with the flow on immediate emotive issues which directly affect them. I wondered whether this convention or more generally ‘a’ political convention is legally binding or is it respected because it has always been done this way?

    John Bercow described yourself as a Parliamentarian . You have been in the house a long time and will have witnessed the changes which we haven’t. Today access to debates and procedure has been made easier due to television , but nevertheless unless it becomes an interest of the many rather than the few the public will have to rely on the authenticity of debate and seen procedure.

    • margaret
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      again correction;_ which directly affect ‘US’ to agree. Did I ever take an English degree ?!

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

      margaret

      “…….Myself and the general voting public know little about politics…….”

      Count yourself lucky, as do many….”Politics is not intrinsically an honest profession nor is it necessarily important to be understood, but should be avoided at all costs.” (can’t remember who said this?)

      In my line of business, I have come across the very worst of UK/International Politicians, that neither help businesses or citizens. In my business experience, Politicians never get to the point, rarely make intelligent decisions, rarely have a grasp of a technical subject, and rarely achieve any worthwhile objective which is not “usually” tainted with some severe and painful incompetence? I feel sorry for the Civil Service on this count!

      Remember the old saying from an experienced MP “It is hard to be singularly stupid in Government because there is so much competition!”

      John Redwood is a breath of fresh air in comparison.

  5. mick
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Some of those peers who have urged these amendments on the Lords have made no secret of their opposition to the whole policy of Brexit which was freely chosen by voters in the referendum and then again in the results of the General Election.
    These wouldn’t be the peers that will lose thousands of pounds in subsidies or gold plated pensions from there beloved Eu would it, no wonder they are trying every trick in the book along with all the other Eu loving remoaners to thwart Brexit muppets, I’ve said it before if you don’t like living in my Great country then bugger off and go live in your beloved Europe bye bye you’ll not be missed

  6. duncan
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Freedom and democracy is under attack by a section of the British political class who appear determined to undermine the UK, its democratic processes and its press freedoms

    At its heart we have the Labour party who is driving this forward, along with Labour’s allies in the Lords. They are systematically targeting all political threats. This is a party that dispensed with all sense of moral considerations and has elevated political opportunism above all else

    I have radical solutions

    Abolish the opt-in system in the public sector and force state employees to pay their unions fees through their bank. This institutional advantage afforded to Labour is completely unacceptable and allows the unions to finance Labour using taxpayers money. The Tories don’t enjoy this advantage so why should Labour?

    Starve Labour of funding. Stop them from using state financing. Let state employees decide if they want to pay their union fees

    It is my belief that if the opt-in system was abolished the public sector unions and Labour would be unable to function with the arrogance they do so today. This would prevent Labour from launching their pernicious attacks on our way of life, our freedoms and our political infrastructure

  7. Mark B
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    I think it is well known to some here what my views are on the modern day HoL. So I will not rehash it.

    For the HoL to say that something does not meet with the Salisbury Convention due to a democratic deficit is a bit rich coming from people who some have never faced an election in their lives.

    In the past I have supported the HoL as I thought that a body of people with a wide range of experiences outside politics would be beneficial. But since New Labour changed the make-up and essence of this once useful institution and stuffed it full of cronies it has become a thorne in our side.

    The Conservative Party and leadership (sic) has been woeful in dealing with the legacy of the Labour Party.

    For me leaving the EU was just one step in a journey to democracy. Reform and the purging of the Labour Party inbedded in our institutions is long overdue.

    • DaveM
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Mark. I’ve always been reluctant to favour doing away with something as seemingly solid as the HoL but it’s become a joke now. It’ll be interesting to see what mention it gets in the manifestos for the next GE.

      Considering the “something for nothing” nature of what most peers seem to enjoy, the way they’ve brought attention to themselves of late brings “turkeys” and “Christmas” to mind.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      Hear hear!

  8. Anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Quite obviously the pro EU establishment has been playing 4D chess.

    They now have us wanting to abolish the Lords. The next will be the Royals if Meghan Markel makes them too cuddly and liberal.

  9. Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    The manifesto of the Conservatives set forward the idea of leaving the customs union and the single market.
    We ought to leave the single market.
    We ought to leave the EU as promised by the referendum.
    We ought, however, to stay in the common market as promised in the 1975 referendum.

    If we really want a bespoke arrangement with our friends on the continent of European then the place to do it is inside the common market where there are no less than four permanent committees set out to arrange our bespoke arrangements.
    See? It is that simple.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      You mean, stay in the/a customs union with the EU and let the EU control our trade policy as what they see as a “logical consequence”, see my comment above.

      You should know that the EFTA states are not in any kind of customs union with the EU. It’s been mentioned often enough here, and only yesterday you commented on this article on another blog:

      http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86871

      which had in its third paragraph:

      “Had Jenkin wanted to check, he could always have read the paper he used to edit, which has an article about the EEA. It manages to get one thing right, in declaring that Efta members (of the EEA) are not in the customs union.”

      And that’s why Norway has a customs border with Sweden which the Irish have already said would not be acceptable on the island of Ireland.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 17, 2018 at 6:11 am | Permalink

        Denis

        Norway is on the EEA but is NOT, I repeat NOT in the Customs Union. At no point do I or Mike support joining the CU. Were did Mike mention joining the CU ?

        Because the stupid government do not want to leave the EU they are going for a bespoke deal which allows them to remain in the EU. Quell surprise ! The EEA Option does not allow these menditous bastards much in the way of wriggle room since it is off the shelf. Hence its attraction.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 17, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

          Surely you know that the “common market” to which he referred was based on the customs union?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 17, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

          http://aei.pitt.edu/37139/1/EEC_Treaty_1957.pdf

          Article 1:

          “The Community shall have as its task, by establishing a common market and progressively approximating the economic policies of Member States … ”

          Article 2:

          “For the purposes set out in Article 2, the activities of the Community shall include …

          (a) the elimination, as between Member States, of customs duties and of quantitative restrictions on the import and export of goods, and of all other measures having equivalent effect;

          (b) the establishment of a common customs tariff and of a common commercial policy towards third countries … “

        • NickC
          Posted May 17, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

          Mark B, The “EEA option” does not exist. The EU is not offering it to us. It is not “off the shelf”. The EEA agreement is controlled by the EU – their EEA, their rules. The EU offered it to the EFTA nations in the past simply as a way of enticing them into the EU whilst allowing their establishments to pretend that they weren’t. That currently does not apply to us.

          And depending how you define “common market”, I don’t see how you can have one without a customs union (otherwise how is the market operated in common).

    • libertarian
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard

      No really we shouldn’t, its the worst part of the whole thing.

      A lot has changed since 1975 and I’m afraid the EEC, EU has not kept pace with that change. The whole thing is a backward looking anachronistic bureaucratic nightmare

    • mancunius
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      There is no ‘common market’. That was a fraudulent fiction of the politicians who lied to persuade the British people to vote for entry to the EEC in 1975.

      The subsequent EU treaties make all free trade dependent on its ‘four pillars’ – which we have rejected, rejecting also by implication the Treaties of Maastricht, Nice and Lisbon, as this was our first opportunity to vote on them.

      In the 2016 referendum we have rejected 1) our 1972 entry 2) the 1975 referendum and 3) any trade arrangement conditional on accepting free movement or the role of the ECJ.
      See? It is that simple.

    • NickC
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard, The “common market” didn’t really exist in 1975, and it sure doesn’t exist now. You may have missed that flurry in the mid 1980s, including Mrs Thatcher’s 1988 Bruges speech, where the “common market” was finally buried by the EU in a coffin of EU centralisation.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 17, 2018 at 12:11 am | Permalink

      MIke Stallard

      Our kind host and many other intelligent individuals, under sufferance (who must have the patience of Job; though I must confess, I do not) have pointed out the fallacious errors of your argument time and time again…but you stubbornly refuse to listen to highly erudite/researched opinions.

      Though I do acknowledge: See? you really are that simple!

  10. Nig l
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    It always has been a disgrace that rich people who donate to your parties and civil servants etc as sinecures get the ability to thwart the democratic process but of course you acquiesce for obvious reasons and now do not like the result.

    Your selective use of the manifesto argument let’s you down. In 2010 you manifesto specifically stated you would work towards creating a concensus to make it more democratically accountable and Nick ‘Clegg introduced a Bill that you then opposed, I seem to believe causing him to pull support for your Boundaries Act. Now looking like a double whammy.

    I read also that your party managers in the Lords just let it happen. Finally of course if Theresa May hadn’t made that ludicrous decision to call that General Election, incidentally going back on her word, you would not be in this fix.

    As usual with Politics it’s someone else’s fault. A little closer to home, methinks.

    Reply We promised to see if there was a majority for a reform, but there wasn’t.

    • JoolsB
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:-
      Of course there’s not a majority. The words snout and trough come to mind. Besides if MPs reformed the H of L by culling their numbers and making them accountable, attention would then focus on them doing the same in the H of C.

      The self preservation of 650 UK MPs and 800 Lords and Ladies is far more important than a little thing like democracy.

  11. Dave Andrews
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Some say the House of Lords should be scrapped.
    Of course we need the House of Lords. How else could the Libdems have the influence they want, but can’t get through the ballot box?

  12. Lahdedah
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    As usual everyone else, including the Lords, is out of step except our own JR and his hard line brexiteers- but lighten up everyone, we’ll soon be through the March 2019 deadline and then be free to take up new deals with our new trading partners overseas as promised.

    We voted ‘out’ and that is what we are going to get because it’s clear now to all including Barnier and the side that he represents that these talks are going nowhere..the EU negotiators only pretend that talks are proceeding even slowly for appearance sake..it has to be done with the blame game looming..because information now is they want us out much more and faster than our remainers want a deal. FYI.. there will be no deal only salt and vinegar as Tusk once famously said..so lighten up about the Lords and others also all going through the motions..the blame game looms!

    • NickC
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Lahdedah, It was a joke that the EU made you vote until you got the right answer. You weren’t meant to take it literally.

  13. Original Richard
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    There may be many Lords who can contribute usefully to debates but voting on legislation should be restricted to a select group (of perhaps around 300) of HoL members and who are selected by each political party in proportion to the total number of votes they received at the last GE.

    These party selected voting members should include members of parties who failed to get an MP in the FPTP HoC.

    We would thus have a representative HoL based upon PR but since still unelected would not be able to challenge the ultimate supremacy of the HoC based upon the existing FPTP.

  14. Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    It is vital for our democracy that the HoL’s is not abolished – but that doesn’t mean that I and many others go along with the savage display of personal interest by the lords. Certainly, without doubt, they should be held to account.
    The next stage should be a royal commission – it can be established now – to look at the lords who tried to wreck BREXIT, and consider if they are guilty of self interest over natioonal interest….. those guilty should be unceremoniously removed, without a lords pension.
    It would really help if the HoL’s was not run on party lines, and it would really help, further, if selectees were chosen by a truly independant process.

    • libertarian
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Bryan

      vital for democracy ? Are you sure? Theres nothing remotely democratic about the HoL its a feudal system 800 years out of date. Our House of Commons is barely democratic. We need wholesale change

      • Posted May 17, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

        libertarian – you didn’t get my points …
        Many times in the past, the HoL’s has acted as a break on the more extreme measures put forward by the commons – then it was staffed with professional people, well educated people – hardly politicians – Then it worked fine.
        Now it us stuffed full of political appointee’s with little professional experience… which has resulted in the problems related to BREXIT.
        The HoL’s is a great institution, and works well, most of the time, but we must make it less political … so please do not suggest an elected HoL’s – that would make what we have now even worse and would simply mirror the commons – WE need the HoL’s to keep governments in check, and to make them rethink bad legislation… (after the self serving lords have been kicked out)
        Just look at the EU – it has no second chamber to make its parliament ‘think again’ – and just look at the garbage they impose on us as a result …

    • Bob
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Good idea.

  15. JoolsB
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    The House of Lords is not fit for purpose and the politicians do nothing about it because of course they all hope to be there one day in their robes and ermine on their £300 a day tax free just for signing in. 800 Lords and Ladies and growing are mostly failed politicians and cronies placed there by the PM of the day – totally unaccountable and unelected yet given the powers to overturn government policies.

    Not only that, it is known as the Upper West Lothian Question as they do not scrutinise policies of the Scots & Welsh Governments yet we have hypocrites like windbag Kinnock and Lady Kinnock scrutinising what is becoming more and more English only legislation. And we call ourselves a democracy!!!!

    The House of Lords should not only be 100% elected but it’s numbers cut dramatically and those remaining should be accountable to the people whose laws they are scrutinising as should the other House. But unfortunately for us it’s unlikely to happen. Do turkeys vote for Christmas?????

  16. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    While the House of Lords exists I have no issue with it sending legislation back to the Commons to review. I am also against a second elected chamber as we have too many professional politicians as it is. I do advocate the withdrawal of the daily stipend for the Lords, those placement scrutinising laws should be doing it out of civic duty not for gain.

    To return to your post, Conservative (and DUP) MPs were elected to vote for this legislation. It is up to them to carry out their party’s and the electorate ‘ s wishes. It is for your party to pass the Brexit bill despite the Lords

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Placemen not placement

  17. formula57
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    And in the context of parochial, unrepresentative legislative bodies packed with yesterday’s people and quislings, what of the antics of the Scottish Parliament?

  18. ChrisS
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The House of Lords has very clearly exceeded its long-established remit over the issue of Brexit. Breaking the convention over manifesto commitments has been a watershed and will inevitably lead to changes, not all of which will be for the better.

    The balance of parties within the Lords was rarely an issue when conventions were observed. However, when the Government of the day finds its legislation being dramatically changed to such an extent that the “revisions” render it no longer recognisable as being in line with its manifesto, the powers of the Lords will have to be curtailed.

    The self-indulgence we are current seeing from such a large proportion of their Lordships is particularly serious as the Brexit legislation directly followed the largest vote in British history and was broadly supported in the last election by the Official Opposition.

    Now that their Lordships cannot be relied on to stick to long-established conventions, they have opened their chamber to much more dramatic changes which will have to include looking at the balance of representation between the parties. In particular, the gross over-representation of LibDems will need to be dealt with.

    As a revising chamber with scant regard to party demarcation lines, the Lords always had a breadth of knowledge and expertise that ensured it made a valuable contribution to our laws. In short, it worked very well, and in a way that could probably exist only in the UK.

    Sadly, this is no longer the case and the blame for the changes that will inevitably result has to be squarely laid at the door of the current incumbents.

  19. Mark Nottingham
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Today I received my reply about the petition to abolish the House of Lords and it would appear the government are going to do little if anything as per usual under the leadership of Theresa May.
    I am sorry Mr Redwood but the woman has got to go and go now before she destroys Brexit and with it the United Kingdom. Treat as URGENT and get the letters sent.

  20. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Listening to Lidington on the radio this morning it is clear that not just the House of Lords but the government itself is seeking to slow down, water down or prevent Brexit. Parliament gave people a referendum to decide if UK should remain in or leave the EU, no doubt confident that it would get the answer it wanted to keep the UK in the EU. Having not got its desired result, in the normal EU way, it does all in its power to frustrate the result with the intention of reversing and in the process undermining democracy. The EU must be quietly smiling with satisfaction.

  21. Newmania
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The problem is that so little of the House of Commons is really elected. John Redwood’s constituency, for example, would elect a lightly shaven chimpanzee in a blue rosette leaving its sizeable Liberal minority represented by an MP whose views they will undoubtedly deplore.
    My own situation is even worse (although it was certainly a highly contested seat) but for the most part we are talking about a selected Chamber rather than an elected one.
    Then there is the problem of our unusually centralised state uniquely lacking any real checks on the “selected” dictatorship”
    Add to this numerous other problems such the underrepresentation of the English and the exclusion of UKIP despite 4,0000,000 votes and the absurd over representation of the SNP.
    The system is visibly breaking down.

    Rather than bemoan the supposed lack of legitimacy of the Lords from the Glass House of Party placemen far better to reform it making it party PR elected and English only. Brexit does lack the broad support required for the sacrifices it asks , it should not go forward on the basis of a bribe to the DUP and opposition should have more than a pointless talking shop.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Your description of a safe seat is very poor Newmainia.
      Safe seats remain safe because a majority vote in a particular way.
      But it is not a fixed position.
      My constituency was a safe seat for many years but lately it has changed hands.
      To call the current government a dictatorship is absurd.
      They have a very small majority and have to compromise their policies in order to get a successful vote in the Commons.
      And another election is due soon.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      But when we had a coalition made up of parties with 60% of the votes – as we would surely have the whole time under PR – still we had constant complaints that this was government which “no-one voted for” (I remember Archbishop Williams claiming this). We see PR in action eg in Belgium, Germany and Italy – is that really a better system of forming a govt?

    • NickC
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, Your problems with the elected HoC are solved by the direct mandate of the Referendum: there can be no doubt there.

    • mancunius
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      The current Opposition cannot even agree on what it opposes.

  22. Andy
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I note the continuing dangerous trend among Brexiteers to describe anyone who may disagree as ‘unelected’.

    The EU is ‘unelected’. High Court judges who interpret the law are ‘unelected’. Civil servants who advise are ‘unelected. The House of Lords is ‘unelected’.

    Brexiteers use the term ‘unelected’ as a prejorative. And you do it because you have nothing positive to say about Brexit. Your fantasy unicorn Brexit is crashing down around you because during the Eurosceptics epic 30+ year anti-EU whinge you never bothered to come up with better solutions. And now you have to, you can’t. For every single problem Brexit poses your solution is worse than the status quo. Deep down you all know this but you are too proud to admit it. Pride goeth before a fall.

    I say Bravo to the House of Lords, to the Civil Servants, to the judges and to the EU for showing up th most unelected Brexit charlatans for what they are.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Above your post Andy a remainer is complaining about the unfairness of the voting system and how the current government is a dictatorship of safe seats.

      Unelected…well the council and commission and president are not directly elected by us citizens of Europe.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        It is expected and very predictable that Andy would champion and support the power of an unelected elite.
        After all it is the essence of the EU

      • Andy
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        The UK prime minister is not directly elected either.

        Nor is the UK Cabinet. Nor is the Queen.

        Nor is the House of Lords.

        Nor the Speaker. Nor Commons Committee chairpeople.

        Nor Civil Servants.

        In fact, virtually no-one is directly elected in the UK system – except MPs – about three quarters of whom are in safe seats anyway. In these seats the MPs are chosen by party not people.

        For example, if I wanted to be MP for my constituency – Beaconsfield – I have no chance unless I am the Conservative candidate. My job is not to convince the voters it is to convince a handful of party members in a smoke filled room. Democracy? Nope.

        Incidentally, while we’re at it, the President of the USA is not (and never has been) directly elected either.

        If he was he would currently be a she.

        Awkward.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 17, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          I agree with you on the House of Lords but the rest of your post is nonsense.
          The Prime Minister is an elected MP and elected leader of a political party.
          At a general election people decide by voting which party commands a majority.
          That party forms the government.
          The leader of the party is also voted in by his or her Mps
          The Speaker is chosen by MPs
          Commons committee people are voted in by MPs
          Civil servants are employees of the State not political representatives.
          Only MPs directly elected by us make law which is the important point your post fails to consider.
          Especially when comparing us to the EU.

          You should stand in your local area and convince local people your opinions and policies are best.
          See how many votes you get.
          Previously people said my local area was a safe seat until a campaign by good local people of another party changed it.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted May 17, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

          Andy

          Good point!

        • NickC
          Posted May 17, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

          Andy, At the moment most of our regulations (and laws) are made in an opaque manner by corrupt unelected eurocrats, rubberstamped by a figleaf parliament that has no power to form a government, or form an opposition, and that has no demos anyway.

          The rules are largely made with the lobby input of big eurobusiness in a way that is reminiscent of how the Nazis and “private” businesses cooperated: it is political corporatism, and rotten to the core.

          The idea that the unelected EU power elite are in any way comparable in democratic terms with the elected HoC, is strictly what you Remains must tell yourselves to justify your selling out our nation to the monolithic EU empire.

    • libertarian
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      Unemployment down again I see , investment up again I see , wages rising above inflation I see

      Blimey this crashing down around our ears is a pain isn’t it…. Lol you’re hysterically funny , best parody account on this forum

    • NickC
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Andy, There are 196 countries in the world. Only 28 – soon to be 27 – are in the EU. Another 3 are tied to the EU via the EEA agreement.

      It is not a “fantasy” to join the 165 nations outside the EU, making 166, it’s perfectly normal. Every day the majority of nations live without being run by the EU. Indeed, better solutions than the EU exist out there in the rest of the world. Deep down you know all this, but you have trapped yourself in a dead-end idolisation of the EU empire so much that you dare not admit it, even to yourself.

      • Andy
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        True – and the vast majority of those other countries are significantly poorer as a result.

        Your Brexit Britain will be joining them.

        • NickC
          Posted May 17, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          Andy, Some are significantly poorer than Greece possibly. But it is not rational to claim that their being poor is solely the result of not being in the EU.

          There is no reason why we should be any poorer than now (certainly you have given no reasons), or any poorer than Australia, New Zealand or Canada, the nearest comparable countries.

          Our exports to the EU (c11% UK GDP) are really not as important as the other c89% of our economy. You persistently fail to explain why we should give up our independence (remember Declaration 17?) solely because of little more than a tenth of our economy.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 17, 2018 at 12:57 am | Permalink

      Andy

      “Pride goeth before a fall”

      ……Surely this is your personal mantra?

      ….and incidentally:

      Your Bible verse, found in Proverbs 16:18, is a very common misquote and does not accurately reflect the original text. In fact, the verse says, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

      ….just to be pedantically explicit….but then we Brexiteers usually are!

  23. Stred
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Another confused old dame.

  24. Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    I don’t have the same confidence John. There are too many remainer tories. The numbers don’t add up.

    What is a disgrace is that these people campaigned for Brexit when UKIP was eating into conservative votes. Now that UKIP is gone they’ve changed their minds.

    I hope the Tories realise if they mess this up nearly 20 million will go to UKIP.

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    A similar idea to reduction of the maximum available delay to one month:

    https://www.conservativehome.com/thecolumnists/2018/05/alex-morton-are-you-angry-with-the-lords-over-brexit-if-so-dont-threaten-to-abolish-or-elect-it-heres-a-better-reform.html

    “The Lords should become a more clearly advisory chamber able to amend laws only once”

  26. Iain Gill
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I would just select Lords randomly, like jury service.

    Would stop the different bias present in the current lot.

    While we are at it we should abolish the monarchy when the current Queen dies.

  27. Peter Parsons
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    This would be the same House of Lords that you opposed and voted against your own government’s attempt to reform in 2012.

    Reply. Yes, and as I state I am happy with the traditional House of Lords applying its own sensible rules.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 17, 2018 at 2:05 am | Permalink

      Peter Parsons

      reply to reply

      “Yes, and as I state I am happy with the traditional House of Lords applying its own sensible rules.”

      John, your comment is rather telling and contradicts the wider issues for most Brexiteers and probably Remainers (I would hazard a guess)…

      I would also suggest Brexiteers (Remainers) really hanker for fundamental changes to the UK and England Governance. Starting with Brexit, which is simply a means to an end; a slimmed down Parliament for England; HOL removed and replaced by a modern fit for purpose system; unfair FPTP removal, replaced by PR…and this just for starters?

      Your comment appears, on the other hand, to be simply a wish to “tweak the status quo”….which possibly is the real feeling amongst Government Brexiteers and Remainers. The lack of tangible and demonstrably decisive actions appears to bear this out.

      A MP on a long-term ticket for change, with no observable success, is wasting the people’s vote, don’t you think?

  28. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    The HoL has to go, single chamber parliaments can work satisfactorily or it should be replaced with a senate, which could be fraught with power struggles, not least the English Parliament element.

    The farce is exacerbated by the collapsing Palace of Westminster – who in their right mind would refurbish part of a building that should be obsolete.

    Blair and Cameron created 650 life peers in their tenures – who says we have moved on from rotten boroughs.

    • JoolsB
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Don’t mention an English Parliament, in fact do what 650 self serving MPs do and don’t mention England at all because to do so brings them all out in hives.

  29. Bob
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    @Helena
    You have incorrectly ascribed the Tories’ GE result to their Brexit policy.
    General election manifestos contain a raft of policies which the voters have to choose from. Inexplicably, Mrs May decided to insert the poison pill of dementia tax and other things relating to tuition fees etc. into her manifesto which cost the Tories an overall majority. Labour and Tories manifestos both supported Brexit, but unlike the Tories, Labour offered undeliverable candy coated policies such as free university tuition, rather than poison.

    Maybe Mrs May wanted to throw the election in order to throw a spanner into the Brexit works.

  30. agricola
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Chapter one does not require the Lords to be elected, nor do they have anything but advisory power. When push comes to shove the Commons prevail.

    Current behaviour in the Lords comes about because they are the generation who took us into the EU. They do not wish to see their child aborted. They are not politically balanced because politicians in power have corruptly added to them for their own advantage. Lastly the current government are seen to be numerically weak so the Lords are taking a chance on exceeding their remit.

    I suggest the following. A hundred percent clear out of existing peers. A reduction to 100 for future members of the Lords. I would point out that 100 Senators is considered sufficient in the USA for a population six times ours. The first house to be selected by the Knights and Lady Companions of the Garter, not by any current politicians. I think they might do a better job than the test and county cricket board or any club committee for that matter. Thereafter selection from within as members retire or die. Qualifications should be that you have excelled in your career in the judiciary , church, synagogue, military, engineering in all it’s fields, science in all it’s fields, medicine, teaching,, the arts etc., but not in politics.

    They would as now be there to advise, suggest changes to the law, or even new law. Generally to act as a chamber of wise persons. As they have no real power they do not need to be elected. Is this too sensible and radical for our political classes. I look forward to your comments.

    • agricola
      Posted May 17, 2018 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      Censorship by omission, do you not want a solution to the Lords debated. I see no point in you complaining about the Lords if you have no thought on how to correct it.

  31. Adam
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    The calibre of the House of Lords was higher before many hereditary peers were removed.

    All Lords’ positions should be dependent on consistent quality performance. Many are appointed on feeble bases, anti-democratic, low grade or contribute near-nothing of value, leading to the dumbing down of the House as a whole.

    Opposition is meant to help raise standards to which the Govt performs, yet the extremity of opposition applied by those of the Lords intent on wrecking Brexit, may suit negative purposes which even an enemy of the UK might consider as worthy.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      The real problem with the Lords is that it is stuffed with dire friends of people like Cameron, Blair, Clegg, Major and the likes plus retired state sector people like ex parliamentary secretaries, dire ex- (usually failed) politicians, people like Kinnock, Patton, Heseltine, Adonis …… often with degrees in PPE, humanities or Law.

      What is needed is far more sensible people from the private sector, engineers, business people, scientists, engineers and similar.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        You are so right LL
        I’ve often thought that some Lords should be random members of the public.
        Put your name forward then go through a training and induction process a bit like JPs
        There would be many who would love to put something back and to take part in our system of government.
        Trust the people.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 17, 2018 at 2:53 am | Permalink

          Random would surely be better than current (perhaps with a five or ten year limited term). It would avoid the foolish group think lunacies of the types of people who aspire to the Lords.

          The sort of people who aspire to bossing other about (in the Commons, Local authorities and Lords) are usually totally unsuitable for the job. Rather like most of the people who aspire to Oxford PPE.

        • Adam
          Posted May 17, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          Edward2:

          ‘Random’ like jury service would include many of the unwilling. Self-nominees would be rather like a raw form of the present method; or a 2nd layer of MPs, but non-elected.

          Induction training makes sense, yet much experience is gained automatically, both via colleagues & being within parliament’s environment.

          Perhaps the existing nomination scheme would be better-controlled with a much tighter rationale to meet a minimum standard, plus appointment then being subject to local public voting acceptance.

          Fewer Lords in total would enable a more efficient chamber.

      • Alison
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        nothing wrong with a degree in the Humanities from a decent university, ditto law. As long as media studies aren’t counted as part of the Humanities.

  32. BOF
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I had a reply this morning from the cabinet office about the petition to give us a referendum to abolish the HoL. They quite obviously have no intention of doing anything of the sort. In fact it reads as though there will be no more than a gentle massage of that egregious, unelected body. Shameful.

    With regard to the cabinet, I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the Cabinet appears to be in the process of being subjected to classic divide and rule tactics by the Prime Minister. Slick presentations have been made to back benchers. I dread to think what will come out of it all in the coming report but I fully expect some sort of shabby stitch up to keep us tied to the EU.

  33. Shieldsman
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    What are the Lords playing at with their Open Skies Agreement (Membership) Bill [HL], a private member’s bill introduced by Baroness Randerson (Liberal Democrat). A reading of LLN -2018-0006 gives some understanding.

    I initially saw it as an act to ensure the Government played hard ball in negotiations with the USA to ensure retention of current Air Traffic rights. After reading LLN -2018-0006, I realise it could be a Liberal Democrat ploy to keep the UK in the EU through forced membership of the EEA.

    Any one can read in Wikipedia – The Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention, establishing the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the UN charged with coordinating and regulating international air travel. The Convention establishes rules of airspace, aircraft registration and safety, and details the rights of the signatories in relation to air travel.
    Some important articles are:
    Article 1: Every state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over airspace above its territory.
    Article 6: (Scheduled air services) No scheduled international air service may be operated over or into the territory of a contracting State, except with the special permission or other authorization of that State.
    I am sure Andy can manage that.

    An air transport agreement (also sometimes called an air service agreement or ATA or ASA) is an agreement which two nations sign to allow international commercial air transport services between their territories. The bilateral system has its basis under the Chicago Convention and associated multilateral treaties. As stated an ASA is a bilateral agreement between two Countries normally granting each other reciprocal rights for their Airlines.

    The EU – US Air Transport Agreement was a breakaway from normal ICAO bilateral ASA’s in that it is a multilateral (EU terminology – horizontal) agreement. It was only possible due to the Brussels Administration assuming negotiating rights for all member States, plus the EFTA Countries. The United Kingdom on completion of the Article 50 period is no longer a Community member and resumes responsibility for all our ASA’s.

    Membership Bill has two clauses. The first would require the Government to consider the desirability of the UK continuing to be a party to the ‘Open Skies Agreement’ between the US and the EU as if it remained an EU member state (following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU):
    The second clause would extend the Act to the whole of the UK and states that it would come into force on the day on which the Act was passed. Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union provides that member states intending to withdraw from the EU shall notify the European Council and that the EU would then “negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union.

    Both clauses amount to the same thing, they require the UK to remain in the ECAA, but do not state how this can be achieved nor which part of the EU we have to remain in. The EU have made it quite plain it would require accepting ‘EU acquis’ and the jurisdiction of the ECJ. The CEO of Air France has stated he wishes to see the UK remain in the ECAA and under the THUMB of Brussels in order to prevent competition, or in their words to maintain ‘a level playing field’.

    It is not necessary to be in the ECAA to have an ASA (open skies) with the USA or any other Country including the EU member States under the Chicago Convention. Air Traffic rights are not one sided, every Country has to have an ASA with the Country whose airspace they want to fly into and through. The United Kingdom has set out its strategy and has had initial talks with the Americans who have accepted that we are leaving the EU and ECAA in April next year and its multilateral agreement with the USA.

    The United States acceptance that the current agreement expires on 31st March 2019 puts the kibosh on Philip Hammond’s attempt to kick the negotiations into his sought after transition period. 2 Years after posting article 50 membership of the EU and European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) ceases, we are out. We resume responsibility for negotiating Air Service Agreements as a 3rd Country, and the current ones with the EU lapse, they need to be renegotiated now.

    Without a renewal of the traffic rights for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic there is NO bilateral ICAO agreement covering Trans-Atlantic flights. The headline in the media should have read – Will American airlines lose their rights to fly to the United Kingdom after Brexit. The Reporters for the Times and Financial Times are anti Brexit and write biased reports, besides they know little about ASA’s. Bilaterals are what most of the 191 ICAO members agree between each other.

    “The article goes on to say that the Americans want to roll back some parts of the EU’s open-skies treaty, which it claims is the most liberal deal ever agreed to by Washington. Under this agreement any EU owned and controlled airline is allowed to fly between any two airports in Britain (or Europe) and America.” So will the USA demand a new agreement with the EU that does not include the UK? A roll back could be aimed at the Airlines of the EU member States rather than the UK.

    SN 00455 dated 7 April 2010 covers the negotiations leading up to the 2007 ‘Open Skies’ agreement between the United States and the European Union that began in March 2008, with a draft second stage agreement reached in March 2010.
    It also outlines the main transatlantic aviation agreements between the United States and the United Kingdom prior to 2008.

    The UK’s geographical position gives us considerable clout in quid pro quo bilaterals. Non of these reporters (or others) have twigged that to fly into and through the United Kingdoms airspace you have an ICAO ASA with the UK. If they have they are keeping mum.

    So in summary, both the USA and the EU member States have to have continuity Air Service agreements in order to access the North Atlantic Track structure and the United Kingdoms airspace.

    The Lords Bill is unnecessary, and will achieve nothing as they are not the negotiating body. It is an attempt to frustrate the Government in retrieving its rightful negotiating and rule making authority.

  34. MickN
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Now I read that the “impartial” speaker has pointed Labour MPs in the direction of a humble address motion as another attempt to thwart Brexit. We it seems have a swamp that needs draining too. Who will enable us to do it?

    • Chris
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      President Trump is needed to sort out Brexit and the UK in general, and pretty quickly.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Surely we have suffered Bercow more than enough now. Let him go and enjoy his gold plated pension quietly. A pension that we all have to pay for. Even people with no pension at all.

  35. Mark
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    This problem was created by Cameron when he granted so many peerages to the Lib Dems. The solution is to elevate a large number of peers, sufficient to swamp the vote, who make pledges to vote in favour of proper Brexit measures, and Lords reform. The reform would cull the number of sitting peers. The 92 hereditaries would be retained, as they have the long term interest of the nation at heart through long family history. Political peers would elect those who sit from among their number, in much the same fashion as the hereditaries do: for symmetry, there should be 92 sitting political peers, with an inbuilt majority for the government, elected every Parliament. Cross bench peers should only be allowed to sit on topics for which they are expert. There should be a limit on cross benchers per topic to prevent them from dominating the vote.

    Then perhaps we can get back to the Lords being a revising, expert chamber. The backstop would be provided by the continued inclusion of the hereditaries, and perhaps bishops, to act as the conscience of Parliament.

  36. Backoftheenvelope
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Whatever was intended or what some hoped for by many hasn’t quite worked out it seems..

    Mrs May is going for a deal with them that will keep us half in half out that will go on and on forever..we will pay in but have no say..and will still be subject to the ECJ

    All this to keep business interests, trade and the Irish border on side

    If we had had some visible sight of new trade deals with new trading partners overseas lined up it wouldn’t have come to this but am afraid Boris Gove and Liam Fox failed to deliver…so we have little choice now

  37. Eric Sorensen
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The House of Lords is non-elected and by nature non-democratic. Pretty much the core of what’s wrong with ever closer union ideas. The goodbye to the latter must entail the same to the former.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Non democratic elected but chosen at random would be far better than chosen by Blair, Brown, Cameron, cleg, Major…

  38. libertarian
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    We do not have a democracy fit for the 21st century yet we continue to try to bomb other countries into democracy.

    Just had a response to the petition to scrap HoL , there isn’t going to be a response . Lol

    Either the politicians change this or the people will. If the people are forced to make this change it will get messy

    • NickC
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      I have had the same non-response. They never learn, do they?

      I think a reforming second chamber, with limited powers, is useful. I would have a couple of hundred Ealdormen elected by proportional representation. Only they would be allowed to vote. Existing Lords could work and speak, but not vote; and not be paid. Such a development provides the greatest continuity whilst legitimising the HoL and not losing valuable expertise.

    • Hope
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      May wants to remain but wants it to look as if others to forced her to do so!

      Failings rest at May’s feet. What has she done to withdraw the whip from the likes of Patten, Heseltine Etc? One gets an EU pension the other farm subsidies!

  39. Eh?
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    BBC Online today “Meghan Markle is set to become the first dual-heritage member of the Royal Family. ”
    Eh?
    Don’t Germans, Greeks, French, Norwegians, Danes, Americans etc etc etc etc have heritages?

    • Peter Wood
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Great fun – did anyone mention Saxe-Coburg-Gotha…
      The reason we have Royalty is because they represent something, perhaps an aspiration, better than us. If they chose not to take up that challenge then they will be removed. Our wonderful monarch makes this point very appropriately; its not a job or career -its a life.

    • Bob
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      @Eh?
      It’s called fake news. A BBC speciality.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Especially on green crap, gender and Pc issues, magic money tree economics, the NHS envy of the World…..

  40. acorn
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Interesting chart from Mr Barnier https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/eu-uk_possible_framework_future_relationship_0.pdf (notice the CETA hint).

    Also, CEPS has outlined how the EU’s standard template for a third country Association Agreement is built up. Google: “Theresa May’s Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement Tuesday, 6 March 2018”.

  41. ian
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    This is one of the only occasions in politics when the leader of the country can override any votes in the lords and parliament and afford the pleasure of the remain MPs and lords taking the leader of the country to court to which they wouldn’t bother because they haven’t got a leg to stand on.

  42. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Look at this, for God’s sake, from the Irish media again

    “UK ‘considering third option’ over customs dilemma”

    So what is that “third option”?

    Is it based upon a rational analysis that since we have been having stuff flowing in from the Irish Republic without any checks at the border for a quarter of a century now, since the advent of the EU Single Market, and as the Irish Republic will be staying in the EU and therefore will continue to conform to EU law nothing will suddenly change about that stuff coming across the land border when we leave the EU, so there is actually no need for us to change anything at all on our side of the border, and so we won’t?

    No, it’s:

    “Let’s keep the whole of the UK subject to EU law for the sake of the roughly 0.1% of our GDP which comprises goods exported across that border.”

    So it’s not good enough for our government and civil service that the whole of the UK, and its economy and population, must be subject to EU law for the convenience of the 6% of UK businesses who export 12 % of UK GDP to the EU, now it must be for the sake of the 0.1% of UK GDP being driven across the Irish border.

    JR, why does my heart sink when I read that the government is proposing to issue another White Paper laying out its Brexit plans in detail? Could it be because I foresee that it will be full of this kind of nonsense, and giving more hostages to fortune?

    Reply Bad idea to believe everything in the media.The Irish/EU side are good at briefing their line out but that does not make it the UKs view

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 17, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      I’ve found from past experience that on EU matters it’s usually wiser to give more credence to the Irish media than the UK media. If this and the earlier similar RTE reports are untrue, why has the UK government not refuted them?

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 17, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Ireland is a curious matter, isn’t it? They wanted complete independence from the UK and fought and murdered for it but they were completely allowed to keep free movement, a customs union with the UK with no penalties, to use our roads with no charge, to access all of our benefits and healthcare with no recharging to their government and obtain special benefits and requirements for their travelling communities. They don’t have to pay us a membership fee or contribute to NATO, you didn’t hear about the United Kingdom wanting Ireland in its independence ‘to hurt’ did they have to pay a ‘financial settlement’? Does the UK Court still have full jurisdiction in Ireland? In other words, the UK doesn’t treat Ireland like a pariah state a third country, George Osborne dashed with our cash to help them out, now they’re reportedly doing so well they should politely be asked to pay back so that we can put it into our British NHS. The Irish government are causing bad feelings now, I think that’s a mistake.

      I also think there is a lot to be learnt from Windrush with regards to EU nationals now in the UK, if a child was born here, then leaves age 7 and doesn’t return until they’re 50 do they get access to pension credits and social security benefits and housing because they were born here due to ‘settled status’?

  43. lojolondon
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Irony:

    LibDems have always wanted to abolish the House of Lords because “it is not democratic”. But the LibDems are way over-represented in the House of Lords (by 10 times). Now the LibDems are using the House of Lords to overthrow the democratic will of British people

    (The LibDems have 8 representatives in Parliament out of 650 seats = 1.2%
    The LibDems have 109 representatives in HoL out of 807 peers – 13%
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36330992)

    • Andy
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Which makes the Lords more representative than the Commons – as the Lib Dems won 8% of the vote in 2017 but only 1% of the Commons seats.

      If the Commons was a fair reflection of the opinions of the electorate the Lib Dems would have had 52 MPs following the 2017 general election. The Greens would have had 10 MPs. Labour would be virtually unchanged with 260 instead of the 262 they have now.

      The Tories, on the other hand, would have had only 275 instead of the 317 MPs they have now. The DUP would have only 6 MPs – rather than the 10 then have now. The good news for the right – which has a massive vested interest in maintaining its outrageous overrepresentarion is that, with a fair electoral system, UKIP would also have 11 MPs.

      Still – as we can see – the right is not in a majority in our country, far from it – and it only clings to power thanks to a flawed electoral system which fails to represent most of us.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Labour were hugely over represented at previous elections. Blair had a large majority in 2005 with 35% of the vote.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        In previous election results under your system UKIP would have had 40 MP’s which I note you haven’t mentioned
        Also people vote with an eye towards the system
        There is tactical voting.
        Change the voting system rules and tactics and voting would change too.

    • JoolsB
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      And UKIP got almost four million votes, more than the Lib Dums, SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru together and have not got one representative in either the H of L or H of C to show for it. Ain’t democracy great?

      • mancunius
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        Jools – Lord Pearson of Rannoch and Lord Willoughby de Broke (the latter an hereditary peer) both sit for UKIP in the HoL.

  44. Lifelogic
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Theresa May just now “small business is the backbone of the economy”.

    So why does she and Hammond spend so much time and effort inconveniencing, taxing, over regulating and mugging them? Has May even seriously spoken to a small business to understand reliality? I do not think she has a clue about any of the private sector at all. She is more interested in killing self employment, raising more tax and gender pay gap virtue signalling.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      LL

      Never listen to what they say. But follow what they do. They have harmed SME’s and are now trying to gloss over the damage.

  45. Denni
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Since when has the Lords become a Law unto themselves?

  46. APL
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Reform of the house of ‘Lords’ should be included as a item of Tory policy.

    My suggested reform.
    Abolish life peers.
    The CoE has it’s own Synod, so no need for the Lords Spiritual to sit in the Lords. Get rid of them too.

    Instigate Elections to the House from among the Aristocracy for the remaining 90 seats in the Lords. They should sit once for fifteen years, upon which the seat is put up for reelection.

    Elections should be by popular franchise.

    I think that would be a nice compromise between the Traditional Lords, the need for reform and constitutional continuity.

    • mancunius
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget that landed aristocrats are generally in favour of the agreeably generous EU subsidies they receive.
      One of the chief instigators of the cross-party europhile conspiracy in the Lords to thwart the Withdrawal Bill is a hereditary Duke sitting on the Conservative benches who as a former Conservative MEP helped to frame all those euro-regulations and perks.
      Turkeys will never vote for Christmas.

      • APL
        Posted May 17, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        If some of the are ‘up for sale’ the UK can buy them just as well as Brussels. Such a person cannot move his Estate to France.

  47. Iain Gill
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    new italian govt wants to go back to the lira…

    fantastic

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Iain I’m glad you brought this up. It would seem the Italians are not happy either with the current form of the EU club. If they pull out then watch the whole thing collapse like a pack of cards. Could we be that lucky? That would mean no more arguing in the HOC or the HOL. Maybe we can get back to running the country instead of playing Punch and Judy.

      • Helen Smith
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        I hope and pray for this outcome as it seems our democratically elected politicians are hell bent on cheating us out of Brexit. Apparently they think after they have done that things will carry on as before!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      The Euro must be dire if they prefer even the lira!

      • Iain Gill
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        sounds like they dont want to pay back what they owe to the european central bank either, which would lead to a lot of interesting times

        another good reason for the UK to get back from the ECB the money it owes us asap

  48. Helen Smith
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m very confused about these amendments, my understanding is that the bill enables the swift switch of EU laws into UK laws, I do not see how amendments trying to legislate that we stay in the CU and SM have anything to do with it so why we’re even allowed to be discussed and voted on?

    Reply The Bill’s scope is wide so allowing amendments to preserve features of our current |E|U membership

  49. Posted May 16, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I do not understand you Mr Redwood and nor do many other people. You keep banging on about tariff free trade with the EU. But why ? Then – and here is the kicker – you reject the Customs Union which has at its very first and central premise exactly that – tariff free trade for EU MS. Or do you want cake and eat it ? Free trade with EU but being able to reduce non EU tariffs ? And which ones in particular? The WTO gives tariff free trade to dozens of nations anyway and to a second division which enjoys the same in some specified industry sectors.

    If we want an independent trade policy we need to bang on tariffs where nations are taking the Michael by abusing their devalued currency like the German Car Industry.

    And finally Mr Redwood why have you never allowed the words “non tariff barriers” to pass your lips ?

    So now how is your quick and simple Brexit going – the one which all us simple minded morons told you was impossible two years ago ?

    What Brexit has really done is expose the incompetence, duplicity and outright dishonesty of the political classes.

    Reply Yes, I propose a FRee Trade Agreement with the EU and more FTAs with other countries. Non tariff barriers are covered by the Facilitation of Trade Agreement and by any FTA we sign.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Leaving the EU is not about trade, borders or money. It is about self government.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Brexit could be simple if both sides were negotiating in good faith, the EU is not, and if Remainers here were not meeting with Barnier and co ordinating an undermining of the UK negotiating team, as Starmer did a couple of days back.

      The Customs Union might give tariff free trade for the 40% of trade we do with the EU, though as a net importer whether that is good is a matter of opinion, however it means a great deal of the 60% of trade we do with the rest of the world is subject to tariffs, and here indeed is the kicker, the money taken off UK citizens doesn’t go to pay for vital services here, it goes to Brussels to buy more Chablis for Juncker.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 17, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      “What Brexit has really done is expose the incompetence, duplicity and outright dishonesty of the political classes.”

      The British political classes that is. Certainly.

      Brexit was one last hurrah, really. The British people are clever enough to know that they were stuffed remaining in the EU too.

  50. mancunius
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    There is no point in waiting for the HoL to reform itself.
    The government’s reply to the petition for a referendum on the House of Lords (164,831 signatures so far) states:
    “The Prime Minister has written to the Lord Speaker and agreed to continue with the restraint she has shown so far when making appointments to the House. It is incumbent on all sides of the House to consider what they can do to further promote the culture of retirement. ”
    Yet as previous PMs have stuffed the HoL deliberately full of europhiles, party hacks who in no way represent the views of the majority, Tory rebels perpetually – and with apparent impugnity – defying the whip and contradicting the Conservative manifesto, and social engineers with an axe to grind – none of who have any intention to retire, and who conspire via e-media to thwart the expressed will of the people – the PM’s ‘restraint’, as so often, implies that she is either hesitant or secretly complicit.
    Neither the Commons nor the Lords are swayed by ‘restraint’.

  51. bigneil
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Totally off topic.

    Today I collected a Euro lottery win, then went into the local town for bits and bobs. I called in a small sandwich shop for a bite. Outside, having a sit down and a coffee was a homeless ex-soldier, his world in the large backpack at his feet. I gave him £40 out of my lottery win. Another customer gave him some cash as well. The soldier had been attacked last week, with some idiot stealing his stuff and setting fire to some of his clothes. Luckily he’s ok. Then I thought of all the freeloaders who have walked into the UK, now housed, benefits, NHS etc etc – all for nothing.

    One question – do any of you in parliament, who are welcoming the foreign freeloaders while throwing our servicemen onto the scrapheap, have a conscience?

    • Andy
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      This sort of post is depressing. It is outrageous that our ex-servicemen are so poorly treated. It is outrageous that the scandal of homelessness is ignored by the Tory government.

      But it is also outrageous that you should blame foreigners for it. A family fleeing Aleppo from Islamic State are not coming here to ‘freeload’ as you claim. They are coming here so their children do not die. And if militants rocked up in your town you’d, no doubt, be the first to run.

      It is not a choice between helping Britons in need and foreigners in need. Decent people – who have not lost their humanity – do both.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        Yes, in your perplexing world, we are clearly the nearest safe country to Syria.

      • mancunius
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        1. Ex-servicemen – and servicemen – were shamefully treated by successive Labour governments. If Gordon Brown had not exposed their lives and limbs to IEDs by depriving them of securely armoured vehicles, there would not be quite so many wounded, or with PTSD – the consequences of which have led them to be homeless.
        That has nothing to do with the the strawman of ‘foreigners’ you are curiously obsessed with, and seem to always identify with asylum seekers.

        I doubt if it is absolutely essential to ‘run’ a full 4,243 km (the distance between Aleppo and London), through a dozen safe countries where a refugee could easily apply for asylum.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Tell him to contact the charity Help for Heroes who do good work with our wonderfful and brave ex soldiers.

      The Govt should ensure every ex armed service person is generously looked after.

    • APL
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      bigneil: “do any of you in parliament, who are welcoming the foreign freeloaders while throwing our servicemen onto the scrapheap, have a conscience?”

      That’d be a no.

    • Bob
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Clearly not enough of them.

      • Bob
        Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        They’re too busy virtue signalling about various minorities to worry about genuinely deserving cases.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Great post Bigneil. I often wonder how our soldiers end up having to get help from the likes of TV programmes such as Big build SOS. It is disgusting the they don’t always get the help they need and yet we have to bend over backwards for immigrants who have given us nothing.

  52. Pragmatist
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    “the UK economy is entering a “menopausal” era.”~ words attributed to the The Bank of England’s deputy governor Ben Broadbent. He shouldn’t be castigated. At his age it probably
    just slipped out.

  53. ian
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    If Italy messes up, you can watch the financial city of London go right down the toilet, with you lot on the hook for biggest bailout in this country history, with you paying for it.

  54. a-tracy
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I consider myself a bit of a monarchist rather than a Republican, there must be something about the year ..18 as the German’s did away with their noble rankings in 1918. The Lords, however, is no longer representative, who put all those Lib Dems in, why did May put Clegg in to give him a voice after he was ousted by the people?

    They are abusing their powers we should give them an opportunity of reforming themselves, cutting numbers, being more representative of the voters on a pr system. Lords and Ladies that don’t vote and don’t participate retire them off (if they retire do they keep the title until their death?).

    The newspapers are going over the top with this wedding to a point we’re all completely bored with it now and will be glad when it is over.

    • mancunius
      Posted May 16, 2018 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      a-tracy – it’s a typical MSM ‘Oh no don’t look there, that’s all so unpleasant: look over here instead, this is much nicer!’

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 17, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Agreed, they’ve killed the joy in it, its a complete and utter turn off now. If it’s sunny tomorrow no-one will pay them the slightest bit of attention for all this posturing – its a big mistake by the monarchy they should have slapped down the press.

  55. Richard
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I too was another one of the 165,000 who received a response from the ‘Cabinet Office’ to our rquest for a referendum on abolition of the HoL:
    “Whilst comprehensive reform is not a priority, the Government will also continue to work to ensure that the House of Lords remains relevant and effective by addressing issues such as its size.
    The Lord Speaker’s committee on the size of the House of Lords, chaired by Lord Burns, made recommendations in October 2017 on ways of reducing the size of the House without requiring legislation. In response, The Prime Minister has written to the Lord Speaker and agreed to continue with the restraint she has shown so far when making appointments to the House.”

    I’m aghast … The Doormat Strategy continues to be HMG/ Cabinet Office policy.

    Please can we instead we have a less useless PM who is fully prepared to appoint 300 Brexiteer Lords (with a further 100 in reserve), whatever is necessary, if the HoL continue to actively frustrate both Brexit and their own reform.

  56. duncan
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    It breaks my heart to see what politicians are doing to my country. Their contempt for democracy. Their contempt for our freedoms. Their contempt for our press freedoms. Their contempt for our nation’s independence and its sovereignty.

    This PM’s concerted and disturbing politicisation of our country and its people using the strategies and techniques of the PC and liberal left politics. She’s a disgrace and an offence to our party and its history

    It’s bad enough having to tolerate the contempt for democracy and its processes expressed by Lords and Marxist Labour and their vile clan but to witness this PM openly deceiving the British people with her Customs Union tosh is too depressing to tolerate.

    My party, some of its MPs and my party’s leader are a stain on our nation

    Sometimes in life doing the right thing (leaving the EU) is far more important than matters of convenience or popularity

  57. Richard
    Posted May 16, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    The big advantage of abolition (as an interim step) is that the Existing Vested Interests of the HoL cease and it is then possible to have a proper Zero-Based Review of what will be best for the UK.

    Failing that the very realistic threat of abolition will be the only way to concentrate minds and put an end to their Lords’ interminable obfuscations.

    The Doormat Strategy gives Successful Reform a probability of precisely zero.

  58. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 17, 2018 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    The time has come to get rough with the various Remoaners, beginning with the House of Lords. Simply ask Her Majesty to appoint 500 Eurosceptic peers PDQ.

    It would also help tremendously if a senior backbencher were to make a major speech in the House of Commons extolling the virtues of No Deal and how that might pan out.

  59. Ron Olden
    Posted May 17, 2018 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    These Lords are attempting to pervert the meaning of the Salisbury Convention.

    The fact that a single party didn’t win an an overall majority, does not alter the fact that a substantial majority of MPs in the Commons were elected on the same manifesto pledge.

    It’s the manifesto pledge that is operative in the Salisbury Convention, not the Party that advances it.

    In fact, it wouldn’t even matter if the pledge was present only in the Tory Party’s manifesto alone.

    If the House of Commons musters a majority in support of the Governing Party’s manifesto pledge, it doesn’t matter which party the voting members represent.

    The limitation of the powers of the Lords in the first place however, had nothing to do with limiting the House of Commons powers. The House of Lords’ powers were curtailed to reflect the fact that they have no constitutional legitimacy whatsoever.

    The only legitimate purpose of having an unelected Second Chamber at all, is to enable detailed scrutiny of legislation, in the hope that any defects in it will be noticed and the Commons asked to consider rectifying them.

    If the Commons has already said No once, that’s the end of it.

    The House of Lords supposed function, could be much better carried out by a series of special committees drawn from people with knowledge appropriate to the matter under consideration.

    They should be able to make their observations on legislation to the House of Commons, and the House of Commons left to consider any suitable amendments once, and once only.

    The time to get rid of the Lords is now. Then, when the Palace of Westminster is refitted, they can get rid of the Lords Chamber altogether.

  60. Lifelogic
    Posted May 17, 2018 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    “Less useless than May” well this should not be too hard to find except that Tories MP seem to want a useless leader. They always seem to choose one. Even Thatcher failed to do a lot of of what was needed.

  61. nigel seymour
    Posted May 17, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Every leaver should check out Lord Framlingham and in particular his speech yesterday. No ‘Law’ Lords rhetoric or bullshit just words that the average Joe Blow can understand. I noticed Patten creeping up to see what the good Lord was articulating… I’ve used the clip service so I can look back on his words when we leave (if indeed we ever do) .

  62. Rien Huizer
    Posted May 17, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Time for the UK to get a proper (written) constitution that i.a. sets out what the Lords (or Senate) are supposed to do, what the effect of their work should be on decisions of the Commons, how they should be appointed (via elections or otherwise) and splits review of laws from judiciary activities. The rest of the Engslih speaking world is far ahead and maybe for good reasons. And when doing that, why not appoint a governor general for the UK, spinning off the current incarnation of royalty to the Commonwealth…

    • NickC
      Posted May 17, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Rien, Your ignorance of the UK, and English, way of conducting our affairs astounds even me; and I can assure you I already hold you in very low regard. Politically and legally we work on the principle of precedence. We have a written constitution, thank you – it’s just not written all in one place. The last thing we need is a vacuous politically correct single document that ignores the basis of our common law.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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