John Redwood on Tibet and House of Lords reform

Yesterday in Parliament, John Redwood asked the Foreign Secretary how he intends to police the protests when the Olympic torch comes to London. The exchange, taken from Hansard, follows.

Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): When issuing instructions on the policing for the progress of the Olympic torch in Britain, will the Government take the view that the police should allow placards to appear in any picture of the torch passing—the protestors’ view—or will they take the Chinese view that the event should be policed in such a way that no protest placards and posters will be on display?

David Miliband: If the right hon. Gentleman believes that we control the pictures that people take, he is perhaps giving greater credence than is deserved to stories about the Government’s prowess in controlling the media. Obviously, the operational matters will be taken forward by the policing authorities. I am sure that the spirit of the whole House is summed up in the idea that we want to ensure not only security for the torch and a proper celebration of the Olympic spirit, but that our own history and our own commitments to democratic rights and freedom of protest are properly respected.

Later on, Mr Redwood asked the Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor how the Government plans to ensure its proposals for reforming the Lords will be anything more than an empty gesture. The exchange, taken from Hansard, follows.

Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): Do the proposals for the reform of the House of Lords, which the right hon. Gentleman referred to in his statement, entail the abolition of all or most of the unelected places in that House? If so, how would a Government deal with the likely No vote in the Lords to such changes?

Mr. Straw: The basic terms of reference, so to speak, of the cross-party group are the decisions of this House last March in favour of an 80 per cent. or wholly elected Chamber and against any alternatives, so as faithful servants of the House, that is what we are seeking to deliver. The proposals will, of course, have to go in legislative form to both Houses. We will have to see what happens, but I hope very much that when we present proposals, they will be approved.