Peter Aldous MP

5 Dec 2012 11:09:15

70 Tory MPs vote to repeal the Human Rights Act

By Matthew Barrett
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BACON RICHARDYesterday in Parliament, Richard Bacon, a Conservative backbencher, tried to introduce a Bill which would repeal the Human Rights Act 1998. One of Mr Bacon's lines of argument was that the legal requirement for Ministers to amend legislation - without a vote in Parliament - in order to comply with European human rights legislation - is "fundamentally undemocratic":

"Under section 10, a Minister of the Crown may make such amendments to primary legislation as are considered necessary to enable the incompatibility to be removed by the simple expedient of making an order. In effect, because the accepted practice is that the United Kingdom observes its international obligations, a supranational court can impose its will against ours. In my view this is fundamentally undemocratic."

Mr Bacon also compellingly argued that the controversial social issues that judges often like to get involved in should be decided by "elected representatives and not by unelected judges":

"[T]here is no point in belonging to a club if one is not prepared to obey its rules. The solution is therefore not to defy judgments of the Court, but rather to remove the power of the Court over us. ... Judges do not have access to a tablet of stone not available to the rest of us which enables them to discern what our people need better than we can possibly do as their elected, fallible, corrigible representatives. There is no set of values that are so universally agreed that we can appeal to them as a useful final arbiter. In the end they will always be shown up as either uselessly vague or controversially specific. Questions of major social policy, whether on abortion, capital punishment, the right to bear firearms or workers rights, should ultimately be decided by elected representatives and not by unelected judges."

Continue reading "70 Tory MPs vote to repeal the Human Rights Act" »

1 Dec 2012 08:18:01

A productive day in Parliament - with progress on banning illegal scrap metal dealing

By Matthew Barrett
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PARLIAMENTGenerally speaking, Fridays are unproductive days in Parliament. They are used to consider Private Member's Bills, which are often talked out by MPs, some of whom are serious in their opposition, and some of whom have been asked to block a Bill by a party hierarchy (not always their own). With the possibility of a PMB passing through to the next stage of consideration by Parliament often being risky, a day when several PMBs go through is notable.

Such a day happened yesterday. There were PMBs passed through in both Houses. In the Commons, Bills included:

  • Mental Health (Discrimination) (No. 2) Bill - Gavin Barwell
  • Marine Navigation (No. 2) Bill - Sheryll Murray
  • Presumption of Death Bill - John Glen
  • Mobile Homes Bill - Peter Aldous

And in the Lords, two went through:

  • Disabled Persons' Parking Badges Bill - Simon Kirby/Baroness Thomas of Winchester
  • Scrap Metal Dealers Bill - Richard Ottaway/Baroness Browning

The titles might be a little dry, but they dealt with common-sense causes, including stopping non-disabled drivers using disabled car parking spaces, and trying to stop illegal scrap metal dealing - often involving the terrible crime of stealing from churches and graves.

24 Nov 2012 08:54:59

The 118 Tory MPs the Daily Mail lists as being opposed to gay marriage

By Matthew Barrett
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The Daily Mail this morning reports on the 118 Conservative MPs who have written to constituents indicating their opposition to gay marriage proposals. The Mail says "Their opposition has been expressed in letters and emails sent to constituents who have contacted them with their own concerns", and points out that if these MPs voted against proposals, it would constitute the biggest Tory rebellion in modern times. However, Equalities Minister (and Secretary of State for Culture) Maria Miller pointed out on Twitter that since any vote on the issue would be a free vote, it would not technically be counted as a rebellion.

I have listed the MPs from the Mail's story below.

  1. Nigel Adams (Selby and Ainsty)
  2. Peter Aldous (Waveney)
  3. Tony Baldry (Banbury)
  4. Guto Bebb (Aberconwy)
  5. Henry Bellingham (North West Norfolk)
  6. Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley)
  7. Jake Berry (Rossendale and Darwen)
  8. Andrew Bingham (High Peak)
  9. Brian Binley (Northampton South)
  10. Bob Blackman (Harrow East)
  11. Nicola Blackwood (Oxford West and Abingdon)
  12. Peter Bone (Wellingborough)
  13. Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West)
  14. Julian Brazier (Canterbury)
  15. Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire)
  16. Steve Brine (Winchester)
  17. Fiona Bruce (Congleton)
  18. Robert Buckland (South Swindon)
  19. Conor Burns (Bournemouth West)*
  20. Simon Burns (Chelmsford)
  21. David Burrowes (Enfield Southgate)
  22. Alun Cairns (Vale of Glamorgan)
  23. Douglas Carswell (Clacton)
  24. William Cash (Stone)
  25. Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham)
  26. Christopher Chope (Christchurch)
  27. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds)
  28. Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal)
  29. Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon)
  30. Stephen Crabb (Preseli Pembrokeshire)
  31. David Davies (Monmouth)
  32. Glyn Davies (Montgomeryshire)
  33. Philip Davies (Shipley)
  34. David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden)
  35. Nick de Bois (Enfield North)
  36. Caroline Dinenage (Gosport)
  37. Richard Drax (South Dorset)
  38. Charlie Elphicke (Dover)
  39. Jonathan Evans (Cardiff North)
  40. David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)
  41. George Freeman (Mid Norfolk)
  42. Richard Fuller (Bedford)
  43. Roger Gale (North Thanet)
  44. Edward Garnier (Harborough)
  45. John Glen (Salisbury)
  46. Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham)
  47. Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby)
  48. Robert Halfon (Harlow)
  49. Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge)
  50. John Hayes (South Holland and The Deepings)
  51. Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne and Sheppey)
  52. George Hollingbery (Meon Valley)
  53. Philip Hollobone (Kettering)
  54. Adam Holloway (Gravesham)
  55. Gerald Howarth (Aldershot)
  56. Stewart Jackson (Peterborough)
  57. Gareth Johnson (Dartford)
  58. David Jones (Clwyd West)
  59. Marcus Jones (Nuneaton)
  60. Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest)
  61. Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire)
  62. Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire)
  63. Philip Lee (Bracknell)
  64. Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford)
  65. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough)
  66. Julian Lewis (New Forest East)
  67. Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater and West Somerset)
  68. Peter Lilley (Hitchen and Harpenden)
  69. Jonathan Lord (Woking)
  70. Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham)
  71. Anne Main (St Albans)
  72. Paul Maynard (Blackpool North and Cleveleys)
  73. Anne-Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)
  74. Karl McCartney (Lincoln)
  75. Anne McIntosh (Thirsk and Malton)
  76. Stephen McPartland (Stevenage)
  77. Esther McVey (Wirral West)
  78. Steve Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock)
  79. Nicky Morgan (Loughborough)
  80. David Nuttall (Bury North)
  81. Matthew Offord (Hendon)
  82. Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton)
  83. Priti Patel (Witham)
  84. Owen Paterson (North Shropshire)
  85. Mark Pawsey (Rugby)
  86. Mike Penning (Hemel Hempstead)
  87. Christopher Pincher (Tamworth)
  88. Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin)
  89. John Redwood (Wokingham)
  90. Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset)
  91. Simon Reevell (Dewsbury)
  92. Andrew Robathan (South Leicestershire)
  93. Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury)
  94. Andrew Rosindell (Romford)
  95. David Ruffley (Bury St Edmunds)
  96. David Rutley (Macclesfield)
  97. Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire)
  98. Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell)
  99. Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills)
  100. Henry Smith (Crawley)
  101. John Stevenson (Carlisle)
  102. Bob Stewart (Beckenham)
  103. Gary Streeter (South West Devon)
  104. Mel Stride (Central Devon)
  105. Robert Syms (Poole)
  106. David Tredinnick (Bosworth)
  107. Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight)
  108. Andrew Tyrie (Chichester)
  109. Paul Uppal (Wolverhampton South West)
  110. Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes)
  111. Ben Wallace (Wyre and Preston North)
  112. Robert Walter (North Dorset)
  113. James Wharton (Stockton South)
  114. Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley)
  115. John Whittingdale (Maldon)
  116. Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire)
  117. Gavin Williamson (South Staffordshire)
  118. Jeremy Wright (Kenilworth and Southam)
* Conor Burns has stated that he will not be voting against gay marriage but may abstain.

20 Apr 2012 06:33:09

Who are the 301? The Tory MPs who want to refresh the 1922 Committee

By Matthew Barrett
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The 301 group is perhaps the most active and important group of backbench Tory MPs. Tim Montgomerie reported last week that three MPs - Charlie Elphicke, George Hollingbery and Priti Patel - want to organise a candidate to be elected to the 1922 Committee's executive who will give the '22 a focus on policy and campaigning. The Spectator's James Forsyth blogged that "The vote for their candidate, and his opponent, will give us the best idea yet of where the backbenches are at the moment politically. Indeed, I expect that the machinery of the 301 group, the most pro-Cameron of all the backbench groups, will be thrown behind the Elphicke-Hollingbery-Patel slate."

To organise or endorse candidates for the '22 is certainly the most power a backbench group has yet wielded in this Parliament. In this profile, I'll be looking at the origins, members, aims and plans of the group to get a sense of what the group wants to campaign for.

Origins of the group

HopkinsLeeThe 301 was first organised by Kris Hopkins (Keighley), a former soldier and leader of Bradford Council, and Jessica Lee (Erewash), a former barrister, and now Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve. The group began with small meetings of a handful of MPs who were "concerned that the narrative in Parliament was not representative of the conversation" that MPs had had with the electorate while campaigning during the 2010 general election, and also dissatisfied with the fact that the mechanisms of debate amongst backbenchers, and between the back and front benches, were not conducive to trying to correct that narrative. Each of those attending brought a friend, and so on, until after three meetings the group reached 60 members.

Continue reading "Who are the 301? The Tory MPs who want to refresh the 1922 Committee" »

17 Apr 2012 07:59:19

What is the 40 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the MPs trying to keep hold of the most marginal Tory seats

By Matthew Barrett
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I recently profiled the 2020 and Free Enterprise groups of Tory MPs. Those two groups are formed by ideology: MPs are attracted to the groups because, in the case of the Free Enterprise Group, members wish to open up markets and make Britain business-friendly enough to compete with other world class economies. The 2020's members want to renew and refresh Project Cameron, while considering how the country should look after a majority Conservative government.

The 40 is rather different as it is a group of MPs brought together solely by necessity - the members are those MPs who were elected in 2010 with the narrowest majorities in the Party.

Origins of the group and key members


The group was founded early last year by Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood), Graham Evans (Weaver Vale), and David Mowat (Warrington South). There is no rigid structure to the group as such, given its non-ideological purpose, but when it meets, the convener is usually David Mowat. Other key "executive" members of the group include Evans and Ollerenshaw, as well as Amber Rudd (Hastings and Rye), James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis) and Ben Gummer (Ipswich).

Continue reading "What is the 40 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the MPs trying to keep hold of the most marginal Tory seats" »

14 Oct 2010 16:39:43

Peter Aldous MP: The future of the inshore fishing fleet on the East Coast

Peter Aldous Commons Peter Aldous is MP for Waveney and here he previews the adjournment debate he is introducing tonight on the subject of the inshore fishing fleet on the East Coast.

Much of Lowestoft, as it stands today, was built on the back of the fishing industry. As well as a substantial deep sea fleet, a network of supporting industries grew up, including ship building, net and rope manufacturing and processing factories.

The railway used to run into the fish market and fish that was sold in the morning was put on London dinner tables in the evening. “Fresh fish from Lowestoft”, was and still is an invocative phrase, though sometimes today it rings hollow.

The fishing industry here has been decimated and is now facing a fight for its very survival. Most of the deep sea trawlers have long gone, as have all but one of the shipyards and many of the supporting industries. However an inshore fleet remains, which with the right policy framework can not only survive but also flourish.

The Problems
The Common Fisheries Policy is too cumbersome, unwieldy and centralised and fails to respond to local problems. The regime palpably fails to achieve its prime objective of conserving fish stocks and does untold damage to the marine environment. A huge quantity of young fish are caught before they mature and there are inadequate incentives for the long term management of stocks.

The British under ten metre fleet are coming out of this the worst. They make up 85% of the British fishing fleet, but they get just under 4% of the quota available. The quota system of conserving fish stocks has spurned the obscene practice of discard. Fishermen go out to sea and once they have reached their quota they have to throw back perfectly healthy fish which they are not able to land without a criminal prosecution hanging over their heads.

One Lowestoft fisherman has told me how only two weeks ago in five days fishing he had to throw back dead 1300 kilograms of skate. There are 8 other similar sized boats, which would have been doing the same thing. At a guesstimate that makes 11700 kilograms of dead skate being thrown back in the sea in five days, 11.5 tons in one fishery. This figure multiplied to take into account what has been happening around the British coast is mindboggling. In this fisherman’s own words this not only stops him from making a living, but is decimating a national resource. If he was allowed to land 20 per cent of his discards he could cover his expenses.

Another consequence of the current system is that quota has become a tradable commodity, with legal entitlement. It is often owned by faceless investors, who have no connection with the fishing industry, who lease it out to fishermen at a substantial profit.

The Way Forward
If this regime remains unchanged, the fleet, both in Lowestoft and elsewhere around the UK coast will cease to exist.  There must be a move away from the current top down micro management. The EUs role should set high level objectives, not get involved in the day to day management of fisheries around the Continent. The day to day management should be carried out locally on a self regulated basis by fishermen, scientists, such as CEFAS, who have their headquarters in Lowestoft and representatives from MMO and DEFRA. Such an approach with management decisions being taken by those who are involved in each specific fishery is very much the “big society” in action.

The quota system should be relaxed and replaced with a maximum hours at sea means of maintaining fishing stocks and controlling fishing. This will eliminate discards; fishing hours can be varied over a year to take into account stocks and weather conditions. If necessary a fishery can be closed for a short period.

The use of technology is essential in the management of fisheries, both monitoring the amount of fish caught and recording fishing activity. For example a Vessel Monitoring System (a VNS) could be fitted on vessels, providing detailed information on the state and seasonality of individual fisheries. This will provide help provide better information to assist in marine planning decisions, not only concerning fishing but also wind farms, dredging and Marine Conservation Zones. 

The forthcoming CFP reform provides an opportunity to do this. It is vital that the opportunity is grasped and I am committed to press Government to achieve the best possible realistic outcome for our fishermen.

I personally will not sit back and rest until a fishing regime that has almost destroyed the Lowestoft fishing industry is itself discarded and thrown overboard.

1 Jun 2010 14:23:47

Peter Aldous backs offshore renewables while Chris Heaton-Harris attacks onshore wind farms in maiden speeches on energy policy

I have already noted three pro-nuclear power maiden speeches from Thursday's debate on the Queen's Speech.

Two further newly-elected Conservative MPs making their Commons debuts spoke favourably about nuclear power in speeches discussing energy policy: Peter Aldous, who gained Waveney from Labour and Chris Heaton-Harris, the former MEP who steps into Tim Boswell's shoes in Daventry.

Peter Aldous Commons Peter Aldous was keen to see offshore renewables embraced:

"We need a new and radical energy policy. If we do not have it, the lights will go out. We need to be in control of our own destiny. We need energy security. We owe it to future generations to take a major step towards a low-carbon economy. We need a mixture of energy sources—green energy sources. To me, nuclear has a vital role to play; so, too, does clean coal, and micro-energy is also of great importance, but it is offshore renewables on which I want to focus. We have to get 15% of our energy supply from renewables by 2020. We have a lot of work to do, being at just over 5% now. There are great opportunities for green jobs; I see that it is estimated that there will be 1.2 million by 2015. If we do not do the work, we will fall a long way short.

"Lowestoft has a great opportunity, and great advantages in setting about giving us those green jobs and taking us forward. It has a great location, close to where the offshore turbines will be—the East Anglia Array and the Greater Gabbard. We have a skills base, built up over many years, in fishing, in shipbuilding, and in the North Sea oil and gas industry. Those skills are transferrable, and we can make best use of them in the renewables sector."

Chris Heaton-Harris Commons Chris Heaton-Harris, meanwhile, spoke out against onshore wind farms in his constituency:

"Yelvertoft, Crick, Preston Capes, Hanging Houghton, Maidwell, Draughton, Lilbourne, Watford, Winwick and West Haddon are all stunning villages in my constituency, but they are also linked by the fact that every one of them has, or has had, proposed planning applications for wind farms with turbines of up to 126.5 metres tall, which is almost the height of the London Eye. The total number of turbines suggested for this small swathe of my constituency is 53.

"This debate is about energy, and I must mention the folly that is onshore wind energy. Not only does it dramatically change the nature of the landscape for ever—and as we have very little beautiful English countryside left, so we should try to treasure the bit we have—but it does little to help us in our battle to reduce carbon emissions. Leaving aside the damage these turbines do visually, I believe that science is not on the side of this sort of wind power. We still need to have the ability to produce 100% of our energy requirements by other means for those times when the wind is not blowing, and when the wind does stop, there is plenty of research suggesting that firing up gas and coal power stations quickly to take the slack created by the wind stopping burns those fuels so inefficiently that much of the good that has just been done is undone. I also hope Ministers will give better planning guidance to local councils that have to deal with these matters. That guidance should perhaps borrow an idea from our European friends: a 2 km exclusion zone, meaning that no turbine can be constructed within 2 km of any dwelling.

"I am a great believer in renewable, sustainable and locally produced solutions to our energy problems of the future. Plenty of miscanthus grass is grown as a true biofuel across my constituency. I also believe we have to face up to the fact that nuclear energy must play a part in the medium and long term."

Jonathan Isaby