By Matthew Barrett
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Yesterday 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."
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 in Adam Holloway MP, Alun Cairns MP, Andrea Leadsom MP, Andrew Bingham MP, Andrew Bridgen MP, Andrew Griffiths MP, Andrew Mitchell MP, Andrew Rosindell MP, Andrew Turner MP, Angie Bray MP, Anne Main MP, Anne Marie Morris MP, Bernard Jenkin, Bill Cash MP, Bill Wiggin, Bob Blackman MP, Brian Binley MP, Charles Walker MP, Charlie Elphicke MP, Christopher Pincher MP, Craig Whittaker MP, Crispin Blunt MP, Dan Byles MP, David Amess MP, David Davies MP, David Morris MP, David Nuttall MP, Gareth Johnson MP, Gerald Howarth MP, Gordon Henderson MP, Graham Evans MP, Graham Stuart MP, Heather Wheeler MP, Henry Smith MP, Iain Stewart MP, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, James Clappison MP, James Duddridge, Jason McCartney MP, John Baron MP, John Whittingdale MP, Justin Tomlinson, Karen Lumley MP, Laurence Robertson MP, Marcus Jones MP, Mark Field MP, Mark Reckless MP, Mark Spencer MP, Martin Vickers MP, Matthew Offord MP, Mike Weatherley MP, Neil Parish MP, Nick Herbert MP, Nigel Mills MP, Peter Aldous MP, Peter Bone MP, Peter Lilley MP, Philip Davies MP, Philip Hollobone MP, Richard Bacon MP, Robert Halfon MP, Robin Walker MP, Sarah Wollaston MP, Sheryll Murray MP, Stephen McPartland MP, Stephen Metcalfe MP, Stephen Mosley MP, Stephen Phillips MP, Steve Barclay MP, Stewart Jackson MP | Permalink | Comments
By Matthew Barrett
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Robert Halfon, the Member of Parliament for Harlow, and one of the most successful campaigning MPs in Parliament, has organised a motion, backed by 60 MPs from all parties, and including 41 Tories, calling for the Office of Fair Trading to investigate allegations of price-fixing by British oil companies. The full motion is worded as follows:
"That this House urges the OFT to investigate oil firms active in the UK; calls on the Government to consider the emergency actions being taken in other G20 nations to cut fuel prices, for example President Obama strengthening Federal supervision of the U.S. oil market, and increasing penalties for “market manipulation”, and Germany and Austria setting up a new oil regulator, with orders to help stabilise the price of petrol in the country; finally urges the Office of Fair Trading to note that the Federal Cartel Office in Germany is now investigating oil firms active in the UK, after allegations of price-fixing."
Friday, July 06, 2012 in Adam Holloway MP, Andrew Bingham MP, Andrew Bridgen MP, Andrew Rosindell MP, Bernard Jenkin MP, Bob Stewart MP, Brandon Lewis MP, Caroline Nokes MP, Charlie Elphicke MP, Dan Byles MP, Daniel Kawczynski MP, David Davis MP, Dominic Raab MP, Gordon Henderson MP, Graham Stuart MP, Guy Opperman MP, Jack Lopresti MP, James Clappison MP, James Morris MP, Jeremy Lefroy MP, Karl McCartney MP, Kris Hopkins MP, Mark Pawsey MP, Martin Vickers MP, Mike Weatherley MP, Nigel Mills MP, Penny Mordaunt MP, Peter Bottomley MP, Richard Harrington MP, Robert Halfon MP, Sam Gyimah MP, Sarah Newton MP, Sheryll Murray MP, Simon Kirby MP, Stephen McPartland MP, Stephen Metcalfe MP, Stephen Mosley MP, Stuart Andrew MP, Tracey Crouch MP | Permalink | Comments
By Paul Goodman
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Last year, the Prime Minister flew to Brussels amidst rumour of a leadership challenge if he didn't achieve at least a token repatriation of power.
Today, he faced the Commons not only with no such repatriation realised but with his veto - so rapturously greeted at the time by Conservative MPs - arguably valueless, since it's now clear that he won't challenge the principle of the EU institutions being used to enforce the F.U agreement.
Yet there was no mass revolt from his backbenches, and no revival to date of the leadership challenge rumours. What explains this change in the Tory atmosphere? I hope to explore the question in detail soon, but will for the moment rest with an answer I've cited before.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Alun Cairns MP, Andrea Leadsom MP, Andrew Bridgen MP, Andrew Selous MP, Andrew Tyrie MP, Anne Main MP, Ben Gummer MP, Ben Wallace MP, Bernard Jenkin MP, Bill Cash MP, Bob Blackman MP, Christopher Chope MP, Christopher Pincher MP, Dan Byles MP, David Davies MP, David Nuttall MP, David Rutley MP, Edward Leigh MP, Gavin Barwell MP, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, George Eustice MP, James Morris MP, Jo Johnson MP, John Baron MP, Julian Lewis MP, Margot James MP, Mark Reckless MP, Nadhim Zahawi MP, Neil Carmichael MP, Nicholas Soames MP, Penny Mordaunt MP, Rehman Chishti MP, Richard Ottaway MP, Richard Shepherd MP, Robert Buckland MP, Robert Halfon MP, Sarah Newton MP, Stephen Mosley MP, Tony Baldry MP | Permalink | Comments
Among the maiden speeches delivered by new Conservative MPs last Thursday were several which included particularly impassioned defences of nuclear power.
Damian Collins, who is filling the boots of Michael Howard as MP for Folkestone and Hythe, explained his particular constituency interest in nuclear energy, given that it contains the Dungeness power station:
"My constituents heard a very evident mixed message from the last Government: Dungeness was originally included on the Government’s list of possible sites for new build nuclear power stations and was then removed last autumn, and there has followed a consultation process in which my constituents have taken an active and lively interest.
"There is a great deal of support for nuclear power in my constituency. I am sure that hon. Members who have nuclear sites in their constituencies know that there is a good deal of support for them, because they generate a huge number of jobs and important support for the local economy. In my constituency, the area of Dungeness and the Romney marshes remains a relatively deprived part not only of my constituency, but of Kent and the south-east of England. Nuclear power could play an important part in my community.
"It appears from the consultation process launched by the last Government that one of the main reasons why Dungeness was taken off the Government’s list of potential sites was the objections of Natural England. It is one of the Government’s statutory consultees, and in some ways it is only doing its job, but its assessment, based on the habitats regulations, was that the loss of the vegetated shingle in the area around Dungeness power station could not be mitigated, as the landscape was unique. All of us in my constituency would agree that it is a unique landscape, but we are also mindful that the potential development land for the new power station is only 1 per cent. of the entire protected site of special scientific interest around Dungeness, Rye and Romney Marsh; we are talking about a relatively small area of development.
"When, in 1959, the Minister of Power gave consent for the first power station to be built, he reached the conclusion that the mitigation necessary, and the damage to the area, was so small that it could not be said that the building of a power station compromised the integrity of the whole site. I know that my constituents will hope that the new Government can look again at the case for nuclear power in Dungeness and will draw a similar conclusion—that it may be possible to work to mitigate the impact of the building of a new power station without compromising the integrity of the entire site, which is greatly valued not only by my constituents but by people across the country. We see the great value that nuclear power has for our community, and we would like to encourage and support it."
Meanwhile, Stephen Mosley, who gained City of Chester from Labour at the election, also added his pro-nuclear power voice to the debate, highlighting that Urenco’s uranium enrichment plant is based at Capenhurst in his constituency:
"Nuclear power is clean. It is a low-carbon source of electricity generation. We have secure long-term supplies of fuel. Modern reactors are incredibly safe, and it is a future technology in which Britain can still lead the world. Operators and owners of nuclear power stations have been jumping at the opportunities offered by the previous Government’s draft nuclear policy statement, and there are now 10 sites judged as potentially suitable on, or near to, existing stations. Those sites obviously have to be subject to the normal planning process for major projects, but the Government need to bring forward a national planning statement for ratification by Parliament as soon as possible."
"My diverse constituency also contains our beloved nuclear power station at Sizewell. I hope that we shall have many more reactors there — certainly at least two — before the end of the decade. Several offshore wind farms are also being constructed, with more planned. Suffolk Coastal is ready to take the lead in the low-carbon economy, and I hope that our coast will be able to take on the new alias of the “Green Coast”. So I welcome measures in the Gracious Speech on the low-carbon economy and the green investment bank."
However, while she paid a generous tribute to her predecessor, she opined that she would "not be John Gummer mark 2", saying that she was "very different from John".
She also had cause ot thank another John, the incumbent in the Speaker's Chair, beginning her Commons debut thus:
"Thank you for allowing me to make my maiden speech in this debate on the Gracious Speech, Mr Speaker. It is a particular pleasure to see you in your place, as I recall receiving public speaking training from you 20 years ago, so I hope that this speech shows that I have absorbed some of the wisdom that you imparted."
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