Justin Tomlinson

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" »

22 Oct 2012 15:31:06

Conservative Select Committee appointments announced

By Matthew Barrett
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SelectCommittesGuido Fawkes has a list of new Conservative members of Select Committees, from Graham Brady's office. Mr Brady explains: "For the following committees I have received the same number of nominations as there are vacancies, the following are therefore elected". The appointments are:

Communities and Local Government

John Stevenson (Carlisle), replacing George Hollingbery (Meon Valley), who became PPS to Theresa May at the reshuffle.


Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), replacing Damian Hinds (East Hampshire), who became PPS to Mark Francois, the Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.


Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole), replacing Dr Daniel Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich), who was made the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Health Services.

Continue reading "Conservative Select Committee appointments announced" »

17 Dec 2011 17:38:06

Nick Gibb condemns a "destructive perception of what success means" for young people in debate on financial education

By Matthew Barrett
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In Parliament on Thursday, the Member for North Swindon, Justin Tomlinson, introduced a motion to promote financial education in schools. The text of the motion was:

Tomlinson Justin"That this House notes that young people today grow up in an increasingly complex financial world requiring them to make difficult decisions for the future, often without the necessary level of financial literacy; believes that financial education will help address the national problem of irresponsible borrowing and personal insolvency and that teaching people about budgeting and personal finance will help equip the workforce with the necessary skills to succeed in business and drive forward economic growth; further believes that the country has a duty to equip its young people properly through education to make informed financial decisions; and calls on the Government to consider the provision of financial education as part of the current curriculum review."

Continue reading "Nick Gibb condemns a "destructive perception of what success means" for young people in debate on financial education" »

31 Oct 2011 07:34:32

A fourth e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures - on financial education

By Matthew Barrett
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Screen shot 2011-07-29 at 09.00.22The government e-petition website has been in the news recently, following the Commons debate on a European referendum in which an e-petition on the subject was regularly cited as justification for a referendum (erroneously, as it happens - the leading e-petition calling for a European referendum has just over 39,000 signatures, which is some way short of the 100,000 needed to be considered for debate in the House).

A fourth e-petition has just joined the ranks of those with 100,000 signatures or more - "Make financial education a compulsory part of the school curriculum". 

The text of the petition is as follows:

"It's a national disgrace that in the 20 years since introducing student loans, we’ve educated our youth into debt when they go to university, but never about debt. We're a financially illiterate nation, with millions caught by misselling, overborrowing and being ripped off. Is it any surprise we’ve just had a debt imbued financial crisis. This must change. Companies spend billions on marketing and teaching their staff to sell – it's time we got buyers' training. The most cost effective way to start is to ensure every child in the country gets a basic understanding of personal finance & consumer rights before leaving school. This isn’t a large resource requirement. Some schools already do it, but the majority don’t and that needs to end. Unless it's compulsory, head teachers can’t prioritise for it. 97% of people support this, yet no one will take up the baton. We have one of the world’s most complex consumer economies; it's time our children were taught how to thrive and survive in it."

Continue reading "A fourth e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures - on financial education" »

5 Jul 2011 14:25:27

Tory MPs debate 4,500% interest rates charged by legal lenders

By Tim Montgomerie
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Yesterday in the Commons Tory MPs voiced concern about legal financial companies that charge very high interest rates. They were speaking in response to proposals from the Labour benches.

PARISH NEIL Learning the lessons from anti-smoking campaigns, Neil Parish MP called for health warnings to be added to the advertising of companies such as Wonga: "[Wonga] can charge up to 4,500% interest on its loans. Uncle Buck can charge 2,500% and PaydayUK can charge 1,200%. With a base rate of 0.5%, how can charging such inordinate interest be justified? These companies—I call them all loan sharks, to be blunt—travel around our poorest areas... I know that Ministers are not keen on dealing with this problem through regulation, but perhaps we should consider our approach to smoking: we do not stop people smoking—although we have banned it in public places—but we put large health warnings on cigarette packets. The Financial Services Authority, or whichever body will be responsible, should at the very least take action so that there are serious health warnings for those considering taking out these loans."

The MP for Tiverton and Honiton also supported greater support for credit unions: "About 50% of the population in Ireland are involved in credit unions. In the US and Canada, the figure is about 40%, in Australia and New Zealand it is about 25%, but in the UK it is only 2%. I know that the Government are looking into increasing the availability of credit unions across the country, but we need to act much faster. In the meantime, we have to act against these companies, the loan sharks, because people who take out the loans sometimes have to pay back 10, 20, 30 or 100 times as much as they originally borrowed."

Continue reading "Tory MPs debate 4,500% interest rates charged by legal lenders" »

28 Aug 2010 06:44:52

Justin Tomlinson MP answers ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010

Here is the latest in our series of Twenty Questions with members of the Class of 2010...

Tomlinson Justin Justin Tomlinson was elected MP for Swindon North with a majority of 7,060.

1. What is your earliest political memory? Kenny Everett, Big Hands - 'Let's Bomb Russia' in 1983!  Mind you, at that age I was more impressed by the 'Big Hands' than the underlying political message.

2. Complete the sentence: “I’m a Conservative because… We are on the side of those who are prepared to work hard and make a positive contribution to society."

3. Who is your political hero and why? Margaret Thatcher, she had the courage, drive and determination to face down the loony left hell bent on destroying our country.

4. When did you decide you wanted to become an MP? I stood as the Conservative candidate in the school elections in 1992 which I really enjoyed.  However, like Neil Kinnock's Sheffield rally I failed spectacularly by only securing 2 votes (half of which were mine!).  I realised I would need to improve if I was ever to become an MP!

5. What is your reading material of choice? With newspapers I read a mix of The Sun, The Express, Daily Mail and The Times Online, I keep an eye on events through BBC News and ConservativeHome. which gives a good mix of the issues that matter, plus excellent sports coverage! Then at the end of the day (or on holiday) to unwind, I enjoy reading fiction, horror and sci-fi with a sprinkling of history or sport.

6. Who is your favourite political interviewer/presenter on TV or radio? Andrew Neil, lethal with his timing and humour.

7. If you could run any government department, which would it be and why? A tough choice between Department of Sport (mostly for fun!) or Department of Business, Innovation & Skills as having spent 10 years running my own small business I understand the importance of championing entrepreneurs who are willing to take the risks to become the next generation of wealth creators.

8. Which non-Conservative politician do you most admire? Liz Kendall MP, courteous and one to watch.

9. Who would you least want to get stuck with in a House of Commons lift? David Lammy MP literally seems to shake with hatred of all things Conservative!  I wouldn’t want to ruin his day!

10. If you were in the US, would you be a Republican or a Democrat? Republican, mostly.

11. What do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax? TV: Outnumbered, Inbetweeners, Gillette Soccer Saturday, The Apprentice, Peep Show, The Office and Top Gear.  I also enjoy socialising with friends and spending far too much time playing Football Manager, with as much 'success' as Fabio Capello!

12. What is your favourite book? House of Cards by Michael Dobbs - it helped spark an interest in the political world.

13. What is your favourite film? The Hangover.

14. What is your favourite music? I am probably alone amongst MPs on this front, but I love Dance music - David Guetta, The Prodigy, Cut Up Boys etc.  In my defence, I was a nightclub manager for a few years after finishing University.

15. What would be your ideal meal and where would you eat it? Sunday Roast, anywhere and everywhere!

16. What is your favourite holiday destination? I love the Far East, well worth the long haul.  Though had I lost the election, I had planned to head to South Africa to watch England in the World Cup, lucky escape there!

17. What do you most want to achieve during your first term in Parliament? As a local resident of North Swindon myself, I am driven by making sure I have made a positive tangible difference to our local area.  Nationally I am working hard to push for greater personal financial training in schools, improved quality of life within new developments - in particular greater open space for 'jumpers for goal posts' - and promoting and supporting small shops within our communities and high streets.

18. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about yourself. I am a football stats geek!

19. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about your constituency. We are currently twinned with Disneyland, Florida!

Picture 1 20. Share with us your most amusing story or favourite anecdote from the campaign trail. We managed to secure a high profile spot in front of the Asda Superstore.  We planned balloons, leaflets, stickers and a team of enthusiastic helpers to promote our message, but forgot to decide who would actually organise this.  Anyway, I turned up armed only with a broken decorator's table (pictured, right) which collapsed if you had anything more than a few leaflets on it - all we managed was to secure many looks of confusion/pity rather swathes of new supporters!

> Previously: Nicky Morgan MP

12 Jun 2010 16:27:41

Justin Tomlinson laments the lack of open spaces in new housing developments whilst Andrew Bingham has a money saving idea for local councils

Here are excerpts from the maiden speeches this week from two former local councillors elected to represent their patch in the Commons.

Tomlinson Justin Justin Tomlinson, who gained Swindon North, deplored the lack of open spaces in new build developments:

“I am concerned about the long-term quality-of-life issues arising from new build development. In the 10 years in which I was a councillor, I represented a predominantly new build area. When I was first elected in 2000, we had just 3,000 houses—I was very grateful when it took me just a few hours to deliver leaflets to all of them—but when I stood down, there were nearly 10,000 houses, and it took many weeks to deliver leaflets. I saw lots of examples of good development—I live in the area myself—but there were examples, too, of things that were not good, and we are storing up problems for the future, predominantly arising from the increasingly high density of new developments.

“The first area of concern stems from the lack of open spaces and parks. That was partly down to the changing classification. Green space was taken into account, but it included hedges and heritage spaces—basically, places where people could not put down jumpers for goal posts. I have a great fear that future generations will miss out on the inspiration of sport. When I was young and Wimbledon was on for a fortnight, we would play tennis. When the Tour de France was on, out came the bikes. When the World and FA cups were on, out came the football. When the Ashes cricket was on, out came the cricket bats, and I was proud to emulate the failings often of some or our national sporting icons.

“Without those open spaces, it is no surprise that child obesity has increased. Too often, we look at improving leisure centres, which is a commendable thing, but the lion’s share of sporting activity takes place in open spaces. I am concerned that the lack of such space will fuel antisocial behaviour, as young people’s endless, enthusiastic energy will not be burnt off.”

“The size of household gardens has shrunk by a third since 1960. In fact, 3.3 million people do not have access to their own private garden, so it is no wonder that the amount of time that children spend in their back garden under parental supervision has halved since the 1960s, fuelling child obesity. I enjoyed the outdoors, but too often children nowadays miss out on that.”

Andrew Bingham Commons Meanwhile, earlier in the week, the new High Peak MP Andrew Bingham explained how his local council saved money without affecting front line services:

“As we move into the stormy waters ahead caused by the deficit left by the Labour party, I commend to the House the actions of the local High Peak borough council which, when it entered a strategic alliance with the neighbouring Staffordshire Moorlands district council, has driven out over £1 million of saving, yet managed to maintain and improve front-line services for its residents.

“The strategic alliance continues to make strides forward under the leadership of Councillor Tony Ashton, together with his team of Conservative councillors and supported by the excellent and determined staff of that council. This small borough council has shown the way to us all. The savings are there to be made, and we should heed its example.”

Jonathan Isaby