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Letter of the Lords - October 25, 2013

Letter of the Lords - October 25, 2013

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Published by libdemlords
Liberal Democrat Lords newsletter from October 25, 2013
Liberal Democrat Lords newsletter from October 25, 2013

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Published by: libdemlords on Oct 25, 2013
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02/05/2014

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 Welcome to the latest edition of Letter of the Lords
 –
the weekly newsletter aimed at shining a light
into the work the party’s peers are doing in the second chamber. Why not let us know what you think?
Email the newsletter onlordsmedia@libdems.org.uk
.And that’s also the address to give to friends,
 
colleagues and loved ones to sign up too. Plus don’t forget to keep up to date with the blog
atlibdemlords.org.ukand follow us on Twitter @LibDemLords. 
 
IN THE CHAMBER
 The Lords this morning saw the Second Reading of 
Lord Paul Tyler 
’s Private Member’s Bill with a
very simple aim
 –
to give the vote to all 16- and 17-year-olds.TheVoting Age (Comprehensive Reduction) Billwould lower the voting age to 16 for all elections and
 
referenda in the UK, a longstanding Lib Dem commitment.Referring to the fact that 16- and 17-year-
olds will be able to vote in next year’s Scottishindependence referendum, Lord Tyler told peers: ―The Government have in principle accepted the
case for the extension of the franchise to 16 and 17 year-olds. I pay tribute to my right honourablefriend the Prime Minister 
and I never thought that in 50 years of public life I could say that
and tomy right honourable friend Michael Moore, for their role in achieving the Edinburgh agreement.
―The proper role of these young peop
le to decide on the future of Scotland was accepted in that
agreement. They will now be entitled to vote in next year’s referendum. It was acknowledged by the
Coalition Government that in such far-reaching decisions, which could affect their whole lives, the
whole nation would benefit from their opportunity to participate.‖
 
It would be ―intolerable‖ if people in different parts of the UK were to have completely different rights,
Lord Tyler said.
―That would not be a United Kingdom,‖ he said. ―Other minor ma
tters
some quite important,perhaps
may be devolved, but surely we cannot sustain the argument that the franchise, the mostbasic building block of our representative democracy in the UK, should not be approached on acoherent and cohesive basis? The Const
itution Committee of your Lordships’ House has frequently
urged the Government to be consistent and to avoid ad hoc change in this field. I trust that it will itself 
be consistent in this respect.‖
 
 
The Bill will now move on to its Committee stage.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
 
―In due course, Liverpool may get a spur off High Speed 2. This may be after our time, though whoknows, some of us may live forever. That is unlikely but we can try.‖
 
Lord Tony Greaves
injects thetricky issue of immortality into the trickier one of a new high-speed railway line.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
 
―@LibDemLords
Phil Willis just got Govt to agree certificate for training healthcare assistants. Another great @LibDems#Carebill
success‖
 
Baroness Liz Barker 
(@LizBarkerLords) pays tribute to PhilWillis winning amajor concession on the Care Billcurrently being scrutinised in the Lords.
 
Four new Lib Dem peers were introduced in the House this week. On Monday
Lord RumiVerjee
and
Baroness Alison Suttie
entered the ranks, being joined on Tuesday by
Lord JeremyPurvis
and on Thursday by
Baroness Christine Humphreys
 
 –
the latter taking the unusual step of taking the oath in Welsh. Meanwhile,
Lord Ian Wrigglesworth
made his maiden speech in the Houseon the
membership of the European Union.In a well-received speech
 
focusing on his native north-east, Lord Wrigglesworth told peers that uncertainty over our future in the
EU would mean future car plants being built ―in Spain and not in Swindon, Solihull, Halewoo
d or 
Sunderland‖.
 
Lord John Sharkey
’s Private Member’s Bill pardoning Alan Turing
 
.The pioneering computer scientist was convicted of homosexuality in 1952. He said: ―With the
passing of my Bill at Committee stage, we edged a step closer to granting Alan Turing the free pardonhe so clearly deserves. I hope my Bill now becomes law and we can acknowledge the debt we owe to
him.‖ Turing’s work in cracking the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park during World War II was vital in
changing the course of the war and saving countless lives.
 
 –
happily, the Transparency Bill in shorthand
 –
at its Second Reading. The Bill,which has proved controversial, is aimed at taking big money out of politics, but
Lord PaulTyler 
 
expressed concern at the way it had been presented. He said: ―In many years of public life I
cannot recall a set of proposals that have been so misunderstood and, to some extent,misrepresented. I hope... we will be able to reassure the many charities and smaller campaign groupsthat have been in touch with us that the Bill is not about stopping them contributing to our democracy. As my noble friend the Minister said, the target is the very wealthy and powerful interests that wouldseek to influence executive decisions and our elections, and which evidently feel threatened by
greater transparency.‖
  And as mentioned above,
Lord John Shipley
 
led a debate on Britain’s economy and the EU. Telling
peers that much of the debate in
the media ―has tended to concentrate on issues other than economicbenefit‖, he said: ―We must strengthen our economy, not weaken it, and we can only do that through
continued membership of the EU, with the UK at the heart of EU decision-
making.‖
 
BEST OF THE BLOG
 This week on the Lib Dem Lords blog
, Lord John Shipley
Lord Mike Storey
took Russell Brand to task
 
WHAT’S COMING UP
 
MONDAY
 
Lord Brian Paddick
will be introduced as a peer.Peers continue to debate three major Bills: the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigningand Trade Union Administration Bill, the Energy Bill and the Children and Families Bill.
TUESDAY
 
Lord Andrew Philips
will ask the Government how it will help those who enforce the tax laws.

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