Busy week

It has been another of those weeks.  On Monday, it was a case of teaching and then travelling to Westminster later in the day.  I had a meeting with Zoltan Kovacs, the Hungarian Minister of State for Government Communication, who wanted to brief me on the new Hungarian Constitution.  I also stayed for a division, which meant I did not get back to Hull until after 1.00 a.m.

On Tuesday, it was another case of teaching and then catching the train in the afternoon to return to Westminster.  I made it just in time for a packed meeting of the Campaign for an Effective Second Chamber.

Yesterday was the busiest day.  I got into the Palace before 9.00 a.m.  The morning was taken up with the Constitution Committee: we devoted most of the time to discussing a draft report on the European Union Bill.  After lunch there was the AGM of the Association of Conservative Peers (ACP) – I was elected to the executive committee.  I was then at the regular meeting of the ACP as well as later the 1922 Committee.

My Question for Short Debate (QSD) asking the Government what consideration they had given to establishing a Royal Commission on drug use and possession was taken at 7.45 p.m.  You can read the debate here.  All the speakers, bar the minister, weighed in to support my call for an inquiry.  There were some powerful speeches from all sides – I had support from Liberal Democrat, Labour, Conservative and cross-bench peers.  The minister was the only one who failed to engage. 

I was also in the chamber for the Public Bodies Bill.  We reached Clause 11 and Schedule 7 – the parts particularly objectionable on constitutional grounds and which the Government have accepted should come out.  I welcomed the Government’s actions, as did others.  The Clause and the Schedule were then disagreed to.  I also  rose to welcome an amendment from Lord Lester of Herne Hill, which limited ministers’ powers, and which also had cross-party support as well as that of the minister.  We finally finished the committee stage of the Bill at half-past midnight. 

I’m looking forward to an early night sometime.  It won’t be tonight as I shall be catching the last train to Hull and tomorrow night I’m speaking in Sheffield on the Parliament Act 1911 and reform of the Lords.  There’s always the weekend.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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11 Responses to Busy week

  1. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,

    What is wrong with the status quo? Think of all the journalistic employment created by Colombia’s thrity year Narco Civil War, the tremendous focus brought to social problems by having the Mexican American border turn into a battle zone while still remaining a central (one of many centers) world economic and social hub which certainly provides good jobs for assassins, gun runners and foreign spies. Then think of the Islamic terrorist who is too dirty for oil money and having heroin pay a good portion of the world terrorism budget in the 90s — then think would you really want to lose all that color and zest by undertaking serious reforms that one might not be able to stop once they got started? If you let farmers of exotic herbs deal with licensed brokers what will happen to all the jobs I described here? How about a little sympathy for the displaced.

  2. ladytizzy says:

    A Lord’s Question yesterday, Big Society: Britain in Bloom, was asked by Lady Gardner of Parkes. Was this planted?

  3. tory boy says:

    Where are you Speaking in Sheffield and can members of the public come along. How did you get back to Hull for 1pm presume you had to drive as no trains run at that time of the morning.

  4. Mark gough says:

    Slipped onto your commission of drugs debate while channel flicking. Why can’t we have such debates in main stream politics? As a republican with anti establishment tendencies what an advertisement for an unelected unaccountable revisionary chamber. As you say the only person not to engage was the minister. In my case the the allure of drugs were their illegal subversive nature if made legal it would be a capitalist plot and much less desirable.

    Whatever the answer surely it can’t be wrong to ask the question .. Thanks

    • Lord Norton says:

      Mark gough: Thanks for your comments. The advantage of the House of Lords as presently constituted is that (a) we can raise issues that otherwise may be neglected (be it for reasons of unpopularity, or falling outside the normal ambit of party conflict, or even reasons of time) and do so without fear or favour, and (b) we have members who can normally contribute from a position of knowing a great deal about the subject. The result is the sort of debate we had on Wednesday. That is by no means exceptional. The challenge now is to keep pursuing the issue. Another advantage of the Lords is that there are various mechanisms for doing so.

  5. tory boy says:

    I came across this when looking up something your old colleague who is sadly no longer with us Baroness Carnegy said in the house, are you aware of it? If so do you rate it as a good read?

    click on the link http://www.amazon.co.uk/Elizabeth-Carnegy-Baroness-Lour/dp/6131663254

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