Tag Archives | parliament

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-14-04-16

A wrong turn in Constitutional Law…

On Friday, I called the High Court Ruling a constitutional nicety. Could be I was wrong about that. Carl Gardner is about as sober a legal commentator as it gets on the London beat. And he has serious concerns about the future implications of this ruling: Hmmm…

Charles Kennedy in Glasgow, 2009. (C) "Moniker42" on Wikimedia Commons under CC 3.0.

On Charlie Kennedy

There’s lots of talk about Charlie Kennedy’s talents and his ‘flaws’, often a euphemistic way of talking about his alcoholism. Alistair Campbell has blogged movingly and directly about their shared illness. It was never exactly a secret. I remember canvassing a man in the 2004 European election campaign, a rather grand chap in a very more…

The Most Popular Drink in Stormont’s Members Bar?

As the son of a Donegal born bar manager who spent most of his working life in Belfast, I like to sit up and listen when Belfast Barman(ager) has something to say. He’s been looking at some facts and figures about what they drink in the members bar in Stormont (yep, they’ve got one)… What more…

Mackenzie King (1874-1950), Canadian Prime Minister 1921-6, 1926-30, 1935-48

Essay: Gough Whitlam and the fragility of parliamentary democracy

However over-quoted a historical figure he may be, Winston Churchill certainly gave his global audience plenty to ponder over whenever he opened his mouth or put pen to paper.  His dictum that ‘democracy is the worst form of government, except for the all the other forms that have been tried’ still strikes ringing chords, five more…

Time for Lord Laird to retire

Discretion and tact have never been John Laird’s close friends. Good judgment has been a positive stranger.  Some of his causes like Ulster Scots were accompanied by a fair amount of indulgence, as all the world knew.  John was not part of the temperance wing of Unionism. Reviewing his artlessly revealing autobiography I described him more…

Parliamentary Written Answer of the Week…

They don’t have to be dull.  As demonstrated yesterday by the clearly well-read Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, Conservative MP, Brandon Lewis.  Here’s the nominated written question and answer Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department has any plans to deregulate the more…

“unless it’s because politicians in Northern Ireland want to be able to sue newspapers more readily…”

Some interesting added detail in the News Letter report following up on the story of the Northern Ireland Executive’s failure to consent to the Defamation Bill going through the UK Parliament.  To begin with, it’s claimed that it wasn’t the Executive after all… Last Wednesday, the News Letter revealed that the Defamation Bill – the more…

“This vote now draws a line under this issue…”

Or not, as the case may be.  ANYhoo…  A Conservative Party backed proposal to redraw UK parliamentary constituency boundaries has been defeated in the House of Commons.  As the BBC reports MPs voted by 334 to 292 to accept changes made by peers, meaning the planned constituency shake-up will be postponed until 2018 at the more…

“it is necessary to extend the Non-Jury Trial system at this time…”

In March 2010 the then-Criminal Justice Minister Paul Goggins announced a “comprehensive review [], including a full public consultation” of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 provisions for non-jury trials “before it next falls to be renewed in July 2011” – those provisions had previously been extended in 2009. Today the NI Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, announced more…

“we have delivered Mr Adams to the required destination…”

Room for one more post to follow Brian’s coda on the appointment of Gerard Adams to the position of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead. The BBC reports today, the Shadow Leader of the House, Hilary Benn, has called for a change in the constitutional rules on MP’s resignations.  From the BBC report more…

Gerard Adams, Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead – Updated

The UK Treasury confirms what the Prime Minister, David Cameron, told the Commons today.  From the Treasury’s press notice The Chancellor of the Exchequer has this day appointed Gerard Adams to be Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead. And, while Adams’ spokesman may be suggesting otherwise to the BBC and to UTV, here’s the significant more…

The resignation that never was…

I had suggested, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that the numerous reports of Gerry Adams’ “formal” resignation as the MP for west Belfast meant that he had applied to become a paid officer of the Crown. That was because an MP cannot simply resign.   A parliamentary seat is deemed to be a position of trust which can only be vacated more…

Phil Woolas: “This is the end, I’m out”

Former Labour Party MP, Phil Woolas, has lost his bid for a judicial review of an election court’s ruling that stripped him of his Commons seat and barred him from politics public office for 3 years.  The election court ruling was in relation to Woolas’ campaign team’s plot to “get the white vote angry” against his electoral more…

“the ball is in Sinn Féin’s court”

Interesting to note that the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, told the NI Affairs Committee that he had had discussions with Sinn Féin about what would be required for them to take their seats in Parliament.  And, as the BBC reports The Secretary of State has said that he has asked Sinn Fein for an more…

House of COmmons logo

Lib Cons bring in provision for minority government…

Interesting switch in the detail of the new legislation proposed by the Liberal Democrat/Conservative government. The fixed term can actually be thrown out before the five years are up. But not on a simple majority. You have to get 55% to get em out. So Gerry Fitt and Frank Maguire would not have been able more…