Debates between Lord McNally and Lord True during the 2019-2024 Parliament

Civil Servants: Reduction of Numbers

Debate between Lord McNally and Lord True
Thursday 24th March 2022

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord True Portrait Lord True (Con)
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I would say to the right reverend Prelate that there are two sides to this coin. One is an efficient service that is more capable of delivering quality public service—we all believe profoundly in the ideal of public service—in a satisfying, effective way. The answer is yes, but I would say that that is not only measured in numbers.

Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD)
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My Lords, does the Minister agree that one of the great gifts of 19th century Liberalism to the present day was a Civil Service selected on merit and politically neutral? Is that still the central pillar of the Government’s approach to the Civil Service recruitment, and would such recruitment benefit from a real attempt at greater diversity, backed up by a strengthened Freedom of Information Act which would increase public confidence in governance?

Lord True Portrait Lord True (Con)
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There are a lot of questions there. I have great sympathy for the noble Lord’s first sentiment, which is the loss of Gladstonian Liberalism, which I think needs to be rediscovered a little on those Benches. As far as his other points are concerned, independence must be fundamental, and diversity in all its forms is one of the reason the places programme is intended to take the Civil Service into other parts of the country. Thinking outside the Westminster, Whitehall and London bubble is very important, because there are many insights further than a mile from this building.

Covid-19: Devolved Administrations

Debate between Lord McNally and Lord True
Friday 27th November 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I am sure the Minister would agree that optics are important in fighting a campaign. One problem that we face in fighting the Covid epidemic is that quite often the Prime Minister has seemed to be uttering appeals from the imperial Parliament. Should not he take advice from, or the example of, his hero Churchill, who in 1940 who brought in the Opposition and presented a national front? Should not a special COBRA meeting be set up and meet regularly, involving opposition leaders and the leaders of the four nations? That would send a message of national unity that is missing at the moment.

Lord True Portrait Lord True (Con)
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My Lords, again, I do not agree with taking this to my right honourable friend the Prime Minister who leads in taking decisions and is involved in conversations. I think it is more important to stress the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Reid, that there is active, high-level engagement across the Governments and that is securing progress. We believe in devolution, and the devolved Administrations have public health responsibilities. I repeat that co-operation exists and should continue to exist.

Parliament: Restoration and Renewal Project

Debate between Lord McNally and Lord True
Wednesday 22nd July 2020

(4 years ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord True Portrait Lord True
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My Lords, I will have to take advice on the matter in order to respond to the noble Lord. Options coming out like chaff will have varying effects, as he will know. I repeat that this is a matter for the exclusive cognisance of your Lordships’ House and, in the last resort, of the other place.

Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD) [V]
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My Lords, since the origin of the idea to move to York came from No. 10, perhaps we should carry on up to Barnard Castle. In the meantime, the real wake-up call for this House is that for the past 20 years, the Conservative and Labour Benches have frustrated any real and radical reform of this House. I ask the Lord Speaker to call together the leaders of all parties to consider such a programme of radical reform. While I know that turkeys do not vote for Christmas, unless we are willing to reform ourselves, we will certainly be plucked and stuffed by that cabal in No. 10.

Lord True Portrait Lord True
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My Lords, I always commend an open mind, but unfortunately for the Liberal Democrat party, many of its proposals for reform have fallen on stony ground.