There have been 3 exchanges involving Lord Polak and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
|Thu 28th March 2019||Meat: Ritual Slaughter and Religious Freedom (Lords Chamber)||3 interactions (98 words)|
|Mon 26th November 2018||Kindertransport Commemoration (Lords Chamber)||3 interactions (664 words)|
|Mon 29th October 2018||Pittsburgh: Synagogue Attack (Lords Chamber)||5 interactions (275 words)|
(2 years ago)Lords Chamber
My Lords, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has indicated that it will look at labelling in the round to ensure that we take account of consumer demand. Therefore, that is something that we can ensure. It has been perfectly legal to sell kosher and halal meat since the 1930s and that position remains unchanged. The only change is that since January this year—this is not to do with the judgment—it has not been possible for it to be classified in this country as organic.
My Lords, I note what my noble friend says and he is absolutely right: the number of mis-stunning incidents in abattoirs is very low, and that has been the case over a period of time. As I said, there is a delicate balance to be struck here between what might be desirable from an animal sentience point of view and what is desirable from a religious rights point of view. It is a very delicate balance but I think that we have it right in this country. Certainly, my department has had very few representations on this issue; I do not think that it is a major issue with the public.
(2 years, 4 months ago)Lords Chamber
My Lords, these figures are rough estimates but I understand that in 2017, 33,000 children—many unaccompanied—arrived in Europe. In Greece nearly 3,000 children are currently waiting for a place in a shelter, living in camps or on the streets, in deplorable and dangerous conditions. There are also several hundred in France and an unknown number in Italy.
My Lords, I must say that I am a personal friend of my noble friend Lord Dubs and if there is one person whom we should mention in our debate today, it is Lady Dubs. When my noble friend has been so frantically and tirelessly committed, she has given him stalwart support throughout the whole enterprise.
It is important that when we are confronted with issues such as this, we do not just agonise but do something. When something can be done, we should do it; my noble friend Lord Dubs has illustrated that this is true. But the best way in which we can honour those who were courageous enough to stand up and organise the transport for those who were able to come—the best tribute—is to remember those who were not able to come: the millions who died in the concentration camps and the Holocaust. We should also recommit ourselves to an overriding drive to ensure that such things cannot happen again. We must work effectively and internationally to deal with the causes of what we were confronted with in the 1930s.
I would be glad to have clarification from the Minister on one very practical point. Families are psychologically crucial to the developing and maturing child. Can we really not become more imaginative about the arrangements that can be made to enable some relatives—at least one—to come and join a child who has made it to the UK? This could have a tremendous impact on the future of the child and on their well-being and security. At the moment, the Government take the line that this would only encourage still more to come, but I have seen no evidence whatever for this. If the Government are going to take that hard line, they really must produce the evidence of why it is the case. I am much more concerned about the child and the child’s future. That demands action on that front.
It is great that my noble friend Lord Dubs has taken this action and has had so much support from across the House for doing so, but we live in the reality of the world as it is. We talk so much here about immigration, and we do not talk enough about the huge global issue of migration. With the help of the Library, I have dug out some statistics. At the moment, in the world there are 19,941,347 refugees, 3,090,898 asylum seekers and 39,118,516 internally displaced people. If we are struck by and compelled to respond to the situation in Europe that confronts us and the distressing scenes that we have all witnessed, we must remember that those distressing scenes are being repeated all over the world on an almost unimaginable scale. This is a tremendous humanitarian challenge, of course, but it is also a security challenge, because I do not see how we can have a peaceful, stable world if we have that number of people being stunted in their upbringing, frustrated and so on because many are extremely able, intelligent people who feel completely excluded, and that will not lead to a peaceful world.
We have heard a Statement this afternoon about the latest developments on the European Union. I am deeply disappointed that when we talk about the political declaration, we talk in theoretical, analytical terms about the things that we need to do structurally in this situation, but what are we doing to address the issues that confront us around the globe morally and security-wise? Please can we hear some specific language about how we can, by whatever arrangements we make, do something more effective, together with our partners in Europe, to meet those challenges?
(2 years, 5 months ago)Lords Chamber
My Lords, we have all been appalled by the horrific attack on worshipers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and the consequent dreadful loss of life. We stand in solidarity against this hatred and have committed to provide over £50 million since 2015, including £13.4 million this year to the Community Security Trust, to ensure that people can pray and live without fear at over 500 Jewish institutions across the country. I pay tribute to their outstanding work. No one should be afraid to practise their faith, and our places of worship should not engender fear. We will not let fear overcome us. Hatred will not win.
My Lords, I agree with the sentiments expressed so well by my noble friend. This morning I spoke to the Chief Rabbi’s office, which has described the response of British communities around the country as, “heartening and reassuring”. It is important that we stand united against this hatred. It has been heartening that other religious communities, particularly the Muslim one, have been leading crowd funding for the victims of Pittsburgh. I repeat: we will not let hatred win.