All 4 Lord Redesdale debates involving the Leader of the House

Mon 28th Mar 2022
Elections Bill
Lords Chamber

Lords Hansard - Part 1
Mon 20th Jul 2020
Business and Planning Bill
Lords Chamber

Report stage (Hansard) & Report stage (Hansard): House of Lords & Report stage
Lord Sherbourne of Didsbury Portrait Lord Sherbourne of Didsbury (Con)
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My Lords, I support the noble Lords, Lord Dubs and Lord Rennard. I am not going to repeat the arguments; I support them, and the House has heard them. This anomaly can be dealt with without opening the Pandora’s box of reform of the House of Lords. I spoke in support of the Private Member’s Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, and I heard the then Minister’s answer. I do not want to be too presumptuous, but I think I can hear the Minister’s response already, with all the same arguments rolled out. I simply ask him one question: what is the practical downside of accepting this amendment? What is the danger? What is the risk?

Lord Redesdale Portrait Lord Redesdale (LD)
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My Lords, I also apologise for not speaking on Second Reading; I was unable to. I was not planning on speaking in this debate, but the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, raised the point of some of us being here permanently. I have been here a mere 30 years, but I cannot actually see the fact that I have been here 30 years as a legislator making that much difference to the country. I would love to say that being a Back-Bench Liberal Democrat is the bedrock of our whole system, but I cannot really put that forward. When I came here, it was the mantra that only Lords, lunatics and criminals could not vote, but that is no longer the case—though it depends on what bracket you put us in.

I have one question for the Minister. I am standing as a candidate in the local election, and my wife is standing as the agent for the Liberal Democrats in Islington. The complexity of the forms you have to fill in, with the understanding of the minutiae and detail, is incredibly difficult. What is the cost to the country of us being taken off the electoral register? Everybody has to be trained; it has to go through the whole system; it has to be part of the process. The cost is not insignificant for 800 people to be treated in a different category. Of course, it goes into a number of different areas. If the Minister could give us an indication of just how much our privilege of being taken off the register, so we can carry on with this view that we are a permanent part of the process, would cost, and whether that is worth it, I would be very interested.

Lord Rooker Portrait Lord Rooker (Lab)
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My Lords, I have a question—and I did not come in to speak either. Since I have been a Member of this House, which is 20 years, there is at least one Member—I think only one—who was here when I arrived, subsequently got elected to the other place and is now back here. Yes, he is here today. At the time that he left this place and got elected to the other place, was he able to vote in the election he stood in? I am not sure what his status would have been.

Business and Planning Bill

Lord Redesdale Excerpts
Baroness Doocey Portrait Baroness Doocey (LD) [V]
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My Lords, Amendment 55 standing in my name aims to modify the package travel regulations, retaining protection for consumers travelling abroad but removing barriers which stop small businesses working together in the domestic market. The amendment does so by stipulating that, for something to constitute package travel, an element of travel must be part of the package.

Visitor numbers in the domestic tourism industry are down by 30% to 50%, and research shows that only a third of families intend to take a domestic holiday this year. Tourism in the UK is by definition a feast and famine industry—a feast in summer and a famine in winter. What small businesses in the sector face this year is the famine of the lockdown, followed by the seasonal famine of winter. The industry therefore desperately needs to attract trade and to persuade people to start taking holidays in the UK.

The primary purpose of the package travel regulations is to protect consumers who take package holidays overseas by making the tour operator legally responsible for the package and ensuring that the holidaymaker can be repatriated if the tour operator goes bankrupt. These are very valuable protections. The problem for small domestic tourism businesses is that the definition of a package holiday has been poorly drafted so that the smallest B&B working with a local pub or a local golf course to offer a discounted deal ends up being deemed to be a package tour operator. The consequence is an intolerable legal jeopardy for the small business concerned, because the regulations make the B&B owner legally responsible for what happens to the customer while they are at the golf club or in the pub. If the customer suffers any injury there, it is the B&B owner who is sued. Small businesses simply cannot get insurance to cover them, which makes the financial risk of offering deals too great. The customer then loses access to discounts and the businesses are unable to stimulate sales.

In addition, the regulations require the B&B owner to be a bonded travel company, which is expensive, or to use a trust fund so that payments can be withdrawn only after the customer has visited. Anyone who has ever run a small business knows that this is not a sustainable way to operate. These problems are why most accommodation businesses in the UK do not offer discounted deals. The Government have said that the significant component element of the package travel regulations guards against the problems I have outlined. These provisions are totally unsatisfactory, because they require a business to guess whether a consumer would or would not have bought their product without the additional benefit of the deal. Furthermore, the 25% element is both inadequate and invidious because standard deals can easily exceed the 25% level, and a percentage threshold disadvantages those parts of the country with the cheapest accommodation.

This simple amendment preserves all the protections for customers taking holidays overseas while freeing up small businesses here in the UK to provide discounted added-value deals to their customers. A survey by the Tourism Alliance estimated that this modest change would increase domestic tourism expenditure by £2.2 billion per annum, which is enough to protect 40,000 jobs. This is not a boost that our domestic tourism industry can afford to wait for. We cannot wait out the winter while the Government consider this further. The famine is now, so the time to change the law is now. I beg to move.

Lord Redesdale Portrait Lord Redesdale (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I have added my name to this amendment and I will speak in support of it. I shall be brief, considering the time of night. I am pretty certain that my noble friend will not press this amendment, but I hope that the Minister can give some assurance that, although changes to the legislation will not come about through this amendment, he will agree to meet with representatives of the travel industry to look at how the law can be reformed. The regulations that underpin this area are part of European Union law and, as we leave the EU and start to look at British iterations, this is the perfect time to address the issue. I hope that the Minister can give an assurance that his officials will meet with members of the travel industry to discuss these matters.

Lord Russell of Liverpool Portrait The Deputy Speaker
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I call the noble Baroness, Lady Pinnock. I think we have a problem with the noble Baroness’s sound, so I suggest we move on to the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox of Newport.

Draft House of Lords Reform Bill

Lord Redesdale Excerpts
Tuesday 7th June 2011

(11 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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The second reason that I gladly support my noble friend’s amendment is—this is one thing that the Leader of the House forgot to highlight in the difference between the Motion and the amendment to the Motion—that the Motion currently before the House allows for the consideration of the previous report but does not require it to be considered. If the complexion of the Committee was such that it was inadvertently composed—I speak hypothetically—of people who supported these proposals, there would be no requirement on them to take into account the deep study and the full implications of that report. My noble friend’s amendment includes an instruction to the Committee that it must take that report into account. Therefore, there is not just a rhetorical difference between the two sides but one that would have huge practical implications for this House. The only way that we can ensure that the fundamental findings of the previous report—on which there was unanimity here and in the other House—are taken into account is to ensure that this amendment is incorporated. Outside of that, all is rhetoric, as nothing practical will be required; the members of the Committee could nod in assent and in deference to that report without taking it into consideration at all. The least that we ought to expect, on the basis of the report that was formed by that Committee, is that the new Committee will be required to take that report into account.
Lord Redesdale Portrait Lord Redesdale
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My Lords, I would like to speak on this issue, although I must break a rule that I have had for many years, which is never to speak on House of Lords reform. In July, I will have been here for 20 years —it says something about this place that I am still one of the youngest people in the Building after being in the job for 20 years. Having listened many times to hundreds of debates on Lords reform, I want to mention that what convinced me many years ago not to take part in these debates was when a Peer stood up, 90th on the list, and said, “My Lords, everything that can possibly be said on this subject has been said, but not by me”.

If we agreed to this amendment, it is quite clear that we would be trying to kick this into the long grass. I have heard some fantastic speeches. When we discuss Lords reform, we do not mention these facts but I was one of those who voted for an entirely elected House of Lords—I am quite happy to say that and I will be voting for it again. We might be in the minority and we might lose—it has happened to us over AV—but we will happily go through the Division Lobbies. Some of us will be for it; some of us will take an opposing view. However, it is better that we have the ability to take this forward in a quick and judicious matter, rather than give the impression that we do not want to come to any conclusion at all. I very much hope we can move forward as quickly as possible on this. It is not for me to say that other people should not speak at great length on this, but I think that we all already know what the conclusion is, and therefore moving on to the next business would be very helpful.

Lord Richard Portrait Lord Richard
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I will say two things to the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale. First, I do not share the view that the amendment proposed by my noble friend Lord Cunningham would kick this into the long grass, despite the fact that, as fair parts of the House know full well, I have been a supporter of a predominantly elected House for almost as long as the noble Lord has been a Member. It therefore seems to me that there are two things that this Committee will have to do. One is to look at the terms of the Cunningham amendment. Of course the Committee has got to look at the primacy of the House of Commons. It would be silly to try to produce a report without looking at that issue. The primacy of the House of Commons has to be preserved. The second point that the noble Lord made is also pretty fundamental and obvious: the Committee will have to look at the conventions that exist between this House and the other place.

For the life of me, I do not really see what the issue is on this. An awful lot of speeches are being made which, if I may respectfully say so to some of those who have made them, would perhaps be better made in the debate on 21 and 22 June, when we are yet again to look at the whole issue of Lords reform. No doubt we will have, yet again, the same sort of speeches made by, yet again, the same sort of people, which, I fear I must say to the House, will probably include me. The fact of the matter is that on any view of this Committee, it will have to look in detail and take serious account of what is in the Cunningham amendment. I do not share the noble Lord’s view that this is kicking it into the long grass. On the other hand, I share some of the misgivings that have been raised about the date. This is a big, fundamental, constitutional issue. It is not feasible that it can be done by January next year.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton Portrait Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton
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I hope the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, will forgive me for being quite angry about the aspersion that was cast on those of us who share the views expressed about the importance of the primacy of the Commons, about the conventions and about the future relationship between both Houses. If those of us who take the view that that must be done first, before membership, are going to be accused of kicking the issue into the long grass as blindfolded escapists on the issue, the tenor of all the debates that take place in your Lordships' House and in Committees will not be of the quality that they ought to be. Therefore, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, will not imply that kicking the issue into the long grass is the only motivation that some of us have. I wish to leave a better system in the Houses of Parliament for my children and, particularly, my grandchildren, but jumping without looking at what is down the hole is not the way to do it.

Lord Redesdale Portrait Lord Redesdale
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My Lords, I apologise if any aspersion was taken on board, which was not my intention. I did not mention powers or scrutiny. I just hoped that we could move on more rapidly because this already has been covered. I remember the extremely detailed Jenkins committee report, but many Members were not here for that. Perhaps reading that report would give an impression that this matter has been covered a number of times.

Lord Wright of Richmond Portrait Lord Wright of Richmond
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My Lords, I just want briefly to say that, as the sole surviving Cross-Bench Member of the committee chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Cunningham, I strongly support his amendment. If he decides to seek the opinion of the House, I shall vote for it.

Agriculture: CAP Direct Payments

Lord Redesdale Excerpts
Tuesday 27th July 2010

(12 years ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord De Mauley Portrait Lord De Mauley
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My Lords, no one thinks that this is going to be easy. In my experience, however, there are very few farms that can claim that they have exhausted all potential for making more efficiencies, so I take the noble Lord’s point. Many would benefit from training to improve skills, especially in business management, cost reduction and better marketing strategies, such as through producer organisations. As a whole, the EU has been falling badly behind its global competitors in productivity growth over the past 30 years and the Government are working hard on how this can be reversed.

Lord Redesdale Portrait Lord Redesdale
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My Lords, will the Minister consider—

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Lord De Mauley Portrait Lord De Mauley
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My Lords, the noble Lord is a noted cynic on this subject. I assure him that the British Government will be negotiating hard at EU level for a reform to the CAP.

Lord Redesdale Portrait Lord Redesdale
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My Lords, I apologise. I was slightly confused by the noble Lord, Lord Willoughby de Broke, because he said, “This side”, and the Front Bench opposite agreed with him. Will there be any move to deal with the power of the supermarkets in setting prices, which is having a detrimental effect, especially on hill farmers in livestock areas? Indeed, it is one of the major causes of depressed incomes for livestock farmers.

Lord De Mauley Portrait Lord De Mauley
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My Lords, I very much take my noble friend’s point. He should be aware that the coalition programme for government, which was published on 18 May, made a commitment to introduce an ombudsman in the OFT to enforce the groceries and supply code of practice and to curb abuses of power that act against the long-term interest of both consumers and farmers.