10/03/2017 House of Lords


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On the homeless this reduction Bill. -- homelessness. I understand no


amendments have been set down to this bill and no noble lord has


indicated a wish to move a manuscript and or speak to


committee. Although I understand maybe from the Labour frontbenchers


a question is to be asked. Unless therefore any noble Lord


objects, I'd bid to move that the mood of commitment be discharged.


The question is that the commitment to the discharge. I will be brief at


I want to congratulate the noble Lord and the government with


succeeding with this bill which is very welcome indeed. I hope the


noble lord could take the opportunity after the bill passes


which it will, to take up a couple of points with the government, not


immediately, perhaps. A report has been published this week which


raises a point about paragraph 18 on the code of practice, which raises a


point about the revision of codes and the method in doing that.


Obviously I'm not expecting any kind of formal response today, but may be


the noble Lord could look at this and maybe he could also, in a short


time, be able to invite the government to say how it is going to


approach viewing the funding of ?61 million in the light of possible


increased numbers of homelessness rising because of the housing


benefit issue which has been so controversial this week. Again I'm


not expecting the noble Lord to provide the answer but this is


something which should be looked at in the next period. Could I add our


thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Best, for his work on the bill which has


been appreciated within the parliament and also outside and I


think it shows that the amount of work done prior to the presentation


of a bill both in the other place and here, reaps rewards, because the


bill is a very sound bill and I would like to pay tribute to noble


Lord bold Best for his work on this which has got us to the position we


are in -- Lord Best. I thank you for your kind remarks. I will certainly


undertake to speak with the noble Lord, the minister, about the


question you raise, the review as to whether the sums allocated to find


the homelessness reduction Bill is sufficient, that review will happen


after the end of the first year of operation and before the end of the


second year of operation so that before two years are up we will know


whether enough money has been made available to make the homelessness


bill reduction really happen, and if insufficient funds have been


available I will be the first to be saying that. With those remarks, I


beg to move that the order of commitment be discharged. The


question is that the order of commitment be discharged. As many of


that opinion will say content, to the country not content. The


contemporary macro have it. -- the contents have it. I understand no


members have been set down to this bill and that no noble Lord has


indicated a wish to move a manuscript the moment or to speak in


the committee. Unless therefore any noble Lord objects I beg to move


that the order of commitment be discharged. The question is that the


order of commitment be discharged, as many of that opinion will say


content and to the contrary not content. The contents have it. ... I


beg to move that the Bill be now we are


the bill be now read a second time. Combating violence against women and


domestic pilots, -- domestic violence, has been guided through


conviction in the other place, and it has the purpose of unblocking the


logjam which has thus far delayed the ratification of the Council of


Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and


domestic violence. Better known as the Istanbul convention. It also


puts on the statutory footing important mechanisms to hold the


government to account on the progress towards ratification. The


UK signed the convention in June 2012 having played an important role


in the negotiating and drafting of it and previous governments


including a range of new legislation that prepares the UK from compliance


with the treaty. And repeating verbal commitments to the principal


ratification, the progress has been stalled, and maybe five years on


remains are ratified. The Istanbul convention is a unique


ground-breaking piece of international legislation which


enshrines the basic human rights of a woman and girls to live free from


violence in both public and private sphere. My lords, preventing


violence against women and domestic violence can save lives and reduce


human suffering. The convention focus on three important aims. To


prevent violence against women, to prevent victims and survivors of


abuse and prosecute perpetrators, and it brings greater coherence and


consistency and strategic direction to the important work already


undertaken by organisations, communities and governments that aim


to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women.


And promote equality between women and men. It has been hailed as a


best piece of international policy and practice for eliminating


violence against women that exists anywhere. It is a first piece of


legislation that sets minimum standards for government responses


and victims and survivors, of gender-based violence. The Istanbul


convention is broad in scope and the aims are very specific. Covering


criminal, civil and migration law, it sets minimum standards for the


protection of survivors and for access to services. Governments will


try to ratify the Convention and they are required to prevent


violence and bring about an attitude change. It covers many


manifestations of gender-based violence including physical and


psychological abuse. Stalking, sexual violence including rape,


forced marriages, female genital mutilation and the so-called honour


crimes. The Istanbul convention is unique in that it understands that


states cannot be responsible for preventing bail and is against women


and domestic violence on their own. -- preventing violence. It calls on


communities to tackle cross-border issues, because it wants members of


society to reach the ultimate goal of a world free from all forms of


islands against women and domestic violence. It recognises that women


are disproportionately affected by sexual and domestic violence because


underlying gender inequalities which are also compounded by abuse, the


convention also places an emphasis on challenging misogynistic


attitudes that perpetrate the gender inequality as a means of preventing


violence and abuse. Preventative measures are not the only important


issue. Protecting victims and survivors and providing them with


appropriate support is vital. State that ratified the Istanbul


convention are required to ensure that sufficient shelters exist in


adequate geographical distribution. Ratifying the Istanbul convention


will put a duty on the government to ensure that women's refuge is exist


and provide support at a time when women need it most. It also puts a


statutory footing on the provision of rape crisis centres, 24 hour


advice lines, and access to useful information. The Council of Europe


says that it should be borne in mind that it is not enough to set up


protection structures and support services for victims, it is equally


important to make sure that victims are informed of their rights and


know how and where to get help. I do believe that this important


consideration, that anyone can be a victim of sexual violence or


domestic abuse, regardless of economic background, age, ethnic


religion or gender, however we know that there are certain


characteristics that increased the risks. For example, poorer women or,


or disabled women are at a greater risk of domestic abuse. Women from


some ethnic minorities or cultural backgrounds are at greater risk of


certain forms of gender-based violence. My Lords, one question is


asked frequently, what about the men? I would like to deal with this


because this was a point of contention in the other place. The


convention itself quite explicitly addresses this issue in Article four


where it makes clear that the provision applies to all persons,


regardless of gender, and a whole range of other protected


characteristics, however the convention primarily focuses on


women, and it is important that it does because sexual violence and


domestic abuse affect women to a hugely disproportionate extent. Both


in terms of prevalence and severity, in England and Wales in 2015 over 90


2% of the prosecutions brought for domestic abuse involved a male


perpetrators and the female victim. Two women are weak die at the hands


of their partner or their former partner. This does not mean that


those crimes committed by women against men, or men against men are


less serious. They are serious, but to ignore the gender dynamic of


these types of crime would be wrong. One woman in four in the UK will


experience sexual or domestic by a sin their lifetime. The sheer scale


of the problem does demand that we take this much more experience. The


joint committee of human rights in their report of 2014/15 entitled


violence against women and girls recommended that the UK Government


ratified the Istanbul convention. They raised concerns at a time that


the internal ministry group had insufficient powers with witnesses


to the committee criticising the group for not taking a holistic


approach towards ending violence against women and girls because of


the lack of representation from immigration officials. The Asylum


aid recommended at the time that the Immigration Minister and the UK Visa


and immigration department should have representations on the groups


to ensure that the issues arising in these areas were dealt with


effectively. I would appreciate if the Minister would write a response


today or later but I would like to see these issues addressed. On the


24th of November last year I asked the Minister kept -- question in


your Lordships house, whether the government had ratified the Istanbul


convention and when did they intend to do so? The minister in -- the


Minister said at the time that the government was committed to


ratifying but in order to do so they would need to legislate to take


extra terrestrial jurisdiction over a wide range of offences. --. I am


sorry, extraterritorial. Did I get that wrong? I thank the laws for


taking that and pointing it out because I took that rather wider


than I intended to do so. Thank you very much for correcting me! I shall


now refer to that of the TJ, I think it will be a lot easier. -- as ETJ.


The fact that perpetrators can evade prosecution by committing crimes as


abhorrent as grape whilst abroad should stop. There is a precedent on


ETJ, the government already exercises such power for similar


offences committed against children overseas and exercises ETJ in a


range of other areas, for a example in relation to drugs offences,


financial crime, terrorism and other forms of organised crime. I am


pleased to see that the Prime Minister has committed herself to


overseeing a new bill on domestic buyer and is and I do hope that such


legislation will include the changes necessary to bring the UK into line


with article 44 of the Istanbul convention. That is those in


relation to ETJ. When a minister replies I wonder if she could


outline the intent of this new legislation on whether in fact it


will allow the government to take over the necessary offences,


ensuring the UK are compliant with the convention, thereby paving the


way for ratification. There is real need for action in the effort when


violence against women. Two women are weak or killed by their partners


or former partners in England and where is alone -- two women are per


week. In the same time frame across the UK 87,000 500 rapes and more


than 400,000 sexual assaults were reported to the police. It is


well-known that most cases of sexual assault and rape do go unreported so


we cannot underestimate the scale of the impact on women and children in


our communities. There is clearly a need for action. The UN special


report on violence against women has said that violence against women and


girls is the most pervasive human rights violation we face globally.


Whether in times of peace, conflict or post-conflict transition. It is


so normalised that we can hardly even noticed how much we put up with


and I was moved by some of the contributions from members on the


other place who spoke courageously of their own experience and it does


affect us all. The violence against women is not natural and not


inevitable so can I now turn to the specifics of the bill before us? It


is made up of three clauses, it requires the secretary of state to


report to both houses on the steps that is being taken to enable the UK


to ratify the Convention. It requires the government to come


forward with a timetable by which it will ratify the convention. I am


pleased with the manner in which the noble man -- baroness, the minister,


met with me this week and before that to discuss this bill in the


run-up to the debate and I welcome the government support for this


bill. Clause one recommends that the secretary of state should lay report


to both houses of parliament setting out the steps necessary to ratify. I


understand that this is not only including passing legislation


through both houses, but also the devolved administrations in Scotland


and Northern Ireland. I know the government are committed to working


with a devolved administration and I welcome that commitment. Clause two


requires the government to make annual reports to both houses on the


progress towards ratification no later than the 1st of November in


each year leading up to the ratification. This report comes with


a commitment from the government to make an oral statement to Parliament


so that MPs can hold the government to account. The convention commits


the government to thorough reporting requirements through annual reports


to the Council of Europe's expert group. It is important that


parliamentarians have opportunities to scrutinise this report. The


committee stage in the Commons the government committed to make an oral


statement on the compliance with the convention post-ratification. I


would be grateful if the Minister could make a similar commitment so


that these issues can be debated in your Lordships house, rather than


perhaps a report put in the Lords library. The report is a short and


simple one, but it has proved to be an important one which will unlock


the logjam in the government department. I do hope that it will


lead to the ratification as soon as possible. We have the opportunity in


this place to shape and develop legislation but we do need to take


the license of our responsibilities as well. I have been heartened by


the powerful civic society movement of women and men across the UK who


have campaigned for the UK to ratify the convention. The breadth of


support from organisations and activists show the strength of


feeling that is on this issue. There is a very inspiring campaign run by


volunteers which has helped to mobilise thousands of people the


length and breadth of the country, to engage with MPs in order to get


this bill through this place. I feel the women who have led this campaign


should be very proud. It is often important that they are out there in


front of issues such as this. Women activists have campaigned and


Parliament needs to try and keep up with it. In the other place the bill


was at Birtley stupidly -- was expertly Steward lay in the face of


some adversity but the overwhelming cross-party support from the


opposition and the government benches, we have the opportunity of


oversight towards ratification and the timetable, albeit hopefully


short, within which this can be achieved. My Lords, I beg to move.


The question is that this bill now be read a second time.


I congratulate the noble lady for bringing forward this bill and


opening it so admirably and comprehensively. Yesterday afternoon


when I enquired in the whips office how many were down to speak on this


debate I was somewhat surprised, and really rather shocked, to find there


were in fact then only five are now six and that they included not a


single male temporal peer, and so I put my name down because heaven


knows this is a worthy and a compelling cause and it is deserving


of support is no less from men than from women. My Lords, we all know


the appalling prevalence still today of violence towards women, both


domestic and in wider society. I sat as a judge at various levels for 28


years and I therefore came across perhaps more than my fair share of


this violence, particularly in my earlier years as a High Court judge,


sitting at the Old Bailey and then around the country on the circuit.


Murder, rapes, all of those dreadful sorts of offences. My Lords, I have


few boasts to my name, by way of legal achievement, few jewels in my


judicial crown, but I can and I do boast of being the first judge in


this jurisdiction in, I think it was 1990, to rule that a husband is not


permitted in law to have intercourse with his wife quite simply


whensoever he chooses. In short, that there is such an offence as


marital rape, a decision said at the time initially to fly in the face of


centuries of established legal principle, but which, in fact,


happily was then upheld both by the Court of Appeal and by the appeal


committee in your Lordships house. My Lords, reading the excellent


Doctor Whiteford speech towards the end of the debate in the other place


on third reading, I was struck by this particular passage. If your


Lordships will allow me, I will quote it from column 1334 of


Hansard. She said this, on reflection, it strikes me powerfully


that Parliament has frequently be left playing catch up on progress


for women from those who campaigned for women's suffrage for more than a


century before it was achieved to the trade unionists who fought for


equal pay for women years before the equal pay act 1970 came into force


on the women who in the 1970s setup rep futures -- refuges for women


fleeing domestic abuse at a time when there was absolutely no support


from the state or the authorities for women experiencing violence or


coercive control from an intimate partner, a time when rape within


marriage was not even a crime, every step of the way it is citizens who


have driven progressive change, sisters have had to do it for


themselves. Well, my Lords, I thought it was time for a brother to


enter the fray. Of course I recognise as Mr Nuttall


emphasise in the debate in the other emphasise in the debate in the other


place, that there is all too much violence in society and indeed in


certain domestic contexts against men and boys, as well. And that the


Istanbul convention and therefore this bill on its face appeared to do


nothing for them. But there can be no doubt as the Nobel baroness made


plain, it is women who suffer disproportionately, they suffer most


from the hands of the opposite sex and there is no basis for suggesting


that advancing their cause as this bill proposes will set back the


cause of male victims, quite the reverse. Anything that raises the


stakes and raises the public's awareness of and revulsion at


violence generally in society will redound to the advantage of all the


victims. My lords, of course I recognise that this bill and indeed


the Istanbul convention itself, of itself does little in the way of


altering the substantive law under which we seek to deter and control


violence against women. But to say it does nothing is in fact only an


exaggeration, the convention requires we broaden our juristic --


juristic -- do restriction. And that is why we have to recognise


now as it does the need for some small further delay be on even the


years since we initially signed it. To the delay, is to identify


precisely and then to satisfy this requirement for extraterritorial


juristic but as Mr Nuttall himself said in the other place, the purpose


is to try to tie down the government, to do something and to


stop this matter from drifting on. As has already been noted in the


other place, they voted to pass this bill by a votes to just one, and you


will readily agree that it will be nothing sort of disgraceful and


indeed deeply damaging to the reputation of this house if we don't


now make sure that it secures safe and speedy passage at all stages


through our house. Therefore we wish it God speed to secure its early


passage if not in this session than certainly in the next. My lords, we


want to give our wholehearted support to this bill. I've been


following this issue for some while and have participated in previous


debates and put down questions. I want to congratulate the doctor in


the other place and the baroness for the hard work they and others have


done to get it so far and indeed to the many agencies getting the bill


to us today. In the face of a number of cutbacks and closures of women's


services and refugees, we need a step change -- refuges. We should be


giving a lead on this important area, violence against women is a


tragic evil because it the effects can be so devastating and


long-lasting and widespread. Evil not simply because it is violence


but because it seeks to deny a fundamental human dignity which I


believe comes from being created in the image of God, and whatever form


the violence comes in, rape or forced marriage or psychological or


physical abuse, gender-based violence against women in therapy


attempts to reduce women to passive objects -- invariably. It seeks to


deny them the status of personhood. As a safe place of council within


every local community, the church often finds itself on the front


line, listening to the stories of women who have faced violence and


who don't know where else to turn. It is one of the greatest and


hardest privileges of priesthood to listen to a woman or indeed


sometimes to a man, although this is overwhelmingly an issue for women


and we must not underplay that, although we want to make sure men


are given protection. This must not distract us from this important


bill. When we hear someone telling their story of abuse, sometimes for


the very first time, sometimes only just beginning to realise that


actually for all sorts of social reasons they have actually colluded


with it and they now beginning to realise it is simply wrong. And the


need to then help them find the right support which is profoundly


difficult especially in places, like rural areas. I want to pay tribute


to the many organisations who are working with churches and helping us


up and down the country responding to violence against women. But those


churches that are supporting, sometimes offering premises and


funding, for refuges, and especially a Christian charity whose work in


training clergy is invaluable. The baroness has already rehearsed some


of the statistics and I won't say those again, although I want to note


how horrific they are when one stops and looks at what is actually still


going on. There are other areas which have not been picked up in


here and in the past I put down questions about, for example, how


many young women under the age of marriage in this country are being


taken abroad and are marrying and are coming back to this country and


it turns out that we have no idea. We have no idea how many such women


are coming back having been married under laws overseas will stop


sometimes possibly polygamists... We just don't know. In recent years the


government has made substantial progress on legislating against a


gender-based violence and I want to pay tribute to our Prime Minister


who all sides of this house will agree has worked tirelessly in her


Home Secretary to address many of Home Secretary to address many of


the key legislative areas. Legislation to combat forced


marriage, female genital mutilation, modern slavery, controlling


behaviour and stalking. And although that legislation shows that UK one


of the strongest legislative frameworks in the word, the Prime


Minister's work as Home Secretary to improve police reporting and


responding to domestic abuse is also to be celebrated and commended. In


that context it is regrettable that this bill is required, given that


Her Majesty's government has repeatedly stated commitment to


ratifying the convention. In answer to a series of written questions in


2014 after the convention came into force, the government said justice


ministers are considering the extent to which we need to amend the


criminal law of England and Wales full compliance with Article 44


prior to ratification of the convention -- for. Three years later


the justice ministers are still deliberating. That is a failure in


the political will ultimately. Being charitable to the government, we


could say there have been a few political distractions over the past


year. However I do hope that the new reporting requirements will


encourage the government to throw their weight unreservedly behind


this legislative change that is required for ratification and this


issue of territorial jurisdiction in particular. Ratification of the


Istanbul convention will not only bolster the domestic framework for


combating violence against women, acting as a tool by which civil


society can hold the government to account on the provision of


resources to combat gender-based violence. Our ratification of the


convention also has an international dimension as the joint committee on


human rights put it, the delay in ratifying the Istanbul convention


could harm the UK's international reputation as a world leader in


combating violence against women and girls. Ratification of the


convention would be the clearest signal of our commitment to ending


the injustice of gender-based violence. It would commit us to


sharing best practice internationally and it would


strengthen the Istanbul convention itself as a marker by which other


countries might be held to account. I sincerely hope that the government


gives this bill a swift passage through the house and that it


follows the passage of this bill within equally swift timetable for


ratification of the Istanbul convention. My Lords, I welcome


today's second reading and congratulate the doctor and her


colleagues in the other place and the baroness for their persistence


in getting us here to this point. This pernicious abuse of women's


rights continues to plague our society. Almost regarded as a


households. It transcends all households. It transcends all


communities, shockingly, so many women seem not to know still that it


is against the law, so in deed an internationally recognised provision


will lend significant armoury to the many women, human rights defenders,


as well as instruct in no uncertain terms still largely male lead


institutions that eradication of violence against women is as


important as providing education, health, housing, and not able to


hide behind the austerity measures and will not be able to make women's


refuge and other services their first collateral. Whilst we should


take pride in the UK in having secured some of the best policies


and practices on domestic violence, including the introduction of new


domestic abuse offences and protection orders and criminalising


forced marriages with which I don't agree, but it appears to be doing


its job. And more vigorous laws on female genital mutilation. We need


to go further in providing protection to those facing violence


and seek to eliminate violence against women. We have tolerated


consecutive generations of violence to plague women's lives, two women


facing death each week. 1.2 million victims, 87,000 rapes reported on


top of 400,000 sexual assaults, God alone knows how many women are still


not able to report. In addition to 11,900 children raped last year. 29%


of all these statistics are from the BA ME communities and despite the


progress of women's Emancipation, our daughters and granddaughters are


still facing a level of barbaric violence in our society and we have


to do everything we can to make sure it does not continue. The UK's role


in shaping the Istanbul convention was significant so I don't


understand five views since passed why we have not chosen to ratify it.


I'm glad to have arrived at this point where government is prepared


to work towards compliance. It is ratification indicating a very


powerful step towards in power -- empowerment of women? As well as


push for a more comprehensive response to addressing violence, it


gives victims and survivors right for access to the necessary


specialist services and ratifying the convention adds another layer of


protection and enables local and international agencies to respond


more comprehensively and offer parliamentarians another aspect of


Why would we not do it without any help with the harmonisation of laws.


Why would we not do it without any hesitation? The points that have


been made about extrajudicial territorial requirements, I think


that many women, I was involved in the dowry enquiry led by Mr Sharma


in the other place last year and a huge amount of British citizens were


complaining either that their marriages were not legally


recognised in this country, and when they were facing violence they had


no recourse to law, or that the laws under which they were married under


one country is not recognised in this country and I think that that


level of harmonisation would, I hope, be an integral part of this.


We do have laws and are continuing -- continuously improving on


implementation. The Istanbul convention can be another layer of


safety. We are a signatory and we now need to show that we are serious


about eradication of violence by signing up to it. I believe that the


ratification we demonstrate, I believe that by ratification we


demonstrate our total commitment to all men and women that violence in


all its forms is not tolerable in our society today. This will be an


integrated approach to not only protect women but laws and mandates


and institutions to provide the necessary services so that women and


girls can live free of fear of violence. Finally I am confident


that our ambition is safe in the hands of our current Prime Minister


and the noble Lord, the Minister, who has done so much to advocate and


advance the previous progress made on this issue. Can the Minister say


what the implication of the Brexit negotiation would be on reporting


requirement or signing up to the ratification? My Lords, I, too,


would like to thank the doctor and the noble Baroness, who I am sure


did not wish to success that Scotland and Northern Ireland are


not an integrated to part of the United Kingdom. The noble and


Leonard Lord, Lord Browne, has rightly reminded us that this is a


people's issue, not just a women's issue. His crown is highly polished


and very bejewelled! I should declare an interest. I was a member


of the board and a chair of the domestic fire and charity refuge.


That was many years ago but I still declare the interest, because that


experience was very vivid. Very recently, within the last few days,


I have agreed to become a member of an advisory group for the


organisation case macro voice for victims. It struck me that this


debate may be wrapped up with the debate for International Women's


Day, which was on the UK's role of promoting gender equality. Because


of the significance of the exercise of the UK's role it would be very


significant if the UK ratified the convention. I should not put it


grammatically in that way. It will be significant when it does. Reports


on violence against women often have a section headed something like,


what is violence against women and girls? Sadly there are very many


women and girls who could testify. This week a survey of laws in the 73


countries found that there are bad laws underpinning a global epidemic


of sexual violence. The aims of the convention, prevention, protection


and prosecution and integrating policies are so sensible as to


hardly need any description. They have only been, I think ten


ratification so far. I joined the board of refuge when I was asked to


come to a house ten years ago and attitudes in the UK have changed but


not as much as one may expect in a generation. They seem to me to have


changed very often among senior people who have to deal with the


issue, to take the police is one example, left so in lower ranks.


Some of us were privileged to hear DC see Louisa Wolf from the West


Midlands talk about coercive control at an all-party group meeting


recently. Her understanding and her description were very impressive


indeed. I say that there haven't been the changes one might expect in


a generation. Though the importance of the issue is so enormous, and yet


there is a lack of belief, a lack of understanding. Can I complement the


noble Baroness on raising the issue or people's attitudes. I declare an


interest in night in the 1970s I was with a group of people as a local


councillor, trying to establish a refuge provision. I was invited from


the council I was unimpressed and to go and speak to senior members at


Chorley Council and the then leader of Chorley Council finished the


meeting by saying he was absolutely appalled that men in Preston behaved


like this, because, of course, they didn't in Chorley. Another


councillor came to speak to me and said her son-in-law has embarrassed


her and her daughter had complained of being a victim and the daughters


father would not believe that a barrister could behave like this. --


her son was a barrister. The wide range of areas this can come from.


Magister mine house, that interruption should be very brief. I


am grateful for that interruption. I was about to say that one often


hears that it does not happen here. The lack of understanding,


understanding that what is happening is a crime, is very sadly shared


among those who experience that crime. My Lords, I am a member of


the joint committee on human rights which, in 2015, undertook an enquiry


to examine progress towards ratification in the noble Baroness


referred to that. Its report told Lordships that the convention would


have a strong, indirect effect on the UK legal system, firstly in that


it could be cited by the UK courts as persuasive authority and secondly


through the role of the European Court of Human Rights, given that


the government is bound by its judgment and, therefore, the terms


of the convention could have a strong, indirect effect on the UK


legal system. The report also commented on some of the evidence


that it had obtained. Witnesses had told the committee that ratification


would help the UK's position internationally in tackling violence


against women and girls and would encourage other countries to follow


suit. The bar human rights committee of England and will said that


ratification would emphasise the state 's positive duty and it would


provide a further basis in law for those who wished to persuade the


state to provide adequate and meaningful resources to construct an


effective mechanism to protect women from gender violence and harm. That,


of course, does raise the question, is that a resource issue behind this


which may not have been acknowledged in the same way as the concerns


about the devolved institutions. I hope that the Minister can assure us


that there is not a devolved resource component to this


precluding ratification. The evidence from the Minister to the


committee referred to the ratification being a matter for the


devolved administrations. Let us not seek to avoid any responsibility


ourselves in that area. The governments response to the report


was to emphasise its commitment to the convention, but again to refer


to the devolved administrations. The International context is something


that we have heard about, and we have also heard that it is not just


a third World issue. Real commitment would put all the mechanisms in


place and it would be a considerable achievement of Her Majesty 's


government, both to be able to ratify the Convention and actually


to ratify it. It would be a solid expression of its commitment to


preventing and combating violence against women and domestic pile in.


If you like, it would put the country's legislation where its


mouth is. -- domestic violence. The UK is in a good position to ratify,


according to the J CHR. The then Home Secretary showed her personal


commitment and only a single legislative change is required. Last


year the JCHR visited Strasbourg and I remember a member of the Council


of Europe emphasising very strongly the importance of the UK 's example.


The context was different, we were talking about compliance with the


judgment of the court and a different issue, but the same


message, and that is the examples set by a country which is respected


and use respect needs to be maintained. From these benches we


support the bill. My Lords, it is a pleasure and privilege to make a


brief response from the opposition front bench. I congratulate my noble


friend for bringing forward this bill and for her excellent opening


speech that made the case so compelling that I challenge the


Minister to resist in any way at all. I would like to take a moment


to congratulate my honourable friend for a lifetime of campaigning for


women and girls throughout political history and to say what an


inspiration she is to so many of us on these benches. It has been a


delight to hear speeches from almost all around the house, particular for


the noble Lord, Lord Browne, who made such an important contribution


to the legal position to the position of women with that


ground-breaking ruling. I also congratulate him to turn up and


stand up and speak up for his benches on the men who support this.


I look forward to the Conservative benches being just as encouraging


when the minister gets up to speak. I am pleased to say from these


benches that I fully support this bill and it has the full support of


the official opposition and the Labour Party had confirmed that in


government we would ratify the Istanbul convention. Violence


against women and girls should be a priority in any society and we are


completely committed to ensure that women and girls can have safe and


secure lives wherever they live and whatever they choose to do. Sarah


Champion said in another place, ending violence against women and


girls requires a radical seismic societal shift in power and


attitudes. This bill may be a small contribution but it is a very


important one and it shows our partnership can -- parliament can


play in tackling that challenge. We had a catalogue of appalling


violence, explained by the Bishop of Saint all buttons and the noble and


learned it Lord of Eaton under Heywood. As my noble friend Lady


Gale, the reason to understand that this violence is perpetrated against


women and girls, it is gendered violence, and it is not an accident


that such a disproportionate amount of it is directed against women and


girls. It is the context in which atoms which is global inequality,


and inequality of power and an inequality of access to the levers


of power. We need to understand that there is a connection between that


even in our own society. We are still in a permission where we have


a female Prime Minister but only other seven other women in their


cabinet and 29% of MPs are women and we recently saw the celebrations


went on, finally won a by-election just before Christmas meant as many


women had been elected to the other place in history as were sitting on


that day. In this house only 26% of us are women and we are making


progress but the reality is that the context here and elsewhere around


the world means that we will have to take particular steps to address the


challenge faced by women and girls and that is the context for this


bill. That makes this convention, the Istanbul convention, so


important. Is a unique grand pacing piece of


legislation which offers an international framework for tackling


violence against women and girls -- unique ground-breaking. So I hope


they will be telling us they will give this bill affaires wind and


that we will hear from them a timetable for ratification of the


convention and that there will be a time and they can change the house


what changes will be needed to ratify it and I look forward to


hearing about this. But also as the bill will cut across powers, I


wonder if the Minister could tell the house what discussions the


government has had with devolved administrations regarding


implementing this? This provides us with a step we need to take a key


move forward in the battle to eliminate violence against women and


girls and I hope the House and the government give this wholehearted


support. My Lords, may I take a moment to thank the noble ladies are


taking this bill through the House and for the very constructive


conversation we have have this week. -- lady. May at -- may I also single


out special praise. It is always nice to hear men come in on a debate


which is mainly about women. I would like to say at this moment that the


government has given its full backing to this bill and we wholly


support its aim of making sure that we deliver on our commitment to


ratifying the Istanbul convention. We all recognise that violence is


still far too prevalent in our society today. And that women still


face much higher risk of gender-based violence than men.


Physical, sexual and domestic abuse affects women are disproportionately


and that is the stark reality, I'm afraid. We'll so know that many of


these crimes remain unreported -- we also know. We spoke about this in


questions yesterday, leaving victims to suffer in silence, and


perpetrators escaping justice. Our commitment to ratifying the Istanbul


convention, not only shows how seriously this government is taking


its responsibility to make sure that all victims are supported and that


perpetrators are brought to justice, but also our ongoing commitment to


strengthening international cooperation in this field which is


vital. My Lords this government has put prevention at the heart of our


approach, and we have significantly strengthened the law since we first


published our first call to end violence in 2010, as the right


reverend the Bishop of St Albans has pointed out. We have criminalised


forced marriages in England and Wales and have a forced marriage


order in protection. The right reverend brought up an interesting


point about the issue of forced marriages and girls being taken out


of the UK for this reason. The joint Home Office and Foreign and


Commonwealth Office, they provide that support and advice to victims.


The most recent statistics were published yesterday in fact and they


showed that in 2016 advice or support was provided in 1428 cases.


371 of those, 26%, involved under 18 's and the unit handled cases


relating to 60... Sorry to break in. I was making a different point. I'm


grateful to have those statistics, but the question is we don't have


any proactive way of trying to work out, for example, people going


through immigration, to find out more information, it is simply an


unknown problem and that is what I was trying to push in. Could you


comment on that. You make a very good point. About how do we actually


as opposed to being reactive about these things, be proactive, and one


of the things that we have made significant steps in doing over the


last new months and years, is over our intelligence at the border,


training border staff to look for what may be issues of either people


trafficking or forced marriages, there are a host of things that


immigration is looking at that actually prevents some of these


things from happening. I'm glad that the right reverend brought that up.


We have fast tracked in addition to that, female genital mutilation


protection orders and we have introduced a new mandatory reporting


duty for FGM. We have strength and legislation on stalking, creating


two new offences and we have improved training regarding stalking


for those who come into contact with victims and we have also introduced


a new stalking protection order with criminal sanctions to help protect


victims at the earliest possible opportunity. The rape action plan


launched in 2014 and led by the Crown Prosecution Service and the


National policing lead for rape is making sure that every report of


rape is treated seriously and every victim is given the help they


deserve. And we have protected funding for rape support services at


current levels in 2016, 2017, providing independent specialist


support. We have also strengthened the law on domestic violence with a


new offence of domestic abuse which covers controlling and coercive


behaviour and another thing we touched upon on Wednesday at


questions, the new offence protects victims who would otherwise be


subjected to sustained patterns of abuse that can lead to total control


of their lives by the perpetrator, some of them not actually even


knowing that this is happening to them. Another thing we discussed.


And the new domestic violence protection order and the domestic


violence disclosure scheme has also been rolled out across England and


Wales. This is alongside the work of the government to continue reforming


front line agency 's response. It is vital that victims have the


confidence to report these crimes knowing they will get the support


they need and that everything will be done to bring offenders to


justice. The UK continues to be a global leader in its efforts to


tackle this and our changes to domestic law are supporting a


stronger international framework, the Istanbul convention highlights


the need for more regional and international cooperation and while


there is no one size fits all model, the measures within the convention


will make sure that more of the action is taken through legally


binding and harmonised standards. In most respects the measures already


in place in the UK to protect women and girls from violence comply or go


further than the Convention requires. But before we ratify the


convention we must make sure that we are fully compliant with it. There


is one outstanding issue regarding introducing extraterritorial


jurisdiction or even extraterrestrials jurisdiction which


needs to be addressed before we will consider it to be compliant. We


already have the TJ over some of the offences -- E TJ over some of the


offences, including forced marriages and FGM, but there is still a number


of offences including rape of an over 18, sexual assault and domestic


violence. We need to fully comply with the requirements in Article 44


of the convention. This will require primary legislation to be introduced


in England and Wales as well as Scotland and Northern Ireland. We


are working closely with ministerial colleagues to progress this issue


and as the Prime Minister has signalled, we will explore all


options to bring the necessary legislation forward. I think it was


the noble lady who asked about the devolved administrations and we are


in regular contact with them on this bill and the Istanbul convention.


The bill places agency on the government to lay a report before


Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after this bill comes


into force. As well as the timescale within which ratification is


expected and it also requires the government to lay the annual report


before Parliament on progress towards ratification. I recognise


that noble Lords want some assurance that we will continue to update


Parliament on the ongoing compliance with the convention,


post-ratification. As with the other Council of Europe treaties and the


baroness did actually asked a question about Brexit, in this


regard, it is a Council of Europe treaty, so this is independent of


the European Union. Functions on processes and it won't affect


Brexit. Once it has been ratified we will be required to submit regular


reports to the Council of Europe on compliance and the reports will


contain detailed information. It will mention the role of civil


society organisations to addressing these crimes and regarding


prosecutions and convictions and we will make sure that both houses have


sight of these reports. The group of experts on action of violence


against women and domestic violence, the independent expert body monitors


the convention, will scrutinise the report and then prepare their own


report with recommendations and the report will also be available for


parliamentary and public scrutiny. The government is pleased to support


this bill and its aims of making sure that we formally demonstrate to


Parliament the progress that we make to deliver against our commitment to


ratify the convention. We have made progress in tackling this but we are


not complacent. We know that there is more to do to make sure that


victims of terrible crimes get the support they need. Across government


strategy published last March, setup the ambition that by the end of this


Parliament no victim of abuse is turned away from the support they


need. The strategy is underpinned by increased funding of ?80 million and


this includes the Home Office's ?15 million, three-year violence against


women and girl fun, to promote and embed the best local practices and


make sure that early intervention and prevention becomes the norm. The


Chancellor's Spring statement has announced an additional ?20 million


for victims of domestic abuse. This funding will help to deliver our


goal to work with local commissioners to deliver a secure


future for rape support centres, refugees and FGM and forced marriage


unit, and driving a major change across all services so that early


intervention and prevention is the norm. Furthermore to make sure that


all victims get the right support at the right time, we have set out a


clear blueprint for local action through the national statement of


expectations and this sets out what local areas need to do to prevent


offending and support victims and it will encourage organisations to work


with local commissioners to disseminate this and support


implementation of best practice. We have also recently announced some


key measures which will further strengthen the response. A major new


programme of work on domestic abuse has been announced by the Prime


Minister. This cross governmental work is being co-ordinated by the


Home Secretary and the Justice Secretary and will look at


legislative and non-legislative options to improve support for


victims. The measures that come out of this will encourage victims to


run >> STUDIO: -- to report their abuses and further raise public


awareness. We have announced that sex education will be put on a


statutory footing so that every child has access to age-appropriate


provision in a consistent way. And the Department for Education will be


consulting on making PS H E statutory. We must continue to


challenge the many forms of discrimination that women still face


and make sure that we make this everyone's business. We all have our


part to play in protecting women and girls from violence and I very much


hope and feel that you noble Lords will join me in supporting this


bill. I would like to thank all noble


members of the House today, I'll get this right. Thank you all very much


indeed for taking part. I would specially like to thank the noble


and learned Lord Brown for his contribution and again to thank him


for all the wonderful work he has done in this field. And to the right


Reverend again for speaking about his experiences listening to women


who have suffered from domestic violence and bringing that to your


Lordship's House. I mention our two male peers who took part because we


need women and men taking part in this. It isn't an issue just for


women as the noble Lord's have pointed out. Again I'd like to thank


the noble Baroness for her support of this and talk about her


experience in this field as well. And for the work on the Joint


Committee on Human Rights and speaking about how that committee


wants to ratify the Istanbul convention. I was interested in my


noble friend's intervention that some people think it doesn't happen


in their area. We know it happens everywhere. It happens in every


county in England, Wales, Scotland and in the whole world actually.


There's no country free from it. That is why it's really important


that we take action. I would like to thank my noble friend again for the


Opposition support for this bill. So there is support right across the


House on hiss. I thank the minister for her support for the bill. I'm


sure working together, with other members, we going to get this


through. I look forward to working with her and I'm sure that in


getting this bill through your Lordship's house that she will make


sure that, working together, should keep my feet firmly on the ground


and that bill does not end up in outer space. I'm really looking


forward to that. I know we're going to get the compliance because the


Government seems to be determined to do that. I thank the minister for


her cooperation and I would now ask the House to gay the bill a second


reading. -- to give the bill a second reading. As man of that


opinion should say content. The contents have it.


My Lord I move that this bill be committed to a committee of the


whole House. As many of that opinion say content. To the contrary not


content. The contents have it. Second reading of the political


parties funding and expenditure bill. My Lord's, I beg to move this


bill be read a second time. I must confess that I'm very surprised,


pleasantly surprised of course, to be in a position to move the second


reading of the bill. Had there not been a fill buster in the other


place two weeks ago, I would have no chance to set out the merits of our


proposal today, and that would have been the last opportunity for this


session. My Lord's, I say "our" proposals, since this bill is based


on the cross-party draft published in April 2013 by a small group


comprising Andrew Tyrie MP, very distinguished member of the other


place who's worked so hard on this issue and Alan Whitehead a very well


respected Labour MP and myself. I'm hugely grateful for their time and


their commitment, but the current bill has, for obvious reasons, been


updated since then, so that they cannot be held responsible for all


its details. My Lord's I should also record that the really hard work for


the original draft was undertaken by a professional Parliamentary


draftsperson under the supervision of our principal advisor Alex Davis,


with the support of the GCSE receive Rountree reform -- Joseph Rowntree


trust. The contribution of Alex to the process has been invaluable. The


bill is as much his as it is now. I should record that it seeks to


fulfil the objectives of the report by the committee on standards?


Public life pub -- stands in publish life. I am delighted that the


current chairman, who has down so much to clarify the problems and


possible solutions intends to speak today. The current bill drafted


nearly a year ago now, updates the previous proposals to reflect the


various manifesto commitments of all the main parties to take big money


out of British politics. And to regularise the constraints of both


party donations and campaign expenditure. The delay in obtaining


this debate, my Lord's, has two fortuitous, huge benefits. First,


I'm delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Young, is to respond since he


and I have debated together and often worked together over some 55


years. He may not care to be reminded of this. I hope it's too


late to affect his career, but it has been a very happy cooperation on


several occasions. My Lord's, if this debate had taken place earlier


in the session he might have still been enjoying well earned retirement


on the backbenches. But he's here today and I'm delighted. Mowerover,


my Lord's, unlike so many colleagues, he comes to the


Government dispatch box with a great deal of experience of election


contests, several more than mine and very many more successful than mine.


He is uniquely placed to respond positively to this debate. My


Lord's, secondly, in the last few weeks, there have been several


developments which add to the urgency of a review of the law


relating to political funding, both in relation to the extent to which


millionaires dominate the income of all parties and the way in which,


and the way in which opportunities are found to circumnavigate the long


established restraints of campaign funding. This debate is all the more


timely and topical for that. For example, I immediately concede, my


Lord's, that the bill does not, since it was prepared over a year


ago, adequately cover the special circumstances of referendums or


referenda, if you prefer. You will be aware of the recent revelations


in the Observer newspaper examiner the role of the American billionaire


Robert Mercer and his interests in Cambridge alalityca and vote leave


campaign last year. Despite attempted explanations that this


company, which assisted the Trump campaign to target swing voters at a


cost of more than $6 million, did not work in British politics Mr


Aaron Banks suggests otherwise. He said last month that Cambridge


analytical was "world class, had helped the Leave campaign with


unprecedented levels of engagement and claimed that their artificial


intelligence won it for Leave." One of the employees of this company had


previously appeared at a Leave EU press conference to explain the


technology that was being employed in their campaign. The Observer


reports that Cambridge analytical "declined to comment last week on


whether it had (inaudible) As members here will know all donations


of services in kind worth ?7,500 must be reported to the Electoral


Commission and no such submission was made. Here my Lord's is a clear


case for the commission to be empowered to examine again the issue


of valuable benefits in kind and to act to prevent abuse. I come to a


second example of potential abuse. The guardian on February 24 reported


on the curious case of the referendum campaign expenditure by


the DUP, which was wholly and completely spent on the mainland of


Great Britain. We now know that the DUP had an anonymous donation of


?280,000 for advertising wrap around Metro, by far its biggest single


contribution to the Leave campaign. And Metro does not circulate in


Northern Ireland. The rules on political donations transparency


were not extended to the province in 2000, for very special reasons.


Those reasons may not apply now, and they should surely be revisited. The


practical result of this deefs action has been to create an


apparent case of political money laundering. I hope the ministers and


commission will agree this potential abuse should not be permitted to


continue and increase and the latter must be given powers in legislation


to tackle it. Together, my Lord's, these two examples result in the


Leave campaign standing accused not only of lying in the substance of


their campaign, but cheating in the process of delivering it. My third


example is even more urgent and topical because the trend I will


identify is inSidious and undermines one of the most vital features of


our representative democracy. Since 1883, there have been firm rules to


prevent individuals and organisations from pouring excessive


sums of money into the constituency campaigns to secure the election of


individual candidates, to prevent the purchase of MPs, if you like.


All the elections here contested I'm sure that the noble Lord, Lord


Young, will have been reminded that every single penny spent to secure


his success is restricted by law. It must be observed rigorously and


reported or he could end up in court. A number of other members of


your Lordship's House stood for election to the other place and I'm


sure they were reminded by their agents at regular intervals about


expenditure at any sum to secure election. Over recent years,


however, an ever increasing percentage of the investment in


target seats has come from the various national party campaign


funds with hugely different and higher permitted totals. All parties


have seen this as an obvious way to increase their chances of success in


those constituencies, while dodging the long established local financial


constraints. My Lord, in recent weeks, we've all been endeaded to


Michael Crick and Channel 4 for their determined investigative


journalism on this issue. Personally I regret that the BBC has appeared


to be prepared to leave it to rivals, to their rivals, to fill


this important role. However, the Times has covered this issue


extensively. In its issue of March 4, under the headline, "election


fraud Queenery rocks Number Ten", and then there was a considerable


interest that followed on from that. World media attention has fizzed


round these cases, the official response has been positively


pedestrian. My Lord's, outrageously, these matters have been allowed to


drag on for more than 20 months. Quite apart from anything else, this


has been hanging over heads of individual MPs, and a number of


them, whose whole political career could be at risk. It is surely


absurd for so many individual police forces, many of whom may never have


undertaken any similar investigation to have to learn afresh the way in


which campaign funding is restricted by law. So that is why clause 23 of


our bill makes provision for the Electoral Commission to be empowered


in this key role of ensuring compliance with all the expenditure


limits in election law. Meanwhile, clause 19 of our bill sets out


clearly a way to circumscribe a growing abuse of our electoral


legislation. Subsection three of that clause, the only part of the


bill I intend to quote directly this afternoon, it reads, "No more than


1% of the amounts specified in subsection two may be incurred by


represented registered party for the purposes of A, sending unsolicited


material, falling within paragraph four of sedge you'll one -- schedule


one, addressed to any person registered or entitled to be


registered in the register of Parliamentary electors for any


Parliamentary constituency, B, making unsolicited telephone calls


to such persons. To be clear, this means that only 1% of the overall


national preparer limit could be spent in any one constituency on the


two campaign methods which are denone strabl targeted. A letter or


telephone call to an elector in a home, in a constituency cannot be


said to be doing other than influencing the result in that


particular constituency. It's one of the features of our electoral system


that there is no national result, nor a regional result, only


constituency results. What we are suggesting may not prevent all the


present cunning attempts to bypass the law, not least with the Advent


of targeted social media advertising, but it would be a good


start. And if the Government took on this cross-party bill, they could


certainly make it more comprehensive, for example, dealing


with the deployment of central party staff and the bus loads of activists


to marginal seats. I don't know whether the noble Lord reads the


Daily Mail every morning, but I'm sure his department has drawn his


attention to page two of that newspaper this morning, possibly


also he saw Channel 4 last night, that is very relevant. I'm very


competent and well aware of the recent extensive, excellently


prepared and fair recommendations of the Electoral Commission that their


expert advice to be available to ministers. I have a summary of


relevant recent Electoral Commission statements which I won't propose to


read out now, but I'm sure the noble Lord the minister is well aware of


them. The Times article was accompanied by


a leading article which concluded the spending rules exist for good


reasons. They make sure that constituency candidates face each


other on a level playing field, fiddling expenses undermines not


just the result, but the public's face in the institutions of


Parliament. Above all the electoral process must be seen to be honest


and above reproach. I wholeheartedly agree and I hope that the noble Lord


will do so, to. My Lords, I readily acknowledge that the likelihood of


any further progress for our cross-party bill at this time is


precisely zero. However, help is at hand. Members of the house will


recall the crucial recommendations regarding trade union political


funds and political party funding. I'm proud to admit that I originally


suggested the creation of that select committee and then served on


it. Our report published just over a year ago referred to the


Conservative 2015 election manifesto as follows, to seek agreement on a


comprehensive package of party funded reform. And then our report


included one very important recommendation, approved


unanimously. Whether or not clause ten is enacted in whatever form, the


political parties should live up to their manifesto commitments and make


a renewed and urgent effort to seek a comprehensive agreement on party


funding reform, and it went on, we urge the government to take a


decisive lead and convened talks itself rather than waiting for them


to emerge. We accepted the select committee's report and the trade


union Bill was amended, but we waited in vain for the government's


response to this crucial recommendation. At long last before


Christmas, Christmas Eve, I think, six months beyond the convention


limit, Chris Skidmore Parliamentary undersecretary wrote to our


committee chairman, in his memorandum setting up the


government's response largely ignored this recommendation and


failed completely to reiterate the 2015 Conservative manifesto, but


instead stated boldly that this -- despite this cross-party consensus,


there is no broad consensus at this time. I'm not sure how he has


arrived at this view, because in advance of convening talks. I


suspect it might be that the Conservatives just don't want to


find a consensus. However, he went on to promise, the government is


open to constructive debate and dialogue on small-scale measures


which could command broad support, if there was a positive reaction to


such a potential step from a main political party, but let me repeat.


A positive reaction. I don't know Chris Skidmore, but I'm sure that


Lord Young will concur with me that the team in the cabinet off is


always chooses their words with extreme care. It is impossible to


have a reaction, positive or otherwise, without having an action


to react to. There must be something to react to. Therefore I'd take it


that the government is now ready to follow the recommendation of the


select committee and to put some proposals to a cross-party group


which they will convene. To meet the recommendation of the select


committee, so warmly endorsed by your membership's house committee


may be that the Minister will outline these proposals this


afternoon. I've always been told that the afternoon is when the Mace


hits the wharf site, that the afternoon starts.


In any case, in this House and those from across the House, who agreed


unanimously to these recommendations, several of whom I'm


delighted to see here today, will now look to the government to


initiate these talks immediately with a view to taking this further


in the Queen's Speech and the new session. The Prime Minister came to


office last year without the trouble of an election, and she must now


pledged to lead a government which would be driven not by the interests


of the privileged few. While donations and expenditure to


election campaigns remains on reform, she simply cannot realise


this ambition. A privileged few will continue to have privileged access


to government and power. So before we get too close to another general


election it is time, finally, to grasp this nettle. We who have


worked on this cross-party bill, offer it as a practical starting


point for cross-party discussions and for the legislation that must


surely follow. I beg to move. The question is that this bill now be


read a second time. I congratulate Lord Tyler in bringing forward this


bill. I congratulate him especially... He spoke of the need


to control big-money donations and I note in the week that his party


leader has been extolling about $1 million >> STUDIO: -- about ?1


million donation, exceeding that of the Labour Party. Anyone will not be


surprised it is possible for the Liberal party leadership to be


exalted in ?1 million donation at one end of Parliament while here


they are being attacked. But despite all that, I complement the noble


Lord Agassi is always very assiduous on these matters -- because he is


always. A number of other matters deserve careful consideration, and


there is a good case for gift aid and relation to personal political


donations, especially at the local level, where political service in


local communities actually at -- is objectively not much different from


voluntary service for the public good. I must restrain myself because


the cynic in me that sadly gnaws its way through my customary civility to


the Liberal Democrats, does tempt me to say that some might see part one


of schedule two in this bill which is entitled limits on campaign


expenditure, and the noble Lord's own condemnation as he put it of


bus-loads of activists being taken to elections. As perhaps a little


rich in a bill which is being commended by the party opposite. But


this being lent, I will restrain myself and I think we should all


reflect on verse seven of chapter eight, I say this as the right


reverend's benches empty, but chapters St John, let the party


without sin cast the first stone. But the noble Lord referred to


things which are not in the bill and I want to refer to things which I


think are important. These are, the reception of donations that are


later found to be the direct proceeds of crime, and secondly the


risk of corrupt attempts to induce political party not to put up a


candidate in an election. On the first point I'd take as my test case


in the case of Michael Brown, convicted in 2008 hurt theft,


furnishing false information and seeking to convert the course of


justice -- for therefore the later broke jail as a fugitive from


justice, but he donated ?2.4 million in just seven weeks to the Liberal


Democrats in 2005. Before anyone says I have got on John, chapter


seven, I would say that the Maxwell case and others show that all


parties have encountered this problem. Let the party without sin


cast the first stone. But I'd take the Brown, three wrongs do not make


a right, and I focus on the ground case because it took place after the


establishment of the electoral commission. And it clearly shows the


inability of the commission to secure the return of donations which


are the result of criminal enterprise, impermissible donation


might be returned. If it was later found to be from the proceeds of


crime. The only issue in law that the electoral commission campus you


is whether the donation appeared reasonably to be their personal at


the time it was given. -- to be permissible. And broadly that is


whether it was incorporated in the UK and trading, and that is


something that told in the very entertaining memoirs of the noble


Lord, and always proud to plug the work of a former Richmond


councillor, he says the Metropolitan special police special Branch told


the Liberal Democrats at the time that fifth Ave partners were trading


legitimately. It is therefore a material that it was later proved in


court that the donating company was operating as a front for massive


fraud. Paragraph 37 of the electoral commission's later report on this


case implies that three donations to the Liberal Democrats, one of


100,000, one of 151,000, and a third one of ?632,000, were money put into


the company by default it would be investors which was flipped by Brown


into political donations. Although the courts found that brown faced at


least ?36 million from people who thought they were investing in a


successful hedge fund, run by the son of a peer, and I never


understand why people find it so beguiling when they are approached


by someone who claims to be the son of a peer that they hand over their


money. One individual hand it over ?8 million, very unfortunate, whose


name is well known. But no action could be taken to recover the funds


that were later found to be the proceeds of this criminal


enterprise. One of Michael Brown's victims took the case to the


Parliamentary ombudsman and he actually found against the electoral


commission on certain grounds, negligence as he saw it,


commissioned it not acceptable, those findings, and the matter was


effectively closed. The party kept the money, as the Maxwell minute in


the past was kept, and the victims lived with the loss -- the Maxwell


money. There is a clear inequity, and I diverges between the treatment


of what is found, albeit in good faith -- and a diverges. To be an


impermissible donation at the time and one which is found later to come


from criminal fraud. And I think if this bill goes forward to committee


this issue really should be addressed. The second matter I wish


to raise relates to the very murky affair of a ?250,000 donation


offered by a still anonymous individual or company to the Green


Party. In the context of discussion whether or not the Green Party


should put up a candidate in the Richmond Park by-election and give a


free run to the Liberal Democrats. Now, that this attempt at a donation


was made is not tonight, my lords, quite the reverse. -- is not denied.


Report from Kingston Green Party declares, and I quote, party staff


added pressure to Kingston Green Party activists, saying in


confidence that the party staff working for us to agree to stand


down. This was because they would be serious but confidential


implications for the National party, so serious that they could even


affect the jobs of party staff. In the event that we did not do so. I


continued the quote, later it was clarified by party staff, ostensibly


on the instructions of a chief executive, that this related to the


donation of some ?250,000 that was conditional on the party showing its


seriousness about the progressive Alliance initiative. Between Green


Party and the Liberal Democrats. The evidence of those... INAUDIBLE


... A quarter of ?1 million, on offer, for the Green Party to not


oppose the Liberal Democrats, either here or more widely. And this was


not denied by the Green Party. Indeed it has been reported first


that the central staff member did discuss the proposed donation with


local party members, but this was an error. That is the usual excuse, my


lords, of overzealous officials that comes up in so many cover-ups.


The Green Party has said that the donation was considered but rejected


by the party's ethics committee. That's a committee that we're told


ensures no donations are accepted from foreign sources, tobacco


companies or other industries, such as aviation. In other words, my


Lord's, the offer was made, it was considered by the Green Party, it


was used in argument within the Green Party to seek to induce people


not to come forward or wish to come forward to be candidates, but was


eventually rejected. Now it's true that the Green Party has denied that


this attempted donation was contingent on this one specific seat


being vacated for the Liberal Democrats. But that does not rule


out its being part of an inducement to a wider, progressive alliance in


which the two parties involved would agree not to contest a number of


agreed seats. E-mails are available in which the liberal leader of


Kingston, liberal party on Kingston Council, Liz Green, is seeking to


reach such arrangements with local Greens. It's note worthy that


Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, facing boundary changes, showed an uncommon


interest in this matter, my Lord's. I asked the Electoral Commission if


they were minded to investigate this attempted donation. They said that,


I quote, "corrupt withdrawal from candidacy was a matter not for them


but for the police." It was their understanding the matter might have


been reported to the police, but a police spokesman, whom I cordially


thank and who was perhaps unable to establish the position in the time


available said after the inquiries he made that he was unaware of such


an investigation. My Lord's, I think there should be an investigation and


if no-one else has done so, then I would consider writing to the


Metropolitan Police commissioner myself. Section 107 of the


representation of the people act reads as follows: Corrupt withdrawal


from candidature, "any person who corruptly induces or procures any


other person to withdrawal from being a candidate at an election in


consideration of any payment or promise of payment, promise of


payment, my Lord's, and any person with drawing in pursuance of the


producement or procurement shall be guilty of an illegal payment. What


is not clear to me from this is if an inducement to a party not to put


forward, to a party not to put forward a candidate, which can


result, as in this case, in subsequent pressure on act vifrts


not to stand, is equally a criminal offence under the act. Of course, in


the circumstances in which parties have absolute control of the party


badge, rightly so, at elections, if the party does not lend support,


no-one who is a Green can stand as a Green using the greern name. Now it


should be, in my judgment, a criminal offence to seek to induce a


party not to put up a candidate by the offer of money. A police


investigation in think case could readily establish the identity of


the persons involved, including the would-be offerer of the donation.


Something on which the Green Party should come clean. I challenge them


to do so, my Lord's. What possible reason can there be for a political


party hiding the identity of a would-be donor, to which they have


admitted that they themselves is now unethical. They could at stroke


could release that information and we might then be better able to


establish the real truth behind this murky affair. My Lord's, I submit


that section 107 doesn't cover inducements to parties not to permit


candidates to go forward in certain seats, it should be revised to do


so. I hope some of the other matters raised in this bill will be


proceeded with. But I do hope that the two issues I've highlighted


today will also be considered. My Lord's, I rise to thank Lord


Tyler for raising this bill and declare that I the mareman of the


committee on a report in public life. This has a certain family


resemblance to the themes of this bill, public funding, 10,000


donation cap, in particular. Again, as I have done before in this House,


I have to concede that the report of the committee in 2011 from the very


beginning did not claim the support of either the Conservative or Labour


Party membership of the committee. This does not mean I think that we


can then just shelf the report. I certainly think that in one respect


in particular the emphasis in that report on the difficulties


surrounding the big donor culture in British politics and the moral


difficulties are still very much alive. It does mean that I am not


here to fetishise any detail of that report. I does mean that I want to


defend one of the key ideas, the need for cross-party consensus and


I'm here to defend and move this issue forward. I am absolutely


certain the issue cannot be left where it now is. I think, as I want


to make clear in the course of speech, in a number of important


respects, the whole landscape has changed in the last five, six years


in respect to these issues. Any reform would have to take into


account the ways in which the landscape has actually changed. I am


grateful to the elements in the speech where he indicated there were


certain elements of perform that he as a Conservative peer would


support. I think that could be easily enough the beginning of a


discussion between the parties in which there could be a consensus.


There is enormous difficulty around this issue but I do want to start by


supporting one point from Lord Tyler's speech, that is this: The


Prime Minister very effectively, at the beginning of her tenure, as she


took office, talked about the issue of public trust. She raised this


issue, actually, I'm not now talking about general polling about the


Conservative Party's fortunes, which everybody knows of. The Conservative


side is quite solid. We've had an historic by-election result, but


actually on the trust issue. There was a spike, a sympathetic spike


upward in public trust issues in the immediate period of the Prime


Minister taking office, upwards, because she talked about trust in


politics and she talked about these issues and implied there would be


change. I am absolutely certain and I know I say to a Government riding


on a crest of a wave of highs opinion polls, the massive


distraction of Brexit for Governmental energy. It cannot be


left where it is. It cannot be left where expectation is raised that


there is going to be some movement in this area and then absolutely


nothing happens. There was this positive reaction and it would be


very unpleasant for all of us to see this to turn sour in public opinion.


Now the matter is very difficult. To put it simply, 80% of the public


believe that people only give money to political parties because they


want to become peers. 80% of the public believe they will not


contribute to the upkeep of political problems. There you have a


problem. Even more than the committee post on standards in


public life posted last year and this was the work of Dee Goddard,


from the University of Kent, whose work I will draw on later in the


speech as well, you can see, for example, 90% of members of the


public believe that MPs behave in hay way, which is determined in some


degree, by party donors, possibly against their conscience. As a


matter of fact, I do not believe this to be true at all. I believe


the level of trustworthiness, real trustworthiness of a member of


Parliament is far higher than some of these jaundiced surveys of trust.


But nonetheless, the fact that level of suspicion exists cannot be


totally disregarded. There's no magic way forward. Similar polling


shows that 42% of the public are not sure they believe in a donation cap.


That's quite a large chunk. They certainly are not sure as to what


the level of that donation cap should be to political parties. So I


am not denying for one minute that it will be easy to resolve these


issues. I am not convinced that an all-singing, all-dancing reform


would prove to be possible. I am convinced, and I think we have seen


some of the elements of Lord Tyler's bill, and in Lord True's speeches,


elements where the parties could come together and at least be seen


to be responding to public concern on these matters. It is not good


enough for the Conservative Party, all the parties actually, to have


commitments in their 2010/2015 election manifestos which are widely


disregarded. I should say in the name of fairness here, that while


there's a pile of dusty and non-committal letters, in the


committee of standards office, where weaver asked the leaders of all the


parties what are they going to do on this matter and how will they live


up to the language in their manifestos, there is also a dusty


letter from the Deputy Prime Minister of the last Government,


also not really moving the situation forward in any very dramatic way.


All three major parties have not really distinguished themselves in


their, in their enthusiasm for reform in this particular area. I


want to mention a couple of difficulties in Lord Tyler's bill,


one of which he's acknowledged and addressed it somewhat in his speech.


It doesn't deal with matters in referenda. I think he's right and I


think there's a key issue of, he's right in what he said in his speech,


there is a key issue of private companies and their declaration of


ultimate ownership, when they donate to political parties. This is now a


key issue. I think it is likely to surface when the Electoral


Commission carries out its projected analysis now of the funding of the


referendum campaign. I think that is a gap. The second points that I want


to address is the issue of third-party funding. Now here, Lord


Tyler's bill slightly steps away from it. To be honest, our own


committee report 2011, if I remember rightly, was criticised by the


brilliant Oxford political scientist for its neglect of the third party


funding issue. We simply said it was an issue and we wanted the electoral


comiction to deal with it, but did not vote any real space or analysis


in our report. I can understand why there was criticism of that neglect


or deficiency. Since then, we have had the report of Lord Hodgson, the


independent report on third-party funding. This is important and it


came out in March 2016. It hits on something which is very important


and reinforces my earlier point, the way in which the actual terrain of


party political campaigning is changing so rapidly in this country


so that reforms, such as ours, were essentially designed to deal with


certain realities of payments for leafletting, the way that parties


operated locally, the way that activists behaved locally, which in


some ways had not changed all that much since the 1850s. In the last


five years, a new world has actually been created. Lord Hodgson's report


had the great merit of modernising our thinking on this key subject. In


particular, the ambiguous way in which social media transforms the


traditional forms of cam ache and -- campaigning. The parties are showing


increasing skill in exploitation of social media platforms for targeted


advertising using big data and the ability to data mine remains


difficult, it's very expensive, expensive procedures and it is which


therefore also heightens the significance of the use of private


money in our politics. There is a strong sense in the last election,


perfectly legitimately, the Conservative Party was well ahead of


the game in this respect, certainly as expenditure was well ahead of the


game, as against that of the Labour Party. Now that's politics. You're


either awake or you're not. I make no protest on that particularly


point, but nonetheless, it is something that you have to with


thought about and Lord Hodgson, for example, makes a point very strongly


in his report that many of these processes involved are likely to


take place before actually the regulated campaign begins. So these


are things we must at least take account of. We are not carrying out


political campaigns in the way we used to. Any reform should try and


address this. It's in some ways, as so often with the liberating, in


some ways liberating and in other respects ambiguous and potentially


disturbing in the way the new procedures might be put. Finally, my


Lord's, I want to distress my strong support for the key theme of the


bill before us today and that is the need for reform of the situation in


Northern Ireland. Obviously, I have a personal interest as I'm from


Northern Ireland, but actually my committee has had this interest long


before. The committee has been addressing this subject since 2009.


It is no longer acceptable to have secrecy as to party donations in


Northern Ireland. There may yet be a need for some transitional phase,


but nonetheless, the fact that we have had this secrecy is, in fact, a


part of the crisis which now grips Northern Irish politics. It's a


small part, but not insignificant. Because the point is this: That the


public believes that those who benefitted from the renewable


heating scandal and the waste -- alleged waste of hundreds of


millions of pounds of public money are, in many cases, party donors.


Now this may not be true, my neighbours all believe it to be


true. It may be entirely unfair. But what is a complicated and poisonous


factor in the recent election, there's no doubt in my mind it was a


complicated factor. May I make this point, my Lord's, we often wonder in


this country about transparency. It is perfectly true to say as I look


through The Minutes, before my time, that back over 20 years, that there


is an illusion on behalf of my very distinguished predecessors about


transparency. They actually believed for sure if only we achieved more


transparency in this or that area of British public life there would be


an increase in public trustment -- trust. In many respects this has not


happened. That is an illusion. But it is also the case and it is very


clear from the recent scandal in Northern Ireland, that the absence


of transparency makes things worse, so transparency is not the cure-all.


So I want to make that point and perhaps also in fairness Lord Tyler


mentioned the issue of the Democratic Unionist Party. Good I


explain this business of funding. It was an option for the Conservative


Party, this idea that money would go to Northern Ireland. There is no


suggestion that the Conservative Party Northern Ireland has ever used


that route which technically could have done, and indeed the Labour


Party which while it doesn't stand candidates in Northern Ireland has


members who are allowed to vote for the Labour leadership for example.


There has never been a suggestion and I'm confident it hasn't happened


that either of the main parties could have exploited the route that


is now complained about in the press have actually done so. By the way


another indication of the point I'm trying to make that often levels of


trustworthiness are actually higher than the public believes it to be.


In mainstream British politics. Because technically anyone who sees


this can say, how could this be legal? Once you have donations to a


political party, how is it, it will make it very uncomfortable, but


where is the illegality involved because we have already got secrecy


of donations in Northern Ireland. What is the illegality involved.


Written about critically in the press. I dead quite see the


illegality. Just to complete this point, it is not just the DUP Houari


problem here because current Northern Ireland electoral law


favours Sin Fein also, in that we do not accept foreign donations for


political parties and because we are linked in to the capacious


definition that the Irish Gutman has as to what is to be an Irish


citizen, Irish citizens are allowed to donate and it is perfectly


possible that a chap in Chicago who has never been in Highland in his


life could also be donating to one of the critical parties. It is


another political principle that is flouted by the current legislation,


the opposition to foreign donations. Let me say supposing the last


government, Sinn Fein had taken their seats and suppose they had, it


had been right towards a Labour government, we could have a Prime


Minister elected in this country in Parliament on the basis of a totally


different franchise in terms of the expenditure limits and context in


which they were working under. So there is, and by the way, you will


say to me that Sinn Fein don't currently take their seats but one


of the last public statements of Martin McGuinness was to suggest


that perhaps, Brexit was such a bad thing that it might be necessary for


them to revise their policy in this Parliament. I know the government


has this to paper out and there is a hint that the government itself is


looking for change in this area, I would be very comforted if the noble


Lord was able to say what the state of the government's thinking is on


this matter, of party funding in Northern Ireland? May join other


noble Lords in congratulating my noble friend on introducing this


very comprehensive bill. And hopefully it will push forward the


debates that we have had, in this chamber and elsewhere, on this very


important topic. I was also a member of the select committee on the trade


union funding of political parties. The reason for my interest in this


is that I spent, the years in the running up to the last election as


the treasure of the Liberal Democrats, raising over ?20 million


in the run-up and during that election campaign so I have got some


first-hand experience not only in the business world but also in


raising funds for political parties. And before I go on to comment on the


bill, and the current state of the debate on this matter, I want to


just respond to Lord Troon. The noble Lord, went through a whole


series of instances and all I would say to him about the Brown case and


others like him, and this refers to all parties. If this bill was on the


statute book anything like it none of those things would have happened.


That brings me, to what I think is the most important feature of this


bill. Before doing that I would say, again to the noble lord. I spent


last night with Sarah Olney and the leader of the Liberal Democrats in


Richmond and party members there, and in response to is comments about


the Richmond local authority, we will see at the ballot box next May,


and respond in that way. I think the most important feature of this bill,


the noble Lord has raised some very important issues as well. But the


most important feature of this bill, he is, the reform of contributions.


And on bringing down the scale of contributions. On introducing a cap,


so that the abuses that have taken place in the past, can be avoided,


and that some trust in politicians can be hopefully improved. Now I


don't frankly expect that will happen soon because I think the


party opposite would be adamantly opposed to any such reform taking


place. Because they clearly have a massive advantage from major donors


in the funding of the Conservative Party and have had for many years.


And therefore I am not optimistic that the change will take place


until another government comes into office and changes it. The present


government needs to remember, that while it may be riding high at the


moment, governments do change and will change and circumstances may


well lead to the change that they don't want to see happening taking


place sometime in the future. The Labour Party has made major reforms


and I must say very welcome reforms following the Collins review. Of


political funding by the trade unions and the Labour Party. I think


the changes that have taken place have moved us in the right direction


towards individual donations. Which should enable, in a rational world,


the major parties to come to some agreement on how we move ahead in


the future. One of the other consequences of abolishing all of


putting a cap, on major payments, is that it would make parties do what I


think would be very good for our democracy, which President Obama


demonstrated, in his fund-raising activities for his campaigns. And


that is, it would make the parties, I been in the position of having to


do this, go out to the electorate and raise funds, small donations,


from many, many people. That's very good for the health of the democracy


and for the health of the parties that we should be forced into the


position of having to go to thousands on thousands of people. If


you have got a cap of ?10,000 you would have to do that, that would be


a very good thing in our political life. And would make parties have


two respond to a cap or that sort. The noble Lord mentioned the changes


in can political campaigning. They dovetail in. I agree with him, the


speed with which campaigning methods are now progressing, does mean that


it all needs to be reviewed. And that changing using the social media


in particular enables us to raise funds from a very substantial number


of people and we seal sorts of examples day by day of this


happening in crowdfunding of all sorts of very good causes, peeping


crisis. Companies. It is a whole new scene and there is no reason why,


and it has happened to some extent, the political parties couldn't do


the same thing. Extend their reach and get over this whole burden of


major donations being made to parties. So I think that is the


biggest necessary reform. But I'm afraid as I say that I don't


expected to be happening soon. But I do think there are some things, and


a number of them have been mentioned in the debate, that could be


usefully discussed in discussions between the major parties. When the


coalition was in office. The Deputy Prime Minister called for all-party


talks, and unfortunately although the Labour Party responded by


nominating a cabinet, a Shadow Cabinet minister and their general


secretary to take part in those, the Liberal Democrats did the same, the


Conservative Party didn't respond at all despite being partners in


government. It wasn't until the Peter Cruddas affair, hit the Sunday


Times, that the Conservative Party decided it should do something about


it and I think the Prime Minister spoke to the Deputy Prime Minister


when he learned that exposure was going to be made, in the Sunday


Times and suggested that they would give names to him for the all-party


talks to take place and sure enough this was used as a cover for the


Peter Cruddas coverage that took place at that time. A very cynical


way in which to handle it and of course, no progress was really made


in those talks because the Conservative Party wasn't interested


in making progress on any of the major matters that were discussed.


And, I think the abuses which had been taken place and which are being


investigated at the moment demonstrate the need for those talks


to take place as soon as possible. My noble friend referred to the


investigations that the police and the electoral commission are


carrying out at the moment. In 1979, I had a case that went to the hype


court over my election expenses, to assess to the High Court. By greed


is quite unacceptable that these investigations have been going on


for almost two years now. And the members of Parliament concerned have


no certainty of their future in Parliament because it could be that


if the police find a case against them, that those Conservative


members, that are being investigated the abuses found, they could lose


their seats. I think that is an impossible position for them to be


in, guilty or not guilty. The matter should be resolved quickly. But we


said in the select committee report as my noble friend said, talks


should take place. The government had been extremely reluctant as


demonstrated by the ministers, the time that it is the ministers to


respond to the select committee report. There are some useful things


that could be discussed. And I urge the noble Lord minister, to respond


positively to this. There are changes, some of these have been


mentioned already in the debate. But there are changes possibly in the


tax treatment of political donations. Changes in methods of


fundraising, that I think be considered in joint talks. Also the


distribution of the existing funding of parties, because it is a bit of a


myth, that there is no state funding of the parties at the present time.


There is an enormous state funding of the critical parties, whether it


is through support for research assistants, in Parliament, whether


it is through the freepost mechanism. There is an enormous


amount of money and it may be, that could be looked at and a more


equitable system worked out. So I hope that the Minister will respond


to this debate today by saying that the government will initiate talks


between the critical parties. -- political parties.


I hope the minister will respond well to this debate by initiating


talks in his closing speech. My Lord's, as others have said, Lord


Tyler is to be commented by bringing this bill and this issue before the


House. His persistence and resilience in this matter against


quite severe odds. I do think this House is a good place to be


discussed in the first place, without the overall majority of any


particular party, we can discuss the issues. At the end of the day,


whilst I do have aspects of this bill which I would like to commend


and others which I somewhat disagree with, I think the main point of this


debate is to see how the minister responds, because there is a grave


responsibility in the party of Government to take the initiative in


this respect. I'm therefore greatly looking forward to the response by


the noble Lord, Lord Young, in a few minutes' time. My Lord's, like Lord


Tyler I served on the Select Committee set up in the course of


the trade union bill. Since others have not eschewed partisan comments,


I would say the reason that was set up was in response to a rather


blatant move by the Conservative Government to attempt to bankrupt


the largest party of Opposition, a move which would largely be


condemned if we were talking about a banana republic reporting to be a


proper democracy. But, my Lord's, that party's own move was part of a


pattern, but it was probably the most blatant of them. Over the


years, Governments of different parties, Labour and Conservative, at


least, have made minor moves to try and restrict the amount of money


available to their main Opposition. The trade union bill, the trade


union act as it is now, was a very major such move, but in all


contexts, governments have attempted to restrict resources available to


their opponents. My Lord's, the point of the Select Committee


report,ence dorsed by this House was that we ought to be making another


effort to reach consensus on a proportionate way forward, which


does not impose huge burdens on the taxpayer or on the law, but which


all parties and all commentators could see as far as comprehensive.


My Lord's, the Conservative Party manifesto to which Lord Tyler has


already made reference not only included a rather vaguely worded


commitment to do something about trade union political funds, but it


also did commit a future Conservative Government to do


exactly what we are asking for, to set up a new initiative to look at


party funding as a whole. I think it's fair to say that all members of


that Select Committee were appalled at the complete indifference of


Government ministers who came to that committee in terms of their own


responsibilities, which they effectively put back to the


individual parties. My Lord's, that applied to the Conservative members


as much to the Labour and Liberal Democrat and independent members of


that committee. The reply to which Lord Tyler has referred to, which we


eventually got, does not take us any further. My Lord's, I suppose I


should have declared an interest at the beginning or at least a past


interest. I was for many years administer of a political fund of my


union and I was the grateful recipient of the trade union


political funds as General Secretary of the party. It is well known and


straightforward that the party has been pretty dependent on those


funds. I have always recognised that the way in which those funds are


raised and pats s passed to the party -- and passed to the party has


always been controversial and has reflected public concern that. Was


referred to in the report of the Committee on Standards in Public


Life. It has been referred to also earlier today. This is the issue of


opting out or opting in to the political funds and opting out or


opting in to donations to political parties. My Lord's, for many years I


have strongly defended the opting out provisions, but I do recognise


the pressure there. It does seem to me that the Labour Party has since


that Chris Kelly report, moved somewhat in the direction that


report was suggesting. Being an old cynic and an old negotiator, I


wasn't too keen on the move that we followed, my noble friend Lord


Collins report, not on principle, not the rights and wrongs of it. But


I thought the Labour Party was giving away one of the cards it


ought to be playing when multiparty negotiations started, which I hoped


at that time would be fairly soon. My Lord's, I'm not entirely in


favour ever what we have done, but the fact is we have made a move.


There has been no reciprocal move from the other parties, in


particular from the Conservative Party, who have the Government, have


the responsibility in Government. So we have a situation now, we're


following the reforms under Ed Miliband on the basis of my noble


friend's report. The Labour Party, trade unions, face a double opt in.


You opt into the political fund and opt in to pay an affiliation fee to


the Labour Party. My Lord's, no other source of funds and no other


political party places those same barriers. I have had occasion to


refer to this before. In the five years up to when we committed our


report under the trade union bill proceedings, ?64 million was donated


by trade unions to political parties, almost all of it to the


Labour Party. However, another 80 million was donated by other


organisations, over 80 million. The vast majority of which went to the


Conservative Party. My Lord's, whereas trade unions have to have a


separate political fund, had to provide for their members to opt out


of that political fund, and now have to opt in to the political fund, and


have to have a periodic renewal of that political fund, the other


organisations have no such restrictions. We are therefore


faced, in terms of the organisational - legal organisations


contribution to our political process, with a very lop sided


system. My Lord, the provisions of this bill refer to membership


organisations, by which I hope they mean not only trade unions but also


corporate entities, partnerships and others who have made donations to


political parties in the past and continue to do so. It will involve


the Co-operative organisations and friendly societies and there will be


particular problems for the cooperate party, which need to be


taken on board during the process here. But my Lord's, if all


organisations faced the same hurdles, and the same need to ensure


that their members took a positive decision to pay money to a political


party, then the public's anxiety and the public's suspicion of where that


money is going to and what strings are attached to it would be


significantly relieved. My Lord's, I have a number of particular issues


in relation to this bill, which I would return to in detail were it to


proceed further, after today. I do agree with noble Lord Bew and others


who have referred to the need to update the provisions of our


political fund regulations, in particular into areas of third


parties or front organisations and in particular to the importance of


social media as a means of communicating messages, which can


frequently clearly be targeted to particular constituencies and


particular groups of people. We need to catch up with that. It is clear


if the main purpose of this bill, which is to limit donations, the


level of donations, is to cubing seed, it has to be accompanied by


other provisions and clearly limits on spending, at a local and national


level, limits on the way in which organisations can channel their


money and most controversially of all, it has to be accompanied by a


degree of state funding in order that political parties can actually


flourish. My Lord's, I know that is not particularly important priority


in terms of a difficult fiscal situation, but nevertheless, I think


if the case were made that state funding is part of the solution and


were the solutions which Lord Tyler, in a different context, has put


forward in redistributing what currently exists in terms of state


funding in a more meaningful way, so that actually the net result was


relatively small, then they would accept it. My Lord's, what is really


key today is whatever our own views and the number of different views


have been expressed as to what this bill ought to cover, whatever our


individual views, the key issue today is whether the Government, in


the person of Lord Young, can commit itself to taking the initiative to


get and review a new start at looking on a consensual basis as


possible, the need to produce a comprehensive package, which will


put political funding on a fairer basis. We shouldn't kid ourselves,


my Lord's, when Sir Chris Kelly produced his report he referred to


the deep concern amongst the public. We have seen in recent days that


concern about interference of vested interests in our politics through


monetary proceedings, not all of which are as transparent as they


should be, but as Lord Bew said, transparency is key, but it's not


enough. I hope that the debate today will provoke the minister to make a


more positive response than his predecessors on this issue have and


to trigger a whole new start in looking at this issue so that we can


begin to put public trust back into the issue of funding of political


parties. My Lord's, I too congratulate my


noble friend, Lord aler, and all those involved in bringing forward


this bill. It is 17 years this month, since I led for my party on


the House's deliberations on the political parties elections and


Referendum Act of 2000, generally known now as Pipira. There were


hopes in those debates that its provisions for transparency


concerning donations to parties and a maximum cap on the party's


national spending would clean up the reputation of party funding. It was


believed in those debates that it could help to restore the principles


of a level playing field in politics as first set out in the corrupt and


illegal practices prevention act of 1883, which first standardised the


amount that could be spent on constituency election spenss. --


expenses. Gladstone's Government introduced that bill in order to


prevent thousands of pounds counting for more than thousands of votes in


individual constituencies. But my Lord's, that principle has now been


almost completely eroded. The aims of the legislation in 2000 have


clearly not been met. Politics is not seen to be cleaner and the


effect of the more recent legislation has been to completely


undermine the principle of the 1883 legislation, which for over 100


years, did much to prevent parties purchasing constituencies as a


result of superior spending power. The legislation suffered, I think,


from the absence of pre-legislative scrutiny. It was then subject to


very little scrutiny in the House of Commons. When we considered it in


this place, it was subject to over 500 Government amendments, whilst


other amendments, which would have helped to avoid many of the


problems, were not accepted. We missed the chance then to impose a


cap on donations. The effective introducing national spending


limits, permitting supposedly national spending to be targeted at


individual constituencies, drove the proverbial coach and horses through


the level playing field in constituency elections. Some of the


resulting problems, as identified recently, by the excellent


investigative journalist, Michael Crick, may shortly be tested in the


courts. But the only defence that I can see to many allegations that


have been made is that the legislation is said to be ambiguous.


That, my Lord's, is why we really do need greater clarity in legislation


and a commitment to re-establishing a more level playing field in


British politics, as provided for in this bill.


It is now clear that the very high limits on ostensibly national


campaigns and which I argued 17 years ago should have been lower,


are being abused. By spending superior resources in individual


targeted constituencies. The idea that any letter sent to a voter by a


political party is not in some way designed to promote that party's


electoral success in a car specific constituency within voter limits


defies basic common-sense. The failings of the legislation were


largely addressed in my view by the excellent report of the committee on


standards in Public life in 2011. The committee's report provided the


only possible route through which the coalition government could have


fulfilled the agreement on which it was based, to take the big-money out


of politics. But the vetoing of any increase, however modest, in


existing state funding for parties, prevented the possibility of


agreement of a cap on donations as was proposed for the reform at that


time of trade union funding. My Lords, in evidence to the committee


on standards of public life in 1994, I drop my own party's then policy on


party finance. That ash I troop up. This was firstly to cap individual


donations initially at ?50,000 a year from any individual or


organisation. As my friend Lord Wrigglesworth has said, this would


have avoided embarrassing it to all parties that has happened


subsequently. Secondly, my proposals were to prevent trade unions


effectively spending the members money without them properly choosing


to contribute to a party. And thirdly, to enable parties to


campaign with a limited increase in state funding, which presently


provides for things like distribution of election


communications in Parliamentary elections as well as research and


communication support to parties in parliament. In our debates in 2000,


I also argued for more realistic expenditure levels as the


constituency level, and lower limits on national expenditure by the


parties. This bill today takes those principles forward, and it sets out


carefully considered and balanced proposals which also update their


excellent work by the committee on standards in public life early in


the last parliament. The reason why we needed to address these issues


became more apparent not just in the 2015 general election, but also in


last year 's referendum campaign. As my noble friend Lord Tyler referred


to, there was effective laundry of political donations during the


recent EU referendum by the way of the Northern Ireland Democratic


Unionist Party, spending in parts of Great Britain where it does not


itself campaign. Parliament made special provision for Northern


Ireland in 2000, for reasons referred to by the noble Lord Lord


Pugh. But we then did not foresee this abuse spending rules in a


referendum. And it must soon be time to bring Northern Ireland into line


with rules that apply in Great Britain, and the Republic of


Ireland. Finally, I want to turn to the government's response to the


select committee on trade union to tickle funds and political party


funding. It was right as Lord Tyler said for the committee to remind the


Conservative Party. Their manifesto commitment to seek agreement on a


comprehensive package of party funding reform. And to call for the


renewal of cross-party talks. The government response which he quoted,


tries to kill off progress in those talks, for they have even begun, by


pretending, that an increase in funding to political parties is


impossible to achieve without increasing the overall burden on the


taxpayer. My Lords, I would never suggest, the very limited spending


on democratic engagement by political parties could ever be at


the expense of funding of things like schools and hospitals. Or any


kind of tax interest. I would suggest instead, that we look to cut


the cost of government politicking through government advertising.


Label Lord the minister recently disclosed in an answer to a written


question from me that the government currently spending well over ?100


million in year on its own advertising. This includes for


example, almost ?700,000 on promoting its policy, of a tax break


for married couples. Many such campaigns my Lords seem to be more


based on promotion of Conservative Party policy, and public interest.


The government response to the select committee says that the cost


of the committee on standards of public life proposals, would be


almost 20,000,000,000-a-year at 2010 prices. But much of this my Lords


could be found by reallocating existing party spending. Provided by


the government. The bill before us makes provision to reduce spending


in other areas by ending the policy development grants and by


amalgamating the cost of delivery, freepost election mailings, please


can indication is in the present system are sent by individual


candidates at a cost to the taxpayers in the 2010 general


election of some ?28 million. This communication in my view could be


more cheaply combined into a single bucket, as I first successfully


proposed for the mayoral elections back in 2000. And it has been


adopted successfully in mayoral elections ever since. The


combinations of the savings and production in the government


advertising budget could cover a modest investment in clean up


politics that was proposed by the committee on standards in Public


life in 2011. Politics would be much better, were each citizen Roger but


very modestly to the costs of democracy. This would be a return to


a ban on the selling of influence and access which takes place at the


moment as the parties need to fundraiser for the cost of their


election campaigns. Of course, in response to these proposals, there


will be some anger, distortion and misinformation in elements of the


press. Which would prefer to protect its own power to present issues to


the public in its own way, as opposed to letting parties and


candidates to mutate directly. And without all their views being


filtered by the media. It is time my Lords, to make progress on these


issues and the bill before us shows how this can be done. My Lords must


declare an interest, I was treasurer of the better together campaign. In


Scotland during the recent referendum. I would just like to


point out that every single party I can think of, has been, suffered if


you like the Liberal Democrats, Tories DBP Sinn Fein everyone except


for the Scottish Nationalists. If we are talking about caps on


expenditure, one and a half million was raised by the Scottish


Nationalists, the yes campaign come of that one and a half million, 1


million came from a single couple. Said two thirds of the total


contribution for whole campaign, which was a very important


constitutional issue came from two people. The only point I'm making is


that if we are talking about caps onto nations I believe it should


certainly apply to referenda as much as elections.


My Lords firstly I congratulate my noble Lord Lord Tyler for securing


the second reading of his private members bill today. They being so


late in the session, I suspect he will make no further progress, which


is a matter of regret and one that I repeatedly brought to the attention


of the government to look at the procedures that enable the grand


committee to be used for some committee stage or private members


bills for progress to be made quicker. To move on from the snail


's pace that we often move for private members legislation. Much of


those bills are sensible, and we will benefit if they reach the


statute book. The noble Lord stresses a number of issues that


have been on the table for quite some time. These are important


issues that would be beneficial. I do not necessarily agree with all of


the clauses of the bill while it is moving in the right direction and


the noble Lord made an important point in respect of the issues


regarding referenda. And I was pleased, that they brought the SNP


and, all parties have had their issues fared in terms of this debate


today. I'm sure that the noble Lord is going to say that the government


can't impose consensus on the political parties. But they are open


to debate and dialogue. Well that is fine as far as it goes. But it could


equally, the government is drawn from a political party, so they have


more interest in this matter than that statement would imply. I threw


much agree with the noble Lord that the party should get around the


table to seek agreement on all of these matters. Prior to the election


of the Labour government in 1997, there was in effect no legislation,


in respect of political parties, and national campaign expenditure. The


Labour government asked on the political standards of public life


what got out of that. It came out as the critical parties and referenda


Max. Are the legislation, including loans to political parties, postal


voting and individual electoral legislation over the period of the


government 's term of office. Seeking agreement among the parties


was and should be a high priority and for me that is the way to


proceed. Since then, that hasn't always been the case. The only have


to look at the decisions to speed up after 2010, the reduction in the


number of Parliamentary seats by 50, the curtailing of the boundary


review and Parliamentary process while at the same time increasing


the number of members at this house either previous Prime Minister by


numbers in comparison to number of appointments by his predecessors


made the day either Labour or Conservative prime ministers, raised


a few eyebrows to say the least. The noble Lord is rightfully speaking


about the need for action, to do with the funding of political


parties and the noble Lord Lord Granada made similar points. I think


it is important that any changes that take place to not unfairly


penalised or give advantage to any political party. My own party, the


Labour Party, its histories from the Tribune movement. It was formed on


the 27th of every 1900 in Farringdon Road and elected its first 's Labour


MPs that same year. Kia Hardy and the other person's name went into


history, Richard Bell, elected for Derby and there has been a member in


Derby ever since. But the first candidate was in 1870 when somebody


stood as the Liberal Labour candidate in the Southwark


by-election. He was described as an "English radical agitator of humble


origins". I would have liked to have met him. It should start from as


level as a place as possible. That is not to say that any party or


candidate may not have an advantage, they may have a better candidate.


They may have more fertile ground from which they seek they may run a


better campaign, they may have raised more money, and they may have


more party workers. But looking at the bill itself, is builds on the


act and builds on what a pickle party is. I have no objection to


setting a limit on the size of donations but I would probably want


to explore the figures and the dates to see if they are the correct ones.


I welcome some of the measures. I have no problem in exploring the


changes to the way that physical parties receive funding and if they


are going to implement any change in respect to donations and Sirius


consideration is going to have two be given. I am so a bit nervous at


the mention of the word registered supporter. I am sure the noble Lords


will be aware of why that is the case. This whole area needs to be


revised, and the sooner that happens, the better." He three


concerns the functions of the electoral commission. I am of the


view that the committee on standards of public life led by the noble Lord


should be invited by the government to take a detailed look in its


functions, it has been in existence since 2000 and I think the time has


come again for that review to be done. The noble Lord Lord Triesman,


has made important points and I say that as a former member of the


editorial commission, there are many good members, I have huge respect


for them. They work as hard as they can to do that within the powers


that are given them. So very much a supporter hoping that something can


be done to get this under way sooner rather than later.


Compelling points were made about the facts that donations in Northern


Ireland are still secret. There should be a decision made about


whether it's time to make those donations public. We need a


consolidation act to get the law, which is specialised, into one


place, so it's easy to understand for the practitioners, the


candidates, party workers, members and the general public. These are


important and need to be dealt W I will leave my remarks there. I thank


Lord Tyler for bringing this here today. I look forward to the noble


Lord's response. My Lord's, I'm grateful to the noble


Lord, Lord aler, for the -- Tyler, for the opportunity to debate this


important issue and to all noble Lord's who have spoken in the


debate. I congraph Lord Tyler, with whom I have been debating for the


past 57 years, he said 55, I make it 57. I congratulate him on producing


a substantial piece of legislation, a richer diet than we're normally


used to on a Friday. As he said, this is based on work from MPs of


all three parties, supported by some professional input. I'm grateful to


him for his kind words and I reciprocate and compliment him on


his consistent campaign on matters of constitutional reform over a


number of decades. As he himself indicated, he's been here long


enough to know that a bill which gets its second reading on the first


of two Houses on the last sitting Friday has a short life expectancy.


But it's an important subject which deserves an airing. I was struck by


what Lord Wallis said opening a short debate on a similar subject on


November 3 last year. This is what he said, "My Lord's, party funding


reform is rather like Lord's reform. We come back to it every other year,


or at least once every Parliament. We get round to setting up a Working


Group, the parties fail to agree, we go away and significant change is


rarely made." End of quote. I think that parallel is ininstructive I


will return to it later. The current regime to regulate political parties


and party funding was established in the PPER Referendum Act in 2000. I


think the noble Lord was our respective party spokesman as it


went through the other place. Since then there have been a number of


proposals to reform the system. Indeed both the proposals of the


Committee on Standards in Public Life in 2011 and those of Sir Hayden


Philips in 2007 are drawn on in this bill. However, despite a decade of


talks, there has been no cross-party agreement on changes to party


funding. Wide ranging talks were held in 2012 and 2013 with


representatives meeting seven times. Many of the issues raised by noble


Lord's today were covered during those talks. Unfortunately, as on


previous occasions, the parties did not reach agreement during those


talks. No consensus has emerged since then and understandably, the


Government is reluctant to make changes without that consent. In an


earlier debate on March 9 last year the noble Lord Tyler quoted Winston


Churchill in 1948, who counselled against one party imposing its will


on another on mat affecting the -- matters affecting the interests of


rival parties. Several noble Lord's have called for cross-party talks on


this subject to be resumed. For these to be worthwhile there would


need to be some agreement about the basis of the talks, so we simply


don't repeat the fruitless exercises of the past. I will return to this


point at the end of my remarks. This bill uses the proposals of the CSPL


from 2011 in particular as its foundation. We must remember that


report did not receive cross-party support. Indeed there were I senting


opinions within the report itself. Both Labour and Conservative members


of the committee disagreed with its conclusions and Lord Bew reminded us


this afternoon. The bill suggests re-allocating and increasing state


funding for political parties in clauses 10 to 14, a subject touched


on. The Government does not believe there is any public appetite for


more taxpayer funding of politicians and political parties at this time.


Noble Lord's will be familiar with the vice of Nick Clegg in a debate


in the other place on November 23, 2011, I quote, "The case cannot be


made for greater state funding of political parties at a time when


bubts are being squeezed and economic recovery remains the


highest priority." That advice seems as relevant today as it was then.


Substantial demands are to be made on the public purse to restore the


building in which politicians work, it might test the public's patience


if we were to ask for significantly greater support for the trade we


carry on in it. We want to reduce the cost of politics, we are


reducing the size of the House of Commons, which I hope noble Lord's


will support when the relevant SI comes before us. Freezing


ministerial pay, and stopping the unanticipated hikes in the cost of


short money. Often - we tried to reduce the number of peers in the


last Parliament, as I know to my cost. But it didn't have the


consensus that we need. Often the starting point of our discussions is


that the spending of political parties should be reduced and that


in the absence of stricter rules an arms race is taking place between


the parties. Research published by the CSPL in August 2016 show that


this is not the case. There has been no arms race in party funding in


recent years. My party spent less in the 2015 general election than in


2010, that was a lower figure than in 2005. The less we spend, the


better we seem to do. Taking into account inflation, that research by


CSPL showed a steep fall in central party spending since 1997. And


neither of the two main parties in the 2015 general elections, neither


of the two main parties, came close to its spending limit. Like other


recent attempts at reform, this bill suggests complex and, at times,


controversial structural changes to the party funding system. Talks that


are focussed on these ideas, so far, have always failed. Perhaps real


progress could be made if the focus was instead on smaller reforms that


may gain cross-party support. Here I return to the parallel drawn by the


noble Lord Wallis with Lord's reform, as I know to my cost. Heroic


attempts to reform your Lordship's House failed because there was no


consensus between the two Houses and between the two main parties.


Subsequently there has been incremental reform with two Private


Members' Bills reaching the statute book and with the possibility of


further reform coming from the Lord speaker's committee. I wonder


whether Lorens Burns who has tackled difficult subjects such as hunting


with dogs, the trade union act and Lord's reform might there after


apply his resourcefulness and ingenuity to the subject -- to this


subject. As with incremental reform of our House, I think we should


adopt the same approach with party funding, moving ahead with smaller


reforms which may command broad support, rather than trying and


failing to achieve an all or nothing solution, as this bill does. I was


interested by the, by what the noble Lord Bew said in the debate on March


9. Commenting on my party's evidence to Lord burns, which suggested


smaller reforms rather than an all-or-nothing big bang solution, he


said, "That is an interesting idea, we could approach those things in


the event we don't achieve the big bang solution. He repeated that


suggestion again this afternoon. These smaller reforms could include


finding practical ways to encourage more and smaller donations from


wider audiences. As the minister for the constitution said when he


appears before the constitution committee earlier this week, the


Government is open to constructive debate and dialogue on small-scale


measures that could command broad support, if there was a positive


reaction to such a potential step from the main political parties.


Today's debate has shown that actually there is such an appetite


and I'll return to that in a moment, when I've addressed some of the


issues raised in the debate. Both the noble Lord Bew and the noble


Lord Rennard raised the issue about the lack of transparency of


donations in Northern Ireland. On January 5, the SOS for Northern


Ireland -- Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced he would


write to Northern Ireland political parties seeking their views on


ending the kusht arrangements on -- current arrangements on donations


and loans to political parties. He remains keen to make progress on the


issue of donations to political parties now that the election has


concluded. The noble Lord also asked about Lord hodge son's review by


third party campaigning. The Government welcomed that review of


third party campaign in the 2015 general election and we welcomed his


conclusions. He suggested recommendations on tightening the


rules but also on relaxing them. My noble friend Lord True raised two


important issues, firstly, impermissible donations and he quite


rightly said that all three parties have been affected but he focussed


his comments on the Michael Ground case, and asked whether the


Electoral Commission should be able to secure the return of a donations


which are later found to be the proceeds of crime. The Electoral


Commission has recommended that the rules on company donations should be


reviewed following their investigation of donations made by


5th avenue limited to the Liberal Democrats in 2005. We are


considering this issue alongside a number of other issues related to


donation matters. My noble friend also raised the question of reports


about ?250,000 donation offered to the Green Party before the Richmond


by-election. This was denied by the Green Party. On the Electoral


Commission records do not show any such donation being made. Laws


around such donations relate largely to ensuring they come from a


permissible source and that they are properly declared to the Electoral


Commission in order to comply with transparency requirements. If this


case had done so, it unlikely would have broken any laws. There's a good


question about whether the law applies to parties as well as


individuals. We need to reflect on that further. The noble Lord made a


valid point about social media and the changing landscape of political


campaigning. I agree with him that it would be better if all parties


were less reliant on large donations and we had a broughter base of


membership donations on which to rely. My Lord's, this bill proposing


a number of reforms to political party funding, including caps on


donations and new schemes for public funding. These are complex


structural reforms which could only be taken forward on the basis of


cross-party consensus. No such consensus exists at this time. The


Government believes it is premature to consider a bill at this timement


However, my Lord's, anticipating there would be an appetite in


today's debate to make progress and to try to break the log jam we now


have, I spoke to the minister for the constitution earlier this


morning. He would be happy to have a meeting with the noble Lord, Lord


Tyler, and other Lord's, who have spoken in this debase to find a way


forward, along the lines that I have suggested of incremental reforms


that can achieve cross-party support. Now, that may not be the


giant step forward the noble Lord was hoping for in his opening


remarks, but I hope he will accept it as a constructive response to


this debate and a helpful way forward, even though we can't take


his bill very much further forward today. I'm extremely grateful to a


number of members for giving up their Friday to discuss what may


have seemed a rather arcane subject to some and indeed one that because


of the nature of this bill and the limited time that it's obviously


going to be given to it between now and the end this session, to rather


an academic subject as well. I hope that the noble Lord Young will take


it that every single person who has contributed to this debate today is


effectively echoing something must be done. I'll come back to the


particular suggestion he made at the end of his speech in a moment. I


want to put on record two or three points that have come out through


the debate, which may need to be put on one side. First, I am not


suggesting and it has never been suggested there should be a net


increase in state funding. Indeed, in the bill, as I think the noble


Lord recognises there is recognition that we could find some ways to make


substantial savings. He himself referred to my right honourable


friend Nick Clegg who in his evidence to the Select Committee, I


think colleagues on the Select Committee will redual, actually


Kated what -- indicated what savings might be made and committed himself


to that, that any change should incur no net increase in state


funding. Some reallocation yes. Lord Rennard said we have over the years


put forward suggestions about how savings could be made in other ways.


This was a point raised by local authority Whitfy and my -- Whitty


and my noble friend. I am very conscious of the point made by the


Lord, my particular bill has been substantially overtaken by concerns


about the way in which funding has gone into referenda campaigns. I


would hope that the noble Lord, the minister, would recognise that is a


very important additional issue that we should all be thinking about and


addressing now. Before there might be another one, in two or three


years' time, we don't want a repeat of that particular concern.


My Lords, I turn now ready to this issue of consensus. How does the


noble Lord know that there is a consensus? Any more than Mr Skidmore


knows there was a consensus. Until the government actually accept the


recommendation, the very clear recommendation of the select


committee that some new initiative must be taken, we do not know what


there is a consensus, how far that consensus may go. It is already


clear, that the noble Lord and I truly agree with every point that


was made, to catch up some of the issues, true to his name, I think


that he speaks with considerable authority about the difficulties


that may be faced by those who have got too much money to throw around


in the present situation. But every single member who has contributed


has clearly injured -- has clearly indicated, we have


got to address these issues. That is the point that the noble Lord will


take back. I make one further point. He has demonstrated not just today


but on previous occasions, that he is very sensitive to the concerns


that are often expressed, where we are not direct the affected by how


elections are run but I think have a very proper constitutional


responsibility to look hard at electoral law. I wonder therefore


whether he would commit himself to taking part in the discussions that


his honourable friend has now agreed we might have. Yes I think we could


break the logjam but I very much hope that the noble Lord will be


prepared to take part with us. One further point I want to make. We


cannot ignore the advice of the electoral commission. They have made


a recommendation about reviewing the definitions of regulated candidate


spending and regulated critical parties spending that had been in


place since 2000, and the focus on spending in constituencies. It is a


major theme of my speech earlier today, of my bill and concern in the


public at the moment. If we are to regain the trust that the global


Lord quite rightly identifies, we have to identify the issue and I'm


sure that the electoral commission would be happy to address it. With


that my Lords I would like to request your Lordships house to give


the bill a second reading. The question is that this bill Nabi read


the second time as many now say content, not content. The content is


have it. Bylaws I move that this Bill be committed to a committee of


the whole house. Has many of that opinion say content. The country not


content, the not content have it. My Lords I beg to leave that the house


do now adjourned. That the house to now adjourned.


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