16/01/2017 Lords Questions


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 16/01/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Baroness Meacher. I beg leave to ask the question standing in my name on


the order paper. My Lords, the short answer to the question is no. Like


previous governments we have always made clear that such legislation is


a matter for Parliament, not government. If the other House


considered a bill to legalise assisted dying, they rejected it by


330 votes to 118. My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reply. As he


has indicated, there has never been a government supported bill on this


issue. The Minister will be aware of Noel Conway, a terminally ill,


mentally incapacitated person who is taking his case to the High Court


and the Supreme Court. The current law denies him his fundamental human


right when his suffering becomes unbearable. Does the Minister agree


that the 82% of the population, and it is 6% of disabled people who


support Mr Conway and want a change in the law, so that when their turn


comes to face their own death, they can live the last months in peace,


safe in the knowledge that if they're suffering does become


unbearable, they can have professional help to end it? Will


the Minister seek the of his colleagues for an ethical bill along


these lines in future? My Lords, it remains the Government's view that


any change to the law in this area is an issue of individual conscience


and a matter for Parliament to decide, rather than one for


government policy. I am aware of the gaze of Noel Conway, as it is now in


court, it would not be appropriate from me to comment on the


circumstances of that case. -- the case. As my noble friend has said,


it has been rejected. Should it ever be considered again, I think it is


important that the medical profession be excluded from this.


The majority of doctors do not wish to be associated with taking life.


Their responsibility is to save life. While it is possible that


there are those who might volunteer to undertake such a task, it is


important that they should not be legislated for the majority of


doctors are then required to undertake this, should that be the


case. I note what the noble Lord has said, and of course I understand the


reasoning behind his observations. I can only reiterate that this


Government does not intend at this time to legislate in respect of this


matter. The Government may be aware that I had to watch both my wife, my


late wife and my father had died a lingering death, and can I suggest


that the Government need to accept responsibility for that matter, do


not doubt it and make a decision to give people the opportunity to make


this important decision about how they die? Again, I can understand


the noble Lord's interest and concern in respect of this matter,


but I would observe that Parliament has twice addressed this issue in


the recent past and has determined not to relax the provisions of


section two of the suicide act. My Lords... Is the Minister aware that


the campaign to legalise Assisted Suicide Bill assisted dying is not


supported by one single organisation for people with progressive


conditions, including motor neurone disease and the MS trust? The very


people who would be the main beneficiaries of assisted dying. And


the growing numbers of disabled people and their organisations are


campaigning against such a bill because they feel it is desperately


unsafe. I entirely understand the observations of the noble lady in


this context and indeed, the whole question of risk associated with


such legislation was a point addressed by the Supreme Court when


they appoint in 2014 in the cases of Nicholson and land when both the


President of the Supreme Court and also the noble Lord observed that


the data on risk was plainly short of establishing that there was no


risk as such -- of such legislation. It was observed that there were


further societies engaged in this area who clearly had reservations


about the development of any legislation on this matter.


The Minister will be aware that the CPS has looked at this policy in the


cases of assisted suicide in very 2010 and October 20 13. It is well


understood the reluctance to take this critical legislation. May I ask


the Minister in consultation with his colleagues and the CPS, would


they consider what requirements are necessary in relation to the CPS


policy on assisted dying? My Lords, the matter of CPS policy must be


left to the CPS to determine independently on Parliament, it is


not for the government to dictate what that policy should be. It is


regularly reviewed and I can say that, for example, in the period


from 2009 to 2016, the very large majority of cases referred to the


CPS were not proceeded with any context of prosecution. My Lords,


with the Minister agree that we have to be very wary of these surveys


that support the subject in hand? For instance, there was one survey


which stated that 96% of the British people wished a pain free death?


Does that leave us wondering what the 4% wanted?




Well, it may be, my Lords, that the other 4% were not referring to


themselves. LAUGHTER


. But nevertheless, it is, of course,


important... It is of course important that any such service


should be carried out rigorously and by reference to did find terms


otherwise the results can be misleading. -- to be find terms. If


the government concerns that an overboard health service with a


large number of old people, there is considerable risk about the


attitudes of health giving staff within the NHS? I do not believe, my


Lords, that any challenges faced by our health staff in hospitals well


alter their view as to the issues of life and death, I do not believe


that for one moment. My Lords, the supreme court case that the noble


minister quoted a moment ago, 2014, amongst other things said that it


was strongly implied that the current law is incompatible with


human rights legislation and hinted very strongly that Parliament should


resolve this issue, otherwise the courts themselves will do so. If


there is an incompatibility between a blanket ban on assisted dying and


human rights legislation, should it not be resolved in Parliament,


rather than by judges? My Lords, in the case of Nicholson, the Supreme


Court determined by majority of 72 that there should be no of


incompatibility with the Convention on human rights. It did, of course,


observe that it should be a matter looked at by Parliament and sends


that judgment it has been looked at by Parliament on two distinct and


separate locations, Parliament has expressed its views on this matter.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the question standing in my name on the


order paper. My Lords, the government supports art and culture


for Arts Council England who are currently working with Walsall


Council and local cultural organisations on the new Art


gallery's future, helping culture to continue to flourish in Walsall. The


Arts Council met the local council in December and await the Gallery's


application to the national portfolio. The Arts Council has an


principle agreed up to ?12,000 match funding to explore potential new


fundraising and philanthropy opportunities in governance and


management models. My Lords, when is the government going to allow


councils enough money to do their job properly? Since the threat of


closure of our regional museums, it is the direct result of continued


cuts to government funding. With the Minister agree that if the new Art


Gallery in Walsall, a museum of international stature, was the


cause, it would be a terrible waste of a significant public investment,


not the story begins which in these times needs as much support as


possible? Well, of course, I agree it would be a terrible waste of the


considerable amount of public money that Arts Council England have put


into the new Art Gallery. As far as the... And that is why they are


working very hard to prevent exactly that to occur. What we would like to


do is to find new methods of joint partnership arrangements, not only


by the Arts Council, but that other local organisations to enable Art


galleries like the new Art Gallery to continue. Lords, given that the


new Art Gallery in Walsall was absolutely fundamental to the


regeneration of Walsall town centre, that it houses world-renowned


collections, that it was a good example of collaboration between the


local authority, the Art Gallery, the government and not forgetting


the European Union who put substantial money into it, and that


that collection there in that new Art Gallery, it would be an act of


cultural vandalism if it were not allowed to be encouraged and


survived? I completely agree that it is a very good thing that local art


organisations are absolutely key to the regeneration and ongoing


prosperity of the local organisation and just to put it into perspective,


the amount of money we are talking about in Walsall is a reduction in


funding, this is the proposal of ?163,000 a year in the next year,


Arts Council England are contributing five times as much as


that, over ?800,000. My Lords, can I add my plea to the other speaker,


and the thousands of people in the Walsall area in the West Midlands,


who, like me, have been inspired and delighted by this literally


state-of-the-art new Art Gallery, which is only 15 years old? I would


suggest this is not necessarily the moment to cast blame upon the local


council, who, in turn, are blaming the government cuts or central


government who are squeezing council budgets. But the people of Walsall


have so very little in the way of cultural facilities to inspire them.


So, could I ask the noble Lord, the minister, to please use his


creativity to help us to find a solution? They are working with the


Arts Council England to address these problems and get some kind of


partnership with other organisations but there are other examples of


local councils that are suffering cuts, as all local councils have


done. For example, Stoke on Trent, a place where several noble lords may


soon be visiting, the potteries Museum and Art Gallery was awarded


?300,000 to support local arts and cultural organisations led by Stoke


on Trent City Council to team up with councils, including cat


gathered at Stoke and the potteries' Art Gallery, that is an example of


where joint working together can make a difference. The birthplace of


Jerome Valcke, a very special man, was Walsall. Perhaps the government


can do better than the men in a boat than just looking at limited


paintings and collections. I have already said that the government is


putting in a considerable amount of money, and the last five years it


has spelt -- spent ?12 million in the area of Walsall. Could I ask my


noble friend to reflect that all over the country local authorities


are under great pressure and can something be done fairly


expeditiously to try and ensure that other galleries that are currently


under threat do not go under? Because if we deprive people of the


spiritual sustenance that galleries and museums bring, we are


impoverishing them. Well, I completely agree with my noble


friend and that is why this white paper was so keen in highlighting


the importance to local communities of the arts and the heritage sector.


But it is correct that when difficult decisions should be made,


they should be made by local people, not centrally by ministers. Could


the noble Lord, the minister, confirmed that if there is a problem


sufficient to cause the closure of this wonderful gallery that the Arts


Council will not be obliged to drop its matching funding and the


civilians poured in, that they will not claw back some of the covered


grant towards the building that it got recently? Well, the Arts Council


funding as a partnership and effort in the unlikely event, I hope that


is certainly the case, the closing, then obviously that it would be a


problem in giving that money to an art gallery which was not open. I do


not want to think about that, I think there is a very good incentive


with local partners, to keep this very good Art Gallery going, which


has some amazing and world-class art in it, and that should be


encouraged. My Lords, I beg leave to ask the question standing in my name


on the order paper. My Lords, while there are no current proposals to


increase the maximum penalties for animal welfare offences, the


government was busy court should the range of penalties available. We


will continue to keep the maximum penalties for animal welfare


offences under review. I thank the noble lord for that reply. But the


maximum sentence available for extreme and premeditated cruelty is


six months, we lag behind the rest of mainland Europe and Northern


Ireland has a maximum sentence of five years. Given the committee has


represented and promoted a sentence of five years, is it not time that


the sentence match the crime? I have considerable sympathy at some of


these examples of animal cruelty cases which are beyond belief,


frankly, and I am very pleased that the independence sentencing council


is ensuring that the most serious cases of animal cruelty could


receive longer sentences within the maximum six months imprisonment. The


council is currently considering the consultation responses and will


draft the definitive guideline with a dual publication later this year.


My Lords, whilst it is important we increase sanctions for animal


welfare offences, sanctions are nothing without enforcement. My


Lords, at the minute there is no statutory requirement for the local


authorities or the police to enforce animal welfare legislation. Could I


asked the noble lord, the minister, has the government any plans to


introduce such a statutory requirement? My Lords, there are no


current plans, but what I would like to see is that imprisonment is not


the only penalty and I think this is very important, they increased to an


unlimited fine committee service order, and order disqualifying


people from ownership of dogs and animals for life, so there are a


range of penalties, which I think are also very important if we are to


address this matter. Does the government intends to issue updated


guidance on the Animal Welfare Act to bear down more decisively on the


appalling practice of polly farming? -- poppy farming what my noble


friend has said about Care Not Killing farming is noted. The Animal


Welfare Act as one of the most advanced pieces of legislation in


the world, it was reviewed in 2010 and 2011 and I would, as my


honourable friend said any other place, consider and review anything


that does not address the situation. -- puppy farming. Last year I joined


a group of cross-party MPs which called for eight Baron on the ivory


sales to help stop the killing of elephants. There was a decline in


the numbers of 30% of elephant numbers over seven years. The


government has taken steps to ban new imports of ivory, it is clear


that only a total ban can prevent that cruel trade from continuing.


Will the noble lord, the minister, agreed to take back our plea for a


total ban on ivory imports to prevent elephants becoming an


endangered species, which I know would be of great regret. My Lords,


whether elephants, rhinos or any endangered animals, it is our


responsibility, power generation, to ensure they continue to have their


place in the natural world. Of course, this country has been one of


the leaders on the ivory matter and in fact, what we have said is that


there should be a ban on the sale of ivory up to 70 years, 1947, when


they were deemed to the antiques and it is very important that as part of


our arrangement. You have raised the issue of endangered species. Is he


concerned that talk about the level of sentencing in cases where people


are caught, prosecuted and killing endangered birds and have the


government considered switching the responsibility from possibly the


gamekeeper to the landowner? All these matters are subject


already to the law and there has not been a consideration about moving


any liability other than where it is now, which is that we think we have


a robust law in place. If there were any issues that needed to be


reviewed, we would do so. My Lords, has been any reputable body which


has said it is against the increase in the penalties, and if so, on what


grounds? My Lords, I think it would be fair to say that most animal


welfare organisations would like an increased but I think when I


reflected on this, Northern Ireland has been mentioned, in fact, what


the 66 infections between 2012 and 2016, only one offender received a


prison sentence of over six months, which was suspended. -- 66


convictions. An average custodial sentence of 3.3 months. We are


looking to see whether there are ways in which managed rates can have


enhanced guidelines. -- magistrates. Is it not true that many of those


who have been guilty of torturing or killing human beings have done


exactly the same to animals and that there is a linkage? I think cruelty,


were the our fellow human beings or cruelty to animals, is equally


reprehensible and I think there have been connections, which is why I


think that some of the other remedies other than imprisonment


have been very important, including in the community orders, things like


programmes to change behaviour, exclusion, curfew, drug treatment,


mental health treatment. There are a number of ways in which we can help.


Further to the question of my noble friend, I was involved in a case of


animal cruelty recently and was told that while Trading Standards have


the power to prosecute, they do not have the funds. I understand this


happens particularly with farm animals. The farmers are advised


rather than prosecuted. Or I can say is the animal welfare act 2006 is


clear in that anyone who has any concerns about animal cruelty cases


should report it to the local authority or the police. Would my


noble friend agree that where a list is drafted to put species such as


bats and newts onto the predicted basis, they should be kept under


review at least every seven years? One was such a review last


undertaken by Parliament? I will have to look into the precise


question but obviously I think it is good practice that all laws should


be kept under review. On the heart of the noble Lord Lord Dykes and


that his request, I beg leave to ask the question standing under his name


on the order paper. We do not need to be part of the EU Single Market.


To have strong petition for workers's arise. The Government will


not roll back the rights of workers in the workplace. It will be brought


into UK law. My Lords and on behalf of myself and the noble Lord Lord


Dykes, I thank the Minister for that reply. It follows also on from an


article by the Prime Minister on January the 8th of the Sunday


Telegraph. Would the Minister, indeed I think he has touched on


this, go one step further, and reassure the House and indeed the


TUC that all the directives contained and that are relevant to


be contained in the great repeal Bill? The Prime Minister has said


that under this Government we will see you workers' writes not eroded


and not just protected but even enhanced. The commitment of this


Government is clear, obviously the subsequent parliaments as we regain


sovereignty will be able to make decisions. It is a sad day when the


TUC no longer has faith in the Labour Party, the Liberal Party, and


this British Parliament to defend the rights of British workers. Is it


not the case that British workers enjoy rights far beyond the EU


requirements, for example in respect of maternity pay? There are many


examples where people who work in the UK have stronger rights than the


rates that are guaranteed in the EU, maternity is one case but rights of


statutory leave is another example. May I probe harder about how robust


these assurances will be? I do think that the Chancellor, having said at


the weekend that if there is a hard approach to the negotiations by the


EU, then the British Government will have to go down-market and undercut


on corporate tax are a new neighbours. -- EU. While not the


same thing happen under Labour's standards? For the Government be


forced under the logical Brexit into undercutting policies? I think it


would be a huge misjudgement or mistake for any British government


to think that eroding rights of workers and making work less engaged


and less productive in the UK would contribute to us being more


productive. We want to have a fully engaged, well-trained workforce. Is


-- as the Minister has confirmed, the Prime Minister has agreed that


all rights of workers enshrined in EU law will be transferred into UK


law, but then it was added, where practical. Could the Minister tell


us which rights of workers cannot be practically transferred into UK law?


I do not think... I think of any rights that would not fall into the


practical area. The Prime Minister went further, she is committed to


bringing decent, well paid skilled jobs to Britain, to many parts of


the country where they have been depleted over many years. The Single


Market, which imposes Brussels of a rig Ocean, and the 90% of our


economy which does not go into it. Does the Government know how many


jobs that has cost us over the years? I cannot answer that question


specifically. Clearly, being part of the Single Market has increased the


number of jobs in this country. But the Prime Minister is making a


speech tomorrow about global Britain, I think, and we are clear


that being part of the global economy that we believe fully in


free trade and that our country must be more competitive. This side. This


site. Should the trades union leaders not be very careful about


calling for the UK to remain in the Single Market when it brings with it


free movement of labour and some any of their members voted to leave


because they were alarmed by unlimited immigration? He does raise


an interesting point. A number of trade union leaders do recognise the


issue but unquestionably there are parts of the country where high


levels of immigration have undermined wage rates of local


people and I think we would agree that one of the benefits of having


control over our immigration policy is that we can have a policy which


is more directly suited to our own requirements. Bylaws, I find it


difficult to believe every word I have just heard. -- my lord. It


sounds great and I'm sure the parsnips are waiting to be buttered


but this is not a very convincing argument from the party that before


the TUC bill. Is this not really about the question of what it is we


will be negotiating for? The TUC had no problem in setting out what the


negotiating position should be. Why can the government not? I think the


Prime Minister in her speech tomorrow will set out the strategic


objectives of our negotiations and what we are trying to get out the


negotiating is, it would be foolish to speculate about what those are.


Given the reality of the global economy, surely the only effective


way of protecting employees' writes is through international agreements?


And to avoid international agreements is merely to undermine


the sovereignty of this country. There are many other aspects apart


from international agreements. If you look at the performance of the


UK economy, what does stand out above all else is that in many


industries, we... Our productivity levels are too low and I think


increasing productivity in this country, partly through better


training and skills but also more investment in our research base, is


the best way in which we can increase our trade overseas. My


Lords, would he accept that I get very confused at times, being a


simple-minded fellow... All these rights that people have been talking


about, is it not the case that for instance in the United States,


Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to criminal misconduct about emissions,


has paid a fine of nearly ?4 billion, and has offered consumers


more than ?12 billion in compensation, and yet in the EU,


with all of our rights for consumers and everyone else, so far, the


consumer has been offered absolutely nothing. Could he clear of my


confusion and tell me why? I fear that clearing up his confusion might


take me longer than I have. There is no doubt that consumers do have


strong rights in the US and that having a very strong competitive


market is probably the best way to ensure that companies like


Volkswagen behave properly.


Download Subtitles