Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Taking democracy to the people

What do you do if you're of the opinion that Welsh people have learned nothing in 10 years of devolution? The answer is just a long bus ride away.

"It's a great idea, and another way for us to take democracy to the people," said Lord Elis-Thomas.

Monday, 11 May 2009

John Smith MP, the Vale of Glamorgan, and the Gurkhas


Apparently this week's Glamorgan Gem local newspaper has published a photograph of John Smith MP and a few other MPs with Gurkhas. Nice photograph, and not the one above!

However, checking Hansard and the Public Whip you will discover that he voted WITH the Government, against the Gurkha settlement rights [Although this extremely rare Government defeat in an opposition day motion is not binding (has no legal force) a Government minister made a statement later in the day to bring "forward the date for the determination of the outstanding applications to the end of May].

Such double standards seems to be fitting for these troublesome times. We need to remind ourselves of this at election time.

The Brigade of Gurkhas
The history of the service of the Brigade of Gurkhas to the British Crown goes back as far as 1815. Since then the Brigade has conducted itself with distinction during numerous conflicts worldwide. Prior to 1997 the Brigade's focus was in the Far East but following the handover of Hong Kong it moved to the UK which is now its base. The Brigade still maintains a battalion in Brunei and plays a full part in the British Army's operational deployments worldwide - currently, in particular, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans.

The majority of MPs voted in favour of the motion:
This House

  • regrets the Government's recent statement outlining the eligibility criteria for Gurkhas to reside in the United Kingdom;

  • recognises the contribution the Gurkhas have made to the safety and freedom of the United Kingdom for the past 200 years;

  • notes that more Gurkhas have laid down their lives for the United Kingdom than are estimated to want to live here;

  • believes that Gurkhas who retired before 1997 should be treated fairly and in the same way as those who have retired since;

  • is concerned that the Government's new guidelines will permit only a small minority of Gurkhas and their families to settle whilst preventing the vast majority;

  • further believes that people who are prepared to fight and die for the United Kingdom should be entitled to live in the country; and

  • calls upon the Government to withdraw its new guidelines immediately and bring forward revised proposals that extend an equal right of residence to all Gurkhas.

In case you were wondering if any other Welsh MPs votes against the Gurkha settlement rights motion, simply read...

Chris Bryant (Rhondda) Labour (minister)
Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley) Labour
Wayne David (Caerphilly) Labour (minister)
Hywel Francis (Aberavon) Labour
Nia Griffith (Llanelli) Labour (PPS)
Peter Hain (Neath) Labour (former minister)
David Hanson (Delyn) Labour (minister)
Kim Howells (Pontypridd) Labour (former minister)
Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore) Labour (minister)
Ian Lucas (Wrexham) Labour (minister)
Alun Michael (Cardiff South & Penarth) Labour (former minister)
Paul Murphy (Torfaen) Labour (minister)
Mark Tami (Alyn & Deeside) Labour (minister)
Martin Caton (Gower) Labour - absent
Paul Flynn (Newport West) Labour - absent
Siân James (Swansea East) Labour (PPS) absent
Martyn Jones (Clwyd South) Labour - absent
Betty Williams (Conwy) Labour - absent
Lembit Öpik (Montgomeryshire) Liberal Democrats - absent
Roger Williams (Brecon & Radnorshire) Liberal Democrats (front bench) absent

BBC UK Politics

BBC Welsh Politics

WalesOnline

Welsh Political News

UK News from Times Online

Telegraph Politics

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