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Queen’s Speech — Debate (3rd Day) (Continued) (9 June 2014)

Lord James of Blackheath: My Lords, I have indicated previously the impact that forced migration has had upon my family. We had in the Queen’s Speech a Bill for dealing with the abuse of children and the intention to bring forward better controls over trafficking. Those are closely connected. This country has a terrible record in its handling of the migration of its own subjects. It has combined the most...

Budget Statement — Motion to Take Note (27 March 2014)

Lord James of Blackheath: My Lords, I shall deal with two separate points and will make a separate declaration of interest on each. First, I was for a significant period early in my career a member of Lloyds Bank. In that context, I want to address one point which arises in the Chancellor’s address on the Budget. It is probably the only sentence in the whole thing that does not deal with the Budget. He said:...

Banks: Payment Protection Insurance — Question (13 January 2014)

Lord James of Blackheath: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to require all banks which have refunded payment protection insurance (PPI) monies to customers to send each such customer a statement, without charge, setting out how much money has been refunded under each of the three separate elements comprising a PPI payout.

Banks: Payment Protection Insurance — Question (13 January 2014)

Lord James of Blackheath: I thank the noble Lord for that Answer, but will he take it into account that the banks got off on the wrong foot with the repayment programme by refusing to write a letter to everybody telling them that they owed them some money? It was left to customers to initiate their own claim and there is no certainty that many have not slipped through the net. The noble Lord’s Answer does not...

Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill — Report (2nd Day) (27 November 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: My Lords, I have a reputation for introducing sidetrack issues which distract the House. However, I have just listened very intently to the noble Lord, Lord Eatwell, and I think that I disagree with most of what he said. I would like to cite a case history and then invite him to say how what he said would relate to it. I was very concerned to read in recent weeks about the Royal Bank of...

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill — Committee (3rd Day) (20 November 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: My Lords, I support my noble friend Lord Marlesford on his amendment, but I wish also to make a small criticism of it—that it is lacking in focus. While it deals with the issues of litter very effectively, it does not go far enough in addressing the issues of offensive behaviour in cars and other moving vehicles, which is increasingly prevalent among young people. I cite the example of...

Syria and the Use of Chemical Weapons — Motion to Take Note (29 August 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: My Lords, six and a half hours ago, my noble friend the Leader stood up to launch this debate and made a series of very interesting statements, of which four stuck in my memory at that time and have haunted me through the day. First, my noble friend said that there were 3,600 hospital cases after the attack and 350 dead, but he did not say whether the 3,600 were all injured by the same...

Mesothelioma Bill [HL] — Third Reading (22 July 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: My Lords, I had not expected to rise at this stage of the debate but, having listened to the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, I feel compelled to do so on behalf of the insurance industry, as he has made a serious allegation of fundamental dishonesty within it. I remind the House that I myself have stood trial in the USA on a charge that would have got me 24 years in the slammer, and was acquitted....

Mesothelioma Bill [HL] — Third Reading (22 July 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: I thank the noble Lord for that. I hope that he will appreciate that my concern was that I did not want to start the forthcoming Session by doing the perp walk down the middle of a 747 on an extradition order back to the USA.

War Memorials — Question (18 July 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will discuss with the Church of England how to commemorate the 304 British soldiers who were executed by the British Government in World War I and who are currently not commemorated in any existing war memorials.

War Memorials — Question (18 July 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that response. Does he agree that the total dead recorded for the First World War amount to 705,000? I believe that there are at least 10,000 names missing from the war memorials scattered around our country. It is quite disgraceful that the act of annual commemoration is in effect not complete because nothing has been done to restore those names. We should...

Mesothelioma Bill [HL]: Report (Continued) (17 July 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment. Amendment 28 withdrawn. Amendments 29 and 30 not moved. Clause 17 : Regulations under this Act Amendments 31 and 32 Moved by Lord Freud 31: Clause 17, page 9, line 39, leave out “4 (amount of payment)” and insert “1 (the scheme)” 32: Clause 17, page 9, line 40, leave out “, 10 or 15” and insert “or 10”...

Mesothelioma Bill [HL]: Report (Continued) (17 July 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: My Lords, the sole purpose of this amendment is to make sure that we do not lose track of the very important but parallel issue of asbestosis that affects members of the fighting services. I remind noble Lords of the amendments made some six years ago by the former Government that were very much against the interests of former officers and servicemen, particularly in the Royal Navy. There was...

Mesothelioma Bill [HL]: Report (Continued) (17 July 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: I thank the noble Lord for that. I hope I made clear the distinction that I am looking at this matter from an insurance industry point of view; namely, that asbestosis covered everything and that six years ago we inadvertently disadvantaged the Armed Forces so severely that we have put them way below the benchmark that we are seeking in this Bill for sufferers of mesothelioma. A comparison is...

Mesothelioma Bill [HL]: Report (Continued) (17 July 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: I am talking about the sufferers and the industry.

Mesothelioma Bill [HL]: Report (17 July 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: My Lords, before the Minister replies, I should like to return to a point that came up in Committee and to try to set the industry context in which these misunderstandings, particularly those of the noble Lord, Lord Browne, are occurring. I should declare my interests. I was an elected member of the Council of Lloyd’s throughout the whole six years of its rescue; I was in the somewhat...

Local Audit and Accountability Bill [HL]: Report (15 July 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: My Lords, my attempts to help in this House usually end up in worse confusion, but let me try. I raised the same question about 40 years ago when the phrase was first coming into regular usage. The explanation I got at the time was that the accounts will be true but they may not be fair because they do not answer the question which accountants never ask at an audit stage: that is whether...

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill — Second Reading (Continued) (3 June 2013)

Lord James of Blackheath: My Lords, I got a phone call last week from a former colleague of mine, whom I had not heard from or seen for some time, asking if I would come to his same-sex wedding. I said, “Yes, when is it?”. He said, “As soon as you lot have passed the Bill”. I said, “We might not pass it”. He said, “Well, you’ll vote for it won’t you?”. I...

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