Results 1–20 of 2600 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Evan Harris

Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill: Clause 1 — Pupil and parent guarantees (8 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: I am grateful to the Minister for allowing me to intervene again. I am putting the view of the JCHR, which was established by Parliament to give such advice. The Minister can say that he is not interested in it or that he disagrees with it. That is his right, but he must know that some, not all, faith schools wish to teach that homosexuality is sinful. I believe that the place for such...

Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill: Clause 1 — Pupil and parent guarantees (8 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: The opt-out already exists in religious education and collective worship, as the hon. Gentleman is aware, but case law now shows that when children become competent to make up their own minds, it is an infringement of their rights for parents to withdraw them, or not to withdraw them, from collective worship-for example, compulsory prayer. Under his logic, should parents who feel passionately...

Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill: Clause 1 — Pupil and parent guarantees (8 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: The hon. Gentleman should be aware of the 12th report of 2009-10 of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. It was written after the Government tabled an amendment on the measure in question, which the Committee viewed as follows: "a provision which expressly subjects principles of accuracy, balance, pluralism, equality and diversity to the right of faith schools to teach sex and relationships...

Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill: Clause 1 — Pupil and parent guarantees (8 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: My Liberal Democrat colleagues strongly opposed clause 11's proposed new section 85B(8) to the Education Act 2002, which says of all the stuff about equality and diversity: "Subsections (4) to (7) are not to be read as preventing the governing body or head teacher of a school within subsection (9) from causing or allowing PSHE to be taught in a way that reflects the school's religious...

Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill: Clause 29 — Referendum on voting systems (8 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: Was my hon. Friend struck, as I was, by the assertion by the hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) that the current first-past-the-post electoral system can be made fairer by changing constituency sizes and making them more equal? To cite the words of David Mitchell in a recent column in The Observer, is not the process of trying to make this electoral system fairer like...

Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill: Clause 29 — Referendum on voting systems (8 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: There is a feeling of déjà vu. Labour's earlier commitment to electoral reform-in the 1997 manifesto-has been mentioned. The Secretary of State will know that Lord Jenkins did a huge amount of work on that issue. I do not think that Lord Jenkins would have been happy with the way that the Government refused to live up to their manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on a choice...

Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill: Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill (8 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: I am glad that my hon. Friend makes that point, because other legislative vehicles that have received Royal Assent could have been used. The Government said, "Oh no. Don't worry. We have this Bill. That will do it. We have time." Then, because of the delay that my hon. Friend identified, they wilfully reneged on the promise to repeal the provision, which they could have introduced in another...

Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill: Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill (8 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: Again, the Government could have programmed the private Member's Bill concerned as a stand-alone Bill. The Government made a conscious decision not to provide time despite the fact that business has collapsed early day after day in the last few weeks-indeed, the last few months. Therefore, every one of these failures- the hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) is being too...

Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill: Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill (8 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: Will the Minister explain whether "could not achieve it" means just that the Conservatives did not want it? As I understand it, the Minister said that a deal has to be done and they have a veto. Will he explain that in each case, because the public probably would want to know what the issue was?

Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill: Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill (8 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: I think that the Minister glossed over a bit because he went straight from Crown employment to later provisions. As a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, I am particularly interested in what happened to part 7. We thought we had a deal on demonstrations in the vicinity of Parliament, because it was not acceptable to leave in that provision. Again, I am interested to know whether it...

Points of Order (8 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have two points of order on the same subject. First, you will be aware that on 4 March the House voted to reform its procedures by an overwhelming majority, and essentially instructed the Government to bring forward the Standing Orders for that purpose in this Parliament. Those were the terms of the motion. The Government have not done that. Have you heard...

Business of the House: Finance Bill (7 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: I am sorry that I could not be here earlier, but I want to raise an issue about one of the Bill's provisions, given that it seems that there will not be a Committee stage. My point relates to clause 59, which is about the opening of postal packages. The Minister might have a chance to get a note on the subject. Why is the safeguard of allowing the addressee to be present, or indeed to be...

Business of the House: Finance Bill (7 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: That is very helpful, but I remind the Minister that under section 106 of the 2000 Act-I raise the point because it has been covered in the media-the threshold is that a postal operator may detain any postal packet that they suspect contains relevant goods and forward it to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. HMRC can then open whatever it receives. As it is, there is no reasonableness test....

Business of the House: Dangerous Drugs (7 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: It is a pleasure to follow the speech of the right hon. Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz)-made without notes, I see-even though he was wrong. The fact that he was wrong was also confirmed by the tremendous speech made by the hon. Member for Bolton, South-East (Dr. Iddon). Despite my warning to the right hon. Member for Leicester, East not to be dazzled by titles such as "Doctor" or...

Business of the House: Dangerous Drugs (7 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: I want to make some progress first. The position of the Liberal Democrats is that we should, by and large, follow the properly formulated advice of the ACMD, as it is an expert body. We have said that on previous occasions. We do not know that that advice was not properly formulated, and, working on the basis that it is indeed sound, we support the statutory instrument that the Government...

Business of the House: Dangerous Drugs (7 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: I have not come round to that; it was my position five years ago. If the right hon. Gentleman looked at the record, he would find that that is what I have been saying. The point is, however, that what we cannot do-I hope the right hon. Gentleman will agree-is so to bully our advisers, or threaten them with the sack if they give the "wrong" advice, that they provide the advice that they think...

Business of the House: Dangerous Drugs (7 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Business of the House: Dangerous Drugs (7 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Business of the House: Dangerous Drugs (7 Apr 2010)

Evan Harris: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?


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