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Results 41–60 of 823 for speaker:Robert Walter

Vote on Account 2012-13 — Home Office: Foreign and Commonwealth Office — UK-Turkey Relations (4 Jul 2012)

Robert Walter: Does my hon. Friend agree that, before we talk about blockages by Turkey on issues such as energy or the recognition of Cyprus, it is important to acknowledge that a blockage to better relations between NATO and the EU is being created when, every time the subject crops up in the EU, it is blocked by Cyprus, which is not prepared to welcome Turkey into EU operations?

Bill Presented: Backbench Business — British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (21 Jun 2012)

Robert Walter: I welcome the DUP’s participation, of course. The British-Irish Council and its relationship with the assembly was mentioned earlier. Is the right hon. Gentleman in favour of the assembly having a closer working relationship with the BIC and exercising some kind of parliamentary oversight of it?

Bill Presented: Backbench Business — British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (21 Jun 2012)

Robert Walter: It is a privilege to follow the right hon. Member for Torfaen (Paul Murphy), who has served both as the British co-chairman and as the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Tewkesbury (Mr Robertson) on securing this debate. I say that for a number of reasons, one of which has no relation to British-Irish relations. This debate sets an...

Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General: Clause 1 — Secretary of State’s duty to promote comprehensive health service (20 Mar 2012)

Robert Walter: I met GPs and consultants in Tavistock in west Devon the other day. One of the great concerns that consultants have, particularly in the field of paediatrics, is the integration of children’s services. A great deal of work has gone into that. In dealing with these amendments, what assurance can my right hon. Friend give that the integration of children’s services will be particularly...

Opposition Day: [Un-allotted Half Day] — European Union (13 Dec 2011)

Robert Walter: Will the Minister confirm to the House that Norway also has access to the single market, as a member of the European economic area, and in return has a better record in implementing EU directives, which it has no say in, than we do?

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: I want to give the hon. Gentleman some reassurance. The delegation from this place to the COE has had its budget cut, as have the delegations to other international bodies. It was cut by 10% this year, and it will be affected by the overall House of Commons budget cut of 17% in this Parliament.

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: As the Minister for Europe said in his opening remarks, this is an interesting week in the House of Commons when we have two debates on Europe. If I may say so, it is good that we are debating Europe, and not necessarily the European Union, today, although I will touch on the relationship between the Council of Europe and the European Union. As we have already heard, the Council of Europe...

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: As the hon. Member for Wolverhampton North East (Emma Reynolds) pointed out, the fact that there are 47 member states means that it will be 23 years before we get the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers again. It is therefore very important that we make good use of our six months in the chairmanship that starts in a week or so. This House, as has been pointed out, is represented in...

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, but I think he will find that more members of the delegation are present on my side of the House than on his, where there are only four. The delegates from my party play an active role in the proceedings of the Parliamentary Assembly, not least my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr Chope), who chairs the committee on migration,...

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: I agree entirely with my hon. Friend. I will come on to say why I believe that there could be dangerous developments on this issue, particularly in relation to the Committee of Ministers, of which the United Kingdom is about to take the chair, and its voting procedures when European Union matters are under consideration. At the Dispatch Box earlier today, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor...

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: I think that the hon. Lady is right. She is making the point for me that we must be seen to be fair and even-handed in the way we enforce judgments. That might become even more of a problem. This issue is already taken account of in the draft of the accession of the EU. I am afraid that the Lisbon treaty is quoted in aid on this matter. If there was a judgment against an institution of the...

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: My hon. Friend makes a very significant point about the sovereignty of member states, whether they be members of the European Union or of the Council of Europe. I believe that the sovereignty of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe should be absolute in the case of a Council of Europe convention.

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: I think the hon. Gentleman knows that I am an avowed supporter of Turkish membership of the European Union, but that does not mean that I will in any way make excuses for the Turkish Government’s non-compliance with their international obligations. I also regret the Turkish Prime Minister’s statement that Turkey would not participate in any discussions with the EU should Cyprus take on...

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: I thank my hon. Friend for that point, because it sums up the fact that what I have described will bring into question the legitimacy of the decisions of the Committee of Ministers when it comes to enforcing judgments that have been handed down by the Court. I want to move on to one aspect of the United Kingdom’s agenda for our chairmanship, with which the Minister also dealt at length. It...

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: I thank my hon. Friend for making that point, which brings me neatly to the next one that I wanted to make. I welcome the work of the commission on a Bill of Rights under the chairmanship of Sir Leigh Lewis. It was set up to advise on a British Bill of Rights, but at the request of the Prime Minister the first document that it published was advice to the Government on the reform of the...

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. That is why the Government were right to set up the commission on a Bill of Rights, which will consider whether the Human Rights Act 1998 should be replaced by a British Bill of Rights that better reflects the sentiments he expresses.

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: My hon. Friend is right to raise that point. We must strike the right balance—strike out spurious claims but not genuine ones. In some cases, those making genuine claims could be refused leave to appeal for, if I may say, political reasons, when their case should go to the Strasbourg Court. In this country, I have every confidence that the Supreme Court or any other lower court would act in...

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: Of course, my hon. Friend is absolutely right. This is the point that we are making. We could have a wider debate about why people commit crimes and why they go to prison, but my specific point is about the denial of liberty and what convention rights that denial of liberty impinges on. It is accepted that some rights in the convention can legitimately be denied. I am interested that Mr...

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Of course, we cannot get through them. We know that about 97% of those cases are inadmissible and could be got rid of straightaway, but we need somebody to sit down, go through the paperwork and say that they are inadmissible. If that were done, we might be able immediately to bring before the Court the few thousand cases that lie in the balance, or use...

Council of Europe (UK Chairmanship) (27 Oct 2011)

Robert Walter: Discussions on the budget take place in Strasbourg, and 27 of the 47 member states are members of the European Union. Those 27 member states are sitting idly by while the Fundamental Rights Agency, which was established in Vienna and has some spurious objectives, increases its budget for allegedly doing a human rights job on behalf of the 27 states.


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