Results 1–20 of 1000 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Viscount Astor

Brexit: Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration - Motion to Take Note (1st Day) (5 Dec 2018)

Viscount Astor: My Lords, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury quoted the King James Bible when he spoke. I offer a quote from a rather different hymn sheet, as it were: “Welcome to the Hotel California … You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”. That Eagles hit from 1976 rather aptly describes the one flaw in the Government’s exit proposal. If you do not have...

House of Lords (Hereditary Peers) (Abolition of By-Elections) Bill [HL] - Committee (23 Mar 2018)

Viscount Astor: Perhaps I may remind the noble Lord that, in the previous Parliament, when he was Chief Whip, on the boundary changes Bill, his party kept your Lordships up all night, filibustering with what were, in effect, Second Reading speeches, to frustrate that Bill. He cannot have it both ways.

House of Lords (Hereditary Peers) (Abolition of By-Elections) Bill [HL] - Committee (23 Mar 2018)

Viscount Astor: The noble Lord’s party blocked the Bill; that is my point.

House of Lords (Hereditary Peers) (Abolition of By-Elections) Bill [HL] - Committee (23 Mar 2018)

Viscount Astor: My Lords, perhaps I may follow my noble and learned friend. The noble Lord, Lord Blunkett, said that it was a medieval process. Perhaps I should remind noble Lords opposite that the medieval process he referred to was brought to Parliament by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Irvine, when in government. It is not the fault of the hereditary Peers that nothing has happened since; it is the...

House of Lords (Hereditary Peers) (Abolition of By-Elections) Bill [HL] - Committee (23 Mar 2018)

Viscount Astor: Perhaps I can help my noble friend. I voted against the Government for the first time as a rather junior Member of this House, and the following week the Prime Minister rang me up and I joined the Government Whips’ Office. It was a form of promotion.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Second Reading (2nd Day) (31 Jan 2018)

Viscount Astor: My Lords, it is a great pleasure to follow the powerful speech by the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd. In preparing for this debate, I looked up the Hansard debates on joining the European Union in 1972. Two things stood out. First, how few Members of this House spoke then—19, as opposed to 190 today. Secondly, how the warnings from Lord George-Brown, then dismissed as scaremongering, seem...

Horserace Betting Levy Regulations 2017 - Motion to Approve (29 Mar 2017)

Viscount Astor: My Lords, briefly, I welcome this order and congratulate the Government on it. I claim some very small credit for it because the noble Lord, Lord Collins, and I, in a cross-party movement, managed to persuade the Government to accept an amendment to the earlier Bill, one that had been rejected in the Commons, which allowed these regulations to be brought forward. I note that when the...

Horserace Betting Levy Regulations 2017 - Motion to Approve (29 Mar 2017)

Viscount Astor: I am sure that the noble Lord’s involvement will be very helpful to greyhound racing. I was recently at the new greyhound track in Towcester for a very successful event. I will not say anything about the legal things as my noble friend Lord Howard will mention them. I just note that, should there be any involvement of and appeal to Brussels, after what happened today one would have thought...

High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill - Report (24 Jan 2017)

Viscount Astor: My Lords, we debated this amendment in Committee. I put it down again in the hope of getting a response to the letter I wrote to the Minister before Report. I would like to thank him for his letter, which I received last night and which was enormously helpful. The reason that this rather particular amendment relating to the Calvert sidings is important is that this community already has a...

High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill - Report (24 Jan 2017)

Viscount Astor: I am very grateful for the Minister’s answer and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment. Amendment 11 withdrawn.

Horserace Betting Right - Question for Short Debate (20 Apr 2016)

Viscount Astor: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made towards the introduction of the Horserace Betting Right.

Horserace Betting Right - Question for Short Debate (20 Apr 2016)

Viscount Astor: My Lords, since I put down this Question for Short Debate, events have moved on and the Government have proposed an extension of the levy rather than their original proposed racing right. Much has to be done to succeed finally in bringing a long-term funding solution for racing but it is worth reminding your Lordships that a year ago, the Government proposed the racing right. It was, if one...

European Union Referendum (Date of Referendum etc.) Regulations 2016 — Motion to Approve (2 Mar 2016)

Viscount Astor: My Lords, it is easy to be swayed in one’s opinions by powerful speeches in your Lordships’ House. When I listened to the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, I felt a burning desire to stay within the EU. To be fair on him, when I listened to the noble Lord, Lord Mandelson, half way through his speech I felt an immediate urge to leave. I last spoke on the EU debate in 1975, so I thought...

House of Lords Reform — Motion to Take Note (Continued) (15 Sep 2015)

Viscount Astor: My Lords, there has not been one speaker who does not agree that the House of Lords has become too big and needs to reform if it is to survive as a respected revising Chamber. The age-old question is how. There are perfectly respectable arguments for an elected second Chamber, for an appointed Chamber and perhaps even for no second Chamber at all. The recent attempt in the last Parliament,...

House of Lords Reform — Motion to Take Note (Continued) (15 Sep 2015)

Viscount Astor: I am delighted to hear that. I very much look forward to the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, telling us what the views of his new leader and of his party are. There is a small window of opportunity. We should be brave and grab it. I am convinced that reform must come from this House. If it does, we have a chance of putting together a second Chamber that will stand the test of time.

Civilian Use of Drones (EUC Report) — Motion to Take Note (8 Sep 2015)

Viscount Astor: My Lords, this summer I spent an afternoon learning to fly a drone. It is not very difficult and it is great fun. With an iPhone and a camera, one can fly within line of sight, which is legal, but it is also easy to put in way-points via a GPS and set the drone to fly a circuit out of sight, which is not legal but is the way that Amazon is testing delivering goods to customers. One can fly...

International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill — Committee (Continued) (6 Feb 2015)

Viscount Astor: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, for his response. Obviously I do not have Section 6 of the International Development Act at hand but I will look at it carefully and read what he said in Hansard. He certainly gave a considered response, for which I am grateful. I am also grateful to the Minister. She said, importantly, that there was flexibility in the department, and...

International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill — Committee (Continued) (6 Feb 2015)

Viscount Astor: I am pleased to hear that. It certainly satisfies one of my concerns. I still think that the department will have a difficult time with its two year ends. The working out will be one of the games for the accountants, if nothing else. I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Forsyth for joining in the debate. He did something that even Lloyd George was not able to do for my great-grandfather,...

International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill — Committee (Continued) (6 Feb 2015)

Viscount Astor: My Lords, my amendment is, I hope, a modest and helpful one that might find some favour with the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, and which addresses some concerns that I raised at Second Reading. Perhaps I should say again that I support the principle of our foreign aid budget being 0.7% of GDP. I hope that that is clear enough to the noble Lord opposite and will not have to address his Twitter...

International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill — Committee (6 Feb 2015)

Viscount Astor: My Lords, before my noble friend replies to the noble Lord, will he confirm that he is speaking to all the amendments in the group as it is a large group? I say to the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, that it is normal in Committee to allow the mover of the amendment to make his speech. There is plenty of opportunity to respond afterwards. Indeed, the mover of the amendment can then respond at the...


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