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Results 1–20 of 200 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Lord Birt

BBC and Public Service Broadcasting - Motion to Take Note (5 Mar 2020)

Lord Birt: I welcome the Minister’s remarks, but perhaps she could help us understand something. Two weeks ago Tim Shipman, a most reliable and professional journalist, ran a piece on the front page of the Sunday Times about the BBC, sourced from No. 10. In it, the source said that the Government would “whack” the BBC, cut it back, scrap the licence fee, and appoint a new chair to sack the new DG...

BBC and Public Service Broadcasting - Motion to Take Note (5 Mar 2020)

Lord Birt: My Lords, the BBC is the most potent institution created anywhere in the world for reflecting every aspect of a nation’s culture and affairs. It weaves a tapestry of national types echoing all our many idiosyncrasies as a nation: Captain Mainwaring, Alf Garnett, Basil Fawlty, the louche Patsy in “Ab Fab”, the nightmarish David Brent, the wickedly knowing Fleabag. The BBC captures our...

Climate Change - Motion to Take Note (6 Feb 2020)

Lord Birt: My Lords, the UK has already made much progress on the path to net zero, and we should not diminish that. CO2 emissions per capita are now well below comparable countries, as is our energy use; greenhouse gas emissions are down by over 40% in 20 years; half of our electricity is now produced, carbon-free, from renewables and nuclear; and coal burn will soon come to an end. However, 75% of our...

Coronavirus - Statement (3 Feb 2020)

Lord Birt: My Lords, the Minister said that we were well prepared for this outbreak, but quite honestly it does not altogether appear so. We saw reports in the media of the first flights arriving from Wuhan. The passengers reported that there was no medical intervention and no advice offered of the kind that is in the Minister’s Statement. We are now asking people who have arrived in the last 14 days...

BBC Charter Review - Question (22 Jan 2020)

Lord Birt: My Lords, I too pay tribute to the assured and inspiring stewardship of the noble Lord, Lord Hall, as director-general of the BBC. On Monday, the political editor of “Newsnight” reported a briefing that he had had from No. 10 about the appointment of the next director-general. The drift of that briefing first set out what No. 10 thought the proper specification for the new appointee...

Thomas Cook - Statement (5 Nov 2019)

Lord Birt: My Lords, the collapse of Thomas Cook has had tragic ramifications for many parties, none more so than the group that the Minister identified in his Statement. Can he tell us what value the official receiver has placed on the category of obligation that he has outlined in respect of personal injury? He talks of an uncapped fund: how are the Government going to establish the quantum of that cap?

Brexit - Motion to Take Note (19 Oct 2019)

Lord Birt: My Lords, I am as nervous as I ever have been about the consequences of Brexit for our economy and our union. If there is a pathway to a further referendum, I will take it. But, if there is to be a choice between this deal and no deal—and I am fearful that that now is the choice—I will choose this deal, for it satisfies the key demands of those who, unlike me, voted to leave: ending...

Brexit - Motion to Take Note (2 Oct 2019)

Lord Birt: My Lords, we are mired, the road to our present misfortune littered with miscalculation and error. A referendum called to resolve a party division has torn that party apart. Remain was the anticipated answer, but after a clear-sighted, if misleading, campaign on the one hand and a somewhat clumsy and unconvincing one on the other, a country unsettled by the 2008 financial crisis, flat...

International Climate Action - Statement (26 Sep 2019)

Lord Birt: I applaud the Minister’s high productivity today—he must have been up all night—as well as his manner. Would that there were more like him. I strongly approve, as everyone who has spoken plainly does, of the Government embracing the net zero target. However, as the Minister has made clear in his answers already, finding the pathway to achieving that target is an enormous task. As he...

High Speed Rail (West Midlands–Crewe) Bill - Second Reading (9 Sep 2019)

Lord Birt: My Lords, I shall be echoing the enthusiasm for this project of the Minister and the noble Lord, Lord Teverson. When I worked at Number 10, I led a year-long project for the then Prime Minister on our national transport infrastructure, working with a team of officials from the Department for Transport and the Cabinet Office. We identified clearly that the UK, a pioneer of transport...

D-day: 75th Anniversary - Motion to Take Note (4 Jun 2019)

Lord Birt: My Lords, it is a real pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Balfe, and his most eloquent speech; I will echo many of his arguments and sentiments. D-day marked the beginning of the end of the Second World War; we should never take that subsequent victory for granted. Modern scholarship tells us that, fighter for fighter, the Germans were the most ferociously effective force in the field in...

Probation Reform - Statement (16 May 2019)

Lord Birt: My Lords, I declare an interest as my wife was the founding director-general of the National Probation Service. The Minister is surely right to observe that it was a vast improvement on the hotchpotch of arrangements that had preceded it. I welcome the Government’s Statement; first, because it is entirely right that the state should take back full responsibility for managing all offenders;...

Eurotunnel - Statement (4 Mar 2019)

Lord Birt: My Lords, does the Minister accept that the clear implication of this settlement with Eurotunnel is that the original procurement was unlawful? What legal advice on the conduct of the procurement was sought at the time? Was that legal advice ignored?

Privatised Probation System - Statement (4 Mar 2019)

Lord Birt: My Lords, I declare an interest. My spouse is the founding director-general of the National Probation Service. I also declare a conviction. I have long supported producer-provider relationships. In the right place and at the right time, they can be highly effective, but they do not provide an answer to every question. In this instance, there is a matter of both principle—as other noble...

Cairncross Review - Statement (12 Feb 2019)

Lord Birt: My Lords, I spent much of my career in broadcast journalism in a period characterised by high-volume, high-quality journalism, well resourced both in broadcast and in print. There is still some good journalism in all media, but let us recognise that the bus left long ago and that there has been a vast reduction in the volume of quality journalism and a vast reduction in the necessary...

Seaborne Freight - Statement (11 Feb 2019)

Lord Birt: My Lords, the Minister has told us that substantial commercial due diligence was done on this deal, yet the Secretary of State’s Statement says clearly says that Seaborne, “was backed by Arklow shipping”. It goes on to say that Arklow offered support for the proposition, and finally that Arklow, “provided confidence in the viability of this deal”. Will the Minister explain more...

Nissan in Sunderland - Statement (5 Feb 2019)

Lord Birt: My Lords—

Nissan in Sunderland - Statement (5 Feb 2019)

Lord Birt: Like many of your Lordships, I have substantial and continuing experience of the real economy. The important story here is that Nissan is not unique but typical. Routinely, I experience decision-makers in business and in the international investor community building Brexit into their day-to-day calculations. The result, as we have seen, is a massive loss in the value of our currency and the...

EU Council - Statement (17 Dec 2018)

Lord Birt: Perhaps alone, I think the Prime Minister actually makes a rather compelling case for her deal in the Statement. Yes, it is a compromise, and it is risky and unpalatable, but it offers a route to a productive future relationship with the EU. In this febrile atmosphere, though, I fear that no one is listening to her. I have two buts. First, we should not wait a month for a meaningful vote; if...

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

Lord Birt: My Lords, in the American state of Utah a condemned person used to have three unpalatable choices. He or she could choose between death by hanging, by firing squad or by beheading. Most chose the firing squad, a few hanging. No one chose beheading. We ourselves face three unpalatable, or difficult, choices. The first is a car-crash Brexit on WTO terms, without a seat belt. There are those who...


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