Freezing assets

Lord Norton

In his farewell column in the Sunday Times, Simon Jenkins wrote:

“This month Gordon Brown used the 2005 anti-terror law to seize the assets of Icelandic banks, an outrage that passed without protest from parliament and the courts.” 

Given that this was published on Sunday, the kindest thing that one can say about it is that it was rather premature.  The House of Lords had not then debated the order to freeze the assets of the Icelandic Landsbanki.  It did so last night.  The new Treasury minister, Lord Myners, made his maiden speech in moving the order.  There were probing contributions from the opposition front benches and from a number of back-benchers, not least on the choice of legislation for effecting the freeze.  The minister offered a detailed response.  He demonstrated why he had been made a Treasury minister: he showed a sound command of the subject and made what I thought was a good case – actually quite a good Tory case for defending British interests!

He dealt well with individual contributions and also was very keen to comply with the normal conventions of the House.  He acquitted himself well, making only one mistake: he consistently referred to ‘the noble Lord, Baroness Noakes’!   Not that you will see this in Hansard: it follows the usual practice of putting what should have been said: ‘the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes’. 

The debate can be found at col. 1546 on:

13 comments for “Freezing assets

  1. Michael Fischer
    29/10/2008 at 4:32 pm

    The debate can _not_ be found at that URL. Please amend it.

    Thank you.

  2. lordnorton
    29/10/2008 at 4:36 pm

    Michael Fischer: it certainly links when I click on it.

  3. lordnorton
    29/10/2008 at 4:41 pm

    I have also checked it from an external site and the link appears to be working. If encountering problems, one can always go directly to the Parliament website ( and click on Hansard, then go to the Lords by date (yesterday’s date) and click on Landsbanki Freezing Order.

  4. lordnorton
    29/10/2008 at 4:47 pm

    In case anyone is having difficulty, I have now changed the link to the page you would get if following the instructions noted above.

  5. Michael Fischer
    29/10/2008 at 4:48 pm

    Firefox can’t find the server at

    I strongly suspect is a host you can see because you are on the internal network. Those of us in the wider world cannot. Network tools such as ‘nslookup’ and ‘dig’ do not find You might need to as an IT administrator for an externally visible hostname to use – if you want people outside of parliment to see such resources.

  6. Michael Fischer
    29/10/2008 at 4:49 pm

    Ah, I see you figured it out in advance of my last comment.

    It works well for me now at

    Thank you.

  7. Bedd Gelert
    29/10/2008 at 6:45 pm

    “The new Treaury minister, Lord [Short Selling] Myners, made his maiden speech in moving the order. ”

    Who says satire is dead ? !

  8. lordnorton
    29/10/2008 at 7:57 pm

    Bedd Gelert: It’s Treasury now.

    One can’t say we don’t engage with our readers – and act on what they write!

  9. Lily Roberts
    30/10/2008 at 1:21 pm

    I would be deeply saddened if the Government moves to abolish the pivotal role that the House of Lords plays in the parliamentary process.

    In fact, in recent times, it seems this House has been the only way of holding the government to account for the rushed, ill-thought out and reactive laws they are seeking to push through on a more and more frequent basis.

    Yours sincerely


  10. 30/10/2008 at 11:01 pm

    So, Simon Jenkins was quite correct in writing that the Bill had been passed?

  11. Graham Cobb
    31/10/2008 at 5:51 pm

    However good a case the minister made,anti-terror legislation MUST NOT be abused for non-terrorist purposes. I am sure there are very many “good cases” to be made for using the convenience and power of anti-terror legislation to do something that everyone agrees should be done. But it is always wrong.

    Each time that happens, however good the reasons behind it, parliament is debased and the public are let down. Each time it happens, the number of people who oppose anti-terror legislation increases and the less likely it is to be passed. Anti-terror legislation is, probably, an unfortunate necessity (the underlying legislation against the crimes terrorists commit may not protect society sufficiently) but it must be strictly limited to that purpose. Not invoked for other crimes, not used as cover for dubious actions by ministers or police, and not used for convenience.

  12. lordnorton
    31/10/2008 at 11:26 pm

    Anne Palmer: The Bill was passed some time ago; what Simon Jenkins was referring to, as he indicates, was the secondary legislation being employed under its provisions to freeze the assets of Landsbanki. At the time he was writing, the secondary legislation had not been approved.

    Graham Cobb: The Act is not simply an anti-terrorist Act, as is apparent from its full title, though there is a genuine question as to whether it was an appropriate measure to employ.

  13. 05/09/2011 at 10:31 am

    *** UPDATE: — British Justice. Sept 5th 2011.

    *** We were currently waiting to see if the West Yorkshire Police :-
    (1) Chief Constable —- Sir Norman Bettison.
    (2) Forces Solicitor —- Mike Percival.
    (3) Head of Economic Crimes Unit.— Det. Chief Inspector Steven Taylor.

    — continue to attempt to cover this case up like their F.S.A. Counterparts.
    If they do “ watch this space”)

    We have recently been informed that due to pressure from our M.P. that the Ministry of Justice had asked Lord Myners to investigate our claims that the F.S.A. covered up the illegal activities of Pictet Asset Management. London. They might as well have asked Ivan Pictet to investigate .or Friends Reunited.

    Lady Myners on Prix Pictet board.

    The consensus of opinion is the Pictet & Cie should be prosecuted , and that their banking licence’s should be taken away in the U.K. ( and fined.)
    Their solicitors at Peters & Peters — struck off and prosecuted..
    In America they would have all been in prison for the last seven years.


    We note that Det. Chief Inspector Steven Taylor has been removed as the Head of Economic Crime Unit and demoted to Det. Inspector. ( One down two to go).

    A file of some 339 pages including scores of documentation as been forwarded to the following from Aug.4th to Aug.6th. 2011.

    640 — Members of Parliament.
    460 — Members of the House of Lords.
    Ministry of Justice
    F.S.A — Financial Services Authority
    Serious Fraud Office.
    Peters & Peters. London. — Solicitors.
    Pictet & Cie. Bank —- London & Geneva.
    West Yorkshire Police Authority.
    I.P.C.C. – Independent Police Complaints Commission.
    C.C.R.C.—Criminal Cases Review Commission.
    Swiss Ambassador London.

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