The Barnett formula

Lord Norton

The Barnett formula is the name given to the formula that determines the distribution of public funds in the different parts of the UK. The way the formula works, Scotland receives more per capita (as does Northern Ireland and Wales) than England. It is controversial, not least in terms of the current debate about the…

Permission to demonstrate

Lord Soley

The question of rights to demonstrate in Parliament Square and Downing Street came up yesterday. Following criticism of police action against demonstrators in Downing Street the Act that requires you to obtain permission prior to a demonstration is under review. The problem is about numbers. Parliament has always guarded the right to free and unrestricted…

Sheep

Lord Tyler

The public, egged on by the media, think that MPs – and Peers too perhaps – are just mindless robots. They accuse Parliamentarians of being the creatures of the Party Whips, voting as they are told rather than as they believe. The common perception is of a herd of sheep, rather than a collection of…

Intergovernmental Organisations Select Committee

Lord Soley

We shall be taking evidence from the Government Departments dealing with communicable diseases tomorrow (Monday). This session is open to the public. To attend just come to the House of Lords and ask to go to the Intergovernmental Organisations Select Committee hearing. As long as there is room in the public area (and there should…

Luck

Lord Tyler

Luck – that is what dominates so much of life in Parliament. Both in the Commons and in the Lords Members will admit that they have been as often lucky as skilful in their successes. And, indeed, bad luck can be even more devastating than bad judgement. I was reminded of this yesterday, and then…

Broadcasting

Lord Soley

On Wednesday there was a question calling on the BBC to make daily announcements of business in Parliament on the main news channels. I have some sympathy with this idea although doing it in a formalised way might not attract much attention. I drew attention to the Director General’s recent announcement indicating that he was…

quiet times

Lord Lipsey

To the outside world the Lords may look quiet at the moment. We had one exciting vote this week as involved sex, something we Lords enjoy talking about the alternative at our time of life being rare: namely whether gay couples should be discriminated against for IVF. But generally votes have been sparse and controversy…

Intergovernmental Organisations Committee

Lord Soley

The Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Organisations Select Committee was set up late last year. I had argued the case for a select committee to examine the way the government uses taxpayers money with intergovernmental organisations and to consider how contemporary issues of international policy are addressed through United Kingdom membership of intergovernmental organisations (excluding the European…