Tomorrow is a crucial day in the House of Lords for environmentalists. I shall be backing an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill to ensure that the government’s promised new enforcement agency will not reduce any of “the rights, powers, liabilities, obligations, restrictions, remedies and proceedures that contribute to the protection and improvement of the environment.” Continue reading “Crucial vote in Lords on new environmental enforcement agency”
Brexit is turning our world on its head. It will dominate our political, economic and social future. It’s certainly dominating Parliament’s attention at the moment, and we have got dozens of Bills coming up over the next few years to facilitate our smooth exit from the EU.
I’m worried about what Brexit means for our rights. I voted for Brexit, even campaigned for it, but I feel cheated now by the Government with some of the things they are trying to get away in the EU Withdrawal Bill. Continue reading “Equality laws post Brexit”
At yesterday’s debate in the House of Lords on the EU Withdrawal Bill I had to drop my amendment to retain the EU’s rules on Animal Sentience, as part of the Withdrawal Bill, because Labour withdrew its two line whip just as I was about to push it to a vote. My amendment was the same that Caroline Lucas put to the Commons and received a lot of support. Continue reading “No three line Labour whip for Animal Sentience”
One of the surprises of life in the Lords is that our laws are partly decided by the bar room stamina of government supporting peers. The Lords defeated the government three times yesterday over the charter of fundamental rights and also earned a good concession from them over the protection of public health. The Opposition was on a roll and not one of the peers in the chamber got up to speak against the amendments sponsored by green NGOs to retain the EU’s environmental protections and principles. No one opposed, but vast numbers of Conservative peers were hanging out in the bars and restaurants, waiting for their whips to call them to vote. In the end, the Minister rose, made concessions and the amendment was withdrawn. Continue reading “Withdrawal Bill debate shows why we need Lords reform”
The Government promised that the EU Withdrawal Bill would bring across all the EU laws and turn them into British laws, so why aren’t they doing that? By exempting the Charter of Fundamental Rights they are significantly weakening the current system of human rights protection in the UK. If that is their intention, then let the Government have a proper discussion about it, rather than sneaking it through as an exemption in part of the much broader debate about the EU Bill. Continue reading “Protecting human rights post Brexit”
My speech to the Lords yesterday here and below
My Lords, I did something very controversial during the EU referendum campaign: I went against my own party’s remain position. I campaigned to leave the EU because the EU is a top-down project designed to promote endless industrial development and economic growth. It remains my strongly held belief that we can have a greener, fairer, healthier country by leaving the European Union. In taking this view, I feel a strong personal responsibility to Greens everywhere and to the country to do what I can to ensure that Brexit is a success for the environment. I still want to leave the EU, but I absolutely cannot support the Bill as it stands. Continue reading “I still want to leave the EU, but I absolutely cannot support the [Government’s] Bill as it stands.”
The Government’s long awaited 25 year strategy for saving the environment will make very little impact on decisions made in the Treasury or other Ministries, unless there is hard law to make sure it all happens.
With the UK government already in breach of many of its environmental commitments, environmental campaigners are increasingly reaching for the law in order to make change happen. Client Earth have taken the Government to court over air pollution, and won three times. It’s taken repeated legal threats from the EU for the Government to do anything about cleaning up our polluted rivers. Continue reading “A 25 Year Environment Strategy that won’t last five minutes”