What David Cameron said at the Council of Europe

January 31, 2012

Following last week’s blogs, constituents have asked me what David Cameron said to the Council of Europe about the European Court of Human Rights.

When I was at the Council of Europe last week, the Prime Minister gave a convincing argument why the European Court of Human Rights must change. For a long time the Court has been viewed as a last judicial resort, when previous court hearings in their home countries, have not ruled in their favour; indeed for those in the UK, the issue of the possible deportation of the radical cleric Abu Qatada is a case in point. As the Prime Minister pointed out to politicians from the 47 member states: “The problem today is that you can end up with someone who has no right to live in your country, who you are convinced means to do your country harm. And yet there are circumstances in which you cannot try them, you cannot detain them and you cannot deport them;” and this is surely not a way in which you wish the country in which you live, to be governed?
So what is needed:
The Court needs to allow more subsidiarity to national supreme courts.
The Court has a backlog of 160,000 cases. A better filter is needed to screen out cases which are not in the Court’s jurisdiction.
Some countries need to implement human rights more effectively.
These are the key points made by the Prime Minister.


Strengthening links with China…

January 26, 2012

Oliver speaking to a Chinese Delegation

Britain is trying to strengthen links with China at all levels and George Osborne has recently visited China to develop trade and economic contacts. The Chinese are also interested in how our constitution works and our anti-corruption measures.

I was recently invited to speak to a delegation of elected officials from Shanghai about standards in public life. I was able to explain the development of thinking in this country over recent years, leading to the establishment of the Nolan Committee, subsequently the Committee on Standards in Public Life, and the introduction of IPSA and the role of the House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee. The officials were well-briefed and took a keen interest in Nolan’s seven principles of public life. We had a lively discussion – or as lively as can be had via an interpreter – and it did seem that the highest echelons of local government in Shanghai are looking closely at emulating some of our procedures.


David Cameron taking Questions at the Council of Europe

January 25, 2012

David Cameron’s speech has been well received and he is now answering questions.


David Cameron Addresses Council of Europe

January 25, 2012

Here is David Cameron making his long awaited speech to the Council of Europe about the European Court, setting out Britain’s love of human rights, but the need to reform the European Court.


Reform of European Court of Human Rights

January 24, 2012

The photograph shows Europe Minister David Lidington speaking to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg about Britain’s plans, as this year’s Council Chairman, to reform the European Court of Human Rights. It is good to be here helping to argue for common sense change. The Prime Minister arrives tomorrow.


Daylight Saving Bill

January 20, 2012

I was very disappointed that the Daylight Saving Bill ran out of debating time today, when it was so close to going into law. I hope some extra time can be found.

I was pleased that the Live Music Bill succeeded, as this will really help budding musicians and the British music scene.


The proposed Estuary Airport….

January 20, 2012

I think that the idea of an Estuary Airport is well worth pursuing. For as long as I can remember there has been debate about the extension of Heathrow airport but popular consensus seems to have moved away from it. About a quarter of all homes affected by aircraft noise in Europe are close to Heathrow. Boris Johnson has taken a bold lead pressing the case for an Estuary solution.

Likewise, the prospect of extending Stansted Airport is not a suitable alternative either. No decisions have yet been taken about this project, but as the Chancellor made clear in his Autumn Statement, the Government will explore all the options for maintaining the UK’s aviation hub status with the exception of a third runway at Heathrow and, if found to be appropriate, an Estuary Airport is a much better solution to address the issue of extra flight traffic. I will certainly continue to fight against Stansted’s expansion.

It will be necessary to take into account the wildlife which currently lives in the estuary area, but as we have seen in Washington DC, wildlife can be successfully relocated.

In the meantime, the Government will consult on a sustainable framework for UK aviation this spring and alongside this it will publish a call for evidence on maintaining an effective UK hub airport. I would also like to see the economics effects of building the Estuary Airport modelled, because I believe it would be a big boost to the economy and jobs.