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Oral Contribution: 8th May, 2019

It is a pleasure to follow James Cartlidge. I remind him that the BBC still reaches over 92% of the population every week. It is a great pleasure to support the motion, which is made the stronger by the fact that it is supported by all the major Opposition parties.

I want to put the motion in context. Democratic Unionist party Members talked about a lack of democracy. If we look back at how the licence fee settlement was reached—certainly the last two times, possibly the last three or four times—there has been a lack of parliamentary scrutiny and accountability. If there had been that accountability and scrutiny, we would be in a very different place today. Basically, this was presented as a done deal.

I listened carefully to the former Secretary of State, Mr Whittingdale. His most important phrase was, “the Chancellor made clear”. He described Lord Hall—I do not know whether he was on his own—being surrounded by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and others. George Osborne is the villain of the piece here. In 2010, he had his first go at imposing this settlement on the BBC. He tried to get the BBC to accept responsibility for the over-75s. He was opposed at that point by the director-general, Mark Thompson, and the chair of the BBC Trust, Michael Lyons, who were supported, crucially, by the Liberal Democrats. The coalition Government was probably the difference between the situation in 2010 and 2015. George Osborne came back and imposed his will in 2015. It was a good settlement, but only for five years. The BBC were bullied into accepting that settlement and the Chancellor got his way...
 
 
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EDM Supported: 8th May, 2019

That this House congratulates the Scottish Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, known as Justice and Peace Scotland, as it celebrates its 40th anniversary; notes that the organisation, which was founded in 1979, advises the Catholic Bishops of Scotland on matters relating to social justice, international peace and human rights, and promotes action in these areas especially through a network of parish groups across Scotland...

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EDM Supported: 7th May, 2019

That this House notes the recent risk of a reversal in the movement towards increasing the number of free-to-use cash machines; further notes that free-to-use cash machines are the biggest single aspect of free banking that most affects the poor...

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Oral Contribution: 2nd May, 2019

What assessment he has made of the potential merits of restoring the rail link between Skipton and Colne.
 
 
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EDM Supported: 1st May, 2019

That this House condemns any annexation by the State of Israel of any part of the territories occupied in 1967; notes it has already illegally annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights; further notes that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu threatened during Israeli elections to annex part of or all of the West Bank...

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EDM Sponsored: 1st May, 2019

That this House recognises the decades of service of Japan’s Emperor Akihito and his wife, Empress Michiko, as he abdicates the throne after a 30-year reign; notes his dedication to his public duties as a symbol of the state; commends his efforts to ease the painful memories of war and the aftermath of several natural disasters while bringing the Japanese monarchy closer to its people during the Heisei era, meaning achieving peace...

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