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Pages tagged "House of Lords"

WATCH: Lord Moylan speaks in opposition to parts of the Online Safety Bill

Freedom Association Council member, Lord Moylan, spoke in the Second Reading debate of the Online Safety Bill in the House of Lords on 1st February 2023. All of us want children to be safe from predators; however, this Bill goes well beyond that and is a huge threat to freedom of speech. Lord Moylan makes this point succinctly.

Click below to watch the speech. Scroll down to read it.* 


My Lords, it is hard to think of something new to say at the end of such a long debate, but I am going to try. I am helped by the fact that I find myself, very unusually, somewhat out of harmony with the temper of the debate in your Lordships’ House over the course of this afternoon and evening. I rather felt at some points that I had wandered into a conference of medieval clerics trying to work out what measures to take to mitigate the harmful effects of the invention of moveable type.

In fact, it probably does require an almost religious level of faith to believe that the measures we are discussing are actually going to work, given what my noble friends Lord Camrose and Lord Sarfraz have said about the agility of the cyber world and the avidity of its users for content. Now, we all want to protect children, and if what had come forward had been a Bill which made it a criminal offence to display or allow to be displayed to children specified harmful content—with condign punishment—we would all, I am sure, have rallied around that and rejoiced. That is how we would have dealt with this 50 years ago. But instead we have this; this is not a short Bill doing that.

Let me make three brief points about the Bill in the time we have available. The first is a general one about public administration. We seem to be wedded to the notion that the way in which we should be running large parts of the life of the country is through regulators rather than law, and that the independence of those regulators must be sacrosanct. In a different part of your Lordships’ House, there has been discussion in the last few days of the Financial Services and Markets Bill in Committee. There, of course, we have been discussing the systemic failures of regulators—that is, the box ticking, the legalism, the regulatory capture and the emergence of the interests of the regulator and how they motivate them. None the less, we carry on giving more and more powers. Ofcom is going to be one of the largest regulators and one of the most important in our lives, and it is going to be wholly unaccountable. We are not going to be happy about that.

The second point I want to make is that the Bill represents a serious threat to freedom of speech. This is not contentious; the Front Bench admits it. The Minister says that it is going to strike the right balance. I have seen very little evidence in the Bill, or indeed in the course of the day’s debate, that that balance is going to be struck at all, let alone in what I might consider the right place—and what I might consider the right place might not be what others consider it to be. These are highly contentious issues; we will be hiving them off to an unaccountable regulator, in effect, at the end.

The third point that I want to make, because I think that I am possibly going to come in under my four minutes, is that I did vote Conservative at the last general election; I always have. But that does not mean that I subscribe to every jot and tittle of the manifesto; in particular, I do not think that I ever signed up to live in a country that was the safest place in the world to be on the internet. If I had, I would have moved to China already, where nothing is ever out of place on the internet. That is all I have to say, and I shall be supporting amendments that move in the general direction that I have indicated.


*Source: House of Lords Hansard

WATCH Andrew Allison talking to Bill Etheridge

Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns, was interviewed by former MEP, Bill Etheridge, on his Open Dialogus show. They discussed the state of freedom in the UK, amongst many other issues including the future of the Monarchy and constitutional reform. 

These days will go down in history as the House of Lords at its worst

Lord Framlingham (Michael Lord, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons) told his fellow Peers some home truths on Wednesday. And they didn't like it. When I was talking to our Patron Lord Vinson last week at our Freedom Forum in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I commented on how rude the House of Lords is these days. Two days ago, once again Remain Peers did their best to drown out a Brexit voice. 

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The Blind lead the Blind

I watched as Lord Pearson asked his question in the Lords and I felt both ashamed and disgusted. The spectacle was of our leaders, supposed statesmen, sleep-walking into oblivion. To put it politely, members of the House dodged the facts. Lord Pearson's question was partly about the implications for sharia in England once the Muslim population has increased tenfold. The government spokesperson brushed it aside and assured members that sharia will have no place in our legal constitution and framework. Really? But it is operating here already - in cases involving marital law among Muslims for instance.

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'Mischievous' House of Lords is playing with fire - Lord Stoddart

TFA Council Member and Independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, has taken remoaners in the House of Lords to task about their contribution to the ongoing debate over Brexit and wonders if "the next referendum put to the voters should be about whether the House of Lords should be abolished and replaced by a system accountable and capable of being dismissed by them".

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Max Mosley tries to erase history

Max Mosley is trying to erase history. He wants all references to the German-themed sadomasochistic orgy involving him and five prostitutes removing from newspapers. Mosley (through a family trust) also bankrolls Impress, the only approved state press regulator. But he doesn't want you to know that. In future he wants newspapers banned saying he bankrolls Impress. If the words "approved state press regulator" doesn't send an uncomfortable chill up your spine, then Mosley bankrolling it should. 

Lest we forget, Mosley is the son of Oswald Mosley, leader of the former British Union of Fascists. He got married in 1936 to his second wife, Diana Mitford, in the glorious setting of Joseph Goebbels's home. To make the day even more special, Adolf Hitler was present. Oswald Mosley had very robust views about the free press. He hated it. And some of that hatred has rubbed off on his son. For to attempt to erase history and to attempt to force newspaper to stop reporting the truth, can only be described as a form of fascism. Daddy would be proud. What a chip off the old block! 

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WATCH: Former Met Commissioner, Lord Hogan-Howe, voted for Brexit. Find out why

Lord Hogan-Howe, the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, gave a great speech in the House of Lords yesterday explaining why he voted for Brexit. If you think that the UK's security is at risk when we leave the EU, listen to what Lord Hogan-Howe has to say about it. Here's an extract:

"Concerns have been expressed about our future security, but our security is built on a strong military, intelligence and policing infrastructure. However, I argue that maintaining all these does not require the UK to be a member of the EU. In defence, our military strength depends on our own investments and innovation, together with those of our allies. Our major military bulwark is NATO. It does not rely on Europe but it does rely on America."

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WATCH: Lord Cavendish of Furness defends Brexit

in an excellent speech in the House of Lords yesterday, Lord Cavendish of Furness proudly defended Brexit against the attacks of Remoaner Peers. This is how he concluded his speech:

"Since the dawn of time, far earlier than the Magna Carta, in these soggy islands—places of such beauty and enduring romance—it was established that we would be governed by consent and not by diktat. The settlement has at intervals been challenged by the Norman invasion, by the Stuarts and, dare I say it, by families like my own, who from time to time got out of control and had to be reined in. These same people I met on the campaign trail also understood why their ​parents and grandparents suffered and gave their lives so that we, their successors, could enjoy the golden benefits of the rule of law and breathe the sweet air of freedom. I have inherited their passion and, in consequence, ask for this Bill to be given safe passage."

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Peers vote to bankrupt the free press

On the day we have announced a new eighth principle of a free society -  a free press and other media - Peter Mullen has written a timely article about those Peers who voted yesterday to restrict press freedom. 

Rev-Peter-Mullen_(2)_.pngIf, along with millions of others, you enjoy reading your local paper every morning, make the most of it because you might not have a local paper for much longer. For last night the House of Lords scandalously voted to restrict press freedom yet further. The vote was on an amendment to Section 40 of the Government's Data Protection Bill which will make newspapers face huge bills in data protection disputes.

Under this proposal, newspapers not signed up to a state-supported regulator would have to pay their opponent's legal costs, even if they were successful in court.

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