Latest

Comments to the House of Lords on the European Union Referendum Bill.

“To delay the referendum is not acceptable. To do anything in this House, either through ping-pong or otherwise, that would delay the undoubted constitutional right of the Prime Minister to choose the timing of his announcement – and therefore, following his announcement, the timing of the referendum – would be absurd.

“…. the giving of a referendum is a right for Members of Parliament and nobody else, because it curtails their democratic rights. It is a very serious curtailment of their rights, so much so that, although we call it an advisory referendum, we all know that they accept an obligation to take into law decisions which, as citizens, they may personally have voted against.

“That is why, in my view, referendums are to be used rather more sparingly than seems to be developing. It is a very considerable infringement on the rights of a representative, elected, democratic Member of Parliament – and, frankly, those rights do not retain in this House.”

Lord Owen’s full speech, delivered 23 November 2015, is available here: EuropeanUnionReferendumBill

Lord Owen’s House of Lords speech on the report into EU relations with Russia. 24 March 2015

“All the members of the committee deserve to be congratulated on the report and on the tone that they have brought to this discussion…. We have to develop a much greater understanding of the complexity of the issues and we must do so fairly urgently….

“A great deal has been said about this whole issue of why Russia feels encircled. History shows us exactly the same: if you look to the origins of the 1914 war, there is no question but that encirclement was a big factor. It was felt not just by Russia at various stages but byGermany and by other countries…..

“We must return to this area to try to find our way through these difficult questions.”

View the full text here: H.LDebateonEU&Russia24.3.15

House of Lords Debate on NHS; Standards of Care and Commissioning

THURSDAY 31 MARCH 2011

Lord Owen (Crossbench)

The NHS is dear to us all, and the care and health professions have made a difference to pretty well every family in this country. However, the 353 pages of the Health and Social Care Bill are a massive reform, and we should not underrate the basic fatal flaws in this legislation, although of course there is much that we can all recommend and be pleased to see. read more…..