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Tag Archives: House of Lords

Speech at the Foreign Affairs debate – Tuesday 5th March 2024

My Lords, it is a rare privilege for us to have the Foreign Secretary wind up a debate on foreign policy in this House. Such are the quirks of politics, I suppose. I shall concentrate on one topic, and that is economic sanctions. The sanctions regime has emerged as one of the most important tools of British foreign policy. Despite, or perhaps because of their long and tangled history, their rationale remains deeply mysterious. Are they tools of war avoidance or an extension of war by...

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Speech on the Spring Budget Statement 2023

My Lords, I join other noble Lords in paying tribute to the remarkable maiden speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Moyo. It was very thoughtful and thought provoking, and I very much appreciated her reference to me—she will have a great future here. The Budget was crafted in the shadow of disruptive world events over which the Chancellor has little or no control, but it is by its effectiveness in tackling or responding to those events that I think this Budget will be judged. The three...

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Speech on “Ukraine: Tactical Nuclear Weapons”

My Lords, I am grateful, as we all are, to the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Harries, for initiating this debate and for drawing attention to the real danger of nuclear escalation. I am in profound disagreement with the Government’s policy on Ukraine—I have said it before in this House and I shall say it again. This disagreement can be stated in one sentence: the Government’s policy is a war policy; I support a peace policy. I shall try to justify that. The then Foreign...

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Speech on the Autumn Statement 29 November 2022

My Lords, the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement is designed to reassure the markets of the sustainability of the public finances. That is, the Chancellor accepts as binding the views of the City of London, whether they are right or wrong. It is what the markets think that matters, not how matters really are—a nice intrusion of post-modernist thinking in what is supposed to be the hard science of economic policy-making. It is pretty obvious why the Government should pay such attention to...

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House of Lords Speech on the Public Order Bill

My Lords, it is very cold in this House; I wonder what has happened to the heating. It certainly has a chilling effect on debate. I am not a lawyer like the noble Lord, Lord Sandhurst, nor a policeman like the noble Lord, Lord Paddick. I am driven to take part in the debate because I have become increasingly concerned at the wide powers of surveillance and control being claimed by Governments in the name of public order and national security—powers that, in their structure though not...

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Economy: The Growth Plan 2022

House of Lords Speech: 10 October 2022 My Lords, the twin problems to which the mini-Budget was addressed were near-zero growth and a relentless rise in prices. I doubt whether it will do very much for the first—certainly not in time to offset the second. In the short run, what we face is not a growth crisis but an inflationary crisis and that, of course, also means a currency crisis. What was the growth strategy? I think it was based on Reaganomics—the idea that unfunded tax cuts,...

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Queen’s Speech on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

My Lords, I find myself in profound disagreement with the Government’s war strategy in Ukraine and, in fact, with almost everything that has been said about Ukraine in this debate. I will try to explain why. British policy aims for a Russian military defeat, which it will help to bring about by economic sanctions and supplying Ukraine with the necessary means of war. Liz Truss said on 27 April: “We will keep going further and faster to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine”....

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Ukraine: Refugees – House of Lords Questions

Lord Skidelsky: My Lords, in addition to the help that the Government are giving to Ukrainians to come to this country, will they consider offering humanitarian visas to those brave Russians—members of the clergy, members of civil society, academics, journalists and ordinary citizens—who face long prison sentences for exercising their democratic right to oppose this war? Baroness Williams of Trafford: I am very glad that the noble Lord asked that question because, at this point,...

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For a public sector job guarantee

My Lords, I think I am the only macroeconomist contributing to this debate, which is perhaps rather odd as it is a debate on economic affairs. As instructive and important as the other contributions have been, I want to talk about economic policy, because unless the economy works a lot better than it has in the last 10 years, none of the spending pledges, to be quite honest, will be worth the paper that they are written on, and how well it works will largely depend on economic policy. The...

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Brexit: Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration

My Lords, I do not want to add to the volume of speculation about what will happen tomorrow or a day or two after. The noble Lord, Lord Howell of Guildford, expressed clearly my position on what should happen: the withdrawal agreement, or an amended successor to it, should be made subject to a vote of confidence, and if the Government lose it there should be a general election. That is the clean and British way but whether it will happen is in the hands of the gods at the moment. I...

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