Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Parlimentary recall and what it could mean

Since 1948 there have been 24 recalls of Parliament, Thursday's will be the 25th and the second within a month. Here is the rundown of those other recalls and what they were to discuss.

  1. 27-29 September 1949 to discuss devaluation of the pound
  2. 12-19 September 1950 Korean War
  3. 4 October 1951 Prorogation - followed by dissolution
  4. 12-14 September 1956 Suez Crisis and Cyprus
  5. 19 September 1959  Prorogation - followed by dissolution
  6. 17-23 October 1961 Berlin blockade
  7. 16 January 1968 Government spending cuts
  8. 26-27 August 1968 Czechoslovakia, Nigeria
  9. 26-29 May 1970 Prorogation - followed by dissolution
  10. 22-23 September 1971 Northern Ireland
  11. 9-10 January 1974 Fuel
  12. 3-4 June 1974 Northern Ireland
  13. 3 April 1982 (a Saturday) Falklands
  14. 14 April 1982 Falklands
  15. 6-7 September 1990 Kuwait Invasion
  16. 24-25 September 1992 Government economic policy; UN operations in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Somalia
  17. 31 May 1995 Bosnia
  18. 2-3 September 1998 Omagh Bomb: Criminal Justice (Terrorism and Conspiracy) Bill
  19. 14 September 2001 International terrorism and attacks in the USA
  20. 4 October 2001 ditto
  21. 8 October 2001 ditto
  22. 3 April 2002 Death of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
  23. 24 September 2002 Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction
  24. 20 July 2011 (day after raising) Public confidence in the Media and Police
As you can see it in unprecedented for there to be two recalls in such close succession that are not as a result of war or terrorism. But that also shows the state of affairs we are in this week, must of the above were for time of war, the others were to end a Parliament, financial issues or to mark the passing of a Queen.

Dan Falchikov blogged that Lib Dems should vote against the possible introduction of the draconian measures as laid out, as I blogged earlier, in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. As he said:

"Anti-terror powers would appeal to the right wing mob - but have little practical effect other than to curb the liberty of the 99.99% of Londoners who are going about their law abiding business. Lib Dem MPs should vote against these draconian powers if proposed by the Tories (and no doubt supported by Labour)."
Having heard some MPs today call for military, water cannons etc, many of which measures can only come if a senior Minister of the Crown were to call for a vote to enable the Act in the debate on Thursday. As Dan points out many of the Tories may see it as stringent policing, many of the Labour members opposite who brought the Act into being may see it as a chance to show they were 'right', but Dan is right the Lib Dems need to stand up for liberty. We need to stand up for the vast majority of people who are law abiding.

Yes, we need to discuss what needs to be done, but we need to discuss that is a way that people can go about their lives as normal. Places shutting early is a sign that the rioters have won in a way that terrorists haven't done. Having been raised in Northern Ireland I know that our city and town centres were shut to traffic except for access and public transport at the height of the troubles. It is also only recently that Belfast city centre is reasonable alive to a late-ish hour (still nothing compared to Edinburgh or London but a whole lot better).

If we give in to shutting up shops, restaurants etc early, we are letting the yobs win. We are giving in to an urban terrorism far more easily that we did to those that planted the 7/7 bombs. Of course we have to take action to bring those guilty of the various crimes to justice, we have to protect those who are going about their daily business. A lot of that will come from family members turning in those who recently acquired plasma screens, new training shoes and whatever when there was no means to acquire these.

Our Lib Dem MPs must stand up for the balance of Liberty and Justice. It is a fine line (much like the Met have had to tread over recent days) but one that I trust our MPs will balance well. I look forward to some strong contributions from them in the debate on Thursday and a truly liberal stance on whatever comes out on the day.  We need to show the public as well as those that are doing the looting, arson, pillaging and civil unrest that we really are the party of new politics. That we have listened to all sides and want to defend our way of live, our people and business but do it with an essence of liberty.

Update I hear that PSNI armoured landrovers are being leant to the Met, on the local news here in Northern Ireland.

1 comment:

  1. Will Nick Clegg be allowed to speak on behalf of the Lib Dems or will he just be sat next to the PM?