Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Adonis: My Lords, how can I put this tactfully? There are people for and against the expansion of Manston airport and its use in the way that the noble

30 Mar 2010 : Column 1286

Baroness described. I have been long enough in this job to know that my best position on these issues is to remain neutral.

Baroness Tonge: My Lords, first, I declare an interest as the president of HACAN and as a veteran of both inquiries into the fourth and fifth terminals at Heathrow. In view of the recent High Court decision on the third runway but the Government's determination to go ahead whatever, can the Minister say what limits-real limits-he would put on expansion at Heathrow?

Lord Adonis: As the noble Baroness will know, the decision that the Government took last January included a whole set of conditions that would need to be satisfied and limits on the number of air traffic movements. In particular, there is a limit on the number of air traffic movements before 2020 of 605,000 and a limit thereafter, subject to further conditions being met, of 702,000. Therefore, the decision includes limits of the kind that I think the noble Baroness wishes to see implemented.

Lord Berkeley: My Lords, when my noble friend publishes the national policy statement, will it include an update of the forecasts, which must now be about 10 years out of date, and will it also be airport or runway-specific? Will it recommend particular locations or will it leave that to the operators to decide?

Lord Adonis: My Lords, the answer is yes to both questions.

Lord Lawson of Blaby: My Lords, is it not the case that, whether the Minister likes it or not, the third runway at Heathrow has been kiboshed by the courts as a direct and predictable result of the Government's absurd Climate Change Act, which was passed with enthusiasm, acclaim and complete thoughtlessness by all parties in this House and in the other place? If the Minister thinks that the third runway is important-and I agree with him-is not the only possible solution to suspend the Act, not least because even the Government have admitted that it makes no sense without an international agreement, which Copenhagen showed was not attainable?

Lord Adonis: My Lords, I think that that was a rhetorical question. I am not sure that I need to answer it, since most of its content relates to the climate change agenda and not to airports. So far as the issue of carbon reduction and Heathrow is concerned, when the Government took the decision last year to allow the third runway application to proceed, they also asked the Committee on Climate Change for its advice on the target of ensuring that carbon emissions from aviation in 2050 were below the level in 2005. The noble Lord, Lord Turner, who chairs the committee, reported in December and concluded:

"The Report finds that there is potential for aviation demand to increase while still meeting the Government's target-in the most likely scenario, a 60% increase in demand is allowed".

That 60 per cent increase in demand is very significantly more than the increase in demand that would be caused by the third runway, so there is no incompatibility whatever between meeting our climate change and

30 Mar 2010 : Column 1287

carbon reduction targets and allowing the expansion of Heathrow to take place, which is manifestly in the public interest and the wider economic interest.

Nigeria

Question

11.31 am

Asked By Baroness Cox

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): My Lords, we condemn the recent violence near Jos, which resulted in such a terrible loss of life. I raised UK concerns with Foreign Minister Maduekwe on 20 January, and my honourable friend the Minister of State Ivan Lewis spoke to the Foreign Minister on 15 March, underlining the need for the Nigerian Government to ensure that those responsible for crimes are prosecuted and the need to address the underlying causes of the violence. The British High Commissioner in Abuja visited Jos in February and will continue to raise concerns about intercommunal violence with the Nigerian Government and traditional and religious leaders.

Baroness Cox: I thank the Minister for her reply. Is she aware that the recent slaughter of up to 500 Christians and other non-Muslims was just the latest in a series of attacks by Islamic extremists? On a recent visit to Jos, I met both the Muslim and Christian leaders who were very interested in an initiative which I helped to establish in Indonesia, with rather a long name, I regret, the International Islamic Christian Organisation for Reconciliation and Reconstruction, or IICORR for short. Is the Minister aware that the Foreign Office funded an interfaith delegation from Indonesia which helped to contain further conflict in Ambon? Would the Government consider a similar initiative for the Muslim and Christian leaders in Jos that might help to stem the violence there?

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: I commend the commitment of the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, to promoting reconciliation and reconstruction in the plateau states of Nigeria. Of course we are aware that communities in Nigeria remain suspicious and resentful of each other, even though in the past they have lived harmoniously together. It is important that victims are supported and that those who perpetuate violence are brought to book. I suggest that the noble Baroness sends me her proposal about the organisation she mentioned so that we can give it full consideration.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, considering that prior to the latest communal massacre in the neighbourhood of Jos there was clear notice in internet traffic of what was about to happen, has any consideration been given by the Nigerian authorities to setting up an early

30 Mar 2010 : Column 1288

warning system and a rapid response force to prevent future outbreaks? Can the Minister say what measures the Nigerian Government have taken to implement the promise they made to the universal periodic review last year to promote interethnic and interracial harmony?

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: I thank the noble Lord. I confirm that the Nigerian Government under the current acting President have taken a number of actions such as have been suggested by the noble Lord. Of course, there was a great deal of media coverage and contact through text messaging that was firing the conflict at that time. It is something that we are asking the Nigerian Government to address urgently. It is important that acting President Jonathan acts quickly to improve security. We are heartened that, for instance, he has ordered a crackdown on the flow of small arms, which were a huge contributor to the violence that has occurred in that region, not just in January and March but over many years.

Lord Clarke of Hampstead: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that the recent violence, together with the violence to which she referred in January and last November, has left many hundreds of families homeless and in desperate need of shelter? Do the Government have any plans for emergency humanitarian aid to assist those homeless people, especially as the rainy season will soon be upon them and they desperately need shelter?

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: My noble friend makes an extremely important point, because thousands of people have been displaced as a result of the violence. DfID is considering supplying extra humanitarian assistance to those who have been displaced, especially as the rainy season is approaching. We are now considering funding of an extra £200,000 to ICRC, which is currently undertaking an assessment, and we have earmarked that funding so that, when the assessment is made, we can take the necessary action.

Lord Howell of Guildford: Does the Minister accept that the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, is entirely right to bring this concern before the House, because we are dealing here with butchery on a horrific scale? Anyone who has seen the videos on the internet of cold-blooded executions will be appalled by what they have seen. This is not just a matter of a distant horror; this is Africa's major energy-producing country threatened with total instability and danger. Will she keep the House informed about what emerge as the underlying causes? There seems to be considerable doubt about whether they were about retaliation, a deliberate extremist Islamic attack on Christians, or something else. These are matters that we want to follow very closely, and I hope that she will keep us informed.

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: The noble Lord makes an extremely important point, but I would say that apportioning blame will not assist us to make the proper analysis of why we have seen the outbreak of this kind of violence in 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2010. The noble Lord may be interested in reading a recent

30 Mar 2010 : Column 1289

Chatham House report, which stated that it is about rights, access to resources and access to power, as well as poverty and unemployment. I think that issues of access to land and power are behind the violence that we have seen; then they take on a religious dimension.

Standing Orders (Public Business)

Motion to Amend

11.37 am

Moved by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Standing Order 19 (Election of Lord Speaker)

Standing Order 65 (Sessional Committees)

Standing Order 78 (Committee for Privileges)

Standing Order 79 (Claims of Peerage)

Standing Order 81 (Claims of Irish Peerages in abeyance)

Standing Order 82 (Report of Committee for Privileges if improper arrangement entered into between co-heirs)

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): My Lords, the first four Motions standing in my name on the Order Paper today are consequential on decisions taken previously by the House in agreeing to reports from the Privileges Committee, the Procedure Committee and the Liaison Committee. I beg to move the first Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Motion agreed.



30 Mar 2010 : Column 1290

House of Lords: Code of Conduct

Motion to Resolve

11.38 am

Moved by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): I beg to move the second Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, I trust that it is for the convenience of the House if I speak to the reports on the code of conduct, the scrutiny reserve on EU legislation and the scrutiny of opt-in decisions on EU legislation in one very brief speech. I have agreed this with the noble Baroness's office this morning. I do so because I was not able to be present for the substantive debate on 16 March, and I cannot let these decisions pass without at least minimal comment.



30 Mar 2010 : Column 1291

First, on the code of conduct, I simply comment that paragraph 54 of the new code is a scandal. It states:

"Members are not required to register pension arrangements, unless conditions are attached to the continuing receipt of the pension that a reasonable member of the public might regard as likely to influence their conduct as parliamentarians. Such conditions attaching to pensions from European Union institutions do not normally require the pension to be registered or declared in proceedings in the House".

The scandal arises because continuing conditions are indeed attached to EU pensions, because such pensions can be removed if the holder does not respect continuing obligations arising from their time in office. It is therefore wholly wrong to exempt EU pensions from the requirement that they be registered and declared in our debates. I have agreed to speak very briefly, so I will say no more on this point now. Students of the decline and extinction of British democracy can find the whole sordid story in a short debate in your Lordships' House on 19 July 2007, at cols. 402-418 of Hansard.

I can deal even more briefly with the new rules on our scrutiny of European legislation and of opt-in decisions under Title V. Put briefly, none of these manoeuvres will make any difference to the powers already acquired by Brussels under the Lisbon treaty, nor to the steady advance of the project of European integration at the expense of our national parliamentary sovereignty. They are pure window dressing, designed to fool the people into thinking that the project has somehow become more benign and democratic.

On the scrutiny reserve, I remind your Lordships that the Government admit to overriding it no fewer than 435 times in the past five years. As most EU legislation is now agreed by majority voting, the Government, who have some 9 per cent of those votes, are powerless to respect this new code even if they wanted to. The best that can be achieved under the scrutiny reserve is that, after either House merely debates the legislation in question, the reserve is automatically lifted. We do not vote on it because we have no power over it-some safeguard, that.

Nor do I take any comfort from the eight-week delay in agreeing new measures because Ministers can simply override it, and they will. The whole concept of national Parliaments being able to stop EU legislation under the Lisbon treaty is, in any case, fraudulent, because in the end Brussels can go ahead with whatever it wants to do. I give one brief, current example. The Government say that they will not opt in to the proposed new European public prosecutor, but of course the octopus has a tentacle ready to deal with such futile posturing. It will extract British citizens for trial in another European jurisdiction by using the infamous European arrest warrant. There will always be a way around any national interest.

The battle lines are now clearly drawn between the political class and the people-between those who are determined to appease the project of European integration, to its inevitable and frightening conclusion, and those of us who have decided to join the resistance. I very much regret that the Government and your Lordships' House have decided to throw in their lot with the former.



30 Mar 2010 : Column 1292

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I note what the noble Lord says, although I do not share his views. I should make it clear to the noble Lord that the opportunity to debate these issues was when the relevant papers were before the House for agreement. I very much regret the fact that the noble Lord was not present at that time to make his views known. The decisions having now been taken by the House, these Motions are simply intended to give effect to those decisions, not to create an opportunity to revisit them.

Motion agreed.

European Union Documents: Scrutiny Reserve

Motion to Resolve

11.43 am

Moved by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon



30 Mar 2010 : Column 1293

Motion agreed.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page