Archives - August 2009
Tony Attends Constituent's 100th Birthday Party
Blanche Slack, pictured left, celebrated her 100th birthday at the weekend. The great-great-grandmother, who lives in Moss Side, is believed to be the oldest member of Manchester's Caribbean community.
Tony Speaks at Peterloo Commemoration
Sunday 16th August 2009 saw the 190th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, a very important historical milestone in the development of rights for ordinary people in Britain and around the world.
A peaceful demonstration had come to Manchester from the surrounding areas to listen to the well-known radical orator Henry Hunt; his inspiring speeches advanced the demands for rights for ordinary people including the right to vote, the right to assemble peacefully and the right to join together in the work place, all of which was seen as a major challenge to the establishment.
The demonstration was entirely peaceful and was made up of men, women and children but the local magistrates turned the yeoman troops on the crowd, killing fifteen and wounding 400-700. The event shocked the nation and the outcry galvanised people from all walks of life. The massacre was given the name Peterloo in ironic comparison to the Battle of Waterloo, which had taken place four years earlier.
Many believed this event was one of the major influences that led to the development of Trade Unionism and The Great Reform Act, which extended the right to vote and opened the way to the political freedoms that people now take for granted.
The Peterloo Massacre was largely forgotten in the early days, even in Manchester. This was done deliberately by the then ruling classes and more recently by a failure to remember how important the event was. However over the last few years people have gathered on or near the 16th August in remembrance.
Brookdale Park Fun Day, Newton Heath
Tony (pictured right) attended Brookdale Park Fun Day in Newton Heath on 16 August 2009 and is pictured here with local residents Frank Birchall and Marlene Garnett.
Tony Observes Moldova's Elections
Tony was part of the international electoral observation mission to Moldova recently. Moldova is the poorest country in Europe and like many parts of the former Soviet Union has no long tradition of Parliamentary democracy. It is in Britain's strong interest that democratic structures are strengthened and that there is respect for the electoral process which is why the international electoral observations are so important in helping people in Moldova and beyond trust that the elections are free and fair.
The overall conclusion was that the result of the elections was an acceptable result of the will of those who voted. The communist party, whilst still the biggest party in the Parliament, lost its majority.
Tony gives evidence to The Committee on Standards in Public Life
Tony Lloyd gave oral evidence to The Committee on Standards in Public Life who are conducting a review into expenses allowable for Members of Parliament. The following is a summary of the main points Tony made on behalf of the Parliamentary Labour Party:
"I thought the Committee might find it helpful if I set out a series of bored principles, rather than setting out detailed proposals. For your information, all Labour MPs have been encouraged to make submissions to your Review with their own ideas, and I know a number of my colleagues have already done so.
"As politicians we believe passionately in the power of politics and parliamentary democracy to change the world for the better. This issue and the current climate, with the myriad allegations of impropriety, is devastating to politics. This matter is also causing distress among Members � particularly when the allegations relate to Members' partners and families.
"In terms of broad principles, I want to make clear that Labour MPs support fully the need for significant changes in the system. The changes that come forward will need to be straight forward, transparent and will need to command the respect of the public. We overwhelmingly support the suggestion that MPs need to be removed from the process of setting their salaries and allowances.
"Also, we do ask for some recognition that MPs overwhelmingly have no other income than their salary. We also believe that the job of a Member of Parliament is a full time job and that our constituents believe they are voting for someone to be their full time MP.
"We believe it is of absolute importance that, whatever changes come forward, we recognise that people from all backgrounds, incomes and family arrangements should have the opportunity to serve as MPs.
"We further believe that reasonable accommodation is required to do this and will discuss this matter further with the Committee.
"We also reflect that the demands on members have changed immeasurably in recent years, with changes in society and changes in technology. We believe fundamentally that MPs need to be able to provide an efficient, resources and professional service to constituents, and that the link between an MP and their constituency is critical. We believe furthermore that politicians have the resources required to communicate with their constituents and inform them of the work they undertake.
"We believe in principle and in practice that MPs' staff need to be respected, trained and paid appropriately for doing their jobs, and we are happy to discuss the practicalities of this with the Committee.
"One final comments: as we look to make significant changes to the system there will need to be some consideration of temporary transition arrangements, as I believe was the case in the Scottish Parliament when they underwent a similar process. In this regard we believe that where people have abided by the letter and spirit of the rules at that time, and where you recommend these rules should change, that change should only be effective from the moment of adoption and not retrospectively."
It is in the interest of Parliament, the public and MPs that everyone has confidence in the process and that it is both independent, and seen to be independent, of Parliament.