Friday, May 01, 2009

This week


Attended a very useful meeting at the Foreign Office with Mark Malloch-Brown to discuss the persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan, organised by Justine Greening, the MP who represents Putney where the world headquarters of the Ahmadis is based. The situation is getting even worse, as the extremists become ever bolder, and the forces of law and order are unable or unwilling to cope.

Then, a visit from journalist Masooda Bhatti to talk about Bangladesh.


Shadia Syed to lunch, discussion on Bangladesh.

Baroness Ward had a question about polygamous marriage in the UK (not lawful). I asked what the rule would be if a person who was granted asylum had a polyhamous marriage in his country of origin. Would all the wives and their chilfren be eligible to join the refugee in the UK? The Minister didn't know the answer and promised to write to me.

In the evening, to Jeremy Thorpe's 80th birthday party at the National Liberal Club. Many of the old faithful were there, but we were specially delighted to see his son Rupert, who is my godson, together with his wife and little boy.


Morning, almost three hours in Select Committee, taking evidence from two sets of witnesses, the last to give evidence in our current inquiry into money laudering and the financing of terrorism.

PM, meeting with the Ven Khemadhammo Mahathera, to discuss (a) the arrangements for providing Buddhist chaplaincy services to the armed forces, and (b) the Counter-Terrorism Check procedures for Buddhist chaplains in the prisons.


Parliamentary Human Rights Group seminar on the work of human rights defenders, then to City Hall for a meeting on the provision of acommodation for Gypsies and Travellers in Greater London. The Accommodation Needs Assessment reveals a shortage of 770 pitches by 2012, and the most optimistic estimate is that half of these will be provided. All the London Boroughs are waiting to see how the 770 pitches are going to be translated into allocations to the Boroughs, and in the meanwhile there are no sites under construction.

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