Saturday, October 30, 2010


A debate on my motion to disapprove the Statement of Changer in the Immigration Rules, which now demand that all spouses pass a test of competence in the English language, and satisfy the UK Border Authority that they can accommodate and maintain themselves without access to public funds. (Why didn't they abolish the UKBA in the bonfire of the Quangos, transferring its functions back to the Home Office, I wonder?) What this means is that in many cases, family reunification may be delayed for years, and the real point of the exercise is to reduce numbers.

I was rebuked by the Whips for tabling this motion, which apparently violated some unwritten rule of Coalition etiquette. There may be quite a few other occasions in the future when some of us want to criticise Government policy, and it would be quite useful to know where the Whips think the boundaries are.


The Irish Ambassador hosted a dinner for Balliol alumni, at which there were Members of all three Parties and both Houses. Denis Healey took photographs, including one of me with Joe Johnson, current Tory MP for Orpington. Unfortunately his camera is from the pre-digital age.


EU Subcommittee F in the morning, then to lunch for a presentation and discussion on cardiovascular disease. I tried to get the experts to focus on self-harm through smoking, alcohol and obesity. In the evening, a meeting on conflict issues, addressed by Martin Griffiths, the head of the Geneva-based HDC for many years. I worked on the conflict in Aceh with them for several years at the turn of the century, and we very nearly succeeded in negotiating a permanent settlement. The agreement broke down in 2001, and it was left to Marti Ahtissari, former President of Finland, to complete the process in 2005.

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