Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yesterday in Parliament

In the morning, SubCommittee E which is coming towards the end of its inquiry into EU drugs strategy. At the end of the session in May I will be rotated off the SubCommittee, having done a four-year stint, and I shall be quite sorry.

Lunch with Shadia Syed, and a good chat about all things Bangladeshi.

At 16.00, meeting of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group: discussion of future programme, and funding.

18.00, a meeting chaired by Ilora Finlay to discuss 'compulsory sobriety', a system allowing courts to make orders that defendants convicted of repeat offences of violence or drink driving triggered by alcohol would be required to abstain totally for a fixed period of months, during which they would be regularly monitored, and any lapse would be punished by immediate 24-hours imprisonment. Schemes based on this principle had been highhly effective in Hawaii and South Dakota, andwere to be trialled in Strathclyde. The Mayor of London was keen to try it in the capital, but that would need primary legislation. The Government had rejected amendments for the purpose in the debates o the Police and Social Responsibility Bill, but the amendments had been retabled for the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, and I added my name to the sponsors.

After that I was in the chamber for the rest of the evening until 23.45 on the LASPO Bill, moving an amendment to restore legal aid for persons detained under the Immigration Act not only to challenge the detention itself, but the underlying reason for the detention, see It would be impossible to separate the two, and I gave several examples of cases where the two were closely intertwined. PS January 21 The Independent complains that the LibDems are almost entirely silent on immigration, see today's leading article I can only say that in the Lords we do our best, and its disappointing to be ignored by the media.

Spoke also on amendments to restore legal aid for victims of trafficking, and dependants of refugees still in the countries of origin.

Home just after midnight and straight to bed!

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