Sunday, December 30, 2012

This afternoon, a teatime visit from Chi-Chi Nwanoku and her Australian cousins Beverley, Gary and Alexander, from Melbourne
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

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Breakfast  on Boxing Day. Porridge AND toast.
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Before marathon lunch December 25 15.00 to 18.30, Edwina, JW, Kina. Somehow I omitted to take any pictures during the lunch itself.

Lindsay had only just put the turkey in the main oven when it stopped working. She had to take it to Edwina's and use her's. We had sausages, chestnut stuffing, red cabbage, sprouts, parsnips and roast potatos (cooked in the smaller top oven) plus bread sauce and cranberry sauce, followed by St Stephen's pudding and mince pies with vanilla custard and brandy butter. Lindsay excelled herself in bringing it all together.
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

My new Great-Niece

My new Great-Niece Veronica and her mother Suzie, who is a refugee from Sudan Veronica's Dad is George Stewart, Lindsay's brother Andrew's elder son. They live in Canberra.
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This week


Chaired Bahrain seminar in Committee Room G. Good attendance by some regional TV, but no al-Jezira.

Supplementary question on Democratic Republic of Congo Third Reading of my Caravan Sites Bill passed. Andrew George MP has kindly agreed to take it forward in the Commons.

Annual meeting of Silbury Fund Trustees


Meeting with GE-Hitachi to discuss progress of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's evaluation of the options for disposal of 100 tonnes of Plutonium at Sellafield

Crime and Courts Bill: amendments on immigration

Meeting of the APPG on Ahmadiyya Muslims


EU Subcommittee F: scrutiny, and looking ahead to forthcoming inquiry on opting back into 130 instruments which lapsed for the UK on account of the Dublin Treaty, a hot potato for the right wing of the Tory Party.

This was the last day of term.

Friday, lunch at the National Liberal Club with Ursula. She set me the task of figuring out the two cartoons, both of which I managed, though I generally don't see the point of English ones.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The three kings are puzzled.
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Speaking at a meeting in Committee Room 4A on November 29 organised by the People's Mojahedin of Iran to discuss the appalling condition of their members in the incongruously named 'Camp Liberty'
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Good by-election result

Harrogate BC, Bilton

Date: 13/12/2012

LD Valerie Rodgers 623 (46.0; +8.8)
Con 395 (29.2; -16.1)
Lab 208 (15.4; -2.1)
UKIP 127 (9.4; +9.4)

Majority 228

Turnout 31.03%

LD gain from Con.

Percentage change is since May 2011.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission meeting at Flodden Road, December 8-9, 2012
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After lunch at the House Monday December 10 wih Jan Rendle and  son Lewis, from Avebury
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Haematology November 26, 2012

WBC Just below normal range

HB Much below normal range but stable

Plt Higher than normal range and deteriorating, but likely to becorrected by increased Hydroxycarbamide

Neutrophils Below lower limit and may be adversely affected by increased Hydroxcarbamide

Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal: Who hacked the ICT chairman's computer?

Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal: Who hacked the ICT chairman's computer?: When the UK Guardian and other newspapers first published the wikileaks material on the US embassy cables, attention was not just focused on...

Friday, December 07, 2012


The picture presented by last week's local elections (see below) contrasts remarkably with LibDem performance in the national opinion polls. I think part of the explanation is that where there is a strong LibDem presence. we buck the trend, and maybe the outlook is better than the media are saying. I also believe that we are starting to be successful in differentiating ourselves from the Tories. a task they are making easier for us by their lurch to the right. We should oppose further welfare cuts, defend the Human Rights Act, and explain the huge advantages the UK gets from membership of the EU.

By-Election Results

Brentwood BC, Shenfield

Date: 06/12/2012

LD Elizabeth Clare Cohen 728 (50.7; -3.3)
Con 557 (38.8; +0.1)
UKIP 119 (8.3; +8.3)
Lab 31 (2.2; -5.2)

Majority 171

Turnout 33.4%

LD gain from Con.

Percentage change is since May 2012.

Cornwall UA, Gwinear-Gwithian and St Erth

Date: 06/12/2012

Con 332 (35.3; -2.8)
Ind 167 (17.7; -16.3)
Ind 163 (18.5; +18.5)
LD Yvonne Lesley Bates 121 (12.9; -9.3)
Lab 76 (8.1; +2.5)
Mebyon Kernow 58 (6.2; +6.2)
Ind 24 (2.6; +2.6)

Majority 165

Turnout 25.6%

Con hold.

Percentage change is since June 2009.

Neath Port Talbot CBC, Neath South

Date: 06/12/2012

Lab 399 (75.4; +8.8)

LD Charlotte May Cross 130 (24.6; +24.6)
[PC (0.0; -14.2)]
[NPT Ind (0.0; -19.2)]

Majority 269

Turnout not known

Lab hold

Percentage change is since May 2012.

South Staffordshire DC, Wombourne North and Lower Penn

Date: 06/12/2012

Con 404 (59.3; -6.2)
UKIP 182 (26.7; -7.7)
Lab 95 (14.0; +14.0)

Majority 222

Turnout 12.8%

Con hold.

Percentage change is since May 2011.

Sutton LBC, Stonecot

Date: 06/12/2012

LD Nick Emmerson 1034 (53.3; +1.9)
Con 402 (20.7; -10.1)
Lab 289 (14.9; +4.2)
UKIP 182 (9.4; +9.4)
Green 32 (1.7; +1.7)
[BNP (0.0; -7.0)]

Majority 632

Turnout 23.99%

LD hold

Percentage change is since May 2010.

Vale of White Horse DC, Sunningwell and Wootton

Date: 06/12/2012

LD Valerie Christine Shaw 577 / Elizabeth Miles 549 (62.5; +28.4)
Con 346 / 333 (37.5; -6.2)
[Lab (0.0; -9.1)]
[UKIP (0.0; -13.1)]

Majorities 231 / 203

Turnout 26%

LD gain from Con x 2

Percentage change is since May 2011.

Littlehampton TC, River

Date: 06/12/2012

LD Ian James Rudolph Buckland 311 (41.8)
Lab 226 (30.4)
UKIP 116 (15.6)
Con 91 (12.2)

Majority 85
Turnout 18.6% LD gain from Con.

London seminars on Bangladesh: an unprecedented meeting of Government and opposition

December 3 and 4 London witnessed Awami League and BNP law makers sitting together and debating a range of political issues confronting Bangladesh, from how to ensure free and fair elections in 2013 to minority persecution.
Two meetings were held in the Palace of Westminster in the presence of British parliamentarians and international human rights organisations.

The December 3 meeting in Portcullis House was attended by senior representatives of the AL and the BNP. Hosted by the Conservative Party’s Anne Main MP, Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh and chaired by Liberal Democrat Lord Avebury, Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, the discussion centred on the forthcoming general election.

The Bangladesh government & Awami League delegation was led by Hossain Toufique Imam, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and included Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury MP, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs and Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP, Standing Committee on Climate change and Environment.

The BNP delegation led by M K Anwar MP, Member, Standing Committee and former Minister. He was accompanied by Shamsher Mobin Choudury BB, Vice Chairman and Foreign Affairs advisor to Khaleda Zia, Amir Khasru Mahmud, Member Advisory Committee BNP and Barrister AM Mahbubuddin Khokon, MP, Joint Secretary General, BNP.

The opposition argued that a return to the system of a Caretaker Government to hold the reins during the election campaign was the only reliable way of ensuring free and fair elections. They claimed that stateb institutions had been politicised, and would not act impartially during the campaign. The AL pointed out that 14 Parliamentary by-elections, several City elections, and thousands of lower tier local elections had been held during the present Parliament under the current Election Commission without any material challenge from the opposition, and there was no reason to suppose that the EC was not equally capable if conducting the general election.

The UK Parliamentarians urged their Bangladesh colleagues to sort out any concerns about alleged bias within the present framework, since the constitutional provision that allowed for a caretaker government during an election period had been repealed. UK Parliamentarians present in addition to Anne Main MP and Lord Avebury were Rushanara Ali MP and Baroness Pola Uddin.

On December 4 a further discussion was held in Committee Room G, also chaired by Lord Avebury, co-sponsored by the International Bangladesh Foundation and the Netherlands NGO Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD), on the question of violence and intimidation of minorities in Bangladesh, with a side-glance at the much larger problem in Pakistan.

Among the speakers were Jenny Lundström, Human Rights Officer, GHRD; Shahriar Kabir, Acting President, International Forum for Secular Bangladesh; Sameena Imtiaz, Executive Director, Peace Education and Development Foundation, Pakistan; Khushi Kabir, Coordinator Nijera Kori; Lal Amlai, Jumma Peoples Network; Salim Malik, Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK; Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International, and lawmakers from theAwami League and BNP.

On the Ramu attack in which Buddhist and Hindu temples and houses belonging to those communities were destroyed by a mob, the AL representative said that the government were determined to bring the perpetrators to justice, and 430 persons had been arrested so far. Compensation would be paid for injuries suffered and for loss and damage to property. The BNP said they had condemned the attack, and were issuing an account of their own preliminary investigation of the event. Neither Party attempted to set Ramu in the context of the communal, ethnic and religiously motivated violence which had plagued Bangladesh for decades, starting at the time of the independence war.

The final speaker was the newly appointed Bangladeshi High Commissioner to the UK, Mr Minhajul Kayes. He said the government were conducting an inquiry into the background to Ramu and was going to publish the report.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

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Bangladesh minorities

Mweeting in Committee Room G on Tuesday December 4, 2012 to discuss the situation of women and ethnic an religious minorities in Bangladesh. Representatives of the Jumma people, the Ahmadiyya Muslims, Buddhists etc contributed, and spokespersons for the AL government and the BNP opposition replied. The Minister for Women's Affairs gave a presentation. We will have a report summarising the speeches ready shortly.
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