Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill

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Lord Fox Portrait Lord Fox (LD)
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May I suggest that we have a 10-minute break to discuss this, please?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, I suggest that consideration on this amendment be adjourned for 10 minutes while we seek clarification.

Economic Growth (Regulatory Functions) (Amendment) Order 2024

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Monday 15th April 2024

(2 months, 1 week ago)

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Lord Evans of Rainow Portrait Lord Evans of Rainow (Con)
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My Lords, I will take this opportunity to pause the current business on the SI so that the Leader of the House can repeat an Oral Statement taken in the House of Commons earlier today.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, before we begin, it might be helpful for the House to know that the usual channels have extended the Back-Bench speaking time to 30 minutes.

Brexit: Benefits to Economy and Society

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Wednesday 6th March 2024

(3 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Lord Anderson of Swansea Portrait Lord Anderson of Swansea (Lab)
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My Lords, has any of that made up for the loss of trade to the European Union? Would it not be helpful—

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, we will hear from the Cross Benches, then the Labour Benches.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, there are certainly no Brexit benefits at all for the arts and creative industries. Is the Minister aware that for the musicians touring, despite the good news about tax relief that we have heard today, there remain problems with visas, cabotage, carnets and much else, which need to be sorted? Until they are, our music industry will be struggling.

Post Office Appointments: Ministerial Responsibility

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Wednesday 7th February 2024

(4 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Lord Hain Portrait Lord Hain (Lab)
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I am sorry, but the Minister has not answered the question from the noble Lord, Lord Arbuthnot.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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Order. It is the turn of the Cross Benches.

Baroness Butler-Sloss Portrait Baroness Butler-Sloss (CB)
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My Lords, as a member of one of the departments is a member of the board of the Post Office, at the relevant time—and the board knew quite early on that Horizon was not working properly—why did that representative not tell the Government, or did he do so?

Horizon: Compensation and Convictions

Baroness Williams of Trafford Excerpts
Wednesday 10th January 2024

(5 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con)
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My Lords, it is the turn of the Liberal Democrat Benches.

Lord Palmer of Childs Hill Portrait Lord Palmer of Childs Hill (LD)
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My Lords, following on from what the Minister said, could he explain the role of the audit committees, at any level, and the National Audit Office? Where were they in this scandal? There are audit committees and they had a role to play. The elementary precaution used by all firms of accountants is that, when a new system is put in place, you run a parallel system for a few months to make sure there are no errors. Why was that not done?

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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Can we let in the noble Baroness, Lady Fox, from the non-affiliated Benches, please?

Baroness Fox of Buckley Portrait Baroness Fox of Buckley (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, one of the reasons this has resonated so widely is not just because it was a brilliant drama but because so many ordinary people recognise what it feels like to be fighting the establishment and getting nowhere. We have all spent hours shouting at the phone on those helplines on the computer—that is in relation not just to HMRC but to the NHS and everything you deal with—but people were also treated as though they were criminals, not believed, and gaslit by these experts who know what they are talking about.

Anyway, there is an issue here. The whole establishment, not just the Post Office but the judiciary, seems to have a lot to answer for. I therefore ask, if the judges believed the computer, how we feel about the fact that the police national computer is maintained by Fujitsu. Britain’s criminal records database is run by Fujitsu. It has all the details of convictions, cautions, fingerprints, DNA data and—something I have been banging on about for a while—non-crime hate, when you have not committed a crime but you are on a database run by the police. Fujitsu has it. I do not feel safe in these circumstances, and I identify with the little man against the establishment.

Northern Ireland Investment Summit

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Thursday 23rd November 2023

(7 months ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, there is time for both noble Lords to come in, so we will hear from my noble friend first.

Lord Howell of Guildford Portrait Lord Howell of Guildford (Con)
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I declare my interest as a former Minister of Commerce in Northern Ireland. Having travelled around the world raising interest in investment in Northern Ireland, I confirm what my noble friend has just said. There was immense attention to the sheer quality of the training and skills in Northern Ireland, particularly then in the aeronautical sector, in Harland & Wolff, and in a number of other high-tech electronic industries—Japan was especially interested. This was some decades ago, but now that we have a renewed and strong interest in links of every kind with Japan, is that aspect to be emphasised in Northern Ireland?

Employment Gap: Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, and White, Workforce

Baroness Williams of Trafford Excerpts
Thursday 29th June 2023

(12 months ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, there is plenty of time. We will hear from the noble Baroness, Lady Lawrence, followed by the noble Lord, Lord Green.

Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon Portrait Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon (Lab)
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My Lords, I will mention the disparity report that came out a couple of years ago. It put immigration, race relations, unemployment and education so much further back, so it is completely wrong to use it as something that is well known. Will the Minister focus on what the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, was talking about, which is the contribution around education and employment that needs to be looked at, making sure that the disparity is forthcoming, and that employers understand that it is all about the earnings, not the report?

Whistleblowing Framework

Baroness Williams of Trafford Excerpts
Tuesday 16th May 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, my noble friend Lord Flight stood up to ask a question, but I do not think the Minister heard it.

Lord Flight Portrait Lord Flight (Con)
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My Lords, which is the bigger issue, the underpayment of pensions or the overpayment of pensions?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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I think my noble friend may want to ask that on the pensions Question.

Baroness Altmann Portrait Baroness Altmann (Con)
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I congratulate the Government on having a review of whistleblowing, which clearly is long overdue. I thank my noble friend for his letter and engagement with us on the whistleblowing issue in the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, but does he consider that there is adequate protection in the current framework against career detriment and dismissal for whistleblowers? Does he not think that those who are working inside firms are best placed to blow the whistle and uncover crimes before any regulator tries to sweep up the mess afterwards? Therefore, looking at examples overseas, such as in America, that seem to work much better than here might be worth considering.

UK Car Production Since 2016

Baroness Williams of Trafford Excerpts
Tuesday 14th March 2023

(1 year, 3 months ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, it is the turn of the noble Baroness from the Green Party, followed by my noble friend Lord Lamont.

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Portrait Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (GP)
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It is good that the Minister emphasises R&D, but, truly, electric cars are not really sustainable, so the Government will actually have to think about the next generation of much more sustainable vehicles. Will any of that research and development go into improving our public transport networks—not HS2?