Earl of Courtown debates involving the Cabinet Office during the 2019 Parliament

House of Lords Appointments Commission

Earl of Courtown Excerpts
Wednesday 6th December 2023

(6 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Earl of Courtown Portrait The Earl of Courtown (Con)
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My Lords, can we hear from the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire? There is plenty of time for my noble friend.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire Portrait Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD)
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Could the Minister consider changing the status of the House of Lords Commission? There has been a range of reports from think tanks and committees in the other place which have suggested that what we need to do to these bodies, which are in effect constitutional guardians—the Committee on Standards in Public Life, ACOBA, the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests and others—is to put them in statutory form so they are able to stand up to Prime Ministers who do not wish to observe the conventions of public life, as Boris Johnson so clearly did not. Is this part of the Government’s agenda?

Official Statistics Order 2023

Earl of Courtown Excerpts
Monday 24th July 2023

(11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Neville-Rolfe Portrait The Earl of Courtown
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That the draft Order laid before the House on 19 June be approved. Considered in Grand Committee on 19 July.

Earl of Courtown Portrait The Earl of Courtown (Con)
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My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in the name of my noble friend Lady Neville-Rolfe.

Motion agreed.

List of Ministers’ Interests and Ministerial Code

Earl of Courtown Excerpts
Tuesday 25th April 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
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Earl of Courtown Portrait The Earl of Courtown (Con)
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My Lords, it is the turn of the Conservative Benches.

Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con)
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My Lords, we have a code of conduct that governs the behaviour of special advisers, the Civil Service Code and the Ministerial Code. In most other environments, those in authority in organisations have the protection of the whistleblowing Act. Has anybody considered—perhaps my noble friend could ask the independent adviser on ethics to consider it —how we are making good the gap that exists, potentially, where there are not those protections for those in office when one might need to blow the whistle?

Elections Bill

Earl of Courtown Excerpts
Amendment 2 agreed.
Earl of Courtown Portrait The Earl of Courtown (Con)
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My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resume, and in doing so, I suggest that we do not resume the Committee stage of this Bill until 2.45 pm.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Portrait Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Lab Co-op)
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My Lords, we have only done two of these amendments.

Earl of Courtown Portrait The Earl of Courtown (Con)
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As my noble friend the Minister quietly reminds me, the amendments will be moved in their place on the Marshalled List.

House resumed. Committee to begin again not before 2.45 pm.

Buckinghamshire (Structural Changes) (Supplementary Provision and Amendment) Order 2020

Earl of Courtown Excerpts
Monday 23rd March 2020

(4 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Moved by
Earl of Courtown Portrait Lord True
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That the draft Order laid before the House on 24 February be approved.

Lord True Portrait The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord True) (Con)
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My Lords, this order has been laid before this House and the other place, which approved it on 18 March 2020. It will update the membership arrangements of the Conservation Board of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to take account of the restructuring of local government in Buckinghamshire. We expect that this will be the final statutory instrument connected to local government restructuring in Buckinghamshire.

The order bringing about local government reorganisation in Buckinghamshire came into force on 23 May 2019. It provided for a reorganisation date of 1 April 2020, when the new Buckinghamshire council will assume the full range of local authority responsibilities and the five existing councils—the county council and the four district councils—will be wound up and abolished. That order established a shadow authority and shadow executive, which has been managing the transition to the new council. I am very pleased that all the councils have been working closely together to deliver the new unitary council and I thank them for their hard work and dedication.

The Conservation Board of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is the subject of this order, is made up of members appointed by the relevant local councils, parish council representatives and members nominated by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The board’s composition is set out in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Establishment of Conservation Board) Order 2004. The conservation board is responsible for conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the Chilterns and increasing the understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities, which are so loved and well known by so many.

As I have said, local government restructuring in Buckinghamshire will abolish all five of the Buckinghamshire councils that currently nominate a member of the board. Some changes are needed to the board membership arrangements to take account of these changes. The Chilterns board currently has a total membership of 27: one representative for each of the 13 councils specified in the 2004 order, two parish council members for each of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire, and eight members nominated by the Secretary of State. Without this order, the new Buckinghamshire council will only be able to appoint one member, instead of five, to the conservation board. However, 50% of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty falls within Buckinghamshire. The shadow executive of Buckinghamshire Council has, therefore, requested that the status quo be maintained so that the new council will nominate five members to the board to provide adequate representation for the area. It considers that the current membership arrangements, with five board members for Buckinghamshire as a whole, better reflect the extent of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that falls within the new council area, and the Government agree. Furthermore, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 specifies that at least 40% of the AONB board membership must be from local authorities and at least 20% from parish councils. These changes ensure that that statutory requirement continues to be met. There are no other changes to the membership of the board.

In conclusion, this order will amend the membership arrangements of the board of the Chilterns AONB to retain a total of 13 members nominated by local councils, five of whom will continue to be nominated from the Buckinghamshire area, for the reasons explained. There are no changes to membership of the board otherwise. I commend the order to the House.