Debates between Lord Hunt of Wirral and Lord Sharpe of Epsom during the 2019 Parliament

Police: Joe Anderson

Debate between Lord Hunt of Wirral and Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Monday 15th April 2024

(1 month, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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Well, I hear what my noble friend has to say. He has heard what I have had to say on this subject on at least 20 occasions and, no doubt, I will be called back to the Dispatch Box to say it all again. As I said last time, I have gone back to the Home Office and we are looking into ways of perhaps answering the noble Lord’s question.

Lord Hunt of Wirral Portrait Lord Hunt of Wirral (Con)
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My Lords, I speak as someone who is proud to have been brought up, and to have gone to school, in Toxteth, and who has a huge amount of respect for Joe Anderson and all that he achieved when he was mayor. Having listened to the various comments made on all sides of this House, I hope my noble friend the Minister will agree that we should ask: is there not a better way in which we can handle situations such as this? Citing the various examples that he has heard, could he perhaps give us the opportunity of coming back when he has reflected with his colleagues in the Home Office on the points that have been raised?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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I thank my noble friend for that and I will of course reflect on the points that have been made. However, as I said in my earlier answer, it would be inappropriate for government to interfere with the organisational matters of the police.

Operation Conifer

Debate between Lord Hunt of Wirral and Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Monday 11th March 2024

(2 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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I cannot honestly say whether it would be economic or not, for obvious reasons—I do not know yet. But I shall certainly make the strength of feeling known once again to the Home Secretary.

Lord Hunt of Wirral Portrait Lord Hunt of Wirral (Con)
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I recognise now that my noble friend the Minister is aware that the mood and will of this House is very much behind my noble friend Lord Lexden and his call for justice. Whatever his briefings may say, there really has been no independent investigation of the flawed processes of Operation Conifer. As the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Brockwell, has just said, perhaps there is at last an opportunity. Please would my noble friend the Minister take every advantage of this opportunity and put right the injustice that we all feel so deeply has been done?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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Well, once again I hear what my noble friend says, and I shall certainly do my best to represent the views that have been very firmly expressed in the House by taking them back to the Home Secretary and the Home Office.

Security of Elected Representatives

Debate between Lord Hunt of Wirral and Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Thursday 29th February 2024

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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I thank the right reverend Prelate for his comments; he makes some very interesting points. We have been very clear that anti-Muslim hatred has no place at all in our communities, and that it will be stamped out wherever it occurs. It is a growing concern, as I think the right reverend Prelate has highlighted, for all of our communities. To effectively respond to it, we must properly understand it in all its forms and manifestations. We have been seeking the views and perspectives of experts in this field, which I hope would include the right reverend Prelate, to explore how religious hatred is experienced across all British communities. But it seems self-evident that one of the ways to combat this sort of ill-advised and poorly informed hatred is to educate and improve general understanding of the issues under discussion.

Lord Hunt of Wirral Portrait Lord Hunt of Wirral (Con)
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I commend my noble friend the Minister for his wise words today. Yesterday in this Chamber, we spent some time talking about the importance of the freedom of the press. Against a background which we all accept as pretty serious and worrying, it is vital to maintain freedom of speech. People should be able to express their thoughts clearly. I speak as somebody who started on life at Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner in the 1960s, where I enjoyed tackling all sorts of issues and had feedback from all those who listened. Does the Minister not think that we ought to do everything possible, particularly in this year, to encourage people to come out and speak without fear of reprisal or of any effect they might or might not have?

If we look ahead to this year, there are two particular questions I would like to ask my noble friend the Minister. First, we are going to get a Dissolution of Parliament. If there is to be general election in May, it will come at the end of next month. What is going to happen so far as protecting candidates is concerned? As soon as there is a Dissolution, MPs are no longer Members of Parliament. What will be done to make sure that the protection will continue during what could potentially be a very testing period? Secondly, does this protection extend to the devolved nations? We must ensure that equal protection is given to all those who have elected office in whatever capacity in the devolved territories and that there are sufficient funds to make sure that they are adequately covered.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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My noble friend raises some good points. I entirely agree that we should be encouraging debate around these subjects, that we should be tolerant of freedom and that we should encourage freedom. It seems to me self-evident that you can expose widely held fallacies only by, in effect, letting sunlight in as the perfect disinfectant. In terms of debate, the only sunlight you can let in comes via speeches, words and testing opinions and widely held fallacies. On that subject, we have to be careful around the taxonomy that we use when defining some of these hatreds because, again, we would not wish inadvertently to make certain discussions beyond the pale, shall we say.

As regards the devolved nations, defending democracy is a sovereign matter, but policing is devolved. We will work with the security services in those Administrations on the safety of their Governments. Any additional requirements on devolved policing will be funded in the appropriate way. I reassure my noble friend that the Government are looking at how to maintain security requirements during the Dissolution of Parliament when, as he rightly points out, MPs will no longer be MPs. However, Operation Bridger is very clear. A full-time, single point of contact in each police force will be introduced with responsibility for supporting all elected representatives where needed. Obviously, if an MP has stood down for that time, that does not mean that they are not still protected, where needed.

Police and Crime Commissioners

Debate between Lord Hunt of Wirral and Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Monday 20th March 2023

(1 year, 2 months ago)

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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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I am happy to reassure the House on that point. I am seeing my noble friend Lord Lexden this Wednesday. He chose not to mention it, but I will.

Lord Hunt of Wirral Portrait Lord Hunt of Wirral (Con)
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My Lords, I declare an interest having, together with the late Lord Newton of Braintree, presented the seven Nolan principles of conduct in public life to Parliament. Does my noble friend the Minister recognise that two of those principles, accountability and openness, are not evident in the responses he has been able to deliver so far? Can he please ensure that all holders of public office know that they have to be

“accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to scrutiny necessary to ensure this”?

On openness, they must

“act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.”

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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I accept the question from my noble friend. Yes, they are expected to adhere to the Seven Principles of Public Life, as determined and published by the Nolan committee. The office of the PCC is also expected to ensure that the PCC is adhering to the Nolan principles. In each force area, the actions and decisions of PCCs are scrutinised by their police and crime panels. On the case of Leicestershire—which I suspect is at least partly informing my noble friend’s question—I am happy that the standards are now being met there. They should have been met before, but the Government—as we have said before from the Dispatch Box in the strongest possible terms—expect that PCCs appointing to senior positions in their offices follow the process clearly set out in legislation. I am very pleased to say that Leicestershire is now doing that.

Police Misconduct Cases

Debate between Lord Hunt of Wirral and Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Monday 6th February 2023

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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My Lords, I am unable to comment on ongoing cases.

Lord Hunt of Wirral Portrait Lord Hunt of Wirral (Con)
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My Lords, I declare my interests as set out in the register, particularly as past chairman of the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation. None of this would have happened if the disgraced policeman, Mike Veale, had faced an independent inquiry into his witch hunt against the late Sir Edward Heath, as this House has repeatedly demanded. The Home Office keeps referring to all these inquiries, but they were all carried out by the police themselves, marking their own homework, and are no substitute for a judge-led review of how the good name of a distinguished former Prime Minister was deliberately besmirched—at great cost to the taxpayer.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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I thank my noble friend. He makes some extremely good points, which I will take back.