Commonwealth Games

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Excerpts
Thursday 7th September 2023

(9 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Asked by
Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale
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To ask His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recent decisions by the governments of (1) Victoria, Australia, and (2) Alberta, Canada, to withdraw from bids to host the Commonwealth Games in 2026 and 2030.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay) (Con)
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My Lords, His Majesty’s Government recognise the great value of major sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games, particularly with the United Kingdom having hosted the Games twice in the past decade. Last year’s Games in Birmingham demonstrated the power of sport in bringing people together and building a foundation for a wide-ranging legacy that will deliver benefits for many years to come. We therefore urge the Commonwealth Games Federation to work towards a sustainable resolution for 2026 and 2030.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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I thank the Government very much for their urgency in trying to ensure that we find a solution: I hope that we see that in the weeks and months to come. The Commonwealth Games are a fabulous exhibition of the benefit of the Commonwealth and the coming together of many nations from right across the globe. They are one of the most popular and successful multisport international events that we see. In both Birmingham and Glasgow in the past decade, we have seen not just the sporting benefits but the economic benefits of the Games to the cities and the wider regions. So, will the Government work with the national teams of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland to make sure that they rule out no options in order to deal with this immediate emergency of the Games not having a host for 2026? Will they also work with other Governments in the Commonwealth and with the Commonwealth Games Federation to make sure that, in the long term, the Commonwealth Games are able to be hosted by countries that are not the large, richer, white countries of the Commonwealth but are other countries in the Commonwealth, so that “commonwealth” goes back into the Commonwealth Games?

Social Media: Offensive Material

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Excerpts
Tuesday 23rd March 2021

(3 years, 3 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Baroness is right: what is illegal offline should be illegal online, and it is very clear that the social media companies should remove that content. Where there is harmful but legal content, they need to have very clear systems and processes to make sure that it can be removed quickly.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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My Lords, this is not just a problem for famous people. If anything, it is a much more serious problem for members of the public. For example, mothers campaigning in Scotland to get schools reopened last year were attacked by anonymous cybernats and their children were threatened via direct messages on Twitter. Twitter is a real problem here, but there is a very simple solution, which is for Twitter or the Government to ban anonymous accounts. That would stop the abuse, it would ensure that anybody who tries to be abusive or threatening can be prosecuted and it would be a simple measure for those running Twitter, given the scale of their operation now, to introduce. Will the Government call them in, insist on it and, if they will not do it themselves, do it for them?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Lord is right to raise the issue of the general public and the troubling example that he just shared with the House. However, banning anonymous accounts is not as simple as he suggests. They provide important protection for a wide range of vulnerable people, as well as journalists’ sources and others—so these are complex issues that we aim to address through the Bill.

Covid-19: Cultural and Creative Industries

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Excerpts
Monday 26th October 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble and gallant Lord makes an important point. Our approach through the Cultural Recovery Fund has been to try to support the cultural ecosystem. Enabling those institutions to remain viable in turn supports jobs, including those of the musicians who work within them.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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One of the best ways to help those working in the creative industries—whether self-employed or otherwise—would be to allow them access to paying customers. We are still far behind many other European nations in providing safe access, based on safe design, for people to attend sporting and cultural events. Surely there is now an opportunity for the Government—in advance of the winter, when so many families will be feeling so much pressure from being locked down and under other restrictions—to create a proper plan to reopen our cultural and sporting venues nationally and locally, with limited, safe access. This would ensure that families could go out and enjoy themselves without going into other spaces or staying at home and becoming clinically depressed.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Lord is right that culture and the arts play an important part in our mental health and sense of well-being. That is why we have worked so hard with the sector, providing guidance on reopening; we are now permitting indoor performances with socially distanced audiences. We continue to look at a variety of ways, including wider use of testing and better ventilation so that we can achieve exactly what the noble Lord hopes for.

Covid-19: Sports

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Excerpts
Wednesday 13th May 2020

(4 years, 1 month ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
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I will need to write to the noble Baroness about the specifics of what engagement there has been with elite dance. Our clear aim is to set out a series of principles that will allow a return to safe training for all those engaged in elite and grass-roots sports.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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I should record my interest in the Lords’ register in relation to Scottish Athletics and the Commonwealth Games (Scotland) Endowment Fund. I would like to ask the Minister about those Scottish, Welsh, English and Northern Irish athletes either training or based in the different nations who are on UK performance funding. Will full discussions be held with the devolved Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that all UK high-performance athletes have the same access to a return to coaching, medical facilities and training, although obviously in conditions of safe social distancing, over the coming weeks?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
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My honourable friend the Minister for Sport is co-ordinating those conversations but, again, I will raise the importance of this issue with him.

Volunteering

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Excerpts
Wednesday 21st February 2018

(6 years, 4 months ago)

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Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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My Lords, I draw attention to the entry in the Lords’ register under my name as chair of the McConnell International Foundation, partly because we are currently in the middle of our annual round of support for the Livingstone volunteers, named after David Livingstone, which seeks to support disadvantaged young Scots in international volunteering, giving them the same chance as those who come from better-off or more advantaged backgrounds. I will say something very briefly about full-time volunteering and international volunteering.

Full-time volunteering can make a huge difference to the lives of young people. Volunteering generally benefits society and creates stronger communities, but full-time volunteering can be, as the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, said, that step into work and better opportunities that can make such a difference for a young person, especially one who has been discarded in some sense in their teens. It is essential that the department responsible for social security continues to work hard to try to ensure that every young person will have the right to take part in full-time volunteering without being disadvantaged from any benefits that they might otherwise have had. When we set up Project Scotland back in 2005 we had ongoing problems with the department on the subject. I know that the National Citizen Service has had teething problems on this as well. I hope that the Government as a whole will provide as much support as they can.

International volunteering should not just be for those who can afford it or those who come from backgrounds where there are connections in that world. Supporting young people to have a chance to broaden their horizons and contribute internationally is an enormous opportunity that should be seized. The ICS has played a great role in this. I would welcome a statement in the Minister’s summing up on the timetable for the review of the International Citizen Service, mentioned by my noble friend Lady Armstrong, and when we will see some decisions on the next phase of that scheme. It takes about 12 months for a young person to apply, take part and follow up afterwards. The scheme is due to end in April 2019.