3 Lord Wolfson of Tredegar debates involving the Leader of the House

Mon 15th Apr 2024
Mon 23rd Oct 2023
Wed 23rd Nov 2022

Iran and Israel

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Excerpts
Monday 15th April 2024

(1 month, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord True Portrait Lord True (Con)
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I thank the noble and gallant Lord for his remarks and I repeat what I said about the role of the Royal Air Force. The defence of the realm remains, obviously, one of the prime duties and responsibilities of His Majesty’s Government. Defence spending has been increased substantially in the various reviews since 2020, and I can certainly assure the noble and gallant Lord that the most careful consideration has been given to the continuing air defence, of all types, of our United Kingdom.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Portrait Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (Con)
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My Lords, on Saturday night, I experienced three emotions: fear, pride and hope—fear, because I have close family in Israel and I was worried for them and about them; pride, when I heard that our planes, with their brave pilots, had taken part in protecting Israel from Iranian attacks; and hope, when I heard that the royal air force of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan had also participated. Does my noble friend agree with me that that last point is absolutely key? If we want to see peace in the Middle East, which we all pray for and work for, we should be supporting those bilateral alliances between Israel and Jordan and Israel and Egypt, and multilateral groupings such as the Abraham accords, because that is the way, in the long run, to bring peace to this region. -

Lord True Portrait Lord True (Con)
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My Lords, I certainly sympathise with my noble friend. I do not have the direct engagement that he does, but it so happens that, because of family reasons—some Members of the House will know that I have connections in Egypt—a number of members of my family are in the Middle East at the moment, so I do understand those personal feelings.

The fundamental point that my noble friend makes is absolutely right: ultimately, this great region of the world, the cradle of human culture and so much of our spiritual and historic strength, needs peace. It needs people who wish for peace, and the vast majority in that part of the world crave peace. The evil people who wish to unleash violence are in a minority—and, unfortunately, in powerful positions in some places. But I wholly agree with him that the evidence of growing understanding and friendship between Israel and partner nations in the Middle East is a great sign of hope in these times.

Israel and Gaza

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Excerpts
Monday 23rd October 2023

(7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord True Portrait Lord True (Con)
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My Lords, the position that the Prime Minister expressed was that the United Kingdom would of course wish to see humanitarian aid flowing. I think the phrase that the Prime Minister used was “a stream of trucks”. But I repeat that the difficult and delicate situation arises from the activities of the people who have power in Gaza, who started this terrible war. The United Kingdom will support every effort to get supplies of humanitarian aid flowing for the people who are suffering—not from Israel but, ultimately, from Hamas.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Portrait Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (Con)
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My Lords, we have heard a lot about moral clarity and we have also heard some references to the United Nations. I suggest that the United Nations finds a little moral clarity. On the Monday afternoon—and I mean the Monday afternoon after the massacre, so 48 hours later, while the bodies were still warm—the United Nations Human Rights Council observed a minute’s silence. It observed that minute’s silence, to quote the council itself, for the

“loss of innocent lives in the occupied Palestinian territory and elsewhere”.

For 2,000 years, the Jewish people had nowhere. Now it would appear, according to the United Nations Human Rights Council, that they have an “elsewhere”. Does my noble friend the Leader of the House think that some moral clarity is also needed on the part of the United Nations?

Lord True Portrait Lord True (Con)
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My Lords, I had not seen those particular remarks. To say that they were disappointing would be a bit of an understatement. However, I repeat that there are many working with United Nations aid agencies who are doing outstanding and brave work for people in all parts of this crisis.

Counsellors of State Bill [HL]

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Excerpts
Lord Cormack Portrait Lord Cormack (Con)
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My Lords, it is of course right, and what the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, said is entirely justified: Parliament has a role. But, in this particular case, we can rely upon the good judgment and discretion of the King, and we can recognise that he is a father and a brother as well as a king.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Portrait Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (Con)
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My Lords, I will make a more lawyerly point. I heard the wise intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, on what is regular and the powers of the Lord Chancellor. I will not comment on either of those points. But I heard the noble Lord say, in moving the amendment, that his wish was to provide some clarity. I respectfully suggest that its wording actually does the precise opposite, because he has used the verb “excluded”—although, when he moved it, he used the word “removed”. In the context of this legislation, verbs are important. A Counsellor of State can be excepted if they are overseas, for example, which means that they cannot act but they do not lose their place in the pecking order. If they are disqualified, they lose their place in the pecking order, and the next person in line takes that place. It is not immediately clear to me whether “excluded” is “excepted” or “disqualified”. With the greatest respect, I suggest that it is this amendment that ought to be excluded.

Lord Sentamu Portrait Lord Sentamu (CB)
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My Lords, I also apologise for not being here on Monday; I had to handle some serious matters in Berwick. Yes, the constitutional monarch has consulted, and this House considered this at Second Reading and agreed the terms as in the legislation. So there is no question of the supremacy of Parliament not being recognised. The suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, is almost like rubbing it in—it is just one of those words we would not want to use. We should restrict the Bill to what was asked of us. This was considered, and therefore the wording is there.

Another thing is that we can never predict anyone’s future. I could be ill tomorrow, or I could be dead, and that would be the end of me. Anticipating what may or may not happen in legislation is always pretty difficult, so leave it well alone.