Canlyniadau 11601–11620 o 11625 ar gyfer speaker:Lord Bassam of Brighton

Elections: Turn-out (30 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I realise that I am in danger of arguing a difficult case. The wisest course of action is to let the electoral system that was used in the European elections bed in. It is in use in 70 per cent of European democracies. It must be given time to work through.

Elections: Turn-out (30 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am confident that my right honourable friend the Home Secretary said that the electoral process used would be subject to review. However, I remind your Lordships that the system used in the elections for the Welsh Assembly and for the Scottish Parliament was a PR system on a closed list. Participation in those elections was far higher.

Elections: Turn-out (30 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, perhaps I may be forgiven for saying that I find the world of politics endlessly interesting and entertaining. So long as noble Lords like the noble Lord opposite are involved, politics will continue to be endlessly entertaining to me.

Elections: Turn-out (30 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am well aware that the noble Earl is in regular contact with young people, as are many Members of your Lordships' House. As to speculating on whether younger people are disengaging from the political process, all I can honestly say is that my 10 year-old son takes a great interest in politics. I hope that many more of his generation continue to do so. We in this House have a part...

Address in Reply to Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech (24 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, the Home Office is introducing nine Bills in this legislative Session, almost one-third of the Government's overall programme. As has been well trailed, in my comments I shall cover the range of Home Office legislation, and later the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, will set out the legislative programme for the Department of Health. A large number of noble Lords will be speaking in this...

Address in Reply to Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech (24 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, if noble Lords had followed the debates in the Commons yesterday they would have noted that my right honourable friend the Home Secretary was very clear on the matter: he had been persuaded by the arguments. So have we.

Address in Reply to Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech (24 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I believe that I have made the position plain. We believe this proposal to be in the best interests of our criminal justice system. It is a more efficient, effective and speedier way to bring people to justice. I would have thought that noble Lords opposite would have shared that common approach to justice. The noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, will be familiar with the...

Address in Reply to Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech (24 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am happy to confirm that it was set up by the leader of the party opposite when in government. That is an important and valuable contribution. We are furthering, improving and continuing that work. I am sure that the noble Lord is more than willing to accept that point. This Bill will at last make the changes needed. There will be spending limits at elections, shareholder approval...

Address in Reply to Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech (24 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I suspect that that opportunity will present itself when the new electoral roll comes into effect. For the first time every citizen of this country will have a statutory right to information held by public authorities. Public services are already more open than they used to be. Departments publish much more information about their processes than in the past. However, the right to...

Address in Reply to Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech (24 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her intervention. I shall inquire of the office of my right honourable friend and ensure that a speedy response is provided. We have listened to the concerns of the Select Committee appointed to consider the draft Bill and those of other noble Lords. We have made changes to the draft Bill on the basis of those concerns. I am sure that we can...

Address in Reply to Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech (24 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, our Government are always happy to entertain reasonable argument.

Passport Agency (23 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, the United Kingdom Passport Agency is looking to introduce a number of measures that will ensure that the delays experienced in 1999 do not recur in the future. More than 300 extra permanent staff have been and are being recruited, there will be increased capacity to deal with applications, including a major expansion to add 30 per cent more capacity to the agency's Peterborough...

Passport Agency (23 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, it is regretted that anyone missed a holiday as a consequence of failures within the United Kingdom Passport Agency. In answer to the noble Lord's supplementary question, 510 claims for missed holidays have been received and that is against a background of 5 million passports being issued during the year. Compensation has been paid. Between October 1998 and September 1999, the total...

Passport Agency (23 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, the noble Lord makes a very important point. As the National Audit Office accepted when producing a report on the problems experienced by customers, I can confirm that there were difficulties, particularly with the introduction of the new computer system. We now believe that the system is sound. It has been independently audited and found to be perfectly sound for the purpose for...

Passport Agency (23 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, it goes without saying that we wish to achieve lasting improvements. The Home Office would not have taken the view that the 300 extra staff were necessary if that were not the case. We are seeking to improve the quality of service and to make it world-class in the future.

Passport Agency (23 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, the noble Lord has made a useful and important suggestion to the debate about forms of identification. If he comes forward with many more smart ideas such as that, I am sure that he will find himself a candidate for the mayoralty.

Passport Agency (23 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I have yet to see the business plan for next year and, indeed, for the current year. However, we are confident that arrangements are now secured and in place to ensure that we have a high quality of service and standards. I believe that all members of the public and all Members of your Lordships' House will wish to see those carried out and completed so that we enjoy a first-rate...

Passport Agency (23 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, it is indeed the case that new rules were introduced and they are most beneficial. We have now received a guarantee that those rules are operational and working effectively and that the standards which, I believe, we have all rightly come to expect from the passport office will continue to rise in the future.

Passport Agency (23 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am not aware that that is the case, but I am sure that if there are important and pressing reasons for people to have passports then officials who examine applications will take that carefully into consideration.

Criminal Justice (Mode of Trial) Bill [H.L.] (18 Tach 1999)

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to make provision for determining the mode of trial in the case of offences triable either summarily or on indictment; and for connected purposes. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time. Moved, That the Bill be now read a first time.--(Lord Bassam of Brighton.) On Question, Bill read a first time, and to be printed.


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