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Tag Archives: House of Commons

Nigel Evans legal fees: thank the Tories we don’t have to pay

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Friends of Nigel Evans, the British House of Commons deputy speaker cleared of nine sexual offences, have complained that he has been financially wiped out by £130,000 of defence costs in the court case. And wags of a legal disposition have pointed out that he has only his own Tory-led Government to blame.

Conservative MP for Northampton South Brian Binley,  a friend and flatmate of Evans, and Tory Bob Stewart have both pointed out Evans must pay his defence costs even though he was acquitted of all charges – and the Crown Prosecution Service criticised for pursuing them. And Evans himself now says the state should pay. But none of them has made the link with Section 16A of the Prosecution of Offences Act, added by amendment to the act by the notorious Legal Aid Act (LASPO) in 2012.

This stops defence costs being awarded for those not legally aided except under limited circumstances. Costs can be awarded: Read the rest of this entry

Parliamentary boundary changes: Liberal Democrats fight for the moral low ground

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On the face of it, the Liberal Democrats, in seeking to veto boundary changes in revenge for lost House of Lords democratisation, have deserted their preferred moral high ground for low politics. The legislation to equalise voters in each constituency and reduce Commons constituencies from 650 to 600 was duly passed by Parliament and the Boundary Commission is doing the work to produce the new set-up by the next election in 2015. (Note: since publication we have actually had two elections under the old system – and who knows, could have another shortly …)

Liberal Democrat opposition to the outcome will involve standing against the will of Parliament as expressed in that legislation, countering the crucial independence of the Boundary Commission and, paradoxically, Lib Dem ministers undermining what is in effect their own legislation.

Given their illiberal and undemocratic stance in their opposition to equalisation of constituencies and reduction in parliamentary seats, do they have any strong moral argument to justify it?

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Can G4S keep its Olympics money?

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So can G4S keep its money despite its London Olympics security debacle? G4S chief executive Nick Buckle, when he appeared before the House of Commons home affairs committee, seemed to know very little about what had brought about the “humiliating shambles” – but he knew this:  Yes, he expected to keep the £57m “management” fee in the contract. “We’ve had management in place to plan the contract and we will have management on venue to help run the venue.”

He underlined the point: “We’ve managed the contract and we’ve had management on the ground for two years … We are still expected to deliver a significant number of staff to the Olympics.”

But what is the legal position? The logic of Buckle’s argument seems to be that the outcome of the “management” – failure to fulfil the terms of the contract – is irrelevant. This was incomprehensible to members of the committee, among them Lorraine Fullbrook, who said: “If you contract to deliver a service and you don’t actually deliver it – first of all I don’t think you should claim a management fee … but you also have to pay for your cockups.”

Mrs Fullbrook is, sadly, labouring under a naïve misapprehension – that we should pay people who do their jobs and not pay people who fail to do so, as one commentator put it.

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