The Place In Which We Work

Dec 8, 2020 | Uncategorized

The Houses of Parliament

We all see the place where we work very differently.

At the end of another very long day, at 8.30 pm tonight, I was alone in the House of Lords cafeteria – where the wonderful (mainly Polish) staff were living out Napoleon‘s maxim that armies march on their stomachs – and were still providing some supper.

Years ago, the cafeteria was called Plods after our heroic police officers who keeps safe at Westminster (recall with deep affection and respect PC Keith Palmer who died trying to protect us.).

In Plods I often had breakfast with Tam Dalyell, another member of”the awkward squad” and although we didn’t always agree, he was a fine example of what an MP is privileged and called to be.

Awkward, irritating, annoying – but empowered by their country and their constituents.

If MPs have the necessary courage and resolve- not to become slavish adherents to the diktats of Party managers seductively offering patronage or advancement or, when that fails,menacing threats when foibles or weakness are registered in the whips’ meticulous records – they can make a difference. Not by earth moving initiatives but in small deeds which rectify some minor injustice.

Late last night (at 11.00pm) the House of Lords voted (physically and remotely)to vote for my amendment to prohibit trade deals with countries complicit in Genocide.

It was a great debate with amazing speeches from extraordinary people.

If you have any doubt about the need for a second chamber that can take a longer view, a considered view, a wiser view , a view about our national interests, take a moment to read it.


Historic House of Lords Vote on All-Party Amendment on Genocide Determination passes by a Majority of 126. Now Members of the Commons have the chance to say no to trade deals with States credibly accused of Genocide.

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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