1st April 2008
MEPs Approve Lobbying Report
The European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee adopted the Stubb Report on Lobbying. Commenting on the Report, Alexander Stubb MEP said "Lobbies are an essential part of the work done by MEP's. Policy-making would be very poor without their contribution. With this report we ensure a level playing field to lobbies and increase transparency. We welcome the Commission's proposal to include financial disclosure. Among other means we call for a common register and common code of conduct between Parliament, Commission and Council. This is a major step forward". According to Mr Stubb lobbying should be defined as broadly as possible: "Anyone who comes into my office and tries to influence a piece of legislation, is a lobbyist in my eyes".
It has also been announced that the Finnish National Coalition party (Kokoomus) will on Friday formally nominate Stubb as the new Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
31st March 2008
MEP Committee Set to Vote on Lobbying Report
The European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee is due to adopt Alexander Stubb MEP's Report on Lobbying on Tuesday morning. Through the Report, the Centre-Right EPP-ED Group aims to improve transparency by clearer definitions, increased financial disclosure and explore the possibility to establish a common lobbyist register with the Commission and the Council. Five other Committees have provided Opinions into the Report and there are 89 Amendments. Once approved, the dossier should move forward to the Plenary on 8 May.
31st March 2008
Government's New Policing Pledge
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith have launched a new 'policing pledge' which agrees a set of minimum standards for policing and will give people a greater say and influence over how their streets are policed. Every household across the country is to have a dedicated neighbourhood policing team to solve local problems, who will be contactable by phone or through community meetings. The Prime Minister said "I'm determined that every person has access to the same level of support and service when it comes to policing. That is why we are launching a new policing pledge to give everyone the opportunity to be involved in setting priorities in their area. I encourage everyone to get involved and have a say about how their streets are policed." From today people will be able to source contact details for their local teams online at http://www.direct.gov.uk/neighbourhoodpolicing
31st March 2008
Nuclear New Build Reactor Designs Sought
The nuclear industry has been invited to bring forward new reactor designs for a Justification Decision, an important stage in getting the first new nuclear build started in the UK. The Justification process - expected to take around 18 months to complete - will ensure that EU regulatory requirements are met together with evaluating the benefits and detriments before new UK nuclear power stations can be built. Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform John Hutton said "New nuclear power has the potential to help tackle climate change and secure future energy supplies as part of the UK's energy mix. Momentum is building and it is important this is maintained by taking the necessary steps to reduce the regulatory and planning risks facing investors." Also read John Hutton's speech to the Unite Conference on 26 March: New Nuclear Build: How do we make progress?
27th March 2008
Brown Lost, Sarkozy Found
It has been reported that Gordon Brown allegedly must have gotten lost at last night's banquet in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in honour of the visiting French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. According to the BBC, "In television footage, the Queen can be heard saying to Princess Anne: "The prime minister got lost. He disappeared the wrong way...at the crucial moment". Number 10 Downing Street insisted the Prime Minister was simply "doing what he was told".
Yesterday, the French President addressed Parliament in the Royal Gallery. Read the address here.
Today at a joint press conference, Brown spoke of a new "entente amicale" noting that Britain and France will work more closely together "at the heart of a global Europe". Read the UK-France Summit Declaration.
26th March 2008
European Parliament President Urges Leaders to Boycott Olympics Opening Ceremony
Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament, has called on EU leaders to boycott the Beijing Olympic Games' opening ceremony if China does not ease the way it has been handling the protests in Tibet. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has hinted that he may stay away from the event.
25th March 2008
PASC Hearing on Charities' Political Campaigning
The Public Administration Select Committee will hear evidence about the extent to which charities should be able to take part in political activity. The PASC session follows the publication of new Charity Commission guidance seeking to help charity trustees “to have a strong and assertive voice”. The three witnesses for the 26 March session will be: Greg Clark MP, the Shadow Minister for Charities; Brian Lamb, the Director of Communications at the Royal National Institute for Deaf people (RNID); Ian Leggett, Director of People and Planet.
25th March 2008
Scotland Yard Drops Case Against MP
Scotland Yard has said it would not be 'appropriate' to continue the investigation into the expenses of Derek Conway MP after the Crown Prosecution Service believed it would be impossible to prosecute given the gaps in expense reporting.
20th March 2008
UK National Security Strategy Launched
Gordon Brown has announced details of the UK's first National Security Strategy, which lays down the nature of new security challenges facing Britain, how these have changed, and how they are being responded to. In a Parliamentary Statement, the Prime Minister said: “As the national security strategy makes clear, new threats demand new approaches. A radically updated and much more coordinated response is now required".
20th March 2008
Baker Review Publishes Consultation Document on MP Pay & Pensions
The consultation document on the review of MPs’ pay and pensions by Sir John Baker has been published, with a deadline for responses of 11 April.