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Bulletin from Conor Burns MP #90 Date: Friday, 27 April 2012 08:43:32 United Kingdom Time From: To: Conor Burns MP news@localconservatives.com

In this edition:
Conor Burns MPs Diary Website of the Week: Streets of Bournemouth Photo news: Oakmead College of Technology Conor in Parliament: Conor quizzes Chancellor on Eurozone recourse to IMF bailout funds Conor pledges to save lives at bowel cancer anniversary event Conor in Parliament: House of Lords Reform Bill Conor in the papers: MP claims GP is force for good Conor in the papers: Dorsets thin blue line gets thinner: Focusing on Priority Crimes Conor in the media: House of Lords Reform Report Due Amid Deepening Tory Tensions How to contact Conor Burns MP

Issue 90 Friday 27th April 2012

Since the past edition, Conor has:

Visited Rest Harrow retirement home to answer questions from the residents. Met with Superintendent Jane Newell at Bournemouth police station. Held a help and advice surgery in The Triangle for local residents. Spoken in the House of Commons asking the Chancellor to agree that more must be done by Eurozone countries before they receive help from the IMF. Attended an event at the House of Commons hosted by easyJet Chief Executive Carolyn McCall OBE. Had written evidence to the House of Lords Reform Bill Joint Committee published objecting to the proposals. Received written answers from questions put to the Treasury. Submitted his nomination for The Mayor of Bournemouths Diamond Jubilee Award. Been quoted in the Huffington Post following an interview on Radio 4 regarding House of Lords reform. Attended a meeting in Number 10 Downing Street with Prime Minister David Cameron.

Website of the Week:

The website of Streets of Bournemouth Streets of Bournemouth is a project between Bournemouth Borough Council and Bournemouth University, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Developed with the help of over 140 volunteers, the website provides a virtual museum for the Bournemouth community filled with memories, stories, publications and photos. The website allows users to search within 14 themes that reflect the history of Bournemouth and download information on them. An interactive timeline allows visitors to see photos specific to any year in any decade from 1810, and users can also use the feature that compares the present map of Bournemouth to Ordnance Survey maps as far back as 1870, amongst others. The website will continue to expand as users can upload their own photographs and other documents. This can be done on a home PC, or in a library with dedicated Streets of Bournemouth computers and scanners and where library staff are on hand to help.

Photo news:

Oakmead College of Technology

Conor at Oakmead College of Technology, seeing first hand their practical skills training for pupils.

Conor in Parliament:

Conor quizzes Chancellor on Eurozone recourse to IMF bailout funds

Monday 23rd April 2012

Click on the image above to watch Conors exchange with the Chancellor in the House of Commons. The text of the exchange was as follows: Conor Burns (Bournemouth West, Conservative): Does my hon. Friend remember the warnings that many gave prior to the creation of the euro that without large regional subventions, the project would fail? Although he is correct in asserting that I told you so is not a policy, it is, sadly, increasingly a fact. He has acknowledged that Germany is doing more, but does he agree that it needs to do still more before eurozone countries have recourse to the IMF? George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer, HM Treasury; Tatton, Conservative): I certainly agree that Germany and other countries need to live with the consequences of the euro, and the German taxpayer is now having to provide many hundreds of billions of euros to various funds. My hon. Friend is right that many Conservative Members warned of the consequences of Britain joining the euro. I remember helping the then Leader of the Opposition write a speech that he delivered at Fontainebleau, which was immediately parodied by the then Government, led by Tony Blair, and the then Chancellor, Mr Brown, as deeply irresponsible. The then Conservative leader spelled out in that speech a lot of the consequences that have come to pass.

Conor pledges to save lives at bowel cancer anniversary event

Conor Burns MP pledging to do all he can to save lives from bowel cancer in the House of Commons this week. Conor has pledged his support to save lives from bowel cancer at Bowel Cancer UKs recent event in the Houses of Parliament. The event, hosted by fellow Conservative MP John Baron on behalf of the charity which was marking its 25th Anniversary, saw the launch of the report 2025 Challenge: Saving and Improving Lives. Over 100 guests were in attendance at the event including a host of Parliamentarians and supporters of Bowel Cancer UK, including Bowel Cancer UK CEO Deborah Alsina and ITV news presenter and Bowel Cancer UK Ambassador Charlene White. Bowel cancer is the UKs second biggest cancer killer, and the overall five-year survival rate of those diagnosed is just over 50%. However, in the report, Bowel Cancer UK states that the Government could cut deaths from bowel cancer by 60% by 2025 if it followed its recommendations. Bowel Cancer UK's ambition is also for an additional 2,500 people with bowel cancer per year living for at least five years after diagnosis by 2025. Commenting after the event Conor Burns said, I fully support the recommendations made in this report and urge the Government to consider them. Bowel cancer is a significant killer and I will continue to work with Bowel Cancer UK to promote the needs of patients and raise awareness to the cause.

Conor in Parliament:

House of Lords Reform Bill

Below is the written evidence submitted by Conor Burns MP to the House of Lords Reform Bill Joint Committee: The program of reform for the House of Lords that is currently being pursued by the government is one which will severely harm the ability of this Parliament to work effectively. While reform is essential, it needs to create a house which will complement, rather than compete with, the work of the Commons in producing sound and robust laws. With this in mind these are some of the objections that I have to the current government proposals concerning reform of the Upper House. Current proposals to create a new democratically elected 'senate'style second chamber will give the Lords a mandate to challenge any of the work of the Commons. In the longer term the political composition of the Lords may not necessarily reflect the more fluent make-up of the Lower House. The natural conclusion of this is the advent of behavioural issues between the houses, and so it is with this in mind that I ask the committee to urgently review the following points: 1. Problems created by election to the House of Lords The vision of an elected second House would undoubtedly strengthen it to equal, if not surpass the legitimacy of the Commons. Having been elected on a particular platform, new members of the Upper House would then possess the democratic mandate to pursue a particular ideological or issue-based agenda. This could not only give them the potential to frustrate the program of the government of the day, but lead to confrontation and political stalemate. In addition the prospect of election could deter otherwise experienced and professional candidates from trying to become Members of this prestigious revising body. The current House boasts a wealth of excabinet members and key government figures whose indispensable experience and unique insights enable them to astutely revise and scrutinise legislation. Were election to be a pre-requisite of office, there is little incentive for members retiring from government or other public service duties to stand in another election. Moreover, the new provisions made for elected candidates could discourage ex-MP's, civil servant and heads of business and industry. If at least 80% of its members will have to stand for election and they will be paid c. 60,000 per year over a 15 year term, this will entail a likely income drop during the highest earning years of their lives in addition to the expectation that they will take on a full-time job for the next fifteen years. As a result of this it is highly likely that many of the better and more experienced candidates will be put off from applying. Furthermore, election carries the risk of excluding independent candidates if future members of the Upper House were to seek the patronage of major parties to access the resources needed to campaign for election. This could mean that membership of the House of Lords could become inaccessible for independents without great personal wealth, women and minorities who have so far been typically better represented in the Lords than in the Commons. As well as this, by introducing the mechanism of election the Deputy Prime Minister appears to imply that currently the House of Lords is undemocratic. In fact, when it is examined, Peers are appointed on the principle of double election, which is currently used by the three main political parties. The Prime Minister is not elected to run the country by the citizenry, but rather by his party, and it is then the country who selects the party. By this same principle, when the country elects the party, the party appoints peers to the Other Place, representing the wishes of the electorate through a transparent democratic process. 2. Problems in the changing function and powers of the House of Lords In spite of the Draft Bill stating that the functions of the Upper House would remain the same, it is plainly inevitable that with a new mandate and strengthened consent, the new House would begin to challenge the Commons for supremacy and be entitled to functions from which it had previously been excluded. For example, the Bill does not consider the possibility that a Prime Minister could be drawn from this new House of Lords, with added legitimacy of proportional election and the further benefit of a 15 year term. Over time the House of Lords has constantly evolved from a chamber which provided a check on the executive by its power to reject legislation to one which can still act as a check on the executive but does so through the detailed consideration of legislation and its scrutiny of administrative decisions by expert advice. The proposals in the Draft Bill are designed to reverse this evolution as the addition of a democratic mandate to the role of the new members will embolden them to reject legislation, block policy and ultimately frustrate the program of government in a way that previous reform of the house has intended to stop. What's more, constituencies will interfere with the current balance and work of the House since the idea of a representative House of Lords is at odds with its function of revision and scrutiny of legislation. If new members of the House are elected by constituencies then the primary work of the new members will be to represent their constituents by corresponding to them, taking up their cases and spending time in their constituencies. This will then take away vast quantities of valuable time from the new peers that would otherwise be devoted to the revision and scrutiny of legislation. The current proposals fail to take into account the constitutional changes that will occur if the new House is given more power though election. No consideration appears to have been given to how it is that the relationship between the two Houses will be altered if the second chamber is given powers which make it more equal to the first chamber. There is no clear consideration of how the status of the new chamber will be relevant to the current conventions and statutes that govern the relationship between the Lords and Commons. The Bill erroneously imagines them as final, seemingly unaware that they rest on a series of assumptions in the absence of anything as totemic as a written constitution giving legitimacy to the Commons. 3. Problems with the term length in the new House of Lords The Draft Bill proposes that a single non-renewable term of 15 years be the life-cycle of a working new member of the House of Lords. This is a seriously flawed concept as the idea of re-election is in place to make parliament more accountable, following the assumption that an MP will want to be re-elected and will thus work hard to represent their electorate before all other business. The Draft Bill deters future members from representing the people who elected them and indeed from working hard to review legislation full-time as the reform states. 4. Problems with the electoral process of the new House of Lords The idea that voting in new members take place at the same time as a general elections, under a different electoral system, with staggered terms will lead to voter fatigue, confusion and ultimately a House whose make-up does not reflect the position of the Government, causing further behavioural issues. Holding a vote for both members of the Lords and the Commons on the same day, but using two different systems will undoubtedly cause confusion among an electorate who have already rejected a different voting system during this parliament. Moreover in a parliament which had two houses that have been elected using two separate forms of voting could not be considered to function well. In fact, in spite of all of the Commons best historical efforts to repeal powers from the Crown and the Lords, this new legislation appears to offer them more power as new members who are voted using the Single Transferrable Vote System (STV) would logically be more democratically representative than the Commons and therefore have supremacy and higher legitimacy which runs in direct contravention to the current balance and functions of the two houses. The revising chamber having more power than the legislating one is simply illogical. 5. Problems with the salary and allowances in the new House of Lords The current government proposals allocate the new members with constituencies, staff, salaries and offices. This is an idea which will cause great expense to the taxpayer, with no clear indication of how much the total cost of this new chamber will be and where it is that the money required for this project will come from. For example, based on the current staffing budgets of MPs (115,000) and MEPs (222,000) coupled with the fact that the Draft Bill seeks to allocate constituencies twice the size of current parliamentary ones, the assumption remains that staffing budgets for all 300 new members would be at least 200,000 each. It is true that no one would 'invent' the House of Lords in its current form, but we are fortunate enough that without anything a totemic as a written constitution we are able to constantly evolve and develop all the organs of government into a coordinated and integrated Parliament. However, I find that the proposals of the Draft Bill, when closely examined, lend themselves to the creation of a fractured, confrontational and unbalanced parliament that is not in the interests of the electorate or indeed the wider democratic community. I urge you to consider the points made above.

Conor in the papers:

Bournemouth Echo Saturday 21st April 2012

MP claims GP is force for good

An MP has insisted the presence of the Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain tomorrow could strengthen the hand of pro-democracy activists. Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Bahrain, said the controversial event would mean an influx of international journalists to scrutinise the countrys human rights record.

Conor in the papers:

Dorsets thin blue line gets thinner: Focusing on Priority Crimes

Bournemouth Echo Wednesday 25th April 2012 SNT Officers have been asked to spend less time on quality of life issues. These include problems where the police may be asked to help but they are not responsible like dog fouling or overgrown hedges. Chief Superintendent Martin Hiles said: We believe the community and other agencies can lead on these issues. Our policing core responsibilities are about protecting life and property, maintaining the peace, preventing crime and bringing offenders to justice. Officers will deal more with crime but there are concerns that will lead to them getting sucked into office work rather than being in public. A member of one Dorset residents group told the Echo: Weve been told the PCSOs and PC will be used to tackle antisocial behaviour by specific families. The result will be less police on the beat and our neighbourhood policing being cut back. PC Will Martindale, speaking at the April meeting of Boscombe Chamber of Trade, said officers would be spending less time at public meetings. Thats the harsh reality of it, he said. We are going to be focusing more on priority crimes. Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns said: Issues like rubbish might not be core policing issues but quality of life is still very important. Dealing with funding problems Dorset Police received 169 per resident in 2010/11 compared to an England and Wales average of 189. The force said for each of the past nine years it has been either the worst or second worst funded per resident. Chief Constable Martin Baker said in a letter earlier this year cuts mean it must save 18million from a budget of 120million between 2010/2011 and 2014/2015. The force has cut 284 police and civilian staff so far with a further 274 expected by 2014/15. Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns has started lobbying on behalf of Dorset MPs for a change in the police funding formula.

Conor in the media:

House of Lords Reform Report Due Amid Deepening Tory Tensions

Chris Wimpress, The Huffington Post UK Monday 23rd April 2012 The joint committee on House of Lords reform will publish its long-awaited report today, a document which will set the tone for what's becoming an increasingly factious coalition issue. Up to 100 Tory MPs - including some ministerial aides and even Cabinet ministers - are thought to be deeply hostile to Nick Clegg's plans for reforming the Lords. The draft Bill published by the government would see a gradual change from the largely appointed Lords to a largely elected chamber. Every five years about a quarter of the appointed Lords would be removed and replaced with elected members, who would serve a long fifteen-year term. They wouldn't be allowed to stand again. These new peers would have super-constituencies, and there would be about 300 of them. By 2030 the upper chamber would consist of 80% elected peers, and 20% would still be appointed. The Church of England Bishops would keep twelve of their seats. The biggest complaint is that the government's plan for the Lords fails to enshrine the supremacy of the House of Commons, even though ministers insist this is exactly what they are doing. Although the Committee's report is under a strict curfew until 10 o'clock this morning they are likely to challenge the government's plan to retain the Parliament Act - the piece of law which allows the Commons to eventually over-ride the Lords on any piece of legislation the unelected house seeks to block. Ministers believe there is no need to change this Act - which has existed in some form for 101 years - arguing that it would perform the job perfectly well even if the Lords were elected. The committee members have repeatedly questioned how a piece of law designed to clamp down on the powers of an unelected chamber could work when dealing with an elected one. Another recommendation which could be in the report is a call for a national referendum before the changes to the Lords can come into force. This is expected in part because of a leak of an early draft of the report before Easter, which was said to contain the referendum demand. Labour have put their weight behind this idea, saying such constitutional change shouldn't happen without the public being consulted. The coalition have dismissed this, pointing out that all three main parties went into the 2010 general election calling for at least part of the Lords to be elected. Tory Ministers are said to be openly questioning the merits of Lords reform around the Cabinet table. Sunday papers reported that heavyweights like Michael Gove and Philip Hammond are uneasy. Further down the food chain there are Tory Parliamentary Private Secretaries - ministerial assistants who don't get paid for their efforts but must always vote for the government or resign - have been openly critical. Tory MP Conor Burns - who is PPS to the Northern Ireland Secretary was open in his dissent on Friday, telling BBC Radio 4: "My view hasnt changed from the view I expressed in the House of Commons to the Deputy Prime Minister that I am in favour, broadly, of the status quo." Burns is one of dozens of Tory MPs who believe a vote in the Commons on this matter should be free, and not whipped by the government. Previous Lords reform votes have always been free, and Burns told Radio 4: "If the Deputy Prime Minister is right, that there is a majority in the House of Commons, across Parliament, across parties, then it will go through." Burns' statement suggests there is little that ministers can do to appease some Tories, even if they agree to further concessions. These were hinted at in reports on Sunday, suggesting Nick Clegg might agree to the new Lords having 450 members, rather than the 300 he originally envisaged. There is a gamble for David Cameron in all of this. Abandon Lords reform and the Lib Dems could easily threaten to block other bits of the coalition agreement, including the Tories' cherished plan to reduce the number of MPs by 50 and shake up the boundaries to lessen Labour's inbuilt electoral majority. Lib Dem MP Lord Oakeshott recently made this threat on the Sunday Politics programme on BBC One. Nick Clegg was at great pains to deny this would happen on Friday, when the coaliton tensions about this rose to the surface. But what else have the Lib Dems really got on the Tories as leveage? Some people in Nick Clegg's party are starting to think that their poll numbers are just wrong. They continue to languish in single digits in national opinion polls - and have by all accounts been taken over by UKIP. But every time there is a by-election for either a council seat or for Parliament, they actually do much better than the polls suggest. The notion that the Lib Dems are stuck in the coalition because to trigger a general election would cause wipeout is starting to look quite shaky. With the AV referendum out of the way and many of the things that the Lib Dems wanted already passed into law, the reasons for them to stay in coalition -other than the threat of wipeout at the ballot box - are fewer in number than a year ago. But on the other hand if David Cameron presses ahead with Lords reform he risks a mutiny among his own backbenchers, and even if he can control that, could find that the Lords will get so aggravated that they won't just start delaying the law to abolish them, they could start being difficult over every other piece of legislation the government sends their way. All this for a reform which the public clearly doesn't care about whatsoever. Sure, if you ask them whether the Lords should be elected they mostly agree that it should. But how many letters do MPs actually get from people urging them to do something about it? Very few indeed. The third and final risk for Cameron is that he is seen to be distracted by Westminster intrigue about the Lords, at at time when the public are severely underwhelmed by his management of the economy and the NHS. It's those two things, after all, that most analysts expect to be the biggest issues at the next general election. Not who sits on the red benches in Parliament.

Three ways to contact Conor Burns MP:

By Phone: 020 7219 7021 By email: conor.burns.mp@parliament.uk By post: Conor Burns MP House of Commons London SW1A 0AA


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Promoted by Andrew Morgan on behalf of Conor Burns, both of 135 Hankinson Road, Bournemouth, BH9 1HR