Labour’s shadow leader of the House of Lords was a guest speaker at the Bognor Regis Labour Party’s first branch meeting of the year.
Baroness Smith, who was MP for Basildon from 1997 until 2010 and is a member of the shadow cabinet, talked about her role in Parliament’s upper chamber and the Lords’ role in scrutinising Government legislation on Monday night.
She said: “For the first time in a long while, the House of Lords does not have a built in Tory majority which means it can be more effective in looking closely at what this Government are trying to do.
“The vote by the Lords last November to ask the Government to think again on damaging cuts to tax credits which would have impacted severely on many hard working people is a classic case of how the Lords can be effective, and next week we’ll be looking carefully at the Tories trade union proposals which will have the effect of muzzling legitimate protest and cutting funding to the Labour Party if they go through in their current format.”
She claimed that the Tory Government was trying to shut down opposition by changes to the Freedom of Information Act, limiting the ability of charities to criticise Government policies, new policies on trade unions, new constituency boundary proposals, plans to limit the power of the Lords, and undermining the European Convention on Human Rights as it applies to the UK.
The meeting finished with a question and answer session ranging from the importance of campaigning to keep Britain in Europe, electoral reform, and the need for Labour to reach out to a wide cross section of the local and national electorate.
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