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Category: Speeches

  • January 26, 2010

    Constitutional Reform & Governance Bill

    Mr. Mark Field: The Lord Chancellor wishes to belittle the Earl of Stair and the Earl of Glasgow, but doubtless if they had been large-scale donors to the Labour party, they would have been welcomed as life peers for the remainder of their days. The Conservatives would be quite happy to go along with clause 29, if the Lord Chancellor had been true to his word. We made it clear in a Division in the House almost three years ago that we wanted to see how phase 2 would pan out, with an 80 or 100 per cent. elected House. Had he introduced that at the same time as the clause, we would have had no objection whatever, but our objection is the only safeguard to ensure that there is going to be a proper phase 2. Without it, we could wait 100 years, as he and Asquith have pointed out, to get rid of the remaining hereditaries. The risk is that if we allow clause 29 to go through, within 30 or 40 years, there will be no further reform, and the Government will have got their way.
  • January 26, 2010

    Microfinance

    Mr. Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster) (Con): I am glad to be able to introduce this important debate, because in the face of difficult economic times, a hitherto united front in favour of the Government's international development programmes is perhaps beginning to crack-not, I hasten to add, in Parliament, but among the public at large. As all politicians look towards cutting the vast budget deficit that we have run up in the past couple of years, some of our constituents-I suspect that this applies as much to Harrow, West as it does to the Cities of London and Westminster-are beginning to ask why we are reducing significantly assistance to British citizens when we continue to channel taxpayers' money into international development.
  • January 11, 2010

    Home Education

    I appreciate the opportunity to make a brief contribution to the debate. Given the time constraints, I hope that you will forgive me, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if I focus on the aspect of the Bill that is of particular interest to me: home education. Almost exactly one year ago, the Department for Children, Schools and Families launched an independent review of home education by Graham Badman. Fearful that it represented another attempt by the Government to intrude into their lives, two home educating parents from my constituency, Tina Robbins and Helen White, came to meet me in Parliament to see what could be done.
  • December 15, 2009

    House Of Commons Reform

    I welcome the fact that we are having this debate today and I thank the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mark Fisher) for introducing it. Regrettably, I must say that I do not entirely agree with the thrust of what he said. I am afraid that the report to which he has referred was far too timid; it needed to be a good deal more robust. I accept that there was an element of compromise about it and one certainly hopes that at least what has been proposed in the report will go through as a starting-point to what I think will be a radical reform.
  • December 2, 2009

    Higher Education

    I know well the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Reading, East as it includes the town I was brought up in. I was educated at the local grammar school, Reading school, as I mentioned earlier. John Weeds, the principal, does a fantastic job. When I was there over three decades ago, it opened up a lot of opportunities for a lot of people from relatively deprived backgrounds. I fear that its academic excellence, coupled with the fact that its catchment area is rather broader than it was in the 1970s and early 1980s when I was a pupil, mean that it probably has more children from middle-class, aspirational and professional backgrounds than when I was there. It continues to have fantastic academic results. It is a beacon, and it is rare for it to slip outside the national top 10 state schools for academic results.
  • December 1, 2009

    European Financial Services Proposals

    I entirely agree with my hon. Friend on the alternative investment directive. Is not the bigger criticism of it, however, that it simply betrayed, among those in the European Union who are attempting to introduce it, a lack of understanding about the role of asset management and, indeed, its non-role in the credit crunch and financial crisis that we have faced over the past two years? Whatever other problems there may have been, hedge funds and private equity have not been responsible for any systemic problems that that directive and others have tried to address.
  • November 30, 2009

    Financial Services Bill

    Mr. Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster) (Con): For some centuries past the City of London's greatest attraction has been its international reputation as a bastion of commercial certainty and reliability. English law is respected across the globe: countless contracts between parties from far away continents are often drawn up under its jurisdiction. In commercial affairs the City of London is rightly seen as a watchword for justice, neutrality and fairness. Too much, I fear, of what is proposed in this Financial Services Bill flies in the face of this fearless and hard-earned reputation. It threatens to do untold damage to the United Kingdom as a commercial and trading centre.
  • November 26, 2009

    Queen’s Speech

    One of the most depressing aspects of the Government's record over the past 12 years has been their unwillingness, bordering at times on the foolhardy, to take long-term decisions. One thinks in particular of nuclear energy or our transport infrastructure. The flagrantly tactical rather than strategic nature of the Queen's Speech represents more of the same.
  • November 10, 2009

    Financial Services Regulation

    Mark made the following contribution to a Westminster Hall debate on Financial Services Regulation tabled by David Heathcoat-Amory MP: Thank you, Mr. Olner. I am always aware that I am barely a householder in my own home, let alone anywhere else. It is a great pleasure to follow my right hon. Frien...
  • October 28, 2009

    Central London Businesses

     Mr. Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster) (Con): No one can dispute that the past year has been tough for businesses large and small nationwide. Their future will remain uncertain, as the climate in which they operate continues to be unpredictable, and any signs of sustainable economic...