Archive | August, 2011

What does Hizb ut-Tahrir climb-down tell us about our prime minister?

What does Hizb ut-Tahrir climb-down tell us about our prime minister?

His government’s failure to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir tells us an awful lot about David Cameron the man.

By Toby Perkins MP

Pursuing issues in opposition that subsequently prove considerably trickier to resolve in government is an occupational hazard of becoming a new prime minister.

David Cameron has been hoisted on his own opportunistic petard numerous times already. From promises to retain EMA to freezing VAT and from promising more prison places to NHS re-organisations he has many debits on the tally sheet. However it may be that his craven U-turn on the issue of the banning of Hizb ut-Tahrir tells us most about Cameron the man.

Whilst a relatively obscure issue, Cameron the opposition leader went big on his claim that the Islamist group should be banned. In Gordon Brown’s very first prime minister’s questions, he was both insistent on the banning of the organisation and incredulous at claims that it might be problematic, arguing: “The prime minister said that we need evidence about Hizb ut-Tahrir. That organisation says that Jews should be killed wherever they are found. What more evidence do we need before we ban that organisation? … Two years ago, the government said that it should be banned. I ask again: when will this be done?”

Now PMQ’s can catch out even the most experienced politician, but at least the leader of the opposition knows what he is going to raise, so there’s little excuse for appearing to commit to a position that he wasn’t willing to sustain. But this exchange in 2007 was not an isolated incident.

In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle in 2009 Cameron listed the banning of Hizb ut-Tahrir as one of the three measures he would introduce to reduce anti Semitism, and later that year his shadow home secretary said that he ‘would immediately ban Hizb ut-Tahrir’ [on taking the post].

And after a presumably thorough policy review it was still there in the 2010 Conservative party manifesto, which pledged that: “A Conservative government will ban any organisations which advocate hate or the violent overthrow of our society, such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir, and close down organisations which attempt to fund terrorism from the UK.”

And Mr Cameron is right that the record of Hizb ut-Tahrir is a worrying one. Passionately anti-semitic, they wrote: “O Muslim, O Slave of Allah. Here is a Jew behind me so come and kill him” in an article published back in 2000.

In 2002 their Danish spokesman was caught handing out literature demanding that Jews be killed and the organisation was suspended; a year later in Germany the organisation was banned from taking part in public activity, after further anti-semitic death threats and amid claims of links with the far right Neo-Nazis in Germany.

So this organisation -banned or restricted in other European states- is a seriously nasty group peddling racist hatred within our shores.

Yet in government there appears to have been a significant weakening of the Tory manifesto promise. When former home secretary Alan Johnson marked a year of Tory rule by asking Mr Cameron about the ban, the PM equivocated and in subsequent replies to questions from Ian Austin and myself his stance has got noticeably weaker still.

Dave Anderson QC, the government’s independent reviewer of terrorist legislation also appeared to rule out adding Hizb ut-Tahrir to the proscribed list in his report to government which broadly arrived at the very same conclusions that Mr Cameron refused to accept from the previous administration.

Now I am willing to believe the PM if he says that the laws of the land do not allow them to be banned. But this leads us to one of only two conclusions about the character of the prime minister and the policy making at the top of the Tory party, neither of which reflects well on Mr Cameron and his party.

The PM either, on numerous occasions, floated a policy idea without ever checking out the legal basis of it, and furthermore included it in the Conservative party manifesto without making the basic enquiries as to whether he would legally be able to do such a thing.

Alternatively, it is possible the PM and his party did indeed do all the basic due diligence on policy prior to announcing it and knew that what he was proposing was illegal but decided to cynically use racist extremism for political ends knowing that if they got into government the policy would be quietly dropped as unworkable.

So what is it, Mr Cameron? Were you so careless that you allowed a policy into your manifesto without even making the basic checks as to the legality of it, or were you so cynical that you would play on racial tensions for naked political advantage?

Either way, another facet of our prime minister’s character is exposed and our politics is the poorer for it.

THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED AT www.politicshome.co.uk

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Expenses Update July & August 2011

The expenses claimed over the period 1st July to 31st August 2011 were as follows:

Constituency Office costs:

There were no costs for the Constituency office costs claimed in this period.

Phone Bills

I claim for only 75% of the cost of my mobile phone, this came to £39.53 in May, £43.78 in June and £44.28 in July.

Hire of Staveley Hall for surgery £16.88 My surgeries are weekly at my offices in Chesterfield, but once a month, I hold a surgery in Staveley, this bill covers invoice from July.

Travel costs

Train travel from Chesterfield to London:

I havent had final bills through for latest train travel for this period these will be updated shortly.

However during the recess period, parliament was recalled and travel costs for me to return to London from my holiday in East Devon were:

£192.50 train travel from Tiverton to London

£70 taxi return from Offwell, East Devon to Tiverton Parkway station.

I also drove to parliament for on 1 occasion in Augustand on this occasion there were costs of:

Petrol £137.70 and Congestion charge £10

Costs associated with London flat

I am not aware of any utility bills at my London property over this time and indeed none were claimed during this period.

Rent

As of June my rent went up to £1,490, although IPSA have not yet changed the amount and so it will still show on my expenses as £1,430 until the IPSA have altered their records.

There was also a bill for £90 for agreeing to continue my rental agreement for another year !!

Food (Food is only claimed for evening meals in the event of parliament sitting past 8.00pm, receipts are provided for any food claimed)

July £5.75

August £0

Travel within constituency

Mileage attending constituency appointments was:

July £116.10

August £ 49.05

Also a parking bill of £2.20.

Stationery, Toners and Ancillaries

There was a  toner bill for £240.54 in August.

And stationery bill for £32.93.

There was also a bill for £830.58 for an extra computer for the Chesterfield office, this was required because we have now employed an extra member of staff.

I believe that this summarises all the invoices claimed in July and August 2011, if you have any queries with any of these, then contact me and I will be happy to answer your questions.

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Street order ‘number one priority’ after riots says Toby Perkins

Street order ‘number one priority’ after riots says Toby Perkins

After MPs were re-called to the House of Commons today during the summer recess, Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield and Shadow Minister has called on continued police support to maintain law and order on the streets in many urban communities across the country.

Speaking from the House of Commons, the Shadow Minister for Children said: “that the number one priority was for a bolstered police presence to defeat the rioters and to bring stability back to those areas worst affected over the last seven days.”

After shops and businesses were smashed and looted by hundreds of co-ordinated attacks in London, and more recently the Midlands and North West, the Government has been called on to provide instant support for the victims of theft and criminal damage. Council’s urgently need access to emergency capital to provide financial assistance to deprived areas, and to ensure that those areas are not left to cope with the loss of livelihoods alone.

Mr Perkins added “While stating that the Government must do more to address serious concerns around gangs and the alienation of many young people in cities and towns, Mr. Perkins has stressed the importance of re-instating order on many streets as quickly as possible.  

Mr. Perkins said:-

“The riots in London, and now elsewhere across the UK, show serious problems with our society which if not addressed will only get worse. There is a sense that we are seeing an increasingly fractured society, and we need a thorough examination of our policies towards young people and the chances of advancement in life.

But for now the number one priority is for the police to reinstate law and order and for the Government to provide financial assistance to those who have lost jobs and businesses as a result of these disgraceful actions. The scenes across the UK have been appalling, as innocent hard working people have had their livelihoods taken away with dangerous and threatening behavior. We need tough action now to secure whatever measures are necessary to ensure communities are safe and people can once go about rebuilding their lives.

Then the government must recognize that their plans to cut Police, decimate youth work, opt for softer sentencing and reduce CCTV are all steps in the wrong direction, we need a safer Britain with better life chances and a fairer contribution to our country from the top to the bottom of our society.”

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries in Chesterfield and Staveley so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Email: toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF

Surgeries

I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk to make a booking.

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