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Smoking kills


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Today, the Commons will vote on whether to disagree with the Lords in their amendment to ban smoking in private vehicles in the presence of children. Anyone who can read knows that smoking kills. And I know, for it killed my stepfather and an uncle. Why anyone does it despite the clear warnings and often lurid images on the packets is a mystery not explained by appeal to the addictive qualities of nicotine. People who wish to live long and […]

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Motorcycle Live gets the royal touch while I discuss the BMW S1000RR with Lembit Öpik


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Via Motorcycle Live gets the royal touch: His Royal Highness Prince William Duke of Cambridge visited Motorcycle Live at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham today to get a close look at the UK motorcycle industry and some of the new models that have been launched for 2014. The Duke, who is known to be a keen motorcyclist, was welcomed to the NEC by Paul Thandi, deputy to the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, who is also chief executive of […]

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The debate on Professional Standards in the Banking Industry


I can’t speak in the debate on professional standards in the banking industry today: I missed the opening speeches in order to help lead a conversation amongst colleagues on economic growth. As I listen to the debate from my office or in the Chamber, I realise my levels of optimism are highly dependent on who is speaking. On the one hand, I am discouraged by the sheer partisanship which has been reported in the speeches I missed. To understand the […]

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Two questions in the House on an EU referendum and responsibility in banking


Today, I had two questions during statements. I welcomed the progress the Prime Minister is making towards a referendum on our relationship with the EU and asked him to remind us who denied the public a say on the Lisbon Treaty – Labour. I then asked the Chancellor to look again at my Financial Institutions (Reform) Bill, which would transfer commercial risk into the banks, ending the incentives which create a culture of recklessness and rule-breaking. Questions are useful, but […]

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Two simple steps to transform the culture of banking and to forestall the next outrage


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It’s time to privatise commercial risk in banking and insist on prudent accounts. Government should: Eliminate moral hazard from the financial system by implementing this measure to make bank directors strictly liable without limit and to treat as capital both directors’ personal bonds and, for five years, the bonus pool. Introduce prudent bank accounting so banks can’t game the rules using derivatives to manufacture illusory profits from unrealised cash flows. The banking system isn’t capitalist It’s not capitalism when private individuals […]

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The Barclays LIBOR scandal – the world seems to have shifted towards my last bill: those at the top must be held responsible.


The Prime Minister has said he wants responsibility in banking, right to the top. The National Association of Pension Funds wants bonus clawbacks from the people who made the related trades.  There’s endless talk of the irresponsible culture in banking. All that is addressed by my last bill. Nick Robinson just mentioned politicians trying to catch up with people’s anger. I guess he has not spotted my proposed measures to make directors and staff of financial institutions liable for the consequences […]

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The moral case for lower, simpler taxes and a request for a debate


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This week, the 2020 Tax Commission published its final report (PDF). Yesterday, Eamonn Butler wrote Don’t ignore the powerful moral arguments against high taxation. I recommend the whole article, but this section is particularly compelling: Tax reduces people’s ability to act morally. They might prefer to spend their money on helping their children become good citizens, caring for their elderly relatives, or supporting good causes. Instead they see it taken and going on bank bailouts or expensive prestige projects. Though we wish […]

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The fuel pantomime: why put up with our vulnerability to the words of ministers?


Charles Moore is suggesting that this fuel pantomime may be a deliberate strategy: But now that I have heard the Conservatives’ private explanation, which is being handed down to constituency associations by MPs, I begin to feel angry. The private message is as follows. “This is our Thatcher moment. In order to defeat the coming miners’ strike, she stockpiled coal. When the strike came, she weathered it, and the Labour Party, tarred by the strike, was humiliated. In order to […]

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Motorcycle Industry Association publish Policy Framework


As I blogged recently, I was glad to host the Associate Parliamentary Motorcycle Group reception in Parliament on 7th March. At this event The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCI) previewed their Policy Framework for Motorcycling. With this publication, they again point out how important the industry is, and can continue to be, to the British economy. It is a £7.2billion industry, employing 62,000 people in over 6,000 businesses and it includes the largest solely UK-owned automotive manufacturer: Triumph Motorcycles. The CEO of […]

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Pro-bike, anti-EU. What’s not to like?


Via Action Now! EU Hands Off Biking: There’s a raft of issues emanating from Europe that will have a profound effect on riders and the motorcycle industry generally and we must stand up. Some of them are driven by the EU Commission, like the new Type Approval and Market Surveillance Regulation that will see the introduction of compulsory ABS, the sealing of powertrains from airbox to the diameter and aspect ratio of the rear tyre, restrictions on the aftermarket industry, possible […]

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