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Book review: A Brief History of Liberty, Schmidtz and Brennan

A Brief History of Liberty by David Schmidtz and Jason Brennan “provides a comprehensive, philosophically–informed portrait of the elusive nature of one of our most cherished ideals”. Each chapter begins with a thesis, comprises a lively, engaging and well-referenced discussion and concludes with questions to consider and comprehensive notes. The theses are as follows: Introduction, Conceptions of Freedom. “Thesis: There are several forms of liberty. Whether they are conflicting or complementary is a matter of historical circumstance.” Chapter 1, A […]

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Modern Slavery Bill Introduced to Parliament

Last week, the Home Secretary introduced a Modern Slavery Bill into Parliament.  The Bill sets out to ensure that the law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to stamp out this abhorrent practice. The Modern Slavery Bill contains significant new measures to ensure that victims are better supported and protected, not only to recovery from their terrible ordeal, but also to support effective investigations and prosecutions.  Specifically, the Bill will do this by: ensuring that victims are not prosecuted […]

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Changes to Stop and Search

One of my guiding principles is equality under the law.  For us all to live peaceably with each other we must feel that everyone is treated fairly by the police and judicial system.  This is why it was good to see the Home Secretary has announced reforms to stop and search. In Wycombe, there are a large number of people from minority backgrounds. Official figures show that if you are from a non-white background you are up to six times […]

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My support for Zac Goldsmith’s Recall Bill

Today, I was a teller for Zac Goldsmith’s Private Member’s Bill making provision for a recall system so voters can oust underperforming MPs between general elections. Two much-neglected institutions that uphold our liberty and prosperity are Parliamentary democracy and the rule of law. With abuses of democracy like the Lisbon Treaty in mind, I entered the House of Commons in 2010 with the aim of contributing to the recovery of our Parliamentary system. A robust recall mechanism is integral to […]

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Reform the Council of Europe and abolish the EU

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Via Angela Merkel: Brussels should return powers – Telegraph: Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has raised Conservative hopes for David Cameron’s European policy by saying that the European Union should discuss returning powers from Brussels to national governments. Good, though I am not surprised. Having had breakfast recently with the German Ambassador, I know devolved powers are consistent with the German vision of a federal state. All the while politicians insist on policies of interference with business within a customs union, […]

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Constituency surgeries and the need for general rules

When I hold a constituency surgery, someone will usually ask me to set aside rules which are producing outcomes that cause them real problems. Thankfully, I can’t do it and I would not want to despite my desire to help. In travelling as a politician, particularly to Pakistan and Equatorial Guinea, I have observed that those places with the worst levels of poverty and injustice lack two strong, functioning institutions of which the UK is rightly proud: Parliamentary democracy and […]

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Contributions to the Finance Bill Committee 2013

Budget 2013 has long been forgotten by the media but the Finance Bill implementing it returned to the House yesterday for report stage. From 23 April to 20 June, I served on the Bill committee. All Bill stages and documents may be found here. I made many contributions, including 25 April, 3rd Sitting – Support of the report of the 2020 Tax Commission 16 May, 6th Sitting – Equality in tax laws 4 June, 10th Sitting – An attack on […]

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Finance Bill Committee coming to an end today

Today is the last day of the committee stage of this year’s Finance Bill. Details of all stages may be found here. I confess I look forward to it being over. I have been on the Committee since 23 April, making a sincere attempt to scrutinise every clause and promote my constituents’ interests. I spoke frequently, often criticising measures for one reason or another. I have certainly learned a great deal of the detail about the state of our country’s […]

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A judgment on tax avoidance

One of my colleagues passed on this quote regarding tax avoidance from about 80 years ago: Lord Clyde, President of the Court of Session, ruled: “No man in the country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel in his stores. “The Inland Revenue is not slow, and quite rightly, to take every advantage which is open […]

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John Hampden Grammar School receives lottery funding

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John Hampden Grammar School has been awarded a grant of £44,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a student-led project on the history of the school and its role in providing education in High Wycombe since 1893. My researcher, Tim Hewish, is a former pupil of the school and is especially looking forward to seeing the final result. In the Palace of Westminster, on the right as you enter Central Lobby from Westminster Hall, there is a statue of John Hampden […]

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