SIR PETER BOTTOMLEY: British policy and justice in practice

Sir Peter Bottomley
Sir Peter Bottomley

The great debate this week has been in the House of Lords in the two-day debate on the Second Reading of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

Each day 100 speeches of up to six minutes: I doubt there could be such quality in any other of the world’s legislatures.

It was a privilege to stand at the Bar of the Lords Chamber to hear some of them.

Next week it may be possible to draw out some of the most important points; I would like to send them to students at Worthing and district schools and colleges – they will live through the consequences of how well the other members of the European Union and we agree our future relationships in our islands, our continent and in our wider world.

This week I spoke with a large number of business women and men in trades related to the electrical contracting where I worked before election to Parliament.

In summary I said that the EU deal matters though what matters most are what we do anyway, preferably together.

From the early 1980s for twenty years, without changing international arrangements, the UK and Ireland managed to rise up most world rankings.

I said that most of our future well-being, our prosperity and happiness is for ourselves to determine.

On Tuesday, I joined Norman Fowler the Lords Speaker at the meeting on world leprosy organised by the British charity Lepra that for almost 100 years has been working to beat the disease that affects some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

It is curable. It can be made a disease of the past. For the millions already affected, it is possible to deal with the life-changing disability and the stigma.

I recall on my second visit to India shaking hands with fellow human beings in a leper colony.

Imagine being defined for life by a disease?

One of the gifts of Mother Teresa’s mother house in Calcutta which I also experienced that year was the nuns’ ability to embrace the whole person, no matter their mental or physical condition.

My big meeting on Monday was at the General Medical Council.

I share the concerns of nearly 10,000 doctors that the sad case of Jack Adcock should not lead to the decision to bar an above average doctor who had been left carrying the responsibilities of three doctors during a double shift.

The article in The Times by Matthew Syed on Wednesday describes the wider problem.

I do not want to cast aside the other victim, the caring doctor.

It is an additional feature that she is female and ethnic minority.

Another battle continues.

Fixed odds betting terminals in high street bookies have nothing to do with supporting horse racing.

£50 million a week is lost by people who mostly cannot afford the drain.

Let us hope government listen to the churches and other campaigners.

It is unjust to continue this scandal, even if some of the losses come in as taxation.


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