WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE!


I set up this personal website over nine years ago to present a simple account of what I do.
Parliamentary Questions and Debates catalogues my work in the House of Lords.

You can also read about my other interests and various issues which concern me.

Richard Faulkner / House of Lords / London SW1A 0PW

LETTER IN THE SUN

16 February 2018

The following letter from Lord Faulkner of Worcester was published in The Sun on 16 February in response to its editorial criticising the House of Lords the previous day.

"While I strongly disagree with your criticism of the qualities of members of the House of Lords (“Lord help us” 15/2/2018) - amongst them are some of the most distinguished and successful men and women in Britain - I would point out that we all agree about the need to reduce the size of the House, and I hope we can do so well in advance of repairs to Parliament.

The House of Lords recently endorsed the recommendations of the Burns Committee to reduce its own size to 600 members – fewer than the House of Commons - and as soon as the Government indicate that they too will support the proposals we will start the process of reducing the numbers in our House."

UK SUSTAINABLE RAILWAY MISSION TO TAIWAN


January 2018:

Led by Lord Faulkner, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Taiwan, a UK sustainable railway mission visited Taiwan from 29 to 30 January to promote the UK’s capability in the operation and maintenance of railway and metro networks.

Made up of 19 experts representing 14 British companies as well as a UK representative from Rail Industry Association(RIA), this mission was part of the “Innovation is GREAT” campaign launched by the British Office last October to introduce innovative British technologies and services to Taiwan.

Steve Firstbrook, head of international trade and investment at the British Office in Taipei, accompanied the delegation, and can be seen in the image to the left on a visit to the disused Old Mountain Railway organised by Peter Lin (also pictured) of the Taiwan Railway Authority.



Read more about the trade mission on the gov.uk website

PRESENTATION OF SILVER MODEL OF "CHANNEL PACKET" TO NATIONAL RAILWAY MUSEUM



23 January 2018

I was delighted to be instrumental in finding a new home for a model of the Merchant Navy class "Channel Packet" presented to the grandfather of Lord Brabazon of Tara.

The image shows the presentation in the Lords on 23 January with Andrew McLean (curator and deputy director of the National Railway Museum) receiving from Lord Brabazon the silver model of the Merchant Navy class “Channel Packet” which was presented by the Southern Railway at Eastleigh works to Lord Brabazon’s grandfather in 1941.

The Rt Hon John Moore-Brabazon was minister of transport in the wartime coalition.

The presentation came about as a result of the present Lord Brabazon asking me if I could suggest a permanent new home, as he and his wife have moved into a smaller house.

The National Railway Museum were more than happy to accept it.

MV “EMPIRE WINDRUSH”

18 January 2018: Question for Short Debate

Baroness Berridge
asked Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the arrival of MV Empire Windrush.

during the course of the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Berridge, on securing this debate and on her excellent speech, every word of which I agreed with. I am delighted to pay my tribute to our friends from Jamaica and other parts of the West Indies who chose to make their hope in the United Kingdom, and to thank them, their children and their grandchildren for the huge contribution that they have made to the well-being and enrichment of our nation. We think particularly of nurses in hospitals, staff on our public transport and in all our public services, artists and musicians, high-achieving sports men and women, and, more recently, trade union leaders and Members in the House of Commons and this House. It is a privilege to share the speakers list this afternoon with such distinguished Members of this House, particularly those with Caribbean origin. My noble friend Lady Lawrence of Clarendon had hoped to take part, but has been prevented from doing so by a church commitment.

Alongside so much good will and positive feeling towards people whose origins are in the Caribbean, I hope I may be forgiven for striking a slightly discordant note by raising the question of how the Home Office is treating a number of long-settled, retirement-age UK residents of Caribbean origin. One particular case—there are others—is that of a 61 year-old lady, called Paulette Wilson, who lives in Wolverhampton. She came to Britain from Jamaica in 1968 and was initially looked after by her grandparents. She went to primary and secondary school and has a British daughter and grandchild. She worked and paid taxes here for most of her life, and at one stage she worked as a cook in the House of Commons.

Under the terms of the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain. Paulette Wilson never applied for a passport because she assumed she would not need one if she did not intend to travel abroad. One day, she got a letter from the Home Office telling her to register each month at the Solihull immigration centre. While she was there on a visit, officials declared that she was an illegal immigrant, had her carted off to the appalling Yarl’s Wood immigration removal complex and told her that she would be deported—presumably back to Jamaica, which she had not visited since she left as a child almost 50 years before. Fortunately, Paulette’s MP—Emma Reynolds—and the Refugee and Migrant Centre in Wolverhampton both intervened. At last, she has now been given leave to remain, although she has lost benefits for the past two years, as well as her flat, and has to rely on financial support from her daughter.

read contribution in full

CRIMINAL JUSTICE (SCOTLAND) ACT 2016 (CONSEQUENTIAL PROVISIONS) ORDER 2017

10 January 2018: Motion to Approve

Lord Duncan of Springbank
moved that the draft Order laid before the House on 13 September 2017 be approved.

during the course of the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, in opening the debate, the Minister referred to the degree of opposition to this proposal in this House. He was not wrong in that. He could also have mentioned the degree of opposition in the Scottish Parliament, most particularly among his colleagues in the Conservative ​Party, who are on record as opposing this proposal most vigorously, particularly Ruth Davidson. He could have included the Liberal Democrats and the Labour opposition in the Scottish Parliament as well. But above all, he should have mentioned the opposition of the British Transport Police and the British Transport Police Authority. When it gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament in March, it said that dealing with fatalities, for example, could take 50% longer under the new plans, and that,

“there is well-defined evidence that a non-specialist force is less able to provide the consistent levels of service that a dedicated policing commitment can offer”.

Decades of experience of dealing with IRA threats would be lost, and the work that the BTP undertakes as the lead authority on scrap metal theft across the whole of Great Britain would also be lost if this proposal went through.

Fortunately, there is an opportunity for the Scottish Parliament to think again about the model of devolution which it is putting forward. Indeed, it would have been helpful if this House had passed the amendment which a number of us tabled almost exactly two years ago, which made it clear that, while we were not opposed to devolution of transport policing in Scotland, that devolution should be on the basis that a force linked to the British Transport Police should be the agency that carries it out. I spoke to the chief constable of the British Transport Police, and he is entirely happy with that. Indeed, in its evidence to the Scottish Parliament the BTP said that it is happy to have a direct relationship with Scottish Ministers and with Holyrood. If it is necessary to change the name of the force in Scotland, for the reasons that the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, referred to, that is possible—there is no reason why it should not be called “Transport Police Scotland” or “Scotland Transport Police”. Nobody is hung up on the name of the British Transport Police. What matters is that the job is done properly and in the most effective way.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean

The noble Lord says that nobody is hung up on the name of the British Transport Police, but the Scottish National Party is.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

The noble Lord is of course absolutely right.

I will finish by picking up one of the points that the noble Lord made and adding to it. He referred to the no-detriment principle in the Smith commission report. Principle 5 of that report says that the package of powers agreed through the Smith commission process should,

“not cause detriment to the UK as a whole nor to any of its constituent parts”.

It is evident that there is a financial implication. There is also an implication for travellers travelling between England and Scotland, who will suffer a detriment, as a number of speakers in this debate have indicated. Therefore, when the Minister goes back to talk to the Scottish Government, he must take seriously the need for that no-detriment principle to be applied and impress on them that it certainly applies in this case.

HOUSE OF LORDS: LORD SPEAKER'S COMMITTEE REPORT

19 December 2017: Motion to Take Note:

Lord Burns moved that this House takes note of the Report of the Lord Speaker’s committee on the size of the House.

During the course of the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

"My Lords, I have known the noble Lord, Lord Burns, for some 30 years as a friend and I have always admired his ability to win people over by the power of persuasion. That quality he and his fellow committee members have shown in abundance with this brilliant report, and I, like other speakers in this debate, congratulate them.

My most earnest hope is that this report will not go the same way as an earlier Burns report on another British institution, which in that case was oversized, outdated, unrepresentative and predominantly white, male and middle-class. I am referring, of course, to the English Football Association. Despite early indications in 2006 that the recommendations of the noble Lord, Lord Burns, were to be accepted in full, so little progress was made that the noble Lord appeared in ​front of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee five years on, and the report in the Guardian of that session carried the headline:

“Lord Burns accuses FA of losing plot over regulation.”

As numerous speakers in this debate have already said, this may be the last opportunity we have to address the challenges facing this place, and I urge us not to lose the plot...."

... continue reading this contribution


PAINTING POWER: THE ART OF TERENCE CUNEO


12 December 2017:

In my capacity as Deputy Chair of the Science Museum Group, I was invited to open a wide-ranging exhibition of Cuneo's art, this being the University of Hull's final contribution to Hull's year as the UK City of Culture 2017.

Curated by Science Museum group director Ian Blatchford, and Chief Curator of the National Railway Museum, Andrew McLean, the exhibition explores Cuneo's portrayal of power through the Science Museum Group's collection of his work and from rarely seen loan material.

Amongst the exhibits was the painting shown entitled "Giants refreshed: Pacifics in the Doncaster Locomotive Works", courtesy of the Doncaster Heritage Services © the estate of Terence Cuneo/ Bridgeman Images

Read what I said in opening the exhibition

Further information about visiting the exhibition can be found at Painting Power: the art of Terence Cuneo

SURPRISE INSPECTION OF MALVERN SCRAP DEALERS


Friday 17 November: Police joined forces with the Environmental Agency and Worcestershire County Council’s regulatory services for a surprise inspection of two Malvern scrap dealers.

The officers were joined on their mission by Lord Faulkner of Worcester, a guiding force behind the passing of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, which outlawed the cash sales of scrap metal.

Lord Faulkner said he was delighted to take part. He said: “This year’s increases in the prices of copper and other metals meant that metal theft is growing, so the need for enforcement of the laws and regulations controlling scrap metal dealing is needed more than ever.

“The increasing rate of metal theft has prompted me to call for a Parliamentary debate in the New Year.”

Read article in Worcester News

SCRAP METAL DEALERS ACT 2013

2 November 2017: Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness and enforcement of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con)

The Government have conducted a review of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 to assess whether it has met its intended objectives and whether it should be retained or repealed. A report of the findings of this review will be published later this year.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)

I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. Only organised criminal gangs would like to see the Act repealed. It was immensely successful initially thanks to rigorous enforcement, led by the British Transport Police, and the work of the scrap metal task force.
Is she aware that in the past two years, from the second half of 2016 and through this year, the incidence of theft has been growing again, particularly of high-value items, through the work of organised gangs? The increase is due also to the rise in the value of scrap metal—for example, copper is now worth more than £5,000 per tonne.
Should not the Act be strengthened and the task force reconstituted?

Read debate in full

RAILWAYS: RELIABILITY

31 October 2017: Baroness Randerson asked Her Majesty’s Government what measures they intend to take to improve the reliability of railway services.

During the debate..... Lord Faulkner of Worcester

I join other noble Lords in thanking the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, for securing this very interesting debate. I too welcome the Minister to her first railway debate. I am sure there will be many more and I hope she will be here to take part in those as well. There can be no one in your Lordships’ House who disagrees with the aspiration to improve the quality of Britain’s rail services....

We have had a number of briefings for this debate. I particularly commend that of the Railway Industry Association, which points out that passenger numbers have doubled in the last 20 years, that the rail industry employs 240,000 people and contributes £11 billion gross added value to the economy, and that with a vibrant rail industry at home, we are now again able, as we did in the past, to sell our railway expertise abroad.

Read my contribution in full

GOLDEN HISTORY FOR LONDON MIDLAND



In 2016, London Midland turned its station signs gold to mark the success of local heroes such as Megan Giglia and Jon-Allan Butterworth at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

On 27 October 2017 the sign at Kidderminster station, in honour of Team GB Paralympian swimmer Claire Cashmore, was handed over to Science Museum Deputy Chairman, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, to be displayed at the National Railway Museum in York.

The powers of the Railway Heritage Committee in designating objects with special heritage significance were passed to the Science Museum trustees in 2013, who are advised by the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board (RHDAB).



Read press release from London Midland

See Spotlight on Golden History for London Midland

BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE

19 October 2017: Lord Black of Brentwood moved the motion:

That this House takes note of the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele and of Her Majesty’s Government’s plans to commemorate it.

during the debate......

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

..... We have been reminded today about the horror that was Passchendaele and the unimaginable scale of the casualties on the allied and German sides. After the wettest summer for 30 years, the ground under foot was a quagmire, and the mud was so deep that men and horses drowned in it—described by Siegfried Sassoon in his heart-breaking poem, “Memorial Tablet”, quoted to such effect by the noble Lord, Lord Black, in his speech.

One soldier who fought at Passchendaele and survived was Harry Patch, who died in 2009 at the age of 111, the last British survivor of the trenches. I had the privilege of meeting him in Ypres the year before, when he paid his last visit to the Western Front. His Great War service was uncovered only in 2000, when he began to talk of his wartime experiences. He was an ardent spokesman for the promotion of peace, saying that war benefits no one but merely leaves individuals and families irretrievably scarred. He travelled back to the battlefields of Ypres regularly during the last decade of his life, and attended the “Last Post” ceremony at the Menin Gate, always promoting the same message: dialogue, rather than show of arms.

He agreed to meet a German veteran while in Ypres in 2006, and their coming together was a powerful symbol of reconciliation. I think that he would have agreed with David Lloyd George, about whom the noble Lord, Lord Lexden, spoke, when he described Passchendaele in his war memoirs as,
“one of the greatest disasters of the war... No soldier of any intelligence now defends this senseless campaign”.....

read contribution in full

RAILWAY HERITAGE EVENTS IN FERMANAGH

On 30 September 2017 the Headhunters Barber's Shop and Railway Museum in Enniskillen received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service , which was presented by the Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh, Viscount Brookeborough at Enniskillen Castle Museum.

Speaking at the event in my role as President of the Heritage Railway Association (HRA)

“Headhunters is a remarkable and unique establishment which offers a high quality barber’s shop service in a heritage railway museum environment. The collection of artefacts assembled there is without doubt the best in the county, and possibly in the whole of Northern Ireland. It is almost 60 years since Fermanagh and the surrounding area lost all their railway services and it is therefore imperative that local people and the thousands of people who visit Enniskillen as tourists have the opportunity to get a sense of what the railway was like. Headhunters manages to do that excellently.

“As with railway heritage projects across the United Kingdom, the key to Headhunters’ success as a museum lies with its volunteers. It is hard to think of a more worthy candidate for this prestigious award.”

Earlier in the year the museum had received an award from the HRA at their annual dinner in February

See more news and images here

During my visit to Fermanagh I also made a speech at the opening of Fermanagh & Omagh District Council’s launch of the council’s “Each a Glimpse and Gone Forever – Fermanagh’s Railway Story” exhibition at Fermanagh County Museum in Enniskillen Castle. This exhibition marked the 60th anniversary of the closure of all railway lines in the north west of the island of Ireland.

Read the speech I gave at the launch of the exhibition here

ALISHAN FOREST RAILWAY, TAIWAN



At the end of September I visited Taiwan as President of the Heritage Railway Association (HRA), but also in the position I hold as the British Government's Trade Envoy to Taiwan.

I represented the HRA at the signing of a friendship agreement between the Alishan Forest Railway and the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway on 28 September.

Those shown in the image are L to R - Lord Shutt of Greetland (vice chair parliamentary all-party heritage rail group),

Steve Clews (chair of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway),

Steve Firstbrook (head international trade and investment, British Office, Taiwan),

Michael Reilly (former British representative in Taipei and now secretary of the W&LLR).

Article in Taiwan Today

REAPPOINTMENT AS TRADE ENVOY TO TAIWAN

31 July 2017:

I was honoured to receive a letter from the Rt. Hon. Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State at the Department for International Trade, inviting me to continue in the role of Trade Envoy to Taiwan

Read the letter in full here

PRINCE HENRY'S HIGH SCHOOL SPEECH DAY 2017



At the end of June I was delighted to be invited by the Head at Prince Henry's High School in Evesham, Worcestershire, to present the prizes at their Speech Day.

This was a return visit, having previously visited the school in January as a representative of the Lord Speaker’s Peers in Schools programme

You can read the speech I gave here

More photos from Prince Henry's High School Speech Day can be found by linking to the school website

RAILWAYS: NORTHERN ENGLAND

10 July 2017: Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty’s Government what support they are giving to connecting communities and economies in the north of England by the re-opening of railway lines.

during the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)
My Lords, I remind the House of my railway interests in the register. The Minister will be struck by the support that exists all over the House for the reopening of rural railway lines. Can I draw his attention to the Report by the Association of Train Operating Companies in 2009, which looked at communities with more than 15,000 inhabitants, and at the potential for reopening services where they used to exist? There were 14 lines of the highest priority where there was either an existing freight line or a disused line. No Government have yet acted on that report, so will the Minister now please have a look at it?

LOCAL ARTS & CULTURAL SERVICES - QUESTION FOR SHORT DEBATE

30 March 2017: The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they intend to take to protect and improve local arts and cultural services, including museums, libraries and archaeological services.

during the debate...

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: ....... I declare an unpaid interest as chair of a charity called Worcester Live, which is the main provider of the arts in the city. ....

Worcester Live exists for three reasons. First, it receives generous core funding support from Worcester City Council, which, per head of population, probably contributes more to the arts than any other district council. Secondly, it has a small number of wonderful individual benefactors, trusts and patrons. Thirdly, its productions and events are well-supported by local residents.

However, Worcester Live gets not a penny from the Arts Council, and that means that its finances are constantly on a knife edge. In my view, a disproportionate amount of arts money goes to London, and a huge percentage of it goes to classical music in one form or another—orchestras, opera and ballet—and to flagship ​venues, a point made earlier by the noble Baroness, Lady Murphy. I am far from convinced that the balance is entirely right, and I would like the Arts Council to recognise the value to local communities outside the south-east of popular non-elitist organisations such as the one that I am involved with.......

read contribution in full

see also item in Worcester News

DISABLED ACCESS: PUBLIC PREMISES

15 March 2017: Baroness Deech asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve accessibility for disabled people to public premises.

during the debate.....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)
My Lords, is the Minister aware that a significant number of Premier League football clubs will fail to honour the commitment that they gave in 2015 to make all their stadia disabled accessible by August 2017? Will he remind them that Section 20 of the 2010 Act is not an option but is mandatory? Will the Government empower the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to enforce the law and make sure that accessible stadia guidelines are observed?

to which Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth responded:
My Lords, the noble Lord is absolutely right and I know that he has raised this issue many times before. Some are of course stepping up to the plate and some are not. Some are partly there. I mention my own club, Leicester City, which I hope will do a bit more but is already part of the way there. I take the point seriously. I will write to him on his second point about enforcement because I am not sure where we are on that, but I agree that we need to keep their feet to the fire to make sure that they are performing.