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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

THE NHS - MOTION TO TAKE NOTE

5 July 2018

Lord Darzi of Denham
moved that this House takes note of the creation of the National Health Service in 1948, and the case for integration of health, mental health, social and community care to equip the National Health Service for the next 70 years.     read on....

during the ensuing debate.....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, like every other speaker I am delighted to congratulate my noble friend Lord Darzi on the brilliant way that he introduced the debate. I thank him for the hundreds — probably thousands — of lives he has saved during his very distinguished career as a surgeon.

My contribution will focus on why treating tobacco dependency must be embedded throughout the plan that NHS England has committed to delivering in return for the additional £20 billion it has been allocated. The evidence for this ​is set out in a major new report published just last week by the Royal College of Physicians. I declare an interest as a long-standing officer of the All-Party Group on Smoking and Health.

read my contribution in full.....

LORDS' DIARY


In the 2 July edition of The House Magazine, I write about attending the annual Civic Service held in Worcester Cathedral, where both the incoming mayor and his deputy are members of the Muslim faith, and when the Dean extended a welcome to the city's first purpose built mosque.

I also commented on the recent debate in Westminster Hall on the abolition of the House of Lords, and the positive support shown by many of the speakers from the House of Commons.

Finally, having attended the 2018 British Transport Police "Make the Difference" Award Ceremony, I commend the bravery and dedication shown by the British Transport Police.

You can read my contribution to Lords' Diary in The House Magazine by clicking here

THE HON SIR WILLIAM MCALPINE BT



13 May 2018

Was asked to pay tribute at the memorial service held for Sir William McAlpine at his home at Fawley Hill which was attended by some 1500 people.

Sir William McAlpine, the 6th Baronet, who died on the 4th of March, was a director of the family construction firm who indulged his passion for steam railways, constructing a full-scale line in the grounds of his Buckinghamshire home and is remembered for rescuing the locomotive Flying Scotsman.

Read more about Sir William McAlpine

Read the tribute which I paid

COTSWOLD LINE PROMOTION GROUP

12 May 2018:

The 40th Annual General Meeting of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group heard that there had been welcome signs of improvements in the reliability and punctuality of services on the route after several months of cancellations and delays to trains.

The group’s chairman, John Ellis, told more than 90 members at the meeting held in Moreton-in-Marsh on Saturday, May 12, that the improvements came after a “serious deterioration in train performance” since the autumn of 2017.

During the meeting the GWR power car nameplate, commemorating the life of Sir Peter Parker and the Cotswold Line's 150th anniversary was presented.

In the picture are from left, GWR managing director Mark Hopwood, myself (CLPG president), GWR’s regional development manager Tom Pierpoint and Oxford, Didcot and Cotswold Line stations manager Claire King, with CLPG chairman John Ellis.

During the meeting I was presented with honorary life membership of the group.

Read the report of the AGM

SCRAP METAL DEALERS ACT 2013

10 May 2018: Question for Short Debate

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government what was the outcome of their review of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

"My Lords, I start by expressing my appreciation for all noble Lords and the right reverend Prelate who will be contributing to this short debate, particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Browning, for she was the sponsor of the Private Member’s Bill that became the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.....

Noble Lords may recall that at that time there were almost daily reports of lead being stolen from church roofs, metal plaques being stolen from war memorials, manhole covers disappearing, signalling cables being ripped from our railway lines, the theft of which led to trains being delayed for thousands of hours, and in one case in Dulwich, a complete metal sculpture being ripped off its plinth. The number of metal theft offences recorded by the police in England and Wales peaked at just under 63,000 in 2012-13. The Act came into force in October 2013. As well as making it illegal to pay cash for scrap metal, it set out ID check requirements and gave the enforcement authorities, such as the police and the Environment Agency in England and the Natural Resources Body for Wales, powers of inspection and access to premises. A scrap metal dealer was required to hold and display a licence issued by the relevant local authority. The lead for tackling ​metal theft was taken by the British Transport Police, who built on the success of Operation Tornado. That started as a pilot in January 2012 and required scrap metal dealers to request identification for every cash sale—such sales were, of course, legal until December 2012....."

Read my contribution in full

Read complete debate

WINDRUSH GENERATION - STATEMENT

24 April 2018

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

My Lords, with the leave of the House I will repeat a Statement made in the other place by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary.

“From the late 1940s to the early 1970s, many people came to this country from around the Commonwealth to make their lives here and help to rebuild Britain after the war. All Members will have seen the recent heart-breaking stories of individuals who have been in this country for decades struggling to navigate an immigration system in a way that they should never, ever have had to. These people worked here for decades. In many cases, they helped to establish the NHS. They paid their taxes and enriched our culture. They feel British in all but legal status, and this should never have been allowed to happen. Both the Prime Minister and I have apologised to those affected, and I am personally committed to resolving this situation with urgency and purpose...."

Read the Statement

during the debate which followed

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, I want to underline what the noble Lord, Lord Kerslake, said about the role of David Lammy MP and the Guardian newspaper, in particular the work of Amelia Gentleman in bringing this whole matter to light over the past few weeks. I feel bound to say that someone in the Home Office should have taken the trouble to read the debate on Windrush that we had in Grand Committee on 18 January, when I first raised the question of Paulette Wilson and Anthony Bryan, both of whom had been threatened with deportation. In the case of Mr Bryan, he was given an air ticket to go back to a country he had not lived in since he was a child, while Paulette Wilson was taken to Yarl’s Wood detention centre and obviously treated like a criminal. Had some notice been taken then—following the campaign led by the Guardian and David Lammy—we would have come to where we are today very much sooner.

Having said that, I am delighted that we are where we are. I should like the Minister to confirm that the culture inside the Home Office and the immigration department will change as a result of the Home Secretary’s statement yesterday. There are terrible reports of immigration officers playing a game in which they catch people in what is known as a “Gotcha culture”. When they think they have found an illegal immigrant, they mark it up as a victory. That sort of talk and ​action can no longer be tolerated. Can she give an assurance that that will stop? Also, can we now begin to have a proper debate on and give full recognition to the importance we attach to the immigrants among us? We are all immigrants in one way or another, so we should move away from the blame culture and xenophobic attitude which is colouring so much of our public debate.

read the debate in full

WINDRUSH GENERATION

23 April 2018

Baroness Benjamin asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to make reparations for the harm and distress caused to the Windrush generation.

During the debate...

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, is the Minister aware that on 18 January, on a Motion from the noble Baroness, Lady Berridge, the Grand Committee of your Lordships’ House debated the centenary of the arrival of the merchant vessel “Empire Windrush”? In that debate, I raised the cases of Paulette Wilson and Anthony Bryan and asked the noble Lord, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, if he could reply to me about the way in which they had been treated. Not surprisingly, he passed the letter to the Home Office, and on 11 April—almost three months afterwards—I got a letter from the Immigration Minister in which she said that the Home Office had acted appropriately based on the evidence. Would the Minister like to revise that view and possibly offer the apology to these two people, and the others, which I asked for in the debate?

Baroness Williams of Trafford

My Lords, herein lies the issue the noble Lord has highlighted. I think the two cases he refers to were dealt with appropriately. However, what was deemed as, perhaps, a blip in the system is actually a far more systemic problem that ​needs to be dealt with. I had not been aware that the debate had taken place, but certainly this is a generation of people whose status now needs to be regularised and regularised quickly.

Read debate in full

FEDECRAIL CONFERENCE 2018


Speech I gave at the Fedecrail 2018 conference in Edinburgh on 20 April

"We British have a rather complicated relationship with our railways. Our 19th century Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli prophesied that “The railways will do as much for mankind as the monasteries."

The relationship can sometimes be a bit hostile, particularly when things go wrong. But it’s generally pretty positive, and evidence of that has been the extraordinary growth in the number of passengers on our trains – doubled over the last 10 years, with totals now higher than at any time since the 1920s.

The railway created by our 19th century ancestors has never ceased to play a vital role in the life of our country – whether it’s the standardisation of time, the development of seaside resorts, giving working people the opportunity to take holidays, the invention of commuting, allowing people to live in pleasant suburbs some distance from their places of work and travel in each day, essential logistical support in times of war, and right up to today when they provide popular and environmentally friendly alternatives to carbon emitting gas guzzling short haul aircraft and unnecessary car driving.

We take a particular pride in their history, and that is one reason why our heritage railways are popular and successful. The public seem to appreciate the services that they provide, as the around 11 million visitors and 8 million passengers a year on these railways and tramways. I’ll say more about the contribution they make to our tourist and regional economies in a moment...."

Read the speech in full

NATIONAL KAOHSIUNG CENTRE FOR THE ARTS

Friday 13 April 2018

Spoke at a function hosted by the Taipei Representative Office in London to mark the launch of the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts, which will be opening in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in October, said to be the largest concert and theatre complex in the world with four auditoriums.

Read my speech here

REOPENING OF BROADWAY STATION

Friday 30 March 2018



In my role as President of the HRA I was charged with the task of formally reopening Broadway station on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway.

The commemorative plaque shown in the image will be on display in the waiting room.

On Good Friday, 30 March 2018, the golden age of steam returned to Broadway, 58 years after the last train pulled out of its picturesque old station.

Broadway's station was demolished by British Rail in 1963. Since 2009 volunteer workers of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) have been painstakingly rebuilding the station and restoring it to its former glory. Read more by following this link

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.

KIDDERMINSTER RAILWAY MUSEUM



Wednesday 3 January 2018



At Kidderminster Railway Museum (as chairman of the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board) handing over to the curator of the museum the special Kidderminster station sign produced in gold to commemorate the town’s Olympic gold medal winners.

On 27 October 2017 I also presented a similar sign for Kidderminster station to the National Railway Museum in York, in honour of Team GB Paralympian swimmer Claire Cashmore

See Golden History for London Midland

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