House of Commons
21st January 2015
Notices of Motions for which no days have been fixed
('Early Day Motions')
The figure following this symbol is the number of Members who have added their names in support of the Motion, including the Member in charge of the Motion.
After an Early Day Motion (EDM) has been printed for the first time, it is only reprinted when names are added or amendments tabled; only the first six names and any names added since the last printing are included. After the week in which a Motion is first printed and the following week, added names and amendments appear only in a separate paper, Mature EDMs, distributed the next Thursday. In the meantime, they are available for inspection by Members in the Table Office and the Library or on the EDM database at edmi.parliament.uk
674 HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 12:1:15
That this House notes that on 27 January 2015 the UK will observe Holocaust Memorial Day, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, where an estimated 1.1 million people were murdered; commemorates the six million victims of the Holocaust; further notes that the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2015 is Keeping the Memory Alive; further notes the significance of 2015 as it marks 70 years since the end of the Holocaust and the liberation of the concentration camps; pays tribute to the commitment of Holocaust survivors who share their experiences with young people across the country; acknowledges the importance of the Holocaust Educational Trust's work in schools across the UK and in particular the Lessons from Auschwitz project, which has so far given over 25,000 students and teachers the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau; also pays tribute to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for organising the 2015 national Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration; further notes that a Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment will be placed in the corridor between the Members' Cloakroom and Members' Staircase; and urges all right hon. and hon. Members to sign that Book and observe the day, so that the appalling events of the Holocaust are always understood by future generations.
675 NON-PAYMENT OF DAIRY FARMERS 12:1:15
That this House notes with grave concern that more than 1,000 British dairy farmers will not be paid for their milk from 12 January 2015 because of a financial crisis at the dairy co-operative First Milk; further notes that all farmers' payments will be delayed by a fortnight; further notes that NFU said in December that the number of dairy farmers had dipped below 10,000 for the first time, a 50 per cent fall since 2001; further notes that pint for pint, milk is now cheaper than mineral water in most supermarkets and that the recent milk price cuts, from most processors, have had a significant impact with some farmers now facing their lowest milk price since 2007, at around 11.4p per litre; further notes that farm costs remain about 36 per cent higher than they were eight years ago and the single largest cost component of a dairy farm, animal feed, is more than 50 per cent higher than 2007 levels; supports farmers in their attempts to work together to secure a better deal from large processors and retailers; calls on the Government to enable farmers to work collectively; urges First Milk to speak to its suppliers; and further urges Ministers to take action against processors and retailers who unfairly offer very low prices which severely disadvantage farmers.
678 NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY 2015 12:1:15
That this House welcomes Bite The Ballot's second annual National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) on 5 February 2015, supported by Open Society Foundations, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy, Hogan Lovells LLP and others, which aims to encourage 250,000 new electors to join the electoral register; praises the NVRD 2014 campaign which encouraged over 50,000 people to register to vote at a cost per registration of £0.25; acknowledges the Government's commitment to get more young people and other under-represented groups to register during the transition to Individual Electoral Registration; further welcomes the move to online registration and that over 36 million people have been successfully matched and automatically added to the new register; believes that with millions of voters still missing from the register, in order to deliver its commitment to maximising registration, the Government must now do more to encourage, support and promote the NVRD annual day of action that involves youth clubs, community groups, educational establishments and businesses across the UK registering people to vote; recognises that this initiative is supported by the APPG on Voter Registration and the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, with unanimous all-party support from members of both Houses and the devolved legislatures; and strongly urges the Government, the Cabinet Office, the Electoral Commission, local authorities, valuation joint boards and local electoral registration officers to fully recognise the importance of NVRD in creating an engaged and inspired young electorate.
679 ACCESS TO LEGAL AID 12:1:15
That this House welcomes the legal challenge by Rights of Women on the lawfulness of the Government's changes to access to legal aid which prevents victims of domestic abuse from accessing legal aid for family cases, even where there has been violence or ongoing risk of violence; notes that legal aid is a lifeline for victims of domestic abuse; further notes that legal aid enables victims to escape abusive relationships, protect their children and manage their financial situations; further notes that two women are killed each week as a result of domestic abuse; and calls on the Government to enable victims of domestic abuse to access legal remedies so they can safely leave violent relationships.
680 AIRBUS A350 XWB 12:1:15
That this House congratulates Airbus and its launch customer Qatar Airways on the entering into service of the Airbus A350 XWB, the aircraft with already 778 orders; notes that this will help secure over 10,000 jobs at Broughton and Bristol and many more in the supplier chain including Rolls Royce and small and medium-sized enterprises; further notes that this is one of the quietest and most fuel-efficient aircraft in service; and recognises that this demonstrates the best of British design and manufacturing.
681 BLACK FRIDAY 13:1:15
That this House criticises large retailers who chose to adopt the American retail custom of Black Friday on the day after the American Thanksgiving holiday and at the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season; notes that the huge discounts led to scenes of disorder in some stores as many police had to attend to prevent or break up fights in stores, whilst other stores were forced to close; further notes with concern the safety risk that this custom poses; further notes that many shoppers suffered injuries due to the level of public disorder caused by this event; recognises the importance of police time and the unnecessarily high demands that Black Friday is placing on it; sympathises with police officers who have expressed frustrations including Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, who said that officers have enough to do already; and calls on all UK retailers not to mark this event in 2015 or again.
682 PROPOSED REDUCTIONS IN FUNDING FOR THE LIBRARY OF BIRMINGHAM 13:1:15
That this House notes with great concern the plans to severely cut the funding available to the Library of Birmingham, which would result in the loss of more than half of the library's staff and many of its services, including the loss of archive and research facilities; observes that Birmingham City Council's funding from central Government has been cut heavily over the course of the current Government, and that poorer cities such as Birmingham have received a disproportionately heavy share of spending cuts; condemns the decision to cut Birmingham's funding by an amount equivalent to £147 per household this year, compared to the national average of just £45; does not see why the citizens of Birmingham should have their library services destroyed in an attempt to cut a deficit that was caused by paying for the gambling debts of bankers, not by supporting essential cultural services for UK citizens; encourages the Government to take serious and concerted action to reclaim for the Exchequer the many billions of public funds which are currently lost to corporate tax avoidance; strongly supports the attempt to find alternate ways to keep the library open and maintain it as a centre of excellence, and wishes this campaign every success; believes that the whole of the UK would be the poorer without its world-class libraries, which play a vital role in education and research; and calls on the Government to urgently reconsider its ongoing slashing of local government funding.
As an Amendment to Mr Roger Godsiff's proposed Motion (Proposed Reductions In Funding For The Library Of Birmingham):
Line3, leave out 'observes' in line 3 to end and add 'observes that Birmingham City Council's funding from central government has been cut heavily over the course of the current Government and faces further cuts whether Conservatives, Labour or Liberal Democrats are in power; further observes that the Council also faces severe financial problems as a result of the payments required to deal with equal pay; regrets the financial errors of government from 2005 to 2008 in exacerbating the difficulties in the public sector; believes that all parties should review the future of local government finance and ensure that other government spending in either ring-fenced departments or non-ring-fenced departments should be reviewed from a public benefit and value for money comparative basis; supports proposals to ensure that reductions in central support operate on the basis of equivalence in terms of spending power reduction; further supports the Government's efforts to increase the tax take by more effective tax collection; strongly supports the attempt to find alternative ways to keep the library open; and further believes that local libraries are also important facilities not to be ignored.'. 19:1:15(a1)
683 NHS PRIVATISATION AND BEDFORD HOSPITAL TRUST AND CIRCLE GROUP 13:1:15
That this House notes with concern that Bedford Hospital Trust is refusing to sign a contract with a private healthcare provider, Circle group, over fears this will affect its trauma service; further notes that since the Circle group took over Bedfordshire's £120 million Musculoskeletal Service, Bedford Hospital Trust has seen a 30 per cent reduction in referrals; believes that if this trend were to continue it would not only undermine the ability of A&E to see and admit trauma patients, but also its ability to pay and retain consultants; also records that as part of the proposed contract, Circle would not pay the hospital its full fee for physiotherapy appointments, which would mean an additional loss to that department of the order of £90k per year; does not subscribe to the mantra enunciated by Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and other CCGs around the country that the best way to drive efficiency and innovation is through patient choice when this means siphoning off profits for private health providers to boost investor returns, further depleting already scarce resources; calls on the Secretary of State for Health to seek much-needed efficiencies and integration through a model such as that employed in Sweden, where hospitals, GPs and community services work in one team and with one set of data, without the intervention of the private sector employed at premium rates to further erode existing service provision.
686 NHS PRIVATISATION AND PATIENT SAFETY IN PRIVATE HOSPITALS 13:1:15
That this House views with the gravest concern the findings of a recent report published by the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI), including figures obtained from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) showing that just over 800 patients died unexpectedly in private hospitals in England between October 2010 and April 2014, and there were more than 900 serious injuries; agrees with the report which makes an unequivocal case for transparency in making hospitals safer; notes that currently it is not possible to compare data side-by-side from NHS and private hospitals for death rates or complications such as infections; believes the same level of scrutiny, regulation and protection of patients' safety should be afforded to private patients as for NHS patients; further notes that private hospitals now receive 28 per cent of their income from treating NHS patients, with the report confirming that the NHS serves as a safety net for the private sector, with over 2,600 emergency NHS admissions from the private sector in 2012-13; does not see why the taxpayer should carry this burden while private hospitals and their shareholders make a profit from people who are ill; and calls on the Secretary of State for Health to carry out a review of the nature and cost of admissions to the NHS from private hospitals and to give the NHS the powers to recoup costs resulting from a failure by a private hospital.
687 SAFE STAFFING ON HOSPITAL WARDS 13:1:15
That this House welcomes the Safe Staffing Alliance Manifesto which emphasises that patient safety is compromised significantly when the ratio of eight patients to each registered nurse, excluding the nurse in charge, is breached, and that even the ratio of seven patients to each registered nurse results in care being missed; notes its recommendation that safe nurse/patient ratios should be enforced and its finding that 45 per cent of hospital wards have unsafe staff levels; acknowledges that poor care does not only cost more, but causes more complications and deaths; and therefore calls on the Government to implement a transparent fundamental standard which should ensure that each hospital ward is staffed safely and never reaches the unsafe ratio of 1:8.
688 PAEDIATRIC FIRST AID TRAINING FOR PRE-SCHOOL AND NURSERY STAFF 13:1:15
That this House welcomes the Department for Education's review of paediatric first aid training for nursery staff across England following the tragic case of Millie Thompson, who passed away aged nine months after a choking incident at a nursery school in Cheadle; notes that Millie's case has exposed loopholes in current regulation; further notes that over 100,000 people signed an e-petition requesting a change to the law; pays tribute to Joanne and Dan Thompson and all their supporters for setting up Millie's Trust and campaigning for a positive legacy; and calls on the Government to introduce a requirement for all relevant pre-school and nursery staff to receive paediatric first aid training.
690 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN SRI LANKA 14:1:15
That this House congratulates the people of Sri Lanka following the recent presidential elections, which will serve as a positive step for democracy in Sri Lanka; calls on all parties to allow for a peaceful transition of power following the victory of Maithripala Sirisena; and further calls on President Sirisena to launch a full and thorough investigation into crimes committed by any party in the recent conflict, and to build bridges with the Tamil community of Sri Lanka.
691 OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY JOBS 14:1:15
That this House notes with concern that one of the consequences of the falling oil price is the pressure this is putting on many businesses in the North East of Scotland; recognises the importance of the North Sea oil and gas industry in keeping export-earning businesses and the associated supply chain anchored to the UK; further notes the risk of losing valuable expertise from the UK as a result of job cuts; and calls on the Government to work with North Sea businesses to help them retain jobs and skills during this downturn.
693 GP WAITING TIMES 14:1:15
That this House recognises the fantastic work done by local GPs and other practice staff; notes the importance to a patient of seeing a GP at their local surgery in a timely manner; praises the Government for restoring named GPs for patients who are aged over 75 years; and urges the Government to ensure that a patient can see their GP within a week and, in the case of patients with managed chronic conditions, enable them to schedule future regular appointments at the end of their current appointment.
695 SOCIAL SECURITY (S. I., 2014, No. 3270) 15:1:15
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Social Fund Winter Fuel Payment (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I., 2014, No. 3270), dated 10 December 2014, a copy of which was laid before this House on 15 December, be annulled.
696 LONDON MATHEMATICAL SOCIETY 150TH ANNIVERSARY 15:1:15
That this House congratulates the London Mathematical Society on reaching its 150th anniversary; notes that the inaugural meeting of the London Mathematical Society was held at University College, London at eight o'clock on 16 January 1865, at which Professor Augustus De Morgan was elected as its first President; further notes that a commemorative event will be held on 16 January 2015 at Goldsmiths' Hall, London entitled Mathematics: Unlocking Worlds; further notes that this 150th Anniversary celebration will be addressed by mathematicians at the cutting-edge of mathematics research and further notes that it will showcase the exciting ways in which mathematics touches so many parts of people's daily lives; and applauds the London Mathematical Society for its commitment to the idea that mathematics is for everyone and everybody uses it whether consciously or not.
699 DARK STAR BREWING COMPANY LETTER TO TESCO 15:1:15
That this House welcomes the letter sent by Dark Star Brewing Company to Tesco about some of the 43 stores Tesco is looking to close this year, offering to buy back some of them, and that they could be converted back into pubs; condemns the weak planning system currently in place which allows predatory purchasing of pubs and converting them into supermarkets without needing planning permission; notes the results of the research carried out by the Campaign for Real Ale that found supermarkets were responsible for two out of 31 pub closures per week between 2012 to 2014 in order to create more stores; believes that local communities, entrepreneurs, smaller breweries, and small pub companies should be allowed a say in seeking to protect much-valued local pubs; and supports the Pubs Matter campaign in its call to the Government to make the simple amendment to the General Permitted Development Order 1995 so that planning permission and consent from the local community is always required before any pubs can be demolished or converted in the future.
700 DISABLED ACCESS DAY 15:1:15
That this House gives its full support to Disabled Access Day on 17th January 2015, a fantastic initiative aiming to encourage the 11.6 million disabled people in the UK to visit somewhere new with their friends and families; praises Euan's Guide and all the organisers for the hard work that they have put into recruiting organisations and ensuring that the day will be a success, and for their continuous efforts to make information on disabled-accessible locations readily available; commends the over 200 companies and venues across the UK that have pledged their support for the initiative, including Buckingham Palace; recognises the importance of empowering disabled people so that they have the confidence to get out of their comfort zone and visit new places; and encourages more venues and facilities to consider how they could make their sites more accessible for disabled people.
701 IMPRISONMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS IN MAURITANIA 15:1:15
That this House condemns in the strongest possible terms the two year prison sentences given to three anti-slavery activists in Mauritania from the Haratin ethnic group, including 2013 UN Human Rights Prize laureate and 2014 Mauritanian Presidential runner-up Mr Biram Abeid, Mr Brahim Ould Bilal Ramdane and Djiby Sow; strongly supports the rights of these and other individuals to peacefully protest and work unhindered towards eradicating contemporary forms of slavery in Mauritania; is deeply concerned about the potential ramifications of such convictions on both the Mauritanian and global fight against contemporary forms of slavery, something to which the UK is a prominent leader; notes the reports that the defendants' non-governmental organisations (NGOs) headquarters have been forcibly closed since 12 November 2014; recognises the important role NGOs play in this regard; is dismayed about allegations of the defendants' pre-trial detention treatment, including sleep deprivation, denial of medical care and not being allowed family visits and of some detainees having been forced to sign false confessions; is therefore troubled by the multiple charges levelled against them and concerned that they may not have received a fair trial; and calls on the Government to urgently raise these cases with the Mauritanian government, to work with its EU partners in the country to bring an end to slavery and landowners' exploitation of marginalised sections of society, to raise this issue with the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and to push for much needed land reforms.
703 LGBT RIGHTS IN RUSSIA 16:1:15
That this House welcomes recent media reports that Russian officials have stated that their government will not unfairly prohibit transgender citizens from operating vehicles based purely on their self-defined gender identity; urges the Russian government to stay true to its word and continue to ensure that the transgender community is not excluded from driving due to characteristics that are completely unrelated to the ability to safely operate vehicles; and calls on the Russian government to end the restriction of freedoms and persecution of the LGBTQ community and instead work towards ensuring that all Russian citizens are given fair opportunities in all sectors of society.
704 BIG RIDE FROM EDINBURGH TO LONDON 16:1:15
That this House congratulates the organisers of the Big Ride, a sponsored cycle from Edinburgh to London in August which aims to raise aid for children in Gaza; believes that up to a thousand cyclists will take part and that £100,000 will be raised and donated to the Middle East Children's Alliance, a non-profit organisation working for the rights of children in the Middle East; notes that the money will be used to help support and rebuild children's lives damaged as a result of the Israeli assault on Gaza in July 2014 and the seven-year blockade of the Strip; further notes that the 474-mile ride through secondary roads will bring the message of the continuing suffering of Palestinians in Gaza to hundreds of thousands of people; and urges the Government to bring all the efforts it can to persuade Israel and Egypt to end the siege and allow the people to return to normal lives.
709 IMMIGRATION RULES MINIMUM INCOME THRESHOLD 19:1:15
That this House condemns the arbitrary nature of the minimum income threshold in the Immigration Rules; notes that the requirement for citizens to be earning at least £18,600 for their non-EU family members to be able to migrate to the UK unfairly discriminates against those who live in areas of the country with lower wages, and those who may have an income below £18,600 but are still able to accommodate a family member, such as pensioners; further notes a study by Middlesex University which found that the financial requirement costs the Government money due to the loss of migrants' economic activity; and calls on the Government to introduce more flexibility into the financial threshold to ensure that families are not unnecessarily kept apart.
710 FALLING MILK PRICES 20:1:15
That this House notes with great concern the negative consequences that falling milk prices are having on British dairy farmers; wishes to call to attention that the number of dairy farmers in the UK has been halved in the last 10 years, from over 20,000 to under 10,000 farmers, due to the falling price of milk coupled with the rising costs of production; further notes that dairy farmers are now only receiving around 20 pence per litre of milk sold, down from 33 pence last year, a level which is much less than the cost of production; and calls on the Government to take steps to ensure that companies selling milk raise milk prices to sustainable levels that ensure the continued existence of Britain's dairy farmers.
711 LIFTING OF EU INDIAN ALPHONSO MANGO BAN 20:1:15
That this House is delighted that EU member states have voted to lift the ban on Indian Alphonso mangoes after a nine month campaign; congratulates the team from Fruity Fresh and traders in the city of Leicester for their superb work in the campaign; is grateful for the Prime Minister's welcome assistance to this campaign; notes that deliveries of Alphonso mangoes to Number 10 Downing Street can now recommence; and calls on member states across the EU to allow trade to resume as soon as possible.
712 COMMEMORATION OF THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DISPLACEMENT OF KASHMIRI PANDITS FROM JAMMU AND KASHMIR 20:1:15
That this House commemorates with deep sadness the 25th anniversary of the attack in January 1990 by cross-border Islamic militants on the population of Jammu and Kashmir; expresses its condolences to the families and friends of all those who were killed, raped and injured in this massacre and also condemns the desecration of the holiest sites in Jammu and Kashmir; further expresses its concern that the Kashmiris who fled to save life and limb have still not secured justice for the atrocities committed against them; deplores those sponsoring such cross-border terrorist attacks and demands they cease immediately; and notes that the international principle of the responsibility to protect obliges individual states and the international community to take effective measures to prevent the commission of genocide and crimes against humanity as seen against the Kashmiri Hindu community.
713 RACEHORSE WHIPPING 20:1:15
That this House notes that racehorses are routinely beaten with a whip under rules set by the industry's regulatory body, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA); further notes that these rules explicitly sanction this violent treatment in order that jockeys may encourage racehorses to improve their chances of winning, even though evidence indicates that whipping for this purpose is counter-productive; further notes that no other animal can be legally beaten in such circumstances and that a 2014 YouGov poll found that 70 per cent of all respondents oppose racehorses being whipped; recognises that, for genuine purposes of safety where other methods have failed to bring a horse under control, a whip can be legitimately employed, as is the case in Norway; and calls on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to ensure that the BHA's rules are amended to forbid use of the whip for encouragement or for equivalent reasons.
714 CHANGE TO RULES ON SUBMITTING NEW EVIDENCE IN ASYLUM CASES 20:1:15
That this House expresses concern that the Home Office has made a rule change, due to be enforced on 26 January 2015, so that asylum seekers who have been refused leave to remain will have to submit evidence in person in Liverpool regarding their case, regardless of where they are living; notes that asylum seekers who have been refused leave to remain can under current arrangements present evidence at a local centre; further notes that this means it is more affordable for charities, other organisations and individuals to help pay for an asylum seeker's travel fare or volunteer to take somebody who cannot use public transport due to a disability or other reasons; expresses further concern that the rule change will make it much harder for asylum seekers to present evidence which may be crucial to correctly resolving their case; and urges the Government to abandon this rule change and ensure that people seeking protection in the UK are able to present evidence relating to their case.
715 SOLAR FARMS AND FARMLAND 20:1:15
That this House notes the increasing number of solar farms being built on farmland; is furthermore aware of the vast unused potential of solar panels on the roofs of distribution depots, factories and homes in the UK; considers agricultural land as important in terms of landscape, food-generation and local economies; and therefore calls on the Government to commit to making better use of industrial, commercial and domestic roofs for solar energy.
716 NHS PAY DISPUTE 21:1:15
That this House registers its concern about the ongoing pay dispute in the NHS in England and the resultant protracted industrial unrest in the health service; notes that current NHS non-medical pay policy and the resultant dispute is damaging the health service both directly, as a consequence of disruption through industrial action and indirectly, through morale, motivation and staffing issues; urges the Secretary of State for Health to engage in urgent discussions with the NHS trade unions about how future pay and rates should be structured with a view to resolving the current pay dispute, delivering the flexible workforce implied by NHS England's Five Year Forward View and addressing the growing gap between NHS pay and costs; and encourages the Secretary of State for Health to reverse plans to prevent the NHS Pay Review Body from making recommendations for pay for non-medical health staff for 2015-16, to recognise that in addition to meeting the NHS's efficiency savings over the last four years pay restraint has been a significant factor in staff shortages and morale issues in evidence in the health workforce, to re-think current plans to repeat last year's pay policy of no cost of living increase to over 60 per cent of NHS staff and to make a 2015-16 pay settlement for NHS staff which reflects the current and forecast levels of inflation as well as the 10 per cent average gap between pay and costs.
717 ANDREA GADA AND VISA DECISIONS 21:1:15
That this House expresses its condolences to the family of five year old Andrea Gada, who was killed in a traffic accident in Eastbourne before Christmas 2014; notes its disappointment in the Home Office's decision to refuse a temporary visa for her grandparents and aunt to travel from Zimbabwe to attend her funeral in the UK; regards this decision as cruel and unkind; acknowledges that the Prime Minister promised to discuss the issue with the Home Secretary in Prime Minister's Questions on 14 January 2015, HC Deb, Official Report, column 864; and requests that the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary urgently intervene and reverse this decision.
718 HUMAN RIGHTS IN AZERBAIJAN 21:1:15
That this House condemns the widespread human rights abuses carried out by authorities in Azerbaijan, which have escalated with the recent spate of politically motivated arrests of independent journalists and human rights defenders; calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Khadija Ismayilova, Leyla Yunus, Intigam Aliyev, Rasul Jafarov, Anar Mammadli and other political prisoners in the country; is appalled by reports of mistreatment and torture of some of these prisoners, in particular Leyla Yunus; notes that these arrests have taken place in the context of a broader crackdown, as the authorities have worked to systematically eliminate criticism and dissent; is further concerned by the closing down of Radio Free Europe's offices in Baku; further notes the strong statement made by the UK Government in response to these arrests; and calls on the UK Government to make further representations about these and related matters.
719 RESTRICTIONS ON PRESS FREEDOM IN TURKEY 21:1:15
That this House is concerned about widespread reports of state censorship, and the firing, imprisonment and wiretapping of journalists in Turkey; notes that about 20 journalists were arrested in a series of dawn raids in Turkey in mid-December 2014; further notes that one of the journalists arrested in December, television presenter Sedef Kabas, is facing a prison sentence of up to five years for a tweet about a corruption probe involving high profile names; welcomes the statement by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations that the latest crackdown is against the European values and standards Turkey aspires to be part of; calls on Turkish authorities to remove the travel bans imposed on the journalists, drop all criminal charges against them and release all other journalists behind bars in the country; and further calls on Ministers in the UK Government to raise these concerns with their counterparts in Turkey.
720 PUBLIC FLOGGING OF RAIF BADAWI IN SAUDI ARABIA 21:1:15
That this House condemns the sentence of public flogging, a fine and a 10 year prison sentence imposed on Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia for freely expressing his views on the internet; is dismayed that he was given 50 lashes on 9 January 2015 in Jeddah; understands that despite postponement on medical grounds, Saudi authorities intend to carry out further flogging each week until he has received 1,000 lashes; strongly supports his right to freedom of expression; is appalled by the use of corporal punishment in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere; notes with concern Saudi Arabia's practice of holding prisoners of conscience; calls on the UK Government to take stronger action to ensure that this barbaric punishment is stopped immediately; and further calls on it also to work with its international partners to encourage the Saudi authorities to overturn his conviction and ensure his release.
721 ELECTORAL COMMISSION AND REGISTRATION 21:1:15
That this House recognises that there were 7.5 million electors missing from the electoral register in 2010 and that no improvement has been made in registering these missing millions of voters over the past five years; notes this figure has now increased by the loss of one million young voters; further recognises that in the 2010 General Election the Electoral Commission set itself a very low target to register just 1.8 per cent of unregistered voters, totalling 142,000 people; further notes that the Electoral Commission 2014-19 Corporate Plan, page 16, continues with a lack of ambition as it is prepared to accept similar low levels of non-registraton of 7.5 million over the next five years; further notes that the Electoral Commission has failed to take effective action against electoral registration officers who repeatedly fail to implement their statutory duties; and further notes that the cumulative effect of this inaction and low ambition will have a negative effect on voter turnout and engagement in the General Election and leave off millions of voters when the new parliamentary boundaries are redrawn in December 2015.
722 ELECTORAL REGISTRATION AND COALITION GOVERNMENT 21:1:15
That this House recognises the cross-party unity in implementing the Electoral Administration Act 2009 to introduce individual electoral registration (IER); notes that the timescale for its introduction was after May 2015; further notes that the reason for this long lead in time was to register the 7.5 million missing voters; further notes that this cross-party unity was shattered in 2010 when the Coalition Government brought forward the date for the introduction of IER; further notes that the stated reason for bringing forward the date for introduction of IER was public concern over electoral registration fraud; further notes that only one person had been successfully prosecuted for electoral registration fraud in the previous four years; further notes that the Government has failed to reduce the number of non-registered voters over the past five years; further notes that this figure has now been increased by an additional one million young people left off the new register; further notes that a possible additional 5.5 million voters could fail to be transferred to the new IER register; and further notes that the combined impact of these failures will have a detrimental effect on the General Election and a detrimental impact on the number of people excluded from the calculations in the new Parliamentary Boundary Review which starts in December 2015.