Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme
Due to service commitments, I was unable to travel to Strasbourg until Wednesday morning, thus missing the first half of the session. As a result, this report is somewhat briefer than usual.
Human Rights in Northern Cyprus
The forthcoming UN Human Rights Council meeting was discussed in the parliament, and with one of the issues on the agenda being human rights in Cyprus, I took the chance to discuss unresolved issues following the Turkish invasion.
The King Canute of the 21st Century!
Derek Vaughan is a charming gentleman, who has authored a report on the EU's 2013 budget. His calls for fiscal discipline and transparency are laudable. However, asking the EU institutions to cut spending is somewhat akin to Canute's attempts to turn back the tide.
Books for the blind
Members and European Commission representatives discussed the possibility of a legal obligation for book publishers to accept having to print copies of their published works specifically prepared for the blind. This was in response to a petition presented by a UK citizen.
In a speech on the subject, I voiced my opinion that the EU has been insensitive to the needs of millions of blind and partially-sighted people. I fully support the concept of an internationally binding treaty to establish a targeted exception to copyright, in order to increase the range of books available in Braille. However, I strongly believe that this should be done under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, and not at EU level.
I now sit on the parliament's petitions committee, and I will do my best there to promote the interests of British petitioners.
Campaign For A Referendum NEW Petition
We achieved our first goal of collecting 120,000+ signatures gaining the debate in Parliament we wanted on 24th October 2011. To keep the pressure on the government, we started a NEW petition on 31st October 2011. The aim is to collect as many signatures as we can in 12 months. Please register your signature on the link below even if you signed the previous petition.