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The Government is looking to significantly increase the number of people helped by the Access to Work scheme for disabled people, a minister has confirmed. But Mark Harper warned that the programme had a “finite” pot of money which woul... Continue to article
COMMONS CHAMBER 11.30am: Northern Ireland Office questions (topicals at 11.53am) 12 noon: Prime minister questions Main business Ten minute rule motion: Railways (Public Sector Operators) Bill (Andy Sawford, Lab, Corby) Motion... Continue to article
Alex Salmond has said he has “not made up his mind” whether or not to stand for a Westminster seat at the next general election. The outgoing Scottish first minister was asked on Question Time if he would consider becoming an MP again. ... Continue to article
Mark Harper said the inquiry into historic child abuse was not a "one woman band" as he defended the appointment of Fiona Woolf as its chair. "She’s an experienced lawyer, she’s an experienced chair, I understand she has experience for ... Continue to article
Mark Harper admitted that Lord Freud's comments suggesting some disabled people were "not worth" being paid the full minimum wage had not been helpful. “No it doesn’t [help], and look – David Freud was very clear yesterday. He shouldn’t ... Continue to article
Mark Harper defended Lord Freud, who today suggested that some disabled people were “not worth” the minimum wage. “I have spoken to David Freud, I have worked with him very closely over the last few years, he has been absolutely passiona... Continue to article
Mark Harper welcomed new figures which show a fall in unemployment although he acknowledged that many of the new jobs were “entry level positions”. “First of all we are getting the deficit down…it’s a third lower than when we came to off... Continue to article
Tories threatening to rebel on the Lords Reform Bill are playing "silly games" that threaten the future of the Coalition, the Conservative minister charged with overseeing the bill has said.
In an interview with the Guardian, Mark Harper warned colleagues they would breach the coalition agreement if they defy the three-line whip when the House votes on the bill's programme motion on Tuesday.
But opposition from the backbenches continues to mount: on the Week in Westminster today, Tory MP Bernard Jenkin said Lords reform was nothing more than a manoeuvre to keep the Coalition together, arguing that it would lose its authority if "it presses this to the nth degree".
Labour's Lord Foulkes criticised as "outrageous" the planned timetabling for the bill, which would see it spend just 10 days in committee. He promised it would be subject to "very, very detailed scrutiny" should it pass into the Lords.
The Government will release a consultation paper next week revealing its findings on how to reform Britain's lobbying industry. The Independent says that Mark Harper, the minister with responsibility for political reform, is to unveil the proposals, although there are already criticisms that such plans have already been diluted in face of pressure from lobbyists.
Members of parliament are questioning if murderers and paedophiles will have the vote as a result of the government overturning the blanket ban on prisoners voting.
The Government has unveiled a consultation on a new statutory register for lobbyists.
Among other areas, ministers will look at how lobbyists are defined and what sanctions should be in place.
The Cabinet Office says it will not require organisations to give detailed financial information as this would "provide too great an administrative burden".
However, there could be a move to make lobbyists reveal how much their clients pay for their services.
The move comes after a string of lobbying scandals provoked concern about charities and single-issue groups acting as front organisations.
Cabinet Office Minister Mark Harper said: "Lobbying has an important role in the policy making process, ensuring that Ministers and senior officials hear a full range of views from those who will be affected by Government decisions. But it must be conducted in a transparent and open way.
"We already publish an unprecedented amount of information about who Ministers and senior officials meet.
"However, it's not always possible to understand the significance of these meetings, because it's not always obvious who the people ministers and officials meet represent.
"That's why the Government wants a register that will bring more transparency to the lobbying process and we would welcome the views of the public and the lobbying industry on this consultation document."
Government plans to introduce compulsory individual registration has been brought forward by a year to 2014. Mark Harper, minister for political and constitutional reform, hopes the proposals will reduce fraud and increase people's confidence in the electoral system.
24/10/2014 on BBC Question Time
22/10/2014 on Daily Politics, BBC Two
16/10/2014 on Daily Politics, BBC Two
15/10/2014 on Sky News
17/09/2014 on Daily Politics, BBC 2
18/06/2014 on The World At One, Radio Four
Summaries and transcripts from TV and radio
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