Hopes fading for Richmond Park parking charges challenge

First published in Richmond by

Hopes the House of Lords will block parking charges in Richmond Park next week are fading, after Conservative peers confirmed they would not back a Liberal Democrat motion to kill the Government's proposals.

Former Richmond Park MP Baroness Tonge proposed a fatal amendment to the new regulations, which would introduce parking charges of up to £3, and peers will vote on the issue on Wednesday evening.

Conservative peers have instead tabled their own motion this afternoon, which would express unhappiness with parking charges but support other unrelated measures regarding speed limits, the use of model boats and horse manure in Royal parks.

The House of Lords information office said the Lib Dem proposals would be “completely fatal” to the regulations and prevent the Government bringing them back, while the Tory motion would register regret but not stop the plans.

The Labour government does not have a majority in the Lords, and could be outvoted by a combination of Lib Dem and Conservative peers.

Richmond Park MP Susan Kramer said: “I am utterly shocked. This motion would defeat the parking charge plan once and for all. All we need is for the Conservatives to vote with the Lib Dems to defeat the Government.

“I am so disappointed the Conservatives seem to want to deny local people the chance to see these plans stopped as soon as possible.

“I hope they can be persuaded to change their minds before the vote next week.”

Conservative Richmond Park candidate Zac Goldsmith said the Conservative motion would have the same outcome as the Lib Dem amendment.

He said: “The Lib Dem amendment is clumsy and flawed. Our alternative will deliver the same result, but without causing mayhem. If Kramer sticks to a proposal she knows we cannot sign, she will have allowed these charges in.

“Alternatively, she can back us up and kill off the charges. The ball is in her court. It's a choice between petty politics, or the interests of the community.”

Comments (6)

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5:29pm Fri 5 Mar 10

Martin Cross says...

It would not surprise me if the Lib-Dems refuse to back the more reasonable Conservative peers' amendment and thereby let the government get its way on parking charges. The Lib-Dems would then blame the Conservatives for allowing the charges to come in. This would be a classic example of their putting their clinging to power in Richmond Park constituency above the wishes of (most) residents. With luck, it won't matter, as the Conservatives have promised to abandon parking charges should they win power in Westminster.
It would not surprise me if the Lib-Dems refuse to back the more reasonable Conservative peers' amendment and thereby let the government get its way on parking charges. The Lib-Dems would then blame the Conservatives for allowing the charges to come in. This would be a classic example of their putting their clinging to power in Richmond Park constituency above the wishes of (most) residents. With luck, it won't matter, as the Conservatives have promised to abandon parking charges should they win power in Westminster. Martin Cross
  • Score: 0

10:20pm Fri 5 Mar 10

Phillip Taylor says...

Well, that's politics for you, Martin!

I thought the Tory amendment was perfectly reasonable, and the Liberals are playing 'silly fellows' again.

Phillip Taylor
Well, that's politics for you, Martin! I thought the Tory amendment was perfectly reasonable, and the Liberals are playing 'silly fellows' again. Phillip Taylor Phillip Taylor
  • Score: 0

7:07pm Sat 6 Mar 10

Phillip Taylor says...

Since my previous posting, I have been rather cincrned by the latest Liberal reaction so I asked PPC Zac Goldsmith what his view now is and he sent me this reply:
"I would like to put the record straight and to clarify a few things. The
Conservatives are resolutely opposed to the introduction of car parking
charges in Richmond Park. Visiting Richmond Park should never become a
budget decision.

So, how can we stop the Government¹s proposals to do just that? First, I
want to reiterate that Justine Greening and I have persuaded the
Conservative Party to scrap the plans if we win the election. However, if
the different political Parties put politics aside, we have an opportunity
to stop the charges sooner.

Yesterday, Susan Kramer sent out an email claiming that the Conservatives
are refusing to back a vote in Parliament that would stop the car parking
charges. This is deliberate nonsense, but it has caused unnecessary alarm
among some residents. I want to clarify our position.

Nationally, as I have said, we will scrap the charges if we form the next
Government. In the meantime, we have tabled an amendment in the Lords that
calls on the Government to withdraw its Order and resubmit the Royal Parks
proposals without the plans to charge for parking.

This is an alternative to the Lib Dem fatal amendment. There have only
been three fatal amendments in history. It hardly ever happens because the
unelected House of Lords does not reject outright legislation presented by a
government. The peers will not agree to cause constitutional havoc for the
sake of Richmond Park, and the Lib Dems are well aware of that. Besides,
even if the Lords did vote down a Government Order, the Government could
simply present the same thing the next day.

Susan Kramer's idea is guaranteed to fail, and many people believe it is
actually designed to do so, in order to allow the Lib Dems to score
political points. In the run up to the election, some politicians will try
anything to attract votes.

If Susan Kramer is genuinely determined to stop these plans, she must
support our alternative. If she continues with her kindergarten politics,
she will have allowed these charges in. It is as simple as that. The ball is
in Susan¹s court.

Countless people have been badly misinformed by our MP, and I strongly urge
you to forward this email to as many people as possible to put their minds
at rest, and to minimise the chance that political smears play a role in the
forthcoming election.

I am happy to answer any questions at all regarding this or other issues."....This covers the points I feel has to be made that the Liberals are now trying to twist things because Zac and the Tories have made the right decision over the issue.

Phillip Taylor
Since my previous posting, I have been rather cincrned by the latest Liberal reaction so I asked PPC Zac Goldsmith what his view now is and he sent me this reply: "I would like to put the record straight and to clarify a few things. The Conservatives are resolutely opposed to the introduction of car parking charges in Richmond Park. Visiting Richmond Park should never become a budget decision. So, how can we stop the Government¹s proposals to do just that? First, I want to reiterate that Justine Greening and I have persuaded the Conservative Party to scrap the plans if we win the election. However, if the different political Parties put politics aside, we have an opportunity to stop the charges sooner. Yesterday, Susan Kramer sent out an email claiming that the Conservatives are refusing to back a vote in Parliament that would stop the car parking charges. This is deliberate nonsense, but it has caused unnecessary alarm among some residents. I want to clarify our position. Nationally, as I have said, we will scrap the charges if we form the next Government. In the meantime, we have tabled an amendment in the Lords that calls on the Government to withdraw its Order and resubmit the Royal Parks proposals without the plans to charge for parking. This is an alternative to the Lib Dem fatal amendment. There have only been three fatal amendments in history. It hardly ever happens because the unelected House of Lords does not reject outright legislation presented by a government. The peers will not agree to cause constitutional havoc for the sake of Richmond Park, and the Lib Dems are well aware of that. Besides, even if the Lords did vote down a Government Order, the Government could simply present the same thing the next day. Susan Kramer's idea is guaranteed to fail, and many people believe it is actually designed to do so, in order to allow the Lib Dems to score political points. In the run up to the election, some politicians will try anything to attract votes. If Susan Kramer is genuinely determined to stop these plans, she must support our alternative. If she continues with her kindergarten politics, she will have allowed these charges in. It is as simple as that. The ball is in Susan¹s court. Countless people have been badly misinformed by our MP, and I strongly urge you to forward this email to as many people as possible to put their minds at rest, and to minimise the chance that political smears play a role in the forthcoming election. I am happy to answer any questions at all regarding this or other issues."....This covers the points I feel has to be made that the Liberals are now trying to twist things because Zac and the Tories have made the right decision over the issue. Phillip Taylor Phillip Taylor
  • Score: 0

8:28am Sun 7 Mar 10

jsam says...

The parties should act together on this. The first motion happens to be the Lib-Dem's. The Tories should back it. Were it the other way about I would expect the same.
The parties should act together on this. The first motion happens to be the Lib-Dem's. The Tories should back it. Were it the other way about I would expect the same. jsam
  • Score: 0

3:09pm Sun 7 Mar 10

Sue H-M says...

Could someone please tell me what the wording of these two motions is - or point me in the right direction to read them for myself.
Could someone please tell me what the wording of these two motions is - or point me in the right direction to read them for myself. Sue H-M
  • Score: 0

9:49pm Sun 7 Mar 10

gcrozier says...

Sue, I can't find the text of the motions online, but essentially this is a 'negative resolution', a piece of secondary legislation which passes without a vote unless a party objects to it and gets a vote. The Lib Dems objected to it and have got a vote. It's true that it would defeat the resolution, but I see nothing to stop the Government coming back next week with a new resolution which includes the parts of the old that no-one objects to.

The Conservative motion would not formally defeat the parking charges. My understanding is it just calls on the Government to withdraw the parking charges from the motion. The Government could ignore it but hopefully won't.

The Lib Dem motion will be voted on first, I understand, and then, if it is defeated, the Conservative one. In a sensible world both parties would vote for the others' proposals. I simply don't understand Zac Goldsmith's argumnent, which seems to amount to 'this hasn't been done much before' and 'it probably won't succeed'. Surely that's no reason not to try, or for Tory peers not to support it?
Sue, I can't find the text of the motions online, but essentially this is a 'negative resolution', a piece of secondary legislation which passes without a vote unless a party objects to it and gets a vote. The Lib Dems objected to it and have got a vote. It's true that it would defeat the resolution, but I see nothing to stop the Government coming back next week with a new resolution which includes the parts of the old that no-one objects to. The Conservative motion would not formally defeat the parking charges. My understanding is it just calls on the Government to withdraw the parking charges from the motion. The Government could ignore it but hopefully won't. The Lib Dem motion will be voted on first, I understand, and then, if it is defeated, the Conservative one. In a sensible world both parties would vote for the others' proposals. I simply don't understand Zac Goldsmith's argumnent, which seems to amount to 'this hasn't been done much before' and 'it probably won't succeed'. Surely that's no reason not to try, or for Tory peers not to support it? gcrozier
  • Score: 0

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