Thursday 26 May 2022

"Partygate" ~ Report by civil servant Sue Gray + Addendum 7 June

I previously wrote about so-called "partygate" and added some updates to that post - post of 13 February 2022

At the time, the Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) appeared to be "on the ropes" as he took something of a political battering over what was clearly a culture of social gatherings and drinking at No 10 Downing Street when the coronavirus pandemic was at its height.

It was a time when the nation was expected to adhere to regulations, made by Ministers, intended to limit the spread of coronavirus. It was an appalling episode in our political life and

Tuesday 17 May 2022

Levi Bellfield ~ Human Rights

In the UK, some 60 prisoners are serving "whole life" sentences for murder. One of them is Levi Bellfield who has received whole life terms on two occasions. His first whole life term relates to the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amélie Delagrange. His second whole life term was imposed in June 2011 for the murder of 13-year old Amanda ("Milly") Dowler.

In May 2022, the Ministry of Justice confirmed that Bellfield was engaged and had applied to marry while in a prison. He proposed to a woman who started writing to him two years ago, before becoming a visitor on a regular basis. 

The Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Dominic Raab MP) is reported to have said that granting Bellfield's request is "inconceivable" unless "serious safeguarding concerns are addressed "-  Levi Bellfield: Raab says granting marriage request ‘inconceivable’ | Prisons and probation | The Guardian

The Guardian article also notes that, when asked

Thursday 12 May 2022

UK / EU / Northern Ireland - yet again !

It could never be sensibly claimed that the European Union is a perfect international structure. Often, it is highly bureaucratic with a marked tendency to enact an excess of legislation which, via the European Treaties, can take the form of Regulations or Directives and, as such, bind member States. 

When my country (the UK) was a member, I often wished that the EU would enact fewer "rules" and concentrate on the essentials. I also wished that military matters were kept for the member states and NATO and were not at all within the remit of the EU.

Nonetheless, the EU is a hugely powerful economic entity - Economy ( - and in so many other ways it is a force for the better. For me,

Wednesday 11 May 2022

Queen's Speech May 2022

10 May 2022 saw HRH The Prince of Wales deliver the Queen's Speech from the throne in the House of Lords. HM The Queen - aged 96 - was unable to attend.

See the text of the speech - Queen’s Speech 2022 - GOV.UK (

Lengthy (140 pages) background briefing notes have been published by the government - Queen's Speech 2022: background briefing notes - GOV.UK (

Aspects of this considerable programme

Friday 6 May 2022

Magistrates' Courts - increase in sentencing powers

Almost 19 years ago, Parliament enacted Criminal Justice Act 2003 - (as enacted). 

Section 154 began - "A magistrates' court does not have power to impose imprisonment for more than 12 months in respect of any one offence." This was noteworthy because it would have increased the maximum (for either way offences) from 6 months to 12 months BUT section 154 required a commencement order to bring it into force and such an order was never made.

Section 154 was repealed by the Sentencing Act 2020 but section 224 retained the 6 month limit.

The Judicial Review and Courts Act 2022