City of London’s Influence in UK Parliament

Kick bankers out of Parliament

This first article is by Avaaz seeking to abolish special privilege of the Remembrancer (City of London) in Parliament. The second is additional comment plus a story on the bedroom tax which links to financiers/bankers influence and dogma as the welfare sector is cut as it is economically unviable. This reflects financial/banking perspectives not the public interest. Inequality is caused by unequal distribution of wealth as those in positions of power and influence have disproportionate influence to change the game in their favour. If a Remembrancer can block legislation which redistributes wealth or requires more visibility or nationalises the banks, then they are perverting the democratic process. Despite the fact they are 500 corporations and not the public, should be cause for concern as this clearly corrupts a so-called democracy.

What is required is a level playing field for all. Why is this important? Because in the general population it creates greater gaps, hardship where some are eeking out a living and others are high on the hog, as they say! The structural barriers of class, status, education, family, occupation etc inhibit the real wealth of a nation from rising. The real wealth is in the people.

AVARZ raises the issues of the special category of the Remembrancer in the UK Parliament. The Remembrancer is the City of London’s representative.

Do you mean “@”? Add your number if you’d like to hear from us by phone or text. Here are some points you might want to raise in your message:

  • I am outraged that the banker-controlled City of London has special privileges in Parliament.
  • The City of London’s representative, the Remembrancer, should not have the right to sit in the House of Commons chamber.
  • I call on you to use your power as Speaker to bar the Remembrancer from the chamber.



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Everyone has the right to lobby our government, but one group’s formidable financial firepower and long standing privileges seem to give their views extra weight — bankers from the City of London have a special seat in Parliament to use for their special pleading. Their level of access is unbelievable, but together we can make one simple change to start to take back our democracy.

The Remembrancer is an ancient post answerable to the City that sits in the House of Commons. He has 6 lawyers, a budget of £5.3 million a year and the right to see every draft law before it’s passed. It’s no wonder that the government struggles to stand up to the City! But a single decision by one MP can ban the Remembrancer from the chamber for good — let’s convince Speaker of the House John Bercow MP to take bankers off Parliament’s guest list.

Last month the City held another sham election where companies cast more votes than citizens. Before the new rulers decide how to direct their lobbying muscle, let’s tell speaker Bercow to kick the bankers out of Parliament. Send a message now.

Second article:

Kick privileged bankers’ man The Remembrancer out of Parliament

When Parliament is sitting The Remembrancer has a special seat to the right of the Speaker in the House of Commons


Ros Wynne JonesReal Britain columnist

  • 00:00, 8 MAY 2013
  • Updated01:04, 8 MAY 2013


Privileged: City Remembrancer with Gordon Brown in 2008
(Image: PA)

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As Elizabeth II takes to the throne in the House of Lords for the Queen’s Speech today, a ­little-known figure will be taking his special seat close by – all the better to scrutinise every new piece of legislation for how it benefits or damages the banks.

He’s the only non-MP or civil servant with a seat in the House of Lords and House of Commons.

His job dates back to Henry VIII.

He has a budget of £5.3million, a staff bill of £500,000 – including a team of six lawyers – and he represents bankers’ interests at the heart of our democracy.

He’s called The Remembrancer.

And – as the banks get away scot free and disabled people pay for the banking crisis, as millionaires get tax cuts while poor people get taxed on how many bedrooms they have – a new campaign by pressure group Avaaz called “Kick Bankers Out of Parliament” is beginning to ask exactly why he’s still allowed the special ­privileges he has.

The shortest explanation is this: over 1,000 years, kings, queens and governments have been saved by loans from the City of London – the 1.2 square miles at the heart of Britain’s financial centre.

In exchange the City of London has extracted great privileges that still distort our ­democracy.

The current Remembrancer is a man called Paul Double, a former barrister.

He has held the post since 2003 but has never done any ­interviews about his role. A few weeks ago I contacted the City of London to ask for one.

They took several days to reply, during which Margaret Thatcher died – and then said he was busy with ­arrangements around her funeral, which took place inside City of London ­jurisdiction.

One of the Remembrancer’s roles is to appear at a ceremony involving a red cord on the City’s boundary ­whenever the Queen makes a “state entry” as she did for the funeral.

This, as it turns out, is one of the ­Remembrancer’s less troubling duties.

Nicholas Shaxson, who wrote the brilliant investigation into the City of London, Treasure Islands, calls him the “world’s oldest ­institutional lobbyist”.

As if having 18 millionaires in the Cabinet isn’t enough to advance big money’s interests, when Parliament is sitting he has a special seat to the right of the Speaker in the House of Commons.

He also has a mirror image seat in the Lords.

Shaxson says a previous ­Remembrancer boasted his role was to “oppose every bill which would interfere with the rights and privileges enjoyed by the Corporation”.

The post dates back to some trouble the City had with Henry VIII’s adviser Cardinal Wolsey commandeering the armour and plate of its livery ­companies.

In 1571, it created the post of ­Remembrancer to “remind the king of his debt” and make sure the City’s interests were never again affected by ­Parliament.

Paul Double’s modern-day role is ­officially described as “looking after the City of London Corporation’s interests in Parliament”.

The ­Corporation is the governing body of the City of London. It’s an elected body, but unlike your usual local council, it’s not just residents that vote, it’s businesses – including over 500 banks.

Its boss is the Lord Mayor – not to be confused with London Mayor Boris Johnson who presides over the Greater London Authority.

Mind you, the City’s Remembrancer, also “tracks the work of” the GLA.

In February, he went to Buckingham Palace to be made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order by Prince Charles – as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Honours.

Last year, The Bureau for ­Investigative Journalism showed the ­Remembrancer’s Office had submitted evidence to 16 separate select committees in the past 18 months, including the Treasury’s Tax Principles report.

The City of London press office said they hoped I wasn’t going to write a piece about how “mysterious” the Remembrancer is.

I replied that an interview would definitely stop him being mysterious, but my follow-up requests have been ignored.

As the ConDems’ savage cuts deepen and it becomes ever clearer who is paying the price of austerity – not the bankers who caused it but the ordinary people of Britain – Avaaz’s campaign to abolish the Remembrancer’s special privileges couldn’t be more timely.

This is no longer the era of Cardinal Wolsey, or of Wat Tyler, the peasant leader killed by the Lord Mayor and his men after challenging the City’s might.

We are no longer serfs who have to suffer an unelected vested interest at the heart of our democracy.

We have the right to tell the City to start lobbying like any other special interest group and give up its privileged status.

Like punishing those responsible for the bank crisis, abolishing The Remembrancer’s privileges would send a message to the City and banks that the most vulnerable will not pay any more for their mess.

“Over and over again we have seen that there is in this country another power than that which has its seat at Westminster,”

Clement Attlee complained bitterly of “those who control money” in 1937. More than 75 years on his words have never rung more true.

Saddest victim of the Bedroom Tax

Elizabeth Barry and her disabled son Ryan Hewitt

Elizabeth Barry and her disabled son Ryan (Image: MEN)

It is just over a month since the cruel Bedroom Tax began and I have been deluged by heartbreaking letters and emails.

The story of Elizabeth Barry and her 20-year-old son Ryan, who has severe autism, is among the most unjust.

Elizabeth, who lives in Clayton, Manchester, cares for Ryan 24 hours a day, but she still worries that people think she is a scrounger.

Ryan needs constant supervision. His mum describes his mind as being like that of a toddler.

Her only respite comes from a carer who regularly uses the third bedroom of her modest home.

Yet the Bedroom Tax now means that this family – already struggling to make ends meet – will lose 25% of their housing benefit.

Elizabeth feared Ryan would have to go into care for the sake of £20 a week.

With the help of her Labour MP Lucy Powell, Elizabeth appealed and has now been told she can receive a Discretionary Housing Payment – for one year only – to help cover the bills.

But there are 4,000 people affected by Bedroom Tax in central Manchester alone, many of them with stories as sad and unfair.

There are 660,000 people affected ­nationally. Will DHP help them all?

Cut twice over

Not only is an austerity war on the disabled being waged from Westminster, but families with disabled kids face attack locally too – as councils are forced to pass on huge cuts to their budgets.

Warwickshire council has to save £100 million over the next four years.

This week they announced children with disabilities will face £1.7 million worth of cuts to local services.

Number crunch 1

A report from Sheffield Hallam University shows welfare cuts will take more than £1.6bn a year out of the Scottish economy – and hit the poorest parts hardest…

the rest of the article is here: