Sunday 18 January 2015


I was wondering when the Purdah Period would kick in this year - that special pre-election period when HMG almost grounds to a halt, because making any big decisions which would prejudice an incoming govt of a new stripe (or at least different configuration in these times of coalition) is put on hold until a new Govt is formed.  I consulted the closest we have to a written constitution, The Cabinet Manual, but that is as clear as mud as to timing  (extract below) because the Cab Office issues guidance bespoke to each election.

Looking at previous guidance, 6 weeks before the election looks to be about the norm - so 26th March looks about right - which is 4 days before Parliament dissolves (which is now fixed by section 3 Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 as amended in 2013 by the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013) we have 9 weeks to go.......

Government activity between the start of an election period and polling day

2.28 In the period immediately preceding an election, the Cabinet Office publishes guidance on activities in the run up to polling day.

The Prime Minister writes to ministers in similar terms.

During this period, the government retains its responsibility to govern, ministers remain

in charge of their departments and essential business is carried on.24 Ministers continue

in office and it is customary for them to observe discretion in initiating any action

of a continuing or long-term character. This means the deferral of activity such

as: taking or announcing major policy decisions; entering into large/contentious

procurement contracts or significant longterm commitments; and making some

senior public appointments and approving Senior Civil Service appointments, provided

that such postponement would not be detrimental to the national interest or

wasteful of public money. If decisions cannot wait they may be handled by

temporary arrangements or following relevant consultation with the Opposition.

Friday 16 January 2015


retires today:

His Honour Judge Brian John Barker QC retires as Senior Circuit Judge and the Recorder of London with effect from 16 January 2015.His Honour Judge Barker QC (70) was called to the Bar (G) in 1969, took Silk in 1990 and elected a Bencher in 1999. He was appointed a Recorder in 1985 and a Legal Member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal, Restricted Patients Panel, in 1993. He was appointed a Senior Circuit Judge in 2000, Common Serjeant of London in 2005 and the Recorder of London in 2013.

As Judge Barker did before, the current Common Serjeant will take up the reins:

The City of London Corporation has announced the appointment of His Honour Judge Nicholas
Hilliard QC as the next Recorder of London. Judge Hilliard, the current Common Serjeant, will take office in January 2015, in succession to His Honour Judge Brian Barker QC, who has served as Recorder of London since February 2013. In addition to duties as the senior judge of the Central Criminal Court (known as the ‘Old Bailey’), the Recorder of London is the Senior Law Officer of the City of London and officiates at key City elections. He also has official duties on State occasions where the City acts as host.

Sunday 11 January 2015

Voltaire had it right.......

"It does not require great art, or magnificently trained eloquence, to prove that Christians should tolerate each other. I, however, am going further: I say that we should regard all men as our brothers. What? The Turk my brother? The Chinaman my brother? The Jew? The Siam? Yes, without doubt; are we not all children of the same father and creatures of the same God?"