The Right Honourable
|Leader of the Opposition|
8 May 2015 – 12 September 2015
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 4218
Harriet Harman was appointment to the office of Solicitor General, making Ms Harman the first female Solicitor General. In accordance with convention, she was appointed as Queen’s Counsel, although she had previously had no rights of audience in the higher courts, did not obtain them and never presented a case during her time as Solicitor General, or at all.
When Harman, as Leader of the House of Commons, stood in for Gordon Brown during Prime minister’s questions on Wednesday 2 April 2008 (due to the Prime Minister attending a NATO summit in Romania), she became the first female Labour Minister to take Prime Minister’s Questions. She subsequently repeated this during Brown’s absences.
In June 2008, two members of Fathers 4 Justice staged a protest on the roof of her house in Herne Hill, South East London, with a banner that read: “A father is for life not just conception.” After they climbed back off the roof they were arrested by the Metropolitan Police and bailed until 16 July 2008. On the morning of 9 July 2008, Fathers 4 Justice again climbed on Harman’s roof with a banner that read, “Stop war on dads.” One of the complaints of the protesters was that Harman had refused their requests for a meeting yet she denied that they had even requested such a meeting.
Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour party, was legal officer at the NCCL between 1978 and 1982.
Extracts from an National Centre for Citizenship and the Law (NCCL) report written for the Criminal Law Revision Committee in 1976 when Mrs Hewitt was general secretary.
It says: “Where both partners are aged 10 or over, but under 14, a consenting sexual act should not be an offence. As the age of consent is arbitrary, we propose an overlap of two years on either side of 14.
“Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage.”
Harriet Harman, was also the legal officer at the NCCL between 1978 and 1982. She has expressed her “regret” over the NCCL’s involvement with PIE but has pointedly declined to apologise.
THE VOICE OF THE CHILD
Alex Verdan QC
9 Gough Square London
18th November 2006
On 30 October 2006 Constitutional Affairs minister the Right Honourable Harriet Harman QC MP said to the “Opening Up Family Courts” conference which was attended by child and health care professionals, that children should be able to have a greater say in family court decisions made about them. She outlined the importance of children being able to speak to the judge or magistrates if they want to.
“In family court cases, the welfare of the child is paramount. Decisions are made which will affect them for the rest of their life. But too often the courts do not ask what they want or what they think. The courts are unlikely to tell children what is happening in court or to ask children their views. For children divorce is a painful and distressing experience, and not knowing what’s going on or having the choice to put forward their views can make it more so. Children should be told by the court that is deciding their future what is happening and why decisions are being made about them. Judges and magistrates need to have the confidence to talk to children and tell them what is happening.”
Harriet Harman also stressed the importance of ‘later life judgements’ so that children can get access to information on their cases when they become adults. At the moment there is no court record kept for children of why the court reached the decision it did. She said people have to ‘turn private detective’ to find out why decisions were made by the court when they were a child and why.
Harriet Harman added,
“As children become adults they often want more information. They may want an account of what happened to them and why those decisions were taken. But it is not just a child’s need to know that is important. The state should be accountable for its actions when it intervenes in family life.”
Thinking is difficult; that is why most people judge.
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