John Kerr

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Person.png Lord Kerr   PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(diplomat, businessman)
John Kerr.jpg
Born1942-02-22
Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland, United Kingdom
NationalityBritish
Member ofBilderberg/Steering committee, European Leadership Network, Königswinter/Speakers, Trilateral Commission
Scottish businessman and diplomat, attended all Bilderbergs from 2004 up to 2016

Employment.png Member of the House of Lords Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
30 June 2004 - Present

Employment.png Scottish American Investment Company/Director

In office
18 September 2002 - 4 April 2019

Not to be confused with the John Kerr whom the CIA termed "our man Kerr" in the Australia/1975 coup d'état.

John Olav Kerr, Baron Kerr of Kinlochard is a Scottish politician and former diplomat, later Deputy Chairman of Scottish Power and a crossbench member of the House of Lords. He was a member of the Convention on the Future of Europe that first drafted what became Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in December 2009.[1]

Diplomat

John Kerr was British Representative to the European Union from 1990 to 1995, then British Ambassador to the United States until 1997.

He joined the Foreign Office in 1966 and was posted as Third later Second Secretary to Moscow in 1967; Second Secretary (Econ) Rawalpindi/Islamabad 1969; First Secretary 1971; FCO 1972; Private Secretary to the PUS 1974; Counsellor and Head of DM Division HM Treasury 1979; PPS to the Chancellor of the Exchequer 1981; Counsellor and Head of Chancery Washington 1984.[2]

Brexit is reversible

In November 2017 on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, Lord Kerr said the EU treaty allows the UK to change its mind up to moment of leaving:

“At any stage we can change our minds if we want to, and if we did we know that our partners would actually be very pleased indeed. The Brexiters create the impression that is because of the way Article 50 is written that having sent in a letter on 29 March 2017 we must leave automatically on 29 March 2019 at the latest. That is not true. It is misleading to suggest that a decision that we are taking autonomously in this country about the timing of our departure, we are required to take by a provision of EU treaty law.”

Kerr was asked to clarify whether the UK could still halt Brexit even if a date was set on the face of the EU Withdrawal Bill:

“That’s what I’m saying, one should bear in mind that it is always possible at a later stage to decide that we want to do something different. It is entirely up to the Prime Minister to set a date for our departure. My point is quite a different one. These decisions are taken entirely in this country, they have nothing to do with the treaty. As far as the treaty is concerned there are lots of options. There is a provision to seek some extra time for negotiation and, much more important, there’s the ability at any stage to take back the letter that the Prime Minister sent to President Tusk on 29 March 2017."

Kerr was asked about David Davis’s view that the EU Referendum result was an “irrevocable moment”. He replied:

“The David Davis quote I would offer you comes from 2012 when he said:
‘A democracy that has lost the right to change its mind has ceased to be a democracy.’
“I’m not a politician. I’m just the guy who wrote the treaty telling you what the treaty means.”

Kerr claimed that circumstances had changed since the referendum:

“It is open to us to argue that the terms as they emerge are not quite the ones that we were led to expect: that the costs of coming out are rather different from what it said on the side of the battlebus; that the complexity of coming out was not entirely explained and the effects of coming out on, for example, the NHS or jobs, these things are not what the electorate knew about at the time. If new facts emerge one is entitled to change one’s view, as Keynes said. I’m not today arguing for a second referendum, I’m saying if we wanted to have a second referendum there is nothing in the treaty, or in the attitude of EU partners, that would prevent us taking the time to have one.”[3]

Asylum seekers

On 26 November 2021, Natalie Bennett tweeted:

"Lord Kerr of Kinlochard brilliantly eviscerates government claims about refugees yesterday in the House of Lords. The facts, stark and clear. #RefugeesWelcome #Migrants"[4]

Transcript of Lord Kerr's speech:

It really is not a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Desai, because he raises the bar far too high. I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Hoey, for this appallingly well-timed debate, to which I would just like to contribute three sets of facts. First, overall refugee numbers are currently running at about half of where they were 20 years ago. We are not the preferred destination in Europe. We are, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, said, well down the list of preferred destinations.

Secondly, yes, small boat numbers are up, partly for the reason the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, adduced—the fences, patrols and heat sensors around the train tracks and marshalling yards mean that people are now driven to the even more dangerous sea route. But the principal reason clandestine numbers are up is that official resettlement routes are shut. Our schemes, in practice, no longer exist. We have closed the Syrian scheme, we have scrapped the Dubs scheme, we have left Dublin III and we have not got an Afghan scheme up and running. The largest group crossing the channel in the last 18 months, by nationality, were Iranians. In the last 18 months, 3,187 Iranians came. In the same period, one got in by the official route. How many came from Yemen in these 18 months? Yemen is riven by civil war and famine. None came by the official route — not one.

My third set of facts is as in the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett. The Home Secretary says that 70% of channel crossers are

“economic migrants … not genuine asylum seekers”.

That is plainly not true. Her own department’s data show that, of the top 10 nationalities arriving in small boats, virtually all seek asylum—61% are granted it at the initial stage and 59% of the rest on appeal. The facts suggest that well over 70% of asylum seekers coming across the channel in small boats are genuine asylum seekers, not economic migrants.

That is hardly surprising because the top four countries they come from are Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria—not Ghana, I say to the noble Lord, Lord Lilley. These people are fleeing persecution and destitution, and the sea route from France is the only one open to many of them. Why not have a humanitarian visa, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, said? The noble Viscount, Lord Waverley, gave the answer to the objection of the noble Lord, Lord Lilley. Those who had a valid claim for asylum would not be at peril on the sea.

Unless we provide a safe route, we are complicit with the people smugglers. Yes, we can condemn their case and we mourn yesterday’s dead, but that does not seem to stop us planning to break with the refugee convention. Our compassion is well controlled because it does not stop us planning, in the borders Bill, to criminalise those who survive the peril of the seas and those at Dover who try to help them. Of course, we can go down that road. But if we do, let us at least be honest enough to admit that what drives us down that road is sheer political prejudice, not the facts, because the facts do not support the case for cruelty.[5]

Connections

John Kerr is a member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee.

 

Events Participated in

EventStartEndLocation(s)Description
Bilderberg/20043 June 20046 June 2004Italy
Stresa
The 52nd such meeting. 126 recorded guests
Bilderberg/20055 May 20058 May 2005Germany
Rottach-Egern
The 53rd Bilderberg, 132 guests
Bilderberg/20068 June 200611 June 2006Canada
Ottawa
54th Bilderberg, held in Canada. 133 guests
Bilderberg/200731 May 20073 June 2007Turkey
Istanbul
The 55th Bilderberg meeting, held in Turkey
Bilderberg/20085 June 20088 June 2008US
Virginia
Chantilly
The 56th Bilderberg, Chantilly, Virginia, 139 guests
Bilderberg/200914 May 200917 May 2009Greece
Vouliagmeni
The 57th Bilderberg
Bilderberg/20103 June 20106 June 2010Spain
Hotel Dolce Sitges
Barcelona
Bilderberg/20119 June 201112 June 2011Switzerland
Hotel Suvretta
St. Moritz
59th meeting, in Switzerland, 129 guests
Bilderberg/201231 May 20123 June 2012US
Virginia
Chantilly
The 58th Bilderberg, in Chantilly, Virginia. Unusually just 4 years after an earlier Bilderberg meeting there.
Bilderberg/20136 June 20139 June 2013Watford
UK
The 2013 Bilderberg group meeting.
Bilderberg/201429 May 20141 June 2014Denmark
Copenhagen
Marriott Hotel
Bilderberg/201511 June 201514 June 2015Austria
Telfs-Buchen
Bilderberg/20169 June 201612 June 2016Germany
Dresden
The 2016 Bilderberg meeting took place in Dresden, Germany.


References