| Lord Kerr |
Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland, United Kingdom
|Member of||Bilderberg/Steering committee, European Leadership Network, Königswinter/Speakers, Trilateral Commission|
Scottish businessman and diplomat, attended all Bilderbergs from 2004 up to 2016
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.
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.
Brexit is reversible
- “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.”
- “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."
- “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.”
On 26 November 2021, Natalie Bennett tweeted:
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.
John Kerr is a member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee.
Events Participated in
|Bilderberg/2004||3 June 2004||6 June 2004||Italy|
|The 52nd such meeting. 126 recorded guests|
|Bilderberg/2005||5 May 2005||8 May 2005||Germany|
|The 53rd Bilderberg, 132 guests|
|Bilderberg/2006||8 June 2006||11 June 2006||Canada|
|54th Bilderberg, held in Canada. 133 guests|
|Bilderberg/2007||31 May 2007||3 June 2007||Turkey|
|The 55th Bilderberg meeting, held in Turkey|
|Bilderberg/2008||5 June 2008||8 June 2008||US|
|The 56th Bilderberg, Chantilly, Virginia, 139 guests|
|Bilderberg/2009||14 May 2009||17 May 2009||Greece|
|The 57th Bilderberg|
|Bilderberg/2010||3 June 2010||6 June 2010||Spain|
Hotel Dolce Sitges
|The 122 guests met in the Hotel Dolce Sitges, Barcelona, Spain.|
|Bilderberg/2011||9 June 2011||12 June 2011||Switzerland|
|59th meeting, in Switzerland, 129 guests|
|Bilderberg/2012||31 May 2012||3 June 2012||US|
|The 58th Bilderberg, in Chantilly, Virginia. Unusually just 4 years after an earlier Bilderberg meeting there.|
|Bilderberg/2013||6 June 2013||9 June 2013||Watford|
|The 2013 Bilderberg group meeting.|
|Bilderberg/2014||29 May 2014||1 June 2014||Denmark|
|The 62nd Bilderberg, with 136 guests, held in Copenhagen|
|Bilderberg/2015||11 June 2015||14 June 2015||Austria|
|The 63rd meeting, 128 Bilderbergers met in Austria|
|Bilderberg/2016||9 June 2016||12 June 2016||Germany|
|The 2016 Bilderberg meeting took place in Dresden, Germany.|
- "The Treaty of Lisbon fact sheet"
- The Diplomatic Service List (1989), page 226
- "Brexit is reversible even after date is set, says author of Article 50"
- "Lord Kerr of Kinlochard brilliantly eviscerates government claims about refugees yesterday in #HouseofLords"
- House of Lords debate, 25 November 2021"