The amount of data that government agencies has is enormous. It is not a massive leap for this to be used to place on the electoral register those deemed eligible to vote.... If Labour wins the general election we will begin working on plans on how we can introduce automatic voter registration. But before then, we're stuck with the current system.
If Nigel Farage has his way, it will be acceptable to discriminate against someone just because of the colour of their skin... In Ukip's brave new world, it would be perfectly legal to treat someone differently just because of their race or skin colour. Farage clearly has no understanding whatsoever of the difficulties many people from ethnic minority communities still face on a daily basis.
For some time now, it's been clear that our criminal justice system is not up to scratch in the way it treats victims and witnesses. The very people it is designed to serve and protect have been ignored and mistreated. In some cases, victims have themselves been treated as criminals... While the current Victim's Code of Conduct is an improvement on its predecessor, it is still too easily dismissed by those working in the justice system. It is toothless, and the time has come to give it teeth. Putting it into law would strengthen victims' rights in a whole raft of areas.
The simple fact is that if you aren't down on the list you can't exercise your right to vote. And in just three months there is likely to be a closely fought General Election. It could be your vote that makes the difference in your area - after all, in 2010, a handful of seats had majorities of less than 100.
It is a decade since the Labour Government's Freedom of Information Act came into force... Having been a minister myself, I'll admit that freedom of information can be a nuisance. Just as the constant threat of being judicially reviewed is a thorn in the side of ministers. But that's precisely the point, and I'd never want to clamp down on either.
While we rightly celebrate today, all is not rosy. Forces close to home are intent on weakening people's rights here, and undermining our standing abroad. The Tories are threatening to walk away from the ECHR and rip up our Human Rights Act, replacing it with a weaker Bill of Rights... Walking away from the ECHR would mean closing ourselves off to the world. This reverses centuries of history and is so very un-British. Our moral authority to press other countries on their human rights record - a cornerstone of our foreign policy - would be chopped off at the knees.
The Electoral Commission estimate that 7.5million people who are eligible to vote are unregistered - that's ten cities the size of Sheffield. And, as a result of the move to IER, the Electoral Commission themselves have estimated that a further 5.5million people are at risk of dropping off the register. So many people missing off the register would mean decisions on the future of the country are decided by a smaller and smaller group of people, with political parties gearing their policies towards those they know vote. It is self-reinforcing, and risks corroding our democracy from the inside out.
You can judge just how committed a politician is to selling off hospitals, outsourcing manufacturing to China, eliminating workers rights and pricing the next generation out of an education by how loudly they sneer at everyone else for being "a snob". It's an old song but it's hit the top of the charts once again thanks to Emily Thornberry.
The devolution debate in the UK is often portrayed as 'London versus the rest of the UK'. In reality, devolving more power and responsibility to London's Government is not just good for Londoners, it's good for the rest of the UK too.
My religion teaches tolerance, charitable giving, enterprise, hard work. These are all part and parcel of the way I live my life, and percolate deep into my politics. That's why I became active in my local community - first as a local councillor, then later when I was privileged to becoming the MP for where I grew up.
Time and again over the last four years we've pressed the government to support our plans for a victims' law. Repeatedly they've refused to do so, going so far as to attack our plans. Just last week in the House of Commons chamber ministers were given the opportunity to back a victims' law - an opportunity they didn't take. Back in July Chris Grayling even attacked Labour's victims' law, saying "the opposition always talks about laws". So this weekend's sudden conversion by the government to the need for new 'laws' - a victims' law - is a little surprising. After all, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Of course if the government are sincere about their new found passion for victims, it is to be welcomed, but it is little wonder many are cynical.
British Muslims are an extremely enterprising community. They contribute over £31billion to the UK economy every year. Over 100,000 British Muslims are civil servants, doctors, lawyers and accountants. In London alone, small businesses run by Muslims employ over 70,000 people... The majority of people view British Muslims as contributing well to our national way of life. Let us build on and strengthen that. While I'm fasting this weekend - when I'm hungry and thirsty - I will be thinking about what I can do to promote a more positive view of British Muslims - I think we should all do the same.
In an era of dreary politicians, the silver-tongued Blair continues to beguile us. He is the Cristiano Ronaldo of politics: slick, skilful, über-confident and astonishingly arrogant... Is he mad or bad? Deluded or dishonest? It no longer matters. Blair's reputation lies in tatters. More than half of Brits believe their former prime minister was wrong to invade Iraq; one in five tell YouGov they think he should be tried as a war criminal. Blair can try to pretend he lives a normal life but when he goes to a book signing, people pelt him with eggs
Recently, the Government unveiled plans to shave a further £220million off criminal legal aid, generating considerable opposition from across the profession and in charities and campaign groups. Ministers have fought a clever guerrilla campaign. They've salami sliced bit by bit to mitigate the short-term impact of their plans. They successfully divided and ruled the legal profession. They've smeared legal aid lawyers as fat cats and made out legal aid is only used by unworthy criminals. Needless to say, the truth is rather different.
Votes at 16 is a radical proposal that has the potential to energise a new generation of politically active and engaged citizens. However, votes at 16 needs to go hand in hand with wider youth engagement and a renewed commitment to citizenship education.
We believe that things have got to change if we are to restore the public's faith. And that's why Ed Miliband and I have set up the Victims' Taskforce with the precise remit to come forward with a Victims' Law and other recommendations of what needs to change in our justice system. And the Taskforce is already hard at work.