Ally Pally progress – and conditional cautions

First – another update on Ally Pally. I’ve had a call to say can I meet Firoz Kassam (the new owner) and Cllr Charles Adje (Labour councillor and Chair of the Ally Pally Board) this Thursday (more quickly than I had suggested last Saturday when I met them at the Ally Pally firework display). The reason give is that the contract will be signed next week.

There is provision for a museum of television in the contract – but it doesn’t preserve the studios. So my proposal is to offer them a draft clause to be inserted in the contract which will save the historical parts of the old BBC studios – though with flexibility as to exactly what the rooms are used for.

I’ve got a couple of experts on the case to draw up the draft clause for me to offer to the Firoka Group and the Ally Pally Board. I hope their bringing forward of the meeting means that they want to show willing prior to the Charity Commission consultation and appear good altruists.

We will see. I gather that the Firoka Group’s current view is that they don’t feel they should spend money on it when the BBC hasn’t. A completely spurious argument as the BBC is hard pressed to spend public money in a building that isn’t theirs and has had a cloud over its future – and has a debt ridden history. And, Firoka are going to have to spend money on the building anyway.

(UPDATE: I’ve put the text of the Early Day Motion I’ve put down in Parliament up on in the news section of my website).

Hopefully, I will be able to persuade Mr Kassam to see the preservation of the directors’ gallery and the other fine parts of the structure as an asset (which it is) rather than a nuisance.

Later – the Police Justice Bill came back to the Commons in the ping pong it is having with the Lords. Ping pong is when the Commons and Lords vote for different wording to be in the Bill – so it goes back and forth until agreement is reached. The last two issues being battled out are extradition to the USA and conditional cautions.

I lead on the cautions – and the Government had tabled some improving amendments in the Lords which the noble Lords had accepted. So my job in my speech was to accept them but flag up all the remaining problems – of which there are many. However, the battle continued on extradition – and it may well be that this goes to the Lords and returns again on Tuesday to the Commons. We will have to see.

More pong than ping – I should say!