Hong Kong Watch Launched At Mr.Speaker’s House as Four Parliamentary Patrons Pledge To Uphold Two Systems One Country.

Hong Kong Watch Launched At Mr.Speaker’s House as Four Parliamentary Patrons Pledge To Uphold Two Systems One Country.

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Hong Kong Watch1



During the launch of Hong Kong Watch at Mr.Speaker’s House in the British Houses of Parliament, David Alton (Lord Alton of Liverpool), one of the four parliamentary patrons, said that they should “take inspiration from the life of one of the twentieth century’s great  Chinese figures, Watchman Nee, who spent twenty years in Chinese jails, imprisoned for his beliefs. He took the name Watchman and we, too, must be like the Night Watch, Watchmen and women watching out for those who would steal peoples’ rights and appropriate the law and , like the geese that would, at times of danger,  rouse the Roman citadel, be ready to raise our voices – in our case,  to speak out on behalf of the people of Hong Kong.”  

He said that it was in China’s interests to be seen as a great nation that could be trusted to uphold the laws that it had agreed and to safeguard two systems in one country.  


Press Release: Hong Kong Watch to be ‘a watchdog’ and a ‘whistleblower’ say speakers at the launch of Hong Kong Watch

For immediate release

11 December 2017

A new advocacy organization focused on Hong Kong was launched today at a reception hosted in Speaker’s House, House of Commons in the UK Parliament on Monday, 11 December 2018.

The new organisation, Hong Kong Watch, is a London-based human rights organisation which speakers described as a human rights ‘watchman’ and a ‘whistleblower’ which will speak up if freedom and rule of law are undermined in Hong Kong.

The event was introduced by the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP. His remarks were followed by speeches from Benedict Rogers, Chairman of Trustees at Hong Kong Watch, and the patrons of Hong Kong Watch: former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC, former Labour Shadow Foreign Minister Catherine West MP, Former Leader of the Liberal Democrats Lord Paddy Ashdown, independent cross-bench peer Lord David Alton, and Sir Geoffrey Nice QC who was the chief prosecutor in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

Drawing on the words of Lord Ashdown and Lord Alton, Benedict Rogers described Hong Kong Watch as a ‘whistleblower’ and a ‘watchman’:

“I think we have two brilliant descriptions of Hong Kong Watch with Lord Ashdown’s description of Hong Kong Watch as a ‘whistleblower’, and Lord Alton’s description of Hong Kong Watch as a ‘watchman’. We will endeavour to do both.”

Benedict Rogers quoted Lord Ashdown, describing Hong Kong Watch as a ‘whistleblower’:

“What will Hong Kong Watch do? Lord Ashdown on a recent visit to Hong Kong said Hong Kong Watch will be a whistleblower, and that is exactly what we will do. We want to build our advocacy on research, on monitoring the situation, drawing on first-hand information, and then we will provide briefings, and seminars: spotlighting the situation. I think one of the reasons for setting up Hong Kong Watch is a sense that there is a lack of awareness about the situation. We want to address this in parliament and policy makers, and further afield.”

Lord Alton said:

“We have got to be watchmen now, and use the freedoms and liberties we enjoy in this very privileged place to speak up on behalf of the people of Hong Kong. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said: ‘not to speak is to speak, and not to act is to act’.”

Lord Ashdown underlined that Hong Kong Watch was designed to be a whistleblower which monitored the actions of both the Chinese government and the government of the United Kingdom.

He said that it was:

“The role of Hong Kong Watch goes two ways. Yes, it is our job to blow the whistle on Beijing when we perceive the Chinese government to have broken the terms of the Joint-Declaration, but it is also our job to say to our own government that: ‘you should stand up and argue our case a little more strongly than you have done so far…’”

Speakers underlined the motivation behind the launch of Hong Kong Watch, raising concerns about the ongoing threat to rule of law and the rights protected in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the Basic Law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Benedict Rogers delivered a message of support from the former Governor of Hong Kong, Lord Chris Patten, who said:

“Hong Kong was of course guaranteed local autonomy and the continuation of its way of life in the Joint Declaration under the International Treaty between Britain and China which lasts until 2047. It is important that China holds to its obligations under the Joint Declaration. Not only is this important for Hong Kong itself, but it will also be taken as a sign by many countries around the world about how much they can trust China to keep its word as the next few years unfold. It is not external interference if friends or supporters of Hong Kong take a fair, informed and balanced view of the community’s development. It is simply a mark of continuing friendship for a great city.”

Speakers focused on various areas of concern. Sir Geoffrey Nice QC highlighted that ‘the right to take part in the government of one’s country’ through universal suffrage is an inalienable and universal duty, protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Catherine West MP highlighted the importance of academic freedom, while Sir Malcolm Rifkind highlighted the significance of rule of law.


Note to Editors

You can find Hong Kong Watch’s website at www.hongkongwatch.org. Please include links to Hong Kong Watch’s twitter (@hk_watch) and facebook (@hongkongwatch1) in articles referring to the organisation. The speeches can be found in full on Hong Kong Watch’s facebook: www.facebook.com/hongkongwatch1.

For further enquiries please email: johnny@hongkongwatch.org
Hong Kong Watch2

New Report Highlights The Position of the Irish Community In Britain Following the UK’s Decision To Leave the EU And Also The Plight Of The Irish Traveller Movement – launched at the House of Lords December 4th – Exchanges in Parliament, December 5th and reply from the Government, December 6th.

New Report Highlights The Plight Of The Irish Traveller Movement – House of Lords Event

House of Lords December 5 th the position of the Irish in Britain post Brexit


Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)


My Lords, has the Minister had the chance to look at the report that I sent him last week? It was launched formally here in Parliament last night and concerned the position of the Irish in Britain and how they will be affected after our withdrawal from the European Union. Will he agree to place in your Lordships’ Library a copy of his response, particularly relating to the implications for the 1949 Ireland Act and the common travel area?


Lord Callanan (Conservative Minister)


The noble Lord asks a good question. I have seen his letter and report. The situation of the Irish in the United Kingdom is of great personal interest to me. I will send him a reply in due course and would be happy to place a copy of it in the Library.


November 6th 2017:

Reply from the Government Minister, Lord Callanan. Click here: 

Lord Callanan to Lord Alton 6 December 2017


To read the full report click here:



The Irish Times: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/irish-in-uk-could-lose-right-to-work-after-brexit-says-report-1.3314983 



The rights of Irish citizens in a post-Brexit UK  – remarks by David Alton (Lord Alton of Liverpool) host of a parliamentary event held on December 4th 2017:

Firstly, thank you all for attending. It’s great to see so many colleagues from both Houses and also to see Irish civil society organisations represented here today.

I’d like to thank the Traveller Movement for highlighting this critical issue and commissioning a much needed paper.


Thank you to Simon Cox for what is truly a fantastic and thorough paper, and to Professor Bernard Ryan for his very helpful contributions in its creation – we will be hearing from both in a few moments.

I must confess that I have a personal interest in this issue. I, like many in this room I suspect, have Irish roots. Irish roots I am immensely proud of. My mother emigrated to Britain from the West of Ireland – County Mayo in fact. I and my children also proudly hold Irish citizenship.


And this is why I think the issues surrounding the rights of Irish citizens in a post-Brexit UK is so critical. There are not many of us who do not have some connection to Ireland or to Irish people; either through relations or even just friends. There are not many of us who have not had their lives touched, for the better, by the Irish.

Throughout history, the Irish community have been a fundamental part of British society and continue to shape Britain for the better.


Take the city of Liverpool where, for nearly two decades, I was a Member of Parliament. It is often described as “the other capital of Ireland” – with three quarters of its population having some Irish antecedents.


That community has roots in the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and in the great hunger produced by the Irish Famine of the 1840s. Liverpool elected the only Irish Nationalist MP to sit for an English constituency.


Many of its most notable citizens – from the social reformer, Kitty Wilkinson, to the sculptor, Arthur Dooley, from founders of institutions like Dr. John Bligh, to Sir John Brown, and Cork’s Richard Sadleir, Liverpool’s first mayor, countless contributions have been made to the civic life of the city from people in whose veins Irish blood has flowed.


Irish people are rooted in so many of our communities, in our churches and in our work places – they have built lives and families here and should continue to be free to do so.


The contribution of the Irish is something of which we should be immensely proud and we must ensure their status here is unaffected by Brexit.

Unfortunately, as the paper being launched today clearly demonstrates, the rights of Irish citizens – future generations and those already living here – are at risk and need to be secured with urgency.


There are, of course, some parts of the Irish community who will be at greatest risk if these protections are not put in place.

The Irish Traveller community have long faced significant prejudice in Britain. The Traveller Movement’s research – ‘Last acceptable form of racism?’ – recently found that service providers and healthcare providers routinely refuse access to Irish Travellers. A lack of legal and policy clarity in a post-Brexit UK would lead to those officials and private sector staff with prejudice to discriminate – consciously or unconsciously – against Irish Travellers who hold Irish citizenship.

But what we now understand – with great clarity thanks to the work of Simon, Bernard and the Traveller Movement – are the risks that all Irish citizens will face unless action is taken.


Despite repeated questions, the British Government has not explained how the Ireland Act 1949 operates to provide the rights to Irish citizens in the UK. Nor has it explained how the Common Travel Area provides Irish citizens with rights to work or receive healthcare. The UK Government has not even addressed its powers to deport Irish citizens.


Until Brexit, Irish citizens are protected as EU citizens. After Brexit there will be heightened public expectations about measures directed at people who are not British citizens. Can we safely say that the British Government has ensured that Irish citizens would be protected from such measures?

I am afraid that we cannot. In these most uncertain of times, we cannot rely on warm words or sentiments of shared values and trust.


And we most certainly cannot rely on the good nature and good will of Ministers and future Ministers.


History has repeatedly demonstrated that times and public attitudes change, and that benign political leaders can be replaced by others less so. Relying on goodwill is not enough.


Regulations that can be changed by the executive, and powers to take actions against individuals may be used in ways that run against current expectations.

Without guaranteed legal rights, Irish citizens are at risk of executive action.


That is why we need strong and firm leadership from the British government on this issue. We need strong legal guarantees of its promises to Irish citizens. We need clear legal measures in an Act of Parliament.


Thanks to this paper we know the gaps in law, but most importantly we know the solutions and the steps the Government needs to and should take. I commend it to you all and I hope it serves as the wakeup call that both the British and Irish Governments need.


8,894,355 reasons why Ireland should continue to uphold the sanctity and dignity of every human life – because every life matters. Count The Missing Britons and The People of Ireland Would Be Wiped Out Twice Over

Both Lives Matter.

To view the talk given by David Alton in Dublin on December 3rd, click here:

Ireland 2017 Choose Life.

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Count the Missing Britons and The People Of Ireland Would Be Wiped Out Twice Over


Speaking in an interview with an Irish Radio station before his visit to Ireland this weekend, David Alton set out his reasons why the Irish would be unwise to import British abortion laws to the Republic. Listen here:




 Speaking this weekend at a pro-life meeting in Dublin the Crossbench Peer, David Alton (Lord Alton of Liverpool), said that “there are 8,894,355 reasons why Ireland should reject the imposition of British-style abortion laws in Ireland.  That is the number of British lives lost since abortion law was enacted; a law that was supposed to be used only in the most extreme circumstances; a law which has led to 600 lives being lost every day – one every three minutes. That’s equivalent to wiping out almost twice the entire current population of Ireland.


It is instructive that because the same British law was not enacted in the north of Ireland there are 100,000 people (5% of the population) who are alive today who would otherwise be dead.


So,  to remedy this, and to make a mockery of devolution,  the British Government has now imposed a policy to pay women to abort their babies in England – and in the case of girls under the age of 16 to remove them from the country and abort them overseas without the knowledge or agreement of their parents.  This smacks of the British policies of the nineteenth century which were based on the recommendation of Malthus that “a large part of the population of Ireland should be swept from the soil” and the beliefs of the twentieth century eugenicists, led by Marie Stopes, who said that the “racially negligent” should be prevented from having babies.


Today, Marie Stopes clinics are part of an abortion industry that has generated three quarters of a billion pounds over the past decade. This is all about money and vested interests about ideology and sloganeering, not about love and care for women and their babies.


Instead of State abduction and State sponsored abortion, Britain should be insisting that both  lives matter – and supporting both women and their children.  If Britain really believed in equality, and was against discrimination, it would be offering pregnant Northern Irish mothers the same funds – thousands of pounds – to abort their babies to help them, if they wish to go ahead with their pregnancy.  


And, as Ireland decides whether to uphold the Eighth Amendment or to adopt British-style laws, let no-one say this is about human rights. The foundational human right is the right to life. Without the right to life, all the others rights are worthless. There are 8,894,355 reasons why Ireland should continue to uphold the sanctity and dignity of every human life – because every life matters.”


The Times: reports claim that Abortion Committee is Biased



Here’s a link to the Irish Times video


Also see this moving clip on “the love chromosome”



What kind of country provides a pay packet of £217 million to its highest paid woman – for running a gambling firm? What kind of country produces five billionaires and 15 multimillionaires from the proceeds of gambling – and increased their wealth last year by nearly 20% to £19 billion? – and then turns a blind eye to the 2 million people in the UK who are either problem gamblers or at risk of gambling addiction – including young people driven to suicide?

What kind of country provides a pay packet of £217 million to its highest paid woman – for running a gambling firm? What kind of country produces five billionaires and 15 multimillionaires from the proceeds of gambling – increasing their wealth last year by nearly 20% to £19 billion? – and then turns a blind eye to the 2 million people in the UK who are either problem gamblers or at risk of gambling addiction – including young people driven to suicide?

Today’s debate on Online Gambling: November 24th 2017


3.39 pm


Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)


My Lords, I too warmly welcome this debate and congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Browne of Belmont, on his speech and on initiating the debate. I wholeheartedly agree with and endorse his remarks, along with those of the other preceding speakers.


In preparing for the debate I have been struck by the fact that the problem gamblers I have spoken to are also passionately against the two-tier system referred to by the noble Lord. One of them, Justyn Larcombe, emailed me this morning, giving me permission to quote him. He said:


“I am at a loss to understand why the Gambling Commission would have settled for this approach. Given that some companies own multiple sites, it doesn’t take a genius to work out why the industry might have pressured the commission into this bizarre arrangement … When you want to self-exclude, you are desperate and, by definition, you want to cut yourself off from all gambling opportunities. The idea that anyone reaches that point and wants to cut themselves off from bet365, but not Paddy Power, is farcical”.


Endorsing a point that we have heard in preceding speeches, he adds:


“It is in the middle of the night that the most destructive online gambling takes place. If it could be shut down overnight in the UK, as in Finland, that would really help increase protections for problem gamblers”.


I will return to each of Mr Larcombe’s points in my remarks.


For 25 years, as a city councillor or Member of the House of Commons, I represented inner-city neighbourhoods in Liverpool. Time and again, I saw the destructive effects of various forms of addiction. Addictive gambling had a corrosive and pernicious effect, with men in particular gambling wages or benefits that their wives and families desperately needed to keep hearth and home together.


Fast forward to today and into the world of anti-social media; and as the Gambling Commission reminds us, the overall prevalence of at-risk gambling is at its worst among those who are enticed into online gambling. That tears lives, families and communities apart—and we should all reflect on the sometimes tragic consequences, which include suicide and other well-documented mental, physical, and emotional consequences, as we have heard. We have been reminded of tragic cases: the 23 year-old trainee accountant, Joshua Jones, who in the summer of 2015 leapt from the ninth storey of a London skyscraper to his death because his gambling debts had risen to £30,000; the 18 year-old, Omair Abbas, who committed suicide in 2016, having accumulated just over £5,000 of online gambling debts; and the noble Lord, Lord Morrow, reminded us of the death of a young man in Fermanagh who had accumulated staggering debts. This waste of life, full of promise, is desperately unnecessary. Gambling addiction destroys lives, but it can also destroy communities.


Fast forward again to 2017 and visit our hollowed-out high streets, where the dominating prevalence of charity shops and betting shops tell their own story of modern Britain. In a telling and sharp contrast, as local communities are disfigured and struggle for resources, the Local Government Association is right to remind us that the gross gambling yield from fixed-odds betting terminals rose from £1.05 billion in April 2008 to £1.73 billion in March 2016—an increase of 65%. Those figures hardly suggest that the Gambling Act has struck the right balance between the needs of local communities and the rights of multimillion-pound businesses. I particularly agree with the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Chadlington, who told us that we ought to enforce many more restrictions on gambling advertising.


The fact that our laws lack balance is also illustrated by the findings of the Gambling Commission, which tells us that the UK now has the largest regulated online gambling market in the world. In one recent year, the remote gambling sector generated a gross gambling yield—defined as the amount retained by operators after the payment of winnings but before the deduction of costs—of a staggering £4.5 billion. That is a 32% market share of an even more staggering £13.8 billion generated over the same period by the gambling industry as a whole. Again, it was the noble Lord, Lord Chadlington, who reminded us of the obscene levels of remuneration by some of the captains of this industry.


Problem gamblers in Great Britain—defined as those who gamble to a degree that compromises, disrupts or damages family, personal or recreational pursuits—are estimated to comprise some 430,000 people, mainly men, with a further 2 million deemed “at risk” of problem gambling. To combat that, the commission says that we can harness technology to provide some degree of protection; in particular, it points to the online multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, mentioned by noble Lords in the debate, scheduled to be in place by 2018. However, again, as Justyn Larcombe told me:


“I am at a loss to understand why the commission would have settled for this approach”.


The Gambling Commission licence conditions and codes of practice, in paragraphs 3.5.4 and 3.5.5, appear to suggest that individual sites should continue to run their own self-exclusion system in addition to MOSES. I am underlining the point of the noble Lord, Lord Browne, which is extremely important. I can see that the Minister may be tempted to suggest that having two systems is better than one; in some situations there can be wisdom in a belt-and-braces approach, but not here. The existence of two systems is likely to generate confusion, whereas problem gamblers, such as Mr Larcombe, want to be able to self-exclude from all legal sites at the same time. I very much hope that we are misreading paragraphs 3.5.4 and 3.5.5 and that GAMSTOP will replace all individual online self-exclusion provisions. However, if it does not, I must ask what evidence the Gambling Commission and the Government have from genuine problem gamblers that there is a desire for a two-tier system. I hope the Minister will reflect on that.


As others have done, let me say something about the statutory levy. I particularly endorse what my noble friend Lady Howe said to the House a little while ago. I raised the issue of the Government’s Internet Safety Strategy Green Paper in another context with the Minister who will reply to the debate. I find it quite extraordinary that, without a hint of irony, at the conclusion of page 16 and beginning of page 17, the paper states:


While the Secretary of State has the power in legislation to bring forward a gambling levy, in practice the sector provides voluntary contributions and support. The majority of these voluntary payments go to GambleAware, a leading charity in Britain committed to minimising gambling-related harm”.


Reading that, it sounds as if the Government are relaying a good-news story of successful self-regulation. Nothing could be further from the truth.


The industry is supposed generously to contribute 0.1% of gross gambling yield, £14 million, and yet it cannot manage even that. Last year, it managed only £8 million, sufficient to enable GambleAware to fund treatment for 8,000 people. Yet there are 430,000 problem gamblers in Great Britain. The Secretary of State should use the regulation-making powers afforded to her by Section 123 of the Gambling Act to give effect to the statutory levy. In my judgment, it should be at least at the level of the problem prevalence figure: 0.8% of gross gambling yield.


Justyn Larcombe also told me:


“It is in the middle of the night that the most destructive online gambling takes place”.


He referred to the situation in Finland. To deal with this challenge will necessitate legislation requiring gambling sites not to accept bets between midnight and 6 am, and financial transaction providers not to process gambling transactions between those hours. As well as reducing the hours during which people can gamble, I hope the Minister will consider reducing maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals—B2 gaming machines—to just £2. The current maximum stake of £100 is significantly out of line with the maximum amounts that can be staked on other types of gaming machines. There is also credible evidence that these machines may be addictive particularly to problem gamblers and therefore pose a greater risk to them, as well as being linked to anti-social behaviour and crime in betting shops.


Then there is the role of the commission. The commission notes, as others have observed, that in 2008 public confidence and trust in gambling stood at 49%. Today, it stands at just 34%. The commission needs to ask why there has been that decline in public confidence. Along with others in your Lordships’ House, I think that we are all indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Browne, for giving us the chance to raise these points and ask these questions today.


 3.49 pm


Read the full debate at


gambling 1


It’s time to see red about the world’s indifference to genocide, crimes against humanity and persecution. Red Wednesday was on November 22nd. Read details here.



Red Wednesday 2017 The Times

2017 Red Wednesday stonyhurstred-white

Stonyhurst College, Lancashire: Red Wednesday November 22nd 2017.


Red Wednesday was on November 22nd. It’s time to see red about the world’s indifference to genocide, crimes against humanity and persecution. 

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Red Wednesday Walsingham 2017

Red Wednesday 2017 at Walsingham, Norfolk.

22nd November 2017 #RedWednesday Event London

Standing in solidarity with those suffering for their faith

By John Newton

#REDWEDNESDAY is a sign to those who suffer for their faith around the world that they are not forgotten – according to the newly appointed Coptic Orthodox Bishop of London.

            Coptic Orthodox Bishop Angaelos’ remarks came during an address he gave at a service outside Westminster Cathedral to mark #RedWednesday (22nd November) which drew attention to the persecution of Christians and members of other faiths.

Pointing to the busy streets of London, Bishop Angaelos said:  “In the midst of all of this, it is unfathomable to think that there are still hundreds of millions potentially who suffer for their faith today.


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Why Liverpool University would be wrong to remove Mr.Gladstone’s name from a hall of residence in Mossley Hill


Why Liverpool University would be wrong to remove Mr.Gladstone’s name from a hall of residence in Mossley Hill





See Liverpool John Moores University Roscoe Lecture :


Gladstone – Son of Liverpool, Scourge of Tyrants
Roscoe Lecture
Audio: Gladstone – son of Liverpool, Scourge of Tyrants – Tuesday 2 October 2009 – Roscoe Lecture



 Days after the Abolition Bill was passed in 1833 (and which Gladstone had opposed) his friend, Henry Wilberforce, took him to the deathbed of his father, William. Gladstone prayed with William Wilberforce and ten days later he attended his funeral at Westminster Abbey. Gladstone said: “It brought me solemn thoughts, particularly about the slaves. This is a burdensome question.” Just as he later embraced the cause of wider electoral representation, Gladstone renounced his support of slavery and admitted that Wilberforce had profoundly affected him: “I can see plainly enough the sad defects, the real illiberalism of my opinions on that subject.”


Gladstone changed his mind and went on to become the greatest of our peace time Prime Ministers. 

Gladstone son of Liverpool scourge of ppt 2 1    Gladstone slides 26-52Gladstone slides 52-81Gladstone slides 81-107Gladstone slides 107-133Gladstone’s Speech at Hengler’s CircusUniverse Column.doc Gladstone

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Why Katie Ascough Deserves Our Admiration. She Has Been PC In The Best Sense – Politically Courageous. Also Speech delivered to commemorate the anniversary of more than 8 million babies lives ended in the womb. And a runner in the London Marathon who put the unborn child up front.

Here is someone, 30 years ago, leading the London Marathon Race and using the opportunity to support the unborn child https://youtu.be/9tuwo_Xd5fw?t=1392


Why Katie Ascough Deserves Our Admiration.

Katie Ascough1University College Dublin (UCD) students have voted to impeach their Students’ Union President Katie Ascough.  They did this because she bravely refused to distribute advertising to promote the ending of lives through abortion.   She refused to be bullied into breaking Irish law and she courageously upheld the principle of freedom of speech.

Katie has been on the end of a campaign of political correctness but she has shown a different kind of PC – political courage.  She may have lost a vote but she has won great admiration.  Ireland needs wonderful women like Katie in public life and I hope that one day we may see her elected President of something more worthy than her student union.

After the vote she spoke with great dignity saying:

Addressing a large crowd of students after the final results of the vote were announced she said

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