Following the spectacular scenes in Delhi last Sunday, where the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, led the largest Yoga demonstration in a single venue in history, Lord Bilimoria today led the First Annual UN International Yoga Day Celebrations in the UK Parliament to demonstrate the benefits of the ancient practice.

A number of MPs and Peers took part in the event, including the former Defence Secretary, Lord King of Bridgwater, former Managing Director of Marks and Spencer, Lord Stone, former surgeon and professor, Lord McColl of Dulwich, Virendra Sharma MP, Chairman of the Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group, and Bob Blackman MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus.

The event saw Yoga teachers from around the country discuss the history of the discipline and deliver demonstrations on meditation and mindfulness, breathing exercises, and office yoga.


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Speaking on the occasion on Gurkha pageant at the Royal Hospital Chelsea – Lord Bilimoria led a short debate in the House of Lords to commemorate the service of the Nepalese warriors in the British Army, as well as calling for increased aid and support for veterans by the Ministry of Defence. The speech was well-received by their Lordships, and prompted a number of questions of support to the Defence Minister, the Earl Howe.

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Speaking in the House of Lords on Friday, Lord Bilimoria spoke cautiously in favour of the proposed use of military force against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known various as ‘ISIS’, ‘ISIL’ and ‘IS’) upon the recent request of the Iraqi government and President Obama’s so-called ‘Coalition of the Willing.’

In his speech, Lord Bilimoria noted the slow pace at which the government proposed the military intervention, as well as critiquing the present state of the UK Armed Forces.

The debate ran co-currently with a debate in the House of Commons, which endorsed the principle of military intervention via airstrikes by 524 votes to 43.

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Speaking in response to the Queen’s Speech, Lord Bilimoria strongly  criticised the government’s continued failure to reform the immigration system and to support international students and higher education failure to understand the tremendous economic and social values that international students bring to the United Kingdom, citing research by the National Union of Students, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, and the Judge Business School.

Lord Bilimoria also criticised the failure of the government to introduce exit-checks as British ports of entry, as well as the negative response to the mooted “Visitor Bond” system, which was scrapped last year after public outcry.

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For the first time since 2011, the House of Lords Team was victorious in the annual Pancake Day Race in Victoria Tower Gardens. The event, which celebrated its fourteenth anniversary on Tuesday, has become a fixture of the political calender. Taking place in in the shadow of the Palace of Westminster, the race sees three competing teams, representing the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Parliamentary Press Gallery, flipping away around a course in order to raise money for Rehab.

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Lord Bilimoria was one of a number of peers to criticise various aspects of the government’s Immigration Bill, which had its Second Reading in the House of Lords on Monday. Speaking in opposition to the additional charges that would be forced upon new migrants to the United Kingdom, Lord Bilimoria noted the damaging effects that the Bill would have for universities and higher education in general, which could also have long-term repercussions for the British economy.

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Lord Bilimoria participated in a major debate on Scottish independence, which was moved by the former Scottish Secretary, Lord Lang of Monkton. In his speech – Lord Bilimoria noted the tremendous benefits and potential that comes from the historic Union between England and Scotland, as well as the fiscal risks associated with the proposals for an independent Scotland to become part of the Stirling Zone;

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My Lords, I have just returned this morning from attending the UK-India Roundtable in Delhi.

We started our meeting on the morning of the 6th December with two minutes of silence for Nelson Mandela.

India immediately declared five days of state mourning. In fact, there was no alcohol allowed to be served at our gathering!

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Lord Bilimoria gave a speech to the Oxford Union on Monday evening, having been invited to speak by the Union’s President, Parit Wacharasindhu. The Oxford Union is one of the most prestigious organisations in the world and hosts hundreds of speakers from the world of politics, business, activism and academia every year.

In a wide-ranging discussion – Lord Bilimoria talked about his formative years at university in India and the United Kingdom, noting where he first gain the inspiration for Cobra Beer when he was first introduced to Real Ale, before going on to describe his experiences in establishing the company from scratch. When the first batch of Cobra Beer was brewed in India, Lord Bilimoria noted that he had even had to borrow money from the owner of the brewery in order to purchase his inaugural pint!

Lord Bilimoria also outlined him main tenants for ensuring the success of Cobra Beer, even during times of adversity. He especially noted how the presence of a strong team and a supportive family had given him strength during difficult times. Taking the view that “good judgement comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgement” – Lord Bilimoria also explained how even in times of crisis, the business had emerged all the stronger from it.

In concluding, Lord Bilimoria also cited his views on political matters, particularly regarding defence, immigration and House of Lords reform. He said that, despite cuts to the Royal Navy, Britain still had much to give to the world, especially in terms of engineering and design.  

Following this – the President of the Oxford Union then fielded a number of questions from the audience, before those present decamped to the Union’s Gladstone Room, where further discussion took place over numerous bottles of Cobra Beer.

At the end of the evening, Lord Bilimoria was shown the Oxford Union’s famous debating chamber. As a former Vice-Chair of the Cambridge Union, he was pleased to have the chance to see the building under less strenuous circumstances than the last time he had visited!


My Lords, Sir Bob Worcester, the chairman of the Magna Carta 800th anniversary commemoration committee, in a recent speech, summed it up really well—foundation of human rights, father of all constitutions, basis of our civil liberties, rights of free men and now women and of legal tradition, the bedrock of our systems of democracy. Then he says, “Who are its guardians?” He says it is our system of rule of law, jurisprudence, of justice. I say the guardian of this nation is this wonderful, unelected House, which is the cornerstone of our democracy.

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