Liberal Democrats

3 Big Parliament Wins

Believe it or not, Brexit isn't the only thing happening in Parliament this week. Read a little more about what we've been up to in the Lords.

By Richard Newby, Jan 15, 2019 2:01

Palace of Westminster.

The media's been laser-focused on Theresa May's sinking Brexit deal. But today, 3 crucial bills have gone through the Lords, with significant Lib Dem input. We've helped secure legislation to:

  • Protect the privacy of people who wear skirts
  • Outlaw exploitative letting fees
  • Allow people to go about their lives without the Government butting in

The Voyeurism Bill makes the act of taking a photo up someone's dress - upskirting - without them knowing a crime. It started out as a Bill put forward by Lib Dem Wera Hobhouse in the Commons.

It seems common sense that this practice should be illegal - but Conservative MP Christopher Chope blocked the bill.

Conservative MP Christopher Chode

Really, Chris?

But that didn't stop Wera - she got the Government to take up the issue in their own legislation.
 
Their Bill wasn't clear enough and left uncertainty as to whether this terrible practice would be outlawed in all circumstances We pressed for assurances that the Bill would do what we wanted it to do. And they caved in. 



The Tenant's Fees Bill started as a Lib Dem Private Members' Bill too - this time by Olly Grender in the Lords. Her Bill protected tenants from exorbitant admin fees and rogue landlords.

She pushed the Government into putting forward its own Bill to ban fees, but it had a loophole. It let landlords keep demanding huge sums from tenants needing a roof over their heads.
 
Thanks to pressure from Olly, John Shipley and Dorothy Thornhill, we closed that loophole. We also put an average of £150 back into the pockets of private renters by reducing deposit caps. And landlords will now have to give a fuller explanation when they aren't returning a full deposit. This adds up to a much better deal for private renters.



We've always argued against the Government's Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. It's a nasty throwback to David Cameron less than a week after the 2015 General Election. 

We voted against it in the Commons, but Jeremy Corbyn sided with the Conservatives to pass it. The Bill would allow the detention and questioning of people seen as a threat to the economy. That was way too vague, and Brian Paddick told them so. Now, the Bill only covers people seen as a threat to national security.
 
It also let the Home Secretary designate certain countries as off-limits, without clarity as to whether journalists, aid workers, or even people visiting ill relatives are exempt. We beat them on that too. You should be able to carry out this essential work, or visit an ill relative, without fear of arrest. Another amendment will force the Government to review its overreaching Prevent strategy.

Each one of these victories was hard fought. I'm really proud of the Lib Dem Parliamentarians championing our values at every opportunity. We can do this thanks to the support of people like you; will you chip in now and help us keep fighting for a better Britain?

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