Liberal Democrats

The Weekly Whip - Lord's Edition

Welcome to the latest Lords edition of the Weekly Whip, covering the goings on in the Upper Chamber in the last week, and a little taste of what’s to come next week.

By Humphrey Amos, Apr 23, 2021 5:04

Palace of Westminster.

In the Lords we get to grips with the detail of the legislation and improve it; we take part in debates on a whole range of issues; and we question and hold to account government ministers.

For up-to-date information about the work of the Lib Dem group in the Lords, follow us on Twitter: @LibDemLords

Monday 19th April

A question on joining up family policy across government departments started the week in the Lords, and Claire Tyler pushed the government for more relationship support in the family justice system.

Meral Hussein-Ece was not in the mood to mess around during a question on skilled migrants from the Commonwealth being refused indefinite leave to remain in the UK when she pointed out just how many of these people are facing destitution and have no right to work.

During an Urgent Question on the crisis in Hong Kong, Lindsay Northover pushed again to try and get the Government and the international community to do more to act against China.

The remaining business of the day was the Third Reading of the Overseas Operations Bill (which is the Bill which has just caused the resignation/sacking of the Defence Minister, Johnny Mercer) and we wait to see how the Commons will respond to the amendments that we in the Lords have made to the legislation.

Tuesday 20th April

During a question on the link between problem gambling and early mortality, Don Foster calls for gambling companies to take more responsibility for the health of those who suffer from gambling addiction.

An Urgent Question on the proposed European Super League was used by Dominic Addington to argue that the proposal was an attack on our cultural heritage.

The individuals involved must have been listening because, just hours later, the whole enterprise fell apart as most of the teams involved withdrew....

The main business was the return of the Fire Safety Bill and the one remaining outstanding area of disagreement between the Lords and the Commons about who pays for fire safety work.

We defeated the Government once again on the issue and hope that this time around the Government in the Commons listens.

Wednesday 21st April

Judith Jolly’s question about why residents making a visit out of a care home then need to isolate for 14 days on their return, gave her the chance to quote the Joint Committee on Human Rights which called the Government’s policy in this area a blatant abuse of human rights, and she urged them to reassess the guidance.

Robin Teverson led a debate on the case for the integration of policy-making in local and national government to achieve net zero carbon emissions. He called for a proper, detailed roadmap from the Government for both local authorities and the Westminster government to meet carbon emission targets and for the creation of a new dedicated Minister for the Climate Emergency.

Shas Sheehan, Rupert Redesdale, Andrew Stunell, Jenny Randerson, John Shipley and Jonny Oates all took part in the debate, promoting the proud record that Liberal Democrats have around the UK of promoting a greener country and the decarbonisation of the economy.

The main legislative business of the day saw the return of the Domestic Abuse Bill to the Lords. There are four remaining areas of disagreement between the Lords and the Commons and Lib Dem peers, and others, defeated the Government on all four issues in our continued quest to improve this important piece of legislation.

Thursday 22th April

Paul Tyler asked a very topical question on the need to review and updated the Transparency of Lobbying Act, pushing the Government to take action to properly accept and recognise the danger of special access to Ministers for its prominent political supporters. He called out the stench of Tory sleaze which is just getting stronger and stronger…

A few weeks ago, the Government published the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, and a major debate on this document was the substantive business in the main Chamber in the Lords. A number of Lib Dems took part, including Jeremy Purvis, John Alderdice, William Wallace and Julie Smith. The thrust from our contributions was varied, but many focused on the slashing of support to the world’s poorest countries and the fact that the Review focuses much more on economic ties with a problematic country like China rather than calling them out on human rights abuses. A lack of moral leadership from the UK Government is very evident in the Review.

In other business, Dominic Addinton led a short debate on how effective Body Mass Index actually is as as medical guideline (not very) - and urged the Government to consider changing it; and Robin Teverson led a short debate, urging the Government to declare a ‘biodiversity emergency’ to raise awareness of the climate emergency and other related issues, as some councils have done around the UK (including Lib Dem councils).

NEXT WEEK

Next week is expected to be the final week before Parliament breaks for the short period of time known as Prorogation which happens before the State Opening of Parliament and the start of a new session.

We will be dealing with the remaining issues of a number of bills including the Overseas Operations Bill, the Domestic Abuse Bill and the Fire Safety Bill, whilst Dorothy Thornhill will be asking about support for the development of local strategies to deliver sustainable local growth.

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