Liberal Democrats

The Weekly Whip

An important week in Parliament as the Lib Dems, and in particular Alistair Carmichael, got a concession from the Government on proxy voting.

By Alex McBeath, Jun 12, 2020 5:06

Palace of Westminster.

Welcome to the Weekly Whip. Your one-stop shop for Lib Dem Parliamentary updates, covering the week that was and the week to come. 

For up to date information from the Lib Dem Whips Office, follow us on Twitter: @LibDemWhips 

Weekly Whip w/c 8th June

Monday 8th June

Alistair secured the first emergency debate of this Parliament. The previous week, the government had not scheduled time to debate the plans for proxy voting, nor its motion for virtual participation for self-selecting members. Given the importance of the matter, Alistair’s application for a debate was granted and on Monday he led a two hour debate on the subject.

The debate was well attended and not everyone was able to speak, Alistair received plaudits from across the House and Jacob Rees-Mogg was forced to concede on proxy voting. At the time of the debate, only those that were clinically vulnerable were eligible for a proxy vote, but the scope was soon to be widened.

We then moved onto the Divorce Bill, which reduces the animosity when two individuals want to part ways. This was supported across the House and was expected to pass through without a division. There were however a small number of Conservative MPs that disagreed with the principle of the Bill and forced it to go to a vote. It passed by 231 votes to 16.

At about 1030pm, Wendy Chamberlain led an adjournment debate on electoral reform. Despite the late hour, there were a number of Lib Dem MPs and other MPs who came to hear the debate. We hope this is just the start of the debate in this Parliament.

The govt has a majority with 43% of the vote. I don’t know what’s more remarkable: the fact that the govt has a majority on less than a majority of votes or that we’re so used to this disproportionality that we very rarely comment on how remarkable it is. https://t.co/ekuIEYb8N7

June 9, 2020

Tuesday 9th June

The day started with a Ministerial Statement from Gavin Williamson, announcing his u-turn on schools opening. Layla led for us, raising concerns about the number of children that will not be receiving laptops, preventing them access to a number of learning resources.

The main business for the day included the Counter-Terrorism Bill. Christine spent most of the week, including Tuesday in the Public Bill Committee for the Domestic Abuse Bill but was able to speak in this Bill too. She expressed concern that longer sentencing would not necessarily reduce crime and asked the government to look at the evidence when changing the law.

Wednesday 10th June

The concession that had been promised made its way on the order paper and meant that Jamie Stone would now be eligible to vote by proxy.

Wednesday was also a busy day for Ed Davey who quizzed the Prime Minister on the Government’s stop and search policy and the fact a Black person is 47 times more likely to be stopped than a White person.

Later that day he also presented his Carers Bill.

The day continued with a number of Statutory Instruments, including one one social care and adoption. The Government wanted to reduce the checks when going through adoption and social care due to the pandemic, but we voted with Labour to annul the motion. We agreed it wasn’t necessary to do this however lost the vote by 123 to 260.

Thursday 11th June

The government published the business for next week, which included a number of Statutory Instruments. Despite the Government insisting we needed to come back physically to get through the large number of Bills they have, we only have one next week.

Business Questions was also where Jamie was able to participate in proceedings for the first time since Parliament returned from Recess.

A busy week in Parliament shows the excellent work our MPs continue to do in the House. Despite being only 11 in number, we are frequently leading the debate on a range of matters, from education, proxy voting and stop and search.

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