We're moving to a new website

Get a sneak peak of what's coming. Just visit: beta.libdems.org.uk

Liberal Democrats

The Weekly Whip

During the last week before February recess, Lib Dems reacted to the news on the cladding scandal, voted on crucial amendments to the Trade Bill, and responded to the announced restructuring of the NHS.

By Peter Munro, Feb 12, 2021 5:02

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 February

Monday 8th February

Two Urgent Questions were accepted on Monday morning.

The first concerned the situation in Yemen, where the US recently declared that they would end support for the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen, including relevant arms sales. Layla Moran questioned the Minister on the UK’s continued sales of arms to Saudi Arabia.

The second UQ related to the EU’s decision to ban shellfish exports from the UK. Tim Farron questioned the Secretary of State on what he will do to compensate those who will lose out on this business.

Alistair Carmichael called for his resignation following claims that he privately admitted that the EU were right to impose the ban.

The main business of the day was the Second Reading of the Armed Forces Bill, a rollover Bill every 5 years which is required to ensure the continued running of the United Kingdom’s Armed Forces. The only difference this time around is that the government have decided to put the Armed Forces Covenant into written law, rather than it being an unspoken understanding. This is a welcome move but the Lib Dems are concerned that the scope of the Covenant is not wide enough for our veterans as it only covers health, housing, and education. Jamie Stone briefly spoke in the debate.

Tuesday 9th February

Tuesday started with a Covid-19 update from the Secretary of State for Health during which Munira questioned Matt Hancock on border measures.

The main business for the day included the continuation of the debate over trade and genocide. Many MPs and Peers in Parliament have been insistent that the government should not trade with countries who commit genocide. Despite the cross-party and cross-House support for this measure, the government have been keen to remove any such provision from the Trade Bill.

Due to time constraints, neither Sarah Olney nor Layla Moran were called to speak in the very short debate, but Lib Dems voted to ensure more Parliamentary Scrutiny over future trade agreements and to prevent the UK from trading with countries who have committed genocide.

Click through to read the whole thread

Following this business, Sarah Olney, along with MPs from all different parties, supported the adjournment debate from Caroline Lucas on the UK’s climate emergency plans.

Wednesday 10th February

This week at PMQs, Layla Moran had a question for the Prime Minister regarding long-Covid.

Following this, the Secretary of State for Housing made a statement on the cladding scandal, noting that leaseholders who live in a building with 18+ levels would not be subject to remediation costs, but those who did not meet that threshold would be subject to a loan scheme to cover the cost. Daisy Cooper has spearheaded the Lib Dem response to the cladding scandal and made it clear that leaseholders should not be footing the bill for these unexpected costs.

Thursday 11th February

The final day of business before recess was unusual due to the fact that the Commons passed an emergency Bill in one day. Before this, Wera Hobhouse attended weekly business questions with the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Earlier than expected, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care came to the House to give a statement about the proposed changes to NHS structures. Munira Wilson was quick to notice the lack of guarantees to fix social care.

This fast-track legislation emerged because the current Attorney General is pregnant and, according to the law, unable to take any maternity leave due to her position. Clearly this is an ugly showcase of our male-dominated world, but Wera, Christine, and Wendy spoke to and welcomed the Bill that the government have brought forward today. The Bill does not go far enough to deal with similar issues, but the Minister assured the House that more legislation will come forward shortly on this topic and that this legislation was just a stopgap so the Attorney General can take her leave.

The opposition agreed to pass the Bill without any votes, but, we’ll be keeping our eye out for more developments here.

What next?

Nothing! The House has risen for recess, but we will be back on Monday 22nd February to deal with the Fire Safety Bill and the CHIS Bill. We also expect a statement from the PM on the roadmap out of lockdown.

Share this post on social media