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Liberal Democrats

The Weekly Whip

Lib Dem MPs covered everything this week. From the recent court cases on PPE contracts or Uber, to our own cladding amendments and the future of education, our MPs really got stuck in after a week away from Parliament.

By Peter Munro, Feb 26, 2021 7:02

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 22nd February

Monday 22nd February

All eyes were on the Prime Minister on Monday as he delivered an address to Parliament, setting out a roadmap of rolling back restrictions as the pandemic heads into a new phase.

Ed Davey was the first Lib Dem to respond to the announcement, challenging the Prime Minister to prioritise those with learning difficulties for the vaccine.

Following Ed, Munira pressed the PM on funding for Children’s mental health and a ring-fenced resilience fund.

Speaking up for rural communities, Tim Farron received a promising answer from the Prime Minister after he questioned him on outdoor education’s status in the roadmap.

After the Prime Minister’s Statement, Munira and Tim attended the General Debate on Covid-19, which was the main business for the day.

Munira chose to speak to Children’s education and mental health, whereas Tim decided to push further for those who have been excluded from government support during the pandemic.

Tuesday 23rd February

Tuesday was set aside for another Opposition Day, where the topics were the government’s management of the economy and supporting individuals and businesses through the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Christine Jardine, Jamie Stone, and Tim Farron were able to take part in these debates, speaking up for small businesses and the self-employed.

Wednesday 24th February

Wednesday was an extremely busy day for MPs with various debates and votes throughout.

Firstly, Ed Davey had a question for the Prime Minister about boycotting the Winter Olympics unless China stops this blatant genocide of the Uighur Muslims.

Layla Moran was involved in the court case which decided that the government acted unlawfully regarding PPE contracts. Herself and Wendy Chamberlain attended an urgent question on this matter.

The second urgent question of the day came from another court case. This time it concerned Uber and the recent decision that Uber drivers are entitled to workers’ rights. Sarah Olney asked the Minister a question about the government’s commitment to ensure drivers are given legal employment contracts.

We then came to the main business of the day: three separate debates on three separate Bills that the Commons had already scrutinised, but we were now considering what amendments the House of Lords had made.

The first was the Fire Safety Bill which Daisy Cooper and Tim Farron have been leading on. Liberal Democrats in the Lords had tabled an amendment that no remediation costs for cladding should be burdened by the leaseholders or the tenants. The government voted this down.

The second was the CHIS Bill, a bad Bill which Liberal Democrats voted against at previous stages of the Bill’s passage. Alistair Carmichael spoke at the very short debate to put on record for a final time the Liberal Democrats’ opposition to this Bill.

The third and final Bill was the Telecommunications and Infrastructure Bill, which is a crucial one for rural communities. Jamie and Tim both spoke at this debate, but the Bill is relatively uncontroversial.

Thursday 25th February

Thursday was also a busy end to the week, with a few statements and a few debates.

The first statement was the weekly Business Statement from Leader of the House, Jacob-Rees Mogg. Wera Hobhouse spoke to him about how the government plans to tackle emissions from homes, following the recent announcement about cutting the Green Homes Grant.

This was followed by a Statement from Gavin Williamson on the return of education settings and how qualifications will be awarded in the Summer. Munira and Layla both attended this.

The next statement came from Robert Jenrick who updated the House on the government’s work around rough sleeping. Tim Farron took part in this.

The last statement was a short and sweet one from the Environment Audit Committee on their most recent report on putting nature and net-zero at the heart of the economic recovery from Covid-19. Wera Hobhouse spoke to this.

The last bit of business for the week were two debates for backbenchers. The first was co-secured by our own Munira Wilson on the education settings route-map out of the pandemic. Education spokesperson, Daisy Cooper, also spoke.

The final debate was on Welsh Affairs due to the fact that it is St. David’s Day on Monday 1st March. Our Spokesperson, Wendy Chamberlain, attended the short debate and paid tribute to Kirsty Williams who is stepping down after 22 years in the Senedd, serving as Education Minister since 2016.

What you may have missed!

Layla Moran, who has had a habit of securing debates recently, secured another debate about flooding in her local constituency of Oxford West and Abingdon.

Also, during the Housing Statement on Thursday, Robert Jenrick accidentally let slip that he wants to scrap the Vagrancy Act!

What next?

All the focus next week will be on the Chancellor’s Budget Statement.

The Lords have a new weekly round-up - catch up on what's been happening in the other place here:

The Lords Weekly Whip

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