It has to be said that next week is a relatively quiet week for the Liberal Democrats, with no oral questions scheduled, although Monday does see some Liberal Democrat ministerial action, with Jim Wallace taking the Second Reading of the Partnerships (Prosecution) (Scotland) Bill, which is intended to make provision for the prosecution in Scotland of partnerships, partners and others following dissolution or changes in membership. More important, probably, is Day 3 of the Report Stage of the Crime and Courts Bill, which will see an amendment to remove the offence of “scandalising the judiciary” (Amendment 113A), and perhaps more interestingly, Amendment 113C which seeks to provide greater clarity over the right of householders to take proportionate action in defence of their property. meanwhile, Eric Avebury will continue his efforts to defend the rights of asylum seekers in the immigration appeals system. The day will conclude with a short debate, moved by Robin Teverson, on the implementation of an energy efficiency strategy.
Never let it be said that the Lords is out of touch with current affairs, and Tuesday sees an oral question from Labour’s Lord Dubs on preventing companies with significant operations in the UK from being based in a tax haven to avoid UK taxes, followed by a short debate moved by the Bishop of Derby on the impact of multinational companies’ financial practices and the UK’s tax policies on developing countries. In Grand Committee, Dick Newby will be taking the Financial Restrictions (Iran) Order 2012 for a spin. The direction prohibits new transactions or business relationships with Iranian banks, their branches and subsidiaries, and the Central Bank of Iran, or continuing to participate in transactions or business relationships with them.
Wednesday sees Day 4 of the Report Stage of the Courts and Crime Bill, whilst Tom McNally takes the Statute Law (Repeals) Bill through its Committee Stage. From the Labour benches, Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town will be probing the government’s intentions on a register of lobbyists, a subject which has seemingly disappeared off the radar in recent months.
Probably the most interesting, and little noticed debate on Thursday is a Short Debate in Grand Committee on the European Union Committee’s report on ‘Deprived Persons Fund: Recommendation for a Reasoned Opinion’. This is an attempt by the European Commission to involve itself in providing food to those in poverty across Europe, and it is felt by the Committee that this is an unwarranted interference in the social programmes of the member states.
It’s a sitting Friday, which means a debate, and an interesting one it is too, as the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury will move a discussion on the place and contribution of older people in society. I doubt that he’s looking for some tips on how to spend his suddenly free time, but we may get an idea as to what he’s planning to get involved with in the years ahead.