Tag Archives: house of lords

What our busy peers will be up to this week

Here are some of the things our team in the House of Lords will be doing this week:

Monday: Roger Roberts will be pushing the Government to take action to relieve the situation of unaccompanied refugee children. Tim Farron has been pushing the Government to accept 3,000 at risk refugee children but David Cameron has recently rejected the proposal. The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to find a solution which does not leave these children vulnerable.

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Baroness Kath Pinnock writes…Flexible childcare: Another Lib Dem victory

Who is going to look after the children?

One of the biggest worries for working parents is finding high quality and affordable childcare. It is also one of the biggest barriers, especially for women, to getting back into work.

So, when the chance came to ease those worries by improving what childcare the Government were offering, we grabbed it.

Liberal Democrats, of course, recognise that childcare is a critical issue for parents of pre-school children and successfully introduced childcare for two year olds from disadvantaged families. An increase in hours available for all 3 and 4 year olds was in our Manifesto. So we were in broad agreement with the Government Bill to increase the free childcare offer to 30 hours per week during school times.

Throughout the Bill we argued that this was a great opportunity to extend the free hours to school holidays and outside the normal school day. Parents and providers told us that the school holidays often turned out to be a nightmare to organise and could cost a small fortune. Parents who worked non-standard hours in a great variety of jobs such as nursing, cleaning, social care, and catering told us that they ended up paying for childcare when parents who worked during the school day were able to have free childcare.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Lib Dem Peer John Roper dies at 80

The Manchester Evening News reports that Liberal Democrat peer John Roper, who retired last year, has died at the age of 80:

Lord Roper started his career as an economics lecturer at the University of Manchester before standing for Parliament in High Peak, near Stockport, for Labour in 1964.

He was elected Member of Parliament for Farnworth in 1970.

He sat as a Labour Co-operative MP from 1970 to 1981 and for the SDP for the following two years.

His Farnworth seat was subsequently abolished, and he contested Worsley at the 1983 general election, finishing third in a three-way marginal.

In 2000, he was created a life peer as Baron Roper.

Dick Newby, his successor as the party’s chief whip in the upper chamber, said: “John was, throughout his life, a great servant to social democracy and liberal politics in Britain.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches: Dorothy Thornhill on housing and planning

Dorothy Thornhill at Bournemouth
Last Tuesday, Dorothy Thornhill, Mayor of Watford, made her maiden speech in the House of Lords. She spoke in the debate on the Housing and Planning Bill. Here it is in full:

When I mentioned to my noble friends that I was excited but concerned about my maiden speech

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Baroness Celia Thomas writes…Like a WRAG to a bull

What was the issue which caused the House of Lords to defeat the Government so spectacularly on Wednesday? It was George Osborne’s latest attempt to save on the Welfare Bill by cutting sick benefits.

At the moment, if you aren’t well enough to work, having had the Work Capability Assessment, you are either put into the support group or the work-related activity group. In the support group you don’t have to look for work, but if you are in the work related activity group, you are expected to be able to get back into some kind of work eventually. Under the Bill, those in the work-related activity group (the WRAG) will have their benefit cut to align it with Jobseekers’ Allowance.

The Government say that not enough of those in the WRAG are getting into work, so they want to ‘encourage’ them by cutting their benefits, putting some of the money saved into giving this group more specialised support to get into work. However, there are no details about how this will work.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Shirley Williams makes her final speech in the Lords

I was out and about yesterday and ended up being marooned in Glasgow and not getting home till late so I missed Shirley’s final speech in the House of Lords. She has been a giant of common sense and wisdom and one of my political heroes from the moment I first realised politics was a thing. This is a speech that you have to watch as well as read for all sorts of reasons, the interaction with David Steel being one, so thank goodness the BBC have provided an embeddable version.

She talks about the great institutions of the BBC, the NHS and the EU and how important they are to our national life. Two of them didn’t even exist when she was born.

Heaven knows she deserves her retirement at 85 and we all wish her well, but we are so going to miss her regular contributions to the Lords. However, it looks like she will be campaigning in the EU Referendum, which is great news as her contributions were one of the very few high spots of the Scottish Referendum on independence.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

Another day, another time Labour doesn’t bother turning up to defeat Government in Lords

You would think, wouldn’t you, that if there was a chance to defeat the Government, especially if it was to do with helping out low paid workers, Labour Lords would show up, wouldn’t you?

Certainly that would be a triumph of hope over experience in this Parliament, given that they never bothered to kill of the tax credit rise when they had the chance. Nor, of course, did they turn up to secure votes at 16.

Again tonight, they failed to show up to vote for a Liberal Democrat motion to get rid of the cuts to Universal Credit from April 2017. These are exactly the same cuts that were going to happen to tax credits.

Speaking after the defeat of the Lib Dem motion (by 91 votes to 202, which is a pretty spectacular turnout for our peers, Lords Chief Whip Dick Newby said:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 39 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 9th Feb - 11:40am
    An interesting comment by Chris Bryant, but no justification for a ban. When I was of primary school age, the songs we sang in music...
  • User AvatarDavid Warren 9th Feb - 11:17am
    This bill is a clumsy attempt to make strikes more difficult and hit the Labour party's funding. Trade union reforms are needed and I would...
  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 9th Feb - 10:58am
    I am very interested in cars and their engineering, and I used to watch pre-Clarkson Top Gear and a similar show on Channel 5. I...
  • User AvatarEx Liberal 9th Feb - 10:46am
    Thomas, but the Independent article you link to says nothing about the 3,000 refugee children test. It only mentions the word refugee twice - once...
  • User AvatarPsi 9th Feb - 10:44am
    Caron That is an appalling straw man. Perhaps rather than deploying the appeal to motivation approach you could address the arguments. Accusing others of not...
  • User AvatarJames 9th Feb - 10:07am
    Very good - I'm still waiting to hear whether Labour Lords will turn up for work themselves to support Lib Dem votes - can anyone...