10-11 January 2024 – this week in the Lords

Whilst the Commons returned today, the Lords has a little longer to recover from any Christmas/New Year excesses, resuming its work on Wednesday.

There are three items of particular interest as far as the Liberal Democrat benches are concerned, all of which are scheduled for Thursday.

Wednesday, however, sees Oral Questions on levels of mould in social housing, HMRC’s processing of tax returns (a topical one, I’d suggest), NatWest branch closures and account terminations, and, most topically of all, potential Government proposals to reverse convictions of sub-postmasters linked to the failed Horizon software.

The Automated Vehicles Bill reaches Day 1 of its Committee Stage, with Sharon Bowles leading from our Benches.

As already noted, Thursday sees a rather strong Liberal Democrat influence with an Oral Question from Mike German, seeking an answer from the Government as to what consideration they have given to the findings of the Brook House Inquiry, published on 19 September 2023, in particular its recommendation for a 28-day time limit on immigration detention.

The other Oral Questions are on excess deaths not attributable to COVID-19, particularly coronary and vascular-related excess deaths, and in younger age cohorts, since 1 January 2020, and the reasoning behind the Government’s withdrawal of proposals for the abolition of leasehold for flats.

There follow two debates, the first sponsored by Lynne Featherstone on the current standing of parliamentary democracy and standards in public life (and I suspect that it might be a bit depressing), and the second on the United Kingdom’s contribution to international development, in particular with regard to the impact of climate change on developing nations, led off by Lindsay Northover.

Looking forward, the Lords awaits the arrival of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, amongst others. In the event that it gets through the Commons, and I still expect it to do so, it can expect an unfriendly reception from Peers. Other potential “nasties” include the Criminal Justice Bill and the Offshore Petroleum Bill. It’s going to be a lively session, especially in the run-up to a General Election.

* Mark Valladares is the Lords Correspondent of Liberal Democrat Voice.

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