27-30 January – this week in the Lords

I’ve been meaning to get back into the swing of this for a while now, and now that the debate over Brexit is over (albeit the consequences will be debated for years to come), perhaps now is a good time to pick up where I erratically left off…

Monday is a relatively gentle opener to the week, with the primary item of business being the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill, whose Second Reading takes place. Think drones. Batting for the Liberal Democrats will be Bill Bradshaw, Tom McNally, and our Transport Spokesperson, Jenny Randerson. This will be followed by a short debate on the current health of the reserve forces, featuring interventions from John Burnett and Sue Garden.

Tim Clement-Jones has the first oral question on Tuesday, on NHS compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation, before the Second Reading of the Pension Schemes Bill. Sharon Bowles, Barbara Janke and John Sharkey are all lined up to explore the Government’s proposals on collective money purchase benefits plus new powers for the Pensions Regulator.

Business for the day is concluded with a debate on how the Government will approach the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth summit in December. Shas Sheehan and our Deputy Leader, Joan Walmsley, will be lobbying the Government to make real commitments towards addressing malnutrition, the idea of the summit being to build a world in which all people, including the most vulnerable, have access to safe, affordable, and nutritious food by 2030.

The Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) Bill allows the Government to continue paying direct payments to farmers this year, which is ever so slightly important, given how reliant the agricultural sector is on EU subventions, and it will go through its Second Reading and all remaining stages on Wednesday. Cathy Bakewell and Christine Humphreys might have some markers to put down for when the Agriculture Bill finally comes to the Lords – it has its Second Reading in the Commons in a week’s time.

The final item of business is a debate sponsored by Claire Tyler on improving social mobility as proposed in the Sutton Trust’s Mobility Manifesto and the recommendations of the Social Mobility Commission’s report “State of the Nation 2018-19: Social Mobility in Great Britain“. Sue Garden, John Shipley, Mike Storey, Dorothy Thornhill and Joan Walmsley will all be adding their support.

The week concludes on Thursday with a short debate on the influence of Iran on stability in the Middle East, where Lindsay Northover will be leading for us, and a debate on the role played by defence, diplomacy and development policy in building a safer, fairer and cleaner world, with David Chidgey flying the flag for liberal internationalism.

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor for Liberal Democrat Voice.

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