29 January – 2 February: this week in the Lords

Welcome to another preview of the upcoming week in the more genteel end of the Palace of Westminster, although don’t be misled into thinking that it’s passionless. For this week, the Rwanda Bill gets its first proper airing, and the Lords has views…

There are expected to be more than seventy speakers on Monday, when the Rwanda Bill receives its Second Reading. Now normally, the Second Reading is where the general principles of a Bill are discussed, with the detail and amendments left to the Committee and Report Stages, but not today. Mike German will be moving a Motion to Decline the Bill, effectively inviting the Lords to reject the Bill on the grounds that it is unacceptable and unamendable. It’s a rare “nuclear option”, and there’s much talk of the Salisbury Convention, whereby the Lords will not oppose the Second or Third Reading of any Government legislation promised in its election manifesto.

The obvious catch in this argument is that the Rwanda policy wasn’t in the 2019 Conservative manifesto but, whilst the Liberal Democrats will be voting solidly to reject the Bill, Labour are expected to quietly acquiesce with the Government on the perhaps cynical basis that they’d rather like to rely on the Convention when they form the Government in due course. But it’s the principle of the thing, right? The vote isn’t expected until late, but watch out for contributions from Sal Brinton, Mike German, Lindsay Northover, Jeremy Purvis, Roger Roberts, Paul Scriven and Martin Thomas.

For legislation enthusiasts, the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill has a third day at Committee Stage in Grand Committee. Day 4 follows on Wednesday…

I suspect that Tuesday will be a rather quieter day, with the Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill receiving its Third Reading, and the Pedicabs (London) Bill – a bit niche? – reaching its Report Stage.

Wednesday is Day 2 of the Committee Stage of the Victims and Prisoners Bill, intended to offer new rights for victims of crime. Sal Brinton and Sally Hamwee are attempting to improve the definition of “victim” and one can only hope that, for the sake of those impacted by criminal behaviour, that the Government is in listening mode. The bits about prisoners are more retributional, as you might expect – is prohibiting whole life prisoners from marrying, for example, really that important?

The day ends with a Short Debate on improving financial literacy of children, where Dominic Addington will be offering a liberal perspective.

John Russell has the only Liberal Democrat Oral Question on Thursday, on the number of locally available and easily accessible green spaces, whilst Dominic Addington has obtained a Short Debate on mitigation of safety risks arising from the presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete in schools.

Friday’s business consists of the annual Holocaust Memorial Day debate, which offers the potential for a rather less measured exchange than in years past, given recent events and the tensions engendered by them. Sal Brinton, Lynne Featherstone, Sarah Ludford, Monroe Palmer and Julie Smith will be taking part from the Liberal Democrat benches.

And finally, this is the fourth week of this returning feature. Is there anything readers would like to see covered going forward?

But until next time…

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

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This entry was posted in News and Parliament.
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2 Comments

  • Thank you Mark. Please keep the reports coming. They are enlightening.

  • Suzanne Fletcher 30th Jan '24 - 7:52pm

    I’ve flicked through the debate and our members in H of L contributions, and I am very proud of them, excellent speeches with good solid content.
    Also the Bishop of Durham (he is my Bishop but retiring at the end of February) gave a great speech too that has a clip on the Diocesan FB group.
    I know we want to abolish the H of L and Bishops too, for all the right reasons, but whilst they are there, and much needed, applause.
    Beyond me why Labour could not support the fatal motion and just abstained.

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