31 October – 3 November – this week in the Lords

I used to do this regularly, primarily because the party’s press releases seldom mention the work of the Lords Parliamentary Party. Perhaps it is time to reincarnate this feature…

Time once again to return to the red benches at the more dignified end of the Palace of Westminster, for a preview of events this week, and in particular the Liberal Democrat highlights.

Monday is a relatively low-profile day for the Liberal Democrat peers, with the Third Reading of the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill and the more controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill reaching its Committee Stage. Incidentally, it’s a sign of the rapidly changing makeup of the Government that the sponsoring Minister in the Commons on behalf of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is someone called Elizabeth Truss. Whatever happened to her, I wonder?

There is also a debate on plans to review the powers and functions of Police and Crime Commissioners, something that Liberal Democrats opposed at the time of their introduction. Brian Paddick, unsurprisingly, will be speaking from the Liberal Democrat benches.

In Grand Committee, the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill starts its Committee Stage, intended to enable the sort of people that you’d cross the street to avoid to have the freedom to be unpleasant on campuses. Think of it as part of the culture war that some people think we really need.

The Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill reaches its Committee Stage on Tuesday. Sponsored by Sarah Ludford, it aims to make provision for leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom to be granted to the family members of refugees and of people granted humanitarian protection; and to provide for legal aid to be made available in such cases.

This is followed by the Second Reading of the frankly pretty horrifying Public Order Bill. Second readings are usually a bit of a damp squib, with the meat of the debate saved for the Committee Stage and Third Reading, but this is thought to be so egregious that there are already thirty-six peers lined up to speak. From the Liberal Democrat benches, Liz Barker, Alan Beith, Sally Hamwee, Sarah Ludford and Brian Paddick are all likely to point out just how repressive this legislation is likely to be although, given that it breezed through the Commons, one fears that the case against will be made in vain.

The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill continues its Committee Stage on Wednesday, whilst my colleague, Charley Hasted, might be interested in the Public Services Committee’s enquiry into access to emergency services, which is taking oral evidence during the late afternoon.

There’s also a meeting of the Human Rights Joint Committee, looking at the human rights implications of SLAPPs (strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation), with Sarah Ludford the Liberal Democrat member of the Committee.

Thursday is something of a “Liberal Democrat day”, with the only oral question from our benches this week coming from Kate Parminter, who wants to know what happened to the publication of the draft taxonomy, in the light of the Government’s October 2021 commitment made in the policy paper ‘Greening finance: A roadmap to sustainable investing’ to consult on the ‘UK Green Taxonomy’ in the first quarter of 2022. This is followed by a debate on the importance of stability in the financial markets and its impact on pensions, mortgages and the rental market, to be moved by John Sharkey, and one on the future of the BBC, moved by Don Foster to mark the centenary of our primary public sector broadcaster.

* Mark Valladares is the former, and perhaps future, Lords Correspondent for Liberal Democrat Voice.

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This entry was posted in News and Parliament.


  • Helen Dudden 31st Oct '22 - 1:20pm

    End the BBC licensing.

  • @Helen – Can’t see that happening, the “licence” provides a nice revenue stream which the government uses to fund its contribution to the universal broadband delivery.
    However, I can see the Conservatives using their usual pretexts to reduce the funding the BBC receives from government via the notional “licence”, whilst also inhibiting its ability to build alternative funding streams, thus permitting more of the ‘licence’ revenues to go to Government causes…

  • Alison Jenner 1st Nov '22 - 10:27am

    “The sort of people that you’d cross the street to avoid to have the freedom to be unpleasant on campuses.” The ranks of activists terrorising our campuses seem to have full rein already. They shout down anyone they disagree with, however mild the opposing voice, in a flagrant disregard of John Stuart and Harriet Taylor Mill’s injunction that we should expose our beliefs and proposals to the strongest possible contrary arguments, so that they can cope with all opposition. Our policies currently lack this rigour.

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