3-6 September 2019 – next week in the Lords

Parliament resumes its Westminster based work this week after the Summer Recess, and whilst most people will be focusing on the drama at the Commons end of the building (and why wouldn’t they?), the Lords continues to exist on fairly slim pickings.

Tuesday sees one of those possibly unhelpful Oral Questions, from Conservative Peer, Lord Cormack, who will be asking about the powers available to recall Parliament during a prorogation in the event of a national or international crisis. It’s a good question, and it falls to either the Leader of the House, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, or the newly appointed Conservative Chief Whip, Lord Ashton of Hyde, to try to diffuse that one.

The only item of legislative business is the Report Stage of the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill, although it is possible that the Bill may also see its Third Reading the same day. And, for those amongst you who would like to see Parliament move outside London, either during the reconstruction work or permanently, I fear that disappointment is in your future…

In the Committee Rooms, the systems geek highlight is the sitting of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 Committee. Chaired by David Shutt, the Committee is studying how well the Act is operating, and they’ll be hearing the thoughts of a trio of Electoral Services Managers.

The weight of the legislative agenda can be guessed from the three Bills before the House on Wednesday, the Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill, the Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill and the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill. The latter is described as being;

A Bill to make provision for a railway between a junction with Phase One of High Speed 2, near Fradley Wood in Staffordshire, and a junction with the West Coast Main Line near Crewe in Cheshire; and for connected purposes.

My personal highlight from the Committees is probably the EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee, which will be taking oral evidence on No Deal financial obligations, which appear to have become controversial all over again. Liberal Democrat members John Sharkey (who chairs the Committee) and Malcolm Bruce, will be keen to sift the truth from the bombast.

Thursday’s business is legislation-free, but there is an interesting debate, sponsored by Lord Ramsbotham, on reforming the management and treatment of offenders in prison and the community. Alan Beith, Mike German and Jonathan Marks are down to speak from the Liberal Democrat benches.

Interestingly, the EU Internal Market Sub-Committee will be taking oral evidence on discontinuing seasonal changes of time. Does moving the clock twice a year really help?

Friday is usually a day of Private Members’ Bills, many of which have little real prospect of being passed, and this Friday is no exception. Labour Peer, Bruce Grocott, is quixotically moving the Second Reading of his House of Lords (Hereditary Peers) (Abolition of By-Elections) Bill. This is not the first attempt to remove the slightly bizarre regime of by-elections for the hereditaries, but the enthusiasm of some hereditaries to talk out any attempt of reform has so far prevented any change.

Of course, if there is any legislative attempt to override the Government’s attempt to drive a coach and horses through our conveniently unwritten constitution, all, or some, of this could be set aside. The Liberal Democrat Whips Office is ready though…

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  • Tony Greaves 2nd Sep '19 - 4:22pm

    I have the Topical Question on Wednesday on the collapse of Bury FC. Got to keep the important things on the agenda!

  • Good for you, Tony. Shake it up for the Shakers. Actually it is important as a community asset to a lot of folk and it’s good to see a Lib Dem in the real world.

    I gather Ivan Lewis MP and James Frith MP are taking it up with the Football League – maybe you could support them…. and it would be good if the Park Avenue could make it back one day.

    I remember taking my girls to see Town draw 4-4 at Gigg Lane way back after being 4-0 down at half time with the away end singing ‘Let’s all look at the bright side of life’ .

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