3-7 February – this week in the Lords

Consecutive weeks with a preview… I must be getting a little more reliable. It’s a full five day week in the Lords this week, with one of those occasional sitting Fridays, and there’s a fair bit of Liberal Democrat action, so without further ado…

The Second Reading of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill is the main item of business on Monday, and I have to admit that I hadn’t noticed, or more likely forgotten, that the Games is coming to the West Midlands in 2022. the Bill allows the Government to give financial support, prevents ticket touting and unauthorised association with the Games, amongst other things. Don Foster and Sal Brinton will be speaking on the Bill for the Liberal Democrats.

The day ends with a debate on safety and security of public venues, which seems to be an appropriate subject to discuss given the previous debate, and Andrew Stunell will be our interlocutor.

William Wallace has an interesting question on consulting Parliament on proposals to improve the use of data science in government processes on Tuesday. Sadly, I suspect that Dominic Cummings won’t be available to answer it, which is a pity, really. I’m sure that the Minister will have some thoughts passed to him or her on a piece of paper though. Perhaps they might read his blog first?

The Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill has drawn some interest at Second Reading, and if Sally Hamwee, Sarah Ludford and Brian Paddick are lined up to speak, it promises to be a Bill that civil libertarians won’t like much. And, given that it creates a power of arrest, without warrant, for the purpose of extraditing people for serious offences, I suspect that it will need to be fought. It will be interesting to hear what crossbencher David Anderson, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation has to say.

Kate Parminter brings the day to a close, leading a debate on improving the care offered to sufferers of eating disorders, with Sal Brinton also expected to make a contribution.

The wonderful Floella Benjamin has an Oral Question on Wednesday about improving access to services for children and young people who have been traumatised by crime. And, talking of trauma, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill has its Second Reading. The Bill apparently seeks to make divorce and the dissolution of civil partnerships somewhat less traumatic by removing the need for factual grounds to be stated. Lorely Burt and Jonathan Marks will be adding their thoughts from our benches.

Finally, Christine Humpheys and Martin Thomas will take part in a debate on replacing those European Structural Funds currently administered by the Welsh Government, initiated by Palid Cymru peer, Dafydd Wigley.

Three debates dominate the business on Thursday, with Sal Brinton due to speak in a debate on the NHS’s performance in relation to its priority area targets, Jane Bonham-Carter in a debate about the Government response to ‘The Cairncross Review: a sustainable future for journalism‘, and Jonny Oates, Rupert Redesdale and Joan Walmsley on technological and lifestyle efforts to address climate change, and to meet the 2050 net zero carbon emissions target.

It’s Private Members Bill day on Friday, and Don Foster’s Domestic Premises (Energy Performance) Bill has its Second Reading. The Bill aims to help those in fuel poverty by allowing Government to fund home improvements that would reduce fuel bills, and to oblige the Government to monitor the number of households suffering from fuel poverty to allow such support to be effectively targeted. Rupert Redesdale is also on the Speakers’ List.

Conservative peer, Lord Naseby, has introduced the somewhat quixotic Extension of Franchise (House of Lords) Bill, which seeks to give members of the House of Lords a vote in Parliamentary elections. I frankly don’t see it being a priority, but it will be interesting to see how Chris Rennard addresses the topic.

The other debate is on Baroness Finlay of Llandaff’s Access to Palliative Care and Treatment of Children Bill, with Sal Brinton offering her support from our benches.

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and a bit of a fan of the Liberal Democrat peers.

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