This week in the Lords: 11-15 December – probing away on Brexit…

Yes, we’re back, with our regular preview of the week in the upper chamber, following last week’s absence. Apologies to those of you who take an interest in the more elegant end of the Palace of Westminster. No time to hang about though…

The very first item of business after prayers on Monday is an oral question from Robin Teverson, whose will be seeking a Government view on whether UK citizens will be able their EU citizenship post-Brexit should they wish. Whilst this was originally an idea of Luxembourg MEP Charles Goerens, it was picked up by Guy Verhofstadt. Frankly, I can’t see the Government being terribly keen…

Qurban Hussain will be contributing to the debate on recent developments in Sudan and South Sudan, where Jean-Pierre Lacroix, UN peacekeeping chief, described the situation as “precarious” and warned of escalating military conflict and inter-communal fighting. One million South Sudanese are thought to be one step away from famine against a background of ongoing civil war.

It’s also the Report Stage of the Data Protection Bill.

On Tuesday, it’s Joan Walmsley’s turn to seek more Brexit information, as she seeks information about the number of doctors from EEA States who may leave the NHS after Brexit. And yes, it is increasingly clear that the Government are either guessing, clueless or perhaps even dishonest, but asking questions might just bring home to them how much is at stake.

Kath Pinnock is up next, trying to tease out what will happen to European Structural Investment Funds, and whether the Government is committed to ensuring that equivalent funds are available to local government post-2020.

Liz Barker and Brian Paddick will be contributing to a Labour-led debate on human rights priorities after Brexit, and given that Jo Swinson has made it clear that this will be one of her key priorities within her Foreign Affairs brief in the Commons, it will be interesting to see if either Liz or Brian will offer anything strategic.

Two weeks ago, Christine Jardine spoke in a Commons debate on the State Pension age and the effect of recent increases on what are known as the WASPI women. On Wednesday, Ros Scott takes up the cudgels on their behalf. Given how many of their Noble Lords are over the State retirement age, you’d think that they might be sympathetic, but don’t count on any help from the Government. Besides, if Brexit happens, the question of what to do about the differential treatment of EU and non-EU pensioners will be on their plate…

Also, David Chidgey has a question on non-Commonwealth countries attending next year’s Commonwealth Summit in London.

There are two Liberal Democrat oral questions on Thursday, with Alan Beith due to ask about the impact of Budget measures on the North East, and Dominic Addington seeking an answer about the transferring of responsibilities relating to Disabled Students’ Allowances for some students to higher education providers. The Young Liberals might be interested in the answer to that question.

There is also a debate on the recent report by the Children’s Commissioner for England ‘On measuring the number of vulnerable children in England’, with the amazing Floella Benjamin, plus Sal Brinton and Mike Storey contributing from our benches.

Finally, Friday is a day for Second Readings of Private Members’ Bills, and Sally Hamwee is sponsoring the Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill. This seeks to make provision for leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom to be granted to the family members of refugees and to refugees who are family members of British citizens and settled persons, to provide for legal aid to be made available for refugee family reunion cases, and for connected purposes. In other words, a thoroughly decent proposal, and I wish Sally well with it.

So, that’s it for another week. Next time we may have gratuitous Lords a-leaping, and possibly even Ladies dancing, but until then…

* Mark Valladares is Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and its House of Lords correspondent.

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4 Comments

  • Talking about Brexit I see that we lost 4 councillors in Burnley last moth, (Caron kept that one quiet), who have become Independants because of our E U policy and being too southern based.
    Have they got something?

  • moth should be month, sorry.

  • Tony Greaves 11th Dec '17 - 4:02pm

    What goes on in Burnley should stay in Burnley. Not typical of anywhere else…

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