Category Archives: Parliament

Anything connected with business in the Houses of Commons or Lords (eg, PMQs).

26 February – 1 March 2024 – this week in the Lords

Welcome to another preview of the week’s events in the Upper House, one in which a space will become apparent following the loss of Conservative Peer, Patrick Cormack, who passed away over the weekend.

But on to business in what is another long week for the denizens of the red benches. Monday starts with a Liberal Democrat Oral Question – Lorely Burt will be asking the Government what is being done to encourage businesses to employ people with criminal convictions.

The Victims and Prisoners Bill reaches Day 6 of its Committee Stage but the …

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12-14 February 2024 – this week in the Lords

Whilst the Commons takes the week off, their senior colleagues down the corridor continue to work their way through the legislative process…

There were no Liberal Democrat Oral Questions last week, so of course Monday sees two. Dominic Addington has a question on Government plans what plans they have to ensure that all schools have the capacity to identify and implement a plan of support for the most commonly occurring special educational needs, a particularly topical question given the impact of such support on local government budgets. Tim Clement-Jones wants to know what …

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5-9 February: this week in the Lords

I had rather expected that this would be a short week – the Lords usually goes into recess for just over a week, covering Valentines Day, most years. But not this year, it seems…

The Committee Stages of the Victims and Prisoners Bill (day 3) and the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (day 5) are the main business on Monday, whilst the Restoration and Renewal Client Board is holding a private meeting in Portcullis House (another building with its own maintenance issues).

You might already have guessed that there’s a lot of legislation grinding through the Lords at the moment, and Tuesday sees the Third Reading of the Pedicabs (London) Bill and the Report Stage of the Automated Vehicles Bill. But the most interesting piece of business for the day is the moving of the draft Electoral Commission Strategy and Policy Statement. Labour have a Motion of Regret down in the name of Lord Khan of Burnley, and given the concerns raised by the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, I suspect that we will need significant reassurance before it is safe to believe that the Conservatives aren’t about to remove another of the significant guardrails that protect our democracy.

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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 …

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22-26 January 2024 – this week in the Lords

Hello, dear readers, and we meet again for another episode of the costume drama that is the House of Lords. And this week, it’s a “Rwanda week” even though the Rwanda Bill only received its formal First Reading on Thursday and isn’t due back until next Tuesday.

Even a relatively keen observer like myself is often surprised by the working of the Lords and, this week, the International Agreements Committee takes centre stage. I suppose, having thought about it, that any Parliamentary chamber would want to take a close look at international agreements signed in its name, and the House of Lords is no different. Chaired by Peter Goldsmith, the former (and rather controversial) Labour Attorney General, the Committee published its report on the UK-Rwanda Agreement on an Asylum Partnership. It doesn’t make good reading for the Government and, in typically courteous Lords fashion, accuses James Cleverly of effectively attempting to mislead the Committee (see paragraph 44). The report, including a series of recommendations, is to be debated on Monday and there will then be a motion, moved by Lord Goldsmith, resolving that:

His Majesty’s Government should not ratify the UK-Rwanda Agreement on an Asylum Partnership until the protections it provides have been fully implemented, since Parliament is being asked to make a judgement, based on the Agreement, about whether Rwanda is safe.

You can expect contributions from the two Liberal Democrat members of the Committee, Chris Fox and Tim Razzall, and there is every possibility of a Government defeat if Labour whip their members to vote for the motion.

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15-18 January 2024 – this week in the Lords

Back for the second week in a row – and who said that I couldn’t manage that? – our (aspirational) regular review of the week ahead at the more genteel end of the Palace of Westminster.

After last week’s easing back into the routine, it’s a more normal week for the Peers, although there is one relatively unusual session included.

But Monday starts with the usual round of Oral Questions – there are usually four each day – and two come from Liberal Democrats. Malcolm Bruce opens with a question regarding Government plans to promote the end of absolute poverty through international development aid. I suspect that the answer might be a bit vague, given that “no” is far too honest. Jenny Randerson is asking about the possible introduction of a graduated driving licence for young and newly qualified drivers. The other two questions are about the use of engineered stone, given allegations of links to silicosis, and on what consultations the Government propose to have before the next renewal of the BBC’s Royal Charter about news and current affairs programmes, in the light of cutbacks to Newsnight.

Day 2 of the Committee Stage of the Automated Vehicles Bill takes up the remainder of business in the chamber. So far, Sharon Bowles has been seeking assurances that automated vehicles will undergo suitable real-life testing before being cleared to use our roads, and that the impact on road environs, i.e. on pedestrians, will be considered. At this stage, most of the amendments are likely to be probing in nature, seeking reassurances that the Government have taken various factors into account, and Day 2 will see more of the same, as will Day 3, scheduled for later in the week (Wednesday).

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10-11 January 2024 – this week in the Lords

Whilst the Commons returned today, the Lords has a little longer to recover from any Christmas/New Year excesses, resuming its work on Wednesday.

There are three items of particular interest as far as the Liberal Democrat benches are concerned, all of which are scheduled for Thursday.

Wednesday, however, sees Oral Questions on levels of mould in social housing, HMRC’s processing of tax returns (a topical one, I’d suggest), NatWest branch closures and account terminations, and, most topically of all, potential Government proposals to reverse convictions of sub-postmasters linked to the failed Horizon software.

The Automated Vehicles Bill reaches Day 1 of its Committee Stage, with Sharon Bowles leading from our Benches.

As already noted, Thursday sees a rather strong Liberal Democrat influence with an Oral Question from Mike German, seeking an answer from the Government as to what consideration they have given to the findings of the Brook House Inquiry, published on 19 September 2023, in particular its recommendation for a 28-day time limit on immigration detention.

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House of Lords calls for better use of community sentences

Whilst the House of Lords doesn’t return to formal action until Wednesday, the work of its committees continues. And, between Christmas and the New Year, the Justice and Home Affairs Committee published its report “Cutting crime: better community sentences“.

With our prisons overcrowded to the extent that inmates are being sent home early, and with the Probation Service still recovering from a botched and wholly unnecessary reorganisation, the Committee’s timely call for better use of community sentences, with their required punitive element, will hopefully receive a welcome from an incoming administration following …

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Earl Russell highlights lack of mental health support for children and young people

Improving mental health has been a priority for the Liberal Democrats long before it was fashionable.

Our elected representatives at every level raise it whenever they can. Norman Lamb as health minister did so much to improve access to services but it’s been a long 8 years since he was in office.

Recently, our Earl Russell secured a debate in the House of Lords to highlight how appalling provision is for children and young people. Waiting times are horrendous. Imagine the impact on your education if you have to wait a year to even be seen. It’s then a long recovery and before you know it, that’s half your secondary education gone. And imagine the suffering if, like too many, CAMHS won’t even accept your referral.

For parents and carers, watching their young person struggle is one of the worst things to endure. And the anxiety of wondering if they will still be there in the morning, every day, takes its toll.

The debate is covered here on Today in Parliament, from about 20:10 in, and below are Earl Russell’s speeches. We’ll cover the contributions by Richard Allan, Claire Tyler and Mike Storey tomorrow.

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Michael Gove’s nasty little Bill

Are you a decision-maker in a public authority, or someone who sometimes tries to influence such decision-makers? Do you care about ethical investment and not supporting oppressive regimes?

If so, and if The Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill which is presented to parliament today becomes law, you will be in for a nasty shock. You will not be able to take a decision (or seek to influence a decision) concerning public procurement or investment when that decision has “regard to a territorial consideration in a way that would cause a reasonable observer of the decision making process to conclude that the decision was influenced by political or moral disapproval of foreign state conduct (Section 1.1).”

It makes no difference if the “political or moral disapproval” concerns actions by a state on territory where it violates international law, or commits war crimes or crimes against humanity. No matter, either, if the decision which is proposed might itself abet a breach of international law. So if, to give just one example, the decision concerned a possible investment in an Israeli settlement in the Occupied Palestinian Territory which infringed article 5 of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, you might find yourself complicit in the infringement unless you broke UK law.

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19-22 June 2023 – this week in the Lords

Welcome back for another preview of the coming week in the Upper Chamber. It’s still pretty hectic for the Lords, with a great deal of business still to get through before the summer recess.

Dorothy Thornhill has an Oral Question on Monday, raising the issue of homeless families with children. Recent statistics published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on 10 May showed that 1,630 families with children were housed in bed-and-breakfast accommodation by English councils for more than the six-week legal limit between October and December 2022.

It’s the Third Reading of the Financial Services and Markets Bill, whilst the British Nationality (Regularisation of Past Practice) Bill is expected to go through all of its stages in the Lords in one day. Unexpectedly, this appears to be a pragmatic attempt to recognise informal practices that disregarded immigration restrictions in historic cases, and passed through the Commons with cross-party support.

Tuesday sees the return of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, having now been amended twice by the Lords, and those amendments rejected by the Commons twice. The Bill is a cynical attempt to empower the Government to rewrite large chunks of law through secondary legislation which, by convention, seldom goes to a vote. It is, in short, a power grab by the Executive from Parliament. The key question is, will the Lords continue to defend the sovereignty of Parliament?

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By-election result – House of Lords

We covered the announcement of the candidates to fill a hereditary peer vacancy on the Liberal Democrat benches in the Lords a fortnight or so ago and we now have a result.

212 Peers voted as follows:

  • Lord Belhaven and Stenton – 34 votes
  • Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor – 55 votes
  • Earl Russell – 123 votes

Accordingly, John Russell is the newest member of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party in the Lords, and we wish him well.

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

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12-16 June: this week in the Lords

I haven’t done this for a while now, and really ought to get back into the habit. But, as all is relatively quiet in terms of Commons business, and the opposite is true in the Lords, perhaps it’s time to take a stab at it…

Monday‘s main piece of business is Day 4 of the Committee Stage of the Illegal Migration Bill. Hopefully, noble Lords won’t be in the chamber until 4.16 a.m., as they were on Thursday morning. It probably won’t be a short day though, as the Opposition benches (and the Bishops) continue their efforts to mitigate some of the more egregious proposals, led by Sally Hamwee, Paul Scriven and Mike German (amongst others). These will include moves to protect victims of trafficking and/or sexual exploitation who, as the Bill currently stands, risk being returned to the very people who have made their lives so desperate already.

Other than that, the House will be asked to appoint three new members to the panel of Deputy Chairmen of Committees, one of whom is Ros Scott. The job is, effectively, that of Speaker, sitting on the Woolsack and steering debate as required. She replaces Monroe Palmer, who should be thanked for his work in the role.

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28 November – 2 December: this week in the Lords

It’s a full week ahead for the Liberal Democrats in the Lords, with business on all five days but, before I start, I should note the sad loss of Nigel Jones, who passed away three weeks ago. Max Wilkinson has written movingly about him, and our Leader in the Lords, Dick Newby, offered his own thoughts. Our belated condolences go out to his family and friends.

Sally Hamwee chairs the Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee and, on Monday, introduces its report, “Technology rules? The advent of new technologies in the justice system”. The report looks at the use of Artificial Intelligence by police forces and draws some worrying conclusions. Tim Clement-Jones, Sarah Ludford and Brian Paddick will also be reflecting their concerns during this Grand Committee debate.

In the main Chamber, the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill, sponsored by Green peer, Jenny Jones, reaches its Report Stage, whilst the Government’s Procurement Bill also reaches its Report Stage.

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7-9 November – this week in the Lords

A short week in Parliament, with the short November recess starting on Thursday, but there’s plenty of Liberal Democrat interest.

Monday starts with the usual oral questions, this time including a question from Shas Sheehan regarding Government steps, as President of COP26, to acknowledge and address greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries, in the light of recent flooding in Pakistan.

The Seafarers’ Wages Bill receives its Third Reading, with Ros Scott from our benches expected to pursue the issue of how the legislation sits with international agreements in the maritime sector. So far, there’s been little sense that the Government gets this, but given their persistent disregard for such things, it’s unlikely that they’ll change their mind at this stage. And there’s Day 4 of the Committee Stage of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, with Jeremy Purvis, Alison Suttie, Sarah Ludford and Dee Doocey attempting to prevent a blatant power grab by the Government, allowing them to, effectively, rewrite the legisaltion as they go along.

In Grand Committee, the Electronic Trade Documents Bill has its Second Reading, with Chris Fox up for our benches.

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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.

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Martin Thomas reflects on Royal Deeside

When I was a student, my Summer job was as a youth hostel warden in Braemar. In July, I wandered round the gardens of Balmoral when they were open to the public. In August, if I was off on a Sunday morning, I’d take the bus to Crathie Kirk to see the Royal Family go to Church and was actually able to attend the service myself.

I was used to seeing members of the Royal Family in the village. Locals were keen to give them privacy on their much needed break.

Martin writes of his own love of Royal Deeside. He’s felt the benefit of its restorative qualities for decades, in good times and bad. I have my own reasons to be grateful to this beautiful part of the world. I met my husband there. He walked into the hostel for a night, stayed for a week and a half and left with a lot more than he had bargained for.

Anyway, back to Martin’s tribute:

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William Wallace: Social change during the Queen’s Reign

Next in our series of tributes to the Queen from Lib Dem parliamentarians is from William Wallace. He has a unique perspective. Like Mary Reid, he remembers the death of her father and as a Westminster Abbey chorister sang when his coffin arrived in Westminster Hall and at the Queen’s coronation. He talks about the social change that the Queen helped along during her reign.

My Lords, I am conscious that admitting that I can remember the monarchy before Queen Elizabeth is to admit that I am well over the average age, even in this House. My first image of the monarchy was, indeed, of the Queen’s grandmother, Queen Mary, who used to come to listen to sermons in Westminster Abbey whenever a particularly radical canon, Canon Marriott, was preaching the social gospel—something which would now be considered far too left-wing for any current bishop to talk about. I learned a little more when, as a junior chorister, I sang when the coffin of George VI arrived at Westminster Hall for the lying-in-state, and rather more about the symbolic importance of the monarchy when, as a more senior chorister, I sang at the Coronation.

People have talked a lot about how much the country has changed since then. When I think back to that period, it is astonishing what sort of change we have been through. As I walked past the abbey this morning, I remembered that it was black in 1952, covered in soot. Outside, a gallery had been built for people to watch from over a bomb site, which is now the Queen Elizabeth II Centre. Inside, nearly a thousand Peers were in the north transept, in their full robes and with their coronets, and nearly a thousand Peeresses were in the south transept. In a few months’ time, when the ballot for perhaps 100 of us who wish to attend the next Coronation arrives, we should remember that social deference has ended and the social order in this country is different from what it was then.

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Joan Walmsley: The Queen was on my side and your side

The next in our series of tributes to the Queen from our parliamentarians comes from Joan Walmsley.

My Lords, I shall say a few words from these Benches on behalf of myself and my co-deputy leader, my noble friend Lord Dholakia, who is unable to be with us today.

Her late Majesty, like many women, was thrown into a difficult role at a time when she least expected it, yet, like many women, she pulled herself together despite her grief and got on with her job—or her calling, as she saw it. She did it in her own way, as I am sure our new King, King Charles, will also do, adapting her approach as appropriate over the years. As the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, just said, she managed to achieve a balance between consistency and flexibility, and she did it with grace, charm, dignity and dedication. She was at the heart of her family and the nation, and supported us all in good times and in bad. We will miss her among us, as she has so often been.

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Brian Paddick: The servant Queen

We are publishing tributes to the Queen from Liberal Democrat parliamentarians across the UK in the run-up to her funeral tomorrow. This is from Brian Paddick.

My Lords, I have been trying to make sense of all this, as someone who never met Her late Majesty. My mother was seven years older than Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II, but when I lost my own personal life anchor, when my mother died, I felt that I still had Her Majesty the Queen.

Her late Majesty was the safest of a safe pair of hands. She was the most reliable of the people upon whom we relied; she was the greatest example of duty and dedication. I was concerned in recent years that the Queen could not possibly continue to the very end without having to abdicate as old age took its toll, yet she served to the very end—something that I feel sure she would have been very happy to achieve. Our Lord Jesus Christ is sometimes described as the servant king. Her late Majesty was surely the servant Queen. May she rest in peace.

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Jane Dodds: She was a stateswoman like no other

Jane Dodds paid tribute to the Queen in the Senedd.

The text is below:

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Christine Jardine: The Queen shared our thoughts, our memories and our pain

Our parliamentarians paid tribute to The Queen in debates held last weekend. Here is Christine Jardine’s speech:

The text, from Hansard, is below:

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Ed Davey announces a shuffle of his Commons Parliamentary team

A larger Parliamentary Party means a spreading of the burden of covering the waterfront of Government activity, and Ed Davey has this morning announced a reorganisation of responsibilities amongst our MPs. The new lineup is as follows;

  • Ed Davey – Leader
  • Daisy Cooper – Deputy Leader, Health and Social Care
  • Alistair Carmichael – Home Affairs, Justice and Northern Ireland
  • Wendy Chamberlain – Chief Whip, Work and Pensions
  • Tim Farron – Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Sarah Green – International Trade and Wales
  • Wera Hobhouse – Energy and Climate Change, Transport
  • Christine Jardine – Cabinet Office, Women & Equalities, Scotland
  • Layla Moran – Foreign Affairs and International Development
  • Helen Morgan

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Richard Foord is sworn in as the new MP for Tiverton and Honiton

It’s official, Richard Foord has now formally taken his seat in Parliament, bringing the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons to fourteen strong.

We’ll cover his maiden speech in due course but, in the meantime, here is the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

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What’s on in our Parliaments this week?

Lib Dem Highlights

On Tuesday at 9:30 am, Sarah Olney holds a Westminster Hall debate on reports of misogyny and sexual harassment in the Metropolitan Police – a sobering start to International Women’s Day.

Also on Tuesday, Jenny Randerson has a question on funding for bus improvement plans.

Westminster

Commons

Monday sees all the stages of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill which sets up a register of all those non UK people and entities who own property in the UK and strengthens Unexplained Wealth Orders. The Commons Library briefing explains the measures in more detail.  While Labour are supporting it, Transparency International has concerns about the 18 month implementation period and possible loopholes.

On Tuesday we have a Labour opposition day and Wednesday after PMQs is Estimates Day – debates around spending of individual government departments with defence and education coming under the spotlight. The main business on Thursday is a backbench business debate for International Women’s Day.

Lords

The Health and Care Bill gets its report stage on Monday and the Nuclear Energy Financing Bill on Tuesday with various orders and regulations, such as social security uprating and goods vehicle rules coming under scrutiny.

Expect Lib Dem peers to be in action on Thursday against the Elections Bill, which might as well be called the Diminution of Democracy Bill, as it gets its line by line scrutiny.

The full timetable is here.

Holyrood

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Brian Paddick: the Lords takes up cudgels against the Nationality and Borders Bill

I am sure we have all been appalled by the scenes in Ukraine and share a feeling of helplessness.

Over the weekend the Home Office have said that Ukrainian nationals, without close relatives in the UK, fleeing the war in Ukraine must apply for a visa to come to the UK “in the normal way” and one Minister went as far as to say people could come here – on the condition they agreed to be seasonal workers picking cabbage and kale.

Today in the House of Lords we vote on the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill.

In recent times, only 6% of immigrants to the UK have been refugees and yet 94% of the Bill is aimed at making it more difficult for those fleeing situations like Ukraine to come to the UK.

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Police Bill – a good night for freedom… so far…

So far, so good, as the block of Labour and Liberal Democrat Peers, plus four dozen or so Crossbenchers, are solidly defeating the Government on its so-called “reforms” relating to the right to protest, amongst other things.

But first, Baroness Newlove’s amendment, including misogyny in hate crime law has been passed, as Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece celebrated;

A duty of candour for the police has been added to the Bill as well;

Moving on to the draconian limits on protest tacked onto this Bill by the Government, the amendment by Lord Brian Paddick, removing the proposed right for the police to ban or restrict …

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What’s going on in our Parliaments this week? 17-21 January 2022

Lib Dem highlights in our legislatures this week include Jamie Stone holding a debate on gas and electricity costs while Lib Dem peers take on some of the Government’s nastier Bills. Watch out for Brian Paddick on the Police Bill and Sal Brinton on the Health and Care Bill.

In Wales, Jane Dodds has a debate on free public transport for young people on Wednesday

So what’s happening?

Westminster

Monday kicks off in the Commons with Priti Patel and the Home Office ministerial team answering questions from MPs.

They then go on to debate the Elections Bill, which would disenfranchise many people from deprived backgrounds, who are less likely to vote Conservative, by requiring voter ID. It’s sickening voter suppression.

The Lords take on the dreadful Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and you can read our take on that here.

On Tuesday, MPs question Sajid Javid and then go on to debate the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill and a money resolution on the Charities Bill.

Jamie Stone has a Westminster Hall debate on the cost of gas and electricity.

Peers have the first of two days this week on the Health and Social Care BIll.

Commons business on Wednesday kicks off with questions to COP 26 President Alok Sharma, then you have to wonder what PMQs will throw up this week. MPs then turn their attention to the Building Safety Bill

The Lords deals with the Northern Ireland Bill and the Subsidy Control Bill. Several Lib Dems, including Malcolm Bruce and Jenny Randerson, are down to speak.

Thursday sees  international trade questions in the Commons followed by two general debates, the first on a motion relating to the Uyghur Tribunals and the second on Lawfare and the UK Court System.

Meanwhile the Lords have another day on the Health and Care Bill.

Holyrood

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What’s on in our Parliaments this week ? 10-14 January 2022

All three Parliaments are now fully back in session this week. Lib Dem highlights include Rupert Redesdale’s Lords debate on farming on Tuesday and it’s a busy week for Wendy Chamberlain who has an adjournment debate on Long Covid on Wednesday, a Westminster Hall debate on global vacccine access on Thursday and a Private Members’ Bill on Friday. Tim Farron also has a debate.

So what’s happening?

Westminster

Monday has Defence questions, the remaining stages of the Nuclear Energy Finance Bill which basically gives the Government the right to finance new nuclear power stations. You can find out more in the Commons Library briefing.

There’s also a couple of nasty finance measures such as the approval of the welfare cap, which is exactly what millions of vulnerable people do not need.

The Lords look at the National Insurance Contributions Bill.

On Tuesday, it’s Business questions and a yet to be defined Opposition Day Debate for MPs

In the Lords, there is an interesting question from the Bishop of Durham on social security support for larger families. A good chance to highlight the appalling two child limit for state benefits.

Then there is a chance for the Lib Dem peers to get stuck in to the Health and Care Bill as it starts its line by line scrutiny before Rupert Redesdala has a debate on the support needed by the  farming industry to combat increased costs and competition.

On Wednesday, the drama of PMQs gives way to a bill which sets out an arbitration process on rent arrears for commercial properties which have accrued during the pandemic. The Commons Library briefing is here.

Then Wendy Chamberlain has an adjournment debate on Long Covid.

The Lords deals with the final stage of the appalling Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill.  You can read Brian Paddick’s unequivocal denunciation of it as the most illiberal and authoritarian Bill he has ever seen here.

There’s more on the National Insurance Contributions Bill later.

Thursday sees Cabinet Office questions in the Commons followed by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s weekly business statement, the Government’s response to the Transport Committee report on smart motorways which says they should be paused for 5 years and backbench business on education catch up and the Online Safety Bill.

In the Lords, Paul Scriven has a question on the impact of people waiting to be seen in ambulance queues, and there’s more Health and Care Bill.

It’s a sitting Friday in the Commons and both Wendy Chamberlain and Tim Farron have Bills, Wendy’s on requiring the Government to ensure public bodies have representatives from devolved nations and Tim’s to ensure proper scrutiny of the welfare and environmental effects of trade deals on farming. Both of these are so far down the list that it is unlikely that they will even be covered and will be deferred to another date.

You can get into the full parliamentary calendar from here.

Holyrood

On Tuesday MSPs will hear Nicola Sturgeon’s latest Covid-19 update before
debating the impact of labour shortages on Scotland’s economy, a legislative consent motion to the recent Westminster Animal Welfare Bill and a private member’s debate on Endemetriosis

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What can we expect the Lib Dems to say in today’s Parliamentary debate on Afghanistan?

Parliament returns to day to spend five short hours debating the crisis in Afghanistan.

What can we expect Liberal Democrats to be saying?

The first priority is about getting people to safety. Yesterday, Layla Moran tweeted that we should be taking at least 20,000 refugees, a figure based on what we had called on for Syrians and what the Canadians had proposed.

https://twitter.com/LaylaMoran/status/1427664216853565443?s=20

Crucially, she added that this had to be backed up by proper funding to local councils to resettle refugees and provide them with the support that they need.

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