Lord (Tom) McNally writes: The year ahead for Liberal Democrat Lords

LAST week I had the delight, honour and privilege to open the second day of the debate on the Queen’s Speech in the Lords –at four days long, practically the debating equivalent of test cricket.

As I told the House, I have never hidden the reality that, in the present economic climate, the Coalition Government has had to make hard decisions and tough choices to achieve an economic recovery underpinned by fairness. But I believe that in our first three years we have made the tough decisions necessary.

A new parliamentary year is beginning, however, and a new raft of legislation is on the blocks and ready to go. And for us in the Lords, we will be especially busy with five key Bills beginning their legislative journey at our end of Parliament.

One of these is in my portfolio. The Offender Rehabilitation Bill All will see all offenders released from prison in England and Wales receiving at least 12 months’ supervision. At present, despite those sentenced to less than a year being most at risk of reoffending, they get no help with rehabilitation. That can lead to the high rate of reoffending that not only ruins the lives of victims but is a dreadful deal for the taxpayer.

Another Bill beginning its life in the Lords and which all Liberal Democrats should be proud of is the Care Bill, which brings together existing care and support legislation into a new set of laws built around people’s needs. It will also introduce a cap on the costs that people will have to pay for care and sets out a universal deferred payment scheme so that people will not have to sell their home to pay for residential care.

But we know that, for all but the most committed BBC Parliament devotee or hoarder of Hansard, the vital work that goes on at our end of the Palace of Westminster can go unnoticed. Our group decided some time ago that we needed to do more to tell our story of what Liberal Democrats are doing in the Upper House to ensure every piece of legislation reflects as far as possible out principles and policies.

So with a new parliamentary year dawning, this seems as good a time as any to remind Lib Dem Voice readers how they can keep in touch with what Lib Dems are up to on the red benches and beyond. Anybody can sign up for our newsletter, sent out each Friday with all the details of what peers have been up to that week with a preview of the next, by emailing [email protected]. You can follow us on Twitter @LibDemLords, or keep up to day with our blog.  Please do – and let us know what you think of our work, and of any questions you have.

* Tom McNally is Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and a Minister of State for Justice

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This entry was posted in Op-eds and Parliament.
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2 Comments

  • Commencing a Bill in the Lords rather than the Commons should often lead to much more informed scrutiny and hopefully better legislation

  • MICHAEL COLE 15th May '13 - 12:35pm

    I miss your contributions to the late lamented Lib Dem News. Please keep up the good work .

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