Next week in the Lords: 8-10 October

House of LordsYes, our Noble Lords are back after their summer break, and with the excitement of an election contest to come. Add to that the introduction of three new Liberal Democrat peers, and there’s quite a lot to cover this week.

Tuesday sees the introduction of Olly Grender to the Lords, or as I ought to refer to her, Baroness Grender. As there has never been a Grender in the Lords previously, she isn’t obliged to be ‘of’ anywhere in her official title. We will be covering her maiden speech as, and when, she makes it. Meanwhile, the first round of oral questions sees questions on the importance of tourism to the UK economy from John Lee, and on the prospects for a UN-led settlement in Syria from Hugh Dykes. The remainder of the day is taken up with the first day of the Committee Stage of the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill.

In the Committee corridor, three potentially interesting meetings take place. The Communications Committee is looking into media plurality, with trenchant critic Professor Roy Greenslade answering questions, whilst the Economic Affairs Committee takes evidence on the economic impact on UK energy policy of shale gas and oil. Finally, The European Union Committee is carrying out an enquiry into the role of national Parliaments in the EU.

After eight days in Committee, the Care Bill starts its Report Stage on Wednesday, whilst Tom McNally will be responding to a short debate on the European Union Committee report on the workload of the Court of Justice of the EU. Intriguingly, and I say that because there is almost no likelihood that it will be covered anywhere, the Constitution Committee will be their look at the constitutional implications of coalition government, with Lords Norton of Louth, and Donoghue, giving evidence. It won’t be exciting perhaps, but for constitutional anoraks (and I know that there are some of you out there), it will be fascinating.

The week ends on Thursday with the introduction of two more Liberal Democrat peers. Zahida Manzoor will not be terribly well known to most Party members and activists, but as the former Legal Services Ombudsman, she was responsible in part for encouraging improvements in the way that legal professional bodies deal with complaints, and also served as a Regional Chair for the NHS, so will hopefully be a valued addition to our team on the red benches. Ian Wrigglesworth will be more familiar, a former Party President and current Treasurer of the Liberal Democrats, and the Labour, then SDP, MP for Thornaby and then Stockton South.

In Grand Committee, it’s a Liberal Democrat day, with Bill Bradshaw initiating a short debate on the use and quality of bus services, Ros Scott on investment in the the rail network in East Anglia, and Roger Roberts on requirements for those who apply for UK citizenship or nationality.

And so, until next week…

* Mark Valladares is LDV’s House of Lords correspondent (self-appointed, i.e. rather less democratic than the House of Lords is).

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