Tag Archives: select committees

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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Liberal Democrat Committee appointments in the Lords spotlight the talent on our benches

Whilst the lack of women in prominent positions in the House of Commons has already drawn comment elsewhere on the site, in the Lords, the story is rather different, especially from a Liberal Democrat perspective. With nominations now confirmed for all but the sub-committees of the European Union Select Committee, our Leader in the Lords, Jim Wallace, and Chief Whip, Dick Newby, have drawn upon the array of talent within our Parliamentary Party – now 35% female – to reflect its new position as the legislative engine for scrutiny within the Party. So, who should we be watching out for over the next session? We’ll start with the four new Ad Hoc Committees, set up to look at particular topics.

The Equality Act 2010 and Disability Committee has been set up to consider the impact of the Act on people with disabilities, and Party President and wheelchair user, Sal Brinton, and Celia Thomas, a Vice President of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, will be representing us there.

The Built Environment Committee will look at the development and implementation of national policy for the built environment – think planning and infrastructure. Matthew Taylor, who led the 2012 review of government planning practice guidance, and Kate Parminter, a former Chief Executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, will be authoritative voices.

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All-male shortlists for half of Commons Committees

Next Wednesday, MPs will choose who chairs their influential select committees. These are important, high profile positions as the Committees are there to carefully scrutinise the Government’s work. The more effectively they do their work, the better it is for our democracy. An effective chair will be able to work well with all their committee members from all parties and will be able to show capacity for tenacity and forensic attention to detail. Sadly, though, it looks as though the committees will not reflect diversity either in the Commons or society as a whole. You can find the whole list of people nominated here.

There are a few reasons to feel pretty gloomy at the selection on offer. The lack of any Liberal Democrat in the running anywhere is a predictable reflection of our decline in status. The calibre of some of the nominees and the fact that fewer than half of the Committees have had a woman even nominated for Chair shows that the Commons has not yet caught up with the modern world.

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Lib Dem MP Sir Robert Smith takes Yeo’s place as Energy and Climate Change Committee chair

sir Robert SmithSir Robert Smith, Lib Dem MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, has been named today as interim chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee following Tim Yeo’s decision to step down while allegations he used the role to help a private company influence Parliament are being investigated. Here’s the committee statement issued this morning:

The committee has unanimously accepted the chair’s recommendation that he absent himself from committee business for the duration of the investigation of the parliamentary commissioner for standards, following his self-referral at the weekend.

The committee

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Beith and Bruce confirmed as Select Committee chairs

Liberal Democrat MPs Malcolm Bruce and Sir Alan Beith have been elected unopposed as Chairs of the International Development and Justice Select Committees respectively.  The positions were confirmed after nominations closed earlier tonight for all posts.

For the first time ever, Select Committees Chairs are being elected by a secret ballot of all MPs, after each Chairship was allocated to a political party in proportion to the number of MPs for each party. The committees allocated to each party were agreed by the House shortly before the Whitsun recess.

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