House of Lords back to business today

26 April 2011

Parliamentary business resumes in the Lords today (Tuesday 26 April) following the Easter recess. The new Clerk of the Parliaments, head of the House of Lords administration and chief procedural adviser to the House, will take his oath of office at the start of business in the Lords chamber from 2.30pm.

What’s on

House of Lords chamber

Members of the Lords will pay tribute to the outgoing Clerk of the Parliaments, Michael Pownall, who is retiring, at the start of business from 2.30pm. A short ceremony will then take place to introduce the new Clerk of the Parliaments, David Beamish. A new Clerk Assistant will also be appointed.

Legislation

The committee stage of the European Union Bill continues after Oral Questions. It will be its second day in committee. The Bill aims to strengthen the UK procedures for agreeing to or ratifying certain EU decisions and Treaty changes.

The House agreed to Clause 2 of the Bill on the first day in committee (Tuesday 5 April) which provides for a national referendum to be held before the Government can agree to any change to the EU Treaties that moves power or policy from the UK to the EU.

Other Bills that will be debated in the House of Lords during the week include the Pensions Bill, which has its third reading on Wednesday 27 April. The Bill will raise the state pension age to 66 for men and women by 2020 and automatically enrol eligible employees into qualifying workplace pensions schemes from 2012. 

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill has its second reading, also on Wednesday 27 April. The Bill includes provisions to replace police authorities with directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners, with the aim of improving police accountability.

Committees

A number of committees will hold evidence sessions on Tuesday 26 April. The sessions start from 10am.

Communications Committee

Mark Thompson, the present director general of the BBC, and Lord (John) Birt, a former director general of the BBC will give evidence to the Lords Communications Committee as part of its inquiry looking at the role of the BBC Trust, governance and regulation of the BBC.

Joint Committee on the Draft Detention of Terrorist Suspects (Temporary Extension) Bills

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, will give evidence to the Joint Committee on the Draft Detention of Terrorist Suspects (Temporary Extension) Bills at 4.15pm. The Head of Counter-Terrorism Division at the Crown Prosecution Service, Sue Hemming, will also give evidence.

The Committee is considering two draft Bills that would reduce the maximum period of pre charge detention for terrorist suspects from 28 to 14 days, and would introduce emergency legislation in urgent situations to temporarily increase the maximum period to back to 28 days.

Live coverage of the committee evidence sessions will be available on Parliament TV.

Further information

Public committee sessions are open to everyone, including the press.

Members of the public can also attend House of Lords debates and follow proceedings from the public gallery.

Image: iStockphoto

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