Lords back to business today

04 October 2011

The House of Lords was back to business on Monday 3 October, following the autumn recess. Legislation under debate during the week included the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Bill, the Armed Forces Bill, the Welfare Reform Bill and the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill. An oral question was tabled asking the Government whether it plans to review the legislative timetable

The House of Lords sat at 2.30 pm.

Business from 3 October

Oral questions

Among other tabled questions, the Government was asked about amending the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 to prohibit cash transactions as a means of reducing metal theft (Monday); its discussions with other EU governments about the role of private credit rating agencies (Monday); negotiations with the National Transitional Council in Libya to secure compensation for UK victims of armaments supplied by the IRA by the Gaddafi government (Tuesday); the Commonwealth heads of governments meeting in Sri Lanka in 2013 (Wednesday); the Lewes-Uckfield rail link (Thursday); and the legislative timetable (Thursday).

Legislation

London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill

The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill had its second reading – the general debate on all aspects of the Bill on Monday 3 October.

The Bill makes a number of technical amendments to the provisions of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006, including traffic regulation and enforcement during the London 2012 Games and the penalty for unauthorised sales of Olympic tickets.

Among the Members of the Lords due to take part in the debate were former Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists, Lord Moynihan and Baroness Grey-Thompson; and former international sportswoman, Baroness Heyhoe-Flint.

The Bill had its first reading in the House of Lords on 12 September.

Armed Forces Bill

The report stage – further line by line examination – of the Armed Forces Bill began on Tuesday 4 October.

An Armed Forces Bill is required every five years; it provides the legal basis for the system of military law which exists in the UK. The last Bill received Royal Assent in November 2006 and therefore a new Bill is required in the 2010-2012 session. Among the provisions in the Bill is for the Secretary of State to make an annual report to Parliament on the military covenant.

Energy Bill

The House of Lords also considered the Commons amendments to the Energy Bill on Tuesday 4 October.

The Bill makes provision for the new 'Green Deal' – a Government policy intended to transform the energy efficiency of British properties. It establishes a framework to enable private firms to offer consumers energy efficiency improvements to their homes, community spaces and businesses at no upfront cost, and to recoup payments through a charge in instalments on the energy bill.

Both Houses must agree on the exact wording of a Bill. If the Lords disagrees with any Commons amendments, or makes alternative proposals, then the Bill is sent back to the Commons. A Bill may go back and forth between each House – known as ‘ping pong’ – until both Houses reach agreement.

Welfare Reform Bill

The Welfare Reform started its committee stage – line by line examination of the Bill – on Tuesday 4 October in the Moses Room.

The Bill, which had its second reading on 13 September, will introduce a 'Universal Credit' to replace a range of existing means-tested benefits and tax credits, starting from 2013.

Next week the House of Lords will debate the Sovereign Grant Bill, which had its second reading and will complete its remaining stages (Monday 3 October) and the Education Bill which will have its 11th day in Grand Committee (Tuesday 4 October).

Debates

The House of Lords discussed the incidence of non-communicable diseases in a debate on Thursday 6 October. Former NHS chief executive Nigel Crisp tabled and introduced the debate.

Surgeon and former Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Health, Lord Darzi of Denham and Surgeon, Professor of Surgery, University College London and Consultant Surgeon, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Lord Kakkar are among Members of the Lords with expertise and specialist experience that took part.

Committees

The first witnesses in the Communications Committee inquiry into the future of investigative journalism gave evidence on Tuesday 4 October. John Lloyd and David Levy from the Reuters Institute, and John Mair, senior lecturer in broadcasting at Coventry University appeared before the committee from 3.15pm.

The inquiry will consider the changing media landscape, role of investigative journalism and how it will evolve in the future, as well as new business models to pay for the skills of serious reporting and what role citizen and participatory journalism might play in the future of investigative journalism.

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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