House of Lords pauses for summer recess

27 July 2017

In just a month, the House of Lords has been holding the government to account with over 60 questions and 17 main debates. It has started checks on three bills, its six main committees have reformed and three new one-off committee investigations have started. Find out where the Lords stands on the latest legislation, debates and committee news.

Legislation

Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill

The Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill aims to allow part-time working for members of the Armed Forces, and for their service to be subject to geographic restrictions.

The House of Lords held the key debate on the purpose and principles of the bill (second reading) on 11 July. The next stage is scheduled to be the first chance for line by line scrutiny (committee stage), on 12 September.

Financial Guidance and Claims Bill

The Financial Guidance and Claims Bill contains a range of measures, including the establishment of a new financial guidance body, the funding of debt advice in Scotland, Wales Lords and Northern Ireland and the regulation of claims management services.

Having held the key debate on the purpose and principles of the bill (second reading) on 5 July, the Lords had its first opportunity for line by line scrutiny (committee stage) on 19 July. A second day of committee stage is scheduled for 6 September. 

Space Industry Bill

The Space Industry Bill seeks to define the law around space activities and suborbital activities and provide for the creation of a regulatory framework to enable commercial spaceflight from UK spaceports.

Members of the Lords debated the key purpose and principles of the bill (second reading) on 12 July. The next stage will be the first chance for line by line scrutiny (committee stage), which is yet to be scheduled.

Lords committee news

Committee reports

The European Union Select Committee and its sub-committees have published five reports this session, continuing the committee's comprehensive programme of work looking at the key issues that will arise in the government's Brexit negotiations.

The Constitution Committee and the Economic Affairs Committee have also published reports since the beginning of the parliamentary year, while the EU External Affairs Sub-Committee released the findings of its investigation into migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean.

Upcoming inquiries

Lords Science and Technology Committee

On 21 July, the Lords Science and Technology Committee announced its new inquiry into Life Sciences and the Industrial Strategy and invited submissions for written evidence, to be received by 15 September 2017.

Members of the committee will investigate whether the government has the structures in place to support the life sciences sector, and how the NHS can use procurement to stimulate innovation in life sciences.

EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee

On 24 July, the EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee published a call for evidence as part of its new inquiry into the future of financial regulation and supervision following Brexit.

The committee will investigate a range of issues, including the key priorities for a transitional arrangement, the possibilities for the UK to amend its regulatory regime and how the UK can maintain its influence in an international-standard setting. The deadline for submissions of written evidence is 29 September.

Select Committee on International Relations

On the same day, the Select Committee on International Relations launched its investigation into the challenges in the Balkans and what the UK’s post-Brexit policy on the region should be.

The committee is seeking written evidence from anyone with expertise or experience in the region, as they prepare to investigate issues including the challenges faced by Balkan states, the influence of bodies such as the EU and Nato and what the UK’s interests in the region are. The deadline for submissions of written evidence is 15 September.

Economic Affairs Committee

On 25 July, the Economic Affairs Committee announced its investigation into the economics of higher education, further education and vocational training, and published an invitation for submissions of written evidence, to be received by 14 September.

Members of the committee will explore whether the structure and financing of post-school education and training is appropriate for the UK economy and what changes are required to develop a system that meets the needs of the labour market, while providing value for both students and the government.

New committees

Since the start of the session, four new 'one off' House of Lords committees have launched their inquiries and published calls for evidence:

All four committees are expected to report their findings by the end of March 2018.

Debates

During debates, members are able to put their experience to good use, discussing current issues and drawing the government's attention to concerns. Recent debates include the following:

Remote Island Communities

Members of the Lords debated the transport needs of remote island communities in England on 20 July.

UK departure from Euratom

The House of Lords debated the government's intention to leave Euratom and how they intend to ensure the continued uninterrupted cross-border supply of nuclear materials, including for medical use, post-Brexit, on 20 July.

Further information

Image: Roger Harris

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