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Lords questions government on human trafficking, child poverty and more

10 July 2020

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Members of the House of Lords seek information from and raise concerns with government in daily oral questions at the start of business from Monday 13 to Thursday 16.

This week, members press the government on issues including a COVID-19 vaccine, Libya, human rights and performing arts.

Catch up: Monday 13 July

Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall (Labour) checked on government plans to support performing arts companies and venues.
Members discussed subjects including the timescale for reopening theatres, insurance for theatre productions and access to the EU.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Conservative) raised concerns about the situation in Libya.
Members discussed topics including the UK's role in the conflict, the wellbeing of women in Libya and setting up medical schools in the region.

Lord Bird (Crossbench) questioned government action to ensure there is no increase in homelessness.
Members discussed subjects including support for private renters, renting office space to the homeless during the pandemic and homelessness amongst veterans of the Armed Forces.

Lord Chidgey (Conservative) asked the government about food security in countries in east Africa.
Members discussed a range of topics including food aid, access to an affordable COVID-19 vaccine and supporting hygiene improvement. 

Baroness Thornton (Labour) asks the government an urgent question (‘private notice question') about the EU Coronavirus Programme.
Members discussed subjects including the UK's decision not to participate in the EU vaccine scheme, partnerships with other countries and future UK-EU collaborations.

Catch up: Tuesday 14 July

Baroness D'Souza (Crossbench) pressed the government on assistance to the government of Taiwan.
Members discussed subjects including pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong, shielding Taiwan from aggression from China and trade between Britain and Taiwan.

Baroness Sheehan (Liberal Democrat) questioned the government about the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine for middle-income countries.
Members discussed topics including public perceptions of a COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine availability to low and middle-income countries.

Lord Haskel (Labour) raised concern with the government about whether clauses protecting human rights and maintaining environmental standards will be included in trade agreements with the EU.
Members discussed a range of subjects including safeguarding vulnerable international communities and protecting EU-retained human rights laws.

Baroness Thornton (Labour) asked a question about embedding ethnic diversity in medical training.
Members discussed topics including the impact of discrimination on health, representation of ethnic and gender minority teachers and including diversity in medical curricula.

Lord Young of Cookham (Conservative) asked the government an urgent question (‘private notice question') about the future location of the House of Lords.
Members discussed subjects including how a move to York will affect the relationship between both Houses of Parliament and the strengths of the bicameral parliamentary system.

Catch up: Wednesday 15 July

Lord McNicol of West Kilbride (Labour) questioned the government on reducing the number of children living in poverty.
Members discussed topics on child poverty including the impact of COVID-19, the importance of work in tackling poverty, the impact of benefit reforms and single parent families.

Lord Ramsbotham (Crossbench) pressed the government on  the Royal Commission on criminal justice.
Members discussed the commencement of the Royal Commission including when the terms of reference will be finalised, the reopening of courts, clearing trial backlogs from the pandemic and funding for the criminal justice system.

Lord Paddick (Liberal Democrat) asked the government about its discussions with the Metropolitan Police Service about addressing racism within its ranks.
Members discussed addressing racism in the Metropolitan Police Service including recruiting more offices to increase diversity of representation, tackling racism in leadership and the importance of education and training in the police force.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Liberal Democrat) asked a question around future consultation on changes to the civil service and House of Lords.
Members discussed subjects including the relocation of government departments and the House of Lords outside of London, the machinery of governance and restoring trust in our institutions and how our democracy operates.

Catch up: Thursday 16 July

Lord Holmes of Richmond (Non-affiliated) questioned the government on the impact of digital platforms on democracy.
Members discussed subjects including online hate speech, US-UK trade talks relating to digital child safety and online political adverts.

Lord Harris of Haringey (Labour) challenged the government on deaths in custody.
Members discussed topics including custody alternatives, overcrowding in prisons and increasing the number of jury and magistrates' court trials.

The Lord Bishop of Bristol (Bishop) asked the government about the impact of COVID-19 on human trafficking in the United Kingdom.
Members discussed a range of topics, including the potential impact of a points-based immigration system on seasonal workers and support for child migrants.

Baroness Andrews (Labour) asked the government about plans to ensure adequate PPE is in place for a second wave of COVID-19.
Members debated topics including wider preparations for a second wave and minimising cross infections for health workers who must visit multiple locations.

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