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Lords questions government on Russia, Probate Services and more

27 July 2020

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Members of the House of Lords query government activities and decisions in Lords questions at the start of business from Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 July.

This week, members challenge the government on issues including compulsory English learning, devolved powers across England, UK-Russia trade, and domestic abuse.

Catch up:  Monday 27 July


Baroness Verma (Conservative) pressed the government about its plans to make learning to speak and read English compulsory.
Members discussed subjects including the value of accurate English skills to employers, an integrated society and illiteracy in Britain.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth (Crossbench) questioned the government on the merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development and how it will help the UK support vulnerable communities abroad.
Topics discussed included support for global programmes which support food aid and victims of sexual violence, and cuts to Official Development Assistance.

Baroness Deech (Crossbench) challenged the government about its progress in fulfilling its commitments as a party to the Terezin Declaration.
Members discussed actions against Poland at the European Court of Human Rights, and justice for families of Holocaust victims.

Baroness Ludford (Liberal Democrat) quizzed the government about the operation and resourcing of the Probate Service.
Members discussed administrative problems, developing a one-stop-shop service and other ways to simplify the service.


Catch up: Tuesday 28 July

Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Conservative) questioned the government about the economic costs of measures adopted to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Members discussed a range of topics, including localised responses, the test and trace system, and the infection rate at which new quarantine measures are implemented.

Lord Shipley (Liberal Democrat) sought information from the government about its plans to devolve power and decision-making in England.
Members discussed topics including electoral registration rates, devolving power according to the preferences of local areas, and consulting with councils on the implementation of local levies.

Lord Rooker (Labour) quizzed the government about the current balance of trade between the UK and Russia.
Members discussed a range of topics, including money laundering, export of government services and the trade deficit with Russia.

Baroness Thornhill (Liberal Democrat) asked government about the impact of relaxing planning rules. 
Members discussed topics including sporting provision for local communities, affordable home supply, adopting the minimum standards for healthy housing, and provision of accessible homes.

Baroness Smith of Basildon (Labour) asked a Private Notice Question (an urgent question) regarding support for those unable to work due to having to self-isolate on their return from Spain following the change in government guidance on 25 July.
Members discussed a range of topics, including statutory sick pay for those who have to self-isolate, guidance on the use of public transport in the UK and enforcing self-isolation measures.

Catch up: Wednesday 29 July


Lord Leigh of Hurley (Conservative) questioned the government on whether the moratorium process set out in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 has saved businesses from closure.
Members discussed topics including retail business closures, companies taking part in the moratorium process and training for the court system to support the increased workload.

Lord McNally (Liberal Democrat) quizzed the government about its plans to amend the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.
Members discussed strengthening parliamentary scrutiny of international treaties, the role of special advisers and government plans to make amendments to the Act.

Baroness Gale (Labour) pressed the government about data collected on domestic abuse victims over 74.
Members discussed developing an inclusive data collection system, services for older women reporting domestic abuse and common values.

Lord Balfe (Conservative) questioned government on the number of people who could participate in the new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa scheme.
Members discussed topics including UK population growth in the last 20 years, priority for those who have done Hong Kong military service and co-operation with the Hong Kong authorities.

Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town (Labour) asked an urgent question (a Private Notice Question) regarding whether a future trade agreement between the UK and EU being secured by September.
Members discussed subjects including WTO monitored trade rules, progress on a deal for services advantageous to UK workers and updates to the transport policy.

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