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Lords questions government on support for journalists, removal of statues and more on 15 June

15 June 2020

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The House of Lords started business on Monday 15 June with oral questions on support for journalists and politicians in Northern Ireland, committee membership for the review of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, proposals for a furloughed space grant scheme during Covid-19 and preventing an increase in child poverty during the pandemic. There was also a Private Notice Question on the Black Lives Matter movement and the removal of statues

You can watch the question session on Parliament TV. A transcript will also be available via Lords Hansard around three hours after proceedings, and a short summary of what was discussed is available below.


Questions asked on Monday 15 June:

  • Lord Caine asked the government what support it is giving to journalists and politicians in Northern Ireland who have received death threats from paramilitary groups.

    Topics discussed include: tackling paramilitary violence and threats; implementing the victims payment scheme; criminal legislation against impeding democracy; the Belfast Agreement; and meeting with the National Union of Journalists to discuss steps to safeguard journalists.


  • Lord Norton of Louth asked the government when it will announce the membership of the committee to review the provisions of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

    Topics discussed include: options for replacing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act; wide constitutional overhaul; strengthening the role of parliament; and ensuring the committee membership is representative.


  • Lord Allen of Kensington asked the government about its assessment of the proposals by the British Retail Consortium and the British Property Federation for a furloughed space grant scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Topics discussed include: encouraging landlords and tenants to negotiate settlements; speeding up the approvals of loan support schemes; lending to local authorities; amending the proposed business rates holiday; reforming the system of business rates; reviewing social distancing guidelines; changing Sunday trading laws; support for hotels; commercial landlords who hold their entities offshore; and introducing a register of commercial landlords.


  • Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked the government what steps it is taking during the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent any increase in child poverty.

    Topics discussed include: meeting government goals to reduce child poverty; supporting furloughed families; supporting children with no access to the internet at home; suspending the two child benefit cap; support for single parent families; supporting children whose parents have no recourse to public funds; and the provision of free school meals through to September.

The Lord Speaker also accepted the following urgent question (Private Notice Question) from The Lord Bishop of St Albans:

  • The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked the government about ongoing protests led by the Black Lives Matter movement and the consequent removal of statues and monuments.

    Topics discussed include: implementing the recommendations from previous reviews into the treatment of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds; government commissions into new monuments; the removal of statues and monuments; the delay in publishing the Public Health England report into the deaths of BAME people due to Covid-19; government action to reduce racial disparities and discrimination; and the school curriculum.


Further information

Image: House of Lords / Roger Harris