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Lords question government on Covid-19 and data protection

15 May 2020

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The House of Lords resumed business on Monday 18 May, with daily oral questions held in virtual proceedings.

You can watch the full 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 on Monday 18 May:

  • Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked the government what support it has given to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Topics discussed include: specific UK support measures for GAVI; funding UK and international vaccine research; re-emergence of diseases previously tackled by GAVI; international collaboration on vaccine development and distribution; funding for nutrition programmes; and support for healthcare workers in refugee camps.


  • Lord Blunkett asked the government what steps it plans to take to adjust the restrictions in place for those isolating due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Topics discussed include: advice and support for those who are shielding from Covid-19; timelines for further guidance to those shielding; consultation of organisations who support those shielding; coordinating approaches to Covid-19 across the four nations of the UK; antibody testing; and contradictory advice received by people who are shielding or in certain groups.


  • Lord Stevenson of Balmacara asked the government when it intends to lay the regulation giving effect to the age-appropriate design code required under section 123 of the Data Protection Act 2018 before Parliament.

    Topics discussed include: increases in children being online and reliant on technology due to Covid-19 and a subsequent increase in potential online harms; timelines for implementation of the design code and age verification requirements; and standards for internet connected toys.


  • Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb asked the government how it is addressing privacy concerns about the use of the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing application and the introduction of immunity certificates.

    Topics discussed include: recognising the service of the people of the Isle of White; implications of immunity certificates and other ID systems; location and ID tracking; exclusion of people without smartphones; delays to application rollout; and international collaboration on contact tracing apps.

The Lord Speaker also accepted the following Private Notice Question (an urgent question) from Lord Empey:

  • Lord Empey asked the government if an agreement has been made to establish customs posts at ports and airports in Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021, and how this is compatible with repeated assurances from Ministers that goods moving from Northern Ireland would have free and unfettered access to UK markets.

    Topics discussed include: sharing details of plans and progress to establish controls; extending the Brexit transition period; progress to establish IT systems to manage tariff processing; conflicting information regarding the establishment of controls; and the impact of extra costs on goods sold in Northern Ireland due to customs barriers.

Further information

Image: House of Lords / Roger Harris