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Lords question government on Covid-19 and the prison system on 14 May

13 May 2020

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The House of Lords started business on Thursday 14 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 on this page below.

Questions on Thursday 14 May:

  • Baroness Northover asked the government about its plans to bring back British citizens who are stranded overseas as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Topics discussed include: collaboration with the EU on repatriation flights; the number of British Council employees that may need repatriation; cuts to the Foreign Office budget; the impact of quarantine requirements; changes to travel advice; and support for people unable to return.  


  • Baroness Neville-Rolfe asked the government when it will lift all of the restrictions in place on the housing and construction sectors as a result of Covid-19.

    Topics discussed include: accelerating construction and infrastructure work; supply of PPE to the construction industry; mortality rates among construction workers infected with Covid-19; breaches of social distancing measures; infection testing for construction workers; reopening planning authorities; support for renters; and engagement with trade unions.


  • Baroness Humphreys asked the government what steps it is taking to alleviate overcrowding in prisons in England and Wales, particularly in HMP Swansea.

    Topics discussed include: prisons in Wales; testing for infection in prisons; drug use in prisons; early release figures; and quarantine and overcrowding in prisons.


  • The Earl of Clancarty asked the government about its plans to introduce mass testing using the Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction test and lifting restrictions addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Topics discussed include: testing, tracking, tracing and isolation procedures; testing timelines and capacity; calculating transmission rates; antibody testing; prioritisation for frontline care staff; testing in care homes; and incorrect results from tests.

The Lord Speaker has also accepted the following urgent question (Private Notice Question) from Baroness Wheeler:

  • Baroness Wheeler asked the government which department or non-departmental public body is responsible for the programme of Covid-19 testing in care homes in England and when they expect these care homes to be offered Covid-19 tests.

    Topics discussed include: testing plans in care homes; prioritisation of the care sector for testing; a timeline for test results being delivered within 3 days; guidelines for care workers returning to work following symptoms and test results;  and testing and discharge processes of hospital patients into care homes.

Further information

Image: House of Lords / Roger Harris