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House of Lords back to business on 5 January

4 January 2021

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The House of Lords returns on Tuesday 5 January.  The House continues to operate in Hybrid Proceedings, with members participating in person or online. Votes continue to take place online.

This week in the House of Lords

Tuesday 5 January
Domestic Abuse Bill: main debate (second reading)

Wednesday 6 January
Trade Bill: further check (report stage, day two)

Thursday 7 January
Scrutiny of new COVID-19 regulations
Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill: further check (report stage, day one) 

Friday 8 January
Debate on the trade and cooperation agreement reached between the UK and the EU.

Monday 11 January
Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill: further check (report stage, day one)

Tuesday 12 January
Medicines and Medical Devices Bill: further check (report stage, day one)

Wednesday 13 January
Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill: further check (report stage, day two)

Thursday 14 January
Medicines and Medical Devices Bill: further check (report stage, day two)

The House will also continue scrutiny of the Fire Safety Bill, the Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill, the High Speed Rail (West Midlands-Crewe) Bill and other legislation.

View Lords business in the what's on calendar.


Get involved

Some Lords committees are currently asking for interested people or organisations to give their views or information ('call for evidence').


House of Lords 2020

2020 was a busy year for the House of Lords. Just like workplaces across the UK, the House has changed the way it works to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions: the Procedure and Privileges Committee has issued seven sets of guidance for the new ways of carrying out the House’s business.


The Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Conservative), announced the Christmas recess in the chamber, with the House due to return on Tuesday 5 January. Subsequently, the Lord Speaker recalled the House of Lords on 30 December for consideration of the European Union (Future Relationship) Act.

New ways of working

The House responded rapidly to the pandemic. To enable members to participate remotely from across the UK, it set up:

  • hybrid proceedings’ in the chamber – members attend in person and digitally
  • online committee meetings
  • the online voting system – votes are cast digitally, members no longer walk through the voting lobbies.

Scrutiny continued

This has allowed the House’s crucial work checking draft laws and challenging government action to continue. In the first three months of hybrid proceedings, the chamber met for more than 300 hours, pressing government with almost 250 questions.

Since the new systems were set up:

  • 118 ‘sittings’ (chamber meetings) have taken place
  • 88 members on average have contributed remotely in each meeting
  • 95 divisions (votes) have taken place, and 45,518 votes cast on changes to key legislation.

New committees

In July, the House set up the new COVID-19 Committee to look at the long-term implications of the pandemic on the economic and societal wellbeing of the UK. Committees considering International AgreementsCommon Frameworks, Sport and Recreation, and Risk and Risk Planning have also been formed.

Checking the details

In September, the House set up hybrid proceedings in Grand Committee: work away from the chamber, where a significant amount of consideration of regulations (statutory intruments) takes place. For example, COVID-19 rules and restrictions.


In November, the House also launched its first podcast. Listen to the House of Lords Podcast to hear first-hand from members and staff about how the Lords has responded to COVID-19, how the Legislation Office works, and the work of members including Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, Baroness Grey-Thompson and Lord Teverson

Legislation in 2020

The Lords persuaded the government to 'think again' on key issues. For example, devolved and ministerial powers after Brexit and food import standards.

Members completed detailed checks of these key bills during the pandemic:

They have received Royal Assent and made law (acts). 

Committee work in 2020

Committees looking into the different policy areas of the pandemic:

The EU Committee continued to scrutinise the many different implications of Brexit for the UK. The Common Frameworks Committee is looking into powers returning to the UK and devolved governments after Brexit



Image: copyright House of Lords 2020 / Photography by Roger Harris