The House of Lords 2021-22: highlights from the session
29 April 2022
After more than 1450 hours of business, with over 200 votes on changes to draft laws and members pressing government decisions and actions in more than 600 questions, the House of Lords 2021-22 session has come to an end.
Catch up on highlights from a packed session in the Lords.
- Changing laws
- Raising issues in debates and questions
- Tributes to Sir David Amess MP
- Committee reports
- Get involved
Scrutinising and making changes to bills is one of the main focuses for the House of Lords. 64 draft laws have been considered in 2021-22.
The House of Lords, as a revising chamber, regularly asks the government to think again on aspects of draft laws. During this session, the House of Lords recommended changes on several topics that the government agreed to, including:
Members agreed improvements to the bill after convincing the government to think again on lessening the impact of sewage discharges and reducing single-use plastics.
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
Members convinced the government to act on several topics, such as expanding pardons for abolished same sex-offences and reviews into crimes motivated by sex or gender, spiking and sex for rent. They also asked the government to think again on creating a new offence for recording breastfeeding without consent, including online hate offences in football banning orders, and extending the time limit for bringing domestic abuse prosecutions.
The House of Lords also removed provisions from the bill that would create new powers for police to stop and search people without suspicion, and enable courts to impose restrictions on individuals related to protests.
Health and Care Bill
Building Safety Bill
During report stage of the Building Safety Bill, an extra chance to closely scrutinise elements of the bill, members successfully convinced the government to introduce changes to ensure representation of disabled residents on residents’ panels, account building safety costs as part of service charges, and ensure that leaseholders are protected from costs related to historical building safety defects.
During report stage for the Elections Bill amendments put forward by members were agreed on closing loopholes to stop foreign influence on third-party campaigning, enabling independent and secret voting by voters who are blind or partially-sighted or have another disability, and requiring the Electoral Commission to publish a code of practice relating to controlled expenditure of third parties.
Nationality and Borders Bill
Members successfully asked the government to think again on topics such as providing Chagossians and their descendants with a pathway to British nationality, restrictions on the use of age assessments for asylum seekers, and support for victims of modern slavery or human trafficking.
Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill
During report stage for the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, members agreed to a government amendment to add animals including octopus, squid, crab and lobster to the definition covered by the bill. This followed calls by members across the House at earlier stages to add these protections.
The House of Lords has pressed the government on decisions and actions regarding the build-up of Russian forces outside Ukraine and the subsequent invasion since April 2021.
Throughout the year, members of the House of Lords have raised concerns, pressed government for action and questioned decisions in debates, daily oral questions and urgent questions including:
Cost of living
- questions to government on an Energy Security Strategy, rising energy prices and a windfall tax on the profits of oil, gas and energy companies
- a debate on the UK economy following the Spring Statement
- questions on the impact of inflation on benefits and concerns for women and single mothers around the rising cost of living
- plans to reform the Child Maintenance Service
- a shortage of lorry drivers caused by several factors including the pandemic, Brexit and pay cuts, which led to price increases in fuel, food and drink supplies.
The House of Lords considered the issues around assisted dying as members debated a private member’s bill in October. Members with a variety of personal and professional experiences covered the ethical issues involved.
Freedom of speech
On Human Rights Day 2021, the House of Lords debated the contemporary challenges to freedom of speech, discussing the online world and its role in changing the way we share and receive ideas.
International relations and development
- The House of Lords was recalled in August to debate the situation in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of troops. Later, members pressed the government on food shortages in the country.
- Members pressed the government for action to secure the release and return to the UK of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
- Members debated the role of the UK in furthering the equality of women in the UK and globally to mark International Women’s Day and questioned government on investing in reproductive health and rights in the International Development Strategy.
- Members pressed the government for action on COVID-19 vaccine donations.
- On World Malaria Day 2022, members raised concerns around the rising cases of malaria and government plans to help tackle the disease.
- Since 2013, Lord Rooker has campaigned for action to fortify UK flour with folic acid to help prevent birth defects in babies, which the government committed to during this session. Members continue to quiz the government following its announcement that action will be taken.
- Recently, members have questioned the government on when NHS services will return to pre-pandemic levels and providing specialist mental health services for people sleeping rough.
- Members raised issues on the implementation of calorie labelling in restaurants.
- the House of Lords debated the outcomes of the COP26 climate conference and urged the government for action on climate change and net zero.
- the Lords pressed the government for its response to power outages across the north of England following Storm Arwen.
The House of Lords paid tribute to the late Sir David Amess MP on Monday 18 October 2021.
House of Lords committees investigate issues and make recommendations to the government for action. The topics of House of Lords committee reports in this session have included:
- a national plan for sport, health and wellbeing
- tackling youth unemployment
- freedom of expression online
- the Bank of England’s use of Quantitative Easing
- the use and scrutiny of powers during the COVID-19 pandemic
- the UK-China relationship
- the future of Channel 4
- the role of public services in overcoming child vulnerability
- the UK’s vulnerability to future risks
- Health in old age?
- building a stronger Union for the 21st century
- Meeting housing demand
- nature-based solutions for climate change
Catch up on episodes from the 2021-22 Session of Parliament, including:
- the Lord Speaker on his career and Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom on the Horizon Scandal and tackling risks in the UK
- Chloe Mawson on becoming the first female Clerk Assistant in the history of the House of Lords
- Parliament’s two Speakers talking about their roles and working more closely together
- a look back at the life of Lord Pitt of Hampstead in collaboration with the UK Parliament Archives
- tackling climate change with Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle and Baroness Parminter
- the need for a national plan for sport, health and wellbeing with Baroness Brady and Lord Willis of Knaresborough
- ‘Government by diktat’ and the government’s use of secondary legislation with Lord Blencathra and Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbots
- Baroness Kidron talking about her work protecting children online and discussing what the government needs to do in order to strengthen the Union with Baroness Taylor of Bolton and Lord Dunlop
- Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate discussing his experiences both as a whip and as a rebel
- discussing women in Parliament, equality online and tackling fraud with Baroness Smith of Basildon and Baroness Morgan of Cotes.
Questions, debates and scrutiny of legislation are streamed live online for free. Watch chamber and Lords committee meetings on Parliament TV.
Follow on Twitter
Visit @UKHouseofLords on Twitter for highlights of each day’s work in the House.
Other social media
Subscribe to the House of Lords newsletter
Sign up and receive weekly updates on the latest news stories, draft law scrutiny, committee work and discussions happening in the Lords.
Image: copyright House of Lords / photography by Roger Harris