Welcome to the Weekly Whip. Your one-stop shop for Lib Dem Parliamentary updates, covering the week that was and the week to come.
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Weekly Whip w/c 19th October
Monday 19th October
Before we moved onto the main business of the day, we had two Ministerial Statements.
The first, from Michael Gove, was the latest instalment of the Brexit drama. This was earlier in the week when the Government was insisting the talks were off. Christine asked an important question about the supply of medicines after the transition period ends.
Access to medicines is a fundamental right and I received assurances from the minister that my constituents and those across the country who are worried about #medicine shortages in the event of a no-deal #Brexit will be able to get them come 1st January- pic.twitter.com/STQPbKyRIC
— Christine Jardine (@cajardineMP) October 19, 2020
Matt Hancock then followed with his usual update to the house on the latest development with Covid. As usual, Munira led for us, and asked to see the memorandum of understanding between Test and Trace and the Police on their use of T+T data. Paul Scriven followed up in the Lords with a similar questions, something the Lords Minister has committed to providing.
Today @munirawilson confronted the government over the weekend’s alarming news that Test and Trace data would be handed over to the police.
Public confidence in the system is key to success, but this will worsen if the government doesn’t take privacy concerns seriously. pic.twitter.com/0SPEZgi6F7
— Lib Dem Whips 🔶 (@LibDemWhips) October 19, 2020
The main business of the day was the hugely important Immigration Bill. Specifically, we were debating and voting on the amendments we had received from the Lords. 3 of these amendments were tabled by Lib Dem lords, see more information on them here.
Today we consider Lords Amendments to the Immigration Bill. We are supportive of all amendments but let us focus on the three from our friends at @LibDemLords.
— Lib Dem Whips 🔶 (@LibDemWhips) October 19, 2020
We voted on a number of amendments, but they were unfortunately all defeated. The Government voted down Jonny Oates amendment, which would have required the Government to provide physical proof of settled status. The Government also voted down the Alf Dubb’s amendment, which would have provided protection for child refugees.
Tuesday 20th October
A very busy Monday was followed by a quieter day in terms of votes. Most of the day consisted of a passionate general debate on Black History Month. Wera, as our equalities spokesperson spoke for us.
“We cannot condone a selective view and teaching of our nation’s history; one that leaves some people out and negates and invalidates their experience.” – @Wera_Hobhouse
Lib Dems are calling to expand the national history curriculum to cover a wider range of black history. pic.twitter.com/jg5JfsGWkO
— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) October 20, 2020
Mid way through the day, we were given notification that the Government intended on making a statement at 7pm. This was to announce that Manchester had moved to Tier 3. Christine as our Economy spokesperson made the poignant point ‘what happened to whatever it takes.’
What happened to “Whatever it Takes”? The British people won’t forget that.
— Lib Dem Whips 🔶 (@LibDemWhips) October 20, 2020
Wednesday 21st October
Wednesday was Opposition Day and Labour chose to focus on regional support measures (following the Manchester Tier 3 announcement) and Free school meals.
But before that we had 3 of our MPs asking the Prime Minister a question, Ed, Daisy and Sarah. They covered very varied topics including, financial support for families supporting disabled children, free school meals and Hammersmith Bridge.
Pleased to have Boris Johnson agree to look into the rules that prevent family members managing the finances of severely disabled people – people like Mikey, a disabled 18 year old saving for a specialist tricycle, who’s unable to access his Child Trust Fund savings. #PMQspic.twitter.com/Rchk7l5vEG
— Ed Davey MP 🔶🇪🇺 (@EdwardJDavey) October 21, 2020
At #PMQs@libdemdaisy pushes Boris Johnson to follow the lead of the Welsh Government & Kirsty Williams, Lib Dem Welsh Minister for Education, & provide free school meals during holidays to stop children going hungry.
— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) October 21, 2020
Questioned @BorisJohnson about the proposed new transport charges and #hammersmithbridge. Infuriating to hear how they are using people’s livelihoods as part of their political game-playing #PMQspic.twitter.com/HTCKxiMB9D
— Sarah Olney (@sarahjolney1) October 21, 2020
Both opposition motions were hugely important debates that we were supportive of. Most importantly, our MPs made the point that we should follow the lead of Wales, and the Lib Dem Education Minister, by offering free school meals for children over the upcoming holidays. We were proud to support Labour motions and disappointed the government didn’t support them. All our MPs were in support of the motions, Sarah Olney and Ed Davey, couldn’t be present in Parliament for the day, so were paired with two conservative MPs.
Thursday 22nd October
Thursday, as usual, bring Business Questions. True to form, Elliot Colburn continued with his strange obsession of the Lib Dems by focusing his question around the Lib Dem Council in his constituency.
We also had the Economy Update from Rishi Sunak announcing his latest U-turn and his latest package of measures. Christine had her second opportunity this week to press the government on their economic support
“The Chancellor told us he would do whatever it takes to support people. This is not it.” – @cajardineMP
It’s clearer than ever that the furlough scheme must be extended.
— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) October 22, 2020
We had another statement from government, on the disparate impact of Covid-19. Munira covered for us and asked about the support for the disabled community and the worrying impact Covid-19 has on them.
Munira had a busy Thursday as she was involved afterwards in the general debate on Covid.
Friday 23rd October
A quiet day of private members bills. The main thing to note is that Alistair’s Hong Kong Bill will now be getting it’s second reading on 15 January 2021.
Next week is Recess, an opportunity for MPs to go back to their constituency and catch up on local issues.