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The Weekly Whip

May 13, 2020 6:02 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Welcome to the Weekly Whip. Your one-stop shop for Lib Dem Parliamentary updates, covering the week that was and the week to come.

For up to date information from the Lib Dem Whips Office, follow us on Twitter:β€―@LibWhips

Weekly Whip w/c 11th April

Monday 11th May

The Commons started the day with the Department for Work and Pensions questions. Munira Wilson asked what recent assessment has been made of the potential merits of increasing the Carer's Allowance.

Then we went to Foreign and Commonwealth Office questions where our Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael asked the government what assessment they have made of the effect on the Sino-British Joint Declaration following recent actions by the Chinese Government in Hong Kong.

Thank you @amcarmichaelMP for asking @foreignoffice what it will do to protect BNO passport holders in light of China's recent, ominous labelling of pro-democracy protesters as a 'political virus' and its breaches of the Joint Declaration.#StandwithHK

- Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong. (@Stand_with_HK) May 12, 2020

The Commons then moved to a statement from the Prime Minister about his address the previous day. Usually, statements like the one the Prime Minister made on Sunday are given in the House of Commons first.

Ed Davey asked the Prime Minister if the government scientific advisors had signed off on the new 'Stay Alert' messaging. The Prime Minister's answer and the answers given by the scientific advisors at the Downing Street press briefing that day seemed to differ.

See the Guardian story - and decide if you think @BorisJohnson's reply to me was truthful

- Ed Davey MP πŸ”ΆπŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί #StayHomeSaveLives #ProtectNHS (@EdwardJDavey) May 11, 2020

Daisy Cooper asked the Prime Minister to provide figures on how much PPE our front-line services actually need and how this compares to the supply that we have.

The British public deserves transparency not only on what we have, when it comes to #PPE, #Covid19 testing and #NHS capacity, but also what we need to get us out of lockdown. Today I asked the Prime Minister if he would publish *both* sets of data πŸ‘‡

- Daisy Cooper MP πŸ”Ά (@libdemdaisy) May 11, 2020

Then after a few housekeeping agenda items, the Commons moved to a general debate on COVID 19. This allowed MPs to debate the current situation. Munira spoke about the need for care workers not to be overlooked in their roles on the frontline. (possible twitter link)

Tuesday 12th May

Tuesday saw all but one of our MPs speaking in the house.

We almost have a clean sweep of Lib Dem MPs contributing in the Commons today (sorry @munirawilson!)

1130 - @libdemdaisy Q1 at DiT Qs.
1230 - @EdwardJDavey Q11 and @wendychambLD Q39 for the HMT UQ
1345 - @sarahjolney1 Q17 in the BEIS statement


- Lib Dem Whips πŸ”Ά (@LibWhips) May 12, 2020

The Commons started the day with Daisy Cooper asking the first question to the Department for International Trade. Daisy asked the government what recent assessment they have made of the potential effect of a US trade agreement on small and medium-sized businesses.

After Defence questions, the Commons moved to an Urgent Question from the new Shadow Chancellor for an update on the government's economic response. At this point, the Chancellor announced an extension to the furlough scheme, another win for the Lib Dem team, who have been calling for the government to do this.

We almost have a clean sweep of Lib Dem MPs contributing in the Commons today (sorry @munirawilson!)

1130 - @libdemdaisy Q1 at DiT Qs.
1230 - @EdwardJDavey Q11 and @wendychambLD Q39 for the HMT UQ
1345 - @sarahjolney1 Q17 in the BEIS statement


- Lib Dem Whips πŸ”Ά (@LibWhips) May 12, 2020

Ed Davey thanked the Chancellor for that commitment but asked the government to extend this commitment to the self-employed as well. Wendy Chamberlain followed this up by asking about seasonal workers and supporting them through this crisis.

Following the Urgent question, the Commons went to the first of two ministerial statements. The first was on the government's new workplace guidance. Sarah Olney responded for the Lib Dems and asked the Business Secretary about dentists and physiotherapists who have been excluded from other forms of Government support yet are offering absolutely vital services that we will need when the shut-down ends.

The second ministerial statement was from the Department for Transport. Wera Hobhouse responded to the government's new commitment on a new fund for cycling infrastructure by asking what measures the Government are planning to minimise a spike in car use and offer more opportunities for walking and cycling.

After ministerial questions, the COVID 19 debate that started yesterday finish up in the Commons. Six of our MPs spoke in this debate: Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Alistair Carmichael, Christine Jardine, Sarah Olney and Wera Hobhouse.

At the end of the debate, the first remote vote took place.

History has been made. For the first time ever, Parliament is voting on a motion remotely.

Perhaps this just the start of Parliamentary reform.

- Lib Dem Whips πŸ”Ά (@LibWhips) May 12, 2020

The final item on the agenda for the Commons was to renew the hybrid proceedings until the 20th May 2020, which is the start of the Whitsun recess (more on what that recess is next week).

Wednesday 13th May

After the very busy day in the Commons on Tuesday, Wednesday was slightly lighter.

Northern Ireland questions were followed by Questions to the Prime Minister (PMQs) where Ed Davey asked the Prime Minister about extending the self-employment job retention scheme.

After PMQs, in a big parliamentary win for the Lib Dems, Layla Moran asked an Urgent Question (UQ) to the Secretary of State for Education about if he will make a statement on his Department's plans to reopen schools as part of the Government's COVID-19 recovery strategy.

I spoke in parliament today about my concerns about the Govt. plans to ease lockdown, and the confusion it has caused so many. Schools a major focus. It's clear the Govt. are using these announcements to prioritise the economy over education Ahead of my UQ tomorrow see what I say

- Layla Moran πŸ”Ά (@LaylaMoran) May 12, 2020

Following Layla's UQ were Ministerial Questions to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Business Statement, outlining what is happening in the Commons next week.

The Commons moved to its only piece of substantive business today, the remaining stages of the Agriculture Bill. This is a wide-ranging bill, mainly regarding how the money the UK got from the EU for the Common Agricultural Fund is to be allocated after a final trade deal is agreed with the EU. The bill also outlines how trading in the agriculture sector will work in a post-Brexit UK. Tim Farron led the response to this bill and spoke about why the Lib Dems are voting against this bill, and it's not because of Brexit.

Huge thanks to ⁦@timfarron⁩ for speaking in support of protecting our high food production standards in our future international trading arrangements #AgricultureBill

- George Dunn (@georgewdunn) May 13, 2020

Next week in the Commons