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Weekly Whip

January 18, 2021 1:00 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€―@LibDemWhips

Weekly Whip w/c 11th January

Monday 11th January

Monday started off with a statement from the Chancellor who has been notably quiet as of late. He came to the House to update MPs on the most recent packages of support for individuals and businesses during the pandemic.

But it's not nearly enough. There is just not enough support. The national situation demands a compassionate government that is not afraid to intervene to save jobs and businesses from the effects of the pandemic. The Conservatives, by nature, are reluctant to go far enough and provide the necessary support that ordinary people need.

The Federation of Small Businesses has said that, "if the Chancellor does not act, 250,000 small businesses could collapse". Liberal Democrat MPs Christine Jardine, Alistair Carmichael, Layla Moran, all challenged the Chancellor on these shortcomings on behalf of small businesses, fishermen, and the 'Excluded' self-employed who are still yet to receive any support since the pandemic began.

So the Chancellor rocked up to the House of Commons to yet again announce nothing for the #excluded self-employed, workers and freelancers.

The Conservatives are no longer the party of small business and entrepreneurs.

The @LibDems will never give up fighting for the #excluded

- Tim Farron (@timfarron) January 11, 2021

.@pressjournal coverage of my exchange with Rishi Sunak on the serious problems seafood exporters are facing with Brexit red tape. For local businesses, losing Β£50k on a single consignment is no small change - ministers must act.

- Alistair Carmichael (@amcarmichaelMP) January 11, 2021

Following the Chancellor, the Minister for the Vaccine rollout gave a statement to update the House on the current rollout status across the country. Health Spokesperson, Munira Wilson, challenged Nadhim Zahawi on whether the issues relate to manufacturing, packaging, batch testing, or distribution.

Lots of chat re 24/7 #vaccinations that I've been calling for but supply being the problem. That's why I asked @nadhimzahawi today if the issue is manufacturing, packaging,, batch testing or distribution. I struggled to make sense of answer beyond initial supply being "lumpy" πŸ‘‡πŸ½

- Munira Wilson MP (@munirawilson) January 11, 2021

The main business for the day was a 'general debate on global Britain'. General debates are opportunities for MPs to make speeches and raise issues in the House without having to adhere to strict and narrow topics. Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Layla Moran contributed to the debate to talk about a variety of topics, and concluded by criticising the government's plan to reduce international aid spending.

The current law is clear: new legislation is not needed to temporarily cut international development spending from 0.7% of GNI.

Despite the Tory govt's promises, the mask has slipped. Their plans could be leading to a permanent cut by the backdoor. We will stand up for 0.7% πŸ‘‡

- Layla Moran πŸ”Ά (@LaylaMoran) January 11, 2021

Tuesday 12th January

The first week back started to pick up the pace after two statements were announced on the situation in Xinjiang and the Department of Defence's role in the vaccine rollout. Layla Moran and Jamie Stone, Defence Spokesperson, responded to these statements respectively. Alistair Carmichael also took part in the statement on Xinjiang.

What's happening to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang is nothing short of genocide. - @LaylaMoran

History is watching us. The world is looking to the UK and the international community to stand up and take action.

- Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) January 12, 2021

Speaking in Parliament on abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. If we can't recognise genocide because we don't have access to the internment camps, what happens if we never secure that access? If the UK aims to lead on international human rights, we need to lead here and now.

- Alistair Carmichael (@amcarmichaelMP) January 12, 2021

THREAD: Just want to share an absolute shocker from today.@bwallace confirmed to me that the @scotgov have not taken up @DefenceHQ's offer to help roll out vaccines in Scotland.

You can watch him tell me about it here πŸ‘‡

- Jamie Stone MP (@Jamie4North) January 12, 2021

Following a quick Ten-Minute Rule motion on abolishing business rates, which Liberal Democrats support, the main business was once again a general debate; this time on Covid-19. A highly subscribed debate, Wendy, Wera, Christine, and Tim all took part.

We all must do our bit to fight this virus and protect the NHS. But businesses and livelihoods are also on the line.

The support from both Governments must match the restrictions if we are they are to survive the pandemic and form part of the recovery.

- Wendy Chamberlain MP (@wendychambLD) January 13, 2021

Young people have been overlooked again and again by Govt.

Students are currently paying full fees and full rent for accommodation they have been discouraged from living in.

Govt must commit to a urgent review - giving young people the chance to share their experiences.

- Wera Hobhouse MP πŸ”Ά (@Wera_Hobhouse) January 14, 2021

Yesterday I raised the issues experienced by pregnant women and new mothers during this Pandemic.

I am pleased that Govt has FINALLY released guidance for pregnant women who still going to work but this cannot be the end of the conversation. ⬇️@MaternityAction @PregnantScrewed

- Wera Hobhouse MP πŸ”Ά (@Wera_Hobhouse) January 13, 2021

5 things the Government must do to save hospitality and tourism businesses:

1⃣ Defer business rates for another 12 months
2⃣ Extend VAT cut for another 12 months
3⃣ Continue some form of wage support beyond April
4⃣ Increase business support grants
5⃣ Support the #excluded

- Tim Farron (@timfarron) January 13, 2021

Wednesday 13th January

Wednesday = PMQs! This week, Daisy Cooper came out successful in the ballot and asked the Prime Minister about her constituency's vaccination centre.

Scores of #StAlbans residents have asked me why Batchwood vaccination centre isn't open every day. Fact is they're only being given 1100 vaccines/day, 2 days per wk. Today I asked the PM to ensure our GPs can get on with the job of vaccinating the country against #COVID19 πŸ’‰πŸ’ͺ

- Daisy Cooper MP πŸ”Ά (@libdemdaisy) January 13, 2021

The busy week continued with some urgent pieces of business before we reached the day's main Bill proceedings. Following our exit from the European Union, there have been worrying stories from Northern Ireland regarding trade with the rest of the UK. Alistair Carmichael, Spokesperson for Northern Ireland, was on hand to respond to Michael Gove's statement.

Challenging Michael Gove today on the lack of a grace period for traders after the end of the transition period - and particularly for seafood exporters who are hard-hit this week. Glad to report I have secured an Urgent Question tomorrow to hold the Government to account. 1/2

- Alistair Carmichael (@amcarmichaelMP) January 13, 2021

In some good news, the Secretary of State for Health came to the House to update MPs on the white paper and long-overdue plans to reform the Mental Health Act. Munira responded to the Secretary and outlined more details on her website.

In some good news, the Secretary of State for Health came to the House to update MPs on the white paper and long-overdue plans to reform the Mental Health Act. Munira responded to the Secretary and outlined more details on her website.

Yesterday, I welcomed the Govt's long overdue reforms of Mental Health Act, which outline a more humane & less discriminatory approach to serious mental ill health. But action is needed to tackle workforce shortages that could otherwise undermine it

- Munira Wilson MP (@munirawilson) January 14, 2021

The main business for Wednesday was the Financial Services Bill, an uncontroversial piece of legislation that passed easily. However, there were some votes on Wednesday night on amendments. Despite defeats, the Liberal Democrats voted to increase consumer protection rights and ensure that the government keeps to their net-zero targets regarding this piece of legislation. Christine Jardine tabled two amendments and spoke to them on the floor of the House:

Christine had a busy day as she also led the adjournment debate this evening which followed proceedings. Her topic was on protections for small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and need our support to recover from this crisis. Thats why I made them the focus of my adjournment debate in Parliament #business #Excluded #SmallBusiness

- Christine Jardine (@cajardineMP) January 14, 2021

Thursday 14th January

The theme of a busy first week back continued on Thursday morning. Brexit was the topic of debate once more, as Alistair Carmichael secured an Urgent Question to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs on the current issues that the fishing industry are facing. Jamie Stone also had questions for the Secretary of State.

My UQ on fisheries today: This government promised our fishing industry a sea of opportunity. Today our fishing boats are tied up in harbour, their propellers fouled with red tape manufactured in Whitehall.
Boats that are able to go to sea are landing their catches in Denmark, 1/

- Alistair Carmichael (@amcarmichaelMP) January 14, 2021

The Prime Minister and Victoria Prentis set the bar pretty low yesterday but George Eustice brought it clattering down today with a performance of breath-taking complacency. Frankly insulting to industry that he is already backtracking on the PM's offer of compensation yesterday.

- Alistair Carmichael (@amcarmichaelMP) January 14, 2021

The fishing industry is drowning in a Tory-made crisis. Boats are being tied up. Fresh fish have gone to waste.

The sea of opportunity promised to fishermen has turned out to be a sea of lies.

Compensation and cooperation are required.#BrexitChaos

- Jamie Stone MP (@Jamie4North) January 14, 2021

During lockdown, reports of domestic abuse have been rising. The Minister for Safeguarding came to the House to update MPs on the government's measures to tackle this. Our Spokesperson for Women and Equalities, Wera Hobhouse, responded to the Minister.

Once again I am urging Government Ministers to embed trauma informed services across the country. With the deeply concerning rise in Domestic Abuse this work is more important than ever.

We need a much better understanding of childhood trauma and how we can prevent it.

- Wera Hobhouse MP πŸ”Ά (@Wera_Hobhouse) January 15, 2021

The last bit of business for the week came from the Backbench Business Committee, with Layla Moran leading a debate on Long-Covid. This was the first time that the subject of Long-Covid has had formal time to be discussed in Parliament. The debate was full of distressing anecdotes from across the country from people of all ages who have suffered the effects of Long-Covid.

Long Covid is often heart-breaking, and it is affecting more and more people. Today the @AppgCoronavirus is calling for three things: better reporting, urgent money for research and recognition by employers and in the welfare system.

- Layla Moran πŸ”Ά (@LaylaMoran) January 14, 2021

Long Covid is often heart-breaking, and it is affecting more and more people of all ages.

That's why the @AppgCoronavirus is calling for three things: better reporting, urgent money for research and recognition by employers and in the welfare system.

- Layla Moran πŸ”Ά (@LaylaMoran) January 15, 2021

What you may have missed!

Tim in the Westminster Hall debate on vaccination:

To help in this national effort to #GetBritainVaccinatedπŸ’‰the Government should publish the number of people being vaccinated in each local authority area.

This would allow us to hold Government to account, create healthy competition and identify the areas that need more support

- Tim Farron (@timfarron) January 15, 2021

Munira in the Westminster Hall debate on early years education:

I am very grateful to early years settings that are still open and for the staff that put themselves at risk every day. It's crucial they be considered a priority for vaccination following health & care staff and the most vulnerable, so that they can be protected to do their job

- Munira Wilson MP (@munirawilson) January 13, 2021

What next?

Next week, there will be debates on Universal Credit and free school meals. Plus, the Trade Bill and HS2 Bill are coming back from the Lords.