What's happening in Parliament on Thursday? – BBC


Mark D'Arcy
Parliamentary correspondent

Here's your daily rundown of what's going on at Westminster.
Commons: (09:30) International Trade questions, followed by the weekly Commons Business Statement from the Leader of the House, Mark Spencer.
Then the Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries makes a statement on the economic and cultural sanctions could be taken against Russia over Ukraine.
Main debates: The traditional St David's Day general debate on Welsh Affairs (yes, I know St David's Day was on Tuesday, but this was the first available slot for the Backbench Business Committee to schedule it)
Westminster hall: MPs debate the Home Affairs Committee report on the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
Lords: Ministers are questioned on atmospheric CO2 levels, the fire risk from batteries in e-scooters and on plans to mark International Women's Day.
Then they return to Report consideration of the Health and Care Bill (day 2 of 4), with several votes expected. The government has lost a number of times already, mostly on rather technocratic issues around the new administrative structure for the NHS in England, but now some of the bigger issues are coming up.
Expect a vote on the powers of the health secretary to intervene in NHS reorganisations in England (which could mean major decisions like the closure or relocation of an A&E, but might also cover much smaller changes that are controversial locally) former Health Secretary Matt Hancock included an attempt to take back control of these in this bill, but his predecessor Lord Lansley, architect of the current system, is among those trying to stop the move.
Another key amendment is from the Conservative former Health Minister, Baroness Cumberlege, to require the government to report on the Workforce needs of the NHS in England, every two years – setting out the number of nurses, doctors, specialists etc required. The idea is to ensure that enough people are trained in the right skills. A similar amendment was proposed in the Commons, by the former Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, but was voted down.
Commons: (11:30) questions to the president of COP26 climate conference, Alok Sharma, followed by Prime Minister's Question Time (12:00).
Ten minute rule bill: In the wake of last August's mass shooting in the Keyham area of Plymouth, in which five people died, before the shooter took his own life, local MP Luke Pollard proposes a Bill to ban people from keeping pump-action shotguns at home (with some regulated exceptions) and to extend offences of stirring up hatred to cover hatred on the basis of sex and gender. "Incel" views appear to have been a factor in the motivation of the gunman, 22-year-old Jake Davison.
Main debates: Labour have put down two Opposition Day motions – the first condemns the government for failing to tackle an epidemic of violence against women and girls, noting that charges of rape are now at a record low level. The motion calls for more specialist units to deal with rape and serious sexual offences, improved Police training, and better monitoring of offenders.
The second motion is on Support for Ukraine and countering threats from Russia, and supports providing military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, as well as calling on the government to ensure the UK fulfills it's Nato obligations to counter threats from Russia.
Westminster Hall: Labour's Liz Twist leads a debate on regional inequalities and child poverty (14:30)
Committees: Foreign Affairs (09:30) had a timely session with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, but it has now been cancelled, rather to the displeasure of committee members.
Still going ahead is Home Affairs (10:00), taking evidence on the state of the fire and rescue services from Sir Tom Winsor of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services and Mark Hardingham, Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council.
Lords: (15:00) Ministers face questions on music education in schools, on cyrpto-currencies (again) and on green investments.
Peers then whiz through the detail of a series of private members bills: the Coroners (Determination of Suicide) Bill from the Bishop of St. Albans; the Cigarette Stick Health Warnings Bill from the former cabinet minister, Lord Young of Cookham and the Onshore Wind Bill from Labour's Baroness Hayman.
Main debate: Day Two of Report Stage on the Nationality and Borders Bill. Look out for votes on some key amendments: on inadmissibility, where an asylum seeker has already passed through a safe country (Labour's Lord Rosser leads); on Offshoring, sending asylum seekers to a third country while their case is determined, where there's an amendment to delete the relevant clause is proposed by the Conservative former immigration minister, Lord Kirkhope and Labour front-bencher Lord Coaker; on refugee family reunion from refugee campaigner Lord Dubs and on refugee resettlement from Lord Kirkhope, again.
Commons: (11:30) Health Questions.
Ten Minute Rule Bill: Former cabinet minister Chris Grayling proposes a bill to regulate and limit bottom trawling in marine protected areas.
Then come the day's ministerial statements, starting (12:30) with the Safeguarding Minister Rachel Maclean on HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) recommendations on improving the response to rape victims.
That is followed by Home Secretary Priti Patel, who will outline the government's policy on refugees from the Ukraine conflict, after running into criticism (not least from the Speaker) for effectively announcing a new policy at question time, on Monday.
Main debates: There will be two hours on report and third reading consideration of the Professional Qualifications Bill – a post-Brexit measure creating a new system for the recognition of professional qualifications from overseas.
That is followed by an hour on Lords amendments to the National Insurance Contributions Bill – peers narrowly passed an amendment crowbarring in an anti-money-laundering measure.
And then MPs will be asked to approve the latest batch of coronavirus restrictions – a tidying-up measure on the self-isolation rules.
And Commons business has been extended to allow MPs to debate and approve a series of sanctions orders: the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022, which imposes a range of financial restrictions on designated individuals and the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2022, which restricts the export of dual use items to Russia.
Westminster Hall: Conservative Nigel Mills leads a debate on the take-up of pensions advice (09:30).
Committees: Education (10:00) concludes its children's homes inquiry by questioning the Minister for Children and Families, Will Quince, on the government's support for children in care homes, why the number of children in care is at a record high and why care leavers aged 19 to 21 are three times more likely to be out of employment, education or training.
With the Lords about to debate an amendment originating with its chair on this very issue (see below), Health and Social Care (09:30) takes evidence on workforce recruitment, training and retention in health and social care.
And Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (10:30) looks at the future of the National Lottery.
Lords: At 14:30 there are questions on the latest assessment of climate changes risks for the UK, and the transparency of lobbying of ministers.
Main debate: In the Lords, the shape of the first report stage day on the Health and Care Bill is becoming clearer, with several votes likely on the workings of the new Integrated Care Boards created by the bill: on amendment nine from Labour's Baroness Thornton, on conflicts of interest; amendment 12 from Labour's Lord Bradley on requiring at least one ICB member to have expertise in mental health, and (probably) the former NHS chief executive and crossbench peer Lord Crisp's amendment 33 requiring ICBs to work with primary care services – including dental and ophthalmic.
The government has already lost a couple of votes on the Nationality and Borders Bill, this week, but it would be a mistake to assume read-across to this measure; the combinations of interest and political alliances are quite different – but keep an eye on one key factor; the willingness of Conservative peers to turn out and support their ministers.
Commons: The day begins at 14:30 GMT with questions to Home Office ministers, followed by any post-weekend urgent questions and ministerial statements.
Main debates: MPs consider Lords amendments to the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill. Will the government offer concessions or reject all the considerable number of defeats it suffered in the Lords, and see if peers then fold? Six hours have been allocated for discussion – and the time is protected, so the debate will not be eaten into by any statements or urgent questions.
Westminster Hall: MPs will debate (16:30) two petitions on online abuse, ahead of the publication of the government's Online Safety Bill. The first calls for online trolls to be held accountable for abuse, via their IP address. The second would make having verified ID a requirement for opening a social media account. This attracted 696,986 signatures – but the government argues that ID verification for social media would disproportionately impact vulnerable users.
Committees: The Treasury Committee (15:15) examines the tax burden with economists and think tanks, focusing on whether the level of taxation is too high, and whether the chancellor's intention to cut taxes before the next election is sustainable. Public Accounts (16:00) quizzes top officials at the Ministry of Defence about the government's defence equipment plan. I daresay the Ajax armoured vehicle may come up. Bring popcorn. The Levelling up Committee (formerly Housing, Communities and Local Government) has a session on the levelling up white paper with minister Neil O'Brien and Andy Haldane, the head of the Levelling Up Taskforce (16:00).
Lords: The day opens at 14:30, when ministers are questioned on crypto-currencies, and on their conversations with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees about the government's interpretation of international conventions on refugees – which will be a foretaste of the next action.
Main debate: The first of three report stage days on the Nationality and Borders Bill, where the focus will be on the sections dealing with deprivation of citizenship and the rules for notifying those who face that penalty. There may be an attempt to simply remove this from the bill, but there is also the likelihood of compromise amendments from Lord Anderson, the former scrutiniser of anti-terrorism legislation. He wants to add additional safeguards, and they could well be accepted by the government. One of the underlying issues is that there may be people involved in international terrorism who cannot be reached, either because their whereabouts are unknown, or because the government does not wish to alert them to the fact that it does know their whereabouts, or because it would simply be too dangerous to attempt to serve documents to someone in, say, a camp in Syria.
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