Clear the Lobby: What laws are MPs voting on this week?

Clear the Lobby: What laws are MPs voting on this week?
We are pleased to bring you a new regular weekly article courtesy of Sebastian Salek, the brains behind Clear the Lobby, who are working to bring you all the laws MPs are voting on this week, and explained in plain English!


All the big themes rumble on — Brexit, Syria, the fallout from Windrush — but inside Westminster MPs are voting on a whole host of laws. There’s also a private members’ bill day on Friday.


Monday 23 April

Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill – 2nd reading
Reinstates an earlier law whereby properties owned by the same company that are touching (e.g. on two adjoining floors of a building, or next door to each other) only pay one set of business rates. Also increases the extra charge local authorities can demand for empty homes to 100% of council tax, up from 50%. Both these commitments were announced in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget last year.


Tuesday 24 April

Ten Minute Rule Motion
Stephen Kerr MP presents.

Financial Guidance and Claims Bill – report stage and 3rd reading
Creates a single body to help members of the public manage their finances, consolidating services that are currently provided by the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and the Department for Work and Pensions. Also gives the Financial Conduct Authority the power to regulate claims companies (like the ones that help people win compensation for personal injury), and transfers the responsibility for investigating complaints against these companies to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Started in the Lords, so if it passes these stages, it just needs the Lords to approve any amendments before it can become law. This debate was scheduled earlier this month, but was postponed due to urgent questions and four oral ministerial statements.

Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill – money resolution
Raises the standards for the use of force in mental health units. Requires deaths that occur in these situations be investigated. Requires on‐duty police officers to wear an operational body camera whenever they attend a mental health unit. This is a private members’ bill that resulted from the death of a man in 2010 after being restrained by police officers in a mental health unit. A money resolution is an extra stage bills must go through if they propose spending public money on something that hasn’t previously been authorised by Parliament.


Wednesday 25 April

Ten Minute Rule Motion
Luciana Berger MP presents.


Thursday 26 April

No votes scheduled


Friday 27 April

Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill – 3rd reading
Makes assaulting an emergency worker more serious than assaulting an ordinary person (it would carry a maximum penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment instead of the usual 6 months). Also makes it illegal for alleged perpetrators to refuse to give blood samples if there’s a risk they could transmit an infectious disease.

Employment and Workers’ Rights Bill – 2nd reading
Concerns employment conditions and workers’ rights. More information not available at this stage.

British Broadcasting Corporation (Oversight) Bill – 2nd reading
Creates an independent body to monitor impartiality at the BBC.

Hospital (Parking Charges and Business Rates) Bill – 2nd reading
Bans car parking charges for patients and visitors at NHS hospitals. Makes NHS hospitals exempt from business rates.

House of Lords (Exclusion of Hereditary Peers) Bill – 2nd reading
Gradually removes hereditary peers from the House of Lords by scrapping the by-elections that are held to elect a new one when one of them dies.

Pensions (Review of Women’s Arrangements) (No. 2) Bill – 2nd reading
Establishes a review of pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s affected by the change in the state pension age.

Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill – 2nd reading
Introduces a scheme to protect retention deposits in connection with construction contracts.

Private Landlords (Registration) Bill – 2nd reading
Requires all private landlords to be registered.

School Holidays (Meals and Activities) Bill – 2nd reading
Requires local authorities to provide free meals and activities for children in deprived areas during the school holidays. This is a continuiation of a debate that was adjourned on 19 January.

Workers (Definition and Rights) Bill – 2nd reading
Amends the definition of a “worker” in previous legislation and introduces new laws about workers’ rights.

Automatic Electoral Registration (No. 2) Bill – 2nd reading
Requires the Government to ensure the “accuracy, completeness and utility” of electoral registers, and introduces new laws about the sharing of data for electoral registration purposes.

Child Maintenance (Assessment of Parent’s Income) Bill – 2nd reading
Standardises the child maintenance payments process so it’s the same for both self-employed and employed parents. Prevents separated parents from claiming self-employed status to hide their income and avoid paying child maintenance.

Tyres (Buses and Coaches) Bill – 2nd reading
Introduces limits on the age of bus and coach tyres.

Carbon Monoxide (Detection and Safety) Bill – 2nd reading
Requires fire and rescue authorities to promote carbon monoxide safety in their area. Requires the Government to make audible carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in newly built and rented properties that contain a gas, liquid or solid fuel burning appliance. Requires owners of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) to do the same, but in any room containing those appliances.

Service Animals (Offences) Bill – 2nd reading
Makes it illegal to attack service animals like police dogs and horses, and makes certain offences more serious in the eyes of the law when they’re committed against these animals.

Homelessness (End of Life Care) Bill – 2nd reading
Aims to improve end of life care for homeless people who are terminally ill, including an automatic right to housing. Read more in the Independent.

Registration of Marriage (No. 2) Bill – 2nd reading
Introduces an electronic system for marriage registrations and allows details of the spouses’ mothers to be included. Note: the bill itself doesn’t make these changes. Instead, it allows the government to do it by introducing new regulations.

Supervised Drug Consumption Facilities Bill – 2nd reading
Makes it legal to take illicit substances inside a supervised drug consumption facility.

Clean Air Bill – 2nd reading
Requires the government to set and enforce air quality targets, and reduce air pollution using clean air zones (among other methods). Also introduces new laws about vehicle emission testing and restricts the sale of vehicles with certain engine types.

Terms of Withdrawal from EU (Referendum) Bill – 2nd reading
Requires the government to put the final Brexit deal to a binding referendum, with the alternative being to remain in the EU.

International Payments (Audit) Bill – 2nd reading
Requires a cost-benefit analysis and an independent audit before financial aid is given to another country or an international organisation.

Criminal Fraud (Private Prosecutions) Bill – 2nd reading
Relates to private prosecutions (when a private individual or organisation takes someone to court on a criminal charge) in cases of suspected criminal fraud. Details beyond that are scant because a draft hasn’t been published.

Affordable Home Ownership Bill – 2nd reading
Requires the inclusion of rent to buy homes in the definition of affordable housing, ensures a minimum proportion of new affordable housing is available on affordable rent to buy terms, and abolishes stamp duty for rent to buy homes.

BBC Licence Fee (Civil Penalty) Bill – 2nd reading
Decriminalises the non-payment of the BBC licence fee.

International Development Assistance (Definition) Bill – 2nd reading
Changes the definition of international development assistance. Details beyond that are scant because a draft hasn’t been published.

Benefits and Public Services (Restriction) Bill – 2nd reading
Restricts non-UK citizens’ access to benefits and other public services.

Electronic Cigarettes (Regulation) Bill – 2nd reading
Regulates the use and sale of e-cigarettes. Also exempts them from any UK laws made as a result of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive, such as size limits on e-cigarette tanks and refill containers, requirements that they be child proof, and obligatory health warnings on packages.

British Indian Ocean Territory (Citizenship) Bill – 2nd reading
Allows descendants of those born in the British Indian Ocean Territory to be registered as a British overseas territories citizen.

Pedicabs (London) Bill – 2nd reading
Allows Transport for London to regulate pedicabs (bikes with a trailer attached for carrying passengers). Includes a wide range of possible regulations, including licensing, fares, safety, working conditions and speed restrictions.

Domestic Properties (Minimum Energy Performance) Bill – 2nd reading
Requires the government to ensure that all domestic properties have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating of C (with exceptions). The deadline is 2030 for homes occupied by people in fuel poverty and 2035 for all other properties.

Voter Registration (No. 2) Bill – 2nd reading
Bans people from being registered to vote in parliamentary elections at more than one address.

Kew Gardens (Leases) (No.2) Bill – 2nd reading
Extends the length of time Kew Gardens is allowed to lease land for to 150 years, from 31 years currently. This could include residential or commercial use. The aim is to help Kew increase its self-generated income.

Rivers Authorities and Land Drainage Bill – 2nd reading
Among other things, allows the government to establish local rivers authorities, which would deal with flood risk management. The bill is aimed at turning the Somerset Rivers Authority (which was formed in response to the floods of 2013 and 2014) into a statutory body.

Wild Animals in Circuses Bill – 2nd reading
Bans the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

Forensic Science Regulator Bill – 2nd reading
Creates a Forensic Science Regulator which would publish and enforce a code of practice for forensic science.

Check back again same time next week for more of the same!
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