Welcome to our weekly feature courtesy of Sebastian Salek, the brains behind Clear the Lobby, working to bring you all the laws MPs are voting on this week, and explained in plain English!
It’s a big week in two senses. First, Brexit is back. After a long wait, MPs finally get the chance to decide whether to accept or reject the many Lords amendments to the government’s flagship Brexit bill. Secondly, Friday is a private member’s bill day with lots of new draft laws to consider. Here’s what the week looks like:
Monday 11 June
Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill – 2nd reading
Implements proposals from a recent review of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy. Includes updated offences for the digital age (e.g. viewing material on the internet) and to reflect new ways that people get radicalised. Makes sentencing stricter and strengthens powers for managing terrorist offenders after their release from custody. Also harden’s the UK’s defences against activities by other countries in response to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.
Tuesday 12 June
Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (England) Bill
Introduces minimum pricing for alcohol. Only applies to England because alcohol pricing is a devolved matter. Ten minute rule motion presented by Fiona Bruce.
European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – consideration of Lords amendments
Here it is, the government’s flagship Brexit legislation, finally back in the Commons. MPs will vote on whether or not to keep the amendments mde in the Lords. In this session, they’ll look at so-called “Henry VIII” powers (the ability for government minister to change the law at a later point without parliamentary approval), the exit date, whether MPs should have a “meaningful vote” on the final terms of the deal, the status of EU law that’s kept, delegated powers, and Northern Ireland.
Wednesday 13 June
Packaging (Extended Producer Responsibility) Bill
Require producers of packaging products to take responsibility for their collection, transportation, recycling, disposal, treatment and recovery. Ten minute rule motion presented by Anna McMorrin.
European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – consideration of Lords amendments
Another session of the Brexit bill. This time, MPs will look at membership of “a” Customs Union, possible UK membership of the EEA, more issues on retained EU law, the status of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, environmental protection, refugees, and the continued relationship with EU.
Thursday 14 June
No votes scheduled
Friday 15 June
Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill – report stage and 3rd reading
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.
Freedom of Information (Extension) Bill – 2nd reading
Widens the scope of bodies that people can make Freedom of Information requests to. Make providers of social housing, local safeguarding children boards, Electoral Registration Officers, Returning Officers and the Housing Ombudsman public authorities so they are covered by the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Also makes information held by contractors working for public authorities subject to the Act.
June Bank Holiday (Creation) Bill – 2nd reading
Creates a bank holiday on 23 June (the day of the Brexit vote in 2016), or the first weekday if it falls on a weekend.
Business of the House Commission Bill – 2nd reading
Creates a committee which decides the parliamentary timetable. This was in the 2010 government’s programme for government, but was never implemented.
Armed Forces (Statute of Limitations) Bill
Creates a statute of limitations on prosecuting soldiers involved in past conflicts, so cases can only be brought within a 10-year time limit.
Fetal Dopplers (Regulation) Bill – 2nd reading
Regulates the sale and use of fetal dopplers, a handheld ultrasound device for detecting the heartbeat of an unborn fetus.
Multi-Employer Pension Schemes Bill – 2nd reading
Protects unincorporated businesses from certain multi-employer pension scheme liabilities, among other things.
Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill – 2nd reading
Extends the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to cover private contractors (e.g. Carillion).
Sanctions (Human Rights Abuse and Corruption) Bill – 2nd reading
Allows the government to refuse entry to, or impose sanctions on, non-UK or non-EEA nationals involved in gross human rights abuses or certain acts of corruption.
Asset Freezing (Compensation) Bill
Freezes the assets of people who have supported terrorist attacks in order to compensate the victims. Designed to compensate victims of IRA attacks that were made possible by weapons from Gaddafi’s regime. This private member’s bill started in the Lords, so is closer to becoming law than if it had started in the Commons.
Short and Holiday-Let Accommodation (Notification of Local Authorities) Bill – 2nd reading
Requires people to notify local authorities if they’re planning to register accommodation for short-term or holiday rental, e.g. listing it on Airbnb.
Postal Voting Bill – 2nd reading
Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland
Creates new offences around postal voting corruption, e.g. preventing campaigners from handling postal voting documents issued to other people.
House of Peers Bill – 2nd reading
Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland
Renames the House of Lords to the House of Peers.
Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) (Amendment) Bill – 2nd reading
Extends the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009, a law that gives the UK’s major museums the power to return objects stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners or heirs. It’s currently due to expire on 11 November 2019.
Pension Benefits (Ill Health) Bill – 2nd reading
Requires pension providers to make lump sum payments and other pension benefits available to people who haven’t reached minimum pension age if they are ill or have a terminal diagnosis.
Social Media Service Providers (Civil Liability and Oversight) Bill
Makes social media service providers civilly liable for online publications in specified circumstances, and establishes a commissioner for online safety among other things.
Domestic Properties (Minimum Energy Performance) Bill – 2nd reading
Requires the government to ensure that domestic properties have a minimum energy performance rating of C on an Energy Performance Certificate.
Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill – 2nd reading
Introduces a scheme to protect retention deposits in connection with construction contracts.
Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill – 2nd reading
Bans unpaid trial shifts for workers unless they’re given feedback on their performance and told how long the trial period will last, what qualities they need to demonstrate, how many jobs are available and how they’ll find out if they’re successful or not.
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.
Tyres (Buses and Coaches) Bill – 2nd reading
Introduces limits on the age of tyre and bus coaches.
Plastics Bill – 2nd reading
Requires the government to set, measure, enforce and report on targets for reducing and recycling plastic packaging. Requires those targets to match EU goals after Brexit. Requires the government to support the development of sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging.
Voyeurism (Offences) Bill – 2nd reading
Makes it a criminal offence to take an image or video up somebody’s clothing in order to see their genitals or underwear.
Import Tariff (Reduction) Bill – 2nd reading
Cuts tariffs on goods imported into the UK.
Schools Bill – 2nd reading
Allows schools to select pupils based on a published set of criteria and decide on maximum class sizes. Removes restrictions on how quickly schools can grow in terms of number of pupils, and how quickly new schools can be created.
Public Services (Availability) Bill – 2nd reading
Ensures that public services are available during weekday evenings, at weekends and on bank holidays.
Electoral Commission (Duties) Bill – 2nd reading
Requires the the Electoral Commission to investigate allegations of electoral fraud and other breaches of electoral law, and to prosecute any offences.
Armed Forces (Volunteer Reserve) Bill – 2nd reading
Creates a new faction of Volunteer Reserves in the Armed Forces, and sets out eligibility criteria for their deployment.
Manufactured Goods (Trade) Bill – 2nd reading
Removes certain restrictions on the production and sale of goods that are both made and used in the UK after Brexit.
Public Sector Exit Payments (Limitation) Bill – 2nd reading
Caps exit payments made to outgoing employees of public sector organisations.
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.
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.
Housing and Planning (Local Decision-making) Bill – 2nd reading
Transfers the power to decide on the location and planning permission of new housing developments from central government to local authorities. Also gives them the power to establish requirements, such as the proportion of affordable and social housing.
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.
Hospital Car Parking Charges (Abolition) Bill – 2nd reading
Abolishes car parking charges at NHS hospitals for patients, staff and visitors.
National Health Service (Co-Funding and Co-Payment) Bill – 2nd reading
Introduces co-funding in the NHS (allowing patients to pay for part of their care), which is currently not permitted. Expands the limited forms of co-payment that already exist.
Principal Local Authorities (Grounds for Abolition) Bill – 2nd reading
Prevents principal local authorities from being abolished unless it’s approved by the majority of its councillors and a local referendum.
Coastal Path (Definition) Bill – 2nd reading
Changes the legal definition of a coastal path in England to exclude river estuaries, among other things.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Road Traffic Offenders (Surrender of Driving Licences etc) (No.2) Bill – 2nd reading
Allows drivers to accept a fixed penalty notice or conditional offer without having to hand over or post in their licence, among other things.
Social Justice Commission Bill – 2nd reading
Gives more resources and powers to the Social Mobility Commission (the government body which promotes social mobility). Appoints new members to replace those who have recently resigned. Gives the Commission a more proactive role, allowing it to explore issues that it identifies. Creates a unit in Downing Street to assess the social mobility implications of all government policy.
Parental Leave and Pay Arrangements (Publications) Bill – 2nd reading
Requires employers with more than 250 employees to publish information about parental leave, including pay.