This has been one of the most fraught and exciting parliamentary weeks many of us can remember. Not only was Theresa May's European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 defeated in the biggest Government defeat ever with 202 MPs in favour and 432 opposed, but the following day saw the first 'No Confidence in Her Majesty's Government' debate since 1993.
Despite the monumental defeat of Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement in the so-called 'Meaningful vote' her Government won the Confidence vote by 325 to 306.
Crucially her Confidence and Supply Agreement partners the DUP were onside for Wednesday's Commons vote. Without their 10 MPs supporting the Government, their leader Nigel Dodds pointed out the Government would have lost by one vote.
From a Liberal Democrat perspective several of our MPs contributed in the Withdrawal debate this week including Tim Farron and Ed Davey, Wera Hobhouse and Christine Jardine.
The party's 11 MPs all opposed the Withdrawal Act in the vote with former Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd voting with the Government. In the confidence motion all 11 MPs voted in favour of the No Confidence motion which Vince Cable was a signatory to along with other opposition party leaders. Stephen Lloyd also voted against the Government.
Former Energy Secretary, Lib Dem MP Ed Davey warned in the House of Commons of the risk to the UK nuclear energy sector after Japanese company Hitachi suspended the work on new nuclear power station at Wylfa in North Wales. Is this news Brexit related? Did Thersa May raise this issue when she met the Japanese PM last week? There is no real way of knowing but we have our suspicions.
Former Health Minister, the Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb was one of the sponsors of the Commons debate on Thursday afternoon on covering 'Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace'.
In the House of Lords as ever there were several insightful Lib Dem questions to ministers including those on:
- How long the longest serving person currently detained in an immigration removal centre has been held in detention,
- Reducing dental decay and gum disease in children,
- Increase in development rights following the government's consultation: 'Planning reform: Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes',
- Supporting citizens of EU countries who have been resident in the UK since before the UK joined the European Economic Community and finally and perhaps most importantly:
- Legislation necessary to enable a further referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.