This week in Westminster

28 Jan 2019

The past week in Westminster has been dominated by discussion about the next crucial Brexit votes which will take place on Tuesday 29th January. Senior MPs from both sides of the House have tabled amendments to the Government motion. This puts incredible pressure on the Commons Speaker John Bercow who takes advice and ultimately decides which amendments should be debated and voted on and which should not. 

Various amendments cover issues like removing the 'no deal' option, extending the Article 50 process or trying to resolve the Irish backstop situation. It remains to be seen if the DUP MPs are now back on side and ready to vote for Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement subject to achieving improvements to the backstop. 

Norman LambLib Dem MP and Science and Technology Committee Chair Norman Lamb who represents Leave voting North Norfolk has written here about why he is a signatory of the Yvette Cooper amendment to seek an extension of Article 50 for a short period of a few months if parliament cannot agree a deal by the end of February. 

Following her most recent Statement in the House of Commons on Monday 21st January to update MPs on next steps, Lib Dem leader Vince Cable asked Theresa May about reports that 3,500 military personnel are now on Brexit standby.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson MP was granted an Urgent Question in the Commons about proxy voting for MPs on baby leave, and why after repeated debate and discussion this has still not been introduced yet? It followed the story the previous week of a Labour MP (Tulip Siddiq) delayed her cesarean by two days to enable her to take part in votes, having rejected the informal 'pairing' system offered to absent or unwell MPs. Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom confirmed that a motion on proxy voting would now be debated and voted on by MPs on Monday 28th January. If passed it should be in place the following day and will apply to those MPs not in Westminster due to maternity or paternity leave.

In the House of Lords, Lib Dem Transport spokesperson Baroness Randerson asked a question calling for 'New regulations on the use of drones'. Other Lib Dem peers asked about Improving rail service reliability, Ensuring a sufficient supply of insulin when the UK leaves the EU and the situation in Venezuela. Lib Dem peers also led two debates on local government funding and on threats presented by climate change.

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