The Midsomer Norton & Radstock Journal, 1st September 2021
As Leader of the House of Commons, one of my primary responsibilities is the Government’s Legislative Programme. This means working alongside the Government Whips to ensure that Bills put forward by the Government pass successfully through Parliament, gain Royal Assent and become law. This can range from a straightforward exercise to an extremely challenging one, depending on the amount of support for a Bill and the size of the Government’s majority. For most Bills, amendments will be submitted by Members of Parliament seeking to improve or alter the Bill. Sometimes the Government will accept these amendments and they will become part of the Bill.
Of the Bills currently in Parliament, it is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which has attracted most correspondence from my constituents. This Bill has completed its passage through the House of Commons and has its second reading in the House of Lords on 14th September. There are many measures in this Bill that I hope almost all of my constituents would support, for instance the increase in sentences for assaults against emergency service workers and changes to sexual offences law to tackle abusive adults in positions of trust. However, the section on public protest has proved controversial, partly because of inaccurate portrayals of the Bill on social media. Fundamentally, the right to protest peacefully is an important part of freedom of speech and there is no intention in this Bill to stop people protesting or to limit their democratic rights. It is the extremely disruptive actions taken by groups such as Extinction Rebellion that the Bill aims to regulate.
Another Bill which has concerned my constituents is the Nationality and Borders Bill, which will implement the Government’s New Plan for Immigration. The principles behind this Bill are simple. Access to the UK’s asylum system should be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers. Illegal immigration should be prevented and those with no right to be in the UK should be removed. However, those in genuine need, such as those who have recently been brought here from Afghanistan, will be protected.
Other Bills currently in Parliament include the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill, which will repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act; and the Building Safety Bill, which takes forward the Government’s commitment to fundamental reform of the building safety system. In addition, Bills shortly to start their journey towards becoming law include those which will prohibit the export of live animals for slaughter and address the issue of puppy smuggling; and the Elections Bill, which will strengthen the integrity of the electoral process. You can find out more about these and all the other current Bills at https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/. There is certainly much to keep me busy throughout the coming months.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance: firstname.lastname@example.org.