Human Rights in the Commonwealth

On March 22, the Lords debated the government’s plans for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to be held in London in April.

Free school meals

Controversy has arisen over the impact of the new streamlined welfare payment, universal credit, on the provision of free school meals. Critics say that the number of children in poor families getting a good free meal at school will drop sharply.

Continuing deadlock in Northern Ireland

Another round of talks about the resumption of devolved government in Northern Ireland collapsed on 14 February.

A few days later a document, setting out the terms of a possible agreement, was leaked to a Northern Ireland journalist.

The Suffragists' victory

On 5 February, the Lords held an important debate to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918 which gave the vote to a limited number of women for the first time.

Boarding schools - a lifeline for children without family homes

All the statistics show that children in care trail behind other pupils in academic and other qualifications for the world of work. Some, but by no means all, thrive in boarding schools, which are to be found in the state as well as in the independent sector.

If cats and dogs could vote

On 7 December, the Lords debated the natural environment and animal welfare. Alistair Lexden spoke about domestic pets. What, he asked, would they want to see in a Conservative election manifesto if they were able to vote?

Follow the link to read his speech… theyworkforyou

Devolution and Whitehall

Very sketchy and inadequate arrangements have been made to keep the three devolved governments in close touch with the UK government. Formal meetings are rare and little information is made available about what happens at them. The machinery exists, but it is not being used properly.

"Phantoms of hope" for devolution in Northern Ireland

On 14 November, the Lords passed the Northern Ireland Budget Bill, an emergency measure to provide funds for public services in the Province. The Bill was made necessary by the failure of talks to restore Northern Ireland’s devolved government, which collapsed in January.

Seeking justice for IRA victims

On October 27, the Lords gave a Second Reading to a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Lord (Reg) Empey, former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.