Friday 27-01-2017 - 14:04
Your weekly round-up of NUS' work in parliament.
Westminster this week:
Brexit: Supreme Court decision, Bill and White Paper
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled with an 8-3 majority that parliament must have a vote on triggering Article 50 and consequently starting the Brexit process. Theresa May announced on Wednesday that the government will set out its Brexit plans in a “White Paper”, although she has not indicated when this will be published.
A Bill was published by government on Thursday that will allow Theresa May to trigger the Brexit process. The Bill consists of just eight lines, and will have its second reading debates on 31st of January and 1st February next week, followed by three remaining days of debates the following week before moving to the House of Lords. A White Paper will still be published, supplementing the brief contents of the Bill.
Higher Education and Research Bill: House of Lords
The HE Bill had further sessions in Committee Stage in the House of Lords this week. Issues including student loan repayment terms, HE access for asylum seekers, and probationary Degree Awarding Powers were discussed in detail. You can read the debates here.
Home Office: Departmental questions
The Home Office was questioned in parliament on its work; topics discussed included the department’s approach to international students. You can read the questions and answers in full here.
Education Select Committee: Brexit and HE inquiry
The Education Select Committee held an oral evidence session on Wednesday as part of its inquiry into the impact that Brexit will have on the higher education sector. You can watch the session here.
Debate: Sex and relationship education
On Monday, MPs debated the importance of providing sex and relationship education in schools. You can read the debate here.
Voter registration questions
Peers in the House of Lords questioned the government on actions taken to increase voter registration, including of young people and students. You can read the debate here.
NUS in Parliament:
Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice President (Higher Education), gave evidence to the Education Select Committee on Wednesday for their inquiry into the impact of Brexit on Higher Education. Sorana’s evidence included points about the need for clarity for EU students in the UK, the benefits that international students bring to the UK, and the importance of removing international students from the government’s net migration figures. You can read more about this, and watch videos from the session here.
Robbiie Young, NUS Vice President (Society and Citizenship), attended a roundtable at the Cabinet Office convened by Constitution Minister, Chris Skidmore MP. The roundtable was held to discuss how to better improve voter registration amongst students. Robbie discussed the massive opportunity that integrating voter registration with course enrolment presents and argued that this should be put in the Higher Education Bill.
NUS representatives attended the inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on ‘a better Brexit for young people’. This APPG has been established as a cross-party group for MPs, peers and youth-led organisations to discuss young people’s priorities in the upcoming EU negotiations.
NUS was referred to during debates on the Higher Education and Research Bill in the House of Lords this week. When discussing an amendment on tackling cheating services, Baroness Goldie – speaking on behalf of the government – responded by promising to make an announcement of a new initiative, working with NUS and other organisations, to tackle the problem. She said that a formal announcement would be made in the coming weeks.
What’s coming up?
- The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill will enter the House of Commons next week, with debates on Tuesday on 31st of January and 1st February next week, followed by three remaining days of debates the following week.
- The Higher Education and Research Bill will have its final day of committee stage in the House of Lords on Monday, when the section of the Bill focused on research will be debated.
- The Technical and Further Education Bill will have its first debate in the House of Lords (called 2nd reading) on Wednesday 1st February. Peers will debate and vote on the general principles of the Bill.