Westminster Weekly (27 - 31 March 2017)

Friday 31-03-2017 - 17:05

Your weekly round-up of NUS' work in parliament.

Westminster this week:

Brexit underway

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister triggered article 50 and the UK has now formally begun the process of exiting the European Union. The following day, the Government published its ‘white paper’ on its plans for the Great Repeal Bill.

You can find the debate in the House of Commons on article 50 here; Theresa May’s letter to European Council President, Donald Tusk, here; and, the Great Repeal Bill white paper here.

Technical and Further Education Bill: House of Lords

The TFE Bill had its report stage in the House of Lords on Monday. The Lords made important amendments to the Bill – despite Government opposition – on financial support for apprentices and on careers education in colleges.

You can find NUS’s summary of this debate here and read the full debate here.

Prime Minister’s questions

Prior to giving her Article 50 statement, the Prime Minister answers MPs questions. Amongst these were questions regarding the role of technical education in closing the productivity gap and international student policy.

Select Committee report on apprenticeships

The Education, Skills and the Economy Sub-Committee (a joint committee of the BEIS Select Committee and Education Committee) published its report on apprenticeships this week. NUS gave oral evidence to this Committee’s inquiry in June 2016. The report raised concerns about government apprenticeship policy. You can read more here.

Bus Services Bill: House of Commons

MPs continued to debate the Bus Services Bill this week. The Bill had its report stage and third reading in the House of Commons and will now return to the House of Lords for its ‘ping pong’ stage. Amongst the issues debated by MPs were travel costs for students and young people. You can read the full debate here.

NUS in Parliament:

NUS ran a successful event in parliament in our role as organisers for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Students. This APPG is a cross-party, informal group of MPs and peers that care about students. This week’s event examined the decline in numbers of part-time and mature students and heard from speakers from HESA, the Open University Student Association and Birkbeck Students’ Union. The event was attended by Paul Blomfield MP (Labour), Alison Thewliss MP (SNP), Ben Howlett MP (Conservatives) and Lilian Greenwood MP (Labour), as well as many students and sector representatives.

During the debate on the Bus Services Bill, John Pugh MP (Lib Dem) quoted NUS research into travel costs for further education students.

NUS representatives continued to hold private meetings with MPs and peers related to the Higher Education and Research Bill, the TEF, the APPG on Students and NUS’s upcoming work.

NUS representatives attended an event held by the APPG on a Better Brexit for Young People. The event was attended by Stephen Kinnock MP (Labour) and Anna Soubry MP (Conservatives). 

What’s coming up?


  • As of next Friday, both Houses of Parliament will be in recess. The Commons will return on Tuesday18 April; the Lords will return on the Monday 24 April (as they broke up later).
  • Next week, the House of Lords will be having its third reading of the Technical and Further Education Bill and also the Higher Education and Research Bill.
  • Both Houses will also have a chance to debate this year’s inflationary rise in HE tuition fees (separate to the HE Bill): the Lords debate a motion to regret next week; the Commons debate a motion to pray against on Wednesday 18 April.



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