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This Week in Westminster

Kerri Prince, Public and Political Affairs Lead for BASW UK, provides members with an update from Westminster.

Focus on UK politics has been split this week, with many people instead spending the last few days anxiously following the US election results, where it looks like Joe Biden is set to beat Donald Trump. It seems voter turnout has soared in the election with both parties galvanizing their bases, and many people outraged at Trump’s rhetoric and behaviour on issues from child immigrants being separated from their parents to his failure to speak out against racism, will be hopeful that come Inauguration Day, it will be President Biden. 

Whilst the US is geographically 4000 miles away from the UK, who they elect as their President impacts the world. The ‘special relationship’ between 10 Downing Street and The White House will continue in some form, and as the two countries negotiate trade deals their politics and attitude to partnership will come into play.

Much closer to home, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a statement in the House of Commons about the lockdown that we are now in for four weeks, and has indicated that it is very much his intention that this will not be extended. A compromise to only have 4 weeks locked down, followed by weeks where people are encouraged to spend their money on the high street may be what has kept other senior Conservatives on board with the Prime Minister’s plan.

On Wednesday, the Immigration Bill once again returned to the Commons for MPs to hear the Lords amendments on family reunion and unaccompanied child asylum seekers, which the Government succeeding in removing from the legislation. Ping pong now resumes with the House of Lords considering amendments on Monday. I predict that this will be the last session and expect the Lords to pass the legislation, moving in onto the next stage of Royal Assent.

Labour Leader Keir Starmer used Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday to raise the issue of visitation to care homes, calling on the Prime Minister to facilitate a way for loved ones to meet with their family members who live in care homes in light of the negative impact on mental health and wellbeing that isolation and loneliness will be having on so many people. The Government have released further guidance about care home visitation, and you can read BASW England’s response here.

BASW England and Wales have launched its professional visitor campaign, and the public and political affairs team round off the week with a meeting with Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel about how we can ensure social workers have access to health and care settings to support the people that they are supposed to be caring for and safeguarding.

Politics continues at a fast rate, and any major changes will be communicated as we hear it. I’ll provide a Westminster update every week, keeping members informed of the key goings on in the Houses of Parliament and beyond.