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This Week in Westminster: Friday 16 April

Kerri Prince, BASW Public and Political Affairs Lead, provides an update from Westminster

Members of Parliament were summoned back to Parliament on Monday – a day earlier than planned because of Easter recess – to make speeches about the death of Prince Philip. Parliament then returned to its scheduled as planned from Tuesday,

Whilst Parliament is still operating with virtual proceedings and you may be used to seeing few MPs in the House of Commons chamber, many MPs have hit the streets to campaign for their candidates ahead of the elections taking place on May 6th in England, Wales, and Scotland. There is also a parliamentary by-election taking place in Hartlepool to replace Mike Hill who resigned as the MP there last month. This is one of the most interesting seats to have a by-election because of the political complexities. It was the first Council to be controlled by Brexit party Councillors, and was seen as a target seat by the Brexit Party at the 2019 election – but was narrowly won by Labour’s incumbent MP Mike Hill. It is argued that this win was only because the Brexit Party soaked up support from those who might have otherwise voted Conservative, and the vote was split, letting Labour sail through the middle.

Now there is a by-election whilst we are still in a pandemic, with activists from all parties being hesitant to go to Hartlepool and knock on doors to encourage people to vote a certain way. This is definitely a result to watch, with predictions of who will win the seat being split across political commentators. It is widely viewed to be between Labour’s Paul Williams, former MP for Stockton South, and the Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer. Once the results are in for the by-election and the Mayoral, Police and Crime Commissioner, and Council elections happening in England, I’ll look at what this means for politics.

Local Elections: 6 May 2021

As part of our campaigning during an election period, we have contacted the candidates representing the 4 main parties, who are standing for Mayor of a combined authority, Mayor of London, Mayor of Greater Manchester, and Mayor of Liverpool City Region. We provided them with a number of questions about their candidacy, and responses have started to trickle in, which are now available to read.

The Domestic Abuse Bill returned to the House of Commons this week to consider the House of Lords amendments. As is often the case with Government Bills, the Commons have disagreed with the Lords amendments and removed them from the Bill. Now it returns to the House of Lords for the continuation of this ‘ping-pong’ stage. In case you missed it, BASW England released new Domestic Abuse guidance for social workers and this will be reviewed as legislation changes in the future.

Immigration Reform: Have your say

The Government have released their proposals for immigration reform, and given stakeholders just six weeks to respond. Today we have launched a survey for BASW members to respond to, feeding in their views to our organisational submission. You can give your views on the proposals.

BASW campaign for amendment to Police, Crime & Sentencing Bill

The Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill will have its Committee Stage in May, and BASW is campaigning for social workers to be added to the list of professions that it is an additional offence to assault. Current professions it already applies to include prison officers and workers in the emergency services.

Support the campaign by signing the petition

As always, if you have any questions about our parliamentary and political activity, you can contact me at Kerri.Prince@basw.co.uk