Voted on the Lords’ amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill – when the Bill returned to the Commons this week, the Lords had laid down 15 amendments. Whilst I supported the Government’s view on the majority of these amendments, for some time I have been in dialogue with Ministers about membership of the EEA and a customs union. As the former is better addressed as part of the Customs and Trade Bills when they return to the Commons next month, I abstained from voting on the EEA amendment. It was subsequently rejected by 327 votes to 126.
I did, however co-sign Sir Oliver Letwin’s compromise amendment to the Bill which would require the Government to agree a customs arrangement with the EU. The Government subsequently supported this amendment and it was passed. This is an important concession by Ministers and it will mean that, for the first time, customs will be mentioned on the face of the Bill. I now intend to follow this up in the Customs and Trade Bills.
Attended the APPG for Rural Business and Country Land and Business Association reception – this event was an opportunity to celebrate the contribution that rural businesses make to the economy. I was pleased to meet a local resident and hear more about his business.
Wrote to the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, about the Index of Exempted Dogs (IED) – following my debate last year which called for effective legislation and guidance to help tackle dog on dog attacks, this week I wrote to the Minister to ask whether the IED can be made available to local authorities as well as police forces to ensure that they can carry out the necessary checks to confirm that a specific dog is registered.
Attended an APPG on Responsible Tax event – this event was an opportunity for MPs and industry to discuss the ways in which tax matters for equality between women and men in the UK and around the world.
Launched the Women in Finance Report – it is so important that we encourage more women to take up roles in the finance industry and the Treasury Select Committee has held an inquiry which sought to identify the barriers to women entering and progressing in the financial services industry. This week, as Chair, we launched our report which called for reform of bonus negotiations and the promotion of flexible working to abolish ‘alpha-male’ culture in finance and encourage progression of women to senior levels. A copy of the report can be found here.
Chaired Treasury Select Committee evidence sessions on the work of the Financial Conduct Authority and the Valuation Office Agency – if you would like to watch these sessions, you can do so here. More information about these inquiries and the work of the committee can be found here.