Monday 31 January 2011

New Initiative to Open up the Lords

This announcement appears on the Parliamentary website -

You’ll be able to have your say in a debate taking place in the House of Lords this Thursday through a new online initiative with the BBC Have Your Say website where your views will be fed directly to Members taking part.

BBC Have Your Say: Lords Debate: The value of good parenting?

The initiative aims to provide a new and accessible way for people to engage with the House of Lords and share their views on issues that concern them. It also gives Members of the Lords the opportunity to gain insights from a wider audience to inform their work.

You’ll be able to share your views on the role of good early parenting in preparing a child for success in school – which will be debated in the House of Lords next week – by posting your comments to a forum hosted by the BBC.

You’ll also be able to talk to Lord Northbourne firsthand, who proposed and will open and close the Lords debate, by taking part in a live web chat on Tuesday 1 February.

A summary of your comments will be forwarded to the Members of the Lords taking part in the debate before it takes place to help inform them of related issues affecting everyday lives. You can also post comments during the debate and watch it live on Parliament TV, as well as BBC Democracy Live. The debate will take place in the House of Lords on Thursday 3 February.

Lord Northbourne, a Crossbench Member who speaks regularly in the House of Lords about education and children, will focus on how an important minority of the nation’s children are today failing to achieve their potential in school. He will outline several strategies which could help and support disadvantaged parents in their parenting.

Other Members scheduled to take part in the debate include:

Baroness Crawley (Labour), a former teacher and youth theatre leader
The Bishop of Oxford, who will be making his maiden speech
Lord Hill of Oareford (Conservative), Schools Minister at the Department for Education
Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench), a former primary school teacher and university professor
Baroness Benjamin (Liberal Democrat), former children’s television presenter
Baroness Hollins (Crossbench), expert in learning difficulties
Baroness Howe of Idlicote (Crossbench), former chair of the Inner London Juvenile Court
Baroness Stowell of Beeston (Conservative), who will be making her maiden speech
Baroness Sharp of Guildford (Liberal Democrat), Governor for a Guildford primary school
Baroness Massey of Darwen (Labour), a former French and English teacher who also ran a community playgroup for seven years
Baroness Walmsley (Liberal Democrat), a former teacher and ambassador for the NSPCC

Further information

The debate on the role of good early parenting in preparing a child for success in school is scheduled to take place on Thursday 3 February, following short introduction ceremonies and oral questions. It is due to run for approximately 2.5 hours.

Watch the debate live on Parliament TV (Thursday 3 February, from approx 11.45am)
Lords Hansard: Read a transcript of the debate from Today in the Lords (available 3 hours after debate starts)

House of Lords debates

Debates on specific issues of public policy account for nearly one third of business in the House of Lords chamber and are an opportunity to discuss important topical issues and draw the government’s attention to concerns and questions.

Members have a correspondingly wide range of professional expertise and specialist knowledge to underpin the arguments they deploy in the debates and, in this way, the debates can play an important role in shaping future policy and laws.

Members of the public can attend House of Lords debates and follow proceedings from the public gallery.