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Decisions of the Petitions Committee Tuesday 3 March 2020

6 March 2020

This week, the Committee’s decisions included scheduling debates on free childcare, a public inquiry into Brexit and the EU referendum, animal sentience and caging farm animals.

The Committee considered all e-petitions which had reached over 100,000 signatures before the dissolution of the previous Parliament on 6 November 2019 but had not yet been debated, and those over 10,000 signatures which had received a Government response before the dissolution of the previous Parliament on 6 November 2019.     Petitions which met these criteria after this date will be considered at the Committee’s next meeting on Tuesday 10 March  

Petition debates

The Committee agreed to schedule debates on the following petitions:  

  1. Provide 15 hours free childcare to working parents for children over 9 months. The Committee decided to schedule a debate in Westminster Hall on the motion “That this House has considered e-petition 255237 relating to the provision of free childcare” on Monday 9 March from 4.30pm. Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Committee, will open the debate.
  2. Recognise animal sentience & require that animal welfare has full regard in law The Committee decided to schedule a debate in Westminster Hall on the motion “That this House has considered e-petition 242239 relating to the sentience and welfare of animals” on Monday 16 March from 4.30pm to 6.00pm. Kerry McCarthy MP, a member of the Committee, will open the debate.
  3. End the Cage Age: ban cages for all farmed animals. The Committee decided to schedule a debate in Westminster Hall on the motion “That this House has considered e-petition 243448 relating to the caging of farm animals” on Monday 16 March from 6.00pm, immediately after a debate on animal sentience.   Kerry McCarthy, a member of the Committee, will open the debate.
  4. To establish a Public Inquiry into the conduct of the 2016 EU Referendum. The Committee decided to schedule a debate in Westminster Hall on the motion “That this House has considered e-petitions 250178 and 241848 relating to the 2016 referendum on the UK's membership of the EU” on Monday 23 March from 4.30pm. This petition will be debated at the same time as “Halt Brexit For A Public Inquiry”. Martyn Day, a member of the Committee, will open the debate. 
  5. Halt Brexit For A Public Inquiry The Committee decided to schedule a debate in Westminster Hall on the motion “that this House has considered e-petitions 250178 and 241848 relating into a public inquiry into Brexit and the conduct of the 2016 EU Referendum” on Monday 23 March from 4.30pm. This petition will be debated at the same time as “To establish a Public Inquiry into the conduct of the 2016 EU Referendum.”. Martyn Day, a member of the Committee, will open the debate.
  6. Pet Theft Reform: Amend animal welfare law to make pet theft a specific offence. The Committee agreed to debate this petition. Details on a date, motion and lead member will be announced in due course.
  7. Ban Driven Grouse Shooting Wilful blindness is no longer an option The Committee agreed to debate this petition. Details on a date, motion and lead member will be announced in due course. 
  8. Hold online trolls accountable for their online abuse via their IP address The Committee agreed to debate this petition. Details on a date, motion and lead member will be announced in due course.
  9. The Air Ambulances to be government funded The Committee agreed to debate this petition. Details on a date, motion and lead member will be announced in due course.  

The Committee agreed to postpone decisions on the following petitions: 

  1. Ban fireworks for general sale to the public. The Petitions Committee conducted an inquiry into fireworks in the last Parliament and published its report on 5 November 2019. You can read the report and find out more about the inquiry here.  The new Petitions Committee agreed it would wait for the Government to provide its formal response to the Committee’s report before it schedules a debate on this petition.
  2. I request a full public inquiry into death of my son, Matthew Leahy. (20 yrs.) The Committee decided to undertake discussions with the petition creator and others before deciding what action to take on this petition.
  3. We want a Public Inquiry into the James Bulger murder case. The Committee is unable to schedule this petition for debate at present because there’s an active legal case that’s relevant to the petition. Parliament avoids talking about cases that are active in the UK courts because that could interfere with the legal process.  

The Committee agreed not to schedule debates on the following petitions:  

  1. Leave the EU Without a deal on April 12th. The Committee decided not to schedule a debate on this petition because the UK has now left the European Union.  
  2. Leave the EU with No Deal in October 2019 The Committee decided not to schedule a debate on this petition because the UK has now left the European Union.  
  3. Without a Deal make "Revoke Article 50" the default action. The Committee decided not to schedule a debate on this petition because the UK has now left the European Union.  
  4. British National (Overseas) Citizens should be given full British Citizenship. The Committee decided not to schedule a debate on this petition because it has recently been the subject of a separate debate in the House of Commons.  You can read the debate here or watch it here.    
  5. Laws to be introduced on social networks on hate preaching against religion(s) The Committee decided not to schedule a debate on this petition at this stage as it will be considering the issues it raises as part of ongoing work into tackling online abuse.  

Petitions with over 10,000 signatures which have received a government response

  1. Fund an NHS Lyme Disease Centre of Excellence The Committee decided to request a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.  
  2. Introduce a minimum sentence for carrying a knife, equal to carrying a firearm The Committee decided to request a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.  
  3. Make vet best practice measures mandatory & honour dual microchip registration The Committee decided to request a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.  
  4. Allergy provision in school: Introduce Statutory Allergy Care legislation The Committee decided to request a revised response, that is more sensitive to the circumstances of the petitioner.  
  5. Ban super trawlers from fishing in UK waters. The Committee decided to request a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.  
  6. Convert fossil fuel subsidies into subsidies for renewable energy The Committee decided to request a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.  
  7. Lower the cost of British Citizenship applications to £372. The Committee decided to request a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.  
  8. Ban peat compost. The Committee decided to request a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.  
  9. Stamp Out Tool Theft with the introduction of tighter regulation & greater fines The Committee noted the response.  
  10. Give British Citizenship to all EU citizens currently living in UK if no deal The Committee noted the response.  
  11. Stop IR35 roll-out in 2020 in private sector - due to uncertainty around Brexit The Committee noted the response.  
  12. Halt all efforts to introduce ID checks at polling stations The Committee noted the response.  
  13. Hold a referendum on whether to leave with the deal offered or remain in the EU The Committee noted the response.  
  14. Reduce foreign aid in favour of increasing pensions with immediate effect The Committee noted the response.  
  15. Revoke article 50 if the EU does not grant an extension past 31 October The Committee noted the response.  
  16. Do not reduce the voting age to 16, it must remain 18 years of age The Committee noted the response.  
  17. Scrap the right to vote in two separate constituencies at local elections The Committee noted the response.  
  18. Increase the penalty for developers and landowners who remove trees illegally. The Committee noted the response.  
  19. Provide Sirius minerals with full Loan Guarantee from HM treasury. The Committee noted the response.  
  20. Ban fireworks for general sale to the public. The Committee noted the response.  
  21. Ensure any Brexit deal protects the Touring Industry for Musicians and Crew. The Committee noted the response.  
  22. No to a "Peoples Vote"! The Committee noted the response.  
  23. Remain should not be on a second referendum ballot paper The Committee noted the response.  
  24. Parliament should stop a no -deal Brexit The Committee noted the response.  
  25. Make the cancer treatment drug, Avastin, available on the NHS The Committee noted the response.  

Public (paper) petitions with government responses

The following public (paper) petitions received a written response from the Government and were noted by the Committee.  

  1. Driving Test Centre in Dunfermline (presented by Douglas Chapman MP)
  2. Rail link to Fleetwood (presented by Cat Smith MP)
  3. Road Safety outside Wingate Primary School (presented by Phil Wilson MP)
  4. Windrush (presented by Dawn Butler MP)
  5. Dispute in Kashmir (presented by Alison Thewliss MP)
  6. Lizanne Zietsman, Isle of Arran (presented by Patricia Gibson MP)
  7. Reclassification of Ministers of Religion under Immigration Rules (presented by Paul Sweeney MP)
  8. Morrison's supermarket Shirley (presented by Julian Knight MP)
  9. University Hospital Monklands (presented by Hugh Gaffney MP)
  10. Dispute between HMRC and Roadchef Employees Benefit Trust (presented by Martyn Day MP)
  11. Insolvency of London Capital and Finance (presented by Martyn Day MP)
  12. Health and Social Care Tamworth George Bryan Centre (bagged petition)
  13. Frigate named HMS Cornwall (presented by Sarah Newton MP)
  14. Dispute in Kashmir (presented by Stella Creasy MP)
  15. Human Rights in Kashmir (presented by Holly Lynch MP)
  16. India in the Jammu and Kashmir Region (presented by Julie Cooper MP)
  17. Traffic situation in Strathaven and safe walking routes to school (presented by Dr Lisa Cameron MP)
  18. Gasification plant in Hillthorn Park, Washington (presented by Mrs Sharon Hodgson MP)
  19. Minerals quarry in Barford, Warwickshire (presented by Matt Western MP)

Image: Parliamentary copyright