Kate writes a bi-weekly column for the Burton Mail. This column was originally featured in the 6th May print edition.
Last week in Westminster the traditional ceremony called the Prorogation of Parliament took place. This is a rather eccentric event where the Lords dress up, put on funny shaped hats and speak to each another in old Norman French. However, there is a serious side to all this and it plays an important function in our democracy and in the creation of laws that govern our country. The Prorogation of Parliament marks the end of one parliamentary session in which all remaining Bills which are to become Acts of Law are finalised.
This year has seen the enacting of some very important pieces of landmark legislation. Firstly, the Domestic Abuse Bill will provide greater protection for victims of this abhorrent crime and punish offenders. I am proud to have worked closely alongside other female parliamentary colleagues and the Home Office Minister, Victoria Atkins, to have helped shape this critical piece of legislation and ensured that all victims of domestic abuse are better protected going forward.
The Government has also delivered a new Trade Bill, the first of its kind since we joined the EU over 40 years ago, and helps the UK secure its new trade deals with 67 countries, plus the EU, worth almost £900 billion. In addition to this the new National Security and Investment Bill will create new powers to intervene if required into a potentially hostile foreign direct investment of British business.
It is also worth highlighting the new Animal Welfare Sentencing Bill which gives longer prison sentences for those who abuse animals. This will mean the UK now has some of the toughest sanctions against animals abuses in Europe and strengthens the UK as a global leader on animal welfare.
Next week will see the new parliamentary session begin with the State Opening of Parliament. This is when The Queen visits Westminster and reads out the Government’s legislative agenda for the session ahead. I am looking forward to working on scrutinising further new ambitious proposals from Government that focus on our recovery from Coronavirus, building back better and doubling down on the levelling up agenda.