Prisoner voting rights: why they're important
21 June 2018 by Mairi Campbell-Jack
Quakers seek to engage with politicians across Britain, at the local, national and international level. We can help Quakers to understand more about the UK government in Westminster, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the European Parliament, and local councils.
Parliament is currently considering the European Union Withdrawal Bill, often referred to as the Great Repeal Bill. Many other political issues have been temporarily laid to one side while Parliament considers legislation around leaving the European Union.
Sally Hamwee, a member of the House of Lords, is sponsoring a Private Member's Bill on Refugees and Family Reunion. The debate will be held on 12 December 2017. If you are interested in the debate, or simply wish to offer thanks and support, please do email her at email@example.com.
The government is consulting on proposals for changes to gaming machines and social responsibilities measures. The deadline for responses is 23 January 2018. Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs (QAAD) has welcomed the consultation. QAAD and other faith-based organisations are campaigning on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (electronic casino-style roulette machines), arguing that the maximum stake must be radically reduced. QAAD has a news item on their main website (scroll down past the first section on what QAAD does).
An Immigration Bill is expected soon. We are likely to be asking for three things to be included in it: family reunion, clarification on right to work, and limits to detention.
Consultations and debate regarding the UK's human rights framework are expected within the next year. Some consultation has already taken place. The government's explanatory notes say that it will include measures to reform and modernise the UK human rights framework, which would "better protect against abuse of the system and misuse of human rights laws and would restore common sense to their application" and "be based on those set out in the European Convention on Human Rights, while also taking into account our common law tradition".
In 2016-17 Ruth Cadbury MP (Labour, Brentford & Isleworth) sponsored a Private Member's Bill on Peace Tax. Due to the end of that parliamentary year (as well as the election afterwards), the Bill ran out of time and was withdrawn. Please do contact Ruth to thank her for raising the issue.
Housing and Planning Act 2016: Download the Quaker briefing about the Housing and Planning Act (PDF) or read more about Quaker work on the Housing and Planning Act – Nov 2015 (PDF)
Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016: Download the Quaker briefing about the Welfare Reform and Work Act (PDF) or read more about Quaker work on the Welfare Reform and Work Act – Nov 2015 (PDF)
Immigration Act 2016: Download the Quaker briefing about the Immigration Act (PDF)
In 2017 we attended the Conservative, Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrat party political conferences.
If you have a question about Westminster, email Jessica Metheringham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Militarisation in schools: Quakers in Scotland have been working with Forces Watch and have submitted a petition on armed forces visits to schools to the Scottish Parliament. Find out more about our work on militarisation.
There is currently a Social Security Bill at Stage 1, which will make provision about social security following the devolution of further powers to the Scottish Parliament.
John Finnie MSP has secured the right to introduce the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) Bill. It received the support of 31 MSPs.
We expect a Member's Bill from Claudia Beamish MSP (Labour) on prohibiting fracking. There was previously a consultation on this proposed fracking Bill.
In early spring Parliament consulted on destitution and asylum seekers in Scotland. One submission was made jointly by Britain Yearly Meeting, General Meeting for Scotland, and the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network.
In 2017 we attended the Scottish National Party political conference.
If you have a question about the Scottish Parliament, email Mairi Campbell-Jack at email@example.com.
The Welsh Assembly is currently in Stage 1 of a Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) Bill. Consultation finishes in December 2017.
Housing is also an issue for the Welsh government at the moment. The Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights Bill is now in Stage 3, and expected to pass soon. The Regulation of Registered Social Landlords Bill is a technical piece of legislation which reclassifies social landlords, and is still in Stage 1.
The Welsh government is currently consulting on the National Development Framework, including on energy and the environment, the economy, communities, and equality.
In its Programme for Government the Welsh government committed to legislation "to protect local facilities, to prevent unnecessary closures and to help communities take ownership of community assets".
We expect legislation to stop landlords and estate agents from charging unfair, up-front fees to tenants and prospective tenants in the private rented sector.
Wales Act 2017: A piece of legislation in Westminster, which has now passed. Read the full text of the Wales Act.
The current MEPs will continue to sit in the European Parliament until the UK leaves in March 2019.
To find out more about what Quakers are doing at a European level, visit the Quaker Council for European Affairs (offsite link).
Many local councils across England elected some or all of their councillors on 5 May 2016. Local councils in Scotland and Wales will elect councillors in May 2017.
All local councils are different. In your area, you may be represented by more than one council. If you want to find out more, email Jessica Metheringham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is more information on elections on our special elections website; www.quakervote.org.uk.
For Westminster, Wales, local councils and the EU:
Parliamentary Engagement Officer
020 7664 1107
Scottish Parliamentary Engagement Officer
07419 991 246