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Housing Bill receives royal assent as parliamentary session comes to a close

Week in Westminster

Published: 13 May 2016 | Author: Michelle Vosper

The Housing and Planning Bill received royal assent on 12 May. Following its rejection in the Commons for the second time this week, Lord Kerslake reluctantly withdrew his amendment to the starter homes proposals that would have allowed local authorities more freedom to decide what form of affordable housing to provide.

And after defeating the government in yet another vote on an amendment to ensure councils have enough money from high value sales to replace social housing, the cross-bench peer eventually relented on Wednesday and agreed to withdraw it. Lord Kerslake concluded by saying:

“Any contest between this House and the other place will be an unequal one. That is as it should be: it is elected and we are not. However, that should not dissuade us from making our case clearly and forcefully on issues that really matter…The underlying concerns about this Bill have been about its fairness, its commitment to localism and its deliverability. Most of all it has been about whether it will deliver the additional houses of all types and tenures that this country so desperately needs.…It is now clear that some manifesto commitments come ahead of others. In the competing demands of funding the extension of right to buy and funding the one-for-one replacement—both manifesto commitments —replacement will come a very clear second.

Parliament has now prorogued in advance of the Queen’s speech on 18 May which marks the start of the 2016/17 parliamentary session.

Just in case you missed it, here is a quick run down of the results of last week’s elections and the stories so far...

  • Sadiq Khan was elected mayor of London with 56.8% of the vote. He announced that re-elected Labour AM Joanne McCartney would serve as his deputy mayor. No other appointments have as yet been formally confirmed.
  • The election to the London Assembly saw Labour win 12 seats out of the 25. The Conservatives secured eight seats, whilst the Green Party and UKIP each secured two. The LibDems lost a seat, leaving them with one.
  • The SNP were the largest party in the Scottish Parliament election, but fell short of an overall majority. Party leader Nicola Sturgeon indicated her intention to form a minority government with her 63 MSPs. She is expected to reshuffle her ministerial team after re-election as first minister on 19 May. Meanwhile, the Scottish Conservatives saw gains that placed them as the second largest party with 31 MSPs. Scottish Labour have 24 MSPs, Scottish Green increased its number of seats to seven and the Scottish LibDems secured five.
  • Welsh Labour finished at the largest party in the Welsh Assembly election with 29 out of 60 seats. Plaid Cymru finished second with 12 AMs, the Welsh Conservatives came third with 11 AMs, while UKIP had a breakthrough and secured seven AMs. The election of the new first minister saw the incumbent Carwyn Jones fail to secure re-election. Plaid Cymru’s Leane Wood secured the backing of the Conservatives and UKIP to tie the vote 29 to 29. If deadlock over the result cannot be broken within 28 days, a new set of Assembly elections can be called.
  • The Northern Ireland Assembly election saw the DUP elected the largest party with 38 seats. As such Arlene Foster looks set to continue as first minister. Sinn Fein came second with 28 seats, the UUP have 16 seats, the SDLP have 12 seats, the Alliance Party have 8 seats, and the remaining seats consist of the Green Party, the People Before Profit Alliance, TUV and an independent. Negotiations over a programme for government for the new Northern Ireland Executive were expected to begin at Stormont this week. The smaller parties say they will base decisions on whether or not to go into opposition on the outcome of the talks. Parties have been given two weeks to agree a programme for government. Once that has been agreed, an executive will then be formed.

If you would like to look back at the pledges of the main parties in each of the elections, they are available here.