Lord Lexden Portrait

Lord Lexden

Conservative - Life peer

Became Member: 23rd December 2010


1 APPG membership (as of 30 May 2024)
West Papua
Windsor Framework Sub-Committee
16th Jan 2024 - 30th May 2024
Education for 11–16 Year Olds Committee
31st Jan 2023 - 23rd Nov 2023
Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee)
10th Jul 2017 - 16th Sep 2021
EU Security and Justice Sub-Committee
23rd Apr 2020 - 31st Mar 2021
Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 Committee
13th Jun 2019 - 22nd Jun 2020
EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee
9th Sep 2019 - 23rd Apr 2020
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
19th Jul 2017 - 1st Jul 2019
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
17th Jun 2015 - 27th Apr 2017
Constitution Committee
16th May 2012 - 30th Mar 2015


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Lord Lexden has voted in 418 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

14 Dec 2021 - Charities Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Lexden voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Conservative Aye votes vs 80 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 18 Noes - 81
22 Feb 2022 - Procedure and Privileges Committee - View Vote Context
Lord Lexden voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 8 Conservative Aye votes vs 94 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 144 Noes - 133
16 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Lexden voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Conservative Aye votes vs 102 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 145 Noes - 179
View All Lord Lexden Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Baroness Barran (Conservative)
(52 debate interactions)
Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
(32 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(118 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(74 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023
(2,525 words contributed)
Schools Bill [HL] 2022-23
(1,525 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Lord Lexden's debates

Lords initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Lexden, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.


3 Bills introduced by Lord Lexden


A bill to make provision about direct planning pilot schemes; and for connected purposes.

Lords - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading : House Of Lords
Friday 20th November 2015

A Bill to amend the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 to make transfers between siblings exempt in certain circumstances

Lords - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Thursday 7th July 2022
(Read Debate)

A bill to amend the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 to make transfers between siblings exempt in certain circumstances

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 14th January 2020
(Read Debate)

Lord Lexden has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


Latest 50 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
13th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons for the increase in the size of the Privy Council in recent years.

Appointments to the Privy Council are made by His Majesty The King on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

Appointment to the Privy Council is for life. Those appointed comprise Ministers, other parliamentarians and members of the judiciary. Only serving Government ministers have a role in advising on Privy Council matters. Therefore the majority of Counsellors play no part in the Privy Council’s day-to-day business.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
13th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many special advisers were appointed to assist ministers on (1) 1 January 1997, (2) 1 January 1998, (3) 1 January 2010, (4) 1 January 2011, (5) 1 January 2016, and (6) 1 December 2022.

The data relating to 1997 and 1998 pre-dates the requirement of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (CRAG) for the Government to prepare an annual report on the numbers and costs of Special Advisers. Therefore, this information has been taken from data that is publicly available in Hansard [1]:

  • In the year 1997/8, Hansard reports that there were 70 Special Advisers employed in Government.

  • In the year 1998/9, Hansard reports that there were 72 Special Advisers employed in Government.

Since 2010, as per the requirements of CRAG, the Cabinet Office has published an annual report on Special Adviser numbers and costs. Therefore, the information requested in relation to 2010 - 2022 has been taken from the relevant report on Gov.uk:

  • In the Annual Report on Special Advisers published in 2010, there were 61 special advisers employed in Government as at 10 June 2010. [2]

  • In the Annual Report on Special Advisers published in 2011, there were 72 special advisers employed in Government as at 10 March 2011. [3]

  • In the Annual Report on Special Advisers published in 2016, there were 83 Special Advisers employed in Government as at 21 December 2016. [4]

  • Following the centralisation of all Special Advisers onto the Cabinet Office payroll in 2019, internal data is also available as at the requested date for 2022. As at 1 December 2022, there were 102 special advisers employed in Government.

[1] https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/1999-11-11/debates/a5ac908d-ba91-443b-81ee-0b3a84b75393/SpecialAdvisers

[2] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/62377/special-advisers-in-post-June-2010.pdf

[3] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/62374/spads-in-post100311_0.pdf

[4] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/579892/List_of_special_advisers_in_post_as_at_21_December_2016.pdf

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what was the size of the Privy Council on (1) 1 December 1992, and (2) 1 December 2022.

  1. The size of the Privy Council on 1 December 1992 was about 275.

  1. The size of the Privy Council on 1 December 2022 was 743.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what work they are undertaking under their Official History Programme; and when they intend to publish it.

Volumes 4 and 5 of the Official History of the Criminal Justice system and volume 2 of the Official History of the Joint Intelligence Committee will be published in due course.

Lord True
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
22nd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to bring forward legislation to provide for the rescinding of the peerage held by Lord Ahmed.

Nazir Ahmed retired from the House of Lords as a result of a complaint before the House of Lords Conduct Committee in 2020, which recommended he be expelled from the House. He is therefore no longer a member of the House of Lords, retains no privileges and may not return.

Whilst Peers may voluntarily stop using their titles, there is currently no formal mechanism for revoking their titles, which would require bespoke primary legislation. The Government currently has no plans to bring forward such legislation.

The Government is firmly committed to tackling all forms of child sexual abuse, whether it takes place online or in families, institutions or communities, here in this country or overseas.

Lord True
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
8th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the principal measures they have taken to strengthen the Union between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

The Government is committed to protecting and promoting the combined strengths of our Union, building on 300 years of partnership. As part of this, we work closely with the devolved administrations on a variety of different policy agendas, including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the review of intergovernmental relations.

Additionally, we are undertaking a review into Union connectivity to improve links between our four nations, and to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects.

It is our intention to publish Lord Dunlop’s review of Union Capability alongside the completion of the review into intergovernmental relations, to provide as full a picture as possible. We are already in the process of implementing Lord Dunlop’s recommendations and will provide a full update when the review is published.

Lord True
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
8th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the principal measures they have taken to strengthen the union between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

The Government is committed to protecting and promoting the combined strengths of our Union, building on 300 years of partnership. As part of this, we work closely with the devolved administrations on a variety of different policy agendas, including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the review of intergovernmental relations.

Additionally, we are undertaking a review into Union connectivity to improve links between our four nations, and to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects.

It is our intention to publish Lord Dunlop’s review of Union Capability alongside the completion of the review into intergovernmental relations, to provide as full a picture as possible. We are already in the process of implementing Lord Dunlop’s recommendations and will provide a full update when the review is published.

Lord True
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
8th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord True on 19 November 2020 (HL Deb, cols 1535–9), whether they are now in a position to publish the Dunlop Review into UK Government Union capability.

The Government is committed to protecting and promoting the combined strengths of our Union, building on 300 years of partnership. As part of this, we work closely with the devolved administrations on a variety of different policy agendas, including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the review of intergovernmental relations.

Additionally, we are undertaking a review into Union connectivity to improve links between our four nations, and to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects.

It is our intention to publish Lord Dunlop’s review of Union Capability alongside the completion of the review into intergovernmental relations, to provide as full a picture as possible. We are already in the process of implementing Lord Dunlop’s recommendations and will provide a full update when the review is published.

Lord True
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Dunlop Review of UK Government Union Capability will be published.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office stated to the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on 10 September, we will publish the Dunlop Review before the end of the year.

We are in the process of implementing many of Lord Dunlop’s recommendations and we will set out that work when we publish the report.

Lord True
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
20th Mar 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they have issued guidance to public institutions and universities concerning security arrangements for the protection of historic portraits of past statesmen.

The vandalism against the portrait of A.J. Balfour at Trinity College, Cambridge, last month is rightly being investigated as a criminal act by Cambridgeshire Police. The shoddy sense of history by those who perpetrated and promoted it is also a reminder of the importance of historic portraits in improving our awareness and understanding of the past.

The famous declaration made by Balfour as Foreign Secretary in November 1917 made clear that ‘nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country’. At the time Balfour issued it, the man who had painted his portrait three years earlier, Philip de László, was (despite having become a British citizen, with the former Prime Minister as one of his sponsors) interned, having been arrested on suspicion of treason on account of letters he had written to family members in Austria. As the historian Giles MacDonogh has noted, it appears ‘the fact that de László was born of Jewish parents had some bearing on the case’; his interrogation by Special Branch dwelt on his Jewish ancestry, and an unsympathetic biography included in the recommendation from MI5 to the Home Secretary that he be interned noted that de László was the ‘son of a Jew tailor’. In May 1919, his case was raised in a debate in Your Lordships’ House; the following month, it was brought before the Certificates of Naturalisation (Revocation) Committee, which took just fifteen minutes to throw it out and exonerate him.

It is thanks to portraits like this that such fascinating insights into our past can be gleaned.

I have spoken to the Vice-Master of Trinity College following the attack, and hope that this magnificent portrait can be swiftly repaired and shared with students and visitors to the college for many years to come.

18th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to scrutinise the record and policies of the United Arab Emirates on women’s rights and LGBT rights in the course of the review of the bid by Redbird IMI for acquisition of the Telegraph Media Group (TMG), in view of the potential impact of such an acquisition on journalists and employees at TMG.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport issued a Public Interest Intervention Notice on 30 November 2023 in relation to the anticipated acquisition of the Telegraph Media Group by RedBird IMI on the grounds of the need for accurate presentation of news, and free expression of opinion, in newspapers.

The Notice triggers a requirement for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to report to the Secretary of State on jurisdictional and competition matters, and for Ofcom to report on the specified media public interest considerations. Ofcom and the CMA have now both launched invitations for public comment, and will report to the Secretary of State on the issues specified in the Notice by midnight on 26 January 2024.

Ofcom will carry out such investigations as it considers appropriate. Exactly how it undertakes its role to report to the Secretary of State on the public interest is a matter for Ofcom.

11th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statement by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on 4 December (HCWS86) relating to the sale of the Telegraph Media Group (TMG), whether they plan to ensure that steps are not taken to integrate the business with any other enterprise; which organisation they have employed for this purpose; and whether they intend to provide information about the remuneration of the three independent Directors of TMG.

On 1 December 2023, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport made an Order under Schedule 7 to the Enterprise Act 2002 for the purpose of preventing pre-emptive action relating to the anticipated acquisition of the Telegraph Media Group by RedBird IMI.

This Order has been made to prevent actions by the parties to the merger which might prejudice the process or impede the Secretary of State’s ability to protect the public interest during the period in which the Public Interest Intervention Notice issued under the Order in relation to the proposed acquisition is in force. The Order prohibits the transferral of the ownership of the business without the Secretary of State’s prior written consent. It also requires the parties to ensure that steps are not taken to integrate the business with any other enterprise, to take action to ensure that no significant changes are made to the management and oversight of the business, and to do what is within their power to ensure that key editorial staff in the business are not removed or transferred without the Secretary of State’s prior written consent, or that they are at least encouraged to remain.

HM Government has not employed any organisation with regard to enforcing the terms of this order.

11th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, following the decision of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on 30 November to issue a Public Interest Intervention Notice regarding the proposed acquisition of the Telegraph Media Group (TMG), what steps are being taken to assess the views of individual employees of TMG and the Spectator Magazine as to the proposed purchase of the publications by Redbird IMI.

The Public Interest Intervention Notice only applies to the anticipated acquisition of Telegraph Media Group. The Notice triggers a requirement for the Competition and Markets Authority to report to the Secretary of State on jurisdictional and competition matters, and for Ofcom to report to her on the specified media public interest considerations. These are the need for accurate presentation of news, and free expression of opinion, in newspapers.

The legislation provides that Ofcom will carry out such investigations as it considers appropriate. Exactly how Ofcom undertakes its role to report to the Secretary of State on the public interest is a matter for Ofcom.

22nd Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the success of Festival UK 2022 will be assessed.

The evaluation of the UNBOXED programme (formerly known as Festival UK* 2022) is led and managed by the company Festival 2022 Ltd. Festival 2022 Ltd has commissioned KPMG (in collaboration with Sound Diplomacy) to oversee, project-manage, and lead the evaluation of UNBOXED.

As part of this evaluation, KPMG will consider seven major outcomes. These include the creation of engagement opportunities and shared experiences, increasing social cohesion across the four nations of the UK, and supporting international collaboration as well as enhancing our reputation abroad.

KPMG will evaluate each UNBOXED project against these outcomes. Preliminary findings from this evaluation will be published in early 2023.

17th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the papers of Sir Malcolm Arnold are preserved for future historical study.

The National Archives and the Ministry of Justice are currently liaising regarding records of the Office of the Public Guardian and the Chancery Division of the High Court which pertain to Sir Malcolm Arnold which are currently held by the Ministry of Justice. Whilst discussions are ongoing the records are secure within the custody of the Ministry of Justice and are not at imminent risk of destruction.

8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to issue formal guidance on the safe resumption of choral singing following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to ensure appropriate support and guidance is given to the cultural sector, DCMS has established the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Entertainment and Events working group which include extensive membership from artists and performers. Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister for Digital and Culture, has also held a roundtable with representatives from the choral sector to enable choral groups to feed in views to the development of guidance.


The Taskforce and Working Groups will be focusing on ensuring that COVID-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phasing ambitions and public health directions, building on the existing guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input. Full details of the Taskforce can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/culture-secretary-announces-cultural-renewal-taskforc,e and the Entertainment and Events Working Group can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/cultural-renewal-taskforce-and-supporting-working-groups#entertainment-and-events-members.

20th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the scope under existing law for levying VAT on the fees charged by independent schools with charitable status.

The government has no plans to make changes to the VAT regime for independent schools. The VAT regime does not treat school fees differently based on whether schools have charitable status or not. All school fees are exempt from VAT.

The government has made no assessment of the scope under existing law for levying VAT on the fees charged by independent schools with charitable status. Other organisations, including EDSK, Baines Cutler Consulting, and Oxford Economics have published their own assessments related to this issue.

It is also worth noting that in practice, VAT on school fees would be passed on to parents. Schools would be required to pay the difference between the VAT they have charged to parents and the VAT they have themselves paid to other businesses.

25th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 15 September 2020 (HL7666), how many school playing fields were sold in the years (1) 2020, and (2) 2021.

The number of school playing fields disposed of in 2020, either by way of sale or grant of a long lease was 21. The number of playing fields disposed of in 2021, either by way of sale or grant of a long lease was 14.

Further disposals that meet specific criteria can be made under a General Consent Order (GCO). GCOs can be used for transactions that represent no net loss of playing field land to the school estate or where the loss is temporary. Disposals made under a GCO are not published by the department and are not included in the figures above.

In instances of schools wishing to sell playing fields, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, requires applicants to demonstrate a sporting and/or playing benefit as part of any mitigation measures, and that any loss has been minimised both in quantum and quality of the land disposed of. No open school has been allowed to sell all its playing fields.

The Secretary of State for Education is keen to protect school playing fields. Schools are only able to sell or otherwise dispose of playing fields when they can demonstrate to the Secretary of State that they have explored all possible alternatives to the disposal, and that the disposal does not adversely impact upon the school’s curriculum.

The department periodically updates a playing field disposal list, accessible here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-land-decisions-about-disposals.

The next update to this will be in May 2022. The list was last updated in July 2021. The department is currently collating data for this update.

28th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Barran on 24 February (HL Deb col 340), what plans they have to involve independent schools in the National Tutoring Programme.

The National Tutoring Programme is delivered using high-quality tutoring organisations that have been selected against a robust set of criteria, including ‘safeguarding’, ‘understanding schools working and challenges’, and ‘excellence in delivery’, following applications from hundreds of organisations. Further information on these criteria is available here: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/tuition-partners/.

As well as working through established tutoring providers, the programme is happy to accept applications from other organisations, for example, associations of independent schools, who meet the necessary criteria.

Following feedback from schools, funding has also been provided directly to state-funded schools so that they can use their own staff for tutoring. Potential tutors are required to be qualified teachers or undertake bespoke training. Schools may engage tutors from their local networks, including from independent schools through new or pre-existing partnership arrangements.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Baroness Berridge on 21 June (HL Deb, col 14), what is the average annual cost of a place in a (1) children’s home, and (2) boarding school.

A summary of a project commissioned by the department to understand fees paid by local authorities for children’s homes in England was published in November 2020. It can be found at this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/analytical-associate-pool-summary-of-projects.

This reports a mean average fee for children’s homes of £3,962 per week.

The department does not collect data on the cost of boarding schools for children in care.

15th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what restrictions will apply to camps for schoolchildren this summer under COVID-19 regulations.

Since 17 May, all out of school settings, which includes youth residentials and summer camps, have been able to undertake residential visits for children. From 21 June, these settings have been able to do so in groups of 30 children, in line with the position for school residential visits. The Department has provided updated guidance on ‘Protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children’, which sets out how providers can conduct residential visits safely. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, in particular from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its subgroups, when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. Gathering in larger groups, including as part of residential visits, does increase the risk of transmission. COVID-19 spreads more easily indoors, especially over prolonged periods, for example in shared sleeping arrangements, which increases the risk of residential visits. The Department continues to keep these restrictions under constant review and will ensure they remain proportionate to the threat to public health posed by COVID-19.

It is important that education and childcare settings continue to be supported with appropriate guidance on safety measures. The Department remains committed to ensuring that schools and colleges can effectively manage risks, create an inherently safer environment, and that we can maximise face-to-face education wherever possible. As new evidence or data emerges, the Government will act accordingly to ensure that all settings have the right safety measures in place.

The advice on residential visits will be reviewed again in advance of Step 4.

3rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Berridge on 1 March (HL Deb, col 1002), how the education recovery schemes they are designing will operate; and what opportunities independent schools will have to contribute to any such schemes.

The government is committed to helping all children and young people make up learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This is why the government has invested £1.7 billion to give education settings support to help pupils get back on track, including additional funding, tutoring, early language support and summer schools. We will provide further guidance to schools on the operation of new education recovery programmes shortly.

In January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, committed to work with parents, teachers and pupils to develop a long-term plan to help pupils make up their learning over the course of this parliament. We have appointed Sir Kevan Collins as the Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on this broader plan. The objectives of the Education Recovery Commissioner, as outlined in the Terms of Reference, are to advise on the design and implementation of potential interventions that will help students catch up learning lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Education Recovery Commissioner will be expected to engage with a range of education experts and settings to improve implementation and refine proposals to improve the effectiveness of the delivery of outcomes.

Independent schools have been actively involved in cross-sector partnerships, forming impactful and mutually beneficial partnerships with state school colleagues across several areas including curriculum development, quality of teaching, school leadership, and other school improvement initiatives. Independent schools are also involved in the Broadening Educational Pathways programme aimed at increasing the support of the sector for vulnerable children. All of this is consistent with the department’s joint understanding with the Independent Schools Council, which outlines how independent schools can work in partnership with state schools to help raise attainment and, in particular, help pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. I would very much like to see this spirit of collaboration extended to our COVID-19 recovery efforts.

The terms of reference for the Education Recovery Commissioner is published here (and can be viewed in the attached document):

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/960070/Terms_of_reference.pdf#:~:text=Education%20Recovery%20Commissioner%3A%20role%20specification%20and%20terms%20of,approach%20for%20education%20recovery%2C%20with%20a%20particular%20focus.

17th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Independent Schools Council’s Partnership Week 2020.

We are delighted to celebrate the success of cross-sector partnerships and welcome the hard work that has gone into promoting this work across our country by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) and others such as the Schools Together Group.

The department continues to encourage and support new partnerships between independent and state-funded schools. In line with the department’s joint understanding with the ISC, we want to see more schools forming impactful and mutually beneficial collaborations across the areas of curriculum development, teaching quality, governance and leadership, and other targeted forms of school improvement.

As disruptive as COVID-19 has been, we hope that more schools will see the opportunity to work together to find solutions to common problems and to build a more collaborative system. Partnerships Week and other forms of promotion, such as the ISC’s recently published Celebrating Partnerships booklet, are key to ensuring that more schools hear about the good work already happening in this field and encourage more to join.

14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reciprocal benefits that independent schools and schools maintained by their local authority have derived from working together during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department continues to encourage and support new partnerships between independent and state-funded schools, in line with the department’s joint understanding with the Independent Schools Council. The department wants to see more schools forming impactful and mutually beneficial collaborations across the areas of curriculum development, teaching quality, governance and leadership, and other targeted forms of school improvement. As we move forward from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, we hope that more schools will see the opportunity to work together to find solutions to common problems and to build a more collaborative system.

9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of teachers recruited by maintained schools after participating in school-centred initial teacher training programmes in independent schools.

The information requested is not held centrally on the number of teachers recruited by maintained schools after participating in school-centred initial teacher training programmes in independent schools.
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to amend the terms of reference of the National Tutoring Programme so that independent schools can participate fully in it.

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), our delivery partner on the Tuition Partner strand of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), launched the funding criteria on 31 August. Organisations will be selected to become NTP Tuition Partners through an open competition. The process is set out on the EEF’s website, together with information on criteria and expectations of tuition partners: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/ntp-tuition-partners/for-tuition-partners.

EEF are seeking high quality tutoring organisations who can manage delivery in line with robust quality, capacity and evaluation requirements. As this is a competitive process, we have no plans to change those terms. However, as well as existing tutoring providers, EEF are happy to accept applications from other organisations, such as associations of independent schools, charities or universities, who are able to meet the necessary criteria. Applications will also be welcome from partnerships made up of a number of organisations with differing, but relevant experience.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many school playing fields have been sold in each year since 2010; and what steps they will take to reduce the number of applications for further sales being given consent by the Secretary of State for Education.

The department records and publishes details of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education’s consents for schools to dispose of areas of publicly funded playing field land. Disposals may take the form of freehold sales, long and short-term leases and grant of rights regarding access and use of land.

The definition of “playing field land”, as set out in the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSFA 1998), is “land in the open air which is provided for the purposes of physical education or recreation”. This is a wide definition and it does not matter if the land is not currently in use for sport or recreation or is not laid out for formal team games. Disposals of any size require consent so the listed transactions do not necessarily represent the loss of whole pitches, courts or playgrounds.

Year

Number of Secretary of State consents given to disposal of areas of playing field land

2001 – Apr 2010

242

May 2010 – Dec 2010

11

2011

9

2012

11

2013

37

2014

23

2015

22

2016

25

2017

49

2018

12

2019

11

2020 (up to July)

13

Undated

12

Under existing legislation, no-one may dispose of publicly funded playing field land without reference to the Secretary of State. The current departmental advice to local authorities, maintained schools, special schools, academies and free schools regarding disposal or change of use of playing field and school land (May 2015) clearly states that “all maintained schools and academies must provide suitable outdoor space to enable physical education in accordance with the school curriculum and to enable pupils to play outside” and that “there is a very strong policy presumption against the disposal of school playing field land”.

Further disposals that meet specific criteria can be made under a General Consent Order (GCO). Details can be found in Annexes E to H of the department’s current guidance: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/430705/Disposal_or_change_of_use_of_playing_field_and_school_land.pdf.

In summary, GCOs can be used for transactions that represent no net loss of playing field land to the school estate or where the loss is temporary. Disposals made under a general consent order are not published by the department and are not included in the figures above.

Examination of the decisions where the Secretary of State has given consent for the disposal of playing field land demonstrate that the majority of cases fall into two categories:

1) the disposal of land at closed school sites where these closures may be the result of school relocation, school merger or lack of demand for school places due to demographic changes. The Secretary of State will seek evidence that the site is no longer needed for the purpose of running a school, that pupils previously attending the closed school have access to equivalent or better sport and recreational facilities and that proceeds from the sale contribute to betterment of sporting and recreation facilities across the wider school estate; and

2) the disposal which results in the betterment of recreational and sports facilities at the school site e.g. where sports clubs or community groups fund investment in enhanced facilities, protect their investment by taking a lease from the school (which is a disposal of playing field land) and the facilities are subject to joint use agreements allowing the school to use the facilities during school operating hours and other users outside these hours.

There are a minority of instances where a disposal of playing field is required with little or no betterment in sporting or recreational facilities e.g. a boundary rectification; compulsory purchase; provision of sub stations or other utilities. In these instances, the Secretary of State requires applicants to demonstrate a benefit and that any loss has been minimised both in quantum and quality of the land disposed of.

The government therefore does not have any plans to change its policy position. The department does have plans to refresh the published guidance with respect to the application process which with reiterate the presumption against a loss.

20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to allow boarding houses at residential schools to provide accommodation for students to self-isolate to comply with COVID-19 public health advice; and whether, and if so, when they will issue guidance about this to residential schools.

Our latest guidance on isolation for residential educational settings is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings.

It contains advice on managing isolation for individuals or groups in the event that a child, young person or staff member in a residential setting either shows symptoms of COVID-19 or is confirmed as having the disease.

This guidance applies to mainstream boarding schools as well as to all other residential educational settings.

7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of section 63 of the Children and Families Act 2014 in ensuring that parents of children with special educational needs or a disability are able to choose an independent school if that is their wish.

Section 63 of the Children and Families Act (2014) sets out the local authority’s duty to pay fees for special educational provision where an institution, including an independent institution, is named in a final education, health and care (EHC) plan.

The process by which parents’ wishes are considered is, instead, set out within the ‘Special Educational Needs & Disabilities 0-25 Code of Practice’, attached, and under section 39 of the Children and Families Act (2014).

Chapter 9 in the ‘Special Educational Needs & Disabilities 0-25 Code of Practice’ sets out the duties of local authorities and the rights of parents regarding the naming of schools in EHC plans. When a local authority is finalising an EHC plan, parents can ask for a particular school to be named in the plan. This can be any maintained nursery school; maintained school; any form of academy or free school (mainstream or special); non-maintained special school; independent special school or independent specialist college, where they have been approved for this purpose by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, under section 41 of the Children and Families Act (2014). These schools are published in the section 41 list, which is available to all parents and young people.

The local authority must name the parent’s or young person’s choice of school in the EHC plan unless the school would be unsuitable for the child or young person’s age, ability, aptitude or special educational need or unless the child or young person’s attendance would be incompatible with the efficient education of others or the efficient use of resources.

The child’s parent or the young person may also make representations for places at independent schools, independent colleges or other post-16 providers that are not on the section 41 list. However, these schools are not obliged to admit children with EHC plans and local authorities are not under the same conditional duty to name these schools in EHC plans.

As at January 2019, there were 17,362 children and young people with EHC plans in independent schools. This figure represents 4.9% of all children and young people with an EHC plan.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to make bells or hooters mandatory on all bicycles and scooters being ridden on public highways.

Rule 66 of the Highway Code recommends that bells are fitted and used as necessary. All bicycles are required at point of sale to be “fitted with a bell which is of a category intended for use on bicycles”. The Regulations do not compel cyclists to keep a bell fitted to the bicycle after purchase. The Government has no plans to make bells for bicycles mandatory.

The Department for Transport is rapidly developing plans for e-scooter trials, having recently consulted on this. Electric scooters used in trials will be required to have a bell or horn.

8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Indonesia, if any, regarding the displacement of villagers in West Papua; and what response they received.

We are aware of reports of internal civilian displacement in the provinces of Papua and West Papua following recent violent clashes between separatists and Indonesian security forces. The UK fully respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia, including the provinces of Papua and West Papua. Within this framework, we strongly support the efforts of the Indonesian authorities and civil society to address the legitimate concerns of the people of Papua and West Papua provinces, including strengthening human rights protections, providing humanitarian assistance and ensuring that all Papuans benefit from the sustainable and equitable development of their province. We support the proposed visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to Papua and encourage both sides to agree on dates for a visit.

8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Indonesia in support of a visit to West Papua by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; and what response they have received.

We are aware of reports of internal civilian displacement in the provinces of Papua and West Papua following recent violent clashes between separatists and Indonesian security forces. The UK fully respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia, including the provinces of Papua and West Papua. Within this framework, we strongly support the efforts of the Indonesian authorities and civil society to address the legitimate concerns of the people of Papua and West Papua provinces, including strengthening human rights protections, providing humanitarian assistance and ensuring that all Papuans benefit from the sustainable and equitable development of their province. We support the proposed visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to Papua and encourage both sides to agree on dates for a visit.

7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which countries have yet to ratify Protocol 15 amending the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; and what reasons any such countries have given for the delay.

Of the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe, 46 have signed and ratified Protocol 15 amending the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Italy is the only Member State that has signed but not yet ratified the protocol. I understand that the Government of Italy has assured the Council of Europe that the parliamentary procedures required for ratification are currently in progress, and that a date for discussion of Protocol 15 at the plenary of the Senate will be decided in due course.

14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 13 October (HL8595), what was the reply given by the government of Indonesia to Heather Wheeler’s representations about West Papua at their meeting in January 2020.

We do not usually publish records of conversations - doing so may set a precedent whereby Her Majesty's Government is pressured to publish further conversations.

29th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Indonesia about police action in response to peaceful protests by students at Cendewasih University in West Papua.

We are aware of the protests by students on 28 September 2020 at Cenderawasih University in Papua. We have not raised this specific case with the Indonesian authorities, but we regularly press them to address legitimate human rights concerns, including upholding the right of peaceful protest. The former Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Heather Wheeler, raised Papua with the Indonesian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mahendra Siregar, during her visit to Jakarta in January 2020.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to remove the application of VAT to sales of audiobooks.

An extension of the zero rate of VAT has been introduced to provide consistency in approach between certain physical and digital publications.

Audiobooks are already taxed consistently at the standard rate in both physical and digital format.

There are no current plans to extend the VAT zero rate to audiobooks. However, the Government keeps all taxes under review, including VAT.

19th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with insurance companies about whether independent schools, particularly small independent schools, are able to obtain compensation for business interruption as a result of the COVID-19 emergency measures.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector about its contribution to handling this unprecedented situation. It is also working closely with these educational institutions to understand the financial implications of COVID-19 and to provide financial support where it is needed and is appropriate.

For those businesses and charities which have an appropriate policy that covers pandemics and unspecified notifiable diseases, including independent schools, the Government’s social distancing advice of both 16 and 20 March is sufficient to allow them to make a claim against their insurance, provided the other terms and conditions in their policy are met.

The FCA’s rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim, and appropriate information on its progress; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed.

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. However, most businesses and charities have not purchased insurance that covers losses from COVID-19.

The Government recognises that businesses and charities who do not have appropriate insurance cover will require support from elsewhere. As such, they should explore the full package of support set out by the Chancellor in the Budget, on 17 March, and on 20 March.

As the Chancellor announced on Tuesday 17 March, the Government will do whatever it takes to get our nation through the impacts of COVID-19.

15th Apr 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sharpe of Epsom on 11 April (HL3683), whether they intend to set a deadline for the completion of work by Home Office officials regarding a potential review by an independent lawyer of seven allegations against Sir Edward Heath left unresolved by Operation Conifer; and if not, why.

As Lord Lexden will appreciate, and as per my previous responses, my focus is on ensuring thorough consideration of the issues raised, which will be completed in due course.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Apr 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government how many major police operations have included in their reports a statement that a deceased person would have been interviewed under caution had they been alive.

The Home Office does not hold the data requested.

However, in the Home Office crime outcome statistics, outcome 12 is used to record investigations closed where a named suspect has been identified but is either too ill (physically or mentally) to prosecute, or is confirmed to have died either before the crime was reported to police or before enough evidence to charge could be obtained. In the 12 months to March 2023, the number of police investigations closed under outcome 12 in England and Wales was 18,335.

The crime outcome statistics cover all notifiable offences and do not distinguish between major and minor investigations. The statistics can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/crime-outcomes-in-england-and-wales-statistics.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Mar 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sharpe of Epsom on 26 March (HL3210), when they anticipate that officials will complete their work and that a decision will be taken by ministers.

As per my response on 26th March, I will return to the House in due course after receiving advice from officials on the considerations of whether the type of review of Operation Conifer the noble Lord and colleagues call for is necessary.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks of Lord Sharpe of Epsom on 11 March (HL Deb col 1806) when, and in what form, he will “report back” to the House about inquiries that are to be made by Home Office officials.

I will return to the House in due course after receiving advice from officials on the considerations of whether the type of review of Operation Conifer the noble Lord calls for is necessary, possible and/or viable.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether all police forces in England, including the Metropolitan Police, work with independent schools in implementing Operation Encompass, through which schools and police work together in safeguarding children at risk from domestic abuse.

Operation Encompass is currently active in all 43 police forces across England and Wales. Implemented on a voluntary basis by police forces, the scheme works by directly connecting the police with schools. When officers have attended a domestic abuse incident, police share the information with a school’s trained Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) before the start of the next school day, so that appropriate support can be given at the earliest possible opportunity.

Aligned with police forces’ operational independence, each police force operates the scheme differently, in terms of the notification pathway and which institutions receive notifications. Importantly, the scheme does not discriminate on what type of schools these notifications should be sent to.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Sharpe of Epsom on 17 January (HL Deb col 463), when and in what circumstances Mr Mike Veale, former chief constable for Wiltshire, agreed that the manner in which he publicised allegations against Sir Edward Heath was “inappropriate”.

The reference to Mr Veale agreeing that the manner in which he publicised allegations against Sir Edward Heath was “inappropriate” was paraphrased from articles in The Guardian newspaper on 5 October 2017.

The Guardian reported that ‘, the chief constable, Mike Veale, finally acknowledged it a mistake that tainted the investigation by implying the presumption of guilt’ and Veale apologised for an appeal for complainants to come forward being made outside Heath’s house in August 2015, which critics said would encourage false claims.’

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Sharpe of Epsom on 22 May (HL Deb cols 599–602), when the misconduct case against Mr Mike Veale is expected to conclude.

Arrangements concerning the establishment of Mike Veale’s misconduct hearing are a matter for the Cleveland PCC, and the management of the hearing itself is the responsibility of the appointed independent Legally Qualified Chair (LQC).


Whilst the Government is aware that Mr Veale has been referred to a hearing, misconduct proceedings are rightfully conducted independently of Government, meaning we do not hold information including any determined timescales for holding or concluding a specific misconduct hearing.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Apr 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Sharpe of Epsom on 22 February (HL5554) where he stated that “there are no provisions in legislation which entitle legally qualified chairs to remain anonymous” and 4 April (HL6681) where he stated that “Any decision concerning publication of an LQC’s name is a matter for the relevant PCC”, what discussions they have had with Police and Crime Commissioners about disclosing the names of legally qualified chairs.

Decisions concerning the publication of a Legally Qualified Chair’s (LQC) name are a matter for the relevant Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). These decisions are made independently of Government.


The Government has not held any specific conversations with PCCs regarding these decisions.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)