Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

Labour - Life peer

Became Member: 19th April 2000

Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

(since April 2020)

Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

(since May 2021)

1 APPG membership (as of 8 Apr 2024)
Issues Affecting Men and Boys
3 Former APPG memberships
Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Drugs, Alcohol and Justice, Taxation
Arbitration Bill [HL] Special Public Bill Committee
24th Jan 2024 - 27th Mar 2024
Charities Bill [HL] Special Public Bill Committee
22nd Jul 2021 - 18th Nov 2021
Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (Joint)
6th Mar 2019 - 14th Jun 2019
Constitution Committee
28th Jun 2001 - 7th Nov 2002
Hereditary Peer
26th Jun 1991 - 11th Nov 1999
Science and Technology Committee (Lords)
8th Dec 1998 - 11th Nov 1999


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede has voted in 405 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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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
Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
(102 debate interactions)
Lord Bellamy (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
(80 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Home Office
(253 debate contributions)
Ministry of Justice
(228 debate contributions)
Scotland Office
(60 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(26 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Victims and Prisoners Bill 2022-23
(16,201 words contributed)
Judicial Review and Courts Act 2022
(10,441 words contributed)
Illegal Migration Act 2023
(7,480 words contributed)
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View all Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede's debates

Lords initiatives

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


Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


Latest 16 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
29th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bellamy on 8 March (HL5707), what assessment they have made of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory report What do we know about children and young people deprived of their liberty in England and Wales?, published on 9 February 2022; and what steps they plan to take in response to the recommendations for collecting and publishing data made in that report.

The department welcomes the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory’s report ‘What do we know about children and young people deprived of their liberty in England and Wales’, and recognises the growing concerns regarding deprivation of liberty (DoL) cases. Children and young people deprived of their liberty are some of the most vulnerable children in society.

The newly launched National DoLs Court has helped the judiciary and the government gain more robust data and a greater understanding of this cohort of children who are often the subject of DoL proceedings, which requires a cross-system response.

The department accepts that there is a need for more robust data and will be meeting with the Ministry of Justice, HM Courts and Tribunals Services, and Nuffield to discuss their recommendations. Officials are meeting with Nuffield on 19 April. As data collection continues, we will be able to better understand the number of children placed in different settings, their characteristics, experiences and outcomes.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what information, if any, they collect from the National Deprivation of Liberty Court on increases in (1) 'inherent jurisdiction' unregulated placements, and (2) non-legally compliant 'secure accommodation' placements; and whether they can provide a breakdown of this information by (1) age, (2) gender, and (3) race.

The department does not collect information from the National Deprivation of Liberty Court on the number or characteristics of children subject to a Deprivation of Liberty Order.

The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory are collecting data from the national court over a pilot period and publishing monthly to improve our understanding of the cases that are being heard by the court. Further information can be accessed here: https://www.nuffieldfjo.org.uk/news/nuffield-family-justice-observatory-to-monitor-data-from-new-national-dols-deprivation-of-liberty-court.

It is important to note that a setting that provides care and accommodation is subject to regulation and must be registered as a children’s home. Where a deprivation of liberty order involves a setting that is not registered as a children's home, guidance issued by the President of the Family Division is clear that an application to register the provision with Ofsted must be made within seven working days from the date of the deprivation of liberty order. Further information can be accessed here: https://www.judiciary.uk/guidance-and-resources/addendum-to-practice-guidance-placements-in-unregistered-childrens-homes-in-england-or-unregistered-care-home-services-in-wales/.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the increase of 462 per cent in applications for Deprivation of Liberty orders over the last three years, what plans they have (1) to ensure that there is appropriate secure accommodation for children affected by these orders close to where it is needed, and (2) to avoid children from England being sent to Scotland or being detained in unsuitable places such as hospital wards.

In England, the statutory responsibility for ensuring a looked-after child or young person is in the appropriate placement rests with local authorities, as they are best placed to understand the specific needs of individual children in their care. Local authorities have a duty to ensure sufficient appropriate provision for all the children they look after.

The department recognises that some local authorities sometimes find it difficult accessing the most appropriate accommodation, particularly for children with the most complex needs, and that children are sometimes placed in locations away from home, when they may be better served by a placement in their local area, if available.

The department is taking significant steps to support local authorities to fulfil their statutory duties. Between now and 2025, £259 million will be made available to develop and expand the provision of both secure and open homes, to reduce out of area placements, to provide for children with complex needs, and to promote innovative practice to maintain placement stability.

Furthermore, Ofsted has recently taken steps to make the process of registration more straightforward to support local authorities in increasing the placement options available to them. Ofsted has also issued guidance on registering a multi-building children's home, enabling a home to accommodate up to six children in up to four buildings, within one single registration.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether any country has rejected a UK request for extradition, for reasons of the inadequacy of (1) the UK justice system, or (2) the UK prison conditions, within the past five years; and if so, which countries have done so, and on what grounds.

As a matter of long-standing Government policy, we do not comment on whether an extradition request has been made or received.

However, I can confirm that the UK makes every attempt to respond as fully as possible to requests for assurances in relation to matters such as those referenced by the Noble Lord when such requests are received in relation to extradition requests made to other countries.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, if any, with the Northern Ireland Executive on the creation of a statutory defence for victims of modern slavery or trafficking who have committed an offence.

The Home Office has had no discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive on the creation of a statutory defence for victims of modern slavery or trafficking who have committed an offence.

8th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Victims and Prisoners Bill impact assessment which states the that the average annual cost of implementing the proposed reforms will be £32 million, and the total annual budget for the Parole Board being £23 million, whether this additional expense will (1) be met by new funding or (2) have to be found from existing budgets, and if so from where they plan to reallocate this money.

The published impact assessment outlines the cost and impact on prison places of these reforms. The £32 million refers to the average annual cost of the reforms over the next 10 years (excluding transition costs). The bulk of this cost (£28.7 million) is attributed to the additional prison places required – the actual increase in costs to the Parole Board is expected to average £0.7 million over the next 10 years. However, it is important to note that these figures are averages and will not be this high immediately as the number of additional prison places required will increase gradually until the reforms reach ‘’steady state’’, which is expected to be more than 10 years away. No further funding has been allocated in this spending review period; any further funding expenditure will be determined at future spending reviews.

The impact assessment can be accessed here: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-03/0286/VictimsandPrisonersBillParoleImpact_Assessment_March23.pdf.

Lord Bellamy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
8th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, regarding provisions in the Victims and Prisoners Bill for a ministerial veto and subsequent appeal to the Upper Tribunal for 'top tier' parole decisions, what assessment they have made of the importance of clarity and finality of parole decision making for (1) the victims of crime, (2) prisoners, and (3) the safe and efficient management of prisons; and of the likely impact of these new stages of the parole process.

The Victims and Prisoners Bill has not yet reached Report stage in the House of Commons, meaning it is not in the final form in which it will be introduced to the House of Lords. I look forward to debating this Bill with the Noble Lord and others shortly once it has reached the House of Lords in the form approved by the House of Commons.

Lord Bellamy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
8th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, regarding provisions in the Victims and Prisoners Bill for a ministerial veto and subsequent appeal to the Upper Tribunal for 'top tier' parole decisions, how they intend to implement these new stages of the parole process whilst complying with the legal duty under Article 5 ECHR to determine parole decisions ‘speedily’.

The Victims and Prisoners Bill has not yet reached Report stage in the House of Commons, meaning it is not in the final form in which it will be introduced to the House of Lords. I look forward to debating this Bill with the Noble Lord and others shortly once it has reached the House of Lords in the form approved by the House of Commons.

Lord Bellamy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
8th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, regarding provisions in the Victims and Prisoners Bill for a ministerial veto and subsequent appeal to the Upper Tribunal for 'top tier' parole decisions, what assessment they have made of the effect of these new stages of the parole process on (1) prison capacity, (2) the victims of crime, (3) prisoners and (4) prison staff.

The Victims and Prisoners Bill has not yet reached Report stage in the House of Commons, meaning it is not in the final form in which it will be introduced to the House of Lords. I look forward to debating this Bill with the Noble Lord and others shortly once it has reached the House of Lords in the form approved by the House of Commons.

Lord Bellamy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
29th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bellamy on 8 March (HL5707), whether they will record and publish data in relation to applications to deprive children of their liberty under the inherent jurisdiction, on a comparable basis to that for children subject to secure accommodation orders.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) are committed to making changes to internal case management systems to enable the routine publishing of data relating to applications to deprive children of their liberty under the inherent jurisdiction of the court, taking consideration of the data-related recommendations made within the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory report.

HMCTS are working with the Department of Education and the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory on how the current data can continue to be made available whilst the necessary changes are made to the case management systems.

Lord Bellamy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
20th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, how many parents whose children were subject to applications to deprive them of their liberty under (1) the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court, and (2) a secure accommodation order, were legally represented during the court proceedings in the last five years; and what percentage of such parents this represents.

Information regarding legal representation of parents whose children were subject to applications to deprive them of their liberty under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court is held by the government as unstructured information within the family court administrative system and the information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Information regarding the number of respondents that were legally represented in cases where children were subject to applications to deprive them of their liberty under a secure accommodation order is provided in the table below (this does not include the children themselves who are always entitled to legal representation).

Applications for secure accommodation orders for children can, and often are, made as standalone applications following the conclusion of proceedings which may have taken place to remove the child from the care of their parents, meaning their involvement in the new proceedings may be limited which in turn may limit the requirement for legal representation. In other instances, proceedings may be made at the request of the parents themselves and they therefore work alongside the local authority without separate legal representation.

Cases / Respondents with Application for Secure Accommodation Order

Issued January 2018 to September 2022

Management Information

Year of Issue of Application

Cases*

Respondents**

Represented Respondents

% Represented

2018

499

886

185

21%

2019

483

856

152

18%

2020

379

682

141

21%

2021

389

714

133

19%

To end September 2022

222

406

60

15%

1,972

3,544

671

19%

* Cases with at least one application in the period for a secure accommodation order **Respondents include, but are not limited to, parents of the child.

† Representative is recorded on case management system as acting for the party

This is Management Information, the data is taken from a live management information system and can change over time and may differ from previously published data. In July 2022 the President of the Family Division launched a national deprivation of liberty (DOL) court at the Royal Courts of Justice for a pilot period of 12 months. This pilot is being monitored by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory who have full access to the data. The Government will consider carefully the results of this pilot when they are available.

Lord Bellamy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
30th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Bellamy on 28 June (HL Deb, col 580) that Lord Stewart of Dirleton will lead on legal aid for the government in this House, due to Lord Bellamy’s previous independent review of criminal legal aid, whether this is a temporary arrangement during the period of industrial action by barristers; whether Lord Bellamy took this decision on the basis of advice; whether Lord Bellamy will be taking any ministerial decisions or authorising papers related to legal aid in his Ministerial role; and whether Lord Bellamy will be able to comment as a Minister on any aspects of the implementation of the review’s recommendations.

On appointment as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice on 7 June 2022, Lord Bellamy followed the process on declaration of interests as set out in the Ministerial Code, which includes taking account of advice received from the Independent Adviser. In light of his previous role as Chair of the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid and the advice received, he recused himself from any role in implementing the Review or deliberations regarding its consequences. Ministerial responsibility rests with Minister Dines. Provision will be made for other Ministers to answer for these matters in this House so that the recusal is properly observed.

Lord Bellamy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the article in the Guardian ‘Court support service under threat as Ministry of Justice pulls funding’, published on 19 June, and the comments of a Ministry of Justice spokesperson that “charities will soon be able to bid for new grant funding”, whether there will be a gap in the provision for Litigants in Person between the ceasing of funding for Support Through Court and whatever new provision they intend to make.

The Ministry of Justice recognises the pivotal role that organisations such as Support Through Court play in assisting litigants in person. The Ministry has agreed extensions to ensure continuity of funding, taking both the Litigants in Person Support Strategy and Legal Support for Litigants in Person grants to 30 September 2022. All organisations have been notified, including Support Through Court.

There will be new grant funding available soon for legal support for litigants in person throughout England and Wales. The details on the level of funding and how it will be administered are close to being finalised. There will be a competed process for determining which charities are awarded funding. I will write to the Noble Lord confirming the process shortly.

Lord Bellamy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
29th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address problems in youth custody centres; and in particular Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre.

The safety and wellbeing of children in custody is paramount. While the number of children in custody is at historically low levels, those in custody are a cohort with complex needs. We are committed to improving the safety and life chances for children in our care, investing in staff, education, psychology services and mental health support.

This is underpinned by SECURE STAIRS – the integrated framework of care led by the National Health Service (NHS) and Youth Custody Service (YCS) – which provides the foundations on working with children. We are also continuing to roll out the youth justice specialist role, and have provided funding for every prison officer in the youth secure estate to take up a degree level qualification to provide them with the skills and confidence to work with children in custody. As of March, there were 201 youth justice specialist officers already in post, with a further 319 staff signed up or undertaking the learning.

Following the Urgent Notification at Rainsbrook STC last December, the YCS ordered MTC (the provider) to take immediate action to address the unacceptable failings. This included ensuring all children in the Reverse Cohorting Unit had suitable access to services and more time out of their room. Whilst this has been achieved, significant issues around staffing, safety and on-site operational grip remain. These concerns have been further highlighted by a recently concluded Ofsted inspection, resulting in Urgent Notification being invoked on 18 June. As a result, work has begun to remove all children from Rainsbrook, transferring them to alternative appropriate accommodation within the youth secure estate. Separate to this, we are considering the future of the centre, with a further announcement to be made on this position in due course.

12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on (1) families, (2) children’s best interests, (3) the length of family court proceedings, and (4) family court capacity, of delays in access to the Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programmes recommended by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service; and what steps are they taking to reduce delays in accessing such programmes.

Access to in person Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programmes (DAPPs) has been adversely affected during the pandemic due to the necessary face-to-face delivery model. We are aware that some providers are continuing to provide a full service, but that others have had to reduce their offer due to social distancing restrictions.

The Government is therefore working with the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) and the judiciary to process cases as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to minimise the impact that the on-going restrictions to this service may have on families using the family courts, and vulnerable children in particular.