Sarah Dyke Portrait

Sarah Dyke

Liberal Democrat - Somerton and Frome

First elected: 20th July 2023


Sarah Dyke is not a member of any APPGs
Sarah Dyke has no previous appointments


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Sarah Dyke has voted in 121 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Sarah Dyke 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
Chris Loder (Conservative)
(6 debate interactions)
Roger Gale (Conservative)
(5 debate interactions)
Andrew Murrison (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
(5 debate interactions)
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View all Sarah Dyke's debates

Somerton and Frome Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petition Debates Contributed

We want the Government to amend the Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCP) to require retailers, without exception, to:

- Buy what they agreed to buy
- Pay what they agreed to pay
- Pay on time

We believe the current GSCP is inadequate and doesn't protect farmers from unfair behaviour.


Latest EDMs signed by Sarah Dyke

25th March 2024
Sarah Dyke signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Monday 25th March 2024

Marlie Packer 100th cap

Tabled by: Sarah Dyke (Liberal Democrat - Somerton and Frome)
That this House recognises the fantastic achievement of Marlie Packer on reaching 100 caps for the Red Roses; congratulates her on becoming only the seventh player to achieve this feat; wishes the Red Roses luck in the rest of their Six Nations matches; understands the important role sport has to …
4 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Mar 2024)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 2
Scottish National Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
29th February 2024
Sarah Dyke signed this EDM as a sponsor on Friday 1st March 2024

Withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty (No. 2)

Tabled by: Wera Hobhouse (Liberal Democrat - Bath)
That this House welcomes the UK’s withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty; regrets that the UK has lagged behind nine EU member states including France, Germany, Spain and Italy in withdrawing; recognises the need for a new global framework to incentivise global investment in the renewable energy sector to meet …
11 signatures
(Most recent: 14 Mar 2024)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Scottish National Party: 2
Independent: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Sarah Dyke's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

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

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Sarah Dyke has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Sarah Dyke has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Sarah Dyke


A Bill to set minimum service levels for the provision of public transport in rural areas, including for access to sites of employment and education; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 12th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 21st June 2024
Order Paper number: 10
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

Latest 30 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
28th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has had recent discussions with United Kingdom Security Vetting on vetting clearance rates for applicants with mental health conditions.

I have had recent engagement with the UKSV across various aspects of National Security Vetting (NSV).

The NSV process takes into account many aspects of an individual’s life in order to gather a greater understanding of any risks which may make them unsuitable to have access to sensitive information, assets or access to certain sensitive sites. The individual’s health (both physical and mental) are just one of those aspects. Any mitigations to those risks are also taken into account when making a decision on suitability for clearance. I can advise that many people with mental health considerations do hold NSV clearance.

NSV policy is kept under constant review to ensure that policy reflects changes in society and addresses new and emerging global trends.

It may interest the Honourable Member and her constituents to know there is public facing guidance available on the UKSV government website. This includes information about the vetting process as well as mental health considerations and includes efforts made to help demystify the vetting process and ensure improved inclusivity.

In line with the practice followed by successive administrations, the Government does not otherwise comment on security matters.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made a recent assessment on the level of (a) training and (b) guidance provided to teachers on autism in girls.

The department is committed to ensuring that all pupils can reach their potential and receive excellent support from their teachers. Therefore, consideration of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) underpins both the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework (CCF) and Early Career Framework (ECF) which set out the entitlement of trainee teachers and early career teachers (ECTs) to the core body of knowledge, skills and behaviours that define great teaching. To identify opportunities to build teacher expertise, the department reviewed the CCF alongside the ECF during 2023, combining an Education Endowment Foundation-assured review of the ‘Learn that’ statements and underpinning CCF and ECF evidence with evaluation data, lessons learned from the first years of implementation, and extensive expert and sector feedback including from SEND specialists. This included a public call for evidence. Following this review, the updated and combined Initial Teacher Training and Early Career Framework (ITTECF) was published on 30 January 2024, for delivery from September 2025.

The department's review of content for the ITTECF paid particular attention to the needs of trainees and ECTs when supporting pupils with SEND. The ITTECF is based on the best peer-reviewed evidence about what works, and it is designed to emphasise the importance of high-quality teaching. The framework therefore deliberately does not detail approaches specific to particular additional needs, such as autism, but what makes the most effective teaching. During the review, the department tested this approach with SEND educational experts, with consensus that the approach of ‘quality-first teaching’ would be the best way to improve outcomes for all children, particularly those with Special Educational Needs.

The department’s Universal Services contract brings together SEND-specific training and support for staff working in schools and further education. It aims to improve outcomes for children and young people through one programme which reaches 70% of schools and colleges in England per year. The contract offers autism awareness training and resources, which align with the national all-age autism strategy and its ambition to improve autistic children and young people’s access to education and support positive transitions into adulthood. Over 135,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the Universal Services programme began in May 2022. More information on the strategy can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-strategy-for-autistic-children-young-people-and-adults-2021-to-2026.

The large majority of pupils diagnosed with autism as their primary type of need are boys. However, there is emerging research and awareness on the different presentation of autism traits according to gender and the late, under and misdiagnosis of girls and women. This gender imbalance is greater for autism than for any other primary type of need. To help raise awareness of this imbalance, the Universal Services autism awareness training addresses autism in girls and helps education staff understand more about how autism may present differently in girls.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much ringfenced funding is available to local authorities to prevent school absence due to chronic health conditions.

The department does not allocate funding to local authorities that is ringfenced for the purpose of preventing school absence due to chronic health conditions.

Local authorities’ expenditure arising from the authority’s functions under section 19 in chapter III of part I (exceptional provision of education in pupil referral units or elsewhere), and under chapter II of part VI (school attendance), of the Education Act 1996, and their functions under the Children and Families Act 2014 to support the special education of children with health needs, can be funded from their dedicated schools grant allocations.

The majority of absence from autumn to spring term 2022/23 was due to illness, which accounted for 4.5% of possible sessions in autumn term, and 3.6% in spring term. The department does not hold information about the number and proportion of state-educated students whose school absences are recorded as due to a chronic health condition or disability. The most recent school absence data can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what number and proportion of state-educated students recorded school absences due to (a) chronic health conditions and (b) disabilities.

The department does not allocate funding to local authorities that is ringfenced for the purpose of preventing school absence due to chronic health conditions.

Local authorities’ expenditure arising from the authority’s functions under section 19 in chapter III of part I (exceptional provision of education in pupil referral units or elsewhere), and under chapter II of part VI (school attendance), of the Education Act 1996, and their functions under the Children and Families Act 2014 to support the special education of children with health needs, can be funded from their dedicated schools grant allocations.

The majority of absence from autumn to spring term 2022/23 was due to illness, which accounted for 4.5% of possible sessions in autumn term, and 3.6% in spring term. The department does not hold information about the number and proportion of state-educated students whose school absences are recorded as due to a chronic health condition or disability. The most recent school absence data can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the guidance entitled Free school meals: guidance for schools and local authorities, published on 31 January 2023, if she will publish revised guidance with information on the provision of free school meals for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

There are many pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) status that meet the eligibility criteria necessary for free school meals (FSM). The latest published statistics show that 41.1% of pupils with an Education, Health and Care plan and 37.5% of pupils on SEND support were eligible for FSM provision in 2023. Similarly, many children with disabilities but not Special Educational Needs will be eligible, and those rates are higher than the overall proportion of pupils eligible for FSM in England.

The standard food offering provided by schools will be suitable to the needs of many of these children. However, some pupils with additional needs may require special food provision or arrangements. All schools have duties under the Equality Act 2010 towards individual disabled children and young people, and they must make reasonable adjustments to prevent them being put at a substantial disadvantage. That means that a school cannot treat a pupil unfairly because of their disability.

The department will update its published guidance on FSM to make reference to the reasonable adjustments duty in order to heighten awareness about reasonable adjustments, such as meal provision, amongst schools, local authorities and families. This guidance will be made available in spring 2024.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of education, health and care plans include nutritional information; and what (a) funding and (b) other support she has made available to local authorities to support SEND children with nutritional needs.

The department does not collect data on how many Education, Health and Care plans include nutritional information.

High needs funding to support the education of children with complex Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) will total to £10.5 billion in 2024/25 which is an increase of over 60% from 2019/20. The majority of this funding is allocated to local authorities: they, and the schools they fund, can use this funding to subsidise or meet the cost of school food, including for those children with SEND who have nutritional needs.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will (a) publish the responses to the 2021 consultation on the commercial and non-commercial movements of pets into Great Britain and (b) commit to a legislative timeframe to ban the import of dogs with cropped ears.

We are carefully reviewing the feedback gathered from our consultation and wider engagement with stakeholders, and a summary will be published in due course.

The practice of non-exempted mutilations such as cropping dogs' ears is abhorrent and has rightly been banned in the UK for over 10 years.

The Government supports the Private Members’ Bill, Animal Welfare (Import of Dogs, Cats and Ferrets) Bill, introduced by the hon. Member for North Devon on restricting the importation and non-commercial movement of pets. The Bill will contain powers that will enable future regulations for commercial and non-commercial movements of pets into the United Kingdom including prohibiting the import of dogs with cropped ears.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many hectares of land have been protected for wildlife as a result of the Nutrient Mitigation Scheme.

Nutrient neutrality advice aims to halt further pollution of England’s most important protected waterways whose catchments cover an area of approximately 1.8m ha.

Natural England has developed a Nutrient Mitigation Scheme that has so far secured approximately 257 ha of land to reduce nutrient pollution from new housing development. This land will also be managed for the purposes of nature conservation and, where appropriate, public access.

Natural England is currently investigating other sites across England which, if considered feasible, would secure approximately 512 ha of land for the purposes of nutrient mitigation and nature recovery.

Natural England aims to avoid the best and most versatile agricultural land when investing in nutrient mitigation projects.

The nutrient mitigation scheme operates alongside a number of other providers of nutrient mitigation across England, including Local Authorities, environmental Non-Governmental Organisations, private markets and developers. Many of the solutions invested in by these providers will be nature-based and will not only reduce nutrient pollution but benefit nature and people.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of legislation on the welfare of (a) pet and (b) wild rodents.

The Government continues to take positive action to protect the welfare of companion animals - including rabbits and pet rodents such as gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 regulations) require anyone who is in the business of selling rodents as pets to obtain a valid licence from their local authority.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act), it is an offence to cause any animal unnecessary suffering or to fail to provide for its welfare. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 amended the 2006 Act to deliver the Government's manifesto commitment to increase the sentences available to our courts for the most serious cases of animal cruelty. Anyone who is cruel to an animal (including domestic rabbits and pet rodents) faces being sent to prison for up to five years, or receiving an unlimited fine, or both. This strengthened measure sends a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated.

Advice is available to educate pet owners on providing for the welfare needs of their pet, including fact sheets produced by the Royal Veterinary College.

We also have legislation in place regarding the welfare of wild rodents. A number of native wild species of rodent such as Hazel Dormouse, Red Squirrel, and Water Vole are afforded full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which makes it an offence to intentionally: kill, injure or take them. The welfare of all rodents is protected under both the Wild Mammals Act 1996 which makes certain acts of deliberate harm illegal and the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which makes it unlawful for wild rodents to be subject to unnecessary suffering while under human control. Further to this, through the Glue Traps (Offences) Act 2022, the Government is banning the use of glue traps in England in all but the most exceptional circumstances.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of (a) literacy levels, (b) learning disabilities, (c) internet access and (d) the (i) length and (ii) number of communications on the accessibility of her Department's communications to farmers.

During the agricultural transition we are supporting farmers and land managers with varying rates in literacy and internet capabilities through the changes. The October 2023 Farmer Opinion Tracker (published 7 February 2024) found farmers on 74% of holdings said they either had all or most of the information they need for business planning; or that they knew where they could find information.

We test the readability and users’ understanding of content language via user research panels made up of farmers and in consultation with farming membership bodies and charities.

To further ensure our offer is accessible we have provided free support to over 18,000 farmers through the Farming Resilience Fund. The support has included group workshops, one-to-one advice from experts and farm visits.

We have also funded the Farming Advice Service which provides free, confidential advice both in person and over the phone to help farmers and land managers in England understand farming policy and their legal requirements.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of farrowing cages on the welfare of pigs.

Defra’s 2018 statutory welfare code of practice for pigs confirms that “the aim is for farrowing crates to no longer be necessary and for any new system to protect the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets”. The UK already has a significant outdoor pig sector with 40% of the national sow breeding herd farrowing freely on outdoor units with no option for confinement.

We are firmly committed to maintaining our strong track record on animal welfare and continue to work with the farming industry to maintain and enhance our high standards. The Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, part of our new domestic agricultural policy, supports farmers to produce healthier, higher welfare animals. The Government’s welfare priorities for the Pathway include supporting pig producers to transition away from confinement systems.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support he is providing for public transport in Somerset.

The Government recognises the importance of high quality, affordable public transport and is committed to working with local authorities to support and improve services for passengers. We have taken action to help improve public transport in Somerset, including providing over £13 million to help deliver better bus services, and as part of the MetroWest Programme and May ‘23 Timetable, increased rail services are now running to and from the area.

Anthony Browne
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that rural communities can access DVLA services after the end of the DVLA contract with the Post Office on 31 March 2024.

Post Office Ltd currently provides a limited range of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) services, with the current contract recently being extended.

The vast majority of those licensing vehicles already do so online or via the DVLA’s automated telephone service, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Restoring Your Railway Fund in reopening lines and stations.

The Restoring Your Railway (RYR) fund is levelling up the country by reconnecting people and communities. It has helped to deliver the Dartmoor line in November 2021, and Marsh Barton and Thanet Parkway stations in July 2023. It is also helping to deliver a number of schemes including the Northumberland line and the Metrowest 1b project which aims to connect Portishead to Bristol. The Network North announcement included commitments to progress a further 11 RYR bids, subject to successful business cases.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department's target timeframe is for applicants to the Restoring Your Railway Fund to receive a response on the outcome of their Strategic Outline Business Case.

The timeframe for providing responses to schemes that have submitted applications to the Restoring Your Railway fund will vary. However, my Department will do everything possible to ensure that sponsors and promoters are provided with clear and timely information.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to help improve workplace safety on farms.

The safety and health of people at work in agriculture is a concern to the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) and the industry. HSE has a long-term strategy to drive up industry ownership of the challenge and influence farmer behaviour. Since 2018 we have had an annual programme of delivering training to farmers in advance of targeted proactive inspection. This sits alongside specific interventions on transport, cattle, and falls: the three main areas responsible for farm workplace deaths. HSE continues engagement activity with a full range of stakeholders through the Farm Safety Partnerships. The latest work has covered child safety, management of cattle in fields with public rights of way, safe use of quad bikes and farm transport. HSE regularly holds formal consultation with the industry about its initiatives through an industry advisory committee.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the prevalence of discrimination against LGBTQ+ (a) residents and (b) staff in care homes.

Any discrimination in adult social care on the basis of one’s sexual or gender identity, or indeed on the basis of any protected characteristic, is unacceptable. The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace, and in wider society.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspects and assesses care homes and other social care providers for compliance against the fundamental standards embedded in regulation. This includes the requirement, as clearly described in the CQC’s guidance, for providers to do everything reasonably practicable to make sure that people who use the service receive person-centred care, that meets their needs and reflects their personal preferences. As part of this, during an inspection, the CQC will take account of how the service considers a person’s protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

The CQC has also published its Equality Objectives, which outline how the CQC is taking a preventative approach to LGBTQ+ people experiencing prejudice or abuse, as well as improving the data it collects around equality risks. Finally, the new duty on the CQC to assess local authorities’ delivery of their adult social care duties went live from April this year. CQC assessment of local authorities will increase transparency, and enable people to hold their local authority to account.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring inspections by the Care Quality Commission to take into account the experience of LGBTQ+ residents in care homes.

Any discrimination in adult social care on the basis of one’s sexual or gender identity, or indeed on the basis of any protected characteristic, is unacceptable. The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace, and in wider society.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspects and assesses care homes and other social care providers for compliance against the fundamental standards embedded in regulation. This includes the requirement, as clearly described in the CQC’s guidance, for providers to do everything reasonably practicable to make sure that people who use the service receive person-centred care, that meets their needs and reflects their personal preferences. As part of this, during an inspection, the CQC will take account of how the service considers a person’s protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

The CQC has also published its Equality Objectives, which outline how the CQC is taking a preventative approach to LGBTQ+ people experiencing prejudice or abuse, as well as improving the data it collects around equality risks. Finally, the new duty on the CQC to assess local authorities’ delivery of their adult social care duties went live from April this year. CQC assessment of local authorities will increase transparency, and enable people to hold their local authority to account.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of dental practices stopped providing NHS services in Somerset in the last five years.

The number of dentists who performed National Health Service work in the last five years, as well as the number of dentists who started and stopped NHS work in the Somerset Integrated Care Board in each year, is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-dental-statistics/2022-23-annual-report

We do not hold data on the proportion of dental practices that have stopped providing NHS services in Somerset in the last five years.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when she expects the randomised controlled trials to test medicinal cannabis for adults and children with epilepsy to begin; which NHS Trusts will be participating in these trials; how many patients will be involved in the trials; and whether patients will be approached to participate.

The Department, via the National Institute for Health and Care Research, is developing a programme of two randomised controlled trials to test the safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis products to treat epilepsy in adults and children. The trials will start as soon as possible, and results will be published once the trials have been completed and the findings peer reviewed. The trial details are in development.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the adequacy of the provision of mental health services in rural areas.

While there are no plans for a specific assessment, the Government remains committed to supporting rural communities, as set out in its Unleashing Rural Opportunity report, published in June 2023. Since the launch of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee's inquiry into Rural Mental Health in 2021, considerable progress has been made to help ensure access to mental health services in rural areas, as outlined in the Government's response to the committee in November 2023.

Notably, since 2018, we have invested an extra £2.3 billion a year to expand mental health services in England, with the aim of enabling two million more people, including those in rural areas, to access mental health support by March 2024.

Integrated care boards (ICB) are responsible for decisions about the provision of services in their area and on how funding allocations should be used to meet the needs of people in their areas. There are a range of adjustments made in the ICB allocations formula to account for how the costs of providing health care may vary between different types of rural and urban areas. We expect all ICBs to continue to meet the Mental Health Investment Standard, increasing their mental health spend in line with their overall funding allocations.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of allowing children to be issued medical cannabis prescriptions on the NHS.

Licensed cannabis-based medicines, that have been proved effective in clinical trials and judged cost-effective by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), are routinely available on the National Health Service, including for people aged over two years old with certain types of epilepsy. However, clinical guidelines from NICE demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions for unlicensed cannabis-based medicines.

We continue to call on manufacturers to conduct research to prove if their products are safe and effective and we are working with regulatory, research and NHS partners to establish clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of these products.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it remains Government policy to reform the Mental Health Act 1983.

  • It remains our intention to bring forward a Mental Health Bill when Parliamentary time allows.

  • I am incredibly grateful to the Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill as well as the many experts who have generously given their time.

  • We will continue to take forward non-legislative commitments to improve the care and treatment of people detained under the Act, including piloting models of Culturally Appropriate Advocacy. These will provide tailored support to people from ethnic minority communities and improve their experience of being treated under the Mental Health Act.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what recent progress his Department has made on ratifying the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement; and what his latest estimate is of the timescale for ratification.

The UK was pleased to be among the first signatories to the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Agreement when it opened for signature at the UN on 20 September 2023 and the Agreement was laid before Parliament for scrutiny on 16 October 2023. Work is in hand on the legislation and other measures needed to translate the detailed and complex provisions of the Agreement into UK law before we can ratify the Agreement, which will be taken forward when parliamentary time allows.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will take steps to extend visas issued under the Ukraine Extension Scheme beyond the initial three-year period.

We are mindful that permission will start to expire, for the first arrivals under our Ukrainian schemes, from March 2025, and their need for certainty beyond that point to help them to plan ahead, for example if remaining in the UK, entering into rental agreements and living here independently.  As a result, we actively keep the Ukraine schemes under consistent review.

The UK Government stands with Ukraine and firmly believes that Ukraine will be safe again. When it’s safe to do so, Ukraine will need the repatriation of its citizens to help recover and rebuild their economy and infrastructure.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
19th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many visas have been issued to members of the Afghan Special Police Commando Force under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy as of 19 February 2024.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to Question 11984.

The hon. Member should also note that the Home Office are responsible for issuing visas to ARAP eligible principal applicants and their family members, once further security checks have been conducted in line with existing immigration rules.

6th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the support that is available to jurors who have been adversely affected by sitting on a jury.

Juries are a vital part of our criminal justice system, and jury service is an important civic duty. We want to do everything we can to help jurors feel supported as they undertake this important role.

If any aspect of jury service has left a juror feeling distressed, they are encouraged to speak to their GP and/or the Samaritans. Their GP can help them to access counselling services and the Samaritans can provide support over the telephone, email or through a local Samaritan branch. A leaflet entitled ‘Supporting You Through Jury Service’ which offers further advice to jurors is available in courts.

Our courts request regular feedback from jurors through Juror Experience Surveys to better understand jurors’ needs which finds most jurors enjoy completing jury service. We are using this research alongside the extensive academic research available and experience from other jurisdictions to inform our approach. We are aware that a small minority of jurors suffer adverse effects and are working to understand their specific needs to ensure that the support we offer is appropriate.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) witnesses and (b) complainants in domestic violence cases involving (i) lengthy court proceedings and (ii) pressure from the defendant to change or withdraw their statement.

The Government recognises the vital role that support services play in helping victims of domestic abuse during their engagement with the criminal justice system. This is why we are using additional ringfenced funding to increase the number of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) and Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) to over 1000 by 2024/2025 – a 43% increase on the number of advisors over this spending review period.

The magistrates’ court hears over 90% of criminal cases and we continue to hear over 100,000 cases every month. Cases continue to move swiftly through the magistrates’ court with cases heard taking 31 days on average from charge to case completion.

However, we recognise that some court proceedings may be lengthy, and that this can be difficult for victims and witnesses. The Witness Service is available to witnesses in all criminal courts in England and Wales and this service provides practical and emotional support to witnesses of crimes throughout court proceedings.

The intimidation of a witness with the intention of obstructing, perverting or interfering with the course of justice is a criminal offence. Police and prosecutors are also encouraged to develop robust evidence-led case strategies from the start, so that where victims are absent because they are unable or do not want to support a prosecution, the case can still proceed.

Laura Farris
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)