A government debate on children’s social care hosted by the Backbench Business Committee took place yesterday. In an unusual move, the Committee did not send out details about the public event before it was held in the House of Commons.
The debate which was sponsored by Tim Loughton MP and initially scheduled to take place in October, was quietly cancelled last year without notice after thousands of parents across the UK expressed interest in the discussion. Some families had set aside funds to travel down to the event, while others had arranged to take the day off work at personal expense to attend. Backbench Committee debates are open to the public. Families across the country reacted to the cancellation with disappointment, while some parents criticised the government for what they felt was a cowardly decision.
We asked Tim for a further update on the event in November, but did not receive a response. The children’s social care debate which took place on 17 January first came to this site’s attention this morning, after seeing a tweet by Labour MP, Emma Lewell-Buck which featured a video clip of her speaking at the event. Unlike the original discussion set to take place in October, the debate held yesterday afternoon did not feature in any of the Backbench Committee’s email updates.
The committee also failed to provide timely and detailed information about the event through its own dedicated page on the Parliament website, choosing this time round to publish only the bare minimum on a sub-page of a Research Briefings section within the site just two days before the event. The page does not offer any information on the time-slot for the debate, who is hosting it, where it will be held in the Commons or when a transcript of the discussion might be available. The only information offered is a summary report on children’s social care.
The debate was opened by Tim Loughton MP and started at around 3pm. Discussions went on for two hours, ending at 5pm. MPs who took part included Parliamentary Under Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, Emma Lewell-Buck, Alex Burghart, Karen Lee, Lyn Brown, Vicky Ford, Laura Smith, Mohammad Yasin and Luke Pollard. You can watch the discussion on Parliament TV.
The transcript of the debate is also available in Hansard.
Many thanks to Michael Roberts for sharing the link to the debate on Parliament TV.