This Week in Parliament – 22nd January 2024

On Monday the Offshore Petrolium Licencing Bill passed its second reading in the Commons. This bill will allow annual licencing rounds for North Sea oil reserves – however the government itself admits the legislation will not lead to improved energy supplies or lowered energy costs.

This bill signals the UK government’s head is still buried in the sand on the climate crisis and the need for a just transition towards clean investment and jobs.

The SNP voted against this bill – and we weren’t alone in our opposition. Former Tory energy minister and Chris Skidmore has quit as an MP in disagreement with this bill, and COP26 president Alok Sharma signaled he will not support the bill, eventually abstaining.

In the Lords, Rishi Sunak’s ludicrous and unworkable Rwanda plan has hit a major hurdle, with the motion to ratify the treaty claiming Rwanda as a safe country voted down 214-171. The Rwanda deportation deal will now be delayed by extended scrutiny in the second chamber. Clearly the prime minister’s unusual and unconstitutional step of lecturing peers on how they should vote was a failure, and will drive a wedge between the two Houses of Parliament.

Commons highlights:

Tuesday 23rd January – Labour’s Opposition Day Debate, covering absences in English schools and steelmaking in the UK.

Wednesday 24th January – General Debate on defence and international affairs, followed by an Adjournment Debate on Parliamentary scrutiny of nuclear defence infrastructure led by my SNP colleague Martin Docherty-Hughes

Thursday 25th January – General Debate on Holocaust Memorial Day

All debates are available online at