The inside track: June 2018

Our latest update on what’s going on in Westminister that might impact charities includes the latest on Brexit and whether it’s about to bring down the government, changes to committees and Charity Commission appointments.


Parliament is still dominated by the withdrawal bill, with much other Brexit-related legislation still on hold.

This week MPs will be voting on Lords amendments covering a number of issues, including how delegated legislation will be scrutinised, how some principles of EU law should be interpreted and a number of amendments looking to define the government’s Brexit objectives, including the customs union, EEA membership and the role of parliament in setting those objectives.

The bill is then expected to go back to the House of Lords next week.

People news

Andrea Jenkyns has this month resigned as parliamentary private secretary to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to concentrate on getting ‘the right Brexit for our country’ from the backbenches.

Sarah Jones has been appointed as Labour’s shadow housing minister, replacing Tony Lloyd who took on the Northern Ireland portfolio earlier this year. Ms Jones worked at Shelter before she won the Croydon Central seat from the Conservatives in 2017.

Select committees

A number of changes have been made to select committee membership this month.

  • Mark Menzies has replaced fellow Conservative MP Glyn Davies on the international development committee.
  • Glyn Davies has also stood down from the environmental audit committee, where he will be replaced by James Gray.
  • Tulip Siddiq and Rosie Duffield have been replaced by fellow Labour MPs Sarah Champion and Teresa Pearce on the women and equalities committee. Ms Siddiq has in turn replaced Ms Champion on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee.
  • Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson and Labour MP Rosie Duffield have joined the work and pensions committee, replacing Andrew Bowie and Emma Dent Coad respectively.

Charities may also want to watch out for the establishment of a Commons committee to ‘sift’ delegated legislation once the withdrawal bill has been passed. This committee will determine which orders presented by the government should require more extensive parliamentary scrutiny.

Other appointments

  • Mike Ashley has had his term as a board member of the Charity Commission extended for a further two years.
  • Aarti Thakor has been appointed as the new director of legal services at the Charity Commission, replacing Kenneth Dibble, who was appointed to the Commission’s board in March.

What does this week mean for Brexit, and the government?

A year on from last year’s surprise election result, this week is expected to be the Prime Minister’s toughest week yet – with a number of close votes likely on the return of the withdrawal bill.

There has even been some speculation that lost votes, or a concession seen as the final straw for pro-Brexit Conservatives could force Theresa May out of office. The government is likely to make concessions on a number of issues tackled in the Lords in an attempt to win over rebels. Charities will want to keep an eye out for amendments on the way delegated legislation will be scrutinised, retaining environmental protections, and retaining the Charter of Fundamental Rights in UK law. However in terms of the impact on Brexit, the most significant vote will now probably be on the ‘meaningful vote’ amendment which as currently drafted would give parliament power over the direction of negotiations if they choose to reject the deal.

The government may win this vote, but if they have to provide concessions to do so, it is likely to restrict their ability to control the process of Brexit further down the line, when lack of time looks like it will inevitably become an issue. So even if the government get through this week, there’s every chance it will be at the cost of further, bigger challenges later in the year.

Join us at our annual Campaigning Conference

We have now announced workshops for our annual Campaigning Conference, which this year takes place on 10 September. Topics include how to use evidence effectively in your campaign, using legal routes to campaign and developing a theory of change.

NCVO can help you to navigate Westminster and Whitehall

Make sure your voice is heard by those making the decisions. We can provide a range of advice, support and training, contact for details.

If you want to learn more about how you can use parliament to secure change, our next influencing parliament course is on 14 September, and our next influencing select committees course is on 23 November.

If you want to take your campaigning to the next level, applications have opened for Series 19 of NCVO’s Certificate in Campaigning, starting in October.


Please do get in touch with me at if there’s anything you’d like to see included, or you have any other comments.

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Chris is NCVO’s public affairs manager, focusing on parliamentary work. He started his career working for several MPs in Parliament, and has also worked in public affairs and policy roles for the Federation of Small Businesses.

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