Been at work all day or watching the World Cup? Out all night and not had time to catch up on your Twitter feed? Here's a round up of some of the news.
Today it was widely believed that the law would be changed to make upskirting illegal. Upskirting is where someone sneaks a camera underneath you skirt and takes photos without your knowledge or permission. To the media this morning it was a done deal and premature congratulations rightly abounded.
However, the private member's Voyeurism (Offences) Bill introduced by Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse was stopped by an archaic procedure whereby an MP can say they object, which is what Tory MP Christopher Chope did to cries of "Shame" and the disappointment of the rest of the House. Many people might think that he did this because he is a fan of upskirting but he says it is because he hates private members' bills and sees it as a moral crusade to challenge them.
One of the vilest takes on this turn of events comes from "Britain's highest profile lawyer":
The bill now goes to the bottom of the pile to be raised again at the next Private Members Bill session on 6 July, 2018.
This shows how archaic our parliamentary system is. Filibustering and the object rule should be the first customs in a long list to go. However, this is unlikely to happen because parliament serves the privileged not the country and the privileged will not vote to change things that benefit them. Which leads us onto the next topic, revolving doors.
Yesterday Tory MP Edward Argar was appointed as the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Justice, He replaces Phillip Lee who resigned on Tuesday over Brexit. Argar worked for Serco for three and a half years and was the Head of UK and Europe Public Affairs at Serco for nine months before being elected as MP for Charnwood in 2015. Serco runs five private prisons on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. While the Ministry of Justice stress there is no conflict of interest just because of his previous employment, it will be interesting to keep an eye on his role and where he goes if / when he loses his seat in Charnwood.
The endless revolving doors in politics clearly indicate many MPs are in it for themselves rather than serving us or us all being in it together. When their world is so different to ours, how can they understand or legislate on what is best for us? Talking of bad legislation brings us neatly onto universal credit.
Universal Credit was brought in by Ian Duncan Smith as a flagship policy designed to bring six benefits into one with the aim of encouraging people into work rather than being stuck in a benefits trap. It was meant to save money by streamlining the benefit system. However, it has been beset by costly delays and disastrous implementation. Today the National Audit Office released their latest damning report.
They say that universal credit may end up being more costly than the system it replaces and the DWP cannot measure whether it will meet the aim to get the extra 200,000 people into work.
Forty percent of people claiming report that they are experiencing financial difficulties because of the roll out of universal credit. The DWP denies this but evidence points to universal credit being the cause. The National Audit Office states that the DWP do not know how many are suffering hardship because of universal credit.
In 2017, 25% of people were not paid on time, 40% of those waited 11+ weeks, 20% almost five months. Since pressure from parliament last year, this has improved slightly with 21% not receiving their full entitlement on time. The DWP expect little or no improvement on this in 2018.
Rent arrears have increased with the introduction of universal credit, with many private landlords reluctant to take on tenants who claim it. Amyas Morse, Head of the NAO said:
The Department has kept pushing the Universal Credit rollout forward through a series of problems. We recognise both its determination and commitment, and that there is really no practical choice but to keep on keeping on with the rollout.
A damning report from which the DWP has no place to hide.
The Gig Economy
Today the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain was given permission for a full judicial review of a previous ruling that confirmed the self-employed status of Deliveroo riders. This follows hard on the heels of the ruling that Gary Smith did have employee status while working for Pimlico Plumbers and the result will have a big impact on the gig economy as a whole.
Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary said:
The next Labour government will clamp down on bogus self-employment and strengthen employment rights for all workers"
However, until then, it is expected that the current government will make legislative changes this parliament to protect the gig economy. It's definitely a case of watch this space.