Supporters of the CEE Bill in the House of Lords
Top Left to Right: Baroness Verma, Lord Oates, Baroness Jones, Baroness Ritchie, Lord Knight.
Bottom Left to Right: Baroness Parminter, Baroness Lawrence, Baroness Bennett, Baroness Boycott, Lord Bird.
The House of Lords may not get as much coverage as the House of Commons, however as the second chamber of the UK legislature, it is vitally important to anyone seeking to advance and influence government policy. The Climate Change Act of 2008 began life as a Private Member’s Bill introduced in the House of Lords in 2007 before being passed to the Commons.
Although the Conservative Government has the most seats in the Lords, there is substantial opportunity for cross-party work, with a number of Peers being ‘Crossbench’ (a group of Peers who are non-party political and sit across the chamber) or ‘non-affiliated’ (who do not belong to any group). There are also substantially more Liberal Democrats (who officially support the CEE Bill) in the Lords than the Commons.
We have growing support from a mixed group of Peers and work with them to push for the CEE Bill and its elements from the Second Chamber—for example, the Environment Bill which recently entered the Lords and is currently going through its Committee stage.
CEE Bill Supporting Peers
Below is some information on a handful of the CEE Bill’s supporting Peers who we’re very grateful to for being champions of our proposed legislative plan.
Baroness Verma, Conservative
Baroness (Sandip) Verma is a Conservative Peer who recently stated her support for the CEE Bill. She is the first Conservative to do so, meaning our campaign is now officially all-party!
Baroness Verma has been a life Peer since 2006 and has previously held positions in Government in the Department of Energy and Climate Change and International Development. She is currently Ministerial Champion for Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Overseas, and in 2019 was chosen to chair the UN Women’s national committee for three years. One of her focuses is climate justice and addressing the impact of climate change in disadvantaged communities both in the UK and abroad.
Baroness Boycott and Lord Bird, Crossbench
Baroness (Rosie) Boycott is a former journalist and author, and Crossbench Peer since 2018. She has been editor of various magazines and newspapers, including The Independent and Daily Express. Rosie chaired our Year To COP26 panel event in November 2020, alongside Caroline Lucas MP, Prof. Tim Jackson, Prof. Kate Raworth and campaigner Kumi Naidoo.
Lord (John) Bird co-founded the Big Issue in 1991 alongside Gordon Roddick, a co-founder of The Body Shop—a CEE Bill business ally. He became a Peer in 2015 and focuses his work on reducing poverty, particularly early intervention. Alongside supporting the CEE Bill, Lord Bird is championing the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill which if passed would require public bodies to act in pursuit of the UK’s environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing.
Lord Knight and Baroness Lawrence, Labour
Lord (Jim) Knight is a former Labour MP for South Dorset and an ex-Minister. He served as Secretary of State for Schools, and is currently managing director of online learning at TES Global, building an online professional development service for teachers. He is championing the Education (Environment and Sustainable Citizenship) Bill, which would make provision in the national curriculum regarding sustainable citizenship and protection of the environment.
Baroness (Doreen) Lawrence is a campaigner and the mother of Steven Lawrence. She is a founder of the foundation formed in Steven’s legacy and has been an active campaigner for police reform. Baroness Lawrence is a key figure in the British civil rights movement, receiving an OBE in 2003 for her services to community relations. She became a life peer in 2013.
Lord Oates and Baroness Parminter, Liberal Democrats
Lord (Jonny) Oates is the Lib Dem Spokesperson for Energy and Climate in the House of Lords, similar to CEE Bill co-sponsor Sarah Olney MP in the Commons. In the past, he was a Lib Dem councillor, the party’s policy and comms director during the 2010 election and chief of staff to the former Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. He’s also childhood friends with Radiohead singer and environmental campaigner, Thom Yorke, another CEE Bill supporter. We were grateful that Lord Oates spoke at our ‘Meet the Lib Dems’ event back in January. If you missed it, you can watch it on our YouTube channel.
Baroness (Kate) Parmiter is Deputy Leader of the Lib Dems in the House of Lords. She’s a prominent animal rights activist, a former Lib Dem councillor and ex-head of public affairs at RSPCA in the 1990s. She is the inaugural chair of the new Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee, a group we’re very keen to work with in the next few months.
Baroness Bennett and Baroness Jones, Green Party
Baroness (Natalie) Bennett and Baroness (Jenny) Jones are the two Green Peers in the Lords. Their voices are crucial for advancing environmental causes in the Upper Chamber and we have worked closely with them throughout the campaign to raise issues around climate change and biodiversity loss.
Baroness Bennett is the former leader of the Green Party from 2012 to 2016. Born in Australia, her background is in journalism, having previously written for the Guardian and Times. In 2019 she became a life peer. She recently wrote a blog on improving the Environment Bill and aims to work with us to introduce a CEE Bill into the Lords in the near future—so keep your eyes peeled.
Baroness Jones worked for 10 years as an archaeologist in the Middle East before beginning her career in politics. She went on to represent the Green Party in the London Assembly for 16 years, working on issues from transport to policing and sustainability and serving as Deputy Mayor of London from 2003 to 2004. In 2013, Baroness Jones became the first Green Party Peer since 2008, and the party’s first female member of the Upper House.
Baroness Ritchie, non-affiliated
Baroness Ritchie is a former Social Democrat and Labour Party MP and member of the Northern Irish Assembly, serving as Leader of her Party from 2010 to 2011. She has been involved in Northern Irish politics since the 1980s, serving at all levels from councillor to Minister. She cites her faith as a strong driving force in her life and received praise in 2010 for wearing a poppy, a traditionally unionist symbol, at the Remembrance Day celebrations in Downpatrick.