01.06.2018

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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Just we get started - thank you. It's often very hard to gauge how much people like these emails. I put the work in and send it out and hope that you are opening and finding it useful. Last month for reasons that turned out not to be GDPR based, you had to sign up again, or opt-in, or whatever. And you did.
Great to have you onboard. 
Ooooooh! New business! How exciting!

OK. Let's get this out the way first. This is a warm-up week. This Parliament is about one thing and one thing only and Brexit will be returning (almost certainly) on 11th June. The Lords made a LOT of changes to the Withdrawal Bill. The government was famously defeated 15 times, but they also made over 200 changes themselves. Every one of them needs Commons approval. There will be plenty of nodding things through, but it will get very tense when it comes to voting on the government defeats. Anyway. That's all for next week. And, presumably, the week after. You can't criticise Brexit for not being drawn out enough.

No, this week we have the excitement of not one, but two new government Bills. The first of which is about banning the ivory trade altogether. They've tried banning new ivory, but then people disguise new ivory as antique ivory and the elephants still get killed. So Micheal Gove will get out onto the floor of the Commons and kick off a total ban. There is also a new Bill that changes the category for plant nurseries for tax purposes. Yeah. It's every bit as interesting as it sounds.

The important thing, though, is this. The government are doing things. They are showing they're not just about Brexit. No. They're tackling the 'burning injustices' that Theresa May talked about on the steps of Downing Street. Starting with ivory and the tax category for nurseries.

A note on abortion in Northern Ireland: There is nothing tabled on this for next week. It would absolutely amaze me, though, if it didn't come up. Last week, as I'm sure you heard, Ireland voted to repeal the 8th amendment of their constitution which will, amongst other things, allow abortion to take place legally. Northern Ireland still has an effective ban. There have been many calls to change that.

Theresa May says that this is a devolved matter and should be dealt with by the Northern Ireland Assembly @ Stormont. But. Here's the problem. There is no Assembly right now. It hasn't sat for well over a year. It doesn't look like sitting any time soon. So, abortion rules can't be changed.

There is quite a lot of support from MPs on changing the law for Northern Ireland from Westminster. None of that support comes from the DUP. Theresa May relies on the DUP's votes to get things passed. If MPs do end up voting on this it will get very interesting. 

What might happen this week is unsure- there may well be an Urgent Question from Stella Creasy. There might even be an emergency debate. There is also an Opposition Day on Wednesday, so Corbyn could choose to use that. 

At some point, the Domestic Violence Bill (currently in public consultation) will come to the House and MPs could at that point have a meaningful vote on an amendment that would make the change, but that won't be for quite some time.


Monday - THe first day back after recess is always busy. There is bound to be a statement or two and maybe and Urgent Question (possilby on abortion in NI). Then it's onto the Ivory Bill for MPs. Sticking with the animal theme, a petition on importing fur is being debated in Westminster Hall at 4.30.

Tuesday - Fans of tax category debates are going to love Tuesday. Main business for MPs is all about nursery grounds. Over in the committee rooms, MPS are scrutinising the Tenant Fees Bill.  The Lords have nearly finished with the bill about self driving and elecctric cars, too.


Wednesday - PMQs! I know it's just theatre, but I was a little sad on Wednesday at 12 this week. Maybe the only thing that's worse than PMQs is not having PMQs. 

Then it's an Opposition Day (subject still TBC as I write) in the Commons and the Lords are debating whether or not to insisit once again that we stay in Euratom until we have something concrete to replace it with. They made that change before, MPs have taken it out and now the ball is back with the Lords. Ping pong in action.


Thursday - It's on a Thursday that the next week's business is revealed. We should get confirmation that the EU (Withdrawal) Bill will be back in the Commons soon. It's also Backbench business - this time MPs are debating ending tuberculosis and the political situation in Turkey.

Friday - No business today, so you can spend your time swotting up on your arguments for and against the Customs Union. 
Our pick of the laws being debated in Parliament next week...
Ivory Bill

Elephant populations have declined by a third in the last decade with an estimated 20,000 a year still being killed by poachers for their ivory. This Bill that will ban the buying and selling of all ivory products. At the moment it is still legal to trade antique ivory that dates before 1947, however, occasionally, new ivory has been passed off as antique, which is what this Bill aims to prevent. It will also increase the penalties for ivory trading up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

More details
Data Protection Bill

Nursery grounds are places where plants or trees are grown from seed and then sold on to other businesses for maturing, as opposed to garden centres that sell more mature plants to the public.

Agricultural businesses and buildings are exempt from paying business rates, this Bill would put plant nurseries and any associated structures (such as poly tunnels) into the same bracket as agricultural businesses and also exempt them from rates.

 

More details
Nuclear Safeguards Bill
When the UK leaves the EU it will also leave Euratom - the European Atomic Energy Community. This Bill aims to replace the Euratom nuclear safeguards with domestic ones to make sure that the UK’s nuclear energy material is still safe and not being diverted into the arms trade and that the UK nuclear industry will still be able to trade with European countries after Brexit.
Last time, the Lords made a change to stay in Euratom for now. Will be interesting to see if they stand their ground this time round.
More details
Everything is now back in stock - fill your boots!
Yes! I need this in my life!
I'm doing another talk for Funzing - this time an introduction to politics. This is really what I do best. If you'd like to give your knowledge a bit of a brush-up, come along to this in London on 5th July.  Dates in Bristol (and possibly Manchester) soon. 
That talk sounds great - sign me up!
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