The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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Nostalgic for what?

I don't know if you remember. Time has passed. Tides have come and gone. The seasons have changed. Hopes and dreams have been achieved and disintegrated. The air we breathe feels different somehow. Life has moved on. 

But. For a moment. I want you to join me in thinking back to very different times. 

Yes. Six months ago we were all building up to a BIg Vote on Brexit. There were noises off that it might not go very well. Speeches were made and interviews were given. It felt like this whole Brexit thing might lead us somewhere. Then, of course, the vote was pulled. We'd have it in January instead. We could all enjoy eggnog and Brexit predictions for the festive period.

When Parliament returned in January, until the final votes in late March, we always felt like the big vote would be next week. This week's round of amendments and meaningful votes should be plaid down because everyone is waiting for the next batch. Theresa May is playing a waiting game, we'd hear. Next week will be the winner.

Now we know that next week never quite brought with it the decisive, the important or the interesting. Instead, we'd roll on to the following. It was busy, it was chaotic and it was so incredibly frustrating. I personally felt responsible for telling you, dear reader, that we were somewhere doing something, when we were, in fact, nowhere doing nothing.

And yet. When faced with another week of fluff and filler from the government, there is part of me that looks back at those halcyon days the first quarter of 2019 and I'm drawn in. Oh! How the chamber was full and we were counting votes and defections and all the rest. 'What larks, Pip!' as Joe Gargery exclaims in Great Expectations. 

After all that time, when we get back after the bank holiday, we'll be in the fourth week of a Parliament becalmed on an ocean of disagreement. Unable to sale in any direction for fear of leaving someone behind. We can't even agree if we should put the sails up. 

You want proof? On Tuesday, the Commons adjourned (finished for the day) 3 hours early. On Thursday? 2 hours early. There is nothing happening.

Just one problem at this point.  If there is nothing going on, we really should be drawing a line under this Parliamentary Session (which has lasted for two years rather than one to allow us to get Brexit sorted), then starting a fresh new one, kicked off by a Queen's Speech. 

Trouble is, there is a vote that goes along with the Queen's Speech. It's pretty much a vote of confidence. Lose it and there could be a General Election.

The government (who are polling a distant third in the EU elections) really doesn't want that right now. So they are introducing Bills that they have to complete before the Queen's Speech.  These are things that have been on the horizon for a while, but nobody ever really bothered with.

One of these, on Tuesday, is to ban wild animals from circuses. It'll be a well-supported measure and will pass and will kill a little time. The real elephant, though, isn't those from circuses, but Brexit hanging over the Commons. 

The Week Ahead. 

As ever, all this vaguely dull business could suddenly become a big vote on Brexit. But only if the PM thinks she might win, so probably not. As you were. 

Monday - Bank holiday. Bit of DIY. Maybe pop out for a lunchtime pint. 

Tuesday -  Do you like the idea of wild animals being used in circuses? No? Well Micheal Gove doesn't either. So a new Bill kicks off today to make it illegal. If and when this passes, domestic animals like horses and dogs can still be used, but there will be regular welfare checkups.

Wednesday - Last week, not one MP specifically mentioned Brexit at PMQs. Not one. Today, though, it'll be back with a bang? Why? Because the EU elections are coming. So, expect planted questions on all side that are designed to be clipped and promoted on social media as campaign materials.

After that, we've got a half day for a Labour Opposition motion. This is where they pick a topic that they think will make the government look bad. 

Thursday-   Even by current standards, today's a bit dull. We've got a general debate on Acquired Brain Injury. It's an important topic, but this debate won't change anything. The MPs will have a general debate on the 25th anniversary of the death of John Smith, the Labour Party leader.

Friday -  No Parliament today. Listen out for a knock at the door, though. Today and for the rest of the weekend. That'll be campaigners ahead of those EU elections we're still not officially having.

Yep. That's it. Maybe take up a hobby, yeah?


I'm back out on tour with my fabulous family comedy politics show!
If you live near any of these places, find some children and come along.
Folkestone tickets
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