04.05.2018

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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A quick note on the local election results - they're pretty dull. Labour made some gains, but not that many. The Conservatives have largely stayed where they were (partly thanks to votes coming in from the disappearing UKIP). Some L:ib Dem and Green gains.

Everyone can look at the results and claim they're doing OK, while looking at other people's results as evidence of how terrible they are. A few areas will see some changes to the way local services are delivered. Everything else will carry on exactly as it was.

The road to Brexit

This Brexit thing is proving to be quite a headache. It started off so clear and easy. Brexit means Brexit. In order to follow the instructions of the British people, we have to leave the institutions of the EU. So let's do that. What could possibly go wrong?

There are lots of Bills needed for Brexit. Everyone knows about the EU Withdrawal Bill. It's known as 'the Brexit Bill' and it's currently being transformed in the House of Lords. That will come back to the Commons again soon, and we'll see MPs dismantle the changes that the Lords have made. most of them at least. 

There are several more Bills, though, that are vital for Brexit to be a success. There's the Trade BIll and the Nuclear Safeguards Bill, to name but two. These are supposed to be fairly simple little Bills that pave the way to trade deals and keeping our nuclear energy material safe. The trouble is that, too, have been amended in the Lords to suit the Lords vision of Brexit. The Trade Bill now includes a clause committing us to staying in the Customs Union. The Nuclear Safeguards Bill (which is back in the Commons on Tuesday) now has a clause that keeps us in Euratom until we have a signed deal to replace it. 

I've written before about how difficult it is when so many things start to go wrong at the same time. These smaller Brexit Bills are an example of that. This week will be something of a test. Will Theresa May have enough strength to bat away the Lords' amendment? Will there be Conservative rebels unwilling to bow down? Will they be emboldened by Corbyn's lack of victories in the local election and no longer see his as a reason to keep quiet and back the PM?  This is by no means the most important of the Brexit Bills. It's not the most important of all the amendments. But. Tuesday will give a good insight into what happens next.


Monday - It's a bank holiday!

Tuesday - First up, it's the fairly straightforward Secure Tenancies for victims of domestic abuse Bill. It makes a few changes to make it easier to leave a relationship in which you're being abused. The main event of the day in the Commons, however, is the Nuclear Safeguards Bill. Some big changes were made by the Lords, so it will be interesting to see the government's response.

Meanwhile, the Lords will be inflicting more defeats on the government in the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Wednesday - It's another PMQs. This week saw a low point, with both Corbyn and May playing to the cameras and pretty much ignoring what each other had said. Hopefully, now the elections are don, we can focus on holding the PM to account and scrutinising her record in office.  after that, we've got the Data Protection Bill. This was all fairly easy, but recent changes have given the Home Office exemption from some areas. This one could all get very messy.

Thursday - It's a fairly quiet backbench business day in the Commons. The Lords are looking at support for victims of modern slavery.

Friday - Both the Commons and the Lords are looking at Private Members Bills today.  1st up for MPs a bill that would give bereavement leave and pay for parents who lose a child. This has some large cross-party support. As such, I'd expect some lengthy philibustering speeches from certain members of the Conservative Party. Speeches will be long-winded and rambling and congratulatory. 

The reason for this gameplay is that votes at 16 is the next Bill up for discussion. We were in exactly the same situation last time this came up, on 1st December. A popular and widely supported first Bill and votes at 16 up next. That time, Conservative MPs successfully talked for so long on the first Bill, there was no time for a vote on the votes at 16 one. Which means that it was effectively kicked into the long grass. Now an identical votes at 16 Bill is going to see if it can do any better. Will it succeed? Probably not. But, it could. Tune in next Friday!
Our pick of the laws being debated in Parliament next week...
European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
It repeals the original Act that took Britain into the EU in 1972, and transfers the laws that came from the EU into British laws.

It doesn’t tackle each policy area individually, there will be separate laws for things like immigration, but it sets up the legal framework to make Brexit possible.

Expect a lot of debate about this, the devolved assemblies in Scotland and Wales aren’t happy about it, and the Bill will transfer power to Ministers after Brexit to amend laws without a vote Parliament.
More details
Nuclear Safeguards Bill
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. After the UK leaves the EU it will still need the power to enforce sanctions against terrorist organisations such as Daesh, and states such as North Korea.
At the moment the rules that permit these sanctions are enforced through EU law.
More details
Data Protection Bill
This Bill, starting in the House of Lords, aims to bring UK data protection up to date and to widen the definition of personal information to include internet information such as IP addresses and cookies. It will also bring the UK in line with EU data protection laws so there is consistency after Brexit. The Bill will give individuals more control over their personal data and will allow people to request companies delete information held about them. It will also increase the punishment for organisations that do not comply with data protection laws.
More details
We're on tour this summer! Bring your little people and come and have fun with us.
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