If you go outside right now and cock your head slightly, you might just hear some strange noises. Don't worry. It's just Hattie and me gearing up for Tuesday and Wednesday's marathon EU Withdrawal Bill sessions. Popping corn. Roasting coffee. Leafing through the Standing Orders that dictate how proceedings work. That kind of thing.
There are over 20 amendments from the Lords to be debated. The ones that the government added (over 190 of them) won't take too much time. Then there are the government defeats. There were fifteen of them in total. They're explained below. MPs will look at each one in turn.
There are also a couple of new amendments tabled. Well. Strictly speaking, they are amendments to the Lords amendments. But everyone has been getting very hot under the collar about some Labour ones. In short, backbench Conservatives say they won't support anything put down by the Labour front bench (Corbyn and his team), but they've put some down anyway. Which will definitely lose (because a government defeat is only possible if some govt MPs rebel). They do it to show what their policy is.
They normally do all the debating and then all the voting at the end. So if it's a twelve hour day of debating on Thursday (roughly 12.30pm - 12.30am) then all the votes come after - that ends up being very late indeed. MPs vote by walking through corridors on either side of the chamber (Ayes to the right, Noes to the left). It takes about 20 minutes per vote. There will be lots of votes. It will go on until very late.
There is a great deal to say about it all, but I don't think this is the space. Join us during the debates themselves and we'll be doing the best we can to walk you through the process. Bring snacks.
Monday - Almost entirely drowned out by the Brexit noise is the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. It starts it's journey today. It beefs up police powers and cracks down on propaganda. Details below. It's pretty interesting.
Tuesday - It's the day we've been waiting for - we had been told that this would be the only day of EU Withdrawal Bill Ping Pong fun. When the timetable for the week was read out, however, we've been given another day tomorrow, too. At the time of writing, there is no 'Programme Motion'. That's the thing that tells you what is going to be debated when. So, for now, I can't tell you which amendments are going to be debated when.
Also, the Ivory Bill passed the Second Reading, with great haste, it is in committee today. That means that a small group of MPs are going through line by line and trying to make it as good a piece of legislation as possible.
Wednesday - A busy day - It's PMQs at 12, but the news cycles will be dominated by the EU Withdrawal BIll as it continues. Today is the last day to debate Lords' changes. It's expected back in the Lords on Monday 18th.
Thursday - Some very tired MPs will crawl into Parliament today so that they can take part in a debate to mark the 70th anniversary of the Empire Windrush arrival at Tilbury Docks.
Friday - Just in case you'd hoped for a rest on Friday, no - it's a Private Members Bill day. The Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill is finishing its journey through the Commons. That's a hard thing to do and it's testament to the cross-party appeal of the Bill, which aims to regulate the use of force against mental health patients. Other topics to be debated include extending the freedom of information and creating a June bank holiday.
Our pick of the laws being debated in Parliament next week...
European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
This is the Bill that has been called the Great Repeal 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. The Bill has passed through both the Commons and the Lords and is now ping ponging between the two while they try to find some common ground. This could last a while.
This Bill aims to strengthen the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy and is partly in response to the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury earlier this year. It will introduce a number of new laws, including the ability of police and immigration officers to question people suspected of hostile activities at airports and ports, and then potentially deport them. It will also introduce longer sentences of up to 15 years for terrorist propaganda offences and make it easier to tackle those who stream or repeatedly view extremist material online. As with most counter-terrorism measures this will be heavily scrutinised by civil liberties and human rights groups.
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.
Following a public consultation last year, the Government has introduced a 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 there have been cases where 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.
New show Klaxon!!!!
In collaboration with Comedy Club 4 Kids, this new family show is going to be so, so, good. Bring your little people. Or other people's little people. But make sure you ask them first.
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.