08.12.2017

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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No changes so far...


We've had five of the eight days of Brexit Bill. No changes have been made to it. Most of the votes to change it have been defeated by roughly 315 votes to roughly 290. Some have just dipped inside the 10 vote margin which means that it's only been with DUP votes that the change wasn't made. But. For all the sound and fury, no material changes have been made.

That raises two points. Firstly, you may ask what the point of all this has been. You may suggest that the whole thing is a pointless ceremony. But. This is just how scrutiny in the House of Commons works. Issues are brought to the House. They are debated. They are voted on. More representatives of the people vote against changes than vote for them. The bill has been thoroughly checked and the government of the day have decided to keep things the way they are. 

The second point is that this is (almost certainly) not how it will go through the House of Lords. Next year, they are very likely to make a whole lot of changes to the bill. They are very likely to put in lots of the changes that MPs have voted against. 

Once the Lords have made their changes, it will then come back to the Commons. MPs will decide if they want to keep any of the changes made by the Lords. They may well say that they don't want to and send the bill back again. Presumably, the topic of Lords reform will also be heavily discussed around this time.

So, yes, no changes so far. But. Don't think that this vitally important bill is being passed without any scrutiny. 

Sunday - No Peston this week. They've finished for Christmas. not sure why, though - Parliament sit through till 21st December and there are some pretty vital decisions to be made before then. Lucky then, that Marr, Paterson and The Sunday Politics teams can brave the mince pies and are still with us. As ever, viewing is highly recommended.

Monday - Politics moves so quickly these days you may have forgotten about the budget. It was at least two weeks ago. Lucky for us then that we've got the clerks at Parliament to remember for us. The Finance Bill - which is effectively the budget being written into law - starts its journey through Parliament today. 

Tuesday-  Brexit Bill is back in town for Day Six and we're in for a blockbuster. From the day the bill was first published, one of the biggest criticisms was over the 'Henry VIII' clauses - the ones that mean that the government can deal with any 'deficiencies' in EU law through secondary legislation. That is a process that has less scrutiny than the normal lawmaking process. 

On Tuesday, MPs have 8 hours to debate this. The amendments are, predictably enough, to limit the powers of the government in different areas. For example, one cross part amendment clarifies that secondary legislation can only be used to 'to allow retained EU law to continue to operate effectively after exit day'. Others are more specific, looking to protect specific areas (such as the environment or workers rights) from being cut by secondary legislation.

One amendment to look out for is New Clause 53. This is a cross party addition, headed up by Conservative Tim Loughton. It calls for adult refugees to be allowed to bring their relatives who are unaccompanied chlidren from around the world to the UK.


Wednesday - PMQs! They'll be followed by Day 7 of Brexit Bill chat.

First up is six hours of debate on implementing the withdrawal agreement. That means putting in place the deal that we (may) eventually get with the EU. Lots of debate will focus on ensuring that the deal is subject to a meaningful vote and that it has its own bill in front of Parliament.  

Wednesday will also see attempts from the Opposition to set up some kind of triage body to inspect the level of scrutiny needed for different pieces of secondary legislation.

The final two hours of debate (around dinner time), will be on Clause 8. This is about making sure that we fully comply with all our international treaties when we leave. Debate will look at specific areas, such as children's rights, air quality and the Good Friday Agreement.

Thursday - Two backbench business debates today. The first is on the equality of pension provision for women. The second is on Hormone pregnancy tests. 

Friday -  Nothing in the Commons today, but the Lords are looking at Private Members Bills. First up is a law from Baroness Hamwee looking into allowing refugee families to unite in the UK.
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.
More details
Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill

This is another Brexit Bill. 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.

This Bill aims to create a new legal framework that will enable the UK to continue to impose sanctions.


 

More details
Finance Bill 

After 4 days of debate on the budget, most of the measures put forward by Phillip Hammond need to be approved by Parliament. That means it needs to go through the legislative process.

On Monday, this Bill begins its journey through Parliament.

There is always so much in the budget that our limited capacity can't do it justice. The normal 'more details' button below will take you to the BBC summary of the big speech from last month.
More details
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