1.12.2017

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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A big week for the devolved bodies.


This bit of the email is normally where I tie together a few strands of the week. Occasionally there are (not terribly good) jokes. This week though has a lot going on. It's devolution time for the Brexit Bill and Labour have an Opposition Day on Universal Credit. So. I'll keep this nice and short and let you get on with exploring the events of next week.

Sunday - Sunday morning politics shows will be focused on Trump, Brexit and divorce bills. All three vital topics that will have a huge impact on politics in 2018 and beyond.  Maybe some royal wedding stuff, too, but you gotta make a cuppa sometime, right?

Monday - It's the fourth day of the EU WIthdrawal Bill in committee.

When the devolved authorities (Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly & Northern Irish Assembly) were set up, there was an important line about how they couldn't pass laws that were in contradiction with EU law. So, now that has to change to be in contradiction to EU laws that have been incorporated into UK law. That's what today's debate is all about.

Labour have put down amendments on new, UK wide frameworks for these newly incorporated laws and to make a new Joint MInisterial Committee - made up of members of the government in each of the devolved areas - and give it a formal role within the exit process.

There are also a few of amendments that effectively scrap this clause and give Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, freedom to pass laws as they see fit in their devolved areas.

Tuesday-  A day off Brexit, and it's an Opposition Day debate on Universal Credit. Labour will announce exactly which element of UC on Monday, but expect a vote to be forced condemning elements of the rollout. Labour support the general principals of the system, so it won't be a call for the complete scrappage.

Presumably, the government will continue with it's policy of not voting against Opposition Day motions. They didn't vote this week against the SNP motion about WASPI women (who have seen their pension age rise). 

Wednesday - PMQs, followed by Day 5 of the EU committee. 

The first 4 hours of debate today are more devolution bits. The first amendment to be discussed is one with large cross-party support - it's tabled by SNP, Labour, Lib Dem and Green names to it - and it aims to protect the Good Friday Agreement, which they say is threatened by the bill in its original form.

Following that, it's quite a technical bit about the devolved authorities being able to change laws to make up 'deficiencies' created by the incorporation of EU law into UK law.

The second 4 hours is about money. It says that the government can spend money if needed. The changes put down say that this is fine, but any divorce bill matters would need to be transparent and agreed in a separate vote - not included in this clause of the bill.  

Thursday - Two Backbench debates today. One on prison reform and one on fishing.

Friday -  No Commons today, but the Lords have a debate hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury looking at the effect of education in building a 'flourishing and skilled society'.
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
Telecommunications Infrastructure (Relief from Non-Domestic Rates) Bill 
This Bill aims to progress full-fibre broadband in the UK by offering business rates relief for operators who install new fibre on their networks. The Government hopes that this Bill will incentivise operators to invest in the broadband network, by not charging them business rates for installing ultrafast fibra networks (as opposed to upgrades on old copper networks). This is part of the Government’s Digital Strategy that was announced last year.
More details
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