10.03.2017

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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The Best Laid Plans


How it looks on paper.

A simple session on Monday. MPs quickly vote to remove the two new cluases added to the Brexit Bill (to guarantee rights for EU citizens in UK and to have a 'meaningful vote'). They send it back to the Lords, who agree. MPs get back to debating the budget.  Lords return to the Higher Education and Research Bill.

Tuesday would be the historic day in which we triggered Article 50. It would be marked in the Commons by more budget debate and the Lords would debate a Private Members Bill. Wednesday would then have Theresa May being delighted with progress at PMQs. David Liddington would then go on to announce the Queens Speech would be imminent on Thursday and Friday's Conservative Spring Conference would go off in a spring in the step.

What might really happen.

You know how at the start of the First World War, they were convinced it would all be over by Christmas? Well, that's pretty much what's going on above.

The Lords have made two changes to the Brexit Bill. Both were passed with a majority of about 100 peers. The passion was evident to anyone lucky enough to be watching the debates. MPs will almost certainly get rid of the clauses first thing on Monday. They will send the Bill back to the Lords. There will be an almighty battle. They will almost certainly send it back to the Commons with one or both of the amendments back in.

That puts Tuesday into question. It will probably be mostly spent arguing about Brexit. Assuming no agreement is reached, PMQs on Wednesday will be dominated by arguments about Lords reform, the will of the people and all that stuff.

After that, it's anyone's guess. As the week wears on, more and more of the Lords will back down. There is general agreement that they can only ask the MPs to 'look again' at an issue. Where they see that line, though is very much down to individuals. The Liberal Democrats have bought 102 air beds for their peers to sleep over and fight the bill all night. 

It is still possible that May will be able to notify Brussels before she heads to Cardiff for the Spring Conference. It's possible. Watch this space!!
 
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Our pick of the laws being debated in Parliament next week...
European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill
Whatever anyone says - this is the main order of business for the week. They need to iron out all the differences between Commons and Lords and as soon as they do - boom - we'll trigger Article 50. 

Don't forget, for all the fuss, this is intended (by May) to only be a 2 clause Bill. Clause 1 saying we'll trigger Article 50 and 2 saying 'we really will, despite what other laws say'. Exciting times.
More details
Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill

Another law pinging and ponging between the MPs and the Lords, this would let the government intervene in non-generic medicine prices, as it currently can only intervene in branded ones.

It closes up a loophole investigated by The Times, which pointed out that some drugs bought by the NHS have gone up 1000% in price. 
 
More details
National Citizen Service Bill

This Bill will expand the National Citizenship Service (NCS), which is deemed to be a success in preparing young people for life beyond school. The Bill will boost funding for the NCS which will receive £1.2 billion in funding. It will require all secondary schools, sixth-form colleges, and local authorities to promote participation in the programme.
David Cameron is heavily involved in the NCS.
More details
Politics isn't for nerds. Politics is for fashion icons.
That's why we sell awsome t-shirts. Check them out.
We're at the Education Show in Birmingham next week. 
It's going to be great.
If you happen to be coming, please say hello at Stand J87.
But it means I can't write this email as normal.
I'll write to you on Monday instead.
ps - don't forget our amazing new card game 'Policy Odyssey'!
 Check it out.
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