11.05.2018

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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I mentioned Brexit once, but I think I got away with it.

At PMQs this week, Corbyn said that Parliament was 'being denied the opportunity' to debate, but May's delaying of the Trade Bill and the Customs Bill. As we've discussed here before, there are amendments to those Bills that will mean we have to stay in a Customs Union. Theresa May is adamant that we're leaving it and won't create a new one. So those Bills are being kept away from the Commons, presumably while the PM finds a way to ensure she wins the votes. 

The day after PMQs is when business is announced. All eyes were on Andrea Leadsom (for it is she who announces what's coming up next week).  She strode into the Commons. Would she announce the Trade Bill? Or the Customs Bill? No, dear reader, she didn't. In fact, she went further. She informed us all that there would be no Brexit in the Commons for the next two weeks. So, not just that the Trade & Customs Bills aren't coming back, but also that once the Lords finally finish with the EU WIthdrawal Bill this week - it won't be straight back into the Commons either.

So that's it. A Brexit free fortnight in the Commons. And then it's half term recess after that. So. No votes on the Customs Union until June. No debates on the Single Market. No statements on the freedom of movement. No discussion of the Common Fisheries Policy. 

Feel free to discuss the domestic agenda, but, please, no Brexit this month.

Monday - Well, OK. I'll admit it. There is a vaguely Brexit Bill in the Commons this week. It's about trucking and making sure our firms can keep trucking after Brexit. It's not very glamorous, but it's got to be done. Details below. It'll finish it's journey through the Commons today.

Also today - a Westminster Hall debate on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. An e-petition calling for 'additional panel members with decision making power to sit alongside Chair in Grenfell Tower Inquiry: to ensure those affected have confidence in & are willing to fully participate in the Inquiry'. The petition has been signed 156,621 times and the debate will start at 4.30.

Finally, the Data Protection Bill is back in the Lords for them to consider the changes made in the Commons this week.

Tuesday - First up for MPs is the opportunity to look at changes that the Lords made to the Data Protection Bill yesterday. Ping Pong can be quite interesting to follow when it gets to this stage and a Bill is being batted back and forth between the two chambers. Then, the elected representatives will get onto a Bill about empty homes (it won't take long, details below). Finally, there is a general debate on housing and homes. Yep. It's the real sign of a quiet week in parliament. The general debate. 

A real highlight of the day will be new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, up in front of Yvette Cooper and the Home Affairs Committee answering questions on Windrush. Don't forget, it was when Amber Rudd did exactly this that her resignation became inevitable. It starts at 3.45 and it's going to be box office. Tune in.

Wednesday - PMQs! Corbyn doesn't often go on Brexit, but he did this week to universal acclaim. So, what's he got in store for the PM this week? Can he keep up the pressure? Will May come back fighting? There's only one way to find out...

It's an opposition day after that, so Labour will choose the subject of debate. At the time of writing it's not been announced.

The Lords are on their final day of EU Withdrawal Bill chat. For now. They made 14 changes in total (see below for a full rundown), but they could add to that today if they really wanted to.

Thursday - MPs will debate things that they can all agree they don't like: plastic bottles and cups; homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. 

Friday - Neither House is sitting on Friday. If there is something you'd like to discuss with your MP, today would be a good day to try to make an appointment.
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
Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill [HL]

This is another Brexit Bill. It is designed to give the UK the powers we need to support UK hauliers to continue operating internationally after the UK leaves the EU.
The bill makes arrangements to enable a permit scheme, if required as part of a deal with the EU, which would ensure UK hauliers can obtain the necessary paperwork to operate in the EU. It would also set up a trailer registration scheme to ensure UK hauliers comply with the requirements of EU countries.

More details
Rating (Property in Common Occupation and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill
Although the number of empty homes has fallen since they started being recorded in 2004, the Chancellor made a commitment in the 2017 Autumn Budget to enable councils to double the council tax levy on homes that have been empty for two or more years from 50% to 100% with a view to bringing them back into use, thus increasing housing stock and discouraging crimes such as vandalism, and squatting. The Bill also says that businesses with more than one office or space within a single building should only pay one set of business rates, where currently they can be charged multiple times.
More details
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