12.01.2018

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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Two more days! Two more days! Two more days!

Did you enjoy the 8 days of Committee Stage? All that debate leave you thirst for more? Well, you're in luck. We've got the final 2 days in the Commons next week when the Bill will complete the 'remaining stages'. 

What are the remaining stages? Officially there are two hurdles yet to jump - the report stage and the third reading.

The report stage is designed for MPs who weren't part of the Committee Stage. It rubber stamps the changes that were made in Committee. Crucially, though, it also allows MPs to put forward other changes. This will give Corbyn and his team one last chance to try to amend the Bill before it goes off to the Lords. The SNP are particularly keen for amendments because they are unhappy about clause 11 (more of this later). Theresa May has now said that these changes will be made in the Lords.

The final hurdle (in this case in the final 2 hours of Wednesday) is the third reading. By this point, the Bill is locked down and unchangeable. There is a bit of debate and a final vote from MPs to say that, yeah, this is what we want. And then, after 12 days of debate, voting and jollity, it's off to the Lords. Where we start all over again.

Before we get to the day by day, I just want to point to another big story of the week- Homes Fit For Habitation. This is a Private Member's Bill on Friday. Normally these get a bit of debate and sink without a trace, but with the current focus on housing, this could be a big story. Last time Labour forced a vote on ensuring that all housing was fit for human habitation, the Conservative Party voted against it. It will be interesting to see what happens to the PMB. There are lots of tricks on Fridays, like filibustering (when MPs talk for so long that there isn't time for a vote), but these are harder with the first Bill to be discussed.  All eyes on the Commons from 9.30 on Friday 19th.

Sunday - They're all back this week. Clearly, the lure of a bit of Brexit Bill action is too much to resist. Even Peston on ITV who, let's face it, is pretty flakey on the whole regular appearance thing. Post re-shuffle, pre-Brexit Bill, pre Homes fit for habitation Bill, midst of the Winter Crisis in the NHS - expect some pretty full on interviews.

Monday - The calm before the storm. Both the Commons and Lords are debating new laws today, but neither are of earth-shattering importance.  MPs get their teeth into the Space Industry Bill (explained below) and the Lords debate money laundering (also explained below). There may be a statement on green initiatives, to repeat what May and Gove outline yesterday. This might placate the SPeaker, who would like all these announcements to be made in the Commons in the first instance.

Tuesday-  The EU (Withdrawal) Bill is back! And like all farewell shows, it's a greatest hits. All the amendments that people wanted to get into the Bill are tabled again. Yep, that means specific protection for human rights, yes, that means animal sentience, yes that means restrictions on the use of Henry VIII powers. 

It is the Speaker (John Bercow) who decides which of the 30 pages of amendments will be given time for debate.  If they HAVE been debated at Committee it is unlikely they will be selected at Report, unless they are very important. The exact words are 'of first class importance'. So, we'll see which ones get the nod. That is announced on Monday.

A quick note should be made about Clause 11. This is about powers coming back from the EU and devolution. The government has admitted that it hasn't got it right and had seemed to suggest that this would be amended in report stage. The PM has now apparently changed her mind on this and says changes will come in the House of Lords.  This left Ian Blackford pretty angry at PMQs this week and Scottish Conservative MPs have also expressed their displeasure. 

Wednesday - PMQs! Last week we actually got a prediction right. Corbyn went on health. Sure, it was incredibly obvious, but we're chalking it up as a win. No idea what he'll go on next week. Use of video technology in the FA Cup? 

And then, MPs will wrap up the EU Withdrawal Bill. They'll have 6 hours or so of the greatest hits amendments (as yesterday) and then 2 hours of general debate before a final vote. For now. It will be back once the Lords have made their changes.

Thursday - MPs are having backbench business debates today. Firstly on SMEs (small and medium businesses) and then to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day (which actually falls on Saturday 27th January).

Friday -  Private Members Bills are up in the Commons. As mentioned above, we start with Homes fit for Human Habitation. Next up (if we get to a second) is Sarah Woolaston's Bill on Stalking Protection. It's going to be a very interesting day.
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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
Space Industry Bill

This Bill is the Government’s attempt to stimulate the commercial space industry in the UK.

It sets out the legal framework for the safety, licensing and liabilities of space activities including satellite launches and sub-orbital commercial space flights.

This could mean that British businesses are less reliant on launching from other countries and increase UK revenues from an increasing global space industry.

 
More details
Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) 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
One of the topics of the week has been the NHS Crisis. Here are a few quotes from Wednesday's Opposition Day debate on the subject. (Was an excellent debate, BTW, greatly improved by many contributions from MPs who are also health professionals. People on both sides really knew their stuff.)
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