13.10.2017

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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Let's have a heated debate.


Fans of new laws being made, look away now. It ain't your week. We've got a couple of bits on Monday, and then Private Member Bills (when individual MPs can create a law and try to force it through both Houses. They very rarely make it.). And that's your lot. 

Into that vacuum, though, rides a whole lot of debate. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are dedicated to debating. The Backbench Business Committee, who gauge opinion from Backbench MPs (who aren't in the govt or shadow teams) and organise debates, have two days - Tuesday and Thursday.  The Labour Party have Wednesday afternoon.

This week, then, is pretty much dedicated to the MPs who don't normally make the headlines. The backbenchers who put forward ideas for debate and for Public Members Bills. It's a week for the worker bees.

Before we get into what's happening each day, a quick word on what isn't happening. There is no word yet on when MPs will start their 8 days of scrutiny of the EU Withdrawl Bill. It had been planned to take place this week, but when business was announced yesterday, not a word.

The official reason is that there have been so many amendments tabled (changes suggested) that it is taking them a long time to organise the days. I also read that the government are having a look at how it can avoid a few key defeats. When it does come, it should be pretty interesting.


Saturday - Now we're out of the Party Conference season (phew!) Saturdays go back to being pretty quiet when it comes to politics. That said, it's the most popular day for protests etc. I don't know of anything scheduled for this weekend, though.

Sunday - Buy a paper, pick up some pastries, make some coffee and settle in for the politics shows. Marr is interviewing Hillary Clinton from 9. I'm sure the other shows will be great, too, but no word on guests as yet.


Monday - MPs debate a law about nuclear safeguards. It's a Brexit thing. It's pretty amazingly dull. The Lords, though, are debating space. Yes. Space! 

As ever, the big story of the day could well come from statements or urgent questions which are announced on the day. 

Tuesday- The first Backbench Business Committee debate of the new Parliament. They've chosen a pretty big topic: The persecution of the Rohingya by the Myanmar Government. MPs have been pretty vocal about this already, so expect a pretty full on debate.

Wednesday - PMQs was pretty rowdy this week. I'd expect more of the same next week. Once the cheers and jeers have died down, the main topic of debate for the day is a motion calling on the government to: Pause and fix of roll-out of universal credit. This has been put forward by the Labour Party and is one of their 'Opposition Days' when they get to set the agenda. 

In the last Opposition Day, the Conservatives all abstained. No votes took place. It will be interesting to see if they continue that approach on Wednesday.

Thursday - Two debates from the Backbench Business Committee today.

Up first is the government's plan to reduce smoking - mainly through tighter enforcement of current laws and better support for those quitting smoking. 

Following that, MPs will debate Valproate and fetal anticonvulsant syndrome. This is a condition caused when a woman takes antiepileptic drugs before or during pregnancy. This debate will serve to highlight the issue. 

Friday - Private Members Bills day! That means that individual MPs who have been drawn out in the ballot get to put forward their own laws. Chris Bryan won the ballot and opened this opportunity up to the public, taking an online vote as to what he should do. The winning idea is to give emergency workers better protection. 

There are then laws on parental bereavement, public sector exit payments, e-cigarettes and many more. 
 
Our pick of the laws being debated in Parliament next week...
Nuclear Safeguards Bill

When the UK leaves the EU it will also leave Euratom - the European Atomic Energy Community.

This Bill aims to replace the Euratom nuclear safeguards with domestic ones to make sure that the UK’s nuclear energy material is still safe and not being diverted into the arms trade and that the UK nuclear industry will still be able to trade with European countries after Brexit.
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
Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill

This Bill aims to make any assault on emergency workers (police officers, firefighters, paramedics and hospital staff) an aggravated offence. This means that the perpetrator has higher culpability and the crime can be punished more harshly.

Chris Bryant held an online vote for which law he should try to get made. This was the winner.
More details
Next week, Simple Politics will be in Lancaster. I'll be in a couple of schools in the daytime and hosting a couple of events in the evening. 
If you are free on Monday night and you're in the Lancaster area, come to The White Cross (Quarry Rd, Lancaster LA1 4XT) between 8 &10. There'll be debate and a couple of games and general good times.
It's all about the backbench business committee. In this video, I caught up with Ian Mearns - who chairs that committee - to explain what they do.
Finally, it was World Mental Health Day on Tuesday. Here's the open letter I published on social media.
ps - we need your help. If you can spare a tiny amount each month, please consider donating to us. Check www.patreon.com/simplepolitics for details.
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