The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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I will be on Politics Live on BBC Two this lunchtime.
12.15 until 1pm and then on iPlayer should you wish to catch up!

7 become 2

OK. I'm going to admit defeat. I was trying to start this email with some re-written lyrics of the Spice Girls' festive hit '2 become 1'.  Replacing concepts of 'candlelight and soul together' with something about suspending Parliament and wealth generation. It hasn't gone well.

Some of the lyrics, need no changing: 'Say you believe it, say you believe it', 'we can achieve it, we can achieve it', and  'set your [markets] free, it's the only way to be' could all be lines in any of the hopeful's speeches. OK. I made one small adjustment there. But you get the idea.

Anyway. Yes. Fear not, there will be no more in this email about that lot or Girl Power in this email.  Partly because both the women in the running to be the next PM have now been removed from the competition. The next Prime Minister of this country is going to be a man. Probably a white man, but Sajid Javid is still officially in the running, so there is some chance of the first non-white PM we've ever had.

If you enjoyed this week's jockeying for position and festival of democracy (well, a festival of democracy for 313 Conservative MPs), you're going to love next week.  Yes, in just 168 time, we're going to know who the final two will be.  

There is a vote on Tuesday (results at 6ish), for which MPs need 33 votes to keep going. Yesterday, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock and Rory Stewart all scored less than 33.  They will be looking to hoover up some of the 30 votes that went to Andrea Leadsom, Mark Harper and Esther McVey, who have all been removed from the process.

Who's going to get those votes? Well, Leadsom and McVey are both pretty keen on this whole Brexit thing you've seen so much about. As such, if they don't transfer straight to Boris, Dominic Raab might be hoping for his slice. He only needs six extras to get into Round Three. 

It's unlikely that Rory Stewart (the runaway winner amongst non-Conservative voters, which is an irritating group to have behind you when it's only Conservatives who have the vote) will get many from either Leadsom or McVey. Possibly some from Mark Harper. He needs 14 more MPs to swing behind him. On the radio yesterday he was saying how he's going to get them from Matt Hancock amongst others. We'll see.

Let's imagine that we're down to the final five by 6pm on Tuesday. They'll be Johnson, Hunt, Gove, and two of Raab/ Javid / Hankcock / Stewart.  The next day, there is another vote.  By this stage it's one person getting knocked out at a time.  No minimum numbers. So Wednesday's vote (results at 6ish) would take it down to four.

In that circumstance, there would be two votes on Thursday.  Each knocking someone else out. If we're down to two in an earlier vote we might not need one or even two of these votes. Leaving us, as if by magic, with the final ticket. Boris Johnson plus one.

The good news is there is very, very little else going on in Parliament next week. So. Grab your popcorn, keep it locked to your favourite news channels (and / or SP's social media) and let's watch what happens to the people who Wannabe the next leader.

The Week Ahead. 

Today -  I'm on BBC Two's Politics Live. Right now I'm not sure who the other guests will be, but there's plenty to talk about from the Conservative leadership contest to my book, The Breakdown. I'm very excited by the whole thing.  Tune in live at 12.15, or catch up on iPlayer. 

Sunday - We'll see Conservative hopefuls out in force on both Marr and Ridge this morning. Probably a Lib Dem candidate or two (there are only two), too.  Maybe even a UKIP candidate, but that's less likely. 

The remaining candidates for PM will be invited to a TV debate on Channel 4. It remains to be seen who will accept the invitation.

Monday - You'll be used to this by now. It's very quiet. There's a boring and technical bill about business rates. A bit of a debate about cats being scanned for ID chips when found dead and returned to families rather than being put in landfill. THat's because a load of people signed a petition to make it so. The debate, though, is in Westminster Hall and nothing will come of it.  What else is happening?  Er... Nothing. Another day the Commons will finish early.

Tuesday -  Did you think Monday looked a little dull? Ha! You ain't seen nothing yet. Nothing but technical bits and bobs in the chamber today.

The screws tighten on prospective candidates for leadership of the Conservative Party today. It's round two of MPs votes and they need 33 votes to stay in the game.

Having made it through that vote, with the result at 6ish, candidates have then been invited to a BBC debate at 8pm.

Wednesday - Ah, PMQs. Well, caretaker PM's Qs.  These sessions have felt a bit nothing-y for a while, but with the Prime Minister just filling in until late July, it feels even more dreary. Hey ho.

After PMQs it's the bill about Parliament moving out of the houses of Parliament for the much-needed refurb. There are people who don't like this idea, but they are in the minority. Any votes will be won by Team Move Out For A Bit by some margin.

There is a third vote for leadership candidates, too. In theory, it might not be needed, but with this many candidates, I presume we'll be honing in on who will join Boris Johnson on the membership ballot.

Thursday-  Another quiet day in the chamber. General debates on reuniting refugee famlies and court closure and access to justice.

If the leadership race isn't all over by now, it will be today.  Rounds four and five (if needed) will take place at lunchtime and then in the afternoon.  By the end of play today we will almost certainly know which two Conservative MPs the 160,000 or so Conservative members must choose between. 

Friday -  No Parliament today. Presumably lots of interviews from the final two Conservatives. I'll bring you some kind of profile on both in my email today. Also in next week's email is lots more very boring things to look forward to in the Commons. So that's something to be excited about.
After lots of family shows, I'm back with some talks for adults this summer.

The first is in a few weeks time in Shoreditch, London. join me if you can!
Tickets and info!
Margate Tickets
Peterborough Tickets
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