15.12.2017

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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What a ride it's been!


Well, here we are. The final email of 2017. It's been emotional.  From Article 50 to the election to the Brexit Bill dramas of this week, this year's events will go down in history. It's been a privilege to help guide you through it all. 

For a full review of the year, check out our social media channels (facebook / twitter) from 21st to 24th, when we'll be looking back. Then, from Boxing Day, join us as we look forward to the issues that are going to have the biggest impact in 2018, as well as profiling some of the smaller political parties.

Next week isn't all about crackers, nostalgia and tears. Oh no. We've got a full week in Parliament to look forward to. 

The main talking point for the week will be Wednesday's final day of Brexit Bill Committee. It is as part of this debate that David Davis and Theresa May are looking to add the date of 29th March 2019 to the Bill.

Why do they want to do that? They want to make it clear we are leaving. With talk of transitional deals and extensions to the negotiating period, they want to be clear that we aren't going to use this as a backdoor to remaining.

So why is it controversial? MPs have expressed concern that fixing the date in stone isn't to our best advantage. Some argue that it might be better to be flexible - better to have a good deal in April than to crash out with no deal in March. 

What's going to happen, then? It's hard to tell right now. Theresa May and her government were defeated this week, so they'll be pretty keen not to lose a vote. They may decide to pull the clause (which would be seen by some as a sign of weakness), or they might set about trying to persuade potential rebels to get behind the idea.

Don't forget that with DUP support, it doesn't matter if Labour, SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid, etc all vote against something. For the government to lose a vote it needs Conservative MPs to vote against something. Whatever happens, next Wednesday will be pretty interesting. If this goes to a vote it will be at around 9pm.


Sunday - The last Marr of the year. After this week's government defeat and with next week's drama, expect Brexit to dominate. It's BBC Sports Personality of the Year in the evening, too. It might not be Chris Froome's year.

Monday - MPs set about going through the Finance Bill line by line. This will get very technical. And a little dull.

Over in Westminster Hall, though, MPs will be debating the enslavement of black Africans in Libya. Over 264,000 people signed a petition calling for MPs to put pressure on Libya to stop it happening.

Tuesday-  Day Two of the Finance Bill scrutiny. Elsewhere, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee continue to hear from expert witnesses on Fake News and the Lords are debating reducing the size of membership to around 600.

Wednesday - It's the final PMQs of the year. Both Corbyn and May will want to finish the year on a high - or at least get some nice shots off to share on social media over the festive period.

After that, it's the final day of the Brexit Bill Committee stage. While a lot of the focus will be on the 29th March 2019 (see above), there will also be debate about transition deals, use of plain English to allow people to understand changes to laws and maintaining funding for groups who have previously been funded by the EU.

Thursday - The Commons wraps up for the holiday with a debate on Russian interference in UK politics and society, while the Lords get festive with debates on the effects of climate change on health, and the ivory trade.

Friday -  Neither House sitting next Friday. You can enjoy the Simple Politics review of the year on our social media. 
We've only got two 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
Finance Bill 

After 4 days of debate on the budget, most of the measures put forward by Phillip Hammond need to be approved by Parliament. That means it needs to go through the legislative process.
On Monday and Tuesday, this Bill continues its journey through Parliament.

There is always so much in the budget that our limited capacity can't do it justice. The normal 'more details' button below will take you to the BBC summary of the big speech from last month.
More details
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That's it for 2017. Thank you so much for allowing us to be with you on your journey.

From all of us at Simple Politics... we wish you the very best Christmas and a very happy New Year.

See you in January!
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