Parliament has been off this week, but politics has never been too far from the news. We've had Boris Johnson's speech on Brexit. We've had 5 more speeches on Brexit announced. We've had foreign aid budgets questioned. We've debated Brexit a bit (just for fun) and we've had some ideas for policies on animal welfare from the Labour Party (which in part relate to Brexit).
You'll be delighted to know, then, that next week we're back to more Brexit chat. Not only does Theresa May address a conference on security in Munich on Saturday, laying out security plans for a post Brexit Britain (spoiler: we're going to stay in the European Arrest Warrant and Europol), but the EU Withdrawal Bill is also back in the Lords.
The Lords are starting the Committee stage of the Bill. When the start on Wednesday, ti will be the 15th day of debate in Parliament on the Bill. Now, the Lords don't normally vote on changes at Committee stage. They normally leave the votes to the Report Stage. That said, it looks like some of the more remainer Lords will use all the tricks they have, so we might see some votes. At the time of writing it isn't entirely clear. What is clear is that there are a lot of amendments to be discussed. Right now there are 80 pages of changes, and there's still plenty of time for more to be added.
What is less clear is how much any changes that are made matter. They will all go back to the Commons, where MPs will presumably remove any that the government don't approve of. It will all get a bit tighter during the Ping Pong stage, but more of that when it happens in May.
Saturday - We don't normally feature Saturday in this email. It tends to be a bit quiet, but not this week. In Munich, Theresa May gives a speech on Brexit and security, while over in Birmingham it's the UKIP EGM in which Henry Bolton may or may not be fired as leader.
Sunday - Politics TV will have a delicate Brexit flavour. For a change.
Monday - Parliament is still off today. Recess ends tomorrow.
Tuesday - And, they're back. As ever on the first day after a break, there are bound to be a couple of Statements and Urgent Questions. I'd expect one on foreign aid.
Main business in the Commons is the Sanctions and Money Laundering Bill, while the Lords are looking at self driving cars (details for both below)
Wednesday - PMQs! Yes, it's back. May takes on questions from Corbyn, Blackford and about 17 others. Exciting stuff.
The Commons are debating financial bits, while the Lords kick off their marathon EU Withdrawal Bill Committee Stage.
Thursday - Two interesting debates in the Commons. One on the role of disabled people in a growing economy and the other on cancer strategy. Meanwhile, the Lords are debating another Bill about Brexit - this time making sure our nuclear industry is ready for the change.
Friday - Both the Commons and Lords have Private Members Bills today. MPs start with a Bill to assume consent on organ donation, while the Lords kick off with a slightly technical Bill about marriage.
Join us in London!
On Wednesday 28th February, I'll be giving a talk in London: 'Constructive Politics in a Divided World'. It's going to be ace. You should come.
Details / ticketshere.
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.
This Bill aims to make the infrastructure for electric vehicles more accessible and widespread in the UK by increasing the number of charge points, making sure there are electric charge points at every motorway service station and making sure there is up to date information about the location of charge points.
The Bill will also make it compulsory motor to have vehicle insurance for automated vehicles (driverless cars).