17.05.2019

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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Here's what you need to know:

 

1)There is nothing happening in the Commons this week. Again.

 

2)Brexit is coming (just not this week).

3) I've written a book and I can now tell you about it and I'm so incredibly excited.

 

Next week


Those of you who have been diligently reading these emails on a Friday will be more than aware that I am running out of ways of saying that nothing is happening. I've tried being serious (it didn't work brilliantly) and I've tried to be humorous (which, let's face it, isn't what anybody wants).  

So this week I'm going to be clear: nothing is happening at Parliament. Nothing at all. We had a vote last week. It was a dull, predictable vote, but at least we had one. It was the first since 10th April.  The Commons stopped for the day 4 hours ahead of schedule on Monday.

One place where there will be some action, some pretty major action is the elections for the European Parliament. They take place on Thursday and you should vote in them.  That said, I guess anyone who gets my email on a Friday is likely to vote, but if you're thinking of giving it a skip, don't. 

Would you like to know how I feel about these elections? Of course you would. I think they're really terrible. I have had several leaflets through my door, but not one - not one! - says a single thing about what the MEPs from that party would do in the EU Parliament. But that's what this is for. Who will represent us in the EU Parliament.

I know that it's a proxy war.  Somehow this election has morphed into a vague second referendum. This is all about Brexit. The Brexit party (spoiler: they've going to win) haven't published a manifesto, because it's all about Brexit.  The Conservatives, too, haven't bothered with a manifesto.  They could finish in 4th behind the Lib Dems (who'se slogan Bollocks To Brexit doesn't really help when I'm explaining the whole thing to Primary Schools kids in assembly).  Change UK have a manifesto, but it's (almost) all about Brexit.  The Labour Party leaflet promised 10,000 more police on the streets - which is something that an MEP has absolutely no power to achieve.

Where are we then with these elections? We may well have 25 of our 73 MEPs representing the Brexit Party, with maybe 12 seats for the Conservative Party. That would be half our seats going to parties who have no mandate to do anything in the EU Parliament. IF you don't say what you'll do, people can't vote for what you'll do, so nothing you do will be with the express agreement of the voter.

Of course, we might Brexit before July, so none of these MEPs will ever take their place. Except, we won't and they will. For how long? Nobody knows, but would you be surprised if we had to have another round of these votes in 5 years time? I wouldn't.
 

Four Days in June


So we've got this week, right? Where nothing is happening except for the elections on Thursday.  Then, the following week, MPs have the week off for the traditional Whitsun recess.  Monday 3rd June, though?  It all kicks off on Monday 3rd June.

Monday 3rd - Donald Trump arrives in the UK. He'll pop in to see the Queen. Outside Buckingham Palace, there will be many protesters. 

Tuesday 4th - The PM has promised to bring the Withdrawal Agreement back for a fourth vote this week. Almost certainly it will be in the form of starting a new Bill. So we'll almost certainly have the Second Reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) today.  This is a debate about the general principles of the Bill.  No changes can be made. The debate will probs be split over two days so no vote today.

Wednesday 5th - My guess is that the vote will be today. Meaningful Vote 4. At this stage it's hard to tell if she has any chance of winning or not. We don't know exactly what will be in WAB. It may change with the Labour talks, but probably won't. Corbyn has said that Labour might abstain, but I think that's unlikely.

One advantage of doing this as a Bill rather than a one-off vote, is that once it get's past the Second Reading stage it goes to committee, where MPs can introduce changes.  It might be possible that some people who would have voted down MV4 would pass WAB, in order to make changes later.  In short, WAB may have more chance to pass than straight up MV4. What those chances actually are will become clear over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday 6 - It's 75 years since D-Day and there are all kinds of things planned.  Also today, the Peterborough by-election.  This Labour held seat could be in trouble from all sides.  Personally, I think that the Brexit Party and the Conservative Party might split that vote enough for the Labour candidate to win. Any other result wouldn't be great for Labour, as it's traditional for Opposition parties to be hoovering up by-elections and polls in the build-up to a victorious General Election.

 

The Breakdown: Making sense of politics in a messed up world


OK. I've written a book and it's being published on 30th May.  You may notice that I've put far too many adverts for the book in this email. But, well, I've written a book.

Anyway. Here's what you need to know about the book: It's an attempt to bring more humanity and compassion to our politics. To improve conversations everywhere.

Listen, I could write about this book at length, but I'm going to ration myself. The next email you get from me won't be until June 3rd, I'll include some kind of extract then.  For now, here's what happens.

Introduction - description of The Breakdown. How and why it exists. Why it's awful. I talk a lot about echo chambers here.

Part One - Ideologies.  Understanding different ideologies hopefully helps to see why people say the things they do.

Part Two - Battlegrounds. This is a snappy tour round all kinds of different poltiical battlegrounds, including privatisation, free speech and education.

Part Three - Change makers. This looks at people who have managed to communicate and negotiate their way to make real change happen. From  Nigel Farage to Caroline Criado-Perez to Finn the dog.

Appendix - A complete guide to the mechanics of how politics works. 

Honestly, I couldn't be more proud of this book. If you like reading what I write in these emails, do pick it up. I very much hope you enjoy it!
 

Two Weeks Ahead. 

Monday - Remeber that super dull Bill from last week? Paving the way for online Business rates? Well, they're doing more of that today.  Woop.  That'll be followed by a debate on medical cannabis on prescription. Which might be more interesting, but it's a Backbench Business debate so nothing will come of it.

Tuesday -  For people who love Westminster stuff, this is actually a surprisingly good day. There's a Bill about the whole of Parliament moving out of the Palace of Westminster from 2025 for approximately 6 years. A chamber will be made at Richmond House (which currently houses the Ministry of Health). Some would rather not do this and would like works to go on around them while we continue to use the Commons. This would take longer and be more expensive but would maintain the use of the traditional chambers at all times. This might have passed anyway, but the fire in Notre Dame seems to have focused minds a bit.

Wednesday - Will anyone save us from PMQs? MPs are voting with their feet and not attending. Maybe it's Stockholm Syndrome, but I feel I can't leave. 

After that, we've got an Opposition Day debate on a topic that we don't yet have.

Thursday-   EU ELECTIONS!!!!!

Back in the Commons, there are one main debate today. On peace in Yemen.  Again it's a Backbench Business so nothing will come of it.

Friday -  No Parliament. Loads of politics though as we will have had the EU election results.

Saturday - My wonderful family show, in collaboration with Comedy Club 4 Kids, hits Folkestone. We're on at 11.30 am so you can go to the beach after.  Be great to see you there.

Thursday (30th) - My book comes out!  I'll be on Sky News with Adam Boulton at 9.45am.  My family show then rolls into the Underbelly on the Southbank in London at 1pm. There's a Foyles just next to it, so you could probably pick up my book en route.

Friday (31st) - I'm back at the Underbelly at 1pm. Both these shows are going to absolutely cracking. Come along!
I'm back out on tour with my fabulous family comedy politics show!
If you live near any of these places, find some children and come along.
Folkestone tickets
London tickets
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