19.07.2019

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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Dear reader,

For something as inevitable as time passing, the end of the Parliamentary term seems to have come from nowhere. 

It's been one heck of a time. Back in September, we were watching the party faithful at each of the party conferences. Motions were passed, Theresa May danced and the government seemed confident.

Then we had Brexit negotiations, the unveiling of May's Deal, that meeting at Chequers when Cabinet Ministers were told they'd have to get this home if they resigned. So they went home and resigned once safely under their own roof.

Next up was the vote that didn't happen, then the vote that did but was lost, then the one that happened again, but was still lost and then the one that happened yet again, but was still lost. We had alternative arrangements, we had no no deal, we had indicative votes.

Since then, the PM has stepped down, Johnson cake walking to the top job, the emergence of Rory Stewart, Hunt claiming he'll still be the winner and even an almost concrete Brexit policy from the Labour Party.

I just wanted to say thank you for following it all with me It's been a blast. One of the highlights of my week is sitting down and trying to work out how on earth to explain what's going to happen next week.  Some weeks that's led to hugely long run-throughs of various options. Some weeks things I've predicted just didn't happen. Some weeks they did. 

Unless something hugely exciting happens over the summer, this will be the last email before September. Have a wonderful few weeks. The water will be a little bit choppy when we come back.

Thanks all,

Tatton

 

The big announcement


While we've known the result for some time (and,despite Hunt's claim that there will be a surprise, there will be no surprise), the official announcement comes this week. Boris Johnson will be the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 

The timetable, very generally is that the announcement will be made at lunchtime-ish on Tuesday. The big question is what percentage of votes he gets. He has been hoping or a whapping share, giving him a big Conservative mandate. If Hunt has eaten into that, it will make life a lot tricker. If Jeremy gets anything above 40% it's bad news for the new PM before he's even taken the role.

He won't become PM immediately. Instead, Theresa May will take her final PMQs on Wednesday at 12 and then she'll pop down the rod and hand her resignation to the Queen.  As she leaves Her Majesty's front room, she may well pass Mr Johnson in the waiting room, presumably reading an out of date Grazia or Men's Health or something. And so it will be that on Wednesday afternoon, Boris Johnson will become the 68th (roughly) Prime Minister. The 20th from Eton. 

What happens next is less clear. Jeremy Corbyn has said he'll table a vote of no confidence immediately. Now the timing here is everything here. He can't table the motion until Johnson is actually in position.  Which could, possibly, be after the close of play on Wednesday.  If he gets the moton in on time, the vote will take place on Thursday, if not, the vote will take place when Parliament returns in September. 

That said, I don't think this vote's timing is all that important. I don't think there are enough (any?) Conservative or DUP MPs who will vote against this new Prime Minister at this stage. They'll want to give him time to see what he can do. Also, it's generally accepted that an election before Brexit is settled will see the Brexit Party pull too many votes from the Conservative Party and the results could be catastrophic for the party.

Now, stretching forward, there could be another confidence vote in the face of no deal. That really could win, but it is very unlikely that there could be an election before the October 31st deadline. Which all plays into what seems to be the Johnson plan. Offer some kind of reduced Withdrawal Agreement, with alternative arrangements, not the backstop, to the EU and if they say no, go ahead with no deal. Once that's done, call an election having negated the Brexit Party and, he'll hope, riding a bump in the polls for actually having done the thing.

Hungry for a taste of Prime Minister Johnson? He may well choose to address the House of Commons on Thursday, the last sitting day, to lay out some plans. Of course, he may not, too.

The Week Ahead. 


****Health warning: There is nothing happening this week in Parliament. Nothing. Feel free to read this section, but I would strongly advise against operating heavy machinery afterwards as this timetable may well cause drowsiness.****

Sunday - The family show I do with Comedy Club 4 Kids is playing in The Social tent at the Larmer Tree Festival at 1pm. If you're at the festival make sure you stop in and say hi!

Monday -  Nothing really happening. A technical Bill about business rates that will make very little impact on most people's business rates.

Tuesday - Ummm... well.... yeah. Nothing. A bit of debate about body image and mental health, but with no motion or legislation around, people who need the help that only the government and Parliament can provide won't find their situation changes.

Of course, the big news today is that the winner (but, who could it be?) of the Conservative leadership contest will be announced at 11.30 / 12ish.

Wednesday -  If you want a sign of the times, let me tell you this: Theresa May's team have been urging Conservative MPs to attend her final PMQs. As in, they think they might not have bothered otherwise. Sigh. 

I can't even type the pointless goings-on in the Commons.

After that, it's a change of the PM at Buckingham Palace. Rumours that Theresa May is going down with Alice are unconfirmed. 
"Do you think the Queen knows all about me?"
"Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea," Said Boris, the new Prime Minister

Thursday-  Nothing happening. Unless we get a statement from the new PM, which would actually be exciting. 

Friday - And that's your lot, Parliament fans. MPs and Baronesses and Lords and journalists and everyone else is off for the glorious British Summer. Of course, the new Prime Minister will be active. He'll want to get things in place and get his feet under the desk and Number 10. Also in the active column will be Simple Politics' social media, bringing you updates on whatsoever might be taking place.  Do drop by if you've the inclination.
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