Next week we've got loads going on. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday see Lords having their first opportunity to make changes to Brexit Bill. Expect them to add clauses pledging to commit to protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK and to forcing a 'meaningful vote' on any deal in writing as part of the Bill.
Meanwhile, MPs will spend Monday and Tuesday on something called 'Estimates Days'. These are when they debate the level of government spending in certain areas. There is far too much spending to debate it all, so 4 areas are selected. Over these two days they will be: flood prevention, Health and social care, productivity and 'intergenerational fairness.
After PMQs on Wednesday, we get to the real meat of the week. Bus services. It's already been approved by the Lords and I wouldn't have thought it'll be given too hard a road here. Details are below. We will get better bus timetable apps shortly.
Thursday is a backbench day. That means issues important to individual or groups of backbenchers can be debated and responded to by the government. They'll be discussing International Women's Day (next Wednesday - 8th March - but that's Budget day so it might be overshadowed) and Welsh Affairs.
Parliament is closed on Friday. MPs will be in their constituencies. The new console, Nintendo Switch, comes out that day. I'm sure it's just coincidence.
The following week is a big one because the Budget is on it's way. Philip Hammond will lay down his plans for the forthcoming year.
Finallly - mark your diary for Monday night at 9. What looks to be an excellent documentary about the House of Lords is on BBC 2.
Our pick of the laws being debated in Parliament next week...
European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill
Here it is - the Bill that, if passed, will mean the UK will leave the EU. The Government was forced to draw up this legislation after the Supreme Court ruled that Parliament had to vote on Brexit. The Bill itself is very short and simply confers powers on the Prime Minister to invoke Article 50 of the treaty on the European. The Bill passed at the second reading, survived the Committee stage and has now gone over to the House of Lords.
This Bill will only apply to England, so will have to go through the ‘English Votes for English Laws’ procedure. It aims to improve bus services by devolving responsibility for them to elected mayors and councils. It also gives them new franchising powers, so they can take control of local services like Transport for London does.
This started in the Lords, so just needs a Commons stamp of approval.
Technical and Further Education Bill
This Bill is designed to simplify technical education and address skill shortages by ensuring high quality vocational training. It’s most controversial aspects relate to the provisions that protect students should their technical, or sixth-form, college fail financially.
While protecting students may not be contentious, the notion that the Government will bail-out a failing college could well be.