26.10.2018

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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All eyes on Phil

Ladies and gentlemen, it's Budget Week. This is always interesting, but right now it feels more important than ever. The Budget really signals what a government is thinking. What are the plans for the next year? How are things going right now? All that jazz.

One headache that Hammond is dealing with while he drafts his speech is that lots of promises have already been made on his behalf. Theresa May has promised billions a year extra for the NHS. We've been told for ages that when the Budget came around, we'd find out how they're going to pay for it. Well, guess what? It's here. Time to come clean. Time to flash the Benjamins.

It's not just the NHS. No. In her Conference speech at the start of the month, Theresa May told us that Austerity is over. Our hard work has, apparently, paid off. Corbyn has been making much of this at PMQs. Different ministers have also been asking for extra cash. To what extent this Budget does increase spending will be very interesting. As with the NHS, though, exactly where the money will come from will be every bit as important as the headline spending figures.

Finally... Brexit. How much money is going to be set aside for the various pots of cash that might cost? There is the £39bn or so divorce bill for starters, but there will also be infrastructure that needs building and other projects that will need funding. There is talk of the government going into full no deal preparation mode if we can't get anything sorted by the start of December. That's going to cost money, too.

Then there's the Labour Party. This is their chance to make an impact in the public consciousness, by discussing their alternative vision. John McDonnell has said the government need to up spending by £108bn. That's never going to happen on Monday. So they will claim that austerity isn't over and we're still being squeezed.

Sunday - Can't wait till Monday's Budget chat? Don't worry, Marr will be all over this on Sunday morning. Officially it starts at 10, but clocks go back so it will feel like 11.
 
Monday - Budget day! La la la, it's Budget Day. The man himself will be jumping to his feet at 3.30pm. When he has finished, Jeremy Corbyn will leap up and congratulate Mr Hammond on an excellent, balanced and forward-looking set of plans. Probably. He'll be followed by the SNP and a series of high profile MPs chipping in. Honestly, the first day of Budget debate is one of the highlights of the Parliamentary calendar. Tune in if you can, or catch up with us on social.

The Lords are officially looking at the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill (but most of them will be watching the Budget).

Tuesday - Did you enjoy the Budget? Love the Budget debate?  Good news! There's more of that today. It's Day Two. A little less interesting. A bit more technical. 

The Lords are on the Northern Ireland Bill that the Commons past last week. It says that ministers should be in place by 26th March 2019. A new amendment also means that the minister will have to 'consider' human rights when it comes to same-sex marriage and abortion in Northern Ireland.

Wednesday - Another fairly tired PMQs last week. With so much of the real action taking place inside the Conservative Party, PMQs feels a bit like a sideshow. This week, presumably Corbyn will go over the same points he made on Monday afternoon. Or he might have another go at Brexit. 

After PMQs, it's Day Three of the Budget debate. One for the fans. 

It's also Halloween. Watch out for MPs making terrible references / jokes about the supernatural. 

Thursday- The crowds cheer 'Encore! Encore!' and back come the MPs. One last day of Budget debate. One last day.

Friday - I'm so sorry to tell you this, but there is no Budget Debate today. Neither the Lords or the Commons are even sitting. Don't worry, you can still go back and scroll through our tweets of some of the best bits. That's what I do on a Friday night. Glass of wine in one hand, phone in the other, re-living the highlights and gently weeping at the passing of time.
Our pick of the laws being debated in Parliament next week.
Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill

This Bill aims to strengthen the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy and is partly in response to the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury earlier this year.

It will introduce a number of new laws, including the ability of police and immigration officers to question people suspected of hostile activities at airports and ports, and then potentially deport them. It will also introduce longer sentences of up to 15 years for terrorist propaganda offences and make it easier to tackle those who stream or repeatedly view extremist material online.

As with most counter-terrorism measures this will be heavily scrutinised by civil liberties and human rights groups.
More details
Agriculture Bill

This Bill will provide the legal framework for the UK to leave the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after Brexit. The main focus of the Bill is to end direct payments (which are based on the amount of land being farmed and therefore give the greater rewards to the largest landowners) and to set out how farmers and land managers will in future be paid for “public goods”, such as better air and water quality, improved soil health, higher animal welfare standards, public access to the countryside and measures to reduce flooding. The Bill also contains the powers for the Government to offer financial assistance to incentivise farmers’ productivity. The Bill has already had a mixed response from both farmers and environmental groups.

More details
Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill
This Bill is intended to allow time and space for political parties to agree a return to power-sharing government in Northern Ireland.There has been no functioning Northern Ireland Executive since January 2017, when the then deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland resigned, which also resulted in the First Minister ceasing to hold office. Since then, Parliament has intervened when necessary to ensure the continuity of public services in Northern Ireland. This Bill sets up a time frame to re-establish the Northern Ireland Assembly again and start appointing ministers. As the Bill relates to Northern Ireland, special procedures apply and MPs will therefore consider all stages of the Bill on Wednesday.
More details
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