27.04.2018

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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Russian money and local politics

Before we get into this week's email... it's the local elections on Thursday in England. Everyone in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle gets a vote. There is a brand new mayor to be elected in Sheffield (spoiler alert, it's going to be Labour's Dan Jarvis, who will continue as an MP, too). There are about 100 other councils electing some or all of their members, too. Maybe it's because I live in Kent - where we don't have a vote next week - but it feels like nobody cares. 

These elections are important. It can be argued that local elections have a considerably bigger impact on the people in their area than the national elections. If you have a vote in your area, read the leaflets that come through the door. Weigh up your options. And then, for the love of all that is good, vote. Seriously. Do it. Vote.

The highlight of the week in Parliament will be the Sanctions and Money Laundering Bill. This is one of the bills that were conspicuous in their absence over the past month or so. The government didn't particularly want to discuss it, partly because of something called the Magnitsky amendments. 

The Magnitsky measures were named after Sergei Magnitsky. He was a Russian auditor who discovered fraud Russian tax officials and police officers. He was then charged with a bit of money laundering himself - on behalf of his American boss. He died in prison before his trial (some suspect beatings may have been the cause). The Russians, though, really wanted to find him guilty, so he was still tried. Despite being dead. 

After this sorry little tale, the US passed a law directly to punish Russia. They published a list of 18 individuals involved against whom they would be taking sanctions. Since then, the Act has been sued to take sanctions against anyone abusing human rights. 

So, back to the Commons on Tuesday. Jeremy Corbyn has been trying to insert a Magnitsky amendment into the Sanctions and Money Laundering Bill for some time now. He wants to make it harder for Russians to use corrupt money to buy property in the UK - most often in the richest parts of London. The government had originally pushed back on the idea, but then Salisbury happened. In the aftermath, Corbyn repeatedly asked why they hadn't been able to include the Magnitsky amendments.

It appears that the government have swung round and will now accept the changes. 

Sunday - If Sunday morning doesn't involve hot drinks, underwhelming pastries and political TV shows, you're doing the weekend wrong. I know I recommend them every week, but they give such an excellent overview of what's going on in politics. If you don't already, give 'em a go!

Monday - It's a busy Monday in the Commons - and that's without any ministerial statements or Urgent Questions. First up, we've got the completion of the energy cap. You may remember this from a few weeks ago. It's very different to Miliband's socialist plan for an energy freeze. It's a cap. That's why.

After that, MPs will nod through the final stages of the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill. To stop people shining lasers into people's eyes when they're driving. 

Tuesday - The Sanctions and Money Laundering Bill makes a return to the Commons. MPs will discuss and vote on Magnitsky measures and look at compelling British Overseas Territories to give us data on who is holding money with them. 

Wednesday - PMQs! Corbyn has lead with the Windrush scandal and the hostile environment for the past two weeks. There is an Opposition Day debate on the issue after PMQs. Corbyn could go with that again, or he might leave that for the following debate and go on something else. Possibly something focused on tomorrow's local elections.

Over in the Lords, they're continuing with the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Thursday - I'm sure there have been quieter days in Parliament, but they can't have been much quieter. Really very little going on today. 

Outside Parliament, though - it's the local elections! Woop! 

Friday - It's the start of a four-day recess. Expect to find MPs in their constituency. Lots of the local election results are out today, so the media will be focusing on that.
Teachers!
We've got an amazing weekly quiz. It's every Friday. Classes compete with others in their school and in other schools. It's super fun. We're just starting the Summer League. There's still time for your school to get involved.
Check it out: https://www.simplepolitics.co.uk/education/friday-quiz 
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.
More details
Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill

This is another Brexit Bill. After the UK leaves the EU it will still need the power to enforce sanctions against terrorist organisations such as Daesh, and states such as North Korea.

At the moment the rules that permit these sanctions are enforced through EU law.

This Bill aims to create a new legal framework that will enable the UK to continue to impose sanctions.
 
More details
Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill
This Bill will put in place a requirement on the independent energy regulator, Ofgem, to cap energy tariffs until 2020, with the possibility of it being extended to 2023 if necessary. The Bill comes after the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee (a cross party group of MPs) scrutinised the draft Bill as part of the Government’s work to build consensus for the cap. The Committee backed an absolute cap on energy tariffs, which the Government has accepted in full so this Bill is not expected to be very controversial.
More details
So much chat about the Customs Union this week. Here's our handy guide to the arguments...
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