You may have thought that October was going to be the month where it all happened. Parties were fresh from a pretty intense conference season. The new government had a manifesto to start implementing. Brexit needed a good bit of attention. Maybe even a leadership bid or two would be in the offing.
Turns out... October has been a bit, well, quiet. No EU Withdrawl Bill. Not much legislation to talk about at all. The biggest story of the month has been the government NOT voting on things. Yeah. That kinda sums it up.
Good news, fans of things happening, November is coming. Sure, it's going to start off pretty quietly. There's another Opposition Day on 1st. The government won't vote against it, but have now said they will make a statement on any passed opposition day motions. Within 12 weeks. Yep. 12 Weeks.
So, what's so great about November? Well. Two things. First up on 14th & 15th November, we finally get the EU Withdrawl Bill back in the Commons for the first two of eight days of close scrutiny, hard debates and close votes. These are going to be testing times for the government.
Following that, on 22nd November, we've got the Budget. With various people wanting various pots of money, this is going to be a particularly tricky balancing act for Phillip Hammond.
Sunday - Diane Abbott is on Marr today. Chakrabarti and Campbell are on Peston Paterson will have good people too. Good times.
Monday - If you squint, Monday looks a lot like how Parliament should run. New laws are being debated in the Commons (flexible working hours for those in the armed forces) and in the Lords (Data Protection). Elsewhere there is a debate about Proportional Representation that has been triggered by a petition signed by over 100,000 people.
Tuesday- It's Halloween. Which might explain why Tuesday is so eerily quiet in Parliament. MPs are debating the formality that is the Finance Bill. Lords are looking at the ATOL Bill and the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill. I shall be catching up on some paperwork. Or sleeping.
Wednesday - The last 3 PMQs have been compelling viewing. Corbyn has been strong on Universal Credit and the uphill battle that many people face in this country. May has been increasingly more confident in her responses. It's a fascinating battle.
After PMQs there is another Opposition Day. The subject hasn't been announced yet. The government won't vote on it but will make a statement within 12 weeks. That means we'll definitely have the statement before February. Just.
The Lords will send their afternoon discussing The “lets make sure we can still implement sanctions against terrorists after Brexit” Bill.
Thursday - Two debates from the Backbench Business Committee today. One on Claims and unaccompanied children, the other on sexual harassment and violence in schools. Expect some pretty high-level debate on these highly emotive issues.
Friday - There are Private Members Bills in the Commons on Friday. These are bills started by individual MPs and it's very rare for them to become law. One highlight today is a bill to lower the voting age to 16.
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Our pick of the laws being debated in Parliament next week...
Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill
Currently, regular members of the armed forces are expected to be available for duty all day every day, and have no guarantee that they will not be liable for an extended overseas deployment.
This Bill will give members of the armed forces the option to apply for part-time working, and to ask to restrict the geographical area in which they work.
Data Protection Bill
This aims to bring UK data protection up to date and to widen the definition of personal information to include internet information such as IP addresses and cookies. It will also bring the UK in line with EU data protection laws so there is consistency after Brexit. The Bill will give individuals more control over their personal data and will allow people to request companies delete information held about them. It will also increase the punishment for organisations that do not comply with data protection laws.