Weekly Parliamentary Preview
The Right Ethos’ Guide to the week ahead in Parliament – Week commencing: Sunday 21st January 2018
Just like the good ol’ days.
Well, there we go. The EU Withdrawal Bill has finished it’s time in the Commons. After 12 full days of debate and countless votes, two changes were made in the end. One by Theresa May and the government (to slot in 29th March 2019 as leaving day) and one by Labour and their Brexit buddies (to have a meaningful vote).
So, with those two changes, the Bill goes off to the Lords, where the Second Reading (a bit of general debate in which no changes can be made) will take place on Tuesday 30th January.
All of which means, we’ve got a week – just one week – while the EU Bill is in neither the Commons nor the Lords. Parliament can go about its business and pretend none of this is happening. Well. Almost.
This week is a bumper one for legislation. Between the two chambers, seven new pieces of legislation are being debated. Seven! A couple of weeks ago, it was only two. It’s also a very busy week for Select Committees. There are 26 Commons Committee sessions going on. The highlight of which will probably be David Davis in front of the Brexit Committee on Wednesday morning.
All in all, we’ve got legislation, we’ve got select committees, we’ve even got loads going on in Westminster Hall. If you squint, it’s almost like the olden days. You know, the time before the Brexit vote. Almost.
President Macron is on with Marr. He’ll be discussing Calais, Brexit (how we can’t have a bespoke deal, but we’re welcome to be either Canada or Norway), the Bayeux Tapestry and possibly Boris’ idea of a bridge over the Channel. If you like your politics a little more domestic, David Lammy and Andrea Jenkyns are both on with Peston.
The main chambers are pretty dull today. MPs looking at the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, while the Lords are rubber stamping bits and pieces.
Plenty of other things going on, though. In Westminster Hall, MPs are debating a petition (signed by 136,841 people) calling for us to leave the EU immediately. Also, Chris Grayling is talking to the Transport select committee about rail electrification at 4.15.
A busy day in the Commons. The first up is the Nuclear Safeguards Bill. This is a Brexit bill, preparing the nuclear industry for when we leave. Then it’s a bit of ping pong as the MPs debate changes that the Lords have made to a bill about encouraging businesses to invest in broadband infrastructure.
The Lords are looking to outlaw the act of shining lasers into the eyes of drivers. This is apparently how some young people are currently choosing to spend their time.
PMQs! Very interesting this week as May and Corbyn clashed over Carillion and outsourcing in general. Should be another cracker next week. Then, it’s onto an Opposition Day debate. The topic of which hasn’t been officially announced, but I would have thought that Carillion will feature.
Amongst other things, the Lords are looking at a law to improve the housing rights for people fleeing domestic violence.
Also, on Wednesday, the Governor of Liverpool prison is up in front of the Justice Committee. After a report came out this week about terrible conditions (rats, cockroaches, blocked toiles, broken windows, huge drug use, widespread self harm and 8 suicides in the past 2 years), expect MPs to give Pia Sinha a very tough ride.
A quiet day in the Commons. Backbench business debates on Joint Enterprise and Hezbollah. The Lords are debating Social Care and the NHS in the light of the winter crisis.
MPs are back in their constituencies today, but those hard-working Lords are still in place. They’re debating Private Members Bills for the day.
Our pick of the laws being debated in Parliament next week…
Telecommunications Infrastructure (Relief from Non-Domestic Rates) Bill
This Bill aims to progress full-fibre broadband in the UK by offering business rates relief for operators who install new fibre on their networks. The Government hopes that this Bill will incentivise operators to invest in the broadband network, by not charging them business rates for installing ultrafast fibra networks (as opposed to upgrades on old copper networks). This is part of the Government’s Digital Strategy that was announced last year.
Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill
This Bill would make it a requirement that social housing tenants in England who currently have a life-time tenancy and are fleeing domestic violence be granted a similar life-time tenancy in their new home. The requirement would also apply if an abuser moved out of the home, thus ending a joint tenancy. This Bill came about because concerns were raised about the previous Housing and Planning Act, that it would leave victims of abuse with no housing security.
Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill
This House of Lords Bill aims to make it an offence to shine a laser pen, or any type of laser beam, at any vehicle. Currently it is only an offence to shine a laser at an aircraft, this Bill will widen the offence to include cars, trains, trams, ships and bicycles. It will also increase the penalty and could result in imprisonment for offenders.
The second reading involved a debate about the levels of fines that could be imposed and whether air traffic control towers should also be included.
This update was produced for The Right Ethos by Simple Politics.
Simple Politics: Simplifying the world of UK politics and helping you stay on top of it. Current laws, debates and processes – they break them all down for you.