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House of Commons
This is a lie.
We will have Big Things happen. None of them are listed below. The system of timetabling in the Commons just doesn’t work any more. It’s not the biggest problem that the pandemic has thrown up, I’ll give you that, but I find it very annoying on a Friday morning.
We will have a statement from Gavin Williamson, surely. We need to know a little more info on schools and (mini)exams and food and, oh goodness, so much more.
Grant Shapps hasn’t updated the House on all these travel changes recently.
Matt Hancock likes to pop up every week in some form.
I won’t go through all the people who might pop up. Just know that it could be one of many people. Even Alok Sharma.
Monday – Opposition Day debates. That’s when (normally) Labout choose what’s going to be debated. Today it’s about the level paid in Universal Credit / Working Tax Credit followed by a debate on remote education and the quality of free school meals.
The debates change very little. The government don’t really care what Labour say. What is interesting is that they can force votes on things. That’s what happened in October when the government had their plan for subsidising school meals. Labour suggested something they thought was clearer. The government voted against it – which means that the have ‘voted against feeding hungry children’. That’s a pretty massive win for Labour. Expect another vote in that vein today.
Tuesday – The Trade Bill is back in the Commons. This is another tricky vote for the government. They say they want maximum possible flexibility in trade deals around the world. Of course, the NHS isn’t for sale, they say, but they won’t have anything in writing. Which means other people vote for it to go in, and then the government vote against protecting the NHS.
Wednesday – Some PMQs for you.
Officially, it’s then onto some pretty dull stuff. It won’t be that, though.
Today is the Restriction Review in England. Expect the Prime Minister, probably Matt Hancock and maybe even some Micheal Gove in your life.
Thursday – Debates on the equitable life scandal and another one on child maintenance during this virus.
Friday – If you were interested in the PMB stuff last week, you’re going to be disappointed. All Friday sittings have been suspended. They want to spend minimum time all rubbing up next to each other in the corridors.
House of Lords
Monday – The Trade Bill in the Commons tomorrow is in the Lords today.
Tuesday – Yeah, not much. Quite a good day to focus on homeschooling your children.
Wednesday – A bill about protecting the armed forces from prosecution for things done in the course of duty more than five years ago. Clearly, it’s a little controversial. War crimes can be discovered a while later. The government say it’s needed so that the armed forces can go about their duty without worrying about future court cases. This bill has partly come about because of the prosecution of soldiers for events that took place in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
Thursday – The spy bill is back. This is a vital question that says so much about who we are as a nation. Should our spies be able to break the law and do what they think they need to – whatever that is – in protecting the nation? If so, who watches the watchmen? Were it not for this virus, this would be part of a much wider national conversation.
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