Week ahead

David Cameron during the Queen's Speech debate Image copyright PA

It's a different kind of parliamentary week - the Commons and the Lords are both focused on debating the Queen's Speech, and there's no legislation to speak of, and no action in the Commons parallel chamber, Westminster Hall.

So as the discussion unfolds in a series of themed debates, the main points of interest will be where parties or individuals put down markers on the content of the different measures.

Watch out for comment from the increasingly influential select committee chairs weighing in on such subjects as the sugary drinks tax (Sarah Wollaston of the Health Committee); the implications of the Counter-Extremism Bill (Harriet Harman of the Joint Human Rights Committee), and the Prisons and Courts Bill (Bob Neill of the Justice Committee).

Media captionQueen’s Speech: What next?

The other thing to watch for in the Commons is the performance of the new intake. In their first Queen's Speech debate, a year ago, they were still finding their feet; now they have a chance to show what they can do, and the government whips have tipped the wink to their backbenchers that Tory talent-spotters will be looking to identify those new MPs who might be ministerial timbre.

But some may be aiming for a different audience. There's a subspecies of new-generation MP whose aim is to carve a career on the committee corridor, so they will be making their pitch as independent-minded and original thinkers, and they will be aiming as much at the other parties as at their own side.

Read full article Week ahead

Ministers facing trouble over rebel amendment

Greenpeace activists display a banner against TTIP free trade agreement while suspended on one of the Kio towers in Madrid, Spain Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Greenpeace is one organisation opposed to the TTIP free trade agreement

Will ministers have to grit their teeth and support the rebel Queen's Speech amendment proposed today by Brexiteers?

The amendment - formally, it's to the motion thanking Her Majesty for the "Gracious Speech" - is a very smart piece of parliamentary manoeuvre. It invites MPs to "respectfully regret that a Bill to protect the National Health Service from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership was not included".

Read full article Ministers facing trouble over rebel amendment

The race for the Woolsack

Baroness D'Souza Image copyright HOL

Elections are not the same everywhere.

In the Commons, MPs campaign for internal posts almost as they do for re-election: canvassing random voters, putting out leaflets, making an effort to be seen in the right places.

Read full article The race for the Woolsack

Week ahead

Peers in the House of Lords
Image caption Will peers cause problems for the government in the final week of the Westminster year?

With little legislating left, but for the loose ends of three bills, this week's parliamentary agenda has a distinct "make it up as we go along" feel to it - and the possibility that, once those loose ends are tied up, the last rites of prorogation could bring the Westminster year to an abrupt halt.

But a series of issues remain to be fought out, with factious alliances of Opposition and crossbench peers working out how far they can push amendments opposed in the Commons, as bills bounce between the Commons and Lords through the fabled process of parliamentary ping-pong.

Read full article Week ahead

Silent witness?

Media captionDuring Thursday's Business Statement, Chris Bryant called for non-appearance before a select committee to be "a criminal offence".

Sooner or later, and it may well be sooner, there is going to be a serious test of the power of Commons select committees to summon unwilling witnesses to give evidence before them.

A number of "refusenik" cases are piling up.

Read full article Silent witness?

Week ahead

Lord Dubs speaks to two child refugees from Syria on College Green on 25 April Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lord Dubs' amendment on child refugees will return to the Commons shortly

Should the UK admit unaccompanied child refuges from Europe, should the rules defining high income council tenants be changed, should trade unions face tougher controls on their elections and subscription-gathering?

Some major issues remain in play, as the work of Parliament continues to be dominated by the pinging and ponging of assorted bills between the Lords and Commons, as MPs tie up the legislative loose ends of the 2015-16 session.

Read full article Week ahead

Week ahead

Peers in the House of Lords

Bruised by eight defeats, with the possibility of more to come next week, the Housing and Planning Bill is limping towards its third reading in the Lords, next Wednesday.

And there's certainly going to be a vigorous bout of Parliamentary ping-pong with the Commons, probably going to more than one round, to resolve the differences between the two Houses.

Read full article Week ahead

Camping out?

June 2015: scaffolding on the Houses of Parliament Image copyright PA
Image caption What will parliamentarians do when the Palace is being repaired?

Sometime in the next month, MPs and peers will discover whether they're going to have to leave their historic home and allow the builders in, to save it from disaster.

A joint committee of MPs and peers have been working on how best to implement what is carefully described as the "Restoration and Renewal" of the Victorian Palace of Westminster. The roofs leak, the windows leak, the members' cloakroom was flooded this week, there's asbestos, crumbling stonework, neolithic wiring, and enough fire hazards to pose a serious risk of what has been briefed to MPs as a "catastrophic event."

Read full article Camping out?

Calling time on private members' bills?

Charles Walker
Image caption Procedure Committee chair Charles Walker outlines his proposals with Tory MP Philip Davies looking on

Has the Commons private members' bill system now reached peak weirdness?

Are we about to see the end of the Friday filibuster, and backbench MPs droning bills to death, while their supporters seethe with impotent fury?

Read full article Calling time on private members' bills?

Week ahead

House of Lords
Image caption The government saw six defeats in the House of Lords last week

The endgame of the current Parliamentary year is fast approaching.

The key entries on the Commons agenda are now those for consideration of Lords amendments to an impressive array of government bills which have been mangled by peers.

Read full article Week ahead