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.

In the last few days of this parliamentary year, peers, who have inflicted defeat after defeat on the government, on bill after bill, must decide whether to back down, accept concessions, or continue to resist the will of the Commons - and the action could well stretch into the following week.

The result is a rather fluid parliamentary timetable, with plenty of space kept available to deal with the latest rounds of ping-pong, as the two Houses seek agreement on the outstanding legislation.

Expect occasional bouts of ping-pong to be dropped into the agenda of either House at short notice. There's even talk of some early starts for MPs and peers the following week, if the ping-pong is still dragging on.

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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.

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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."

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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?

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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.

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Would Westminster benefit from tax transparency?

David Cameron and George Osborne
Image caption David Cameron and George Osborne have published their tax returns

It may be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, but wealth has never been an insuperable barrier to a parliamentary career.

The super-rich feature in both Houses and, following David Cameron's post-Panama Papers publication, we might soon have the voyeuristic pleasure of inspecting their tax returns.

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Week ahead

David Cameron at PMQs Image copyright PA
Image caption David Cameron's statement on tax will dominate the headlines as MPs return to Westminster

Plenty can happen during even a relatively short Parliamentary break, so the main headlines to emerge from Westminster, as MPs and peers return to work, will be generated by ministerial statements and urgent questions, rather than by the business listed on the agenda.

David Cameron will use a statement on Monday to tell the Commons the government is bringing forward plans for criminal penalties on companies whose employees encourage or enable tax evasion.

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Analysis: The mechanics of leaving the European Union

Houses of Parliament

Picture the scene: it's 08:00 on Friday 24 June*, and a weary David Cameron marches to the microphones outside Downing Street to react to the referendum vote to leave the EU.

Ignoring shouted questions about whether he will resign, he reprises his reaction to his shock Commons defeat over Syria in 2013. "The will of the British people is clear," he says, "I get it and I will negotiate accordingly to implement their clear decision."

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A dynastic affair

House of Lords

I suppose that, pretty much by definition, a by-election to replace an elected hereditary peer in the House of Lords is a dynastic affair….

But as what may be the world's smallest electorate gathers to replace the late Lord Avebury as an elected hereditary Liberal Democrat peer, a clash of Liberal dynasties looms.

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Running into deep trouble

Peers debate the Housing and Planning Bill on 22 March 2016

Meanwhile in the House of Lords...

The government's Housing and Planning Bill is running into deep trouble, with Labour's chief whip, Lord Bassam, promising anything between eight and a dozen significant defeats for ministers, when report stage consideration starts, after Easter.

Read full article Running into deep trouble