Mark D'Arcy, Parliamentary correspondent

Mark D'Arcy Parliamentary correspondent

This is where you can come for my take on what goes on in the chambers and committee rooms around Westminster

Week ahead

There's a certain amount of fag-end legislating, next week, as MPs and Peers put the finishing touches to several bills.

The most interesting action may be the debates on some important policy issues highlighted by select committees. I'm particularly interested in the debate on the Health Committee's report on children's and adolescents' mental health, which argues for a major re-balancing of the way the NHS mental health budget is spent.

Here's my rundown of the week ahead:


The Commons meets at 2.30pm for Education questions (incidentally, with dissolution of Parliament due by March 31, most departmental question times will be the last before the election.)

Read full article Week ahead

Bercow rides to rescue for backbenchers

Monday night's vote on sex-selective abortion in the Commons might not have happened, but for a bit of activism from the chair….and the whole incident highlighted one of the big weaknesses in the way the House considers legislation.

The story so far:

John Bercow
Swift work from the Speaker ensured the amendment got debating time

Read full article Bercow rides to rescue for backbenchers

Look ahead

There will be some pretty meaty legislating this week, on serious crime and modern slavery, with amendments on issues like leaking information to child abuse investigations and the protection of journalists' sources likely to provoke intense debate.

But as Parliament winds down, there's a certain element of "pick up sticks and lay them straight" about a lot of the business before the Commons, in particular.

Read full article Look ahead

Week ahead

There's a bitty, humdrum flavour to the coming week's parliamentary business - with MPs and peers finishing off assorted bills, processing assorted statutory instruments and looking forward to their half term, which begins at the close of play on Thursday.

The biggest legislative flashpoint looks like being the report stage debate on the Recall of MPs Bill in the Lords on Wednesday, and elsewhere there are some interesting-looking backbench, adjournment and Westminster Hall debates...

Read full article Week ahead

What happened to the snoopers' charter?

What just happened? What was yesterday's Lords debate on adding data retention powers - the so-called "snoopers' charter" - to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill supposed to achieve?

After all, the Gang of Four senior peers behind it didn't, in the end, even attempt to force it to a vote.

Read full article What happened to the snoopers' charter?

Week ahead

Not much zombieness here. Both MPs and peers have some big issues to deal with in a busy parliamentary week, which ranges across the eternal tension between civil liberties and security, and the astonishing possibilities raised by scientific advance.

In between, there's lots of detailed legislating (and doubtless pre-electoral posturing) in both houses, so rumours of the demise of the 2010 Parliament look a little exaggerated this week.

Read full article Week ahead

Four-square behind

Chamber of the House of Lords
The Counter-Terrorism Bill will be the focus of activity in the Lords next week

It's back!

What critics have dubbed the "snoopers' charter" will be debated again in the House of Lords on Monday.

Read full article Four-square behind

Week ahead

There may well be appearances by exotic species like the Eurasian Beaver, or even defenders of Tony Blair, but overall, this is a week that sags in the middle.

You never know what events might force a ministerial statement or urgent question - but at the moment the most interesting action in Parliament next week looks to be packed into Monday, when both Houses will be processing some very big issues.

Read full article Week ahead

Week ahead

There is a certain Marie Celeste quality about Westminster at the moment.

Even when MPs are present in body - and many are staying in their constituencies on Monday and returning to them on Thursday, or even Wednesday afternoon - you get the impression that their mind it still focused on their local campaigning.

Read full article Week ahead

Commons to debate Iraq war inquiry

It looks as if the Commons will have its debate on the Iraq war inquiry on 29 January.

Uber-awkward squaddie David Davis had a very warm reception from the Commons Backbench Business Committee, today, when he appeared before them to urge them to grant a debate on a motion calling for Sir John Chilcot to publish his long-awaited report well before the General Election in May.

Read full article Commons to debate Iraq war inquiry

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About Mark

Mark has been a correspondent for Today in Parliament since 2002, and also presents BBC Parliament's political book review show, Book Talk.

His career has included stints at LWT's Weekend World and the Leicester Mercury. He has also produced and occasionally presented Radio 4's The Westminster Hour.

As well as being a politics nerd, he is a cricket fanatic, amateur cook and Bruce Springsteen fan.

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