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

This is a week for detailed law-making, with issues ranging from slavery abroad, to prostitution, to forestry privatisation, to recall of MPs, to FGM and under consideration in different bills in different houses,

But beyond the usual round of legislating, Westminster vibrates with concern about the rise of assorted political insurgencies across the country - Labour eyes turn anxiously to Scotland, Conservatives to Rochester. It all makes for twitchy whips and destabilised leaders.

Increasingly, MPs are itching to get away to their constituencies, and the relatively thin legislative programme should allow that, particularly now the EU Referendum Bill is dead and seems to have taken the other really controversial private members bill, the Affordable Housing Bill, down with it.

Here's my rundown of the week ahead:


Read full article Week ahead

Another election in the offing...

Further to my post about the Asquiths in the Lords, this rather interesting note popped up on the Order Paper today:

As was helpfully pointed out in a comment on that last posting, the Viscountcy went into limbo, when Tony Benn renounced it, and has to be reclaimed by his heir….

Read full article Another election in the offing...

Week ahead

The Parliamentary week will open with what promises to be a major helping of euro-angst in the Commons, as the prime minister reports back from the latest EU summit.

The EU Commission's demand for extra money from Britain is bound to come up - and against the background of the Rochester by-election, the result should be some pretty robust exchanges.

Read full article Week ahead

A sackable offence?

Will it rebuild trust or force MPs to keep their heads down? Next week the Commons debates the detail of a proposed system of "Recall" for members of parliament, allowing voters to sack their elected representatives between elections.

Not surprisingly, honourable members are taking a lively interest - this could be the way their careers end. Two different systems are on offer, with important philosophical differences between them.

Read full article A sackable offence?

An honourable mention

Everyone, Andy Warhol said, is supposed to be famous for 15 minutes. And I've just had mine.

There I was, in a humdrum committee room, watching the behind-the-scenes movers and shakers of the Commons talking about whether the Clerk of the Commons' role should be split, and a new chief executive created, when my Twitter feed suddenly came to life.

Read full article An honourable mention

Three Asquiths - and maybe a Benn?

HH Asquith

Yesterday's by-election for a hereditary peer, to fill the seat of the late Lord Methuen has put a third descendent of the Liberal Prime Minister H H Asquith into the Upper House.

The Earl of Oxford and Asquith, elected yesterday with 155 votes out of the 283 cast*, inherits the peerage created for the family patriarch after he lost his Commons seat in 1924.

Read full article Three Asquiths - and maybe a Benn?

Week ahead

After a week of referendum and by-election aftershocks, it's a bit more like business as usual in Parliament - with the postponed debate on the Recall Bill the main highlight.

In the Lords, Labour are sharpening the knives for Lord Freud, the under-fire Work and Pensions Minister, who is due to answer questions on Tuesday and Thursday.

Read full article Week ahead

How today will unfold

It's the second coming of the EU Referendum Bill today - so here's how I expect the morning to unfold.

Tory MPs have been entertained with bacon butties in No 10, to fortify them for the debate ahead.

Read full article How today will unfold

Unfixed term

A small bet: if there's a majority government after the next election, be it Labour or Conservative, the ensuing Queen's Speech will include the Fixed Term Parliaments (Repeal) Bill.

The current guarantee of a five year parliament was a key part of the Con-Lib Dem Coalition deal, ensuring David Cameron couldn't throw over Nick Clegg the minute he saw a polling advantage, but both big parties dislike a measure which could prove highly inconvenient to them.

Read full article Unfixed term

Week ahead

Expect a heavy constitutional week. I've blogged separately on the cornucopia of devolutionary delights awaiting us when Parliament returns - and one of the consequences of the referendum aftershocks seems likely to be the postponement of the MPs Recall Bill which was due for a second reading debate on Tuesday.

But even without the big battles expected over recall, there's plenty of interesting and unusual action - with the Archbishop of Canterbury introducing Church legislation on women bishops in the Lords; and the second reading debate for the reincarnated EU Referendum Bill - with former minister Bob Neill piloting the Conservative-backed private member's bill for a public vote in 2017.

Read full article Week ahead

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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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