Week ahead

Lechworth Garden City Image copyright Garden City Collection

It's telling how concerned lots of MPs are about lots of different aspects of the planning system.

The accumulating amendments and new clauses that assorted MPs want to attach to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill this week reflect issues many of them are clearly tripping over, around the working of the (relatively) new-look planning process, and the kind of developments that are getting through it, so that the bill provides what looks like the most contested action in the Commons this week.

Elsewhere, with Parliament on the glide-path to its Christmas break, it's another relatively quiet-looking week of business ahead, although their lordships have some meaty chunks of the Policing and Crime Bill to debate on Monday.

MPs have another by-election result to chew over, and the new member for Sleaford and North Hykeham, Dr Caroline Johnson, will probably appear to take the oath on Monday, having comfortably held the seat for the Conservatives.

There is, however, plenty of interesting action on the committee corridor, with important hearings on prisons, industrial strategy, and the future of the NHS, involving some senior ministers.

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What next if the government loses its Brexit appeal?

EU flag in front of Big Ben Image copyright PA

What if, as expected, the government loses its Brexit appeal in the Supreme Court?

The High Court ruling that ministers could not start the process of Britain's exit from the EU without a vote by Parliament was made by the most senior judges in England and Wales, the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls, so there is little expectation that the appeal to the Supreme Court will reverse it.

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Week ahead

New Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney Image copyright Getty Images

A bolt of lightning has just passed through what was becoming a "Zombie Parliament".

Just as MPs were contemplating long weeks of uncontroversial legislation, one line whips and general debates, not just until the Christmas break, but well into 2017, the voters of Richmond Park have reminded them that, in 2016, it's never quiet in politics for very long.

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Wily MP plays first Article 50 card

Conservative MP Peter Bone Image copyright PA

In the blink of a Commons eye - it took just 21 seconds on Wednesday - the Conservative MP Peter Bone introduced a private member's bill aimed at cutting through the constitutional imbroglio over the triggering of the process to leave the EU.

His Withdrawal from the European Union (Article 50) Bill would require the government to start the formal process by 31 March 2017. The small snag is that it doesn't have a prayer of getting a second reading debate - so why is the wily Mr Bone, a veteran of the private members' bill process, as well as a key anti-EU agitator on the Tory backbenches, bothering?

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Week ahead

Screen viruses list at the LHS (High Security Laboratory) of the INRIA (National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation) in Rennes Image copyright AFP/getty
Image caption The Digital Economy Bill faces report stage in the Commons on Monday.

There's some important law-making afoot in both houses this week, on issues from blocking porn sites to whether special constables can use CS gas - and there could be another attempt by peers to summon the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry into the press, on relations between journalists and the police, back from the limbo to which is has been consigned by an unenthusiastic government.

Elsewhere there's some significant action on the committee corridor, with quite a collection of Cabinet ministers appearing before various committees.

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Alice in Westminster

Rachel Reeves

In the latest edition of BBC Parliament's BOOKtalk, Labour MP Rachel Reeves discusses Alice in Westminster, her new biography of Alice Bacon.

She's the only other woman to have represented a Leeds constituency in the Commons.

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Week ahead

Philip Hammond Image copyright PA
Image caption The Chancellor is expected to unveil a carefully unflashy series of financial announcements on Wednesday.

Another week of legislative loose end-tying, with Parliament ticking over, and no votes expected in either the Commons or the Lords.

This is punctuated by the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, which will be pretty much the first major policy event of Theresa May's government.

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Week ahead

Woman on computer Image copyright PA
Image caption Could this week see the last gasp of the Investigatory Powers Bill?

MPs return to work on Monday, and peers on Tuesday - and it's always interesting to note who's tanned and relaxed after a mini-break in the sun, and who's pallid and sniffling after a few extra days of constituency work.

The balance will be interesting because it will give some indication of who's eying a possible election...

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Ripples from Article 50 ruling reach Parliament

Lead claimant in the Article 50 case, Gina Miller (C), gives a statement outside of the High Court after a decision ruling in her landmark lawsuit Image copyright European Photopress Agency
Image caption Gina Miller won her case at the High Court, challenging the government's intention to by-pass Parliament over the triggering of Article 50

It was supposed to be a quiet demi-week, leading to a mini-break for half term, but events, dear boy...

Last week MPs were being briefed that there would be no votes at all in the Commons, and there are still none, but the ripples from the High Court ruling to require Parliamentary approval for the start of the Brexit process, the triggering of the fabled Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, may draw them in.

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Why MPs voted Labour's Keith Vaz on to Justice Committee

Keith Vaz at Labour party conference Image copyright AFP

So far as most of the participants were concerned, it wasn't about Keith Vaz.

For most MPs, Monday's vote, which installed the former chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee as a member of the Justice Committee, was a routine rubber-stamping exercise.

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