Week ahead

Lords

After last week's marathon (drone-athon?) in the Lords, peers will next week get on to the really crucial section of the debate on the Brexit Bill, aka the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.

Two days of committee stage debate are scheduled, with more opportunities to press amendments at the ensuing report stage. And there are plenty of amendments down. The question is whether any of them will attract a critical mass of peers, capable of voting through an amendment.

I expect quite a lot of merging of the existing amendments so that they're reconfigured to maximise the coalitions that can be assembled behind them.

There seems to be some head of steam behind three broad causes: the "meaningful vote" by Parliament already promised by the government - where a lot of peers seem to want that assurance from the Brexit Minister David Jones to be written into the bill; the status of EU nationals resident in Britain, where the key player may well be the Crossbench peer and ex-mandarin Bob Kerslake and where a Tory peer, Lord Bowness, has signed up to a Labour amendment; and, perhaps, the Single Market, where there is some pressure to write in a requirement to maintain UK membership in some way.

There are also amendments down about UK membership of organisations like EURATOM, the atomic energy body, and on issues like the border with Ireland, where the former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain is active.

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Lucky escape, but for how long?

Scaffolding Image copyright PA

On 10 June last year at 4.20pm, Parliament might have burned down.

Workmen spotted a fire in plant room Q on the roof of the Victorian Palace of Westminster.

Read full article Lucky escape, but for how long?

The week ahead in Parliament: Brexit bill and Trump debate

Lords Speaker Lord Fowler addressing peers Image copyright PA
Image caption The House of Lords will get its teeth into the Article 50 bill on leaving the EU

After half term week, it's back to Brexit, as the Article 50 Bill hits the House of Lords for a two day debate, with all the trimmings.

It's got diplomats, generals, bishops, former foreign secretaries, savants, super-lawyers, mandarins, ex-chancellors, immigration campaigners, authors, business folk, and even ex-policemen.

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John Bercow: Why the Marmite Speaker is staying put

John Bercow at a football match last month Image copyright PA
Image caption John Bercow may have irritated some MPs but he has his admirers as well as his detractors

Bye, Bye, Bercow? I don't think so.

The coverage of one MP's Early Day Motion (EDM) of no confidence in the Speaker, in the wake of his comments about President Trump, is massively over-egged.

Read full article John Bercow: Why the Marmite Speaker is staying put

Five more takeouts from the Brexit bill

Whips call the vote Image copyright PA

The Brexit bill has completed its progress through the House of Commons - and is winging its way to the Lords.

Here are five more takeouts from the bill...

The Tory Remain faction is a paper tiger

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Week ahead

Houses of Parliament Image copyright Getty Images

It's a week dominated by three long days of detailed debate on the Brexit bill.

And (see my previous post) the government whips may come under rather more pressure than they did in notching up their imposing majority on second reading.

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Brexit bill: what happens next?

David Davis

The game's afoot! And the thumping four to one Commons majority for the Brexit Bill (aka the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill) does not mean the government whips can now wrest on their laurels, confident that no-one will dare amend it.

Next week's three days of committee of the whole House threatens to be a far more serious and subtle test of their mettle - and also of the Deputy Speakers who will chair proceedings.

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Five take-outs from the Brexit bill

David Davis

I've got five take-outs from the Article 50 bill so far.

1: No retreat, baby, no surrender

There may be 101 pages of amendments down so far, but the government is in no mood to take any of them on board; on the contrary, their aim is to repel boarders, to the point where they would even resist the one amendment being mooted by the Brexiteer camp, which would aim to forbid ministers from accepting any extra time to extend the two year negotiating window specified by the EU's Lisbon Treaty. Ministers do believe that the EU's Michel Barnier's strategy is to enmesh the UK in a long-term negotiating limbo, perhaps including a post-Brexit transitional deal, but they don't want their hands tied.

2: Amend-o-rama

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Week ahead

Article 50 Bill Image copyright PA

Apocalypse now, or damp squib? Next week, the work of Westminster will be dominated by the bill, mandated by the Supreme Court, to give parliamentary authority to trigger the formal process of British withdrawal from the EU.

The considerable rarity of a two-day second reading debate, followed the following week by three days of committee of the whole House, to process a two-clause 137 word bill may seem like overkill, but there are already complaints that insufficient time has been allocated.

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Article 50 Bill: what happens next in Parliament

Lord Neuberger Image copyright PA
Image caption Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, announced that the government had lost its appeal against a ruling that the prime minister must seek MPs' approval to trigger the process of taking Britain out of the European Union

Some MPs are already talking about the impending Article 50 vote as their Iraq moment; a Commons vote of huge historic significance, complete (for some at least) with a gut-twisting clash between political principle and career survival.

The expectation is that the Leader of the House, David Lidington, will announce the timing for consideration of the Article 50 Bill mandated by the Supreme Court, at Commons Business Questions on Thursday.

Read full article Article 50 Bill: what happens next in Parliament