MP with committee clout

Andrew Tyrie Image copyright HoC

If there is any one MP who has dramatised the increased clout of the Commons select committee system, it is Andrew Tyrie - who announced today he is quitting Parliament at the election.

A flinty, austere, exacting figure, Tyrie has been chair of both the Treasury select committee since 2010, but probably reached the zenith of his influence leading the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, which helped shape the post financial crisis framework for the banking system, pushing the government rather further than it wanted to go, in the process.

Set up in 2012, in the wake of the LIBOR interest-rate-fixing scandal, the Commission yomped through a prodigious amount of policy work at a gruelling pace.

Its vast reports had huge leverage over the post-crisis banking legislation, not least because the authors sat in both the Lords and Commons - and those in the Lords, including the former Chancellor Lord Lawson, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, were influential voices in debates on banking legislation, at a time when those issues were politically radioactive

By the end of its life, relations on the Commission had frayed to the point that members were briefing against each other in pretty venomous terms.

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Week ahead in Parliament

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Media captionThe end of the Parliamentary session involves a few odd actions and Norman French being spoken in Westminster

It's the last rites of the 2015 Parliament - and in a frenzy of last minute deal-making, the legislation which can be completed will be rushed to the finishing line, while all manner of bills and other parliamentary business is dropped for lack of time.

Watch out for plenty of brinkmanship, particularly on a key amendment to the Criminal Finances Bill (see below). This will also make the whole timetable pretty fluid and prone to last minute alteration as new events are crowbarred in.

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Farewell to an independent-minded MP

Douglas Carswell Image copyright AFP

So. Farewell. Then. Douglas Carswell.

The independent MP for Clacton will not be contesting the seat he won in the Conservative interest in 2005, then held in a by-election, and General Election on behalf of UKIP. And so ends one of the more remarkable - and effective - parliamentary careers of the 21st Century.

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Election 2017: Parliamentary timeline

Theresa May addresses media Image copyright Reuters

And that is how you spring a surprise.

Westminster's conventional wisdom had pretty much ruled out the election which Theresa May has just called, and her snap election will force a snap decision on quite a lot of MPs: should they stay, or should they go?

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Week ahead in Parliament

Westminster Image copyright Getty Images

Half of Parliament is sitting for a little over half the post-Easter week - and the most significant action will probably come in the form of ministerial statements or urgent questions. With the end of the parliamentary year looming, the government is focused on shepherding through the remainder of its legislation and tying up remaining business before the music stops, probably in early May.


Tuesday 18 April

The Commons returns at 1430 BST for Treasury questions - watch out for Brexiteer pressure on Chancellor Philip Hammond, who is seen as the leading cabinet supporter of a "soft Brexit".

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Week ahead in Parliament

Peers in the House of Lords during a debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Lords will continue to sit next week - and there's plenty of Brexit-related business to deal with

MPs have already begun their Easter break - but the Lords legislate on.

Mostly they're sweeping up some legislative fag-ends, but the Tuesday debates on the process of Brexit could provide some significant action, as the Labour Lords ("the effective wing of the party," one peer murmured to me) seek to keep up pressure on the government on two long term issues where they are seen as being vulnerable.

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Fragile unity of Brexit Committee dissolves

Brexit Committee Image copyright HoC

Oh dear. For a while the Commons super-select committee on Brexit has managed to defy predictions (mine included) that it would struggle to unite around strong conclusions and hard hitting reports.

Thanks to Hilary Benn's skilful chairing, it produced two tough reports on the status of EU citizens in the UK and of British residents in the EU, and on the government's negotiating objectives, with its Remain majority and Leave minority both signing up.

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Week ahead in Parliament

Theresa May Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Theresa May remembered the victims of the attack, and expressed MPs' thanks to those who work to keep Parliament safe

After a traumatic week, it is likely that some of the most significant events in Parliament next week will be statements and questions following up Wednesday's terrorist attack.

The prime minister, of course, made a statement to MPs the day after the attack, and expressed MPs' gratitude to the staff and security teams who guard the Palace of Westminster. There will be many acts of remembrance in the days ahead, while parliamentarians get on with the day-to-day business of democracy.

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Week ahead in Parliament

John Bercow Image copyright PA

After the sound and fury of the Brexit Bill, the Westminster agenda seems rather more quiet in the coming week, with much of the most significant action taking place on the committee corridor.

The exception may come on Wednesday, when the Lib Dem Leader, Tim Farron, takes the unusual step for a party boss, of presenting a 10-minute rule bill calling for a referendum on the terms of the UK's divorce deal with the EU....

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Labour lords open a new front in the Brexit battle

Peers in the House of Lords during a debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill Image copyright AFP

The story so far - this week the government's bill to trigger the process of leaving the EU cleared Parliament un-amended.

But the government did give MPs and peers assurances on two key issues.

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