Week ahead

We could see not one, but two parliamentary votes on the controversial European Arrest Warrant next week.

Not only have Labour promised to use their Opposition Day debate on Wednesday to force the Commons vote that, er, didn't quite happen this week; but a parallel vote is also expected to be scheduled in the Lords, where Labour may well put down a Regret motion, just to salt Conservative wounds a bit.

UPDATE: The House of Lords vote on the European Arrest Warrant has been confirmed for Monday.

Elsewhere there's a clutch of issues where I begin to suspect a pre-election unwillingness to upset voters is beginning to be felt - the government has offered concessions on safeguards against privatising forests and regulating pub companies, and may be under pressure on subjects like regulating internet ticket-touting, too.

What with concern about protecting Great Ormond St Hospital's right to the revenues from J Barrie's Peter Pan, and a very pointy-headed looking debate on monetary policy, it's an interesting and varied week ahead - with just a flavour of panto creeping in.


The Commons meets at 2.30pm for Home Office questions - which may well be followed by the usual post-break clutch of ministerial statements and urgent questions.

The day's legislation is the report and third reading stages of the Childcare Payments Bill - which sets up a new tax-free childcare scheme to support eligible parents with childcare costs.

The government would provide 20% support on costs up to £10,000 per year for each child via an online account to a maximum of £2,000 a year per child.

In the Lords (2.30pm) peers get their first chance to debate the Modern Slavery Bill. This has strong cross party support, but there might be a few issues flagged up for possible amendments when detailed scrutiny begins.

The areas under scrutiny include possible broadening of the scope of 'trafficking' offences; strengthening the guardianship/advocates system for children and strengthening the anti-slavery requirements for UK industry supply chains; greater support for victims by strengthening the national referral mechanism and making it transparent with a process of appeal, and strengthening the role of the Anti-Slavery Commissioner to make them more independent of the Home Office.


The Commons meets at 11.30am for its regular bout of Clegg baiting - aka questions to the deputy prime minister. And that will be followed by a mini-question time for the Attorney General.

Then, Conservative backbencher and social thinker Jesse Norman presents a ten minute bill on apprenticeships.

Then MPs turn to the detail of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill - with day one of the report stage debate. This is what's known in the trade as a Christmas Tree Bill, so called because you can hang all kinds of ornaments on it.

It covers improved access to finance for businesses and individuals, regulatory provisions relating for business, voluntary and community bodies; procurement functions by public authorities; childcare; company filing requirements and much, much more.

But the main flashpoint looks likely to be the section which creates a Pubs Code and an adjudicator to regulate the way pub-owning businesses treat tied pub tenants. Here, there's a big cross-party amendment signed by 26 MPs, led by Greg Mulholland, Adrian Bailey, Brian Binley, Caroline Lucas, Peter Aldous and Tim Farron. They are calling for the Pubs Code to include a "Market Rent Only" option giving the tenant, or leaseholder, the option of exchanging their tenancy for an independently assessed market rent without any "tie".

In the Lords (2.30pm) the day's main legislation is the already-battered Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill - the measure billed as the antidote to the "Compensation Culture" which was treated with little short of contempt at its second reading debate.

Now it has reached committee stage and it faces gutting at the hands of the formidable crossbench super-lawyer, Lord Pannick, who has amendments down to delete three of the bill's five clauses and neuter another - clause 2.

At the moment it reads "The court must have regard to whether the alleged negligence or breach of statutory duty occurred when the person was acting for the benefit of society or any of its members." He wants to substitute the word "may" for "must".

Then peers consider a series of tidying-up orders on of Same Sex Marriage - these include the conversion of civil partnership into marriage, changes allowing consular marriages to include same sex marriages and allowing more flexibility over the venue for the ceremonies. The aim is to have the rules changed to allow ceremonies to go ahead at the new year,

And there's also some interesting action across the corridor in the Moses Room, where the committee stage debates on the Deregulation Bill cover a couple of exotic issues. First, there's the issue of dog collars - if you sell a dog, it must have a collar tag, etc....but the bill attempts to deregulate that, so that all the dog would need in future would be an ID chip. Labour critics say that buyers would need a chip reader.

Then there's Peter Pan - or rather the revenues from JM Barrie's classic novel. At the moment these are donated to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, but there are fears that the mechanism by which this is done could, inadvertently be blocked by the bill. Former minister Lady Blackstone will propose an amendment (87A), to finesse the problem.

Because this is a Grand Committee, held outside the main Chamber, no votes will be held - this will be a bit of preliminary shadow boxing, before amendments are put in earnest, at report stage.


The Commons opens (11.30am) with Cabinet Office Questions, followed, at noon by PMQs. Labour MP Gareth Thomas has a ten minute rule bill, the National Health Service and Care Sector Workers (Credit Union and High Cost Credit).

And then MPs polish off the remaining consideration of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.

Which leaves half a day allocated to an Opposition motion - and at the time of writing Labour are promising to use it to debate a motion on the European Arrest Warrant - and rub salt into Tory wounds.

In the Lords (3pm) there's some heavy duty legislating: first peers complete their consideration of the Infrastructure Bill where the main issue outstanding is a promised government amendment to protect public forest estates, which are due to be transferred to the Homes and Communities Agency from being sold on. If the amendment is accepted by Labour the tell-tale sign will be the signature of their leader, Baroness Royall added on.

Next peers turn to day one of three report stage days dealing with the Consumer Rights Bill - the issues in play include logbook loans and ticket touting - with the Rugby World Cup looming, watch out for a big cross-party amendment to strengthen regulations, along the lines of the cross-party agreement in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

Supporters include former sports minister Lord Moynihan and test cricketer Baroness Heyhoe Flint (both Conservatives) as well as Labour peers. The problems they want to tackle include: tickets being advertised and sold online before they've even been released (meaning the seller cannot guarantee they will ever be able to honour the transaction), tickets being sold at prices well above their face value, and fans buying tickets which do not guarantee them entry to the ground as they are supposed to be non-transferable

And the Conservative, Lady Oppenheim-Barnes, has an amendment on the "keep me posted" campaign to protect those who don't pay bills online from extra charges.


The Commons meets at 9.30am for Business, Innovation and Skills questions, followed by the weekly Business Statement, in which the Leader of the House tells MPs what they will be debating in the coming week.

After that, the rest of the day is earmarked for backbench business. First there's a debate on devolution and the union led by the Conservative Dominic Raab and Labour's Frank Field. The motion calls on the government and opposition to bring forward fair and reasonable proposals for the whole UK and for a review of the Barnett formula and legislative proposals to address the West Lothian question.

That's followed by a general debate on money creation and society, focusing on the issues around quantitative easing - the massive expansion in the money supply since the 2008 economic crisis. The debate is led by the Conservative Steve Baker, Labour's Michael Meacher, the Green MP Caroline Lucas and UKIP's Douglas Carswell.

In Westminster Hall (1.30pm - 4.30pm) MPs can debate a series of reports of the Energy and Climate Change Committee on climate change issues, and the government response to them.

In the Lords (11am) there are debates on subjects chosen by backbench peers: Lord Roberts of Llandudno leads a debate on the Azure Card - the benefits card for asylum seekers useable in certain shops; and Baroness Kidron leads a debate on the impact of the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child on children's and young people's online and digital interactions.

Over in the Moses Room, the Deregulation Bill's back in Grand Committee where the debate will focus on a proposal in the bill to give regulatory bodies a primary duty to contribute to economic growth - and since the bodies concerned include, among others, the Health and Safety Executive, the DVLA, the Human Tissue Authority, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the Grocer's Code Adjudicator, the Gambling Commission and many more, there are some concerns to be explored. As before, no votes will be held.


Both Houses sit to consider private members' bills. In the Commons, (from 9.30am) bills further down the pecking order have had their chance of getting debated, and even enacted, rather boosted by the demise of the EU Referendum Bill and the Affordable Housing Bill - as a result of an ugly cross-Coalition squabble. On today's list:

Clive Efford's National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill, Ian Mearns' Zero Hours Contracts and Jake Berry's Local Government (Religious Observances) Bill, and many, many more.

In the Lords (10am) peers will take a detailed committee stage look at the Mutuals' Redeemable and Deferred Shares Bill and Baroness Deech's Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill which will allow binding pre-nuptial agreements; equal division of post marital assets and curbs on maintenance.