Week ahead

It seems as if MPs have only just come back - but at the end of this week they're off again for their Whitsun recess, and they won't be back until 11 June.

But they do manage to start work on one of the bills promised in the Queen's Speech. And the Lords will be staying on into the following week.

One thing to watch for will be a Commons debate on a motion to refer the complaint of Contempt of Parliament by three witnesses to the Culture Media and Sport Committee's hacking inquiry to the House's ethics watchdog, the Standards and Privileges Committee. The Culture Committee has agreed the wording of a motion, and it will be tabled early next week. It might be debated on Thursday, in backbench time, before MPs launch into their debate on the Whitsun adjournment.

Monday begins (at 2.30pm) with questions to Home Secretary Theresa May, before MPs pick up some unfinished business from the last session - the report and third reading stages of the Local Government Finance Bill. Among other things this allows local authorities to set up their own schemes for distributing council tax benefit. One issue which may surface is problems in protecting pensioners at the expense of everyone else on a reduced budget in authorities where there is a high pensioner population.

Business is pretty thin on the committee corridor; the Communities and Local Government Committee (at 4.30pm) provides the only action in Westminster, with a session on the government's plans to encourage local authority staff to form mutuals and co-operatives to take over the running of local services. The star witness is Professor Julian Le Grand, chair of the government's Mutuals Task Force.

The Welsh Affairs Committee takes evidence in Scotland - looking at how the Scottish government looks after armed services veterans.

The Lords open for business at 2.30pm, with their usual half hour of questions to ministers. Then there are two debates scheduled - the first is on the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and then, peers will debate a report on the Euro area crisis. Ahead of the informal EU leaders summit on Wednesday, the debate will give peers a chance to press the government's response to the crisis, and what progress is being made on the implementation of the growth agenda that was set out by the EU in March.

On Tuesday, it's Clegg-baiting day in the Commons, with the deputy prime minister starring at Question Time. With a Lords Reform Bill promised, expect a fairly ill-tempered session. Then the House polishes off two more bills left over from the previous parliamentary session - the Financial Services Bill, which aims to tighten up the running of the City of London, to prevent another credit crunch, and the Civil Aviation Bill.

There's all kinds of excitement on the committee corridor, with the Treasury Committee (at 10am) looking at executive pay in the financial services sector; the Health Committee (at 10.30am) scrutinising the government's alcohol strategy and the Public Administration Committee (at 10.30am) continuing its probe into the honours system, with witnesses from the various committees which award honours.

Still smarting from the coverage of their drugs hearing with Russell Brand, sombre, serious inquiry will doubtless be the order of the day as the Home Affairs Committee take evidence on the UK Border Agency and private investigators. The Education Committee (at 11am) continues its scrutiny of the child protection system in England, with a session focusing on older children and on the adoption system.

And the Public Accounts committee takes evidence on how the government handles fraud within welfare to work providers - the session follows this report by the National Audit Office. In the Dock - sorry, witnesses' seat - Robert Devereux, permanent secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions. The Scottish Affairs Committee (at 2.30pm) has a one-off evidence session on blacklisting in employment.

The Lords (from 2.30pm) start work on one of Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill - one of four bills announced in the Queen's Speech to be launched in the Upper House. The bill is intended to prevent big buyers squeezing food producers. That is followed by a debate on an EU select committee report on the UK opt-in to the directive on the freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime.

The Lords Economic Affairs Committee (at 3.35pm) is taking a look at the economic implications of Scottish independence - an attempt to find out what it would mean, rather than to assemble a case for or against. The witness is the expert economist, Professor John Kay.

The Commons sits at 11.30am on Wednesday - with International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell taking questions, as the warm-up act for the prime minister.

Then MPs will move on to the second reading debate on the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill. This innocent sounding measure could provoke some fairly ferocious argument. It will require each adult to register themselves individually on the electoral roll - as opposed to the present system where the head of each household is responsible for registering everyone in their home. The idea is to cut electoral fraud. When this change was introduced in Northern Ireland, a very large number of people disappeared from the register - and Labour in particular fears that its voters in inner city areas could drop out. While all parties support the idea in principle, expect a lot of argument about the way in which it is implemented and the transitional arrangements in the run-up to the next election. The government has already changed its original proposals, but will, doubtless, face more pressure.

A couple of topical tax issues will surface in Westminster Hall - Cornish Lib Dem Stephen Gilbert has a debate on VAT on hot food (the pasty tax) and the Conservative Robert Halfon continues his campaign on fuel prices with a debate in which he will request the postponement of the next fuel duty increase, due in August, and may argue for a windfall tax on the fuel suppliers.

A couple of Cabinet ministers grace the committee corridor... Justice Secretary Ken Clark appears before the Justice Committee at 2.30pm, to talk about the budget and structure of his department - which means he can be asked about pretty much anything. And Transport Secretary Justine Greening is before the Transport Committee at 3.30pm to talk about arrangements for the Olympics - she'll be preceded by an hour and a half of evidence from all kinds of interested parties, from councillors to freight operators, to the Olympic Organising Committee. The committee will also have a visit to the Transport for London control centre under their belts.

Elsewhere, the Science and Technology Committee (at 9.15am) has a session on the regulation of medical implants, the Environmental Audit Committee (at 2.20pm) continues its look at the problem of wildlife crime - illegal trading in endangered species etc.

And the Scottish Affairs Committee (at 2.30pm) probes the defence implications of Scottish independence; last week the Defence Procurement Minister Peter Luff made it clear that the UK does not build ships outside its borders - which has been seized on as a warning to Clydeside shipbuilders.

On Thursday, the Commons meets for questions to Business Secretary Vince Cable. The main business of the day is the debate on the Whitsun adjournment - a chance for MPs to raise any subject they want. The Backbench Business Committee has taken over the running of the debate and now tries to group MPs speeches into subjects, with an appropriate minister responding to each segment of the debate.

The debate on the adjournment is followed by an, er, adjournment debate - Labour's Gerry Sutcliffe raises the case of the missing Bangladesh politician Illias Ali.

The only committee session is the Public Administration hearing with the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood - the committee has had its concerns about the splitting of the traditional Cabinet Secretary job specification - with another top civil servant taking over the role of head of the Civil Service.

The Lords meet at 11.30am for a series of short-ish debates led by backbench peers - the first is on the contribution of minority ethnic and religious communities to the cultural life and economy of the UK. It is being held to mark the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe. That's followed by a debate on food security - and a 90 minute short debate on small and micro-business borrowing.

Neither House sits on Friday. The Lords are back the following week; MPs are on recess.

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