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.

I can predict with confidence that, by tea-time on Monday, everything will have been said, although in the best House of Lords tradition, not everyone will have (yet) said it.

It seems unlikely that the debate will even end in a recorded vote.

The House of Lords normally gives an unopposed Second Reading to government legislation, so it would be a breach of tradition (which is a very big deal on the Red Benches) to force a division - and the only motive would be to record the individual votes, because a thumping majority for the Bill would be the certain result.

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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.

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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

Read full article Five take-outs from the Brexit bill

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

Week ahead

David Davis
Image caption The Brexit Secretary, David Davis, will make a statement to Parliament following the Supreme Court judgement, outlining Parliament's future role

Having trailed the possibility of a Supreme Court ruling on Parliament's role in triggering the formal EU process for Brexit - Article 50 - for the last two weeks, we finally have a definite date for this crucial announcement: Tuesday.

The government will give its response in a statement from the Brexit Secretary David Davis, with business being interrupted at some point in mid-afternoon, after ministers have had a chance to digest the small print of the judgment.

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Week ahead

Supreme Court Image copyright European Photopress Agency
Image caption The Supreme Court judgement on Article 50 is imminent...

With rising chatter anticipating the publication of the Supreme Court ruling on whether Parliament has to vote on the triggering of Brexit, via the now-famous Article 50, next week's biggest parliamentary event will probably be the ensuing ministerial statement giving the government response.

And parliamentary follow-up can also be expected after it was confirmed that Theresa May will make her long-awaited major speech on Brexit on Tuesday, which might offer some glimpses of the government's negotiating aims.

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