What next if the government loses its Brexit appeal?

EU flag in front of Big Ben Image copyright PA

What if, as expected, the government loses its Brexit appeal in the Supreme Court?

The High Court ruling that ministers could not start the process of Britain's exit from the EU without a vote by Parliament was made by the most senior judges in the land, the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls, so there is little expectation that the appeal to the Supreme Court will reverse it.

But be careful here - what this is not, is a case of the judges raising a majestic hand and forbidding Brexit. This will be a judgment about the proper process, drawing on accumulated legal precedents all the way back to before the Civil War, and the famous Coke judgment of 1610 that "the King by his proclamation or other ways cannot change any part of the common law or statute law".

Scots and Welsh to get say in court case

Brexit court defeat for UK government

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Week ahead

New Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney Image copyright Getty Images

A bolt of lightning has just passed through what was becoming a "Zombie Parliament".

Just as MPs were contemplating long weeks of uncontroversial legislation, one line whips and general debates, not just until the Christmas break, but well into 2017, the voters of Richmond Park have reminded them that, in 2016, it's never quiet in politics for very long.

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Wily MP plays first Article 50 card

Conservative MP Peter Bone Image copyright PA

In the blink of a Commons eye - it took just 21 seconds on Wednesday - the Conservative MP Peter Bone introduced a private member's bill aimed at cutting through the constitutional imbroglio over the triggering of the process to leave the EU.

His Withdrawal from the European Union (Article 50) Bill would require the government to start the formal process by 31 March 2017. The small snag is that it doesn't have a prayer of getting a second reading debate - so why is the wily Mr Bone, a veteran of the private members' bill process, as well as a key anti-EU agitator on the Tory backbenches, bothering?

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Week ahead

Screen viruses list at the LHS (High Security Laboratory) of the INRIA (National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation) in Rennes Image copyright AFP/getty
Image caption The Digital Economy Bill faces report stage in the Commons on Monday.

There's some important law-making afoot in both houses this week, on issues from blocking porn sites to whether special constables can use CS gas - and there could be another attempt by peers to summon the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry into the press, on relations between journalists and the police, back from the limbo to which is has been consigned by an unenthusiastic government.

Elsewhere there's some significant action on the committee corridor, with quite a collection of Cabinet ministers appearing before various committees.

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Alice in Westminster

Rachel Reeves

In the latest edition of BBC Parliament's BOOKtalk, Labour MP Rachel Reeves discusses Alice in Westminster, her new biography of Alice Bacon.

She's the only other woman to have represented a Leeds constituency in the Commons.

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Week ahead

Philip Hammond Image copyright PA
Image caption The Chancellor is expected to unveil a carefully unflashy series of financial announcements on Wednesday.

Another week of legislative loose end-tying, with Parliament ticking over, and no votes expected in either the Commons or the Lords.

This is punctuated by the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, which will be pretty much the first major policy event of Theresa May's government.

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Week ahead

Woman on computer Image copyright PA
Image caption Could this week see the last gasp of the Investigatory Powers Bill?

MPs return to work on Monday, and peers on Tuesday - and it's always interesting to note who's tanned and relaxed after a mini-break in the sun, and who's pallid and sniffling after a few extra days of constituency work.

The balance will be interesting because it will give some indication of who's eying a possible election...

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Ripples from Article 50 ruling reach Parliament

Lead claimant in the Article 50 case, Gina Miller (C), gives a statement outside of the High Court after a decision ruling in her landmark lawsuit Image copyright European Photopress Agency
Image caption Gina Miller won her case at the High Court, challenging the government's intention to by-pass Parliament over the triggering of Article 50

It was supposed to be a quiet demi-week, leading to a mini-break for half term, but events, dear boy...

Last week MPs were being briefed that there would be no votes at all in the Commons, and there are still none, but the ripples from the High Court ruling to require Parliamentary approval for the start of the Brexit process, the triggering of the fabled Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, may draw them in.

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Why MPs voted Labour's Keith Vaz on to Justice Committee

Keith Vaz at Labour party conference Image copyright AFP

So far as most of the participants were concerned, it wasn't about Keith Vaz.

For most MPs, Monday's vote, which installed the former chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee as a member of the Justice Committee, was a routine rubber-stamping exercise.

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Week ahead

Leveson report Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Will recommendations in the Leveson report come back to haunt the government, as the Investigatory Powers Bill finishes its way through Parliament?

Both peers and MPs will be involved in the last rites of the Investigatory Powers Bill, this week, with a third reading in the Lords and then ping-pong between the Houses to agree its final form.

Will there be any brinkmanship over the "Leveson amendment" added by peers earlier this month? The government is keen to get the bill into law before existing internet surveillance powers lapse at the end of the year.

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