Week ahead

John Bercow
The Speaker was elected last week - and now presides over the House's debate on the Queen's Speech until the deputy speakers are elected

Parliament's back, but not yet firing on all cylinders.

The Commons select committee system will be kick-started with a motion to re-establish it on Wednesday, but the chairs and the ordinary members will not be in place for a couple of weeks yet. With no legislation to be processed, the only real action is in the main chambers with the Commons and Lords' respective debates on the content of the Queen's Speech.

Keep an eye out for MPs auditioning for a variety of roles - aspirant select committee chairs will be weighing in, during suitable sections of the Queen's Speech debate, and those with a hat in the ring for Labour's leadership and deputy leadership, and even the candidacy for the London mayoralty, will all be seeking to cut a dash.

Commons-watchers will also take a keen interest in the elections for the three deputy speakerships - with former Backbench Business Committee chair Natascha Engel joining incumbents Lindsay Hoyle and Eleanor Laing.

Even if there are just three candidates for the three posts, one nuance to watch is that the candidate with the most votes gets the job of Chairman of Ways and Means - which will put them in the chair for the Budget statement in July.....and into pole position to become the next Speaker when John Bercow calls it a day. Nominations close on Monday and the election is on Wednesday.

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The importance of the Lords

Baroness Stowell
Baroness Stowell has a tough job on her hands in the next few years

One subtle, but important difference in the House of Lords is where the hundred Lib Dem peers will now sit on the Opposition side…

They've not gone back to their former seats in pre-coaltion days. Instead, they've shifted position slightly, to occupy a strategic space between the Labour peers and the crossbenchers. It's a convenient spot from which to coordinate anti-Government majorities in the Upper House, and exert what little political leverage remains for the Lib Dems in Westminster.

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Running for office

It's quite hard to walk 10 feet in Portcullis House, the big new-ish office building that has become the centre of much parliamentary life, without running into an MP running for some office or other.

Would-be Labour leaders, or deputy leaders, would-be deputy speakers, would-be select committee chairs. This morning I was even asked about the likely make-up of one of the most obscure organs of Parliament, the Ecclesiastical Committee.

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What will the new Parliament look like?

The Houses of Parliament

It will seem very strange.

David Cameron will deliver a Queen's Speech. Harriet Harman, as acting Leader of the Labour Party, will respond for the opposition. In due course the leader of the third party will rise - not a Lib Dem, but the SNP's Angus Robertson.

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Turning the tide

Taste the irony: in the final Today in Parliament (Friday 27th, BBC Radio 4, 23.30 GMT) of this parliament, William Hague reflects on the persuasive power of oratory, and how it can visibly swing opinion in the House of Commons.

Today, he was on the receiving end of that phenomenon, as backbench stalwart Charles Walker nailed him, with a quite extraordinary speech.

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Farewell, Speaker Bercow?

What a week - first Clarkson, then Zayn, and now Bercow?

There was a certain tension in the air last night, as Mr Speaker Bercow presided at a farewell dinner for Deputy Speaker Dawn Primarolo; later today she'll probably be presiding over a short Commons debate that might decide whether the Speaker will need a farewell dinner of his own….

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Week ahead

These are strange days in Westminster.

This week's Budget was pretty much the last significant event of the Parliament and the place has emptied out since it was unveiled.

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A giggly farce

Oh dear. The Lib Dems' attempt at a bit of Budget differentiation from their Conservative partners this morning turned into a rather giggly farce.

The wheeze was for Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury to deliver a kind of Lib Dem alternative budget - but it got off to a rocky start, with the Speaker noting pointedly that his permission had not been required, but that the statement had to be ministerial, not personal or party, and delivered on behalf of the government….and the privilege of delivering statements should not be abused for purely party purposes.

Danny Alexander outside the Treasury

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Week ahead

We're really into the last rites now.

The Budget and the ensuing debate on it dominate the week's proceedings in the Commons - but there are some important odds and ends that the business managers seem keen to deal with before Parliament dissolves.

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Will Lord Saatchi try again?

One of the most intriguing parliamentary sagas of the last couple of years has been that of the Medical Innovation Bill, aka the Saatchi Bill.

The Conservative peer, Lord Saatchi, has been pushing for a change in the law to allow doctors more flexibility to depart from standard practice and to administer innovative treatments.

Read full article Will Lord Saatchi try again?