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Mark D'Arcy, Parliamentary correspondent

Mark D'Arcy Parliamentary correspondent

This is where you can come for my take on what goes on in the chambers and committee rooms around Westminster

Week ahead

There may well be appearances by exotic species like the Eurasian Beaver, or even defenders of Tony Blair, but overall, this is a week that sags in the middle.

You never know what events might force a ministerial statement or urgent question - but at the moment the most interesting action in Parliament next week looks to be packed into Monday, when both Houses will be processing some very big issues.

It may also be worth watching the Corporation Tax (Northern Ireland) Bill, which may well be the first of any number of bills devolving taxes to the nations and regions, but the main point of interest later on will be the debate on the delay in the report of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War, on Thursday.

19th Century illustration of Eurasian beaver
European beavers were found all across Europe and Asia until the beginning of the 20th Century when numbers in the wild were estimated at around 1,000.

Here's my rundown of the week ahead.

Monday

Read full article Week ahead

Week ahead

There is a certain Marie Celeste quality about Westminster at the moment.

Even when MPs are present in body - and many are staying in their constituencies on Monday and returning to them on Thursday, or even Wednesday afternoon - you get the impression that their mind it still focused on their local campaigning.

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Commons to debate Iraq war inquiry

It looks as if the Commons will have its debate on the Iraq war inquiry on 29 January.

Uber-awkward squaddie David Davis had a very warm reception from the Commons Backbench Business Committee, today, when he appeared before them to urge them to grant a debate on a motion calling for Sir John Chilcot to publish his long-awaited report well before the General Election in May.

Read full article Commons to debate Iraq war inquiry

Week ahead

We're getting into the end of Parliament season, when debates and even legislation target hot button electoral issues. Hence Labour's opposition day on Wednesday on energy prices - a theme Ed Miliband returned to over the weekend - and the coalition motion on budget responsibility, targeting Labour's perceived weakness on the deficit.

And of course we've got the return of the Tony to look forward to, as the former prime minister appears before the Northern Ireland Committee on Tuesday.

Read full article Week ahead

Building for the future

It's not often I find myself disagreeing with Matt Flinders, the formidable chair of the Political Studies Association, but when he writes that Parliament should abandon the Palace of Westminster and move to a new purpose-built home, I really, really, do disagree.

The British Parliament meets in one of the four or five most recognisable buildings on the planet, on a site which has been the heart of national life since before the Norman Conquest.

Palace of Westminster
Move? From here?

Read full article Building for the future

Week ahead

What's happening for the rest of the week ahead in Westminster?

Wednesday's proceedings kick off at 11.30am in the Commons and there are questions to the Cabinet Office team before the weekly bunfight between David Cameron and Ed Miliband at 12 noon. (Interestingly, the Daily Mail carried a story this week about support from the public for Speaker John Bercow's stance towards MPs during rowdy moments in the Commons.)

Read full article Week ahead

The next Parliament: Coalition 2.0 or confidence and supply?

David Cameron and Nick Clegg outside No 10 in May 2010
Forming a second coalition may be much more difficult in 2015

It is beginning to dawn on MPs and peers quite how difficult it's probably going to be to govern after the next election.

The polls suggest a second, rather messier, hung parliament, in which forming a majority government looks tricky to impossible.

Read full article The next Parliament: Coalition 2.0 or confidence and supply?

Long time, no See...

It turns out to be rather bad career news for a number of Reverend Prelates.

The Church of England has long planned to fast-track women bishops into the House of Lords, so the announcement that the Rev Libby Lane is to be consecrated as the Bishop of Stockport raises the prospect of the first ever female presence on the Lords Bishops' Bench. (No quibbles, please, about abbesses sitting in medieval parliaments…)

Read full article Long time, no See...

Close shave?

The Speaker has just had not one, but two near-death experiences.

That's one analysis of the new report on the special Commons committee set up in the wake of the summer fiasco over the attempted appointment of Carol Mills as the next Clerk of the Commons.

Read full article Close shave?

Week ahead

It's the last parliamentary week of 2014, with 12 or so sitting weeks after that, before the next election.

Parliament's due to be dissolved on 30 March - but may actually cease operations a bit before, perhaps as early as 19 March....triggering, heaven help us, a six week election campaign.

Read full article Week ahead

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About Mark

Mark has been a correspondent for Today in Parliament since 2002, and also presents BBC Parliament's political book review show, Book Talk.

His career has included stints at LWT's Weekend World and the Leicester Mercury. He has also produced and occasionally presented Radio 4's The Westminster Hour.

As well as being a politics nerd, he is a cricket fanatic, amateur cook and Bruce Springsteen fan.

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