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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

It's the final lazy hazy crazy days before the Commons Summer Recess, always assuming that none of the several international crises under way at the moment force a postponement. But there's still time for two new Cabinet ministers to make their question time debut - with Education Secretary Nicky Morgan taking questions on Monday and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Tuesday.

And Their Lordships will be continuing into the following week - and putting in some heavy legislative grind along the way. Watch out for some very interesting issues in Committee on the Criminal justice and Courts Bill.

Here's my rundown of the parliamentary week ahead:

Monday

The Commons opens at 2.30pm for Education Questions - and a statement from the prime minister reporting back on yet another EU summit is expected. It may include a section on the Ukraine situation - or, possibly a separate statement may follow.

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Assisted Dying Bill: Can it become law?

Dr John Sentamu
The Archbishop of York said coming to terms with one's own death was a "gift"

What happens next?

As I write, the Lords are still debating the Second Reading of Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill, and it is one of the best, and most moving, parliamentary debates I've ever reported.

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An update on the clerks

No winner has yet emerged from the interview process for a new Clerk of the Commons.

I gather a third round of interviews will now be held on July 30, for the three remaining candidates surviving from the original shortlist of eight.

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Reshuffle thoughts

The Tory torch has been passed to a younger generation; or to put it another way, if you're a middle aged, white male Conservative MP, who arrived in Westminster before 2010, and you're not already in the government, your chances of unlocking a red box of government documents now look pretty slim.

History has passed you by.

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Week ahead

There is some very interesting legislative action in prospect next week, as DRIP - the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill - is rushed through both Houses, while Peers gear up for a marathon debate on assisted dying.

It is also worth noting that, while the legislative load has been fairly light in the Commons, so far in this new parliamentary session, the "carryover" bills from the last one have been passed on to the Lords, where such measures as the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill have been undergoing detailed scrutiny.

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Private members bill games

Ho, ho ho!

Some amusing Private Members Bill japes in prospect when the Commons Friday sittings resume in September.

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Week ahead

Next week's edgiest parliamentary event will be the debate on Thursday on the government's approach to opting in and out of an assortment of EU cooperative arrangements on justice and home affairs.

Although this is only a general debate - which means no vote is scheduled - this is a touchy issue for Eurosceptics, and any hint that ministers are trying to push something through could have a toxic effect on confidence in David Cameron's handling of EU policy.

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The future of committee selection

More than two years ago, an ugly row shook the Scottish Affairs select committee.

Its SNP member Dr Eilidh Whiteford had a row with the Chair, Labour MP Ian Davidson, claiming he had told her he would give her "a doing" if she leaked information discussed during one of its meetings.

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Private members bill chicken

What's more important to Conservative backbenchers?

Getting their referendum on Britain's EU membership or stopping a bill which would enshrine in law a commitment for the UK to devote 0.7 per cent of its national income to international aid?

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Week ahead

There's some genuine legislative meat for both houses to chew on this week, but there's no doubt that the toughest political battle will come when the Prime Minister reports back on this week's EU summit - and the battle may not be between the parties.

Monday

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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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