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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

After a week of referendum and by-election aftershocks, it's a bit more like business as usual in Parliament - with the postponed debate on the Recall Bill the main highlight.

In the Lords, Labour are sharpening the knives for Lord Freud, the under-fire Work and Pensions Minister, who is due to answer questions on Tuesday and Thursday.

Here's my rundown of the week ahead.


The Commons opens at 2.30pm for defence questions - and assuming no ministerial statements or urgent questions (and there usually are some on a Monday), the next event is the report stage and then third reading of the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill - which is intended to offer legal protection to people acting on behalf of society.

Read full article Week ahead

How today will unfold

It's the second coming of the EU Referendum Bill today - so here's how I expect the morning to unfold.

Tory MPs have been entertained with bacon butties in No 10, to fortify them for the debate ahead.

Read full article How today will unfold

Unfixed term

A small bet: if there's a majority government after the next election, be it Labour or Conservative, the ensuing Queen's Speech will include the Fixed Term Parliaments (Repeal) Bill.

The current guarantee of a five year parliament was a key part of the Con-Lib Dem Coalition deal, ensuring David Cameron couldn't throw over Nick Clegg the minute he saw a polling advantage, but both big parties dislike a measure which could prove highly inconvenient to them.

Read full article Unfixed term

Week ahead

Expect a heavy constitutional week. I've blogged separately on the cornucopia of devolutionary delights awaiting us when Parliament returns - and one of the consequences of the referendum aftershocks seems likely to be the postponement of the MPs Recall Bill which was due for a second reading debate on Tuesday.

But even without the big battles expected over recall, there's plenty of interesting and unusual action - with the Archbishop of Canterbury introducing Church legislation on women bishops in the Lords; and the second reading debate for the reincarnated EU Referendum Bill - with former minister Bob Neill piloting the Conservative-backed private member's bill for a public vote in 2017.

Read full article Week ahead

Can Carswell kipper the Commons?

The King of Clacton is now the Keir Hardie of the 'kippers.

Douglas Carswell will re-join the House of Commons next week, and add to its small band of one person parties (alongside Dr Caroline Lucas for the Greens, Naomi Long for the Alliance Party and George Galloway for Respect).

Read full article Can Carswell kipper the Commons?

Devolution dished up

I'm having my anorak dry-cleaned specially. There's a whole lot of devolution going on when Parliament reconvenes next week.

Driven by the Scottish referendum and its continuing aftershocks, there is suddenly a huge amount of energy pervading what would once have been dismissed as rather arcane constitutional questions - and the electoral, not to mention constitutional, consequences of striking the wrong note could be huge.

Read full article Devolution dished up

What is today's timetable?

Here's the timetable for today's sitting of Parliament:

In the Commons MPs start with prayers at 10.30am, followed by a short business statement from the Leader of the House, William Hague.

Read full article What is today's timetable?

Total recall

Just over a year ago, Parliament was recalled to approve UK military intervention in the civil war in Syria - and despite a progressive watering-down of the proposition put before MPs, to the point where it became a kind of paving motion, with a further vote to be held on actual use of force - the government was dealt an unprecedented rebuff.

"We get it," a rueful David Cameron told MPs, and Friday's sitting is the direct result; prime ministers now need the approval of Parliament in these circumstances - or at any rate the approval of the Commons.

Read full article Total recall

Election fever

Forget Heywood and Middleton. Forget Clacton. The most entertaining by-election under way at the moment is for one of the seats reserved in the House of Lords for an elected hereditary peer.

The contest follows the death, in July, of Lord Methuen, a Lib Dem. And under the compromise struck in 1998 to facilitate the removal of most hereditary peers from the Lords, 92 remain, and their numbers are replenished in slightly bizarre by-elections where current peers vote for candidates drawn from the hereditary peerage.

Read full article Election fever

Devolutionary deals?

Bids for more devolved powers are flooding in from the English regions.

Here's a guest post from my colleague, Tim Donovan, the BBC's political editor in London.

Read full article Devolutionary deals?

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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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