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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

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.

It is theoretically possible, but highly unlikely, that the Speaker could allow an Urgent Question on some matter unrelated to IS, Iraq etc…so after a very brief statement from Mr Hague, David Cameron will move the government motion on Iraq and IS.

The expectation is that Ed Miliband will respond for Labour, with the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander, winding up for the Opposition and the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, for the government. A vote is expected at around 5pm.

And while the carefully worded and carefully limited motion proposed by the government is expected to attract overwhelming support, watch out for those who oppose any military intervention, and those who think the government is not going far enough.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Aftershocks and apprehension

The aftershocks of the referendum will dominate the next parliament.

Here's why.

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Week ahead in the European Parliament

MEPs return to Strasbourg for the first time since the summer recess, and for only the second plenary session since May's European Parliament elections.

My colleague Alasdair Rendall has been having a look at what's happening this week in the European Parliament.

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Why Andrew George's benefit bill may become law

Andrew George MP
Lib Dem MP Andrew George saw his bill move to the next stage

A glimpse of the coalition yet to come?

A Lib-Lab alliance has just voted Andrew George's Affordable Housing Bill through second reading and registered a considerable parliamentary/political coup in the process.

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Week ahead

Next week offers a blend of solemn world affairs and feverish internal politicking, as Westminster debates crises across the world and attempts to solve its internal battle over the appointment of a new Clerk of the Commons.

Meanwhile, will the week end with a bill to commit the UK to meet the UN's target for aid spending being humanely killed to clear the way for the EU Referendum Bill?

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Clerk row rumbles on

Mr Speaker Bercow is now on an ASBO - an Amiable Speaker Behaviour Order.

His retreat from appointing the Australian Parliament's Carol Mills as the successor to Sir Robert Rogers as Clerk of the Commons should - just - be enough to ensure his survival in the Chair until the next election, so long as he allows the process to be managed by MPs and refrains from intervening, and from finding other ways to annoy Conservative MPs.

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Private members games

Two layers of parliamentary game-playing should make Friday's sitting of the Commons an interesting affair.

It's the start of the private members bill season, with the first measure in the queue the Lib Dem Andrew George's Affordable Homes Bill.

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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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