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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

Further attempts to beef up the voters' rights to sack their MP between elections (Monday) and the possibility of detailed allegations about historic child abuse (Thursday) supply the main possibilities for parliamentary drama next week.

One nerd point to watch out for, though, is the possibility that the government may suffer its 100th defeat in the House of Lords in the near future - they're on 98 at the moment. Next week's agenda doesn't seem to offer too many opportunities, but you never know.

Here's my rundown of the week ahead:


The Commons day opens at 2.30pm with Defence questions. Any ministerial statements or urgent questions will follow at 3.30pm.

Read full article Week ahead

The saga continues

The summer controversy over the appointment (or, rather, non-appointment) of a new Clerk of the Commons has not gone away; but the poison is being dripped and the daggers inserted in the relative privacy of Jack Straw's special select committee on the Governance of the House.

In particular, the Committee's decision to invite anonymous written evidence from Commons staff has produced a treasure trove of angst, envy and annoyance - and a lot of dissent from the suggestion that the Clerks should rule supreme.

Read full article The saga continues

Week ahead

We could see not one, but two parliamentary votes on the controversial European Arrest Warrant next week.

Not only have Labour promised to use their Opposition Day debate on Wednesday to force the Commons vote that, er, didn't quite happen this week; but a parallel vote is also expected to be scheduled in the Lords, where Labour may well put down a Regret motion, just to salt Conservative wounds a bit.

Read full article Week ahead

What happened?

"An Olympic gold-winning, FDA-approved prime fillet of cock-up!" was one Tory MP's verdict on last night's Commons meltdown over the non-vote on the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

The essence of what happened is simple; MPs thought they'd been promised a vote on the European Arrest Warrant, but the motion which was put before them was about transposing 11 shared EU powers on criminal justice issues into UK law.

Read full article What happened?

BOOKtalk: a Great War special

This weekend, on a special edition of BBC Parliament's BOOKtalk, I talk to three eminent MPs about books covering the grand strategy of the Great War, the behind-the-scenes battles as Parliament voted to join, and at the very personal politics of the prime minister who took us in.

Keith Simpson, Gisela Stuart and Sir Ming Campbell talk to Mark D'Arcy

The Labour MP Gisela Stuart - a member of the Commons Defence Committee - the Conservative MP and military historian Keith Simpson and the former Lib Dem leader and foreign affairs specialist, Sir Ming Campbell, discuss the historian Garry Sheffield's Short History of the First World War - where he begins by pinning the blame for the conflict firmly on Germany and Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Read full article BOOKtalk: a Great War special

Week ahead

It's half-term in Westminster this week, with Hon Members and Noble Lords sitting only on Monday and Tuesday - but the business before them includes a crucial vote on opting Britain into a series of shared EU justice and policing powers, including the European Arrest Warrant.

I've stuck my neck out and suggested that this won't provoke quite the mega-rebellion of Conservative backbenchers that some have expected. Talking to at least three different subspecies of Tory eurosceptic, none seemed to expect the kind of big, co-ordinated rebellion that has on occasion discomforted the Tory Whips Office.

Read full article Week ahead

Amendments slow bill's progress

Is the Assisted Dying Bill about to be smothered under a cascade of amendments?

Last week, when there were 40 amendments down on his bill to allow terminally-ill people to end their own lives, the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, told me he wasn't shouting "Filibuster!"

Read full article Amendments slow bill's progress

Boat-rocking postponed until further notice

This week's interesting Westminster mood swing is that the predicted Tory rebellion over the European Arrest Warrant - and the other justice and home affairs powers the government wants Britain to opt back into - seems to be dissipating.

The vote is expected to be on Monday, but in contrast to previous euro-flashpoints, there is little sign of a major rebel whipping operation of the kind that inflicted wounds on the government earlier in this Parliament.

Read full article Boat-rocking postponed until further notice

Changing the law - and society

Two Westminster events today - and one on Friday - can be seen as preliminary skirmishes for some of the big social/criminal policy battles of the next Parliament.

Today's events are the departure of Lib Dem Home Office Minister Norman Baker - in a huff over the Conservatives' brusque dismissal of his call for a more permissive drugs policy - and a battery of amendments to the Modern Slavery Bill, on the law on prostitution, deal with the case for rethinking long-standing criminal law policies that critics say are not working.

Read full article Changing the law - and society

Week ahead

This is a week for detailed law-making, with issues ranging from slavery abroad, to prostitution, to forestry privatisation, to recall of MPs, to FGM and under consideration in different bills in different houses,

But beyond the usual round of legislating, Westminster vibrates with concern about the rise of assorted political insurgencies across the country - Labour eyes turn anxiously to Scotland, Conservatives to Rochester. It all makes for twitchy whips and destabilised leaders.

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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