Week ahead


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It's an abbreviated half week in Parliament, next week, with the Commons already off for their Whitsun Recess, and the Lords sitting for just two days.

Peers convene on Monday at 2.30pm. There's the usual half-hour question time - which will cover the government's assessment of night flights at Heathrow from Baroness Kramer (the former MP for Richmond Park, directly under the flight path); Baroness (Joan) Bakewell has a question on care home ownership; Baroness Gardner of Parkes has a question on the cost to the NHS of international health tourism and Baroness Parminter has a question on the idea of a tax on plastic bags.

The peers then turn to the second reading of the Crime and Courts Bill, which sets up the National Crime Agency, makes various changes to the workings of the courts and introduces new rules on drugs and driving.

On Tuesday (from 11am) peers begin with questions: former Treasury Minister Lord Barnett asking about the reduction of the national debt; Baroness Tonge, who has attracted controversy with some of her comments about Israel has a question on aid from the EU to the occupied territories of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza, and Lord Davies of Stamford asks about building nuclear power stations.

Then there are a series of one hour debates - the first, on the contribution of faith communities, is opened by the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks. The second on the Nato Deterrence and Defence Posture Review, opened by the Labour former Defence Secretary Lord Browne of Ladyton; the third - on claims management companies - opened by Labour's Lord Kennedy of Southwark and the fourth - on the Historical Manuscripts Commission - opened by the Conservative, Lord Cormack.

There will be a couple of interesting select committee reports published - on Wednesday, the Transport Committee gives its verdict on the new EU directive limiting the time flight staff on passenger aircraft should be required to work; and the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will publish a report on "the greening of the Common Agricultural Policy".

Both houses are back in business on 11 June.

Mark D'Arcy Article written by Mark D'Arcy Mark D'Arcy Parliamentary correspondent

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