- 3 November 2012
- From the section UK Politics
After the excitement of this week's rebellion, it's back to legislating as usual in the Commons - but expect angst in the Lords over the disappearance of the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill.
On Monday (at 2.30pm) the Commons opens with Work and Pensions questions, then it's the second reading of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, which seeks to boost major infrastructure projects.
Committee business is pretty thin but the Public Accounts Committee (at 3.15pm) is examining HM Revenue and Customs Annual Accounts - the committee is keen to discuss the tax avoidance of some major companies - but may not be able to get their chief executives before them, for this hearing.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (at 4pm) is continuing its extensive programme of evidence-taking from top figures in world banking. Today's witnesses are Ana Botín, chief executive officer of Santander UK; Douglas Flint, group chairman of HSBC Holdings, and Antony Jenkins, group chief executive of Barclays.
Last week, almost unnoticed, the Commission's questioning was conducted by a barrister - a precedent-setting move, which could be followed by other committees grappling with ultra-complex subjects. A series of further evidence sessions follow throughout the week....
In the Lords (from 2.30pm), question time ranges across the guidance issued to voters for the election of police and crime commissioners, unwanted text messages from claims management companies and the proposed NHS inquiry into the Liverpool Care Pathway.
Peers were supposed to move on to the postponed second committee day on the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill - but that has now been pulled and the business now consists of the second reading of the Statute Law (Repeals) Bill - a technical measure repealing out of date laws, on the recommendation of the Law Commissions.
That is followed by debates on the role of the armed forces and their contribution to the United Kingdom, on the government's policies on planning and on the future of the British ash tree.
On Tuesday, the Commons meets at 11.30am for Treasury questions, then it's back to matters European and the second reading of the European Union (Croatian Accession and Irish Protocol) Bill - this rubber-stamps the accession of Croatia to the EU - and a protocol on the concerns of the Irish people on the Lisbon Treaty. Among other things the bill will set out the framework allowing Croatian nationals to enter the UK as workers.
That's followed by something a little more problematic: a motion to approve European documents relating to banking union and the Economic and Monetary Union - this is a key issue for the UK financial services sector and ministers can expect some serious interrogation, if not a rebellion on the scale of this week's EU vote.
In Westminster Hall (at 9.30am), Southampton MP Caroline Nokes leads a debate on the future of Ford motor manufacturing in the UK - her constituents are affected by recent closure announcements by Ford. Other subjects for debate include the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, the constituent parts of the UK and EU membership, high speed rail in Scotland; and planning and onshore wind turbines in rural Lincolnshire.
There is a busy day in prospect on the committee corridor with the Education Committee (at 9.30am) putting the government's proposed Special Educational Needs legislation under the spotlight - newly anointed minister for children, Edward Timpson, is the key witness
Another new minister struts his stuff at the Energy and Climate Change Committee (at 9.30am), which continues its look at the issues involved in building new nuclear power stations. It will be worth watching to see if the flamboyant Energy Minister, John Hayes, fresh from his clash with his Lib Dem boss over wind power, opens a second front by showing more enthusiasm for this form of generation than his coalition partners.
The Justice Committee (at 2.30pm) looks at youth justice with evidence from Nick Hardwick, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, and Carol Pounder, whose son died in custody. And the Home Affairs Committee (at 2.45pm) continues its look at the problem of localised child grooming with witnesses from Rochdale Council.
Now that an independent report on the Rochdale case has been completed, the committee will be examining the reasons why so many opportunities to intervene to help the victims were missed, and vulnerable children were often treated as offenders rather than victims.
Then, it takes more evidence on the Independent Police Complaints Commission with Chief Sup Derek Barnett, president of the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales; and Paul McKeever of the Police Federation.
The newly-appointed Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, debuts at the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (at 3pm) to answer questions about Defra's Annual Report and Accounts - which means they can ask him about pretty well anything.
In the Lords (from 2.30pm) question time covers the retention of women doctors in the NHS and the information technology required for the implementation of Universal Credit. Then peers move on to the report stage of the Financial Services Bill and to deal with new Housing Benefit Regulations 2012, one of which will come under fire from Labour in a Motion to Regret.
Many orders making detailed changes to the welfare system and the NHS are in the pipeline, and lots more challenges of this kind can be expected. It might be pushed to a vote.
On Wednesday, the Commons begins at 11.30am with Cabinet Office questions - and that is followed by PMQs at noon. Next, there's a Ten Minute Rule Bill proposed by the Conservative Andrea Leadsom.
Her Family (Perinatal Support and Adoption) Bill deals with children who're born into the social services' at risk register - the idea is to encourage more work to either ensure effective parenting by the mother, or prompt adoption. At the moment many children are left in a kind of pre-adoption limbo for two years or more, and this bill proposes a two month time limit.
The main debates are on Labour motions - the first will cover regional pay in the NHS, and the second has yet to be revealed.
Over in Westminster Hall (from 9.30am) there is a series of debates led by backbenchers - Labour's Paul Flynn raises the withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan and later on, the chair of the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, Graham Allen, discusses local government independence.
The Justice Committee (at 9.30am) launches its pre-legislative scrutiny of the Children's and Families Bill. The committee has been looking at related issues like the work of the Family Courts for quite a while and it is expected to cover topics including the safeguards to ensure that domestic violence or other welfare issue cases are filtered out from the mediation process; the system of Child Arrangement Orders, and whether the proposals on divorce remove important safeguards for children.
Witnesses include the Law Society, the Family Law Bar Association, the Association of Lawyers for Children, National Family Mediation, the College of Mediators, Families Need Fathers, and Both Parents Matter.
The Public Accounts Committee (at 3.15pm) takes evidence on the National Offender Management Service. The NAO has said that NOMS will find it more difficult to meet its savings targets now that some sentencing reforms designed to reduce the prison population have been dropped.
And the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee (at 3pm) hears from the first witnesses in its wide ranging inquiry into the state and fate of rural communities with evidence from the British Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, LGA, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Cumbria County Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
In the Lords (at 3pm), questions cover the contribution of the armed forces to the success of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the projection by Ofgem of a fall in the generating plant margin. Then peers move on to the report stage of the Civil Aviation Bill - expect Labour to force a vote on toughening up the environmental duties of airport licence holders. Finally, there's a short debate on the challenges faced by the Welsh economy.
On Thursday, the Commons opens at 9.30am, with questions to the Business, Innovation and Skills Secretary, Vince Cable, followed by the weekly Business Statement from the Leader of the House, Andrew Lansley.
The rest of the day is devoted to backbench business, starting with a debate on the medium-term financial plan for the House of Commons - the Commons has made huge savings, simply by ending the inefficient manner in which it handled procurement in the past, and being a lot more business-like - but the Speaker has committed the House to further big reductions in day-to-day spending.
That has to be reconciled with the pressure for more support, particularly for the work of select committees…
Interestingly, the management of finance has always been left to the ultimate control of the Speaker, but this debate will be on an amendable motion, which, even if no-one proposes an actual amendment on this occasion, sets a precedent allowing MPs into an area where they have not previously ventured.
The second debate is on stimulating growth through better use of the Prompt Payment Code, led by Conservatives Stephen Metcalfe and Andrea Leadsom. The Westminster Hall debate (from 1.30pm to 4.30pm) is on the regulation of claims management companies
The day's committee highlight is the appearance (at 9.30am) of former International Development Secretary and newly defenestrated Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell, before the International Development Committee, which is looking at his decision to reinstate UK aid to Rwanda on his last day in post as secretary of state.
The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee holds a two part session: first, following up with the UK government after visiting all the devolved governments in the UK, with Chloe Smith, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Cabinet Office at 10.45am; then at 12pm, continuing evidence on how to ensure standards in the quality of legislation with Leader of the House Andrew Lansley.
In the Lords, questions cover the origin of weapons of mass destruction currently in Syria and plans to reduce the number of peers in the House of Lords.
Then there are short debates led by backbench peers: on the long-term legacy for the UK from the Olympic and Paralympic Game, led by the Lib Dem, Baroness Doocey, a former member of the Greater London Assembly; on the importance of early years education - led by Baroness Walmsley, and on NHS patients dying at home - led by the former health minister, Lord Warner.
If peers seem to be a little overdressed, or a pale shade of blue during these proceedings, I gather it's because the heating in the House is being switched off after Wednesdays, presumably for maintenance work.....
Friday in the Commons (from 9.30am) is private members' bill day, with a series of bills returning after committee stage: the Disabled Persons' Parking Badges Bill, the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill and the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Bill. If MPs deal with them with some rapidity the House may then move on to the Public Debt Management Bill proposed by the Conservative, Ben Gummer.
There are also private members' bills in the Lords (from 10am). The Prisons (Interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Bill - pushed through the Commons in record time by Tory Sir Paul Beresford - has its second reading, under the guidance of the convenor of the crossbenchers, Lord Laming.
That's followed by Baroness Howe's Online Safety Bill and the Airports (Amendment) Bill proposed by the Ulster Unionist, Lord Empey.