- 4 July 2014
- From the section UK Politics
Next week's edgiest parliamentary event will be the debate on Thursday on the government's approach to opting in and out of an assortment of EU cooperative arrangements on justice and home affairs.
Although this is only a general debate - which means no vote is scheduled - this is a touchy issue for Eurosceptics, and any hint that ministers are trying to push something through could have a toxic effect on confidence in David Cameron's handling of EU policy.
Watch out, too, for warning signals of a concerted campaign to toughen up the Modern Slavery Bill.
Here's my rundown of the week ahead:
Monday July 7th
The Commons meets at 2.30pm for Home Office Questions. Mondays often attract ministerial statements or urgent questions - and if the Speaker allows either, or both, they will follow from 3.30pm.
The day's main business are two Estimates Day debates. These are not really about the Commons exercising control over how public money is spent - they're more a chance to debate policy issues in government time.
This time the chosen issues are Universal Credit Implementation and the Implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy in England.
The adjournment debate, led by the Conservative Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, is on the need to promote take up of Meningitis B vaccinations among children and students.
In the Lords (from 2.30pm) the first business is the introduction of the Lord Bishop of Ely the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, to the Bishops' Bench.
After that there's a touch of tautology at Question Time, where the subjects for discussion include improving the conduct of, er, question time in the House of Lords. And there's also a question on the assessment of the effect of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 on the legal advice system.
The main legislative event is the second reading of the Deregulation Bill: There are a huge number of issues in this bill, including: exemption from health and safety law, taxi deregulation, insolvency practitioners, decriminalisation of TV licence fee sanctions, CCTV use in parking enforcement, an Ofsted duty to promote community cohesion, a public interest test for mergers and take-overs, marine accident investigations, and requiring regulators to have a regard for economic growth.
This is followed by a 90 minute debate on encouraging the use of the "polypill" by the NHS.
Outside the formal proceedings, watch out for an unofficial Public Bill Committee on the Zac Goldsmith version of the Recall Bill.
Critics expect the official version of the measure to allow voters to "recall" errant MPs and trigger a by-election in their seats, is too weak.
It has the Commons Standards Committee as its gatekeeper, leading to accusations that the establishment will protect its own, and it is restricted to a narrow set of cases of established wrongdoing.
The rival version would allow voters to trigger the process by petition, for any reason that could gather enough support behind it. Former minister David Davis will preside over the Committee, which will debate all manner of detailed issues around the recall process - how many signatures, should it apply to ministers, etc.
And the result will be sent to all the party leaders. Will the government find its own plans gazumped?
Tuesday July 8th
The Commons meets at 11.30am for questions to the Deputy Prime Minister - which will be interesting for two reasons.
First it's Nick Clegg's first appearance at the Dispatch Box since his party's electoral debacle in May, so expect more Clegg-baiting from the Tory and Labour benches.
Second, there's a more unusual Commons activity; blame games are a regular activity in the Chamber, but this could be a rare sighting of a scrabble for credit.
At some point the government is expected to announce more funding for its exercise in grassroots growth promotion, the Local Growth Deals.
Figures with a finger in this particular pie include Mr Clegg himself, Lord Heseltine, the long term apostle of this kind of initiative, the Chancellor George Osborne, who has found considerable sums to underwrite them, and Greg Clark the Cabinet Office Minister, who has negotiated detailed agreements to provide, infrastructure, training etc to leverage in business investment, between the government, local councils and other players. Interestingly, no fewer than eight Conservative backbenchers have questions down about the impact of the deal on their patch.
Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of the credit.
There is also a mini-question time with the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve.
Then it is on to the second reading debate on the Modern Slavery Bill - and while everyone is in favour of a clampdown against people traffickers and slaveholders, operating in the UK, there are some influential voices who argue that the bill could go a great deal further.
Watch out for Frank Field, who chaired the special committee of MPs and Peers who scrutinised the bill in draft, and who pressed hard for it to tackle slavery in the supply chain of goods imported into Britain.
He argues that could galvanise Commonwealth countries, in particular, into acting against the problem in their territory. Labour are promising amendments on that issue and to provide statutory guardians for children caught up in people trafficking, an issue they have pushed in other legislation.
But the real battle may come when the bill reaches the Lords where some of the Peers who sat on Mr Field's committee will lie in ambush - and where they may have a good chance of voting amendments through.
That is pretty much what happened to the government's Banking Bill in the last session - joint committees of MPs and Peers turn out to be capable of exerting powerful parliamentary leverage, especially in the House of Lords, where no government commands an automatic majority.
Also on the order paper is the Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimates) Bill - which will mean the rubber-stamping of government public expenditure measures.
In Westminster Hall (9.30am) there will be a general debate on organ transplants led by the DUP's Jim Shannon, who has long campaigned to promote more organ donations.
In the Lords (from 2.30pm) peers move into their second day of committee-stage scrutiny of the Serious Crime Bill - the key issues include computer misuse, serious and organised gang-related crimes, and drug cutting agents.
During the dinner break there will be a short debate on industrial policy and in particular the British Business Bank.
Meanwhile the committee stage of the Infrastructure Bill continues in the Moses Room, where discussion on transport issues continues. (By convention there are no votes in Moses Room committee stage debates - any issues flagged up are revisited at report stage, which will be back before the whole House.)
Wednesday July 9th
The Commons day begins (11.30am) with Welsh Questions, followed by Prime Minister's Question Time, at noon.
And after that the day's main events are a Labour Opposition Day debates on education and on housing supply
In the Lords (3pm) peers begin committee stage scrutiny of the Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill, focusing on the service complaints system.
Thursday July 10th
The Commons opens (9.30am) with Transport Questions, which will be followed by mini-question times for John Thurso, who represents the House of Commons Commission, the Commons' administrative arm and for the Leader of the House of Commons Andrew Lansley - who also delivers his weekly Business Statement, spelling out what MPs will be doing for their final week before the Summer recess.
There's a bit of angst around the next event, a general debate on the UK's justice and home affairs opt-outs - in the backwash of the Juncker nomination, euro-issues are even more radioactive than normal and the extent to which the UK exercises its opt-out from a wodge of policing and judicial cooperation has always been highly contentious.
The government has just published a new paper setting out its position.
And either by accident or design, it emerged too late for it to be the subject of an urgent question, on Thursday. It will now be the focus of the general debate - but euro-scrutineers like Sir William Cash are sure to push for a vote on the issue. Any suggestion that the government is seeking to avoid one will stoke suspicions about the whole attitude of ministers.
In Westminster Hall MPs will have a chance to debate the Work and Pensions Select Committee's report on the role of Jobcentre Plus in the reformed welfare system - their report looked at how the system may need to change, as the government's welfare reforms - Universal Credit and the household cap on the total value of benefits received - unfold.
In the Lords (from 11am) the main business will be debates chosen by Crossbench peers - on the role of the BBC World Service and the British Council in promoting British values and interests worldwide; and on the contribution of British legal systems to the international standing in the UK and the observance of the rule of law.
The Infrastructure Bill committee stage (Day 3) continues in the Moses Room - key issues are on planning related matters.
Neither House sits on Friday July 11th