Week ahead in Parliament

Commons Image copyright UK Parliament

Abandon certainty, all ye who enter...

Next week's Parliamentary agenda exists - it's right there on the order papers for the Commons and Lords - but no one believes it provides any reliable guide to how events will unfold.

Brexit developments can be expected to reshape each day's agenda.

Among the likely additions to the schedule are another round of "indicative votes" on alternative Brexit options, a report back from the emergency EU summit on Brexit, and votes on orders to trigger the European Parliamentary elections and to postpone Brexit Day again.

There might even be another attempt by the government to secure a "Meaningful Vote" on the prime minister's withdrawal agreement, perhaps with some added content to win over Labour MPs.

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Week ahead in Parliament

Theresa May addressing MPs Image copyright PA

There's a bad moon rising over Westminster.

Friday's latest government defeat on Brexit may have been by a lower margin than the earlier thrashings, but the convincing 58-vote majority against the EU Withdrawal Agreement, in the teeth of an all-out whipping operation, hardly suggests that one more heave will see it home.

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Brexit: Is Commons Speaker John Bercow reaching the end of his tether?

John Bercow Image copyright UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Have we reached peak Bercow?

The Speaker of the Commons seems, simultaneously, to be at the height of his power over events and close to the end of his tether.

Read full article Brexit: Is Commons Speaker John Bercow reaching the end of his tether?

How the indicative vote process will work

MPs in the House of Commons Image copyright ©UK Parliament/Mark Duffy

Commons votes are normally as mannered and sequenced as a minuet, but the "indicative votes" on alternative Brexit options will be different, and MPs will have to learn some new steps.

The debate will begin with a hard start time of 2pm - it might be a little earlier, but will not be any later.

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Week ahead in Parliament

Theresa May addressing MPs in the House of Commons Image copyright PA
Image caption The week ahead could see important votes on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Nobody really knows what is going to happen in Parliament next week.

But it is shaping up to be the most important few days in the Commons since May 1940, when the Norway debate effectively ended Neville Chamberlain's premiership and brought Winston Churchill to power.

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John Bercow: A lesson from history on the limits of the Speaker's powers

The late Labour politician George Thomas
Image caption A Labour government circumvented Speaker George Thomas's controversial ruling in 1976 - could it happen again?

A hung Parliament, a Speaker in the firing line, controversial rulings leading to accusations that the chair is biased.

Not 2019, but 1976.

Read full article John Bercow: A lesson from history on the limits of the Speaker's powers

Week ahead in Parliament

MPs in the House of Commons Image copyright AFP
Image caption Expect another packed chamber for the third vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal

It's here!

The long-anticipated blizzard of Brexit secondary legislation hits Parliament this week, with MPs due to consider 12 orders and regulations and peers a whopping 32 - and that's just the ones in the main chambers.

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Week ahead in Parliament

Theresa May in Grimsby Image copyright AFP

Three wheels on her wagon...and Theresa May rolls into another week of votes that might (or might not) prove to be crucial to the outcome of Brexit.

The next vote on whether to approve the PM's Brexit deal is scheduled for Tuesday, with Commons leader Andrea Leadsom cheerfully insisting that she will only schedule the two other votes promised to MPs - on a no-deal exit and asking for Brexit talks to be extended - if the government loses the first.

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Tax haven retreat underlines government's weakness in Commons

House of Commons Image copyright PA

The government's decision to pull a debate and votes on the Financial Services Bill underlines the weakness of its position in the Commons.

Faced with a threatening backbench uprising led by a wily Conservative former chief whip and a dangerous street-fighting Labour grandee, the government has opted for retreat rather than defeat.

Read full article Tax haven retreat underlines government's weakness in Commons

Week ahead in Parliament

International Women's Day Image copyright Reuters
Image caption International Women's Day takes centre stage on Thursday

Hmmmm. A rather thin-looking programme in the Commons next week provides plenty of opportunities to drop in significant ministerial statements and even a snap "meaningful vote" on the PM's Brexit deal - if she can negotiate some compromise safeguards which might defuse objections to the Northern Ireland backstop provision.

There is talk that Brexiteer minds have been concentrated wonderfully by Labour's adoption of a second referendum, so that those who helped vote down the original incarnation of the deal back in January might now be prepared to hold their nose, grit their teeth and swallow the medicine, and vote it through in an orgy or rueful metaphors.

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