Week ahead in Parliament

Scaffolding on the Houses of Parliament Image copyright PA

Events beyond the SW1 post code will be driving politics this week, with many MPs hitting the campaign trail rather than lingering in Parliament.

Will the results (which are not revealed until Sunday) be a political game-changer, creating some kind of momentum for some kind of Brexit progress?

Or will they simply allow the various factions to dig themselves deeper into their respective bunkers?

The actual parliamentary agenda is thin, even by recent standards, but could allow possible opportunities for Conservative leadership contenders to strut their stuff.

Watch out for Penny Mordaunt taking defence questions on Monday, Andrea Leadsom announcing parliamentary business on Thursday, and any aspiring leaders who might find themselves making a statement or answering an urgent question.

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Week ahead in Parliament

House of Commons Image copyright AFP/ Roger Harris/UK Parliament

It's another week of waiting for Godot, or at any rate Brexit, with a thin diet of humdrum legislation before both the Commons and the Lords.

There is some talk that the long-awaited Withdrawal Agreement Bill might be launched into the Commons, perhaps on Thursday.

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Plans for interim Parliament take shape

Artist's impression issued by UK Parliament of Richmond House Image copyright Forbes Massie Studio/PA

The Palace of Westminster, the home of Parliament, is in danger of going the way of Notre-Dame.

The electrical system is iffy, the pipes leak, the stonework is crumbling and the roofs need replacement.

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Week ahead in Parliament

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Against the background of a relatively bland parliamentary week, Westminster will seethe with life after the local elections, and with the European elections now looming on the horizon.

After a couple of weeks of close encounters with the electorate - culminating in some bruising results for the two big parties - there will be furious internal debate about Brexit, and some of it may spill over into the chamber.

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Week ahead in Parliament

Theresa May in the House of Commons Image copyright Getty Images

Bland. Soothing. Routine. The parliamentary agenda for the coming week keeps MPs and peers in a kind of holding pattern while the government figures out its next moves on Brexit.

But looming at the end of the week is an extra-parliamentary event that could transform the political mood and send events careening out of control.

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Week ahead in Parliament

Theresa May in the House of Commons Image copyright AFP

As Parliament reconvenes after its Easter recess, there will be great and tragic events to respond to.

MPs will hear statements on the Sri Lanka bombings and the murder of Lyra McKee in Northern Ireland, as well as a response to the climate change demonstrations which will surround Westminster as they return.

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Week ahead in Parliament

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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.

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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.

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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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