The week ahead in Parliament

Boris Johnson Image copyright UK PARLIAMENT/JESSICA TAYLOR

Will Covid-19 or the UKIMB dominate this week?

The published Commons agenda sees two days of debate on the UK Internal Market Bill, but there's a sense that developments relating to the pandemic are now moving pretty fast, so watch out for ministerial statements and urgent questions about the government's response.

On the Internal Market Bill, the government seems to have defused the backbench Tory rebellion in the Commons, with an offer of a further vote before powers to override international law come into effect.

But in the Lords, which takes its committees seriously, the bill may be a harder sell for ministers.

The Lords EU Environment Sub-Committee has accused Environment Secretary George Eustice of failing to acknowledge concerns over possible checks and controls on goods moving from the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland if the UK and EU fail to strike a trade deal.

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The week ahead in Parliament

Boris Johnson in the Commons Image copyright PA Media

The agenda is dominated by the UK Internal Markets Bill with a Second Reading debate and two Committee Stage days in the Commons (and two more to come, the following week), plus a gathering storm over the bill in the Lords.

There is already furious controversy over Part 5, which gives ministers powers to disapply or modify the rules put into law just months ago in the EU Withdrawal Agreement, on the movement of goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain, and rules relating to state aid, that would come into force if the UK and EU are unable to reach an alternative agreement.

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The week ahead in Parliament

PMQs Image copyright UK Parliament/ Jessica Taylor

There's a sense of phoney war about Parliament at the moment in two different but interlocking ways.

First, huge decisions loom on the pandemic, Brexit and taxes, but the Commons and Lords are ticking over with a light legislative agenda - leaving room for opposition and Backbench Business Committee debates.

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The week ahead in Parliament

House of Commons Image copyright HoC

After an eventful month away from Parliament, MPs return to pick up the threads of the pandemic and Brexit in a shortened Westminster week.

They won't be refreshed and bushy-tailed, but grumpy and beleaguered, especially on the Conservative benches, where the ministerial handling of the A-level results, the issue of mask-wearing in schools and the proposed new planning system have not been well received (backbenchers are all in favour of the PM's "Build, build, build!" slogan until it is applied to their constituency).

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Reflections on the Pandemic Parliament

Westminster tube Image copyright Reuters

Parliament is in recess, with MPs and peers due to return to Westminster in the first week of September.

The Commons and Lords have both seen a tumultuous few months since they returned after the general election last December.

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The week ahead in Parliament

House of Commons Image copyright HoC

Parliament enters its pre-summer glidepath to the holidays, with MPs departing on Wednesday and noble Lords carry on legislating for a further week.

But there's no sense of a lull - with plenty of political and legislative action on the pandemic and Brexit.

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House of Lords: Will the chamber really move to York?

York Minster Image copyright AFP

York here we come?

Might MPs and peers, or maybe just the peers, move to some suitable location in York for several years, while the Victorian home of Parliament is refurbished?

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The week ahead in Parliament

Parliament Image copyright PA Media

It's déjà vu all over again in the Commons, as MPs prepare for another round of debate on whether or not they should move out of their Victorian home, to make way for a multi-billion pound restoration project.

Simple souls may have thought a firm decision had been made, but no.

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The week ahead in Parliament

Chancellor Rishi Sunak on a visit to a shopping centre Image copyright AFP

MPs will spend most of the coming week talking about money.

The central event will be a financial statement from Chancellor Rishi Sunak, with an economic debate to follow.

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The week ahead in Parliament

Palace of Westminster Image copyright Getty Images

The lesson of the last few weeks is that the government's majority is not quite as solid as the raw Commons numbers make it appear, and that Conservative backbenchers, especially heavy metal ex-ministers, have few inhibitions about putting down serious amendments to government legislation.

This week sees one case in point, in the shape of the amendment on family reunion for children to the Immigration Bill, which could make life interesting for the whips.

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