Week ahead

The really big event of the week is David Cameron's report back to Parliament on the outcome of the EU Budget summit.

The Commons' Halloween vote calling for the budget to be frozen makes the summit, and the process of selling its outcome to Conservative backbenchers, a major test of the PM's leadership.

The thing to watch will be the reaction of relatively mainstream Conservative rebels - those who backed the budget freeze last month, but who are not usual suspects on euro-issues. MPs are sure to focus on the amount Britain will contribute in the next budget round, but watch out for another aspect of any budget deal: its duration.

The normal EU financial framework stretches over seven years - a lot of Eurosceptic critics would prefer that timescale to be shortened, so that whole parliaments do not go by, without a chance to vote on the overall EU budget deal.

Another tricky statement looms later in the week - David Cameron is expected to respond, on Thursday, to the findings of Lord Leveson's inquiry into issues arising from phone-hacking. With Labour and the Liberal Democrats favouring some statutory regulation, and his own party split on the issue, he will again have to tread very carefully.

On Monday, the Commons convenes at 2.30pm for defence questions - and, unless the European Summit drags on, that David Cameron statement will probably follow. At Business Questions, the Leader of the House, Andrew Lansley, carefully said that the PM "plans" to make a statement - leaving wriggle room if the summit over-runs.

The day's main legislating is on the report stage of the Small Charitable Donations Bill - this will enable charities and community amateur sports clubs to claim Gift Aid-style payments on the small cash donations they receive. The scheme is designed to allow top-up payments to charities on the donations where they cannot easily obtain a Gift Aid declaration.

There's a lot of committee action - with the Public Accounts Committee (at 2pm) venturing north to Workington and the Auditorium, Energus, Lillyhall, for a session on the costs of decommissioning the Sellafield nuclear plant.

The costs of making shut-down nuclear facilities safe can run into billions and the committee will be looking at how the risk of massive cost over-runs will be managed, with witnesses from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Sellafield Ltd and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The questioning will be based on this National Audit Office report.

Back at Westminster, the Transport Committee (at 4.05pm) has a session on the regional breakdown of transport spending - who gets the lion's share? At 4.10pm, the Communities and Local Government Committee continues its look into the new role of the local authorities in health issues with witnesses from the Local Government Association, the Royal College of Nursing and other interested bodies.

In the Lords (from 2.30pm), question time covers funding for apprenticeships for young people with special educational needs and discussions with German government on the future role of the UK in the EU.

Then the House turns to the Prisons (Interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Bill - a private members' bill pushed through the Commons in record time by the Conservative, Sir Paul Beresford. It's being shepherded through the Lords by the convenor of the crossbench peers, Lord Laming. The bill permits prisons to block mobile phone signals within their walls, preventing unauthorised communication by inmates with the outside world.

Then peers turn to their fourth day of report stage consideration with the Financial Services Bill. Look out for a Labour amendment on claims management companies.

On Tuesday, MPs kick off with health questions, and that's followed by a Ten Minute Rule Bill from the Labour MP, and former advice worker, Yvonne Fovargue, on credit card debit limits. In two years in Parliament, she has campaigned extensively on debt related issues - and this bill is intended to highlight the role played by credit cards in getting people into chronic debt, where they can only pay the interest. The proposal is that once someone has paid out interest equivalent to three times the amount borrowed, all further payments should go to reducing the principle.

MPs will then complete their scrutiny of the bill to allow Croatia to join the EU in July 2013. Before that can happen, all existing EU member states must ratify Croatia's accession treaty, and this bill gives the UK's consent, and to restricts the right of Croatians to work here, after accession. The bill also approves the Protocol to the Lisbon Treaty put forward by the Irish government, giving guarantees over its concerns about the right to life, family and education, taxation and military neutrality.

The big event on the committee corridor will be the Culture, Media and Sport hearing on the BBC's response to the Jimmy Savile case (at 10.30am) with the Chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten and the Acting Director General, Tim Davie. After the savaging the now-departed George Entwistle received at his disastrous appearance before the committee in October, this hearing will be closely watched. Committee members are still keen to pin down exactly who was responsible for the decision not to broadcast the Newsnight report on Jimmy Savile's sexual abuse of young girls - but they may have to await the outcome of the inquiry set up by the BBC... in which case expect more questions about the conduct of Newsnight and the pay-off to Mr Entwistle.

The Treasury Committee will hear from the Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, about the latest Quarterly Inflation Report, with sinister sounding subjects like quantitative easing and zombie companies likely to be raised (at 10am). And the Scottish Affairs Committee has a special session (at 2pm) with Ian Kerr, a private investigator, on the blacklisting of trade unionists in the construction industry.

And there are plenty more important hearings. The Energy and Climate Change Committee (at 9.30am) asks if we are entering a new era of cheap(er) energy thanks to new technologies which allow shale gas to be extracted. The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (at 9.30am) continues its inquiry into women in the workplace, with witnesses from Employment Lawyers Association, the Royal College of Midwives and trades unions. The Welsh Affairs Committee (at 10.30am) considers the future of dairy farming in Wales. Having inspected conditions on farms and dairies first-hand, they're due to hear from a series of industry witnesses and the Defra minister, David Heath. They have not been able to arrange to hear direct from the big supermarkets - rather to their irritation.

The Joint (ie Lords and Commons) Human Rights Committee (at 2.30pm) takes evidence on the human rights of unaccompanied migrant children and young people in the UK, from the Department for Education, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Refugee Council, the Children's Society and UNICEF UK.

And the Home Affairs Committee (at 2.45pm) has a session on the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The key witness is the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe - who may be asked to justify the Met's use of expensive private contractors. Damian Green, minister for policing, will also be quizzed.

There are a series of backbench debates in Westminster Hall, from 9.30am - my eye was particularly caught by Douglas Carswell's debate on knife crime (from 2.30pm - 4pm). There have been several incidents in his Clacton constituency and he's expected to call for greater use of police powers to stop and search. This will be the first Commons debate held to urge one of the newly-elected Policing and Crime Commissioners to bring in a change in policy, and it will be interesting to see how the minister replying will handle the occasion.

In the Lords (from 2.30pm) question time covers the budget of the BBC World Service and the recent proposal to give the Welsh government greater tax varying and borrowing powers. Then peers move on to the report stage of the Crime and Courts Bill, which sets up a National Crime Agency to take over all of the work of Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and combat sexual abuse and exploitation of children and cyber-crime. At committee stage a number of concerns surfaced about the oversight of the NCA and counterterrorism... and that could be one subject for amendments which are pushed to a vote.

On Wednesday, the Commons meets at 11.30am for half an hour of Welsh questions, and then for the weekly joust of PMQs. The main debates will be on Labour motions, yet to be announced.

And alongside all that there will be more backbench debates in Westminster Hall, of which the debate on police pensions led by the chair of the Home Affairs Committee, Keith Vaz (from 4pm - 4.30pm), and the proposal for direct elections to National Park authorities by Lib Dem President Tim Farron (from 4.30pm - 5pm) look the most interesting.

As ever on a Wednesday, there's a great deal of select committee activity: Home Office Minister James Brokenshire is before the European Scrutiny Committee (at 2.30pm) to talk about the Commons system for scrutinising EU legislation - this is emerging as a major parliamentary issue, with constant complaints that the existing system is being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of European directives and documents.

Francis Maude, the minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, and the man in charge of the machinery of government, is due to be questioned on public engagement in policy-making. Attempts to engage the public in drawing up the questions have proved a little problematic. Suggestions have been invited on Twitter through the hashtag #askmaude... but they have tended to focus on actual policy, not on ways to get the public engaged. But, fear not, if you have questions on the way the government should engage, via polls, or online, or through focus groups or whatever, they're still accepting them through the weekend.

Elsewhere, the Environmental Audit Committee (at 2.15pm) continues its look at whether neo-nicotinoid insecticides are killing pollinating insects, and the Science and Technology Committee (at 10am) looks at the system for determining which areas off the coast become Marine Conservation Zones.

And finally, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (at 3pm) looks at the needs of rural communities - the witnesses range from the Tenant Farmers' Association, to the Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, who will probably be quizzed about rural broadband.

In the Lords (from 3pm), there's a question on the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the welfare of Israelis and Palestinians, from Baroness Tonge, the Lib Dem peer, who had the party whip withdrawn over comments about Israel, and the former Scottish Secretary Baroness Liddell has a question about EU membership of the remainder of the UK should Scotland become independent

Then it's on to the third reading of the Justice and Security Bill - on which the government was heavily defeated on three amendments this week. And then there's the fifth day of report stage scrutiny on the Financial Services Bill. Labour peer Lord Parry Mitchell is angling for cross party support for an amendment (no 98) on payday loans.

Meanwhile, over in Grand Committee, the Lords equivalent of Westminster Hall, there's a promising short debate scheduled on preventing the wreck of HMS Victory from being subjected to inappropriate commercial exploitation. This is not about Nelson's flagship, which remains in Portsmouth, but about the 18th Century battleship which bore the famous name before it....the wreck has been located fairly recently and a couple of cannons from it now grace the Royal Navy museum - but there are concerns about more relics being removed by divers, as well as a more general worry that advances in diving technology now make looting sunken warships increasingly practical and lucrative. The debate is led by the archaeology professor, Lord Renfrew.

Thursday in the Commons begins (at 9.30am) with questions to the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, followed by the weekly business statement, by the leader of the House. And later in the day (at about 2pm) MPs will hear David Cameron's statement on the Leveson inquiry.

Then MPs turn to two debates selected by the Backbench Business Committee - on Scotland and the Union, and the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of Ugandan Asians.

The only committee action is a Westminster Hall debate (1.30pm - 4.30pm) on the Welsh Affairs Committee report on Inward Investment in Wales.

In the Lords (from 11am) questions cover the standards of care for people living with HIV published by the British HIV Association and the contribution of nuclear generation to a balanced energy policy. And peers will also get the government statement on the Leveson report - which should provoke an interesting debate.

After that, the day is devoted to issues raised by backbench peers and the chosen subjects are the impact of changes in local authority budgets on social care, the management of diabetic services in the NHS and the prevention of violence against women.

On Friday, both houses will sit to deal with private members' bills. In the Commons (from 9.30am), more of the current crop are returning to the chamber for report stage after being considered in committee. First up is the Conservative Gavin Barwell's Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill - which would prevent MPs, jurors and company directors being disqualified, for example, because they had once been treated for depression.

That is followed by the report stage of Stuart Andrew's Prisons (Property) Bill - which give powers to prison governors to destroy or sell unauthorised property found in prisons and similar institutions.

Meanwhile, in the Lords (from 10am) private members' bills that have cleared the Commons have begun to arrive: the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Bill, the Disabled Persons' Parking Badges Bill and the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill will all face second reading debates.

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