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This week marks the return of Parliament after a lengthy summer recess for a brief sitting of just two weeks before another recess for the Party Conference season.
So, what is on the agenda during this fleeting two week sitting?
The first sitting day – Tuesday – includes oral questions for Ministers in the Ministry of Justice, the Third Reading of a Bill on Telecommunications Business Rate Relief, and an adjournment debate on incontinence. Not exactly riveting stuff in the main Chamber, but one thing to look out for is a 90 minute Westminster Hall Debate on the Political Situation in Venezuela: given criticism of team Corbyn’s support for the regime it will be interesting to what his Party’s MPs decide to contribute.
Wednesday sees the return of Prime Minister’s Questions. Whilst there are plenty of serious issues to address – from North Korea’s nuclear testing and missile firing to progress (or not) Brexit negotiations – it is likely the focus will end up on the PM’s recent statement that she plans to fight on and lead the Conservative Party into the next General Election. As many Conservative MPs have publicly expressed their reservations about this prospect (to put it mildly) the PM will need to put in a solid performance if she is to rebuild the confidence of her troops. The same day sees an adjournment debate on knife crime, which will be of particular concern to London MPs following a spate of stabbings in the capital over the last few months.
Perhaps the most important item on the Order Paper over the next few days will be the Second Reading of the jewel in the Brexit legislative agenda crown, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, also known as the Repeal Bill, or by its former and still widely used name, the Great Repeal Bill. This is the Bill that repeals the European Communities Act of 1972, converting EU law into UK law, and granting powers to Ministers to allow them to correct EU laws that do not operate properly in the UK. (See here for our short blog from when the White Paper was released.) It will be interesting to see how many Conservative MPs decide to publicly call for a ‘softer’ Brexit than that being pursued by the Government and, conversely, how many Labour MPs line up behind their Party’s new position calling for Britain to remain in the Single Market. At the moment, both Parties seem divided on these key EU/Brexit issues and this debate is likely to set the scene for the Party Conference season which kicks off with the Lib Dem conference on 16th September.
Another event to be aware of during these two weeks is the election of Select Committee Members. Once membership allocation has been finalised we shall be publishng a Nudge Knowledge briefing on Committees of note, their Chairs, and Members.