We’ve just had the whip through for the next fortnight. (The whip is a piece of paper sent out by the whips telling you what the whip is… In other words, it’s to let MPs know what business is coming up and whether their presence is absolutely required or simply requested.)
I’ve already blogged about the big pieces of legislation coming up, such as the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill on Monday. Jack Straw will open for Labour on this, and interestingly Peter Hain is closing the debate, rather than a junior MOJ shadow minister as would normally be the case. Perhaps just because Welsh constituencies are affected?
After that’s finished/ voted on at 10pm, Dianne Abbott has an adjournment debate on “The Effect on Women of Reductions in Public Expenditure”, which should be interesting. The adjournment debate on Tuesday is on “Step-free Access at Crayford Station”; not quite so interesting.
We’ve also got a couple of Ten Minute Rule Bills next week. On Tuesday Tom Brake has the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill. No idea what that’s about, and it won’t be voted on or make much further progress through the legislative process; it’s just to flag up the issue. On Wednesday Chris Bryant has the Sex and Relationships Education Bill, which might ruffle a few feathers on the Tory backbenches, and give Stewart Jackson MP a chance to put his “sad tedious sex-obsessed leftie weirdos” rant in Hansard. Philip Davies is another Tory who may well seek to push it to a vote – see here for his Westminster Hall debate on the topic, (with a few interventions from me). Chris Bryant has done a lot in the past on the topic of teenage pregnancies, so I assume this is connected…
Other things coming up: outings from three more of the leadership candidates, with Health Qs (Andy) this Tuesday, Foreign Office (David) next Tuesday, and DECC (Ed M) next Thursday.
Perhaps outing is not the best word, given current goings on… if David has an outing at FCO questions, what can Hague expect? More seriously, I have nothing to say on that particular topic, except that it doesn’t seem to me that the guy was qualified for a special adviser post, and that’s the only thing of public interest, especially given the Tories sanctimony on the employment and role of special advisers when they were in Opposition. And ‘there are fewer more distressing sights than that of an Englishman in a baseball cap’…
We also have AJ’s final outing at the Dispatch Box on Wednesday, with an Opposition Day debate on Crime and Policing. I say final because he’s decided not to run for the Shadow Cabinet. He tells us he wants to resume his rock and roll career. Hold the press… have just been told on Twitter that AJ has told his local paper that he’s had a rethink over the summer and he will be standing for the Shadow Cabinet. This is great news – we need him in there!
And on the two Thursdays we have debates decided by the new Backbench Committee, on Afghanistan and on the Future of Our Armed Forces.
Cameron will of course be facing the House on both Wednesdays, for PMQs. The draw hasn’t been published yet. That’s about it… Monday should be fun, and Tuesday’s Superannuation Bill is going to be very controversial too.