NEXT week in Parliament is dominated by a series of debates either initiated by the backbench committee – now with considerable powers to determine the Parliamentary programme and it is wholly appropriate that it should – or through the longstanding standing opportunities for the official opposition to propose motions.
Monday’s backbench debate is on welfare reform and will follow the second reading debate on the European Union (Approvals) Bill, a measure implementing agreements made to rationalise the EU library in Florence and related matters (I intend to speak in this debate, subject to other commitments). A second reading debate requires only one vote at its conclusion.
Before these debates get started, there will be parliamentary questions to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
About 20 questions are listed as submitted by individual Members of Parliament and a further 15 minutes are set aside for 'topical questions' where questions are up to the member on the day (I have the first question in this section).
Frequently, either a ministerial statement can be made on some very recent development or event, or an urgent question, normally on a policy issue, can be asked. There is not much warning on what these might be but are often quite interesting, stimulating a wide range of questions.
So far, none of these has been confirmed.
Tuesday brings parliamentary questions to the Secretary of State for Health and the main business in the chamber will be the remaining stages of the offender rehabilitation bill (subject to being released by the whips, I will be back in the constituency attending and contributing to the public inquiry on the proposed waste to energy plant at Javelin Park).
Wednesday’s highlight is Prime Minister’s Questions. This usually lively session will be followed by two opposition debates including on banking (I will be speaking in this debate). Thursday will start with Parliamentary Questions to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change followed by backbench debates on child neglect and nuisance telephone calls (I will be in Stroud for constituency business).
Throughout, I have private meetings and other Parliamentary engagements.