Friday 29 February 2008

A very distinguished group of Peers and MPs, and a few lucky onlookers, had an opportunity yesterday to hear George Shultz (US Secretary of State under President Reagan) and Senator Sam Nunn (Democrat Senator from Georgia 1972-96, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee - His legislative achievements have included the important Department of Defense Reorganization Act 1986, (where he was a key player in the Senate's adoption of this legislation often referred to as the Goldwater-Nichols Act) , and the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which provides assistance to Russia and the former Soviet republics for securing and destroying their excess nuclear, biological and chemical weapons) address the issue of moving "Towards a Nuclear-Free World"

The point was made that " The accelerating spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear know-how and nuclear material has brought us to a nuclear tipping point. We face a very real possibility that the deadliest weapons ever invented could fall into dangerous hands.

The steps we are taking now to address these threats are not adequate to the danger. With nuclear weapons more widely available, deterrence is decreasingly effective and increasingly hazardous

Senator Nunn set out eight necessary steps, which he stressed were not necessarly sequential

1 Increase the warning time needed before a nuclear strike could be ordered (he pointed out that currently the Russian President has only 5 minutes to react if advised of reports of an 'attack' reach him)

2 Ensure that the numbers of nuclear weapons are diminished over time

3 Missile Defence - must be coordinated with Russia

4 There needs to be transparency about the holding of tactical nuclear weapons, with moves towards their ultimate elimination

5 The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty must be ratified

6 There must be multi-lateral work done on the use of nuclear energy - focusing on the control of enriched material

7 Regional issues which fuel conflicts and mutual suspicion must be dealt with

8 There must be verification - and also enforcement.

Further information can be found on the website of the Nuclear Threat Initiative http://www.nti.org/

Thursday 28 February 2008

EU Matters in Parliament

The progress on the European Union (Amendment) Bill in the House of Commons has dominated business there in recent weeks.


This week the Lib Dems walked out in a row over a referendum - and a big demonstration was held outside Parliament yesterday.

The Lords will have a European debate this afternoon - not on the Bill - that is expected to arrive in a few weeks but Lord Grenfell will move that this House takes note of the Report of the European Union Committee on The Commission’s Annual Policy Strategy for 2008 (23rd Report, Session 2006-07, HL Paper 123)

The Report is available at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldselect/ldeucom/123/123.pdf

Wednesday 27 February 2008

10 Minute Rule Bills

Yesterday Dr Nick Palmer had an opportunity to introduce a bill into the House of Commons - in prime time. The bill [Small Print Bill] makes "requirements regarding the minimum size of print in certain documents, including those relating to advertising and contracts; and for connected purposes"

It won't become law - but that is rarely the point of "10 Minute Rule Bills". A Factsheet published by Parliament explains -

Bills introduced under Standing Order No. 23, otherwise known as the Ten Minute Rule, are not always serious attempts at legislation. The process is used much more as a means of making a point on the need to change the law on a particular subject. Motions under this rule may also provide the opportunity for a Member to test parliamentary opinion on a subject upon which he/she or other Members may seek to legislate in later sessions. The Ten Minute Rule allows a brief speech in favour of the bill by the Member introducing it. It also allows a speech by a Member opposing the Motion. This has to be made in the House after question time (at, or shortly after, 3.30 pm, although this is often delayed by statements etc.) on Tuesdays and 12.30 pm Wednesdays, when both Members' benches and the press gallery are likely to be well filled. There may also be television coverage of the speech in the early evening news. Standing Order No. 23 allows Members to ask the House permission to introduce a bill. If the House agrees, whether by division or not, the bill will get its first reading. If the House disagrees after a division, the bill cannot be introduced.

Sometimes Ten Minute Rule bills do become law if there is general consent, although there is rarely time for debate after their introduction. Standing Order No. 23 bills are marked "T" in the Weekly Information Bulletin. Not all Ten Minute Rule bills are printed. The Member will often be satisfied with the publicity achieved by his or her speech in the Chamber. If the bill is not printed it cannot make further progress.

Members may move a motion to bring in a Ten Minute Rule bill by giving notice in the Public Bill Office between five and fifteen sitting days beforehand. This usually means the Tuesday or Wednesday three weeks before. The slots are in practice divided up between the parties according their representation in the House. No notice may be given until the fifth Thursday of the session.

Tuesday 26 February 2008


Extraordinary scenes in the House of Commons a few minutes ago. Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey was 'named' by the Deputy Speaker - and required to leave the chamber. A few moments later the entire Liberal Democratic Party walked out!

The procedure for 'naming' a member was described in a recent report of the Modernisation Committee -

"S.O. No. 43 gives the Chair power to order a Member or Members whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw from the House for the remainder of the day's sitting. In a more serious situation, or if the powers available under S.O. No. 42 and S.O. No. 43 have proved insufficient, S.O. No. 44 permits the Chair to name a Member who has disregarded the authority of the Chair, or has persistently or wilfully obstructed the business of the House by abusing its rules or otherwise."

The first report from the BBC said "Lib Dem frontbencher Edward Davey has been ordered out of the Commons, after angry protests to the deputy speaker.

Mr Davey was annoyed at the Speaker's decision not to allow MPs to debate and vote on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union.

Deputy Speaker Michael Lord had already warned Mr Davey and fellow Lib Dems to respect the Speaker.

Mr Davey repeatedly protested, saying he was being "gagged" and saying "it's a debate the British people want".

Monday 25 February 2008

Planning for Inauguration Day

January 20th 2009 seems a long way away (visit http://www.january20th2009.com/ for the exact time in days, hour, minutes and seconds until the term of the next President is due to start). Already planning for inauguration is underway.

This week in the House of Representatives S.Con.Res. 67 - A concurrent resolution establishing the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies will be considered under the suspensions procedure.

For some background on the traditional celebration of Inauguration Day visit http://inaugural.senate.gov/history/daysevents/index.htm

Friday 22 February 2008

The Battle for the Northern Rock Bill.

The Banking (Special Provisions) Bill has now received its Royal Assent - but after an intense battle. The Tories and Liberal Democrats inflicted defeats on the Government in the House of Lords - and Members of both Houses had to stay late (Normally on a Thurday the exodus begins in the late afternoon, with the Palace of Westminster empty by 7pm).

The House of Commons finished voting at 9.14pm & the Bill returned to the Lords. At 10.15pm the Lords resumed to consider the Bill (It had been suspended from 6.34pm "to await the return of the Banking (Special Provisions) Bill from the Commons". Their Lordships declined to insist upon their amendments, so the Bill received its Royal Assent - and the Lords adjourned at 11.06pm. The Commons resumed their sitting to be told of the Royal Assent and after the daily adjournment debate adjourned at 11.36

Tuesday 19 February 2008

Northern Rock Legislation

Today the Government will seek to move legislation through the House of Commons in a day - and tomorrow hopes to do the same in the House of Lords - in order to deal with issues arising from the Northern Rock affair. This bill is known as the Banking (Special Provisions) Bill. It is possible that each House may need to stay late in order to complete business.

The text of the bill should soon be available at http://services.parliament.uk/bills/

(Yesterday's statement by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, can be found at http://pubs1.tso.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080218/debtext/80218-0004.htm#0802183000003)

Monday 18 February 2008

Principles of the British and American Constitutions

Last week Jack Straw made a speech at the George Washington University entitled "Modernising the Magna Carta". I would urge all students of British Constitutional Law to read this speech - and it will of course be of interest to Washminster readers, as he describes it as "some observations about the enduring and unique relationship between our two countries, and in particular to look at how our very conceptions of government and the constitution, whilst on the face of it very different, are borne out of the same root, and have to face up to the same challenge of remaining relevant in a twenty-first century democracy."

In the speech he discuss the common strands in British and American thought, at the heart of which he says "is a powerful and everlasting idea of liberty and of rights". The difference between American "Constitutional Sovereignty" and British "Parliamentary Sovereignty" is discussed. Recent changes such as that in the role of the Lord Chancellor and the establishment of the UK Supreme Court are outlined and arguments about establishing a British "Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" are rehearsed.

Well worth a read - and for students (and lecturers) of Constitutional Law, some useful quotes from Paine; Washington; Jennings; Irvine of Lairg; Gladstone and Montesquieu. The full text is available at http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/sp130208a.htm

Sunday 17 February 2008

The Week Ahead

Congress will be celebrating Presidents' Day - and will not meet for legislative business during the week.

House of Commons

Monday 18 February

Oral Questions –Work and Pensions, including Topical Questions
Legislation – Health and Social Care Bill – Remaining stages

Tuesday 19 February

Oral Questions – Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including Topical Questions
Debate – The Treaty of Lisbon (No.5); Foreign, Security and Defence policy
Legislation – European Union (Amendment) Bill – Consideration in Committee of the Whole House (Allotted Day 5)

Wednesday 20 February

Oral Questions – Northern Ireland; Prime Minister
Debate – The Treaty of Lisbon (No.6); International Development
Legislation – European Union (Amendment) Bill – Consideration in Committee of the Whole House (Allotted Day 6)

Thursday 21 February

Oral Questions – Innovation, Universities and Skills, including Topical Questions
Business Statement – Leader of the House
Topical Debate – to be announced
Motion – To approve the Draft Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (Continuance in force of sections 1 to 9) Order 2008
Motions – To approve the Draft Social Security Benefits Uprating Order 2008 and the Draft Guarantee Minimum Pensions Increase Order 2008

Friday 22 February

Private Members’ Bills – Temporary and Agency Workers (Equal Treatment) Bill – Andrew Miller (2R); Leasehold Reform Bill – Simon Hughes (2R); Football Spectators and Sports Grounds Bill – Mr Russell Brown (2R); Climate Change (Sectoral Targets) Bill – Colin Challen (2R); Forces Widows’ Pensions (Equality of Treatment) Bill – Mr Michael Mates (2R)

House of Lords

Monday 18 February

Oral Questions
Legislation – European Communities (Finance) Bill (Third reading)
Legislation – Children and Young Persons Bill [HL] (Report stage)
Delegated Legislation – Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula (England) Regulations 2007 – motion to annul

Tuesday 19 February

Oral Questions
Legislation – Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Supplementary Provisions) Bill (Second reading)
Legislation – Sale of Student Loans Bill (Second reading)

Wednesday 20 February

Oral Questions
Legislation – Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (Committee stage, day 3)
Question for short debate – on the steps proposed to support the training of disabled people on computers in their own home (V. Falkland)

Thursday 21 February

Oral Questions

Legislation – Alcohol Labelling Bill [HL] (Committee stage)
Debate – on financial inequality in the United Kingdom, and to move for papers (L. Harries of Pentregarth)

Friday 22 February

Legislation – Retail Development Bill [HL] (Second reading)
Legislation – House of Lords (Amendment) Bill [HL] (Second reading)

Saturday 16 February 2008


I indicated a few days ago that I would be making an announcement - well this is it. I've been selected to be a candidate for the European Parliament on the Labour Party's East Midlands list. Currently members of the party across the region are being invited to place the candidates in an order of preference. Not quite a primary, but an opportunity for members of the Labour Party to select the individuals who will sit in the European Parliament after the 2009 Elections.

Glenis Willmott will be at the head of the list, she is the existing MEP. Members are currently voting for the order of names for the second to fifth position. At the European elections Labour will be allocated the proportion of seats in the East Midlands which equates to the proportion of the votes gained. (There will be 5 seats available)
I'm really enjoying campaigning in this part of the process - I will update you on progress - and on the subsequent campaign. While this blog will continue to concentrate upon Westminster and Washington, it will occasionally take a look at the newer parliament which meets in Brussels and Strasbourg.
Please feel free to visit my website at http://www.jdavidmorgan.eu/

Friday 15 February 2008

Jefferson's Parliamentary Pocket Book

As a young man, training to be a lawyer, Thomas Jefferson began a lifelong interest in the study of parliamentary law. His studies were not confined to reading textbooks (though he ordered from London leading texts such as William Hakewills ' Modus tenendi Parliamentum' and William Petyt's 'Jus Parliamentarium'). He also observed closely behaviour in the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress.

During these private studies he recorded his observations and findings in a "Parliamentary Pocket Book". One writer states that "Thus the preparation of the Pocket-Book occupied him at intervals from his student days in George Wythe's law office to his years of retirement at Monticello after his two terms as President"(Wilbur Samuel Howell).
The 'Pocket Book' was useful in preparing the Manual of Parliamentary Practice. This work was undertaken by Jefferson to assist him in his role of presiding officer of the Senate. As Vice President (1797 to 1801) one of his key functions was that of President of the Senate (Veeps still play a role, though it is no longer as important as developing the rules of the Senate). Jefferson's Manual "is regarded by English Parliamentarians as the best statement of what the law of Parliament was at the time Jefferson wrote it" (Charles W Johnson). Although written for the Senate, it has been adopted by the House of Representatives. Rule XXIX 1 states "the rules of parliamentary practice comprised by Jefferson’s Manual shall govern the House in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the Rules and orders of the House."

The Pocket Book, which is a fascinating read, is now available in 'Jefferson's Parliamentary Writings' (Princeton University Press)

Thursday 14 February 2008

Legal Responsibility

An intriguing and interesting legal issue is being given coverage in the British news. A gambling addict is suing William Hill for negligently allowing him to continue gambling, after he had requested that he not be allowed to gamble with them. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7243656.stm; or http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/2008/02/14/punter-sues-bookie-for-letting-him-lose-2m-89520-20318661/

As with all media reports it is worth looking at the facts! But some important legal issues are raised -
  • what responsibility does an addict have for their own behaviour?
  • if another person is aware of that person's addiction, do they have (should they have) a duty of care to avoid feeding that addiction?
  • where another person promises to help a person avoid his addiction, do they have a duty of care to avoid feeding that addition?
  • what responsibility do companies have where the 'service' or product they supply is known to be highly addictive?
  • What is the standard of care required for such duties, if they exist?

These are important issues - and with obesity; alcoholism; gambling and drug taking causing so much personal misery to individuals and costs to society - what should the law be doing?

Wednesday 13 February 2008

The Potomac

One of the nicknames given to yesterday's three primaries was "the Potomac Primary", in recognition of the central importance of the river as the border between Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. (This wasn't always the case - when the two aforementioned states ceded land to the District it covered both banks of the river. Land on the eastern bank was returned to Virginia in 1847).

Some have thought that the name might have its root in the greek word for river (potamus) - but it is more likely that it is a Europeanised version of the name of a tribe who lived in the Northern Neck area (to the South of Washington DC - near to Fredericksburg). This tribe was part of the Powhatan Confederacy (also known as the Virginia Algonquians). Other scholars have argued that the term means say the name means "place where people trade" or "the place to which tribute is brought".
The river runs for approximately 383 miles - from the Fairfax Stone in West Virginia to Point Lookout, Maryland.

Tuesday 12 February 2008

Tom Lantos

Tom Lantos died yesterday morning. He was the only holocaust survivor to serve in Congress.

He was born in Budapest, Hungary in February 1928. At the age of 16 he saw the Nazis sweep into Budapest, and was rounded up with other Jews and sent to a concentation camp in Szob, a village to the north of Budapest. He escaped twice, and continued to live in Budapest disguised as a military cadet. He acquired food and delivered it to Jews in other safe houses. After the war he searched for the rest of his family, but thet had all perished.

In 1946 he won a scholarship to the United States, eventually becoming an Economics professor. Elected to Congress in 1980 he served 14 terms. Representative Lantos took a keen interest in foreign affairs (he had previously been a television expert on the subject and had been adviser to Senator Joe Biden) - and was particularly concerned about Human Rights. He was the co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. In the 110th Congress he was Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/)

Obituaries can be found at:

Monday 11 February 2008

Outside Westminster

Parliament has been firmly established in the Palace of Westminster, but once it met frequently in other parts of the country. As 'advisers' to the King, the earliest parliamentarians met wherever the King was. It was by the end of the fourteenth century that Westminster became the usual, then the exclusive meeting place.

In Kenilworth there is an area of land known as 'Parliament Piece', now a local nature reserve, so named because it is believed that a parliament of Henry III met there in 1266. The 'Parliament of Merton' is the name given to the meeting of Parliament in Merton Priory, 1236, where the basis of English common land was set down in statute. Other places where Parliament met were Oxford; York; Lincoln; Carlisle; Winchester and Northampton.

Today's picture is a drawing of Northampton Castle - today its site is covered by the railway station.

Saturday 9 February 2008

The Week Ahead

There is a busy week forecast for the House of Representatives, with 23 bills scheduled for consideration under the suspensions procedure plus H.R. 3521 - Public Housing Asset Management Improvement Act of 2007 (Rep. Sires – Financial Services). The House will do all this on a 4 day week, as it is not sitting on Monday.

The Senate will meet on Monday, when it resumes consideration of S.2248, the FISA Amendments Act.

Both the Houses of Parliament will be on Spring Half Term Recess. BBC Parliament will continue to broadcast. The schedule can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcparliament/listings/index.shtml?service_id=4480&day=today. The Archbishop of Canterbury's controversial speech on Sharia law will be broadcast at 1am & 4am on Sunday morning; 8am on Monday. There will be political broadcast from C-Span at noon on Sunday - and recordings of committees will be broadcast during the week. [All times GMT].

Friday 8 February 2008

Personal Website

The personal website of David Morgan, the person behind the Washminster blog, has been updated. The Address is http://www.jdavidmorgan.org.uk/

EU Scrutiny in the House of Lords

Yesterday I atttended the start of a hearing by the House of Lords European Union Committee's
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Policy Sub-Committee. The Russian Ambassador gave evidence to the sub-committee about relations between the EU and Russia. The session can be viewed at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/VideoPlayer.aspx?meetingId=1079

There is a main EU Committee, assisted by seven subcommittees

Sub-Committee A - Economic and Financial Affairs, Trade and International Relations
Sub-Committee B - Internal Market
Sub-Committee C - Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Policy
Sub-Committee D - Environment and Agriculture
Sub-Committee E - Law and Institutions
Sub-Committee F - Home Affairs
Sub-Committee G - Social Policy and Consumer Affairs

To assist its work, many of the subcommittees are made up of co-opted members.

Details of forthcoming meetings and recent reports can be found in the weekly bulletin (which covers all Lords Committees) available at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/LordsWeeklyBulletin.pdf

Thursday 7 February 2008

The Woolsack

The Lord Speaker (or a Deputy when she is not personally present) normally sits on the woolsack - a fine red, and very solid, piece of furniture. There has been a woolsack since the time of King Edward III - and it represents the traditional source of wealth upon which England once relied. In the 1920s it was discovered that over time the wool had been partially replaced by cheaper materials when refurbishment was necessary. It is now filled with wool from a number of commonwealth countries - as a symbol of unity.

There is no back or armrests, although there is an upright backrest. Once woolsacks were common in courts. As well as the main woolsack there are two judges woolsacks which are sited betwnne the main woolsack and the clerks desk. Until the post of Lord Speaker was created, the woolsack was the seat of the Lord Chancellor - who acted as presiding officer of the House of Lords and was the Senior judge.

Wednesday 6 February 2008

Demonstrating outside Parliament

Yesterday in the House of Lords Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked "What changes (are the Government) proposing to the law governing the holding of peaceful demonstrations in Parliament Square."

Lord West of Spithead replied "My Lords, the Government published a consultation paper in October seeking views on the framework for managing protests around Parliament. That consultation ended on 17 January and we are considering the way forward, taking into account the 500 or so responses we have received. I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her full and considered response to the consultation."

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: "My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply and I am glad that he has had a large number of responses to the consultation. Does he accept that it is an affront to democracy if you cannot stand outside your own Parliament with as little as an iced cake saying “Peace” or a T-shirt saying “Free Tibet” without risking arrest? For taking an action such as standing there in a T-shirt you must seek police permission. Will he do his very best to make sure that when the Government review this issue, the law is not harmonised upwards—they are threatening to make all the conditions that apply to marches apply to peaceful protests—but is returned to the position where citizens can protest in front of Parliament peacefully and within the law?"

Lord West of Spithead: "My Lords, it is worth recollecting the history of this. The House of Commons Procedure Committee on sessional orders and resolutions recommended in 2003 that we should introduce appropriate legislation for a number of reasons. That was done, but it became clear that there were complications with it, and the law is not working in the way it should. That is why we have gone out to this consultation. As I say, we have had 500 responses and I really believe that we can move forward and achieve something."

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 created a new offence of demonstrating without authorisation in a “designated area.” A House of Commons Library Note states that

"This area is defined by order, but must be within one kilometre of Parliament Square. Under the provisions, people organising the demonstration have to give the police at least 24 hours notice in writing, and if “reasonably practicable” they will have to give six days’ notice. If the
notice complies with the requirements set out in the legislation, then the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has to give authorisation, but he may impose conditions on those taking part in or organising a demonstration, if he reasonably believes they are necessary for the purpose of preventing any of the following:

• hindrance to any person wishing to enter or leave the Palace of Westminster,
• hindrance to the proper operation of Parliament,
• serious public disorder,
• serious damage to property,
• disruption to the life of the community,
• a security risk in any part of the designated area

Under the provisions, it is an offence not to comply with a condition or to diverge from the particular requirements set out in the authorisation."

Tuesday 5 February 2008

Super Tuesday

It has arrived at last - the day on which the race for the presidency explodes across the nation. Twenty-four states are holding caucuses or primary elections.

Alabama (Primary - Dem & Rep)
Alaska (Caucus - Dem & Rep)
American Samoa (Primary - Dem)
Arizona (Primary - Dem; Presidential Preference Poll - Rep)
Arkansas (Primary - Dem & Rep)
California (Primary - Dem & Rep)
Colorado (Caucus - Dem & Rep)
Connecticut (Primary - Dem & Rep)
Delaware (Primary - Dem & Rep)
Georgia (Primary - Dem: Presidential Preference Primary - Rep)
Idaho (Caucus - Dem)
Illinois(Primary - Dem: Presidential Preference Primary + delegate election - Rep)
Kansas (Caucus - Dem)
Massachusetts (Primary - Dem & Rep)
Minnesota (Caucus - Dem & Rep)
Missouri (Primary - Dem & Rep)
Montana (invited caucus - Rep)
New Jersey (Primary - Dem & Rep)
New Mexico (Caucus - Dem)
New York (Primary - Dem & Rep)
North Dakota (Caucus - Dem & Rep)
Oklahoma (Primary - Dem & Rep)
Tennessee (Primary - Dem & Rep)
Utah (Primary - Dem & Rep)
West Virginia (Convention - Rep)

The Democrats Abroad will begin their primary today.

CNN will be running their scoreboard at http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/. The first results are due after 7pm (ET) midnight (UK).

Monday 4 February 2008

The Week Ahead

My apologies for the break in service over the last few days. My attention has been elsewhere - I hope soon to make an announcement explaining the exciting developments which have occurred!

This coming week will see "Super Tuesday" - when 24 states will hold primaries or caucuses. Already this has been an exciting "season" - and who knows what Tuesday will bring. Even a good showing by a particular candidate may not lead to their virtual coronation - since a "backlash" in the remaining primaries could snatch victory from their hands. As I write this I am watching the Superbowl. The next month could see as many strategic plays and turnovers as any great American Football game.

No doubt particular attention will be paid by the Senate to the results - as 3 Senators are in strong positions to win the two nominations. On Monday the Senate will Resume consideration of S. 2248, the FISA Amendments Act of 2007

The House of Representative will next meet on Wednesday. Eleven suspensions bills are due to be considered. H.R. 4137 - College Opportunity and Affordability Act (Rep. George Miller – Education and Labor) is the major item of legislation for the week.

In the House of Commons

Monday 4 February: Oral Questions - Children, Schools and Families, including Topical Questions: Motions - Relating to the Police Grant and Local Government Finance Reports

Tuesday 5 February: Oral Questions - Health, including Topical Questions
Debate - The Treaty of Lisbon (No.3); Human Rights
Legislation - European Union (Amendment) Bill - Consideration in Committee of the Whole House (Allotted Day 3)

Wednesday 6 February: Oral Questions - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; Prime Minister
Debate - The Treaty of Lisbon (No.4); The Single Market : Legislation - European Union (Amendment) Bill - Consideration in Committee of the Whole House (Allotted Day 4)

Thursday 7 February: Oral Questions - Church Commissioners, Public Accounts Commission and Speaker's Committee on Electoral Commission; Solicitor General; Women and Equality; Leader of the House of Commons and House of Commons Commission
Business Statement - Leader of the House
Topical Debate - to be announced
Motions - Relating to European Scrutiny Reform

In the House of Lords

Monday 4 February (2.30pm)
Legislation - Disabled Persons (Independent Living) Bill [HL] (Committee stage) - a private members bill
Legislation - European Communities (Finance) Bill (Second reading)
Legislation - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [HL] (Third reading)
Legislation - Employment Bill [HL] (Grand Committee, day 1, Moses Room, 3.30pm)

Tuesday 5 February (2.30pm)
Oral Questions - including Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer to ask Her Majesty's Government what changes they are proposing to the law governing the holding of peaceful demonstrations in Parliament Square. Lord Campbell-Savours to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the role of juries in rape trials
Legislation - Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (Committee stage, day 1)
Legislation - Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill [HL] (Grand Committee, day 3, Moses Room, 3.30pm)
Question for short debate - on the assessment of the arrangements for preserving Government archives and preparing official histories (L. Rodgers of Quarry Bank)

Wednesday 6 February (3.00pm)
Legislation - Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (Committee stage, day 2)
Legislation - Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill [HL] (Grand Committee, day 5 Moses Room, 3.45pm)
Question for short debate - on the prospects for a resolution of the political, economic and human problems in Zimbabwe (L. Blaker)

Thursday 7 February (11.00am)
Legislation - Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill (Grand Committee, day 4, Moses Room, 2.00pm)
Debates - on the Corston review of women in the criminal justice system (B. Corston); on free entry to museums (L. Harrison)