Saturday 20 June 2009

The Week Ahead

Monday will see the election of a new Speaker in the House of Commons. It will be the first time that a secret ballot will be used. John Bercow was the favourite - but a fierce anti-Bercow campaign has been mounted - particularly by fellow Tory MPs and some of the press. He is seen as one of the reformers - and Westminster, despite the current storms, can be very resistant to meaningful change.

Thursday will see the usual Business Statement - which prompts discussion of a number of issues on MPs' minds. The House will then be asked to approve various motions, including the establishment of a London Regional Committee and Regional Grand Committees; a motion relating to Members Pensions; and motions relating to Select Committees. Other business in the Commons includes the 2nd Reading of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill (Tuesday) and an Opposition initiated debate on the Iraq Inquiry which was announced last week (Wednesday). While that debate rages in the Commons - another contoversial issue - the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report into Equitable Life will be discussed in Westminster Hall.

It will be a busy week in the Lords. I'll be interested to know what direction Lord McNally will move in his supplementary to his question asking about plans to celebrate the centenary of the Parliament Act 1911.

The Parliamentary calendar is available at http://services.parliament.uk/calendar/

In Washington the House will spend time on

H.R. 2892 - Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010; H.R. 2647 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010; and the H.R. concerning - Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010.

The House schedule can be found at http://democraticleader.house.gov/docUploads/22WeeklyLeader62209.pdf?CFID=7017212&CFTOKEN=43085550

The Senate is likely to start the week on the Tourism Bill. After false rumours went around on Thursday that the Minnesota Supreme Court would rule that day on the contested election (yes - it is still going on!!!), we wait to hear if a decision will be made this week.