Both Houses rise for the summer recess on 21 July. We are going to be very busy over the next couple of weeks.
Take next week: on Monday, we have the Policing and Crime Bill (its third day in committee); on Tuesday, the Coroners and Justice Bill (its fifth day in committee); on Wednesday, the Second Reading of the Parliamentary Standards Bill; and on Thursday the Third Reading of the Political Parties and Elections Bill, as well as the Coroners and Justice Bill (sixth day in committee). The House is also sitting on the Friday for the Second Readings of four Private Members’ Bills.
Various contentious issues will come up during debate on most of the Government’s Bills. On Tuesday, the amendments dealing with assisted dying will be reached, a subject on which I did an earlier post.
The Parliamentary Standards Bill has been taken through the Commons in three days and constitutes a classic piece of rushed legislation. It has constitutional implications and has not been the subject of any serious prior consultation. In the Commons, the Goverment agreed to the removal of one clause; another was removed by a vote of the House. The challenge to the Lords will be to ensure that it receives serious, and not rushed, consideration.
In the Lords, amendments can be moved on the Third Reading of a Bill and on Thursday there are amendments tabled to the Political Parties and Elections Bill on tax relief for political donations. On the Coroners and Justice Bill, Lord Waddington is trying to remove a clause that the Government has included to remove what it sees as an unnecessary provision (now section 29JA of the Public Order Act 1986) stipulating that discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices shall not be taken to be threatening or stirring up hatred.
So plenty to keep us busy and issues on which readers will doubtless have opinions. I shall also be speaking in a Question for Short Debate (QSD) on Monday on the Government’s legislative proposals for constitutional reform. Time will be short, but I have a fair amount to say!