What’s happening in Parliament on Wednesday? – BBC.com


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Mark D'Arcy

Parliamentary correspondent

Image source, Getty Images

What's on in Parliament on Wednesday, 20 April.

The House of Lords is not sitting.

Commons: (11: 30) COP 26 Questions, Prime Minister's Questions

Ten minute rule bill: The Hereditary Titles (female succession) Bill from the Conservative Harriett Baldwin, would allow female heirs to succeed to hereditary titles.....

Main debates: On Lords Amendments to the Subsidy Control Bill, the Building Safety Bill and the Nationality and Borders Bill

Westminster Hall: Debates include Flood risk in London led by the Conservative Felicity Buchan (11: 00) and British nationals detained overseas - Labour MP Kevin Brennan has regularly raised the case of his constituent, Luke Symons, who is being held captive in Yemen. He suggests that the USA seems to have a much better record than the UK on getting its citizens home.

Committees: Work and Pensions (09: 15) questions ministers David Rutley and Mims Davies on universal credit and childcare costs; Public Accounts (13: 30) hears from top civil servants at the Department of Health and Social Care in its inquiry into the management of PPE contracts, Europe Scrutiny (14: 30) hears from Brexit Opportunities Minister, Jacob Rees Mogg, in its inquiry into the body of EU law still in effect in the UK.; Justice (15: 00) questions Home Office Minister Damian Hinds, and Home Office Director for Economic Crime, Duncan Tessier, on Fraud and the Justice System

Tuesday, April 19

Commons: (14: 30) Health Questions

Urgent questions/government statements: (15.30) The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, will come to the dispatch box to explain the new policy of "offshoring" some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The prime minister is then expected to apologise, after being fined over Partygate, and update MPs on the war in Ukraine, after his visit to Kyiv. Expect close questioning on his statement, and watch out for a ruling from the Speaker over whether he will allow some response from the Opposition parties; there has been talk of an attempt to refer the question of whether the PM misled the Commons to the Privileges Committee, or of alternative approaches like a motion of censure. (As I write, the exact tactics are being kept under wraps). Remember any of the alternatives would have to be backed by a majority of MPs, and that can only happen if there is a considerable Conservative rebellion. - which does not look likely at the moment.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwateng will make a statement on energy security.

Ten minute rule bill: Sewage discharges - former Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron, a Lake District MP, presents a bill to bring in mandatory targets and timescales for the end of sewage discharges into waterways and coastal areas. The Bill would require quarterly reports on the impact of sewage discharges on human health and on the wider environment, and place a representative of environmental groups on water company boards. Remembering the damage the government took over this issue during the passage of the Environment Act, this could prove a sensitive debate.

Main debate: Second Reading of the Online Safety Bill - the ground-breaking attempt to regulate the internet, clamping down on everything from online scammers to "legal but harmful" content.

Process note: the Bill will be "carried over" into the next session of Parliament, which begins with the State Opening on 10 May. The programme motion for the Bill will require detailed consideration in Committee to be completed by June 30th, suggesting that the government wants the Bill to have its Second Reading in the Lords before the Summer break.

Westminster Hall: Debates include Conservative Dr Jamie Wallis on the Computer Misuse Act 1990 (11: 30) - he has argued that the invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the need to update the law on cyber-security; Labour's Helen Hayes on Royal Mail services and the covid-19 pandemic (16: 30) and former minister Crispin Blunt on LGBTQ+ rights in the British Overseas Territories (18: 30)

Committees: Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (10: 30) quiz energy suppliers, including failed firms Bulb and Avro over their handling of the energy price crisis. The witnesses will include Chief executives from four of the big six energy firms, E.ON, EDF, ScottishPower, and British Gas owner Centrica. The session will cover complaints that suppliers were disproportionately increasing direct debits and forcing people onto more expensive fixed rate deals, as well concerns about the future viability of the price cap.

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs looks at the work of the House of Lords Appointment Commission (10: 00) with its Chair, Lord Bew. I imagine the whys and wherefores of the appointment of Lord Lebvedev and the non-appointment of people like John Bercow and Tom Watson might come up. Bring popcorn.

Defence (15: 00) has a hearing on the Russia-Ukraine Crisis, and US, UK and NATO, with evidence from General Sir Richard Barrons, former head of Joint Force Command. Foreign Affairs (14: 00) opens its inquiry into The Wagner Group and proxy Private Military Companies, with evidence from online investigators Bellingcat.

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