Over a year after the first lockdown, today is a big showdown – will MPs vote to extend the powers granted by the Coronavirus Act. We expect there will be a small rebellion from the Coronavirus Recovery Group but ultimately a resounding yes.
In the Commons
The Chamber starts at 9:30 today with Cabinet Office questions and a statement on forthcoming business from Mr Rees-Mogg.
Then the big debate begins and MPs will decide in a short debate as to whethr te emergency powers of the Coronavirus Act should be renewed for a further six months. This does not mean they will be used but leaves them in place if required. The vote is not amendable so there will be a lot of grumbling. Even if the Commons does not debate this at length, the Lords will get their teeth in later!
The Adjourment if they get to it is led by Helen Hayes on the Conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
Westminster Hall has a couple of debates todady on Government support for NGos and Churches from Jim Shannon and Immigration and Nationality Fees from Meg Hillier.
Committees see DEFRA looking into seafood and meats going to the EU and the Minister, George Eustice will be in line for questions. London Capital & Finance is also in line for more scrutiny by the Treasury Committee – I suspect many MPs with bulging casework loads from customers who lost money will be pleased about this one. Housing Committee is looking at local authority financial sustainability and the Scotish Affairs Committee s looking at how to deliver a successful Cop26 in Glasgow.
In the Lords
The Lords will be seeing the introductionn of Baroness Judith Blake of Leeds, she previously ran Leeds City Council. After this we’ll see questions to the Minister on Bahrain’s human rights, Child Trust Funds for young people with disabilities, tackling discrimination aganist Gypsies and Travellers (we expect this may feature a certain new Bill and criminilisaton of encampments with no new alternative placces to stay…) and resolving the famine in Yemen.
The Chamber will then look at oppotunities from Brexit, how to reduce the burden on business in NI following Brexit, checks on trade between NI and GB/Ireland and extending grace periods.
The debate then moves onto the Coronavirus Act – a parellel debate to that in the Commons but largely just a disscussion, no power behind it. Though I expect the comments here will be the ones which catch the media!
After this Easter recess begins – no Friday and no HoC or HoL until 12 April. Yep the same day restrictions reduce again, we will also see our Members back in both Houses!