Having finally concluded the confidence and supply deal with the DUP, Theresa May will be feeling a little more relaxed ahead of Thursday’s vote on the Queen’s Speech. Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile – riding high from a rapturously received appearance at Glastonbury – will seek to maintain the momentum he is saying will carry him to Downing Street “within six months”. Elsewhere, the impact of Grenfell Tower continues to grow as it emerges that more tower blocks have failed safety tests, resulting in evacuations in the London borough of Camden.
With such events in Westminster, and Holyrood preparing to go into recess at the end of the week, you would be forgiven for thinking that our MSPs – one eye perhaps on the airport and the other on the weather forecast – might let us down gently into recess.
On Tuesday, the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill – which proposes the integration of the British Transport Police into Police Scotland – gets its Stage 3 hearing. With railway and police unions in opposition and the recent national focus on police funding, expect this to generate much discussion. The Bill has been opposed at every corner by much of the opposition, with only the Greens siding with the Government.
Elsewhere, the Justice Committee will begin discussing James Kelly’s attempt to repeal the Offensive Behaviour and Threatening Communications at Football (Scotland) Act 2012. Responses to the consultation on his proposed Bill indicated previously it was hugely unpopular with the public and a majority of MSPs were elected on manifestos which called for its repeal, so its progress is worth keeping an eye on. Elsewhere on Tuesday, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee examines the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill, and Gillian Martin hosts a Members’ Business debate on the relationship between child slavery and the internet.
The Scottish Government debate on school governance will likely provide the fireworks on Wednesday. Labour have been attempting to capitalise on any negative press when it comes to the Government’s education record, and Nicola Sturgeon’s apparent attack on Audit Scotland’s methodology at last week’s FMQs suggests the onslaught could be taking a toll. Also on Wednesday, James Kelly leads a Members’ Business debate on the rights of dementia sufferers and their carers, and Kenny Gibson hosts his “BT to Remove One-in-five Phone Boxes in Scotland” Members’ Business, though if you ask us he would’ve garnered more attention if the title had more of a ring to it.
On Thursday, Parliament debates the findings of the Commission on Parliamentary Reform, which will prove to be fascinating and important in the long term, but arguably manages only to headline the undercard. Top of the bill is the last FMQs of the session, where all four party leaders will be cross-examining the First Minister, to be followed by John Mason asking about the gender pay gender and Finlay Carson raising the issue of CAP payments. Last week the First Minister refused to confirm that the Government had asked the European Commission for an extension of the deadline for payments, only for it to be announced just hours later. Given the volatile week in both London and Edinburgh, it’s sure to be a lively affair.
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