The Week in British Politics: 3rd-9th December

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With one of the most undoubtedly important weeks in British politics coming up, here is a round-up of what you may have missed this week.

I’m a politician, get me out of here?

It’s not often ‘I’m A Celebrity’ can be linked to politics, except maybe when Stanley Johnson’s on it. Yet, earlier this week it was Jeremy Corbyn’s reason for turning down the BBC’s offer of a Brexit debate on Sunday 9th December. However, after all the accusations from both sides about “running scared”, on Tuesday the BBC withdrew their offer for a debate and two days later, ITV did the same.

The start of the Commons’ Brexit debate

Tuesday was also the start of the marathon House of Commons Brexit debate, where members from all parties and sides of the Brexit debate started to debate Theresa May’s deal, in readiness for a planned vote on it tomorrow. Not all attention was focussed on this debate though, as Olly Robbins, the UK’s head civil servant for Brexit, admitted the backstop is bad for the country and that ministers may struggle to withdraw from it in the future. The Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox (pictured below), later said the backstop could be permanent should the UK fall back on it.

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Contempt of Parliament

The government also got themselves in a pickle after initially refusing to publish the full legal advice they received on Brexit. After being found guilty of being in contempt of parliament, they were forced to publish it on Wednesday. It didn’t make happy reading, saying that goods being imported to Northern Ireland from mainland Britain would be treated as if from a ‘third country’, because Northern Ireland would remain in the customs union.

UKIP’s mass-exodus

Moving away from Brexit, UKIP was grabbing headlines for the first time in a while because of a raft of members quitting the party. These included Suzanne Evans and Nigel Farage. This is due to UKIP’s current leader, Gerrard Batten, associating himself with Tommy Robinson, a far-right campaigner. UKIP and Robinson marched together in support for Brexit yesterday.

The Windrush generation and the Hostile Environment Policy

Finally, the Nation Audit Office published a report saying that ministers ignored warnings from 2014 that members of the Windrush generation could be adversely affected by the hostile environment policy, as well as anyone who may struggle to prove their right to be in this country. Perhaps luckily for the Home Office, all the Brexit news rather overshadowed this.

So, what do we have to look forward to in the upcoming week?

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On Monday 10th December, the government will be publishing their Rough Sleeping Delivery Plan, which will set out targets and deadlines for all 61 commitments the government has made to end rough sleeping by 2027. Whilst it is unlikely to take place (because it’s also scheduled on Tuesday), Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb (pictured above) will put forward his Cannabis (Legalisation and Regulation) Bill, which if passed would legalise the use of cannabis as well as regulating its production.

Just before publication, Theresa May announced her intention to delay the planned House of Commons withdrawal agreement vote, which had been scheduled for Tuesday evening, to seek ‘further assurances’ from the EU on the Brexit deal backstop. However, Speaker John Bercow described such a move as ‘deeply discourteous’ if made without a Commons vote to suspend the withdrawal agreement debate. It’s going to a big week.

More articles in This Week in British Politics
  1. The Week in British Politics: 3rd-9th December
  2. This Week in British Politics: 8th-14th October
  3. This Week in British Politics: 17th-23rd September
  4. This Week In British Politics: 8th-15th July
  5. This Week in British Politics: 5 March – 11 March 2018
  6. This Week in British Politics 19-25 February 2018
  7. This Week in British Politics: 1-7 January 2018
  8. This Week in British Politics: 15-21 January 2018
  9. The Week in British Politics: 12 March – 18 March 2018
  10. This Week in British Politics: 2nd – 9th September 2018
  11. This Week in British Politics: 10th – 16th September
  12. This Week in British Politics: 1st – 7th October
  13. This Week in British Politics: 15th-21st October
  14. This Week in British Politics: 26th November-2nd December
  15. The Week in British Politics: 11th-17th February 2019
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