I’m back down in Westminster today after the Christmas recess. It’s always difficult to anticipate how a Parliamentary week will unfold, and that’s truer than ever right now, but clearly this week will be dominated by Brexit, on which you can read my latest update here.
We are restarting five days of debate on the EU Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration, after the Prime Minister pulled the vote in early December, so I’ll be spending a lot of time in the Commons Chamber, with the vote itself expected to take place next Tuesday. Very little has changed Theresa May opened the debate on 4th December, which I wound up for Labour (you can watch my speech here or read it here), but the stakes are getting higher as we head towards departure from the EU.
After some meetings on Brexit today, I’ll be meeting placement students from the Department of Work and Pensions who are based in Sheffield, London and Leeds to talk to them about parliamentary questions and other correspondence between Ministers and MPs. If there’s a Ministerial Statement on Universal Credit, linked to yesterday’s announcement on a delayed rollout, I’ll be seeking to raise my concerns with Ministers.
On Wednesday, I’m meeting a delegation of Dutch MPs from the Committee for Social Affairs and Employment who are investigating the challenges of tackling household debt and want to find out more about the approach in the UK. I will be speaking to them about my work on regulating payday lending and the other work I do on debt and high-cost credit.
The uncertainty for the week ahead means I may have to stay in London on Friday. If not, I’ll be back up in Sheffield to meet local knife manufacturers, ahead of a meeting I’ve secured with the Minister next week, to ensure that they are not adversely impacted by the proposals in the Offensive Weapons Bill. Later on Friday I’ll be joining the other Sheffield MPs to meet the Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust to follow up on the issues raised in the Big Conversation around mental health.
On Saturday I will be holding one of my fortnightly advice surgeries for constituents (more information here) and then heading down to Bramall Lane to watch United take on QPR.