This week it is only Westminster that is back in business after the Christmas holidays. Holyrood and the Senedd don’t return till next week. There will, however, be a brief virtual Covid-19 statement from Nicola Sturgeon this afternoon.
You do have to wonder why they bothered dragging MPs back to London for just two days of business when Covid case levels are so high.
However, the exciting thing for Liberal Democrats is that Helen Morgan, our new MP for North Shropshire, will be taking her seat in the Commons, and that will be a joy to behold. She’ll be sworn in at the start of the day’s business at 2:30 pm. It would normally be 11:30 on a Wednesday, but because it’s the first day back, it’s not till the afternoon.
Boris Johnson then faces his first PMQs of 2022 at 3pm and can expect to be quizzed on the growing crisis in the NHS and in schools. Ed Davey has a question and I wonder what line he will take…
Pensions legislation then takes up the afternoon until an adjournment debate on the award of public contracts during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Westminster Hall debates will take place on issues regarding new build homes, historical allegations of sexual abuse and the justice system, deforestation in the Amazon, housing in Sittingbourne and Sheppey and immigration requirements for non UK national members of the armed forces.
Peers will be debating a framework agreement between the British and Ukrainian governments for the development of the Ukrainian navy.
On Thursday, MPs question Nadine Dorries and her team at the Department of Cultural, Media and Sport and the Attorney General before hearing a business statement from Jacob Rees-Mogg and a backbench business debate on Russia’s grand strategy. The adjournment debate will be on anti semitism at Bristol University.
Tim Farron has a Westminster Hall debate on the impact of second homes and holiday lets in rural communities. There is another debate on the as yet not very existent Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.
The Lords debates the plight of refugees, the effect of rising energy costs on people with low incomes and the increasing amount of power-grabbing legislation which grants delegated powers.