Ash Wednesday

Yesterday all the estimates were passed without a division. I attended a meeting of the Backbench Business Committee where we heard bids for debates on the proposed closure of some Jobcentre Plus offices, international trade and the situation in Turkey. All bids requested time in the main chamber but as at present the Committee has no unallocated time available in the chamber the best we could offer were shorter debates in the Westminster Hall debating chamber.

Today after Prime Minister questions the victor of the Copeland by-election will be introduced to the House of Commons, swear the oath of allegiance and take her seat on the green benches. My apologies for suggesting the by-election winners would both arrive on Monday. I was half right ( half wrong?) the winner of the Stoke-on-Trent central by-election took his seat but Trudy Harrison has waited until today. The main business in the House of Commons is the Bus Services Bill a Bill which has already been the Lords and more details of which can be found by clicking on the hyperlink. Talking of the Lords the focus of the media will inevitably be on their Lordships today as they seek to amend the Bill to authorise the triggering of Article 50. Whatever happens the government have made it absolutely clear they will ask the Commons to overturn any amendments.

It is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent today and unless a major problem intervenes I will be attending the special service in the Chapel which takes place at lunchtime.

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