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By Matthew Barrett
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COMMONS-sittingParliament sits again today following the Christmas break, and will be considering some important legislation during January, including:

  • Local Government Finance Bill
  • Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Bill
  • Public Services (Social Enterprise and Social Value) Bill
  • Wind Turbines (Minimum Distances from Residential Premises) Bill
  • Scotland Bill
  • Welfare Reform Bill
  • Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill
  • London Local Authorities Bill

There are two strands of parliamentary activity at the moment – the first is the heavy-duty Government legislation, which is mostly going through the Lords, including the Welfare Reform Bill and the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. 


The second strand of current parliamentary business is that which takes place in the Commons. On the whole, the House is considering less legislation – especially significant Government legislation – than it has been used to during previous Parliaments.

Since something has to fill the gap if the Commons is to continue sitting, this means allocating more time to Opposition Day debates (mostly Labour) – which Conservative MPs have to endure and respond to.

The downside of the Government's (entirely sensible) desire to get the heavy legislative lifting done early – for example Michael Gove's education reforms – and end up with a situation where few new laws need to be passed in the second half of this Parliament is that the Opposition is given more command of parliamentary business in the meantime 

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