It's the sharp end of the Parliamentary session, as a number of Bills reach the point of potential no return, and the Government hasten to get as much of their poorly drafted legislation through whilst the sun shines. One complication is the unexpected death yesterday of Lord Kingsland, the Conservative frontbencher for constitutional and legal affairs which, given the nature of the week's business, is likely to cause some reshuffling, if only on the Conservative benches. Liberal Bureaucracy sends its condolences to his family.
So, what do we have to look forward to?
From the Liberal Democrat benches, oral questions on US/UK negotiations on the acceptance of detainees (Lord Wallace of Saltaire) and on the issue of refugees arising from conflicts and climate change (Baroness Tonge).
Day 7 of the Committee stage of the Coroners and Justice Bill, where our plucky team will doubtless continue to resist attempts to take more of our rights away. Lord Thomas of Gresford will be seeking to amend the Bill to tighten up issues relating to witness anonymity (amendments 185ZA to 185ZE inclusive) and to reject Clauses 86, 87, 93 and 98. Meanwhile, Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer will be moving amendments 186A-C, which seek to prevent the imposition of police bail for minor offences.
The most interesting, and most likely to be successful, amendment is one that has the support of both Conservative and Liberal Democrat benches, amendment 187, which creates an Independent Commissioner for Terrorist Suspects. Paragraph 2 of the proposed new clause reads;
"The principal function of the Commissioner shall be to monitor the detention and treatment of terrorist suspects held under section 41 of and Schedule 8 to the Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11) and in particular to give the judicial authority such independent assistance as it may require in deciding whether or not to extend the period of detention, and to perform such other related functions as the Secretary of State may determine."
Finally, there will be a Motion of Regret from Baroness Miller, opposing some new regulations in support of the introduction of identity cards. The Conservatives are likely to be supportive, although whether they can round up enough votes is another question.
From the Liberal Democrat benches, there will be oral questions on the prospects for a united Cyprus (Lord Watson of Richmond) and on university places (Baroness Sharp).
Then, it will be on to the Committee Stage of the Parliamentary Standards Bill. Liberal Democrats will be pushing to make specific the fact that the Bill only applies to the House of Commons, and to insert a proper system for investigating complaints. Meanwhile, Lord Jenkin of Roding will be attempting to insert multiple references to the 1689 Bill of Rights. I wonder if Conservatives opposed that piece of legislation at the time?...