A quiet period for Parliament

Parliament has been relatively quiet in recent weeks. The Coalition Agreement has been worked through and there’s no real agreement on further legislation from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat wings of the coalition.

It’s also not unusual for the fourth year of a Parliament to be quieter.

But things livened up last week. Labour set the cat amongst the pigeons when Ed Balls announced that if Labour wins the election we will reintroduce the 50p tax rate for people earning more than £150k a year.

With the economy and cost of living likely to dominate the election, it was a bold move and one likely to create clear water between the parties.

Then came the flagship Immigration Bill. It had been anticipated that an amendment on migration from new EU countries would dominate the debate.

It turned out that a backbench amendment to be tougher on foreign criminals actually caused most excitement. What was proposed was illegal yet the Conservative part of the coalition abstained leaving it up to Labour and the Lib Dems to restore order.

The following day the EU Referendum Bill ground to a halt in the Lords after detailed scrutiny produced amendments which meant the Bill would run out of time.

The tactic of choosing a Private Members Bill was always likely to lead to that outcome.