Parliament is returning from its half-term recess, but the legislative agenda for the first week back is wafer-thin, partly because Brexit means that Whitehall has no spare capacity to do anything and partly because the Conservatives have no parliamentary majority.
This week’s big political action will be outside Westminster: the Labour left’s power-brokers, particularly Manuel Cortes, the general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, are stepping up their campaign to get Jeremy Corbyn to change the party policy on Brexit.
On the other side, the Conservatives are continuing their ongoing search for a customs policy that unites the party, doesn’t create a hard border on the island of Ireland and can pass through the House of Commons. (So nothing too difficult, then.)
It’s all the starter to the main meal: the almighty parliamentary row when the Brexit legislation comes back to parliament and the 28 June EU council in which progress has to be reached on these issues. Small wonder, then, that when one or two political journalists gather together, the main topic of conversation is whether it is safe to book holiday in August.
Out this week
Out in cinemas: My Friend Dahmer sees Ross Lynch play the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer as a high school teen in the prequel no one was asking for. I’m more excited by Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, starring Parks & Rec‘s Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.
This week, I have mostly been listening to Chvrches’ new record Love Is Dead, but I have refrained from adding them all to my column playlist. In any case, this week’s column, on the Labour Party’s struggling music festival, was largely tapped out to “Voulez-Vous” by Abba.
Patrick Maguire may not have got to see Liverpool lift the Champions League trophy in Kiev but he’s come back with a new affection for Dua Lipa after watching her perform the warm-up act before the game. Our senior writer Anoosh Chakelian has a new one true love, musically speaking at least: John Maus. Our deputy culture editor, Anna Leszkiewicz, has been listening to Snail Mail, Lorde and Cardi B. You can listen to all of those and more of the office’s current favourites here.
One ongoing headache for Theresa May is the mounting pressure to address the constitutional anomaly whereby equal marriage and the ability to access a legal and safe abortion are unavailable in Northern Ireland. But Patrick Maguire hears that the government is sneakily trying to bring equal marriage to Northern Ireland without getting into a scrap with the DUP. Robert Hayward, the Conservative peer and a long-time campaigner for LGBT rights, brought his private members’ bill calling for equal marriage in Northern Ireland just days after Karen Bradley, the Northern Ireland Secretary, confirmed that the Conservatives would allow a free vote on the issue.
A valet at Sydney’s Hyatt Regency Hotel had to be cut out of an £87,000 Porsche 911 Carrera S after he attempted to park it underneath another car. The hotel’s managing director reassured local reporters the unnamed valet was “embarrassed and a little bit shocked” but otherwise unharmed.