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The Week Ahead: Brexit, Barclays fraud and black cabs

Politics

THE highlight of the political week will be Tuesday’s debate on Theresa May’s Plan B for Brexit.

A host of MPs has tabled amendments promoting a range of Brexit outcomes from extension of the negotiation process to a ban on no-deal, a second referendum or a time-limited Irish backstop.

Further amendments can be expected as January 29 approaches and massive attention will be given to speaker John Bercow’s decision on which amendments to select for debate and vote.

Any amendments which secure a majority will not be binding on the government but will put massive political pressure on Mrs May as she prepares to resume talks with Brussels on the way ahead.

A host of parliamentary committee hearings includes appearances by the author of the Grenfell Tower report on Monday, the former Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge on parliament’s powers to direct the government on Brexit on Tuesday, and BBC director general Lord Hall on the cost of the new EastEnders set on Wednesday.

Courts

Fraud trial: John Varley, the former chief executive of Barclays, arrives at Southwark crown court today. Varley and four other Barclays bosses are facing fraud charges relating to the 2008 financial crash. The top executives are accused of agreeing to pay secret fees to Quatar in exchange for funds PICTURE: EPA

The Shoreham Airshow crash, Hillsborough trial, Barclays fraud, David Gaut and Andy Anokye trials continue.

On Monday, Elliott Bower, who admitted causing the deaths of four people, including a 16-month-old boy, by dangerous driving while fleeing from police in Darnall, Sheffield, will be sentenced at Sheffield crown court. On the same day, Sophie Elms, 18, is due to be sentenced for 16 child sex offences, at Swindon crown court; and nine men accused of involvement in two gang-related shootings, including the shooting of seven-year-old Christian Hickey and his mother Jayne, will appear at Manchester crown court for the start of a 10-week trial.

On Tuesday, former London’s Burning star John Alford goes on trial at Highbury Corner magistrates’ court accused of assaulting two police officers; and MP Fiona Onasanya will be sentenced at the Old Bailey for lying to avoid speeding points.

The Supreme Court will give its rulings over the government’s criminal records disclosure scheme, and in a compensation battle by victims of miscarriages of justice, on Wednesday. Driver Liam Rosney, who caused the death by careless driving of Chris Boardman’s mother, will be sentenced at Mold crown court on the same day.

On Thursday, JK Rowling’s civil case against her former PA Amanda Donaldson returns to Airdrie sheriff court; and a 17-year-old boy who assaulted Sir Christopher Meyer will be sentenced by Uxbridge magistrates.

On Friday, Leary Dalton-Byrne, 18, faces being handed a life sentence at Birmingham crown court after stabbing Dean Ward with a carving knife in Finchley Park, Kingstanding, in June 2018.

Royals

Hands-on: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speaks with members of the public during a walkabout in Birkenhead. Next week she’s visiting the Association of Commonwealth Universities PICTURE: AP

The Prince of Wales will tour businesses in Warwickshire and Northamptonshire on Monday, including the firm that makes London black cabs. The following day, the Duke of Sussex will attend a Commonwealth Youth roundtable event at Lancaster House in London while his wife the duchess visits the National Theatre. On Thursday the Duchess of Cornwall will visit the Royal Academy of Arts to view the newly opened learning facilities and Meghan will attend an engagement with the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

And in other news…

The Centre for Cities publishes its annual report on the economic status of UK cities on Monday. On Tuesday, Transport Focus will publish the latest results from its rail passenger satisfaction survey and lecturers in 16 English colleges take strike action in a dispute over pay. Annual figures on the number of rough sleepers in England, the latest numbers on assaults in prisons, and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders report on how many cars were built last year will be published on Thursday.

In Ireland, a theatrical protest by Border Communities Against Brexit against a no-deal exit and possible reimposition of checks will see a mock wall constructed on the frontier tomorrow. It follows a Belfast conference examining ordinary people’s views on the divorce earlier in the day.