Brexit top of agenda as MPs return to Parliament after huge Tory election win
16 December 2019, 05:34 | Updated: 16 December 2019, 08:55
Hundreds of new MPs will flock to the House of Commons on Monday with a busy week in Westminster after a huge Tory election win.
With MPs new and old making their way to their new jobs Boris Johnson is set to address his new intake of Tory MPs as they prepare to vote on his Brexit deal.
Westminster is set for an eventful week with MPs being sworn in on Tuesday, ahead of a slimmed-down Queen's Speech on Thursday.
Rumours have been circling over the weekend that the PM will start out his new Government by making a slight adjustment to his Cabinet team, with a more drastic reorganisation in February.
Labour is also set for a busy week as the party starts the process of replacing Jeremy Corbyn as leader after he suffered the worst General Election defeat since 1935.
Good morning Newcastle.— Aaron Bell MP (@AaronBell4NUL) December 16, 2019
A new dawn has broken, has it not? pic.twitter.com/oQsglnazoU
Key figures in the current leadership were tipping shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, but backbenchers Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips were testing the waters for a challenge.
Labour's general secretary Jennie Formby reportedly wrote to the party's ruling National Executive Committee recommending the contest starts on January 7, with the view of having a new leader by the end of March.
The Prime Minister will welcome the more than 100 newly-elected colleagues, many of them from former Labour areas across the north and Midlands, to the House of Commons on Monday.
Mr Johnson will use his majority of 80 to get his Withdrawal Agreement Bill (Wab) to implement Brexit approved so the UK can formally leave the EU by the end of January.
The PM has pledged to bring the Bill back before the Commons before Christmas but it is not yet known when MPs will begin voting on it.
One key point of Mr Johnson's election campaign was that all Conservative candidates had signed up to support his deal, meaning it is likely to pass when it comes to vote.
Ahead of the private speech, a Number 10 source said: "This election and the new generation of MPs that have resulted from Labour towns turning blue will help change our politics for the better.
"The PM has been very clear that we have a responsibility to deliver a better future for our country and that we must repay the public's trust by getting Brexit done.
"That's why the first piece of legislation new MPs will vote on will be the Withdrawal Agreement Bill."
Approving the Wab will not mean the Brexit saga is over. The UK will remain in the EU until at least the end of 2020 during the implementation period.
This time will be used by Brussels and London to hammer out a trade deal and decide on their future relationship on subjects such as security.
But EU figures have been highly sceptical this can be sorted within the year, with chief negotiator Michel Barnier saying the timetable was "unrealistic" in leaked comments.
Senior Cabinet member Michael Gove, who is the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, tried to dismiss these fears.
He told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday he is "confident" the agreement could be finalised by the deadline because "quite a lot of the details" are agreed in the Political Declaration agreed with the EU.
New MPs took to social media as they made their journey to Westminster.
Mr Johnson is not the only leader who will be welcoming a new intake of MPs on Monday, with the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford expected to meet his new colleagues.
This will demonstrate one of the greatest problems the PM is expected to face - Nicola Sturgeon's party will be making intensifying demands for a fresh Scottish independence referendum.
Scotland largely voted against Brexit and the SNP increased its share of Scottish seats in the Commons to 47 out of a total of 59 in Thursday's General Election.
Another pro-independence MP, Neale Hanvey, took the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat but is currently suspended by the party over allegations of anti-Semitism.
He will sit as an independent MP until a disciplinary process is completed.
Ms Sturgeon insisted the Tories were "raging against reality" by blocking another independence vote as she vowed to "pursue the plan I won a mandate for".
But Mr Gove said the Conservatives would "absolutely" not hold another public vote on the matter during the course of the Parliament, regardless of the result of the 2021 Holyrood election.