An essential weekly guide to the big stories of the next seven days provided by Foresight News

The week ahead: applications close for Newsnight editor job, Chinese New Year, Gay marriage debate

A guide to the big stories of the week ahead provided by Foresight News.

On Monday, in deepest darkest Leicester, we’ll find out if the winter of our discontent has been made glorious summer (sorry) by the discovery of Richard III’s remains. The team searching for the bones of the possibly-not-villainous royal plan to announce the findings of their car park dig at 10am, Monday.

In Anglican Church news, Justin Welby formally takes up his role as the Archbishop of Canterbury on Monday in a Confirmation of Election Ceremony. John Sentamu, The Archbishop of York, will confer the title upon Welby at St Paul’s Cathedral in a ceremony which gets underway at noon.

The Commons Liaison Committee (a kind of Parliamentary super-group of Committee chairs) gets to grill Nick Clegg for the first time on Tuesday. MPs from both sides of the House are expected to press the Deputy Prime Minister on environmental policy, constitutional reform (including the Coalition’s recent boundary change split) and devolution. No word yet on whether sartorial matters will feature.

Elsewhere in the Commons, the House will hold its first debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on Tuesday. The Bill, which has riled Tory backbenchers but gained the strong backing of the Prime Minister, makes provision for people of the same sex to marry, albeit with important exemptions for the Church of England.

European ministers will gather to discuss the situation in Mali at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. The meeting follows recent military success in the Malian city of Timbuktu, where Islamist rebels appear to have been driven from power. Amid reports of jubilation the ancient city’s residents, however, some commentators have cautioned against complacency.

Foreign Secretary William Hague, who may attend Tuesday’s Brussels meeting, will be up before the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee the following day to answer questions on the Government’s European policy. Hague, who knows only too well of the dangers of ‘banging on about Europe’, has nevertheless given his full backing to his boss’s recent referendum gamble.

The final report into failings at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is likely to dominate the news agenda when it is published on Wednesday. The inquiry’s findings build on Robert Francis’ 2010 report which found that the ‘horrific’ neglect of patients at Stafford Hospital led to the deaths of some 400 to 1,200 patients. Major reforms to the hospital inspection regime are expected to be among the report’s recommendations.

He might be in Bill Cash’s good books, but party-uniting hokey cokey specialist David Cameron should probably not expect a hero’s welcome when he arrives in Brussels on Thursday for the latest crunch European Council summit. With EU leaders again expected to attempt to secure an agreement on long-term spending plans, Council president Herman van Rompuy and his European Commission counterpart Jose Manuel Barroso last week set out their stall ahead of the two-day meeting and spoke of the EU budget as indispensible for driving growth in member states.

A debate on A&E closures takes place in the Commons on Thursday exactly a week after the announcement by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that Lewisham Hospital’s emergency department would operate at a reduced capacity. Hunt’s decision went against the recommendation of special administrator Matthew Kershaw, who called for full closure of the unit, though Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham described the move as the ‘first glimpse of the new market-driven NHS’.

Incoming Bank of England governor and former Goldman Sachs employee Mark Carney is due to appear before the Treasury Committee for a pre-appointment hearing on Thursday, where the Canadian will face questions on possible alternatives to inflation targeting. While in Davos earlier this month, Carney spoke of the need for central banks to do more to ensure national economies ‘achieve escape velocity’.

The Stop the War coalition hosts what it calls an ‘international conference’ on Saturday to mark 10 years since mass worldwide protests against the Iraq War, including a march in London which was described by police at the time as the biggest demonstration ever seen in the UK. Speakers at the event include Tony Benn, Jemima Khan and a video-linked Noam Chomsky.

A High Court case management conference listed for Friday in the phone hacking civil cases is expected to result in the confirmation of the number of settlements and amounts paid to claimants by News International since the last batch of payments in late 2012. Claimants are rumoured to include Cherie Blair, Neil and Christine Hamilton, and Ted Beckham, the father of former England captain David.

The application period for both a replacement editor of Newsnight, and Head of News programmes at the BBC, closes on Friday. The fallout from the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal led to the resignation of previous editor Peter Rippon, and the Corporation’s attempts to repair its damaged reputation saw it advertise publicly after a period of what it called ‘intense internal scrutiny’.

A month since the last round, reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas are scheduled to resume in Egypt on Saturday, when discussions between the rival Palestinian factions will return to the implementation of the 2011 agreement on elections in the Territories and the formation of a unity government.

The Rio Carnival, beloved of partygoers, tourists and photo editors alike, takes place on Saturday with the country still reeling from the deaths of over 200 people in a fire at a nightclub in the southern town of Santa Maria. With the capital making preparations for hosting next year’s football World Cup, as well as the 2016 Olympics, the fire has prompted a spate of bar and club inspections amid a national debate over the country’s safety regulations.

Sunday is party day for London as the capital welcomes in the Chinese New Year with a traditional parade through China Town, before the film world glams up for the BAFTAs at the Royal Opera House. Steven Spielberg’s historical romp Lincoln leads the way with 10 nominations, with Adele vehicle Skyfall notching up a respectable eight.

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