Westminster is proving to be notably quiet in the period between the September sitting and the two Houses resuming next month. The atrium in Portcullis House is less busy than during the main summer recess. In part, this may be because Members and a fair number of staff are either at or planning to attend their party conference. I have seen more peers in Westminster today than I have MPs, though the largest group I have seen has been of Hull students.
In many respects it is the lull before the storm. The House of Lords resumes sitting next Monday (3 October) and the House of Commons returns on 10 October. It is then going to be hectic, with no respite until Christmas. In the first half of the year, there are various breaks – the February half-term, Easter, and the Whit recess, but in the autumn there is no let-up. The pressure of business, and some tensions between the parties, means that tempers may get a little frayed at times. The Christmas recess will probably already be looking attractive before even November is upon us….