With Holyrood still in recess and Scottish conference season in full swing, all eyes fall to Westminster for what looks likely to be another gripping week in politics.
We could finally see one of the great ‘will they, won’t they’ stories of British politics finally emerge from the long grass. Twitter, newspapers and TV seem gripped by the prospect that airport expansion – the struggle between Gatwick and Heathrow – could be resolved at last. Though I doubt Chris Grayling will use his late Monday afternoon appearance before the Transport Committee to sneak out an announcement, this week could see a Commons statement of some kind. Though judging by the rebellious pronouncements of some backbench Tories threatening the Government if they select Heathrow, expect this issue to be kept in a holding pattern for a while yet before reaching its final destination.
Other big reveals expected this week include a number of select committees announcing their new Chairs following elections. Keith Vaz’s replacement at Home Affairs is likely to generate some interest, though the identities of those in charge of the new International Trade and Exiting the EU committees will get the most attention. Other select committee news sees David Mundell renew his acquaintance with the Scottish Affairs Committee to discuss the demography of Scotland while Andrea Leadsom makes her debut before the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee to discuss her role and no doubt the selling of bottled air to China as referenced in her conference speech.
In the Chamber, Wednesday’s SNP-led opposition day debate will focus on Brexit and will most likely generate fireworks judging by the rhetoric emanating from the party’s conference in Glasgow. Boris Johnson’s appearance at the dispatch box for Foreign Affairs questions will be closely examined not just here but in the Kremlin, while Prime Minister’s Questions will as ever be compulsive viewing. Some commentators concluded Jeremy Corbyn had a good week last time and it will be interesting to see how the interaction between the Labour leader and Prime Minister continues to develop. Questions to David Davis on Thursday will also be worth a watch, though whether it will answer that most elusive of questions, what Brexit actually means, seems unlikely.
Somewhat unusually, the House is sitting on Friday to examine legislation brought forward by MPs; John Nicolson’s Sexual Offences (Pardons) Bill is to be considered alongside a number of Brexit-related members’ business.
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