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Yesterday Parliament reconvened from its summer recess. Only for a fortnight, obviously; the decision to bring everyone back in September rather than October was taken last year but conference centres and hotels are booked for party conferences several years in advance, so the net result is that in two weeks’ time the entire institution will grind to a halt again while MPs fuck off to Bournemouth or wherever. (Still, that’s just enough time for the government to all but dismantle the NHS, so if you have shares in a private health provider or an anti-abortion organisation, breathe easy.)

Last night, returning from the dinner break to the continuation of day one of Report stage of the Localism Bill, the minister Baroness Hanham said completely the wrong phrase which could have wrapped up the whole thing. “I beg to move that Report be now… received?” she said, beginning to sound uncertain, while the clerk at the desk shook his head vigorously. There were only about four peers in the room at that point—the rest drifted in a minute later—and if they hadn’t been on their toes and had idly voted “yes”, Report stage would have finished there and then. While this would have made for a pleasantly short evening, in the long run it would probably have proved controversial, not least among those still hoping to make changes to the bill, and the next (and final) stage of the bill would have proved positively feral.

What with Lord Kennedy referring to “individual individuals”, Lord McKenzie talking about “strategic tenancy strategies” and Lord Shutt telling us that “this power provides powers”, I’m afraid they appear to have started as they mean to go on.

EDIT: How true this was. Later on Lord McConnell asked for “decisive decisions”.

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