Parliament returns from recess on Tuesday next week for the September sitting, At the moment we are scheduled to sit for ten days, but that could change at any time.
The main issue, of course, is whether the government will be allowed to crash the UK out of the EU without a deal. The Commons has already voted three times against this course of action but the government seems willing to ignore this.
Because the government controls the timetable for the Commons and what business is debated, there are few opportunities for MPs to vote to prevent the government from crashing us out.
So expect lots of procedural wrangling as MPs try to find a way to assert themselves and the government tries to stop them.
The first day back after recess usually features lots of government statements.
A statement is where a minister comes to the House to respond to events or to describe a change of policy. Because the House has not been sitting there may be several of these. For example I hope a minister will come to speak about the terrible fires destroying the Amazon rain forest and how the UK can contribute to stopping this environmental vandalism.
It is also possible that the Prime Minister will give a statement on his discussions last week at the G7 meeting in France. Yet so far he seems to avoid questions and scrutiny so that remains to be seen.
If a minister does not want to give a statement, MPs can apply to force one by asking an Urgent Question, or UQ. You apply to the Speaker and he decides if it is serious enough – and genuinely urgent – and if so, the UQ application is granted. As with statements, MPs bob up and down trying to catch the attention of Mr Speaker, and when they care called they can also ask a question of the minister relevant to that subject.
So on Tuesday we might have several of these statements and UQs. But we also have normal business: I am leading for the Opposition on the Census Bill, a short but important change to the way we manage our censuses. Brexit is dominating proceedings but there remains other work necessary to the country, and not all of it is getting done.
But that Bill won’t start until all the other statements and UQs are finished, so I will not have a fixed time to be ready in the Commons Chamber and I will just have to be patient. Tuesday, like much of the next few weeks, will be unpredictable and subject to change!