As we bid farewell to BBQs and flip flops we look forward to the array of colour that autumn will bring. Be sure to tune in to BBC 1 on Saturday evening to see Ed Balls take to the Strictly Come Dancing stage.
After a much needed summer break Parliament returns on Monday. While most MPs will spend the weekend packing their new bags and purchasing last minute stationary, Prime Minister Theresa May is already back in action having held the first Cabinet meeting of the new term at Chequers on Thursday.
Despite the turf war that has been brewing all summer between the triumvirate of Brexiteers that is Messrs Johnson, Davis and Fox, all was calm in the Buckinghamshire countryside. Several ministers returning to London yesterday afternoon remarked on the sense of teamwork and inclusion.
Those who made the drive out into the Buckinghamshire countryside hoping to get some idea of what ‘Brexit means Brexit’ means will have learned more about Theresa May’s thinking. Most significant was her declaration that curbing migration from the European Union will be a red line in Brexit negotiations. In effect it means she has ruled out attempts to retain full access to the single market.
But it is recognition that, of all the reasons why 17 million people voted for Brexit, the call for taking control of our borders was perhaps the clearest.
The Prime Minister also insisted that Britain would not accept an ‘off-the-shelf’ deal, such as those between the EU and Norway or Switzerland, but would demand a bespoke settlement with the union. Of course the problem with opting for ‘bespoke’ is it can be very expensive.
It is clear that the Prime Minister wants more than just Brexit on the curriculum this year. As well as her key theme of ‘building a society that works for everyone’ she has fitted tackling low productivity and getting tough with irresponsible business into the timetable.
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is experiencing the pain of not completing his homework before the recess with the announcement of four junior doctor strikes planned before the end of the year, each lasting five days. About 100,000 operations are likely to be cancelled and a million appointments postponed.
There are some signs that the tide could be turning as The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges warned that the strikes are not ‘proportionate’ and will ’cause real problems for patients, the service and the profession’. The General Medical Council is also considering intervening over the dispute’s ‘serious escalation’.
Jeremy Corbyn will start the new year with an extra spring in his step in the wake of an opinion poll that placed him 24 points ahead of his leadership rival Owen Smith. This result comes despite Labour’s ruling body winning a challenge against a High Court decision allowing new party members to vote in the contest, which was widely expected to damage Mr Corbyn’s campaign to retain his position at the helm of the party.
Following the poll Mr Smith experienced a difficult interview with Kay Burley, who accused him of being ‘toast’ with ‘no chance of being Labour leader’. Mr Smith was quick to point out that it was merely one poll and the contest was very much still ‘balanced on a knife edge’.
Those hoping to be eased back into the new political term will be in for a shock. Once the House is back in session we should expect to see heightened tensions as the Article 50 debate raises its head, with Brexiteers becoming increasingly impatient, and the Parliamentary Labour Party, which passed a motion of no confidence Jeremy Corbyn in June, coming to terms with the fact that the MP for Islington may well return as leader with an even bigger mandate than before.
MP’s needn’t worry though – they only have to wait two weeks until they are on holiday again!