Curious case of Commons Clerk

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The House of Commons returned with the Prime Minister’s inbox particularly full.

The attempts by ISIS to set up a caliphate in the Middle East has sent shock waves through an already troubled region. Whether to arm the Kurds, join US airstrikes or how to deal with jihadists from Britain who go to join the fighting are all big decisions for the Government.

It looked as if Parliament might be recalled but the slow deliberations reflects the seriousness of the issues, uncertainty after the previous Syria vote and the conclusion that the public is weary of war.

Less serious but nevertheless of great concern to MPs is the curious case of the Commons Clerk. The Clerk heads the administration of the House and acts as chief advisor on procedure.

It has been suggested that the appointment of someone from the Australian parliament satisfied the former but not latter role and the Speaker faced criticism for what was seen as his choice. The process seems to have stalled.

Then came the decision by Tory MP Douglas Carswell to defect to UKIP but in doing so took the principled decision to fight a by-election. The voters will make a choice – on the Prime Minister’s birthday – which could have a profound effect on party politics.

And all of this in the context of the Scottish referendum. Anyone interested in politics can’t say there’s not much happening!