Viewing guide: The pick of the week ahead
Despite the grumbling and general sulks in Westminster over the terrible imposition of having a Commons sitting in September, some pretty important legislating has already been done and there were some riveting committee sessions on the riots and hacking as well. So onwards to week two, with more important legislation and some promising-looking committee sessions again.
Monday will be a busy day for the Home Secretary Theresa May and her team, with Home Office questions in the Commons. There may be a statement from the Chancellor or one of his team about the outcome of the Vickers Review into the banking system and whether there should be a "firewall" between retail and investment banking - an issue which has led to considerable Coalition tension. Next on the agenda will be consideration of Lords amendments to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill. Since the amendments in question pretty much gutted the Bill, removing its central provision for elected Policing and Crime Commissioners, this could be the first round of a protracted clash between the two houses. And there is bound to be some fun and games around the Government's decision to postpone the planned elections for those commissioners from next May to next November. Personally I'm less inclined to blame the satanic influence of Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems for the postponement, and more inclined to believe that the timetable for holding elections was beginning to look unfeasibly tight.
Up on the Committee Corridor the main theme is local government finance (stay awake at the back!) with the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles explaining the fiendish complexities of his plan to give local councils more control of their Business Rates. And the Public Accounts Committee will be looking at the formula funding of local services, including NHS services. There's also a Treasury Committee hearing on tax enforcement and the effectiveness of HM Revenue and Customs. And the new-fangled Committee on the National Security Strategy will be hearing from the former security minister Admiral West. This is a high powered body full of eminent and experienced figures. It was founded under Gordon Brown but never really got going and no-one's quite sure what it is for. Perhaps it will now define a role for itself and exert some real influence over the Government's National Security Strategy.
But the big Commons event of the day will take place offstage. MPs will receive their little brown envelopes from the Boundary Commission, detailing the fate of their constituency under the Government's drive to cut the number of seats in the Commons from 650 to 600, which will mean creating fewer, bigger constituencies. When the music stops, 50 MPs are going to be out of a job, and perhaps others will see majorities cut or even overturned. So watch out for extremes of exuberance or depression once the details have been assimilated.
Meanwhile in the Lords, peers press on with their detailed consideration of the Localism Bill. This will be Day 3.
On Tuesday the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is answering questions in the Commons, with MPs sure to probe the difference between his analysis of the August riots and that of the Home Secretary. Then Labour heavyweight Jack Straw has a ten minute rule bill on Motor Insurance Regulation - this goes beyond Ken Clarke's announced intention to outlaw the "referral fees" paid by insurance companies for the details of anyone involved in an accident, and then used to fuel the business of claims companies. Mr Straw argues these simply drive up insurance premiums for everyone. His Bill would also restrict claims for "whiplash" injuries and end "postcode discrimination" against motorists. That will be followed by an Opposition day debate. The day ends with an adjournment debate in which Conservative Dr Phillip Lee will highlight the "economic value of microgravity research".
Headlining the day's committee action is the Home Affairs hearing on the "roots of violent radicalisation." The star witness will be Congressman Peter King. The New York Republican is the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee where he held hearings on the issue of radicalisation of Muslim Americans. It is a very rare example of one parliament quizzing another. The Committee will also look at the work of the UK Borders Agency. The Transport Committee continues its examination of High Speed Rail, with Secretary of State Phillip Hammond and officials from the HS2 consortium.
The Cleggwatch - sorry Political and Constitutional Reform - committee will be looking at plans for individual voter registration. This may sound innocuous, but actually involves some bare-knuckle politics. IVR would require each voter to register themselves on the electoral roll, replacing the current system where heads of household fill out a registration form. The idea is to eliminate voting fraud, but many Labour MPs fear it would drive poor, mobile inner city residents off the register altogether, and so hurt their electoral chances. The Government is floating a compromise approach which would phase in IVR, so that it would not take full effect until after the 2015 election - and that in turn is now under fire from Conservative MPs, who suspect electoral fraud cost them dear at the last election.
There is also a session of the Committee on Members Expenses, chaired by the Conservative Adam Afriye, which is examining the operations of the expenses watchdog IPSA, which continues to be loathed and abominated by most MPs. This one will bear watching….
In the Lords, business will be dominated by the second reading of the Government's Welfare Reform Bill. Don't expect too much drama at this early stage of consideration, but this is another bill which Their Lordships are likely to rewrite.
Wednesday in the Commons begins with questions to the Scottish Secretary Michael Moore and then to the Prime Minister. Then the Conservative backbencher Dr Therese Coffey has a ten minute rule bill highlighting the issue of hydration and nutrition for the terminally ill. MPs then complete their consideration of the Energy Bill, the complicated measure which allows people to make energy-saving improvements to their homes and pay for them out of savings to their fuel bills - the so-called Green Deal. With rising concern over fuel bills, and rising Conservative criticism of the Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, this could be livelier than might be imagined.
It's also a busy day in Committee-land. Top of the bill is the Defence Committee hearing on the Military Covenant and the treatment of military casualties, with veterans minister Andrew Robathan (a former army officer) and Health Minister Simon Burns. Elsewhere the Environmental Audit Committee ponders the Green Economy and the preparations for the Rio+20 summit. The Public Accounts Committee looks at the ramifications of localism and the Procedure Committee looks at the future shape of the parliamentary calendar.
There's also an interesting looking unofficial session, with the all-party group on stalking, under the chairmanship of Plaid Cymru's Elfyn Llwydd. It will hear from victims and families of the victims of stalking about the impact stalking has had on their lives. The group aims to prepare recommendations on how to deal with the problem.
In the Lords Peers will be responding to Commons amendments to the Police Reform etc Bill (see above) and the Fixed Term Parliaments Bill. Will they defy the Commons and insist on the changes they've made to the two bills?
Thursday in the Commons begins with Transport questions and then moves on to two Backbench debates. The first is on Food Security and Famine Prevention in Africa, and the second on Human Rights in the Indian Subcontinent - this will cover the conflicts in Kashmir and Sri Lanka.
The Home Affairs Committee continues its look at the August riots - and after two hearings which have produced some strong criticism of Police tactics the Committee will hear from the "Gold Commanders" who took the operational decisions - and then officials from Blackberry, Facebook and Twitter - so the committee can explore the role of social media and electronic messaging in the disorders and the potential for switching them off in future riots.
In the Lords there will be debates on the implementation of the NHS Future Forum recommendations in the Health and Social Care Bill and the report of the Independent Commission on Banking.
Neither House is scheduled to sit on Friday, when the conference season break begins. Peers return on October 3, and MPs on October 10.