Devolution dished up

I'm having my anorak dry-cleaned specially. There's a whole lot of devolution going on when Parliament reconvenes next week.

Driven by the Scottish referendum and its continuing aftershocks, there is suddenly a huge amount of energy pervading what would once have been dismissed as rather arcane constitutional questions - and the electoral, not to mention constitutional, consequences of striking the wrong note could be huge.

It seems hard to imagine that the prime minister can avoid delivering a major statement on his promise of a sweeping new devolutionary settlement for Scotland - and its consequences for England.

There now seems to be a commitment to hold a major Commons debate in the near future - expect an announcement on that point on Monday. Mr Cameron is already scheduled to answer questions on the devolution issue in a 90-minute appearance before the Commons Liaison Committee, the super-committee of select committee chairs, on Tuesday.

UPDATE: There's now talk of a debate on Tuesday - which would probably force the postponement of the Liaison Committee hearing.

The Commons timetable also features questions to the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and the Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, who also have some skin in this particular game.

Later in the week, there's a rather unusual occasion in which Gordon Brown will lead an adjournment debate on the UK government's relationship with Scotland. This is billed as his attempt to hold the government's feet to the fire and ensure it keeps the promise of a beefed-up devolution settlement made in the heat of the independence referendum.

The SNP are already complaining that a half-hour adjournment debate is a rather limited way of dealing with a very big subject - but if the preceding Commons business finishes early (and there's a good chance it will) there will be a lot more time available than usual.

Welsh horses

Meanwhile, over in the Lords, the two days scheduled for committee stage debate on the Wales Bill take on extra significance. What would once have been a fairly humdrum technical debate could now provide a stable for all kinds of exotic beasts; stalking horses, pantomime horses, Trojan horses and dead horses (to be flogged).

In short: expect amendments on setting up a UK Constitutional Convention, and exploring a deal for Wales comparable to that now being mooted for Scotland.

Things are already moving - the latest amendment paper contains new government amendments from the Lib Dem Welsh Office minister, Lady Randerson (a former deputy first minister in the Welsh Assembly government) which removes the so-called "lockstep" which fixes the relationship between Income Tax bands. This would allow the Assembly (subject to a referendum on whether it should take up this power) to set, for example, a higher top rate of income tax, compared to other parts of the UK, without also raising the basic rate.

Responding to the announcement, Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesperson Jonathan Edwards repeated the party's view that if Scotland is offered full control of income tax powers then Wales should have the same deal. The underlying issue now is whether each constituent part of the UK is going to be treated differently, or whether a standardised package of devolved government is going to be offered within some kind of quasi federal system. Watch this space.

As for the other amendments already in play, Plaid Cymru are planning a series to include the proposals from Silk 2 - the second report of the Silk Commission on devolved powers for Wales - in the bill. This would require a technical amendment to broaden the long title of the bill in order to make those changes possible. Former leader Lord Wigley will be leading the charge.

Labour's Lord Anderson is suggesting that each of the 40 Assembly constituencies should return a man and a woman AM, and that the bill should not come into force until there has been a constitutional convention for the whole UK, and the outcome has been debated by Parliament - that won't work for Scotland and if it won't work for Scotland it won't work for Wales,

The Lib Dem Lord Roberts of Llandudno wants to add a new clause to promote voter registration and require registration officers to take more active steps to ensure people - especially young, disabled and ethnic minority people - are signed up to vote, including holding annual political engagement sessions at schools and colleges

And Labour's Lord Rowlands is opposing clauses on Stamp Duty and Welsh land transactions - which would allow the Assembly to bring in its own land transaction tax.