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MPs are back at work - and our Chief Whip, Alistair Carmichael, looks back on the election & the first few weeks of the new Parliament

By Alistair Carmichael, Jul 18, 2017 11:07

The correx boards are stored away. The scars on my knuckles from vicious letter boxes have almost healed. The election is over and parliament is up and running again.

When I say "running" it may be more accurate to say "staggering" or "limping on".

Having called an election to get a bigger majority and having lost the one she had, Theresa May cuts a very different figure today than she did a couple of months ago.

Her cabinet openly quarrel about major planks of government policy and her backbenchers seethe with silent fury.

On the opposition benches the mood is also changed.

Many Labour MPs who had privately resigned themselves to losing their seats now find themselves back on the green benches thanks to the campaign run by Jeremy Corbyn, a man about whom few had a good word to say until June.

The SNP, back in greatly reduced numbers, lost not only Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson but also a lot of their swagger.

Meanwhile the Liberal Democrat benches are not nearly as full as I would want them to be but what we lack in numbers we make up for in spirit and determination.

This parliament will bring massive challenges and needs strong liberal voices more than ever.

This parliament will bring massive challenges and needs strong liberal voices more than ever. Your parliamentary group will meet these challenges as a United, determined and spirited group.

One of the things I have enjoyed most in the last few weeks has been our new Liberal Democrat MPs making their maiden speeches in the House.

If you have not seen them already then go to the parliament live TV website and find them. Just days after their election and already Layla, Wera, Christine and Jamie have done themselves, their communities and our party proud.

The Queen's Speech had little content, reflecting the lack of political authority this government wields. By the time you read this parliament will have broken for the summer recess.

The Queen's Speech had little content, reflecting the lack of political authority this government wields.

Our MPs will not be in Westminster but I know that they will not be idle.

The work of surgeries, meetings and constituency visits will start in earnest although they all leave Westminster with a strict instruction to get some time off.

When they come back in September we shall be in to the government's not-so-great Repeal Bill. The passage of that will set the course and the tone for the rest of this parliament.

You won't find many people in Westminster who will predict how long this parliament will last or what will happen while it does.

One thing that everyone does know is that they will be hearing a lot from the Liberal Democrats while it does.

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