Westminster is alive again: the corridors are full, there a queues for the canteens, gossip is being traded. But even though a large chunk of the House is made up of new MPs, fresh faced, and hopefully refreshed after a long summer break, the mood already seems sour.

Lib Dems and Tories alike are still trying to come to terms with the coalition, and the first thing all MPs are being told after the summer is to vote against their own manifestos.

It is a very odd quirk of the bill for a referendum on AV that all parties will now vote against the position they argued for before the election. The Lib Dems believe AV doesn’t go far enough, while the Tories think it goes too far, but both will vote for the referendum as a central part of the coalition agreement. Labour doesn’t like the boundary change that is being bundled in with it and will vote against. Read more

The new expenses body for MPs put out a release this evening saying it would relent on two fronts after pressure from all sides:

1] MPs will no longer automatically have to pay 15 per cent of their phone bills out of their own pockets. Yet – and this could be more of a pain – they will have to separate their private/political calls from work ones. Read more