TRADITIONALLY the summer recess in Westminster is a time for political parties and politicians to recharge their batteries but the three main parties in the UK are facing different challenges and opportunities over this period.

The Tories are seeking to come together under a new leader and new Prime Minister, who will be keen to make her mark. She has already brought together probably the most right-wing cabinet ever seen in modern-day politics, including bringing on board leading advocates of Brexit. Only time will tell if the Tories have finally overcome the split within their party on the issue of Europe but pressure to implement Brexit and bring forward legislation to start the process of exiting the EU could still cause problems. Although it looks as if the new Prime Minister is hoping to delay Brexit for as long as possible, the rest of the EU isn’t prepared to wait forever and they will be looking to force the UK to bring forward a timetable for Brexit.

In contrast, while the Tories appear to be coalescing under a new leader, the troubles within Labour seem only to be getting worse. Even though Labour’s NEC decided that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t need the backing of 50 other MPs and MEPs to take part in the leadership contest, this decision has been dragged (unsuccessfully) through the courts by a wealthy Labour donor keen to see Corbyn ousted. Labour’s NEC is also facing further legal action from new members who joined the party after the EU referendum who have been angered to find out that the NEC had decided that only those who joined the party either on or before January 12 this year could automatically vote. Labour further compounded the situation by allowing recent new members the opportunity to vote by becoming registered supporters, but only if they paid £25 each.

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There seems to be an ever widening gap between the majority of Labour’s membership and the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). The failed coup of last month hasn’t deterred the PLP, although it was something of a surprise when Angela Eagle withdrew from the leadership contest in favour of the relatively unknown Owen Smith. Despite trying to position himself as a reformer on the left of the party, Smith’s background as a lobbyist for a pharmaceutical company, his support for PFI, and even his recent admission that austerity is needed, doesn’t match up with his claims. Most polls are indicating that Jeremy Corbyn will have no problem seeing off Smith’s challenge.

If, or more likely when, Jeremy Corbyn retains the leadership of the Labour Party, there will be serious questions for the rebels within the Parliamentary Labour Party; what will they do next? Some have already said they will not serve in a Corbyn shadow cabinet, leaving him with fewer choices to fill the available places. Already we’ve seen one MP being given the dual role of Shadow Secretary of State for both Scotland and Northern Ireland.

There is some talk about the PLP rebels heading off to form either a new party or to link up with the remnants of the LibDems. No doubt some of this might be based on whether local constituency Labour parties will re-select the current rebels.

Corbyn’s survival as leader will also put some pressure on Labour’s leader in Scotland, as Kezia Dugdale made her contempt of Corbyn public when she sided with the rebels within the PLP calling for him to go. She will also be under pressure from her deputy, Alex Rowley, who has stated that he wouldn’t stand in the way of a second Independence Referendum. Kezia has also recently been contacted by the Scottish Tories to seek her support in blocking such a referendum. It’s difficult to predict which way she will go, but surely the impact of joining with the Tories in Better Together – which resulted in Labour falling to become the third party in Scottish politics – will influence her decision, as will the comments of her deputy.

It is also worth noting that although Rowley has indicated he wouldn’t block a second indyref, that is not the same as saying he supports independence – at least not yet (and maybe never according to those who know him best). This could simply be him starting his move to take over the reins of Labour in Scotland.

With all that is happening to Labour it makes their push for an early General Election even more bizarre. It’s an old adage that divided parties don’t win elections and there’s hardly been a more divided party than Labour. It’s a party at war with itself. I can understand the call for an election as no-one voted for Theresa May to be Prime Minister. I know technically we don’t vote directly for our Prime Ministers, but at least at each General Election voters can base their judgment on the leaders of the main parties knowing that one of them will become Prime Minister. However, the same Labour MPs were reluctant to call for an early election when Gordon Brown inherited the post of PM from Tony Blair, although ironically Theresa May did call for such an election – although she apparently doesn’t believe it should happen now.

If there were an early General Election the chances are that Labour would lose more seats and the Tories would be the main beneficiary. In Scotland, the SNP would do well to retain all 56 wins from 2015 but, if anything, support for the SNP has risen in the past year.

When it comes to the SNP, the Westminster summer recess brings not only the promise of a renewed campaign for independence but also a contest for the depute leader of the party. Although the summer independence campaign may have been slightly stalled by the Brexit vote, members have already been working towards a new indyref drive with various local Yes organisations getting back together.

Each of the four confirmed candidates for depute leader brings a different set of skills and experience which will help take the party forward, especially with a new independence drive. Unlike with Labour’s leadership contest, there is no open warfare within the SNP and the contest for depute is open, friendly and fair.

Although I’ll be taking some time off during this recess, I will still be working hard not just for my constituents but to continue the drive for independence. The only reason I’m at Westminster is to push for Scotland becoming independent and that cause remains uppermost in my mind at all times.