The Parliamentary term ended with a bang as the outcome of three by-election contests left a trail of uncertainty for politicians, pundits and tacticians.

Normally the last week of the parliamentary term has quite a nice feel to it. New pieces of legislation are in their final stages, meaning there are lots of votes but that the argy-bargy of debates has already drawn to a close.

MPs can often be found wandering around Westminster in their jeans, with their kids in tow, having a look around the big place where mummy or daddy works.

Political opponents can sometimes be found chatting in corridors swapping recess plans or asking for holidaying tips if they’re visiting one another’s constituency.

Not this year.

For the last few weeks, Parliament has had an air of finality about it - even though the next general election could be up to eighteen months away.

Scores of MPs have announced their intention to stand down at the next general election, many citing years of political turmoil and the pressures of the job - on them, their families or their mental health.

Many speeches have sounded less like debate contributions and more like personal swan songs.

For the final week of the parliamentary term, there was no throng of dress-down MPs holding the hands of little people being dragged through voting chambers and staring in amazement at the Hogwarts architecture.

No, Westminster felt pretty empty with most MPs instructed to head “into the field” to win over voters in those by-elections.

The Conservatives were braced for three defeats but in the end only suffered two - one each to the Liberal Democrats and Labour.

They clung on to the third seat by a few hundred votes, prompting the Prime Minister to declare that the next general election was “Not a done deal”.

Some have focussed on the Conservative’s narrow victory in that third seat, saying it now presents the PM with a choice on what to do to maximise Conservative chances in the next General Election.

He can either seek to govern in the national interest, by trying to address the myriad of problems facing the country, or he can attempt to divide and conquer, doubling down on wedge issues or so-called “culture wars” in a straight drive to boost his electoral prospects.

As MPs turned their attention to summer fetes and “constituency tours”, we left Westminster knowing that the next election could be the one with our names on the ballot paper.

And yet, the battle lines of the next General Election, the tactics of the parties and the outcome all seem more uncertain than ever.