Will the last whip to leave the building please switch off the lights….

We are now on the end of term adjournment debate where MPs can raise any subject they like. (Harry Cohen is talking about Ronnie Biggs, as I write). Unlike the pre-Easter debate which finished early there’s no shortage of speakers tonight, and a seven minute limit on speeches. But we’ve finished voting and the vast majority of MPs have departed Westminster for the summer.

So spare a thought for those of us who are not yet free to leave. And a special thought please for the ‘last whip on the bench’. There’s a whips rota for ‘bench duty’ in the Chamber, and it falls upon me to occupy the very last slot today, from 10pm to 11pm. A less trusting soul than I might suspect a stitch up, with someone in the Whips’ office working backwards from the last day of term, just to make sure they didn’t get the graveyard slot.

Earlier I was approached by the whip who’s doing the 9pm to 10pm slot. Foolishly, for a moment I thought she was offering to swap. But no, she was suggesting that ‘seeing as you’ve got to be here anyway’ I might want to do her slot as well as mine. So I’m here for the duration…

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