Been a busy weekend – if you include Friday which I do, because it’s “not in Parliament” time.

Friday started at 6am and I got home about 9pm. It included an interview for Radio Bristol on the previous day’s tuition fees vote; visiting Royal Mail delivery workers at the east Bristol delivery office (armed with a bottle of House of Commons whisky, as is the tradition); meeting up with Labour’s council candidate for Lawrence Hill (Margaret Hickman – a great choice); meeting with residents and staff at Wick House in Brislington; visiting Eastville Health Centre; meeting with the Chief of Bristol PCT and fellow Labour MP Dawn Primarolo; and then finishing up at my constituency office, going through all my correspondence… And also finding time for a quick coffee + cake at Better Foods, and a trip to the supermarket…

By comparison Saturday and Sunday have been relatively relaxed. Bit of campaigning, quite a bit of blogging – had to do four pieces for other people this weekend, which is why I’ve missed a couple of days on here – and generally catching up. Tonight I’m off to see students in occupation at UWE, and then it’s Bristol East Labour Party’s Xmas quiz night at St George Labour Club.

Coming up this week in Parliament…. On Monday we’ve got the Second Reading of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, which introduces elected police commissioners. A bad idea, for quite a few reasons. I think I’m right in saying it will cost £2 million to hold a ballot in the Avon and Somerset police authority area (which could be used to keep more police officers on the frontline), and how do we ensure that someone elected predominantly by voters in rural areas gives due weight to the issues affecting inner-city Bristol? How do we stop them pandering to populism? I have real concerns that we’ll end up electing a demagogue or worse. After all, the track record on elected mayors isn’t great…

I assume that on Monday we’ll also have a statement from the Home Secretary about policing issues during Thursday’s demo, given that the Royals were involved. And I’ll be doing my shadow ministerial thing in an SI (statutory instrument) committee at 4.30pm,  The Tobacco Products (Description of Products) (Amendment) Order 2010 which is about the length of individual bits of rolling tobacco, and the weight of cigars… High-level politics!

Tuesday is about finishing off a few Bills: the Superannuation Bill, the Freezing of Terrorist Assets Bill, and the ID Cards Bill. Wednesday could prove controversial, on the Tory benches at least. It’s the Second Reading of the Loans to Ireland Bill. And Thursday it’s backbench committee business, on a one line whip. The following Monday and Tuesday are unwhipped business too, and then Parliament is in recess till January 10th, so many MPs might decide to pack their bags up for the hols this Wednesday… I’ll be there till Tuesday 21st, as we’ve got Treasury questions.

So that’s it… Although no doubt the week will throw up something unpredictable too…

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  • Rory  On December 13, 2010 at 12:14 am

    “After all, the track record on elected mayors isn’t great…”

    Yes… Ken was bloody awful.

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