David Nuttall has started on yet another of his Friday filibusters…. which means I might have a longer wait than I thought before it’s my turn in the Chamber. Phillip Davies is also poised, ready for action. This is on the first Private Members’ Bill up today, on Anonymity for Arrested Persons, which is quite an interesting debate, with lots of references to the Joanna Yeates case and the perils of having mad professor hair and being in close proximity to a murder scene.
I was actually going to say something more on the previous post…. It’s one of the slightly frustrating things about holding a frontbench portfolio that, as well as being involved in fascinating work on current and future strategy and policy development, it also means you have to hold the fort on more techy issues, for example, dealing with the many statutory instruments that are dealt with by Delegated Legislation committees.
This week I was on front bench duty for the EU Court of Auditors Report, a 90 minute debate which took place after the end of normal business on Wednesday, but because I was preparing for it – there were 1036 pages of reading material, and I managed to add to this pile by reading up on past press articles, etc – I wasn’t able to spend more than an hour or so in the forests debate. I’d have liked to speak in that debate, especially given that I’d had hundreds of emails from constituents about it. but basically to stand any chance of being called in an over-subscribed debate – and there were loads of MPs wanting to speak – you have to commit to being in the Chamber for the duration, and I couldn’t do that. Similarly on Monday I wanted to speak in the Health and Social Care Bill debate, but we had a Treasury team meeting which meant I missed the opening front bench speeches, so I couldn’t.
Not complaining, that’s just the way things work out, but hope it explains why sometimes it seems my choice of speaking topics is a bit random! And why, in a week where we’ve had important debates on forests, the multiple failings of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, the Health and Social Care Bill, M.E. (in Westminster Hall), credit regulation, and cuts to Legal Aid, I’ve ended up speaking about a very big coin instead.