Pumpkin soup (vegan) in the Members tearoom today; they always have two soups, one vegetarian or vegan, and one with strange counter-intuitive combinations like lentils and bacon… though I suppose that’s just a variation on pea and ham? Anyway, pumpkin soup it is.
I’ve been in committee all morning, making steady progress scrutinising the Budget Responsibility Bill. Another three hours to go this afternoon. I had hoped to be in the Chamber at 3.30pm for Anas Sarwar’s Ten Minute Rule Bill. It’s called the Resource Extraction (Transparency & Reporting) Bill, and would require certain companies carrying out oil or gas extraction and other mining activities, to disclose payments made to any national government, or companies wholly or partly owned by a national government. In other words, it’s aimed at exposing corruption and bribery by mining companies in developing countries.
Unfortunately I now won’t be able to make it for Anas’ speech, as two statements have been tabled. The first is on Aid Reviews – i.e. what we’ve already been told in the press this morning, about the Government cutting aid funding to 16 countries, freezing it for India and increasing it substantially for 5 countries, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan. The second is on rail electrification. I’d have liked to be in the Chamber for both statements – on aid I’d have asked about Somalia/ Somaliland (especially given the Government’s stated intention to put more resources into conflict affected areas) and on rail the obvious question is what’s happening to the Great Western Line. I won’t be able to make it though – the Bill committee has to come first – especially as I’m leading on it from the Labour side.
Ten Minute Rule Bills come after statements, so it will be 5pm, probably even later, before Anas Sarwar’s Bill is heard. If you’re interested you can watch Anas making his speech on BBC Democracy Live here, and if you want to lobby your MP to support it, here’s the details of how to do so.