Saturday, May 16, 2009

The week

The headlines of the last few days have been dominated by the expenses scandal in both Houses, so here's my take on it.

People are so disgusted with Labour, and the reverberations will continue for so many weeks, that it would be impossible for them to recover by the next election.

The Tories are just as guilty, but are not likely to suffer defections and abstentions at the polls on the same scale, because they aren't in Government.

The LibDems' offences are few and are peccadilloes by comparison, with no 'flipping' or claims for non-existent mortgages.

The Euro-elections will be a good test of popular reaction to the stream of critical news about individual MPs and their easy milking of a lax expenses system.

At our end of the corridor, there is a weighty report on four peers who were accused of misconduct. The recommendation, to be put to the House next Wednesday, is that two of them should be suspended until the end of the session, the most severe penalty we have power to impose, and the first time the power will have been exercised for some 460 years.

Turning to my work this week, on Monday I gave a lunch for Pamla Morrison, an international expert on breastfeeding and mother-to-child-transmission of HIV. She is recommending a revsion of the guidelines, and I had a reply this week to my letter on the subject to Dawn Primarolo MP at the DH, see next posting.

After lunch I fielded two questions, by Lord Sheikh on child trafficking, and by Lord Cobbold on the United Nations high-level drugs conference in Vienna in March.

Tuesday we had a meeting between Lords and Commons Home Affairs team, to hand over the papers on the Borders etc Bill, now due for Second Reading in the Commons on June 2.

Wednesday morning I played truant from my Select Committee because it was John William's MA graduation ceremony, see later entries.

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