Thursday, December 01, 2011

This week

Monday, rendezvous at 06.50 at St Pancras International to catch Eurostar to Brussels with Subcommittee F, to take evidence for our inquiry into EU policy on dangerous drugs. Spent the night there, and almost as early on Tuesday we flew to Lisbon for two further sessions. Then back to London, and tube to South Kensington, where kind Lindsay picked me up, arriving home at midnight. Wednesday was quite relaxed, my only appointment being with Edna Adan who runs the hospital in Hargeisa, together with the indefatigable Lulu Todd and others concerned with Somaliland.

Today, joined in a question on Pakistan Then one of my own on foreign national prisoners, 1,600 of whom are clogging up our prisons after their sentences have ended. At the end of Questions I introduced a Caravan Sites Bill, 43 years after I did the same in the Commons. The old one became an Act in 1968, because Dick Crossman, then Minister of Housing & Local Government, and Arthur Skeffington, then Parliamentary Secretary, were both sympathetic and helpful. Unfortunately with a Secretary of State who makes no bones about his hostility to Gypsies and Travellers, there's zero chance of getting the presnt Bill or anything like it onto the statute book.

Later, I took part in a debate initiated by John Sandwich on international development and the plight of the Dalits . It fell to me to congratulate my old friend Indarjit Singh on a notable maiden speech.

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