As we come to the end of another big week in Parliament it is useful to reflect on events since I became an MP in 2015. I am sure that there is never been a time that has felt quiet in Westminster but the last two years must be classed as exceptional. We live in such interesting times that on Monday night Dennis Skinner, ‘the Beast of Bolsover’ voted with the Government against the Labour Party. It is fascinating how public discourse both shapes and reacts to events. Two years ago I doubt our membership of the European Union was at the front of a lot of people’s minds; now it seems the defining topic of our age. By contrast, the issue of Scottish independence is very much on the wane. They are similar themes yet their referenda prompted opposite results.
This week I have received a large number of emails about the process by which MPs are selected for delegated legislation committees. This is certainly not generally a hot topic and is part of an organised campaign. The issue is that thousands of items of EU law have to be given a basis in UK law before future Governments can consider whether they might like to change any of them. Only this way can we avoid what is being called a ‘legislative black hole’ which would cause huge uncertainty for businesses and individuals.
So the selection rules for secondary legislation committees may be tweaked to give the Government more certainty that it can make these changes. I certainly support a smooth and constructive Brexit, and this process is essential to making it work practically, but that is not to say I am unaware that there are constitutional issues to be considered here.
This is one of the reasons I was very pleased to have been re-elected to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee which I believe can offer useful scrutiny in this area and help ensure that the Government’s use of powers is appropriate and transparent. Lobbying campaigns such as the one I referred to can be a mixed blessing by amplifying some quite niche views but if they can really get people talking about Parliamentary committees and law-making then I’m all for it.
Alongside hugely important debates and votes in Westminster I am always conscious that my duty is to the people of South Somerset and look forward to getting back here each week for local meetings and events. Thank you very much to Milford Junior School for hosting me last week and giving me some good issues to take forward. I also spoke in a debate last week on college funding and will be meeting with Education Ministers soon to follow up. My thanks also to the team at Yeovil District Hospital for a useful catch up and their ongoing excellent work.
As always, if you would like to discuss any of these issues, if you have a problem that I may be able to help with or if you would like to book an appointment at one of my regular advice surgeries please do email email@example.com or call 01935314321.