It has been a busy week, which is why blogging has been light. This evening, the House is siting late – it is now gone 11.00 p.m. and we have had five votes during the course of the evening (the Government losing three of them) – so I thought it was an opportunity for a quick post. Yesterday was busy because of external speaking engagements, albeit somewhat closer to home than my trip to Rome. Today has been busy, not least because of some of my students visiting Westminster; indeed, it has been a day for seeing different cohorts of students.
Yesterday morning provided a little time to deal with paperwork before having to leave to get to Kingston to give a lunchtime talk to the Politics Society at Kingston Grammar School. I spoke about current constitutional developments. I got back to the House for a quick and late lunch, finishing just in time for the weekly meeting of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee; we agreed a number of reports, including one relating to process in terms of an order under the Public Bodies Act.
It was then a case of catching a train to Farnham. I was taking part in a debate, organised by Farnham Humanists, on the motion ‘That the House of Lords should be elected’. Baroness Thornton spoke for the motion, supported by Darren Hughes of the Electoral Reform Society. I spoke against, supported by John Hind, the former Bishop of Chichester. It was a good debate, a very good debate in fact, as the motion was defeated: 19 voted for it and 29 against, with six abstentions. I got the train back to London and was home by 11.30.
This morning was taken up by a seminar organised by the Public Administration Select Committee on the future of civil service reform. I was attending wearing my academic hat. There was a good roundtable discussion. There was time for a quick lunch before chairing a seminar for my students, presently taking my Contemporary House of Commons module in Hull, who were down for the day. We had a string of good speakers: MPs Tracey Crouch (a Hull politics and law graduate), David Blunkett, and John Whittingdale, Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, and Simon Patrick, Clerk of Bills in the House of Commons. The ssesion was aided by some good questions from students.
There was time to attend the weekly meeting of the 1922 Committee before chairing the evening seminar of my students on placement at Westminster. This week they were addressed by British Politics and Legislative Studies (BPLS) students now working at Westminster in different capacitities. There were three divisions in the Lords during the course of the proceedings. It was then a case of dinner in the Bishop’s Bar and getting on with work while waiting for more divisions.
The House has just risen – at 11.23 p.m. – so I should at least be home by midnight…