In the event, I spoke on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill on Monday evening – or, strictly speaking, Tuesday morning – at 12.10 a.m. Anyone interested in my pearls of wisdom can find them here at col. 654. Not surprisingly, I had an audience in the chamber that was characterised more by its quality than its quantity.
I was, though, pleasantly surprised by how many peers approached me yesterday to comment on it, having either read it or watched the speech on screen. Given that I opened my speech with reference to my early-morning travel plans, several also wanted to know what time I had been teaching and whether I had managed to get back and forth as planned. I began to become a little concerned that their interest in my teaching arrangements was starting to outweigh their interest in the content of my contribution!
I intervened in the closing speech yesterday of the minister, Lord McNally. He was in danger of not addressing the point about the need to reduce the number of ministers if the number of MPs was reduced. He was rather dismissive in response, implying that as it was only an 8 per cent reduction in the number of MPs there didn’t seem to be a big issue in respect of the number of ministers. I didn’t quite follow his argument. Why is reducing the number of MPs by 8 per cent really important, but reducing the number of ministers by 8 per cent isn’t?