It has been another of those weeks. On Monday, it was a case of teaching and then travelling to Westminster later in the day. I had a meeting with Zoltan Kovacs, the Hungarian Minister of State for Government Communication, who wanted to brief me on the new Hungarian Constitution. I also stayed for a division, which meant I did not get back to Hull until after 1.00 a.m.
On Tuesday, it was another case of teaching and then catching the train in the afternoon to return to Westminster. I made it just in time for a packed meeting of the Campaign for an Effective Second Chamber.
Yesterday was the busiest day. I got into the Palace before 9.00 a.m. The morning was taken up with the Constitution Committee: we devoted most of the time to discussing a draft report on the European Union Bill. After lunch there was the AGM of the Association of Conservative Peers (ACP) – I was elected to the executive committee. I was then at the regular meeting of the ACP as well as later the 1922 Committee.
My Question for Short Debate (QSD) asking the Government what consideration they had given to establishing a Royal Commission on drug use and possession was taken at 7.45 p.m. You can read the debate here. All the speakers, bar the minister, weighed in to support my call for an inquiry. There were some powerful speeches from all sides – I had support from Liberal Democrat, Labour, Conservative and cross-bench peers. The minister was the only one who failed to engage.
I was also in the chamber for the Public Bodies Bill. We reached Clause 11 and Schedule 7 – the parts particularly objectionable on constitutional grounds and which the Government have accepted should come out. I welcomed the Government’s actions, as did others. The Clause and the Schedule were then disagreed to. I also rose to welcome an amendment from Lord Lester of Herne Hill, which limited ministers’ powers, and which also had cross-party support as well as that of the minister. We finally finished the committee stage of the Bill at half-past midnight.
I’m looking forward to an early night sometime. It won’t be tonight as I shall be catching the last train to Hull and tomorrow night I’m speaking in Sheffield on the Parliament Act 1911 and reform of the Lords. There’s always the weekend.