Each week tends to be hectic, but the demands tend to be different. Last week, it was notable for the press of meetings, not least on the Wednesday. We had the Deputy PM before the Constitution Committee (see the earlier post). The Joint Committee on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill also decided to hold a special meeting that morning. As soon as the Constitution Committee concluded, I dashed to the Joint Committee, but it had concluded its deliberations. That at least meant I could go straight to a meeting with the Leader of the House to discuss proposals to reform the working practices of the House: we made some progress. A short gap between meetings was used to do a radio interview for Radio Lincolnshire, before I attended the weekly meeting of the executive of the Association of Conservative Peers (ACP) and a full meeting of the ACP. Lunch was very late and short. I then had a short private meeting with some colleagues before I attended a meeting of the History of Parliament Trust – I have been a trustee for many years. I concluded the day by chairing the weekly seminar with my students – John Bercow spoke on his role as Speaker of the House of Commons. As soon as that was over, I had to dash to catch the evening train to Hull.
This week was different. There were not so many meetings packed into a particular day. The problem from a logistical point of view was meetings spread between Hull and Westminster. On Wednesday, the evening seminar was given by Craig Beaumont, speaking on the Olympics and Parliament (for good measure, he brought a real Olympic Gold Medal with him); as soon as the seminar was over, it was a case of getting to King’s Cross to get the train to Hull. After a full day of teaching on Thursday, it was a case of getting an evening train back to London. The Lords were sitting yesterday (Friday) for Report stage of the Steel Bill. As soon as Report stage was completed – earlier than expected – I headed back to King’s Cross. I had to be back for the annual Norton Lecture being given by Professor Andrew Gamble, of Cambridge University, on ‘ Better off out? Britain and Europe.’ I would have been in good time for it had it not been for a cock-up at Doncaster station with the Hull train. In the event, I arrived in time for most of the lecture. I assume it is bad form not to be present for a lecture named in your honour. Arriving late, though, means you miss out on whatever is said about you at the beginning.