Posts Tagged ‘house of commons’

We have to be better than this

18/06/2016, 04:51:00 PM

Uncut didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Jo Cox. We know lots of other Labour MPs, some among the 2015 intake, many personal friends. As soon as Thursday’s terrible news emerged, our thoughts turned not only to Jo’s family but also to our MP friends and their families. You don’t have to believe in God to immediately sense that it was only some kind of grace that kept them from suffering the same awful fate that Jo and her family are suffering.

There was so much to admire about Jo. Those who knew her best have captured this far better than we would be able. We have been moved by their tributes. We think too of what she had in common with other politicians and feel vulnerable on their behalf.

We have to be better than this. We are a tolerant, civilised and democratic country. Whatever else Jo’s murder was, whatever may have motivated her killer, it was a brutal attack on all that we hold most sacred. Quite possibly the darkest hour in the long history of the oldest democracy in the world.

We all now, whether as newly threatened MPs or concerned citizens, have an obligation to ensure that these most precious gifts of life in this country are not further tarnished but renewed. It remains the case, as Jo so poignantly put in her maiden speech, that more unites than divides us. There are patriots on all sides of the referendum debate. There are good people on both sides of the House of Commons. There is still time for us to turn around.

This begins with the Jo Cox Fund – to which Uncut has contributed and would encourage others to do so – and continues with how we conduct what remains of this terrible referendum campaign, and our political and civic lives beyond that.

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Whip’s notebook

07/02/2012, 07:00:19 AM

By Jon Ashworth

Before I became an MP I was for many years a bag carrier, which meant a lot of marching at the side of Gordon, Harriet or Ed through Westminster corridors while trying to look serious, doing my best not to drop the wad of briefing papers and most of all desperately hoping I wouldn’t get us lost.

As a diligent member of the leader’s political office, I would usually take advantage of the opportunity to get their view on some upcoming vote at the NEC or some whipping issue causing anguish. Often a backbench MP or fellow (shadow) minster would need a word with Gordon, Harriet or Ed and so Gordon, Harriet or Ed would assure me they would speak to them “in the vote”.

I never really knew what this meant until I became an MP myself.

Now of course at one rudimentary level I knew it meant they would speak to them as they go through the voting lobbies. But I never really appreciated the whole voting lobby experience. It’s where us MPs all congregate, gossip, catch-up and have that quick word with a colleague we’ve been looking out for. We’re all busy people so it’s often where my good friends and parliamentary neighbours Keith Vaz, Liz Kendall and I get together for a quick conflab about any pressing Leicester issue.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Enough of the big state, what about the big government?

26/03/2011, 01:00:02 PM

by Dan Johnson

It has been a long held the aim of Conservatives – and now it seems the aim of this Conservative-led coalition government – to roll back the size of the state. We should face this argument head on and argue that we should roll back the size of the government.

The House of Commons will be reduced at the next election to just 600 seats, but the size of the government has been steadily rising since time immemorial. Labour should be fighting to ensure a real balance in Parliament, and that the payroll vote doesn’t make rebellions against the government a non-event.

Charles Walker, a Tory MP, put down an amendment last year which would have seen the number of ministers fall to 87 from the current number of 95. Labour supported this amendment and was joined in the lobby by the usual Tory rebels who have (quite commendably) consistently argued for a House with more independence from the executive. We must accept that, on this issue, the likes of Chope, Bone and Carswell are right. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon