Westminster diary w/b 16th December


Normal business has been resumed and I spend the morning in my constituency office before catching the midday flight to London. Most of the business of the day is procedural and I accompany some new Members round their induction. With the winter recess due to start we want everyone up to speed, sworn in and settled in their office before we break. Interspersed between the formal meetings there is a lot of catching up to do. And as contrary to rumours MPs are human there is a lot of comparing majorities and boasting of campaign successes. In the evening there is a social event to help new members get to know returning Members. It is not a late night as most people are still exhausted by their campaigns.


We go through the performance of electing the Speaker but as Lindsay Hoyle was elevated to that position two days before we broke for the general election it is just a formality. The longest serving members take their oath throughout the day. My office is up and running and new casework is starting to come in. Nothing has changed and Universal Credit continues to create problems for many. There is a lull in the number of Members being sworn in at around 8pm so I grab the opportunity and take the affirmation.


No business in the chamber today so it’s a day of catching up on a rapidly increasing flood of emails. The invitations to attend and host events has resumed, and my head has to make the journey from campaigning to keep my job to actually doing my job. Diary management is difficult at this time of year and compounded by the stop start nature of the UK parliament over the last six months. There will be no clear routine until the new year. In the mean-time rooms and events are booked somewhat speculatively.


The Queen’s speech is the first event of the day and the streets outside Parliament are parked up with large black cars identifiable by their diplomatic plates along with official embassy transport. Chauffeurs and bodyguards stand on the pavement looking rather uneasy. The police presence is highly visible and armed guards are to the fore. The real action was on the front benches as for some reason known only to them the Labour party decided to sit in SNP seats. It was all resolved when the Labour hierarchy told them to scoot. Normal service, or as normal as anything at Westminster, was resumed. After the usual pomp and circumstances of the State Opening we finally got down to debating.


A full day of debates on the Queen’s speech. The speech covers a wide range of topics from armed forces and climate change, to business rates and domestic abuse. The danger is that not enough time is given to these and that this Conservative and Unionist government railroad through change. I caught the 18:00 flight home. I shall be in my constituency until January the sixth. My office is open on the 23rd, 27th and 30th of December and the 3rd of January 2020.