There was a big turnout from SNP MPs to support Royal College of Nursing #scrapthecap demo at Westminster.
And great to see Geoff who had made the journey from Edinburgh East alongside other RCN members from across the UK.
So every Wednesday, at 12pm sharp, David Cameron arrives in the chamber for the event that is Prime Minister's Questions (or PMQs). The weekly session has been described as a pantomime, charade and worse. For those who have tried to sit through it, it's not always clear how the event is meant to work and why they are shouting all the time.
So here I will try to explain, if not exactly why it is like it is, at least how it is meant to work.
This week in the House of Commons there were two important debates on the 3rd Readings of bills: The Scotland Bill and the Trade Union Bill. A few people have asked what is meant by 3rd Reading and what happens next.
Here I'll try to provide a straightforward guide to how laws are made at Westminster.
These are motions that any MP can submit to the house for debate. In reality very few are actually debated, but the process allows MPs to officially register their stance on a particular subject. MPs from across all parties have registered 269 EDMs already, and parliament has only been recalled for about six weeks at the time of writing. It is a way that MPs can publically register their objections to, or support, for various causes, laws or events whilst avoiding some of the more bureaucratic parliamentary protocols, and without having to be approved or chosen – as they often are for things like oral questions or making speeches in a debate.
Subjects vary wildly, from the very specific such as 159 which welcomed the unveiling of the sculpture ‘Steel Man’ at Ravenscraig, paying tribute to steelworkers and trade unionists, to the far reaching such as 98 on the disproportionate cost of prepayment meters which are incurred mainly by poorer households. Tommy has signed 28 so far, including these two. You can see which ones he, and any other member, has signed here:
You might have heard that Tommy has been elected Vice-Chair of the Britain-Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). This is fantastic news for both Tommy and for the people of Palestine but you might be wondering what it means. As things develop in Westminster, one of the things Tommy and his staff team are keen to do is make Parliament as transparent as possible. As such, we will be writing a series of short articles about various aspects of the workings of Westminster. Given Tommy’s recent appointment, it seems appropriate to start with APPGs!
Going back to Westminster after the summer recess you can almost feel the impending doom in the air. It’s the calm before the storm. Everyone knows something bad is going to happen. Just not what exactly. Like waiting for the ghoul to reveal itself in a horror movie.
And as the dread unfolds the discussion about whether there should be another Brexit referendum will intensify.
We need to talk about democracy. The UK government recently hosted its first ever “National Democracy Week” – with no sense of irony.
We absolutely should be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the equalisation of voting ages for men and women. Nobody would argue with that.