The last week in Parliament has been a clear demonstration of why prorogation should not have occurred but given it took place between 10th September and 18th September which is a relatively long prorogation prior to any Queen’s Speech, my first question for the Tories across our region is why is your party leader proposing another prorogation for the preparation of one Queen’s Speech? Indeed given that your Party leader and many of you have stated very clearly in an out of Parliament that you believe a General election is vital, and given that in due course it will happen, why are you having a Queen’s Speech at this stage in the Parliament in the light of the fact that it will have to be scrapped as soon as Parliament is called. If your Party leader has not yet apologised to Her Majesty, he should do so if the Speech does takes place. The only time in her role of Queen that two speeches have taken place either side of an election was in 2005 when Tony Blair organised one on 7th April and then again on 17th May after he and his party were re-elected. As far as the last few days in Parliament is concerned, there is a clear case of it representing the phrase of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
The Good emerged in several places all of which support the Supreme Court decision which should now make almost everyone pleased. One case was on Wednesday during the second reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill and the presentation during that debate by Rosie Duffield the MP for Canterbury which is something that has understandably inspired and strengthened a large number of people who have been impacted by such experiences. Her explanation of the Domestic Abuse that she personally suffered and how it was so difficult for her in that situation to escape will have resonated with many people who have gone through or are going through a similar experience. If Parliament had been reopened for that one speech alone it would have been worthwhile and those seeking to close it down again need to be prevented due to this sort of example. It was not just the speech by Duffield that proved to be Good but a call by Tim Loughton who stated “We need to embed in local authority delivery domestic abuse specialists able to draw together all the agencies involved to ensure an effective and comprehensive local offer. I welcome the national Domestic Abuse Commissioner, who started two weeks ago, but there is also a case for local domestic abuse commissioners—a high-profile figures who can ensure that local authorities are living up to their duties to provide a local service. I believe that can be done only by including in the Bill a statutory duty on funding.” Tim who also contributed to the debate on Womens Mental Health a day later was not alone in contributing to that debate, his contribution and that of Rosie was also joined by Huw Merriman and Peter Kyle who called for the Government to bring the law into completion before any more prorogation. Sadly this was turned down which is one of the Bad cases!
An Ugly case emerged in the House of Lords which was a question that came from Alf Dubs who raised a matter that a friend of mine is currently engaged with. This is the Life in the UK test used to grant or prevent people from having UK citizenship. My friend has been asking the people who know her if they can answer some of the questions and I know that if I was presented with that test I would fail very significantly. I guess the one difference between my inability to answer the questions correctly and the failure by Susan Williams is that as the Minister for Equalities in our Government she is responsible for dealing with the quality of such tests and not only should she now resign as a Minister for her inability to answer these questions but that she should destroy the tests in her last day in the office.
The last theme is the Bad and I guess it is very obvious that this includes the contribution from our current Prime Minister who has suddenly claimed that a two tier approach to Ireland is acceptable even though that is the opposite of what the DUP agreed to accept up until now. However the second level presents a huge risk of the breakdown of peace in Ireland which should end that proposed deal now. Another bad response came to Caroline Lucas who asked for a written constitution to be formed using citizens assemblies. It is clear that the Government are not willing to consider this.