Today Parliament will re-open for holding debates and discussions after both this weekend and also following a week of closure that took place last week. It is a period that also reflects the half term session for most Schools across the Nation. Inevitably we are all aware of the half term breaks that Schools arrange each year and that they also close down for several weeks over the Summer and Parliament also closes down for a similar period each year. It does seem very strange that a very significant National agency of the Parliament is operating in the same way that educational agencies operate each year. As many of us are aware, the Labour Party is calling for a major shift of the House of Lords if they win the next election. It would be very interesting if they or any other political groups are willing to reflect on the way in which Parliament itself operates throughout the year. It is clearly worthwhile for the future Parliament to be reflected on the way that the nation operates rather than being treated exclusively as an educational agency. Although the Parliament was closed for debates last week, a few of our Sussex MPs submitted questions to the Government. Tim Loughton, Peter Bottomley and Henry Smith asked one or two questions each while Caroline Lucas raised a significant number of questions on a range of themes.
Looking ahead to what will occur this week we can observe what is proposed to take place this week within Parliament through the “They Work For You” website. One of the items that is planned to take place is that on Friday there is plan for a significant number of second readings of private member bills. In total there are 36 of these bills that are due to be read on Friday. There are 15 of them that are linked to individual MPs and one of these is based in a Sussex MP which is Caroline Lucas who is our Brighton Pavilion MP. If she is able to read this piece on Friday it will be significant as it is entitled “Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill”. It is however very significant that the other 21 private members bills are relating to two individual MPs. The Conservative MP for Christchurch in Dorset, Christopher Chope has listed a total of 9 bills and the SNP MP for Glasgow South West, Chris Stephens has listed 12 bills. It seems very surprising that two MPs can organise a total of 21 bills and we clearly need to support the other 15 MPs with a particular involvement by Caroline for Friday.
Another theme that is bound to emerge this week in Parliament is responses from a range of MPs following the very sad and shocking announcement that Nicola Sturgeon is standing down as first minister from Scotland. While many of us are not closely connected to Scotland the reality is that Scotland like Wales and Northern Ireland are very significant parts of our UK Nation. When this week’s Parliament plan was set out previously, no one was aware that Nicola was planning to depart from the Scotland Parliament so there are no current discussions about her. As it happens there is a session called the “Scottish Affairs Committee: Storms in Scotland follow-up Oral evidence” which is taking place this afternoon and on Wednesday morning there is a session called the “Scotland Oral questions” which is due to take place just before the Prime Ministers questions so hopefully by then there will be a meaningful response provided. The current Scotland arrangement was established and founded in 1999 and so this year it is 24 years since it emerged and at that time Nicola was first elected to Holyrood as a Glasgow regional MSP. It is interesting to review if any of the current Sussex MPs have ever commented about Nicola. Inevitably some of the MPs may not be very positive about her. However, looking on the list of words that take place in Parliament, only one of the current 16 Sussex MPs have ever commented about her. That is Peter Kyle from Hove who raised her name last October. He was speaking in a session about the Cost of Living and he stated
The only long-term solution to this crisis is a more sustainable energy policy, which the Government have failed to deliver for 12 years. In 2017, Nicola Sturgeon announced a national energy company for Scotland. Five years on, we are in an energy crisis and that plan has been ditched, so does the Minister agree that the right way forward is through Labour’s plan for Great British Energy, a home-grown, publicly owned company run for and by the people of this country and for the interests of people in this country?