This blog was published in the Brighton Argus newspaper today:
Today our Sussex MPs are returning to Parliament following the Easter break and it will be interesting to find out what they will do this week. The website called “They Work For You” lists the planned activities in Parliament each day ahead of the time but so far there are few aspects that refer to our local representatives. There is however a session this afternoon called “Education (including Topical Questions)” so presumably our Chichester MP Gillian Keegan and the Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb will participate in that session. It would be great if some of our other Sussex MPs will raise questions in that event and hopefully the Ministers will respond to our Sussex educational requirements. We can read about this debate at the end of today and contact local MPs for the responses for our areas. Apart from this session today there are no other events this week that list any of our representatives although our local MPs can participate on other events this week such as asking questions to the Prime Minister and asking business questions to Penny Mordaunt who is a Portsmouth MP and is also the Leader of the House. It will certainly be interesting to observe the events that our local MPs will take part in Parliament this week.
One of the themes that emerges from many of the MPs who are not Ministers when Parliament is open is to submit their ideas on what is described as Early Day Motions (EDMs). This is a system that enables MPs to submit their personal proposals and invites other MPs to endorse their support on the published principle. This proposal was set out at the end of the time of the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher and since that was established there have been about 180 documents each month when the Parliament is open over the last 33 years. Some of these documents have been endorsed by the Government although inevitably most require Parliament to raise it with the Government. These ideas do of course enable constituents to respond to their MPs for publishing or supporting these motions. Since the beginning of January this year there have been 312 documents that were published and some of them involve significant issues. Because 8 of our 16 Sussex MPs are Government Ministers, they are not able to participate with the EDMs although of course they can respond to the documents that are supported by other MPs. Sadly 4 of these Ministers have never endorsed an EDM before they became Ministers so we clearly need for Nusrat Ghani, Andrew Griffith, Huw Merriman and Jeremy Quin to learn about the very positive aspects of these documents for the Nation. We can be grateful that Maria Caulfield, Mims Davies, Nick Gibb and Gillian Keegan have all taken part in EDMs and so we clearly want these Ministers to promote the ideas that obtain support from other MPs.
In observing the existing EDMs that have emerged since January it is very disappointing that only 3 of our local MPs have participated with them. Sadly, there are two of our local MPs who have never submitted or endorsed any EDMs since they became MPs. This lack of understanding from Caroline Ansell and Sally-Ann Hart is clearly very disappointing. Perhaps their local constituents who are in favour of the EDM documents that have emerged in the last few years could call for them to accept this type of communication that was introduced by Margaret Thatcher 33 years ago. As it happens all of the previous Prime Ministers have been involved in this process prior to their election until Elizabeth Truss and Rishi Sunak were selected. There are three MPs in Sussex that have participated with EDMs in the past but not very often who are Peter Kyle, Tim Loughton and Henry Smith.
It would be great if all of these MPs would consider adopting the process as we move towards the next General Election. We can at least acknowledge that three MPs have engaged in this system so far this year. These three MPs do connect with EDM’s over many previous years and they are people who have both submitted proposals and endorsed sections from other MPs. The three who have submitted so far this year are Peter Bottomley, Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle. Caroline has signed 62 documents, Lloyd signed 7 and Peter signed 4 of them. Peter has submitted 3, two were in January with “Holocaust Memorial Day 2023” which no one signed and the other was “Ryan Cornelius and the UAE” which received 26 signatures. Then on early March he submitted “Sir Christopher Wren” which was only signed by 3 MPs. The items from Lloyd were “Pay offer for Members’ staff” in February which received 47 signatures and then on early March he set out “Peoples’ Democratic Party in Turkey” which has received 13 signs. Caroline submitted “Funding for local government and public toilet provision” in February which sadly only obtained 4 signatures and her other item was submitted when Parliament ended for Easter so currently there have been no additional signatures. It is entitled “International Dark Sky Week 2023” a celebration which began this weekend so let us hope that some other MPs will endorse this EDM over the next few days which includes the call
to reduce levels of light pollution while promoting better quality, community-friendly lighting
Since this piece was written there have now been 7 MPs endorsing the EDM today:
Apsana Begum, Labour Poplar and Limehouse; Claire Hanna, SDLP Belfast South; John McDonnell, Labour Hayes and Harlington; Stewart Hosie, SNP Dundee East; David Mundell, Conservative Dumfrieshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale; Jim Shannon, DUP Strangford; Chris Stephens, SNP Glasgow S.West.