A Week in Parliament

That Accent Again

When walking through a corridor, a Labour MP stopped to say that she had completely understood the question I had asked that morning. She stated that when I get excited in the chamber, my accent gets stronger and I am “dreadful”. I am quite sure that my accent being possibly stronger stretches the definition of the word dreadful. However, she did at least add she likes to understand what I say because I can make some good points. A small crumb of comfort but it seems that after three years, my accent shouldn’t still be a novelty or have such an effect. The same day, apparently a new Government Minister asked our chief whip if I could go easy for his first outing at the dispatch box! Still I suppose it confirms I haven’t changed too much to fit into Westminster.


I have written previously about not agreeing with the system of “pairing” ie agreeing with someone not to vote if they are unable to vote. There was controversy because the Government broke an agreement with Jo Swinson MP who is on maternity leave. The Government claim it was an administrative error, but seems to be straight out the dirty tricks department. The SNP don’t engage in pairing so we never have to trust the Tories to uphold a deal. It was poor form, and ironically it has given the Lib Dems a chance to get on the moral high ground. This is because their leader and former leader both missed a key EU vote the day before and were under pressure. With the Tories breaking the pairing they have allowed the irrelevant and incompetent Lib Dems to suddenly claim a moral high ground and positive publicity. That lack of judgement all round sums up the Tory Government incompetence.

 The Phantom MP

The vote the Lib Dems missed was recorded as 305-302, a narrow victory for the UK Government. However, when I looked at the voting statistics, only 304 MPs were listed as having voted. It looks like the tellers had got their count wrong. Imagine a major vote is still at risk of being subject to human counting error?! Had the 2 Lib Dems voted then it could have been a tie but the error would then be critical. What does it take to get electronic voting in that place?

Ian Paisley Junior

Another possible issue for the Tories is that Ian Paisley has been suspended from Parliament for 30 days. He gave a personal statement to the House and it was hard not to feel a bit sorry for him as he was very emotional. However, he was found guilty of not declaring £50,000 - £100,000 of trips to Sri Lanka and then lobbying the UK Government not to investigate Human Rights abuses in that country. When first accused of this, he denied the trips and threatened defamation to newspapers. When you realise what transpired then it shows that actions really are bigger than words. Also, Paisley has form for not declaring expenses and he deserves no sympathy whatsoever.

These thoughts were first published in the Kilmarnock Standard.