Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Catching Breath...

It is two and a half weeks since the election and I apologise to readers for not updating here during that period.

There has been an extraordinary crush of commitments and expectations and the hardest part has been to prioritise.

I have done a few interviews, but turned down many more, and dealt successfully with some constituency casework, but fear that it may be a month or two before I am really on top of it.

Currently my office is a committee room in the House of Commons which I share with up to a dozen other MPs. The camaraderie is at least good for morale, one colleague teasing me that I should enjoy the view of the Thames before the whips install me in a windowless broom cupboard.

However, I am looking forward to having a permanent base for work, particularly in the constituency, and one or two people to help organise my work, and I am grateful to the one who has helping me a bit voluntarily now.

Today was the State Opening of Parliament and a wonderful experience. One MP told me that it was the 56th time that the Queen has read such a speech.

In the Chamber one area where colleagues are still feeling their way is in how we relate to the Liberal Democrats in our coalition. Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat for Bath, said he was proud to be the first Liberal since 1939 to propose or second the Loyal Address (which supports the Queen’s speech), and was generally supportive of our joint programme.

However, he then riled some colleagues by citing an historical quotation hailing the Conservative party being led to the left under aristocratic leadership. The Prime Minister shot straight back that, whilst the last Liberal to second the Loyal Address had indeed done so in 1939, he then sank into obscurity until he joined the Conservatives some years later.


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