Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Killing children is fine just so long as you don't mention immigration whilst doing so

Perhaps in my distant past there was a farming background and it's the swineherd within me that explains my interest in the goings on at Westminster. Maybe there's a more clinically attraction, as last Wednesday's House of Commons session might illustrate taking place as it was almost twenty years to the day of the IRA bombing in Warrington.

Am I to understand that the Conservative Party is quite happy sharing office space with people either directly or indirectly responsible for killing three year old Johnathan Ball and twelve year old Tim Parry but not with Warrington's current BNP MEP? It certainly appears that way to me.

Chris Heaton-Harris (Conservative, Daventry): I found myself sitting in the corner over there in horror, because I was agreeing with what Mr Bryant was saying, and I will go away and take some powders after this meeting to make sure that never happens again. There are set pieces in both our political calendar and the Commission’s political calendar-and the work programme is certainly one of those-where we should have a decent debate. We were whittled down to only having four or five minutes in the course of the last debate on the work programme because it had been squeezed in to the last three hours and, with other urgent questions and statements, got whittled down a huge amount.

Firstly, I would like to agree with Andrea Leadsom completely that MEPs should have passes to roam about this building and annoy us all by waving documents that they are interested in in Europe way before we have even seen them out here. I know there was an issue with the BNP, which is what caused the issue of no passes for MEPs now. That could easily be overcome if you said that, if you had a party elected to this place and a party elected to the European Parliament, there should be a pass available for those MEPs. I very much liked this idea of having the quarterly Council debates in Westminster Hall with MEPs present and able to contribute.

Richard Bacon (Conservative, South Norfolk): I agree with the MEP passes. I had not appreciated the BNP point, but I think that is an elegant solution. I used to share a corridor when I was first elected with some Sinn Fein MPs, and I never saw one, but one of my researchers looked in complete shock one day when he said, "I have just walked past Gerry Adams". They did hang around this place occasionally and they had passes, and this is called democracy. When you get 71% of the vote in your constituency, you are going to get returned and we had better get used to it. I think it is extraordinary that we have so little dialogue and interaction with MEPs. I have very rarely managed to go and do it, but I know a number of MEPs-not nearly as many as Chris-and I have often planned to go over there, just to see them, really, because we have things we want to discuss in common; in some cases, we are old mates. It does not happen as much as it should. Parking for a minute the big question of whether we should be in or out, so long as we are in there ought to be a much more fluid dialogue and interaction. Gosh, there might even be more understanding as a result. On that, then, yes.