Letter from Parliament

Date published: 17 November 2006

Last week was the end of the Parliamentary Session – the Government, having completed its business.  Parliament was dissolved until the Queen attends for the State Opening.  To do this, MP’s are again summoned to the House of Peers – Black Rod attends and has the door slammed in his face.  I went along and the Lord Chancellor, Lord’s Speaker and two other Peers were sat on the woolsack in their robes.  A clerk then read the names of all the bills that had not received Royal Assent – the Lord Chancellor and others nodded and another clerk spoke three words in French and the bills became law!  How bizarre but very British! 

Just prior to this I attended another debate on the Farepak collapse, where 100,000 people have lost up to £40,000,000!  Many of these people come from Rochdale and what happened was a disaster! 

It was a packed debate where Minister Ian McCartney asked MP’s to take the lead and donate a day’s pay.  After all, we’ve just had a pay rise and I was delighted to follow his lead and send a cheque immediately. 

I’m delighted that our Mayor, Councillor Jean Hornby has also taken up the call and is encouraging Councillors and others to donate.  I believe Heywood Councillor Peter Rush has already done so – well done Peter! 

For many in Rochdale on low incomes with children, Christmas hampers have been a way of saving for Christmas. 

On Friday, I attended the ‘Men of Rochdale’ committee meeting at the Hospice to decide next year’s ‘Man of Rochdale.’  As usual, we had some excellent and very worthy candidates but you will have to wait until next week to find out who the winner is! 

Sunday was of course Remembrance Sunday; I attended Remembrance Day Services at the Cenotaphs in Rochdale and Wardle.  I was disappointed that Cadets at the Air Training Core were not on the Cenotaphs, joining representatives from Army and Sea Cadets.  On asking, I was told that a general directive had gone out that Air Cadets could not be seen in public with a rifle.  This is political correctness gone mad and I will be taking this up with the powers that be!

On Monday, I attended the City of London Lord Mayor’s Banquet - my good friend Edward Lord is a Councillor on the Cities Corporation.  The Lord Mayor is from Burnley and the sweet was good old sticky toffee pudding!  Tony Blair gave a speech on Foreign Policy and I’m afraid he sounded like an alcoholic!   Speaking on Iraq, he is in total denial of his role in this sorry state of affairs.  

Finally on the vote next week on the Queen’s Speech, the Liberal Democrats are tabling an amendment saying there needs to be an orderly withdrawal from Iraq.  Even Bush has seen the light! More on this next week!

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