Return to Westminster: My Week 12th – 15th October
After three weeks recess for conference season, the House returned this week and I had the chance once again to hold the government to account.
In the Chamber
On Tuesday during Health questions I asked the government, ‘What plans have you got to work with the Department of Work and Pensions, the Treasury and across government to ensure that the improvement of carers finances would be a key part of your government’s care strategy.’ Alistair Burt, the Health Minister careered off course in his response saying, ‘The work I’m doing to develop the new strategy involves other government departments. It will look not only at the economics but also what’s happening internationally and where we can take the concept of caring in the future.’
I was also in the Chamber as PPS for Justice for the Urgent Question by Andy Slaughter on the government’s Saudi prisons contract. We were able to claim an early victory on that, as the government withdrew their bid an hour before the question. As Andy says, ‘The power of the urgent question.’
On Thursday I was again in the Chamber as PPS, this time for questions to the Attorney General and to hear Graham Jones MP, member for Haslingden & Hyndburn, scrutinising the government on the reform of the Human Rights Act.
Due to my new role as the PPS to the Justice team, I stepped down from my seat on the Justice Committee this week. I have stayed on the Welsh Affairs Committee though, and I’ve been working hard behind the scenes attending meetings of the Committee during the week.
I also attended a briefing on the Trade Union Bill, and a Unite meeting with its General Secretary Len McCluskey. Just before heading back to the constituency on Thursday afternoon I took a seat in the Westminster Hall debate about the report from the Justice Committee on Prisons: Planning and Policies. I provided support as PPS to Jenny Chapman, the Shadow Prisons Minister, delivered her great speech. I fully backed her statement that ‘Prison officers are brave and deserve respect.’