All-party Parliamentary Groups

Part of Deferred Divisions – in the House of Commons at 8:18 pm on 13th May 2014.

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Photo of Bob Russell Bob Russell Liberal Democrat, Colchester 8:18 pm, 13th May 2014

I obviously lead a sheltered life, because in my 17 years in this place I have never witnessed, or been involved in, shenanigans of the sort that have just been described, which underline the importance of and need for the motion before us this evening. All-party groups, if used in the right way and in the right spirit, are an asset to this House, and indeed to the other place.

My experience of membership of all-party groups over the years has been one of colleagues with a shared interest coming together to promote something that is not normally done within the parliamentary channels. Last week I was elected chair of the all-party group for the island of St Helena. In the past the group has done a lot of good work in promoting the island’s interests. For example, the airport that we all campaigned for is currently under construction. I am also chair of the all-party first aid group, which brings together Members from both sides of both Houses. Its sole interest is promoting first aid. For 15 years I was secretary of the all-party scout group. Those all-party groups exist only to promote organisations in this place and benefit them because they have a wider interest in society.

In view of what Hugh Bayley said, let us go with this motion, because we do not want the sort of behaviour he described.