Scheduling of Parliamentary Business

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 8:31 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Lloyd Russell-Moyle Lloyd Russell-Moyle Labour/Co-operative, Brighton, Kemptown 8:31 pm, 17th July 2017

It is a pleasure to follow the maiden speeches of my hon. Friend Marsha De Cordova and Kirstene Hair.

If we get time today, we may get to a debate on the Youth Parliament. I am probably one of the only Members of the Youth Parliament when it was set up in 2000 and 2001 who has now become a Member of Parliament. I reflect on that experience compared to this one. The kind of behaviour we now see from the Government—cutting down the opportunity for debate and discussion—would have been unheard of in the Youth Parliament. This is meant to be the mother of Parliaments, but it seems perfectly acceptable to play jiggery-pokery with the timetable. I wonder about the responsibility of the Government, and what this looks like for constituents out in the wider world.

Today my constituents were queuing around the block for more than an hour, not for a gig or a music activity, but to see the local doctor in Peacehaven. That is a regular thing for my constituents. Why? Because, of course, doctors’ workloads have doubled, and the resources to our NHS have reduced. Equally, we do not have enough houses. Independent research shows that teachers’ pay has reduced by £3 an hour in real terms and that their workloads have increased since the Conservative party took power. [Interruption.] Members on the other side of the Chamber may wish to chunter about that, but I suggest they read the research.

My constituents would be flabbergasted to think that we are effectively reducing our workload by covering the same amount in two years as we would in one. I am afraid that saying, “Oh, it is all because that is what it says in the Standing Orders” is a weak response. We need to take the moral high ground, not just the letter of the Standing Orders.