|Public Accounts Committee, Charles Clarke MP and Budget Day|
|Monday, 27 March 2006 16:19|
On Monday morning I had one of my regular
drop in surgeries at Balham Family Centre on Bedford
In the afternoon, the Public Accounts Committee examined the closure of MG Rover. This had a massive impact on the West Midlands economy, and almost 6000 jobs were lost. You can read the questions that I asked during the session here.
On Tuesday I attended a meeting with Richard Caborn MP, who is Sports Minister to discuss ways to improve participation in sports and the engagement of sports bodies in Government policy.
I also met with Charles Clarke MP, the Home Secretary, to discuss the Respect Action Plan to tackle anti social behaviour. More details from the press release here and a photo is here.
In the evening I chaired a meeting organised by Progress (more details on their website) entitled ‘Three Years On: Lessons for Labour from Iraq'. Oliver Kamm, who has recently published a book called 'Anti -Totalitarianism: The Left-wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy' was also on the panel.
Wednesday was Budget Day. This was exciting for newer MPs like me as it was my first Budget. The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, was fantastic and was able to make some impressive announcements. The main points of the Budget are summarised here.
In the evening I attended the launch of the Hindu Forum of Britain-Parliamentary Entrance Programme (website here)The initiative will allow young people to experience first hand how Parliamentarians from all three main parties work in their constituency and in Westminster. After the launch I attended the monthly General Committee meeting of Tooting Labour Party.
My Thursday morning began with a breakfast meeting with BBC London to discuss developments in the BBC's services for London. I then attended the launch of Operation Black Vote (website here) and The Electoral Commission’s MP Shadowing Scheme. The aim of the scheme is to help improve ethnic minority representation within the political system. I got to meet the person that will be shadowing me as well as graduates from the scheme.
In the afternoon I took part in a Parliamentary debate on the Participation of Young People in Democracy. In the 2005 election, only 37% of 18-24 year olds voted, compared with 51% in 1997. It is vital that we find ways to engage young people with political processes and their communities – the success of campaigns like Make Poverty History show that young people are not apathetic, they just tend to mistrust politicians. My speech is here.
After leaving the debate, it was a quick walk over to County Hall to record "The Last Word" for Channel 4/ More 4. The guest host was Spectator political editor Peter Oborne. Fellow panel members were Daniel Finkelstein who is an ex-Tory spin doctorand Times journalist, and broadcaster, Fi Glover.
After recording this I rushed down to Burntwood School in Tooting to watch the Wandsworth Schools' Music Association Annual Concert. This evening was one of the best I have had for a while. There were Primary school choirs, orchestras, Guitar medleys, dances and much more. I was particularly proud that the vast majority of schools were from Tooting (far more then either Battersea or Putney!)
On Friday I attended Tooting Islamic Centre for Friday prayers.
On Sunday we had a very successful canvass in Bedford ward in Tooting.
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