Tag Archive: Penny Mordaunt

We might as well not be here

On 16th of this month the European Select Committee quizzed three other Chairs of committees (Alan Beith, Keith Vaz, David Davies) on various matters EU (video here), including how to obtain advance information on European Legislation prior to it becoming law. The first question related to a statement by David Lidington that departmental select committees need to take more seriously their strategic responsibility in scrutiny of european matters.

Alan Beith was of the opinion that while the UK Representative at Brussels (UKREP) and his staff were helpful, they could do more in the area of advance notification of matters that are in the pipeline. On this point it was made known that Select Committees are deliberately excluded from advance notification on the basis that the Government and UKREP feel it would tie their hands in negotiations. Keith Vaz made the point that, When Europe Minister, he invariably only received notice of measures right at the last minute, while making the point that Select Committees had not done the amount of detailed examination within their own fields of responsibility on matters EU that was necessary.

Michael Connarty made the admission that as a Parliament, they had disengaged themselves from Europe under the last government, making the point that with enacting the Lisbon Treaty, power now lies with the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament and that the UK is “left out of it”. David Davies, in answer to the question whether there is anything better could be done to engage with “Europe”, replied that what was needed was an “Idiots Guide” explaining very simply how legislation is developed within the EU.

Chris Heaton-Harris queried whether better use of MEPs could be made, with Alan Beith responding it was farcical (my word) that MPs on committees and MEPs in Brussels were, at times, “moving in different directions”. Keith Vaz made the point that he spends more time liaising with his equivalent in France and Germany rather than his equivalent in the EU/Europe as he does not consider Europe to be a country.

On the matter of liaison between the European Scrutiny Committee (ESC) and other departmental committees, Bill Cash made it known that in the year 2011-2012 it had requested 11 “opinions” on matters affecting departmental committees and during 2012-2013 (so far) requested 2 “opinions”. Of the 11 requests, 2 were still outstanding and neither of the 2 requests for 2012-2013 had received a response. Also making the point that the ESC could hardly be accused of asking too many questions, he queried whether in fact they should be making more requests.

Michael Connarty raised the matter that all Select Committee Chairs receive a document called the “Brussels Bulletin” and that Clerks to Select Committee chairs should perhaps, as a matter of course, “scan” this bulletin and bring to the attention of their chairs matters which appear to be gaining traction within Brussels. Keith Vaz responded that his Clerk did do that but that he would in future include that document in his “required reading” each day.

Keith Vaz also pointed out that matters EU are not of interest to everyone and that they should be as, because of that disinterest, Parliament has become a kind of sideshow to what is happening elsewhere due to the fact that matters EU is not publicised sufficiently.

In a supplementary question Penny Mordaunt asked the three wise men appearing before the ESC whether they thought the new family-friendly hours of the House were one of the reasons for matters EU not being discussed, not only in the House, but also by Select Committees. Keith Vaz responded that he vote against the change as now there was little time for debate in either place and if proper debate is not possible he queried why MPs were there.

So we have now discovered that MPs admit they have not been as diligent as they should have been on matters EU; don’t really understand the legislative process of the EU and feel that an “Idiots Guide” would help; have no idea how – and/or from whom – information can be extracted from Brussels about matters EU; that Parliament has become a bit of a side-show; and that where the governance of this country is concerned, power now lies elsewhere.

Indeed, Mr. Vaz: why are MPs there?

H/T: Fausty


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A ‘mordant’ comment

Writing for PoliticsHome, Tory MP Penny Mordaunt sets out a case for the creation of a Minister for Older People – or so she thinks.

What Ms. Mordaunt does not acknowledge is the bureaucratic cost involved with the creation of another Office of State. Neither does she mention that if this country did not spend so much in foreign aid and housing illegal immigrants instead of deporting them, it could thus care for its own elderly, vulnerable population in a more appropriate and beneficial manner.

It is suggested that the last thing the elderly and vulnerable of our society need is government arranging anything on their behalf – especially when it involves yet more ‘government’. In any event why would we need yet more government when those in government do not appear interested when they are contacted? On 12th April 2011, in response to an article in Total Politics by Mordaunt, I emailed her, beginning:

“Regarding your ‘article’ on Total Politics: “http://www.totalpolitics.com/opinion/155607/how-should-we-care-for-our-ageing-population.thtml” -:

Whilst not a constituent of yours, but that of your Leader, it is to be hoped you may read this email and respond.

I have a meeting agreed and scheduled for next month – accompanied by my solicitor – with Grant Shapps, representatives from the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Services Commission to discuss:

1. Actions by Landlords that override Contract Law;
2. Oversight of Housing Associations and method of operation, and inadequacy of redress under the current system, specifically in regard to point 1 above; & points 3, 4 & 5 below;
3. Contravention of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and Mental Capacity Act 2005;
4. Contravention of Housing Act 1988 (section 13(2)); coupled with contravention of the Landlord & Tenants Act 1987;
5. Contravention of guidance issued by Andrew Hamilton, Deputy Secretary Department of Health Social Services & Public Safety – issued September 2006;
6 Disallowance by Legal Services Commission of 117 cases for legal aid, a decision in respect of which David Cameron said – in a meeting with me – he thought ‘arbitrary’.and ‘wrong’.”

and ending:

“Your article for Total Politics makes important points however, with respect, I feel that possibly the most important aspects have been missed. Yes, individuality is important, likewise quality of life etc etc; but whilst contravention by governments, bureaucrats and local authorities of the Acts mentioned above continue, nothing will change – and yes, I am in possession of documentation of that.

As you will hopefully understand – and appreciate – there is too much to include in an email and should you be interested in pursuing this further – and have the time to spare – perhaps a telephone conversation might be to your advantage in respect of that which you seem to wish to achieve?

I write – not as one who is ‘anti-Conservative’ (does the Conservative Party still exist – maybe the subject of a different conversation), nor a Labour/LibDem supporter – but one who is ‘elderly’ and still, thankfully, in possession of the ‘power of thought and reason’ and just wishes to see ‘justice’ for our own done, prior to looking after ‘others’.

My contact details are:……………..”

Needless to say not even an acknowledgement was received from Ms. Mordaunt. Neither is it unusual to be ignored even when a politician does agree to speak/meet with you, as this post illustrates.

To paraphrase M. Mordaunt, just think how much easier it would be to make the reforms in social care we need if politicians actually talked to those affected, instead of those in civil society who invariably ‘have their own axes to grind’.

But then we might be forgiven for thinking that, like most politicians, all Ms. Mordaunt is seeking is attention.

 


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