Early on Wednesday morning, Oliver Colvile MP tweeted the following message to any of his followers who still happened to be awake at 2:27 am -“10 minute rule bill made the lead story on Radio 4’s Yesterday in Parliament”. Read on.
Today in is a little gem of a programme tucked away in Radio 4’s late night schedule. Whilst there is some inevitable overlap with the day’s main news, it often serves as an antidote to the headlines and shines a corrective light on the day to day activities of Parliament.
On Thursday, for example, the Lords discussed the problem posed by an estimated 1.5 million uninsured vehicles on British roads. Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes suggested that we should copy the French and Irish practice of requiring all vehicles to display an insurance disc on their windscreens. There was a thoughtful and well-informed discussion (there always is in the Lords) before the Government spokesman poured cold water on the idea. Not the stuff of headlines, but an important problem (we all pay for insurance cheats) and an attempt to find a solution.
Meanwhile, in the Commons, much of this week has been taken up with playground fights over the latest banking scandal and the opening salvo in the war over Army cutbacks, so you may be forgiven for having missed the first reading of the Honours (Equality of Titles for Partners) Bill on Tuesday. The problem addressed by this Bill is that, whilst the wives of knights and peers have the honorific title of “lady”, there is no equivalent title for the husbands of dames or baronesses (or the civil partners of knights, peers, dames, baronesses, grooms of the bedchamber etc.). So three cheers for Oliver Colvile (Con., Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport), the Bill’s sponsor, for taking a courageous and principled stand in support all the posh, rich, well-connected powerless and impoverished victims of this cruel anomaly. A well known saying involving a stringed instrument and the Eternal City springs to mind.