As the whole country has become engrossed in the Olympics and the phenomenal success of Team GB, the world of politics has focused on the abortive attempt to reform the House of Lords.
The Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement that the coalition will not now be pursuing reforms due to lack of support from Conservative backbenchers will please many in my party.
I personally supported the idea of electing many more of those who play such an important role in scrutinising legislation, while retaining a cohort of appointed experts.
I worked closely on the proposals as the parliamentary aide to the responsible Cabinet Office minister, Mark Harper, trying to convince more of my colleagues to back Lords reform.
To me, it is ridiculous that we will now see no steps at all to reduce the growth in the numbers of appointed peers. If we carry on at the rate we have seen recently, we will see 1,000 placemen and women of the party leaders in the Lords in a few years’ time.
What is equally disappointing is the apparent “tit for tat” response of the Deputy PM. He seemed to be saying that he would instruct his Liberal Democrat ministers to vote against the equalisation of constituency sizes and the reduction in the number of MPs, which will come before Parliament for formal approval in the autumn of 2013.
It seems logical that if a change is proposed that will make things fairer, you should support it for its own sake, not make it conditional upon getting everything else you want.
I also want to give readers from Laverstock, Ford and the Winterbournes an update on my meeting with Network Rail and Wiltshire Council last Friday, at which we aired many issues and moved towards implementing solutions.
I will be meeting more local residents, and businesses in particular, over the next few weeks, as all parties seek to mitigate the worst impacts of this disruptive, though necessary, engineering work. I will also be working with Cllr Mike Hewitt and others, who have already done so much to address concerns.
Meanwhile, I am still dealing with constituency queries as well as unpacking endless boxes as we continue to settle into the Woodford Valley.