This week started with three media interviews before noon on Monday – starting with Wiltshire Radio assessing the lessons we can learn from the Libyan campaign and what the implications are for future NATO missions elsewhere in the world. After attending parliamentary questions, I then co-hosted a session on the British Council’s work in India.
So much of my time in parliament is spent listening and evaluating – taking in masses of information and evidence, seeking to find answers to constituents’ problems as well as informing myself so the contributions I make are, hopefully, well-informed. On Wednesday, this meant listening to a briefing from a number of senior military personnel on a future defence White Paper. I then attended a global strategy forum round table discussion at the invitation of former Devizes MP Lord Lothian. I have recently taken on the chairmanship of the all-party parliamentary group on global uncertainties so this session was very useful.
The main business of this week has been the remaining stages of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. This legislation will redefine the scope of civil legal aid, so it is more focused, effective and sustainable, and implement proposals to restore proportion to “no win, no fee” conditional fee arrangements. Reforms of sentencing legislation will also ensure offenders are properly punished and rehabilitated; these have also been discussed throughout the week.
On Friday, I will be meeting constituents as well as catching up with Simon Redmill, the leader of Salisbury City Church – one of our many lively, growing churches which provide authentic biblical Christianity in our city.
On Saturday, I will be at the hospital meeting with Salisbury’s Parkinson’s group. My weekend will conclude with attendance at Canon Scrace’s final service in Harnham before he retires to Devon. I first met David 22 years ago when he took my grandfather’s funeral at his previous parish in Chippenham – little did I know then I would attend his retirement service as his MP more than two decades later. I wish David and Gill a long and happy retirement.