Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Mark's reckless behaviour highlights a wider problem with MPs

There are reports today of how new Tory MP Mark Reckless (no, it's not my risque alter-ego!) lived up to his name and got so drunk on the night of the second reading of the finance bill that he fell asleep and had to be bundled in the back of a taxi by colleagues. Needless to say he missed the vote and is now in a spot of trouble with the Tory whips.

It was not just Mark. Apparently there were quite a few MPs, many of them recently newly elected who got pretty sozzled and there are reports that some of those who voted seemed to not really know what they were doing. It would appear that some of the new intake got a bit carried away and I expect they will be a bit more careful in future.

This whole incident has annoyed me. Not for the fact that MPs got drunk. I really couldn't care less about that. It's the fact that this was during the second reading of the finance bill. Two months ago, thousands of people tried to become MPs. There are many thousands of others who wanted to and never even got as far as being selected. And then it turns out that on one of the most critical pieces of legislation the government is bringing in, that many of the new intake (and I suspect some of the older lags) couldn't even be bothered to get involved in the debate, or even listen to it and instead went and got pissed on the terrace.

I don't want to come over all Daily Mail here but what the hell were they doing? We didn't elect them to piss the night away and then just stagger through the lobbies as voting fodder. We expect them to be scrutinising the legislation and joining in the debates, or at the very least properly understanding it and listening to the arguments so they are clear what they are voting for or against.

I am often disappointed when I turn on BBC Parliament to see how empty the chamber usually is. The only times it ever seems to get anywhere near capacity is for PMQs, the Budget and a few other specific high occasions. The rest of the time it can be largely deserted.

I know that MPs have lots of other duties and it would be unrealistic for them to be in the chamber all the time but on the finance bill there really should have been a higher attendance.

If they don't want to do it, I know a few thousand other people who would be glad to take their places.


Anonymous said...

Mark - I salute your eagerness and willingness to go serve in the stead of someone who is finding it all "a bit much" and has to resort to self medication aka getting "tired and emotional" {'my constituents just don't understand me, or just how balls-achingly tough all this sitting around scrutinising legislation is, the ungrateful bastards, yes I'll have a double thanks'..} but are you really sure that you could manage it, on the mere pittance of a salary and the frankly paltry allowances on offer - would being in the top decile of income earners really be enough of a quid pro quo for the savage beating your psyche, health and sanity would have to take - is it enough to cover horros such as going on Question Time or having to explain your parties policies to Andrew Neill on the Daily Politics?

Anonymous said...

Very, very little excuse for not being in the chamber for the Finance Bill.

Harry said...

I agree Mark. Bear in mind though that some MPs might be watching on BBC Parliament too - if you're not speaking then it's probably a lot more comfortable and convenient to watch elsewhere.