Tuesday, 26 June 2007

It's all happening!

Some days at Westminster are relatively quiet and there is no political news. But today has not been one of them!

In most MP's offices there is a small portable TV set which can be used for monitoring the progress of debates etc. and/or keeping up to date with24 hour news channels. This afternoon I happened to glance at the monitor in my room to see that a Tory MP (Quentin Davies) had defected to Labour! This took me back to the 'good old days', when I was an aspiring Lib Dem candidate in the mid 1990s, and it seemed that disillusioned Tories defecting to the Lib Dems seemed to happen every couple of months. People often say that whilst an individual defection doesn't mean much, it can tell you something about the general trend / mood of political opinion. The commentators have been so excited about David Cameron that they haven't really noticed quite how out of step he is with his own party. Whilst today's defection was the most extreme example, the Tory leader has twice this year been in a minority of his own MPs when voting in the Commons. For as long as he looks like a winner they will put up with him taking them where they don't want to go, but too many polls like the one in the Observer last Sunday which put Labour ahead will spell real trouble.

I thought an unexpected defection was news enough for the day, but then we have heard that Tony Blair plans to resign imminently as an MP!

Leaving aside the issue of whether he is really the best man to bring peace to the Middle East, I have to say that this decision makes sense for him. Having been in charge for 10 years it would have been inconceivable to imagine him sitting quietly on the backbenches. My hunch is that Labour want to get a Sedgefield by-election out of the way on the same day as the Ealing Southall by-election so that the energies of the other parties are divided.

We're about to vote on the Finance Bil at around 7.35pm, so I'm assuming there'll be no more big political news today, but you never know!

No comments: