Westminster Diary: We have fair votes for MPs so why not the general public?
- Credit: Archant
Welcome to my Westminster Diary. Each week, I’ll be giving a light-hearted behind-the-scenes take on what life is really like as a new MP. From jeering and bobbing, procedures and prayers, I’ll be lifting the lid on the mother of all Parliaments. Think ‘The Thick of It’ not ‘House of Cards’!
Huawei dominated the public debate in Parliament last week but behind the scenes, we MPs were back at the ballot box: choosing between colleagues vying to become select committee chairs.
Candidates used any opportunity to lobby fellow MPs: in the lift, on the escalator, on your way in and out of the Chamber... even in the ladies! Someone joked that the Parliamentary debate on Huawei had become an "official hustings" for the Foreign Affairs Committee, given the constant bobbing and impassioned speeches of those looking for that committee's top job.
Some MPs tried to win us over with amusing leaflets. One, running for transport committee, put his name across a big red bus. Brave, given Friday was 'Brexit Day'. One had a picture of a tractor. Someone running for defence committee was posed like he'd walked off the set of Top Gun. The best though was a guy who just stuck a massive photo of his pet dog on the front. I have no idea which committee he was standing for, but we all agreed his dog would do a very good job.
On voting day itself, a committee room was set up like a polling booth.
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Going to vote was like running the gauntlet, with all the candidates lined up on either side of the corridor shouting out things like "Daisy, I liked what you said about X - happy to chat!", "Daisy, congrats on getting elected - now vote for me!"
In all seriousness, a good select committee chairperson can make merry hell by scrutinising the government, so it's definitely worth putting some effort into deciding who to vote for.
- 1 7 of the best brunches in St Albans and Harpenden
- 2 Ammunition found in bag on St Albans street
- 3 'Abusive and aggressive' St Albans man given Criminal Behaviour Order
- 4 Teenager strangled in attack in St Albans park
- 5 Harpenden's Olympic hero watches daughter win gold
- 6 Bee inspired by new display at St Albans restaurant
- 7 The latest court results for the St Albans area
- 8 150 homes plan for Green Belt land in north St Albans is approved
- 9 Why has it taken so long for Young's to open St Albans pub?
- 10 6 Oscar-winning movies filmed on location in Hertfordshire
Some committees have to be chaired by an MP in the governing party, and others have to be chaired by an MP in the official opposition. So it was the first time in my entire life I've voted Conservative and Labour!
Finally, we didn't just put a "X" in a box: we ranked the candidates 1, 2, 3. This is meant to produce a less divisive, fairer outcome. When Parliament next debates fairer voting systems for the country, I'll be sure to challenge my opponents with the inconsistency of fair votes for MPs but not for the public.
You can contact Daisy at firstname.lastname@example.org