June 9, 2010 - Bill Esterson's Westminster Diary

Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson

 

LAST week I made my Maiden Speech in the House of Commons.

 

The Maiden Speech is the one time when no one interrupts you and when everyone tells you what a good speech you have given. It’s one of the customs of parliament.

 

I asked the Speaker for permission to speak in the debate on European affairs, which started just after 1.30pm and at 4pm he called me to speak.

 

My constituency of Sefton Central is made up of parts of the old Crosby and parts of the old Knowsley North and Sefton East constituencies.

 

As it is customary I spoke briefly about my predecessors, which in my case were Claire Curtis Thomas, who represented Crosby and George Howarth who represented Knowsley North and Sefton East and who now represents another new constituency, Knowsley.

 

The Maiden speech is also an opportunity to describe your constituency.

 

There are so many excellent features of Sefton Central that I had to choose just a few, so I mentioned the Gormley statues, the red squirrels at Formby and Aintree Racecourse.

 

I also took the opportunity to say what some of my priorities will be, working on behalf of you.

 

I said I would press the government to build the Thornton Relief Road and to carry out the refurbishment and rebuilding of Crosby and Chesterfield High Schools, which was due to happen as part of the last government’s Building Schools for the Future programme

 

I also mentioned the plans to rebuild the Royal Hospital and my concerns about the cuts in police spending which have been announced for Merseyside.

 

New MPs are expected to make a Maiden Speech before taking a full part in proceedings. I have to say it is a relief to have made my Maiden Speech and on Monday I also asked the Secretary of State for Education a question about his plans for Building Schools for the Future, especially whether the Crosby and Chesterfield High Schools project would go ahead.

 

His answer was that he didn’t know at this stage whether the project would go ahead or not. I have to say that asking a question was far more nerve wracking than giving a speech as the House of Commons Chamber was full and the pressure was on.

 

That’s clearly something I have to get used to.

 

Next week I have put in a question to the Prime Minister. I’ll have to wait and see whether I am called to speak or not.

 

Finally this week I was offered an office sharing with two other MPs. Not ideal but better than not having anything.

 

As with any new job it takes time to settle in. At least now I will have somewhere permanent to work.