June 16, 2010

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Last week we had the first three line whip and my first vote in a division.

That means, my vote was recorded - I supported an opposition amendment to the Queen's Speech. The vote was at 10pm and the Palace of Westminster was full of MPs waiting to vote. Many of us had dinner while waiting and then had to rush to pay before the division bell sounded.

 

Then we all trooped into the lobby and gave our names to the tellers who added up the number of people who voted for and against.

 

The Speaker then announced that the ‘No's’ had it; in other words the amendment was lost.

 

Before the vote, we had the Labour Leadership hustings, which gave MPs the chance to decide who to nominate.

 

I nominated Ed Milliband as I believe he is most likely to challenge the coalition. All the candidates came across well but I think Ed will appeal because he appears so ready to listen and to learn from past mistakes.

 

I have spent most of the last week in Sefton. My wife had an operation at Aintree Hospital (Fazakerley in old money). I have heard many stories about the hospital, some very good, some not so good. It was therefore a great relief to find that the care and the facilities were first rate.

 

The operation was complex but seems to have been a success and Caroline is on the mend.

 

Thank you to those people who have wished my wife well and thank you to the staff and to the surgeon for his great skill and care in carrying out the operation. I will be visiting the hospital again soon in a more formal capacity to talk about some of the issues which you have raised with me.

 

Last week also brought the visit of travellers to Maghull cricket and football ground. I am writing to the government because I think the law needs a review.

 

The travellers came onto the ground and left quite a mess to be cleared up. The council had to seek an injunction and the police decided the best course of action was to talk to the travellers rather than evict them.

 

There are practical issues about where travellers can stay but it doesn't make sense to me or to people who have experienced travellers staying nearby that they can go onto any open ground and wait for an injunction before leaving days if not weeks later.

 

I can well understand why the police chose not to force them to leave as this could have caused more trouble than it was worth. The police had a regular patrol and this appears to have been a success. Yet, my question for the government is why not have a law that allows the police to stop trespass in the first place?

 

I know a lot of people in Maghull would support such a move.

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