New powers which were contained in the Immigration Act 2016 come in to force today these will allow officers from the Border Force to board, divert and detain vessels in UK waters and they can arrest anyone they suspect has broken the immigration laws. One might ask why on earth our Border Force never had these powers before but I suppose it is a case of better late than never. These latest reforms are on top of a series of measures already introduced to make it very difficult for an illegal migrant to survive in the UK for example there is a new duty on landlords to check tenants have a right to live here and it will not be possible for illegal immigrants to obtain a driving licence. In my view measures to enforce our Immigration Laws are necessary not only to help control the overall number of new immigrants as illegal immigrants are no doubt a small percentage of the total but it is only fair for all those people who abide by the rules, pay the fees, fill all the forms in and do things the right way that the Country strictly enforces the rules against those who seek to get round them
I am often asked whether the Conservatives will be able to ‘come together again’ after the referendum on whether we stay in or leave the European Union is over in a little over three weeks time. My view is that it should be perfectly possible, after all it should come as no surprise to anyone that there are different views about the European Union within the Conservative Party. The Conservatives are often accused of a being a Party which does not reflect the Country but I would argue the division of views within the Conservatives much more accurately reflects the division in opinion across the Country. It is the Labour Party which appears out of step with the reality in the Country.
In my post yesterday I outlined the problem of antimicrobial resistance. There is a real concern that the growth in treatment resistant bacteria will mean modern medicine will increasingly become unable to treat what are currently considered to be routine infections.
One possible solution – well I regard it more as a strategy to stop the problem getting worse – in this Country at least is to ensure effective antimicrobial stewardship programmes are in place across the NHS. Put simply this means cutting down on the prescription of antibiotics unless they are absolutely essential. The problem of AMR is at least in part the result of too many antibiotics being used.
The other longer term solution is for scientists to develop a new range of drugs which the bacteria are not immune to. Much work is already being done in this country on this and there is a great opportunity for this Country to become the World leader in developing new treatments.
The government have already been very active in this field and have commissioned a full review of the problemnder the chairmanship of Jim O’Neill.
The full results of all their work can be read on their own dedicated website here: http://amr-review.org
Many of the problems MP’s deal with are of local or perhaps a national nature however some are global problems. AMR Is one of these. If you have never heard of AMR let me briefly explain. I am no scientist but basically the problem is this. Over the years since anti- biotics were first discovered doctors have been prescribing them in their millions and millions to help combat various diseases. The problem is that some of the bugs which the anti-biotic drugs were intended combat are starting to mutate into new bugs which are resistant to the drugs. In other words the drugs which would previously have successfully killed off the bugs are now ineffective. AMR Stands for Anti-Microbial Resistance.
This week I attended a meeting in the Commons were experts were on hand to discuss this problem and what can be done about it.
Last night after several days of debate the government’s legislative programme for the new session of Parliament was passed by 297 votes to 237. A surprisingly large majority of 60 considering that notionally the government only has a majority of 12.
Good news for those who are fed up of hearing about the referendum. From today the government at least are prevented from issuing more information because of the rules governing the referendum and indeed elections in general that prevent a government from making policy announcements in the run up to a poll. These arrangements are often referred to as ‘the purdah period’.
At 9am today the Chairman of Ways and Means – the Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle will draw out the numbers of twenty MP’s who will be given priority in having time to debate a Bill of their choice. For the past two days all MP’s except Government Ministers have been able to enter this name into the Private Member’s Bill Ballot Book. This is a book with numbered rows in it and I just took the next space on the page the book was open at. I am number 138. The winners will be inundated with pressure groups wanting them to adopt their particular cause.
At the other end of the today’s business will be the final votes on the Queen’s Speech. Yesterday, the amendment tabled by the Labour Party was defeated by 300 votes to 263.
Deputies, Reserves, Subs, call them what you will but with the Prime Minister away in Japan attending a meeting of the G7 it will be the Chancellor of the Exchequer standing in to answer the questions on his behalf today.
I came across a briefing form the House of Commons Library earlier in the week which analysed the number of attendances by the Prime Minister at Prime Minister’s Questions since 1979.
Margaret Thatcher attended 694 question times out of a maximum of 752
John Major attended 351 out of 398
Tony Blair attended 326 out of 343
Gordon Brown attended 75 out of 85
David Cameron attended 146 out of 157 in the last Parliament and so far in this Parliament he has attended 31 out of 33.