Today should see the 2015 -7 Parliament prorogued before it is finally dissolved next week. There will be business as usual to start the day with Questions to the Department for exiting the European Union. Quite appropriate as this issue will dominate the forthcoming election campaign. As soon as that is done I will be continuing to today and complete all the dozens of jobs I need to do before heading back to Bury.
Today the main focus will inevitably be on the final clash at Prime Minister Questions between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. I expect it will be noisy and partisan. The Speaker will be busy keeping order. The session will highlight the choice at this election between the strong and stable leadership of Theresa May and the what would inevitably be a chaotic Coalition under Jeremy Corbyn.
After PMQ’s the Commons will consider the amendments the House of Lords have made to the Digital Economy Bill the Criminal Finances Bill and the Higher Education and Research Bill as the government try and get three more Bills onto the statute book before the end of the Parliament.
Yesterday after questions to the Department of Local Government and Communities the Commons dealt with all the stages of the Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill which will extend the period allowed for the Parties in Northern Ireland to reach agreement about a new power sharing executive. The Bill was passed unopposed.
Today after questions to the Lord Chancellor the main business will be the consideration of the Finance Bill which enacts the announcements made in the last Budget. We then deal with House of Lords amendments.
I will be attending the annual commemoration service of the Gallipoli Landing in World War One this morning at Bury Parish Church.
This afternoon I will be attending the Cubs and Scouts St. George’s Day Parade and Service.
A busy weekend ahead as the campaign gets underway. Although the national media focus is of course on the general election the focus locally is still the more immediate set of local elections with a by-election in Besses Ward and the Greater Manchester Mayoral Election. My postal vote arrived yesterday and is already back in the post. An unusual voting system is being used where everyone gets two votes. If I recall correctly the idea is that to win a candidate has to get over 50% of first preference votes. If no candidate reaches 50% when the votes are counted the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and then their second preference votes are taken into account and this may result in a candidate reaching 50%. The process continues until a candidate reaches 50%. I (obviously) voted for Sean Anstee as my first preference and left my second preference blank.
I was down at the Town Hall first thing this morning in order to attend the small annual ceremony of raising the flag of St George outside the Town Hall to mark St. George’s Day on Sunday. I have a number of things to do ahead of the general election and I have my usual surgery appointments to attend to later today.
Finally, a very happy 91st birthday to Her Majesty the Queen.
A small piece of history was made in the Commons yesterday when for the first time because of the existence of the Fixed Terms Parliament Act there was a vote as to whether to hold an early general election. By 522 votes to 13 to Commons voted in favour of holding an election on 8th June. A few Labour MP’s voted against the idea. I am heading back to Bury today for the weekend. Inevitably a lot of election planning in between all my existing engagements and meetings.