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Parliament Day at the St. Thomas’ Centre , Brampton – Chairman’s Report

Members and guests who attended Chesterfield and District Civic Society’s meeting at St Thomas’s church centre on Saturday November 18 heard four outstanding presentations on ‘Democracy at Work: a View from Inside’. The event was the society’s contribution to UK Parliament Week.

Te first speaker was Natascha Engels, until recently Labour MP for North East Derbyshire and one of only two women to serve as a Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. Ms Engels, putting over important points in a clear and witty way, explained how the reform of procedure since the turn of the century has given backbench Members more influence over the Government and Opposition front benches.

She was followed by Lee Rowley, the newly elected Conservative MP for the division, who shared some first impressions of the Commons, as someone entering the House from a business background. He wished to see more issues approached on a non-partisan basis, for example the improvement of public transport in the North of England, which he argued was hardly a party matter.

The third speaker, Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield since 2010, by contrast took the view that politics was always bound to be partisan. He explained how an effective Opposition could put pressure on the Government and sometimes force it to abandon or change its policies. He too succeeded in explaining very well some technical details of Commons business.

Finally, Paul Holmes, the Liberal Democrat MP for Chesterfield between 2001 and 2010, made an impressive case for proportional representation, giving numerous examples of the unfairness of the current first-past-the-post system, and arguing that coalition government in Europe did not, as the British often believe, always mean weak government. He pointed out that the Coalition Government of 2010–15 had, despite gloomy forecasts to the contrary, lasted its full term and achieved a measure of economic recovery.

All the presentations attracted a lively discussion, including valuable comments from Mr Harry Barnes, the former Labour MP for North East Derbyshire , and everyone agreed afterwards that the meeting had been both enjoyable and instructive.

Philip Riden

 

‘Parliament at Work’ – an insight into the reality of the life at Westminster .

UK PARLIAMENT WEEK EVENT

 ‘PARLIAMENT  AT WORK – a view from the inside’

Sat. 18 Nov. at the St. Thomas’  Centre,  Chatsworth Road, with contributions from the current local Members of Parliament Toby Perkins MP and  Lee Rowley MP, and former MPs Natascha Engel and Paul Holmes .

The doors open at 9.30am for tea, coffee and biscuits

Meeting 10am – 12.30pm.

The event is held in conjunction with ‘UK Parliament Week’ at the invitation of the Speaker of the House of Commons, Mr. John Bercow.

Further Information on Parliament Week can be found here

Admission :

Society members and under 18s free.

Others £2.00.

St Thomas’ Centre
For location details and directions , please click on the picture .