MPs are paid more than AMs, and the last few days have helped me understand why. Not because they work harder, or longer. Its because they have more responsibility and have to take more difficult decisions. I was an Assembly Member for 8 years and I always voted as instructed by the 'whip'. Didn't always agree, but never felt sufficiently strongly to rebel. The issues just didn't seem important enough to break the whip.
But I try to imagine being in the House of Commons when the Embryology Bill is being debated. First problem would be deciding which way to vote. At present, I have no idea which way I'd go. I'm very supportive of research which could help people who suffer from neurological diseases, such as Motor Neurone Disease and Parkinson's Disease, and we're assured that the creation of part human, part animal embryos for use in stem cell research could bring major scientific advances. And yet. And yet. The thought of giving scientists the freedom to create these embryos fills me with horror. Mind you, I daresay rogue scientists will create them illegally, whatever's decided. (Been reading too much Dan Brown. This is absolutely 'Angels and Demons'). And another thing. If I was faced with a vote on lowering the legal time limit for abortion to 20 weeks, I would be in the lobby with Nadine Dorries, no matter what instruction I received. I know that the Conservatives are being given a 'free vote' on this Bill, but it does bring home to me the sort of responsibility that comes with being an MP. That's if you take the job seriously of course.
Suddenly, being an MP seems a much more difficult job. Can I just add that I greatly sympathise with Secretary of State for Wales, Paul Murphy. It would be tough enough for me , and I'm not a Catholic.