This morning I 'appeared' on a phone-in on BBC Northern Ireland. It seems that I've inspired a new Northern Ireland MP to include a few words of Ulster-Scottish in his maiden speech. Must admit I didn't know there was such a language. One caller claimed it was no more than a dialect. Anyway, let me explain how I arrived in such an odd situation.
Last week, all new MPs joined in a 'familiarisation' session in the House of Commons Chamber. After a few presentations, we were invited to ask questions - as if it was a full blown session. I decided to flex my voice and ask whether I would be allowed to use a couple of sentences of Welsh in my maiden speech. Back came the answer that Mr Speaker might just allow it, if I were to translate any words spoken in the language of heaven into English, the official language of the House of Commons. I intend to give it a go, and hope that Mr Speaker exercises his now legendary generosity in allowing it. I can crawl with the best when needs be! After the meeting, other new MPs told me that they rather liked the idea, and might also try a few words of Yr Iaith Cymraeg. I hope Mr Speaker hasn't had enough of it by the time I deliver my own maiden speech.
So I've been speaking Welsh in three very different formal situations today - two minutes on Irish radio, giving Irish listeners a taste of our language, another three minutes for Newyddion about the Coalition agreement, and taking the oath before Mr Speaker in the house. Several of us did this. The oath has to be taken in English first, in order to make legal the taking of the oath in Welsh. Anyway, it seems I've had a bit of influence on what happens at Westminster already.