Been an MP for almost six months. The most contentious issue by a country mile has been the proposal to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 - combined with equalisation in the number of electors in each constituency (to within a 5% tolerance). And nowhere in the UK has the anger been more fierce than in Wales where extrapolation of the the maths leads to a decrease from 40 to 30 Welsh MPs. I'm not going into the 'ins and outs' of the Voting Systems and Constituencies Bill, but there are some interesting little bonfires burning alongside the main conflagration.
Firstly, there has been the incredible waste of Parliamentary time during the Committee stage of consideration of the Bill, which lasted for 5 days. Seemed to me that Labour wanted to be able to say there was no time to consider Welsh clauses, so they filibustered for hours on end to ensure this absence of time became a reality. Welsh Labour MP, Chris Bryant must have spoken for over 3 hours. Some might think this very 'clever'. I think it is very childish indeed, and makes a fool of our democratic processes. Be interesting to know how much this silly exercise has cost.
Secondly there has been an ongoing campaign by Labour MPs demanding a meeting of the Welsh Grand Committee to consider the Bill's impact on Wales. It's the Secretary of State's call, and she has said No - because there has been plenty of time for debate during Committee stage, which Labour, led by the afore-mentioned impressively garrulous Welsh Labour MP rendered large parts of as pointless. Latest chapter in this ongoing saga is that a Labour MP has secured a 90 minute debate in Westminster Hall on Tuesday, where the same arguments are going to be recycled - like a bottle of cheap wine at a coffee morning raffle. I will be there, but because I'm a PPS will not be able to speak. Don't like this at all. Its a convention that makes no sense to me. It will not be a debate for anyone seeking innovative thinking.
And thirdly there's the rebirth of some moribund long-forgotten body called the Welsh Parliamentary Party. It seems that Labour MPs have not taken well to opposition. So they are going to recreate something where they can play out being the Government again. I'm told there's a meeting of this body on Wednesday - the first since way back in the last century. I'm toying with the idea of going - but maybe not. Will have heard it all in Westminster Hall on Tuesday. I suppose I shouldn't be mean spirited about it, and hope that have a jolly nice evening.
I wonder if all the people we represent in Parliament are as exercised as MPs are about there being 50 less of us after the next election. Somehow I think I know the answer to that.