David Heath MP, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Somerton and Frome

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David Heath's speeches in Parliament

Heath in Hansard: June 2007

June 4: Legal Services Bill

The Liberal Democrats believe that there is a real danger in this bill that the well-respected and sensitive community based lawyer could be squeezed out by impersonal national corporate legal service, which risks undermining fundamental confidence between citizens and their lawyers. More information about our opinions on this bill can be found here.

Simon Hughes MP gave way to David when talking about people’s ‘personal obligation to their community. David noted a ‘further difficulty in areas such as mine.’ David noted that ‘small firms often provide the cross-subsidy that allows any sort of criminal law to take place in our magistrates courts and smaller courts. Such work is not profitable and is carried out only due to the good will of small firms.’ David’s conclusion was a stark warning – ‘if we lose them, we will lose any hope of legal aid for criminal cases in rural areas.’ Simon Hughes warned Ministers to take David’s warning seriously.

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June 5: Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill

The Liberal Democrats have long been an advocate of this piece of legislation but feel that it must be strengthened if an important opportunity is not to be missed. More on our position can be found here.

One of the places we would like to see the bill strengthened is to extend it to include deaths in custody (both in police custody and in prison) and it was during discussion of this that David intervened. David asked Gerry Sutcliffe MP (the Prisons Minister) ‘if the compromise is only in terms of commencement and the Minister now accepts the principle that the offence will extend to custody, why does he not accept the amendments from another place [the Lords] and simply deal with the commencement issue? On the other hand, if he does not accept the principle and if what is being proposed is merely window dressing, why does he expect the other place or this House to accept it as a compromise?’

Mr Sutcliffe claimed that it was not window dressing and that it was ‘a serious movement from the Government from a position of not accepting the principle to accepting it’ and maintained that the problem was one of ‘time scale.’

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June 7: Business of the House

There was some humour at the opening of David’s weekly exchange with Jack Straw MP during Business Questions when the Leader of the House mistook a leaflet put in front of him by Theresa May about housing in the ‘South West’ for being about South West London!

David began again by asking whether the terrorism Bill and the criminal justice Bill would be introduced in this Session. He then asked for an assurance that if it was introduced very late this Session, it would not be subject to the carry-over procedures.’ Mr. Straw admitted that he couldn’t give David precise undertakings on this subject but promised to write to him if appropriate.

Following serious revelations in the Guardian and on Panorama about the Al-Yamamah affair, David asked for ‘a statement by the Secretary of State for Defence on whether his Department connived in breaches, or potential breaches, of corruption legislation and the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.’ He also asked for the National Audit Office reports on the subject to be published, which the Liberal Democrats have wanted for years. More on this increasingly interesting and damning story can be found here.

Mr. Straw predictably towed the party line and quoted the Prime Minister who said that he was “not going to comment on the individual allegations and a lot of this relates to things that go back to the 1980s." He also reiterated the Prime Minister’s point that “this investigation, if it had gone ahead, would have involved the most serious allegations and investigation being made of the Saudi royal family and my job is to give advice as to whether that is a sensible thing in circumstances.” Mr. Straw also directed David to the ruling of Mr. Justice Collins ‘who, in respect of an application for judicial review of the decision to suspend that investigation, said that the application was "wholly unarguable", and he dismissed it. Well, that’s a good reason to ignore allegations about billion pound bungs then.

David then asked about the Chancellor’s current view on the ‘generous tax relief afforded by taper relief on capital gains tax.’ David rightly noted that this ‘enables private equity entrepreneurs to pay as little as 10% tax on their very generous income while their cleaners, on little more than the national minimum wage, pay 20%.’ David asked how this could possibly be fair and how it could really be Labour party policy. Mr. Straw promised to refer the matter to the Chancellor.

Finally, David called for a debate on the ‘Government's attitude to freedom of information.’ He was prompted by the ‘decision by the Office of Government Commerce to destroy the gateway review documents on the cost of identity cards and other misdirected and mismanaged IT schemes, in defiance of the Information Commissioner and the information tribunal.’ David concurred with a gateway reviewer who called the order to destroy the reports ‘odd and a little sinister.’ David was seeking ‘clarification of precisely whether the Government support their own legislation on freedom of information.’ More information on the story about destroying reports can be found here.

Mr. Straw claimed that the gateway reviews had not been destroyed, though did fail to note that this was because the Government had been caught red handed. He did note, however, that the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ‘does not say that anybody who wishes to get information from a public authority may automatically have it made available. The Act provides a whole series of exemptions, which are there, among other things, to ensure the proper functioning of government.’ The inference there is obviously that destroying damning reports about Government cock-ups is allowing the ‘proper functioning of government’ rather than protecting a hideously inept administration.

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June 14: Business of the House

I think the last week may have been the quietest David’s had in the Chamber since I started working for him last December. A combination of dull legislation and a busy week outside the House, kept David’s appearances down to just his regular tussle with Jack Straw during Business Questions.

David began by asking for ‘a debate on the decision of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to restrict access to lucentis and macugen for wet age-related macular degeneration.’ David made the very valid point that ‘NICE does a very necessary and difficult job, but often the methodology it employs seems better for assessing life-prolonging therapies than for those that enhance the quality of life.’ Before he was an MP, David was an optician and is, therefore, ‘only too well aware of the awful devastation that can result from AMD.’ More on this story can be found in the ever-reliable Times.

Mr. Straw noted David’s ‘professional expertise’ on this subject and understood that ‘age-related macular degeneration is a distressing condition for patients and their carers.’ He said the NHS was committed to delivering ‘improved eye-care services for patients’, such as ‘funding photodynamic therapy as a treatment for what is called wet AMD.’ Mr. Straw also underlined ‘that what NICE has said is not its final guidance; the guidance has been issued for consultation and the Department of Health will respond in due course.’ He promised to ‘make sure that the chief executive of NICE is aware of [David’s] his position of expertise.’

David will not let the al-Yamamah affair drop and asked again about it after the Attorney General sent Ming a letter ‘saying that the decision to withhold vital information from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development was taken by officials rather than by accountable Ministers.’ David called the decisions ‘politically inept and clearly unsustainable’ and renewed his calls for a statement. More on our position on this increasingly murky tale can be found here.

Mr. Straw always looks a bit annoyed when this matter in brought up and lamented the fact that it ‘has been discussed at every recent business question time and at Prime Minister's questions.’ He accused Ming of insinuating that ‘the Attorney-General ordered investigators to withhold information from the OECD’ and said he was ‘completely wrong.’ He called for ‘the Liberal Democrat leader to apologise for making completely unsubstantiated allegations.’

Fiery stuff! Mr. Straw followed that with some typical baiting about our length of time in opposition and urged David to think about ‘the considerations that the Prime Minister had to take into account in making his judgment.’ The Government’s argument is that ‘security and co-operation with the Saudis, which is absolutely fundamental not just to the Middle East but to our safety in this country, would not merely have been threatened; it would have been undermined had we continued with an inquiry that, on the merits of the case, would have proved abortive.’ He accused David of pretending ‘that it is not an issue’ and bizarrely praised the Conservatives, saying that they understood it, but accusing us of trying ‘to avoid it altogether.’ It’s not surprising the Tories understand it, it was them dishing out the backhanders! I’m not convinced of the argument either that co-operation with a corrupt, backwards regime is enough to stop an investigation into billion pound bribes.

David then asked for a ‘debate and the passing into law of the Corruption Bill’, which finished in the Lords this week and would ‘at least enable us to rectify the law.’ More information about this bill can be found here.

Finally David asked for a debate on the ‘draft Community Drivers' Hours and Recording Equipment Regulations 2007.’ These EU ‘regulations remove the exemptions for rural bus services with a route of more than 31.6 miles’ (essentially forcing them to be fitted with a tacograph). Not one to miss a trick on local issues, David mocked the Leader of the House for last week’s gaff about the geography of the South West – he ‘not only knows the south-west well but knows public transport well. He will know that if he were to catch the 632 service from Taunton to Yeovil via Martock, he would be all right because the route would be 30.3 miles, but if he caught the 54 service from Taunton to Yeovil via Long Sutton, he would not be all right because the route would be 31.8 miles.’ David called this ‘nonsense’ and asked to ‘revisit the regulations.’

Mr. Straw said the regulations were ‘subject to considerable discussion in a Delegated Legislation Committee.’ To end a fairly fractious questions Mr. Straw quipped that he was ‘tempted to try the 632 and the 54’ but that he had ‘always had a conscientious objection to getting on a bus with a Liberal Democrat’ so he would have to avoid that.

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June 21: Business of the House

It’s been another fairly quiet week in the Chamber for David but it was noticeable for being (almost certainly) David’s last tussle with Jack Straw MP in his role as Leader of the House. David began by paying tribute to Piara Khabra, the Labour MP for Ealing Southall who died aged 82 last week. David called him a ‘decent, quiet, courteous Member of the House’ who would be ‘much missed.’

You must have been living in a cave over the last week if you haven’t seen the big political story of the week – Gordon Brown offering places in the Cabinet to Lib Dems but being rebuffed by Ming and Paddy Ashdown. It warranted much discussion during Business Questions and David wasn’t going to miss the chance to leap to our defence after being goaded by both Jack Straw and Theresa May.

Displaying an admirable knowledge of popular culture, David noted that ‘it is hardly our fault if the Chancellor of the Exchequer makes Cabinet formation into a form of "Britain's Got Talent"’ and quipped that ‘the Liberal Democrats undoubtedly have the talent; we just do not like the look of the Government.’ David then asked if we could ‘find ways to help the Government’ and offered ‘three ways that we can be of assistance in the business of the next couple of weeks.’

The Leader of the House, as befits a man with promotion in his sights, was in buoyant mood. He quipped that some of his ‘best friends are Liberal Democrats, but sometimes we must put our sense of friendship on one side when we are making decisions about what is good for the country.’ He then engaged in his usual session of Lib Dem bashing, saying that it’s never our fault because we never have to make decisions. He accused us of being ‘people who volunteered for a lifetime in opposition’ and noted that he spent 18 years in opposition but preferred government.

Firstly, David noted that the ‘Secretary of State for International Development [Hilary Benn] said that a new corruption Bill was needed "as soon as possible".’ He then gave the Leader of the House some good news – ‘we have a Corruption Bill before the House. It has gone through all its stages in another place. It could be put into effect within weeks.’ David urged Mr Straw to find time for the Corruption Bill (which is in David’s name in the Commons) to appease Mr. Benn. Find out more about the Corruption Bill here.

In charitable mood, David offered Mr. Straw a second piece of good news. He quoted the deputy Chief Whip in the Lords, who said that the Government are committed to tackling the issue of the "disparity between...financial support...to victims" of terrorism abroad and in this country. David then pointed Mr. Straw in the direction of the Victims of Overseas Terrorism Bill, which has gone through all its stages in the Lords. David presented it as a ‘Bill that the Government can take up in order to make good their commitment.’ More on the Victims of Overseas Terrorism Bill can be found here.

Mr. Straw’s comments in response were hardly a steadfast acceptance of consensual politics. Using the Sustainable Communities Bill as an example, he said that the Government would continue in their ‘approach to all private Members' Bills… [this] is to look at them on their merits, regardless of who is their promoter.’

David then offered to help the Prime Minister in waiting, ‘who has clearly cottoned on to the concern across the country that some of the richest people pay the least tax.’ David thought that he heard the current ‘Prime Minister, in a somewhat incoherent way, lending his support yesterday to the need for something to be done.’ As a result, David asked for ‘an extra day's debate on the Finance Bill, so that the Chancellor of the Exchequer can bring forward proposals for the end of taper relief on capital gains tax.’ This is something we have proposed for some time and would ‘do something about the richest people paying less tax than those who clean their offices.’ More on our position on taper relief and on our latest position on the tax system can be seen here.

Keeping it succinct (most probably with one eye on pasture’s new), Mr. Straw admitted that ‘the ending of taper relief on capital gains tax is under consideration’ and noted the ‘Treasury Committee's considerable and spirited evidence session yesterday.’

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June 25: Finance Bill

David’s first contribution of the week was to intervene during a discussion of Danny Alexander’s Amendment to the Finance Bill that would have offered discounts on fuel for those living in remote rural areas. David was motivated to contribute by an MP representing an urban constituency claiming that this would encourage people to drive to faraway supermarkets rather than use local shops. David retorted that ‘Members who represent urban areas should get out into the country more and see what life is like there. There is not a local shop to go to, because it is closed. There will not be a local garage to go to either, unless we have this proposal or something similar.’ The full text of this debate can be seen here.

Strategic Routes (South-West)

After months of trying, David finally secured an Adjournment Debate on roads in the south west and Somerset particularly. An Adjournment Debate happens at the end of the day in Parliament and is an opportunity for MPs to discuss local concerns that would otherwise not be debated with a Minister. I have provided an abridged version below but the full text of the debate can be seen here.

The first road that David wanted to discuss was the A303 and in particular the stretch between Sparkford and Ilchester. It horrified David that he had ‘been talking at intervals about that stretch of road, which is only three and a half miles long, for the 10 years that I have been in the House and before that as a county councillor.’ As far back as 1997, the ‘Government produced plans for safety improvements on that stretch’ which ‘were put to local people and went through a public inquiry,’ which was satisfied ‘that there were no overwhelming environmental problems.’

In comparison to other parts of the A303, such as over the Blackdowns and round Stonehenge, ‘there was a general realisation that there could be a significant improvement in the safety of the stretch of road from Sparkford to Ilchester by dualling it, and that that could be done without an excessive take of land and reasonably inexpensively.’ The scheme got caught in the moratorium on road building as the new Government took office in 1997 and David has ‘raised the issue at regular intervals since then’ but has witnessed ‘an ever-receding prospect of action.’

David has argued for safety improvements on this section because ‘it is a stretch of road where the A303 changes from a dual carriageway to a single carriageway and back to a dual carriageway.’ The A303 ‘carries more traffic than many motorways, particularly in the summer season, when there is a great deal of holiday traffic.’ David noted that ‘the other critical factor is the distance of the stretch of road from London and the far south-west. It is at the point when drivers start to get tired and lose their concentration.’ The ‘sad consequence of that is that there have been 18 deaths and 68 serious injuries on that short, three and a half mile stretch.’

Nothing is to be done about that stretch of the A303 before 2016 at the earliest because the difficult conundrum of Stonehenge has to be solved. David argued that ‘we have proposals for a single scheme, which should not be included in the whole scheme for the length of the A303 but judged on its merits. Those merits suggest, in safety terms and for the sake of saving lives, that it is justified.’ David asked the Minister ‘whether we can look again at the safety record of that short stretch of road and how we can improve it. We cannot reasonably and responsibly wait until 2016 for something to be done.’

David also noted the other the other outstanding issue on the A303, which is the noise-reduction surface the Highways Agency promised ‘would be in place four years ago.’ David pointed out that ‘for the sake of their quality of life, people who live in close proximity to a road that for all intents and purposes is carrying the traffic of a motorway, in places such as Blackford, Holton, Maperton and Compton Pauncefoot, have been desperately waiting for a change in the surface.’ The lack of action has left them ‘sadly disappointed.’

The other main issue David wanted to use this debate to raise is a road that does not yet exist – ‘the road that will connect the south coast ports of Poole and Southampton with Bristol and Bath and, therefore, the motorway network to the north.’ Without it, heavy goods vehicles leaving those ports, which are to be expanded, ‘take totally unsuitable routes north.’ An example of which is the A357 through villages such as Henstridge and Templecombe. David admitted that he could not ‘imagine villages that would be less suitable for heavy goods vehicles, given the width of the carriageway, the fact that buildings are very close to the road on each side, and the sharp bends.’ He concluded that ‘they are totally unsuitable for lorries of any size.’

David then mentioned the low railway bridge in Templecombe where ‘every month or so, a lorry gets stuck.’ David had seen a recent example where a lorry ‘got squashed under the bridge about 20 minutes after Abbas and Templecombe primary school had finished its day.’ David noted that ‘had that happened 20 minutes earlier, the pavement under the bridge would have been full of primary-age children.’ David concluded that this was ‘unsatisfactory, dangerous, and could be completely avoided if we had a proper strategic route, with all the necessary signage, to take lorries away.’

David thought that one of the problems was the use of “satnav”, which a Slovenian driver had been using in the above example. David felt they have a place but that ‘far too many heavy goods vehicles, especially those driven by foreign drivers, seem to use inappropriate devices intended for cars rather than heavy goods vehicles.’ David also felt that ‘HGV satnav programs do not show clearly enough the unsuitability of some roads.’ As an example he recalled a driver trying to make a delivery right next to my office in Frome, where he was directed down a cobbled street and a flight of steps in Sheppards Barton by satnav. David called it a ‘not an entirely satisfactory routing system.’

David had raised this matter with the Minister before and had been told that the consultation about the Government's proposals was to end on 9th January. David asked, therefore, for ‘some firm proposals about what should be done’ and put forward his own idea of translating ‘the suitability of roads and the various obstacles on them on to a commonly agreed, pan-European satnav format which HGV drivers must use.’

David concluded by saying that he wanted ‘the upgrade of the A303 linking Sparkford, Ilchester and Podimore recognised as something that can be done soon.’ He also wanted to ‘ensure that we identify a proper north-south route from the south coast ports to Bristol and Bath, with the result that lorries do not use grossly unsuitable roads.’ In addition, he wanted to know about the noise-reducing resurfacing of the A303 and the Government’s plans for regulating satnav.

As the link in the first paragraph of this section will demonstrate, the Minister from the Department for Transport, the ridiculously named Stephen Ladyman MP, was fairly obtrusive and refused to commit the Government to any action before 2016.

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June 28: Education Questions

David caught the Speaker’s eye and made a ‘plea for room in the curriculum for the teaching of local history and local culture.’ He thinks that ‘It is important that young people have a sense of place and identity.’ David was motivated to ask the question because ‘when I take children around the House and show them things that relate to the history of Somerset, their teachers tell me that they are never taught about that in history, which seems a great shame.’

Parmjit Dhanda MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Education and Skills, replied that ‘there is flexibility in the curriculum for that’ and the Government would ‘encourage schools to continue to do that.’

Business Questions

After both we and the Government shuffled our pack, this would turn out to be David’s last appearance at Business Questions in his role as Shadow Leader of the House. It will not, however, be his last crossing of swords with Jack Straw, who must feel that David is stalking him. David began by paying tribute to the Sir Phillip Mawer, who recently resigned as Chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee. David then made a joke about the change of Prime Minister being ‘only the closing of one chapter and the opening of another’ but said that ‘some of us think that it is odd that we have gone from "Great Expectations" to "Bleak House" in just 10 years.’

David began again with the ‘Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill’ and was perturbed by the scale of that piece of legislation, ‘which has 235 pages, 152 pages of explanatory notes and 14 pages of regulatory impact assessment.’ David asked ‘how on earth is the House intended to give proper scrutiny to another criminal justice Bill when it will not be introduced until the second half of July for Second Reading?’ He then challenged the Government that ‘if all of this criminal justice legislation is so good…why it needs amending within the year?’ A brief outline of this lengthy legislation can be found here.

The Leader of the House was in ebullient mood and told Theresa May and David to stop worrying ‘about it - It is a large Bill. It will be properly examined by the House. If it gets its Second Reading, it will go upstairs to be subject to the full Public Bill scrutiny procedure that the House agreed following the Modernisation Committee report.’ He also said that it would be subject to carry-over (into the next session) and that the Government wouldn’t try to force it through before the end of session.

Some MPs tried to heckle David into sitting down but he was ‘not finished’ – he wanted to talk about the flooding. He noted the ‘increased investment, but the cuts in flood defence spending have been disastrous’ with ‘the result for many people has been personal catastrophe.’ David asked for ‘a statement from the new Secretary of State on the implications for the once-in-100-years assessments, because they are clearly not correct and we need to revise our flood defences in the light of recent events.’

Mr. Straw ‘put on the record again our condolences and sorrow in respect of those people who have lost their lives as a result of the flooding’ and paid tribute to the services and the public ‘who have been working fantastically hard to alleviate the effect of the floods.’ He felt ‘these floods were literally a once in a century or more event. We do our very best to ensure that there is proper preparation for such events. That has been part of the work of the upgraded civil contingencies secretariat.’

Mr. Straw admitted that ‘there was a reduction for 2006-07 of £15 million in the Environment Agency's overall flood-risk budget. That was applied to the agency's resource budget, which funds such items as staff costs, operational activities and maintenance.’ However, he had been ‘assured that the agency capital budget was not cut, that funding for capital projects for new and improved defences to reduce risk was not affected, and that no current or planned improvement projects were delayed as a result. The reduction has been more than reinstated in the agency's funding for 2007.

Not one to miss the opportunity to mine a rich vein, David asked for ‘a statement from the Prime Minister on his position on Iraq’ because ‘it is important that we know where he stands on that.’ Jack Straw refused to be drawn into this debate again.

Finally reiterated his desire to co-operate with the Government and after the rumours of last week and cheekily mentioned that he was ‘still mulling over the offer of the Wales Office.’ He asked Mr. Straw if he seriously believed ‘that it is sensible to ignore the request from the outgoing Secretary of State for International Development [Hilary Benn] for a corruption Bill, when the outgoing Attorney-General has said that there is a need for a change in the offences and when we have one on the Order Paper tomorrow.’ The Bill is in David’s name and ‘has come through the House of Lords and would satisfy the Government's intentions.’ He asked Mr. Straw to ‘instruct his colleagues and the Whips not to shout "Object" tomorrow so that we can make progress on enacting proper anti-corruption legislation in this country.’ A summary of the Bill can be found here.

The Leader of the House argued that the Government had ‘already strengthened anti-corruption measures.’ He said the Government ‘always consider private Members' Bills on their merits’ He then scolded David for ‘on the one hand to criticise the fact that we have now reached a 54th Bill on criminal law and on the other hand to propose a 55th.’

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill

This Bill would create a specific criminal offence of corporate manslaughter to target gross failings which have had fatal consequences by the senior management of an organisation. The Liberal Democrats support the extension of the Bill to include prisons and police custody, the Government does not. David’s contribution was to cite the support for this of Lord Ramsbotham, ‘who is key on the issue, and who speaks with far more experience of conditions in the Prison Service than almost any of us.’ An outline of the Bill’s contents can be found here.

More on our position can be found here.

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June 29: Crown Employment (Nationality) Bill

As David had to stay up in London later than usual, he offered to cover the Liberal Democrat benches during Private Member’s Bills.

David made a significant amount of contributions to each debate, so I’ll try and offer a brief summary. I will also post the link to the full text of the debate of each Bill for the seriously interested. Crown Employment Bill.

A guide to this Bill, that seeks to remove nationality restrictions with regards to employment in the civil service, can be found here.

David voiced his support for Andrew Dismore’s Bill that would allow those who have a right to live and work in this country to work for the civil service. David also cunningly used the opportunity to ask for a long standing Liberal Democrat policy, a Civil Service Act, which would address this issue and many others besides.

Historic Counties, Towns and Villages (Traffic Signs and Mapping) Bill

The full debate on this Bill can be seen here. This Bill would allow for signs to be erected making people aware of the historic counties of this country.

David spoke in favour of Andrew Rosindell’s Bill as ‘a native of a severed county who would very much like its northern part to be brought back into a clear Somerset identity.’ David liked this debate because it was ‘about recognising the historic geographical and cultural entities that underpin this country and inform the identities of the people who live here.’ David feels that ‘this is something that successive waves of those who have sought to reorganise local government boundaries have ignored. They have not understood the relevance of identification with a place and community.’

David feels ‘strongly about this issue because I am a man of Somerset. I grew up in Somerset and generations of my family have lived in Somerset. There is a strong possibility that we came a cropper in 1685 because we fought for Somerset against England in the Monmouth rebellion and lost—because the English cheated. There is a huge sense of identity in the county, which was seriously undermined in the early 1970s by the Heseltine reforms of local government.’

David used this opportunity to suggest that we should celebrate the differences in English people and English regions, again talking about teaching local history in schools. David mentioned how important he thought it was for people to identify with their local area and concluded that ‘the more uncertainty we have in this world, the better it is that we are rooted in a sense of common identity, principle and history. The historic counties of this country form part of that mosaic and are worth remembering.’

Government Spending (Website) Bill

The full debate on this Bill can be seen here.

A guide to this Bill, that makes provision for a website in order to enable public access to information about government expenditure, can be found here.

David raised ‘the important principle of transparency, which would make the affairs of the Government and information on the use of public money more available to the taxpayer.’ He felt that ‘this Bill builds on a strong feeling that many of us have, which is that the House is not at all good at scrutinising Government expenditure.’ He saw this Bill as ‘one of a series of potential reforms’, then outlined a few others he would like to see implemented and finally offered his support for the Bill.

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