The latest from the Commons...
This was always going to be an important week, as Members on the Opposition Benches, finally got round to debating Stella Creasy’s amendment to the Finance Bill.
Stella has been doing some great work on a really important issue which is affecting hundreds of people in Barnsley. Essentially, we were looking for the government to introduce a clause which outlawed loan sharking.
The ability of legal loan sharks to lend at extortionate rates leads a vicious cycle of debt and in these difficult economic times, the government should be doing everything in its power to provide responsible and affordable credit to those who are struggling to make ends meet.
The government’s position was unclear. Right up until 2am when they decided to postpone the vote until Monday, we had no idea whether they were going to support the amendment. I hope they will. It will say volumes about their commitment to the notion that “we’re all in this together,” if they don’t.
Also this week, I have kept the pressure up on Liam Fox to do the right thing and look again at our Military priorities in light of the Arab Spring. The more and more research we do into the governing document and the more and more answers Fox gives to questions, the more and more we realise this needs to be seriously revisited.
While we are talking about the military, I was overwhelmed with the public reaction to Armed Forces Day last Saturday. I know it is often cliché, but as someone who has fought in the Army, trust me when I say, our forces would have been watching the celebrations on tiny monitors in the deserts of Afghanistan, and their spirits would have been well and truly lifted. To know that your country appreciates your total commitment and dedication fills you with a sense of honour that is difficult to describe. They are the bravest and the best and we rightly recognise that.
As I write this I am preparing for my BIS Select Committee hearing. After that it’s straight off back home for a busy few days in Barnsley.