A double dose of speaking in Parliament

Managed on Thursday to get called (after an hour of bobbing up and down) in Business Questions and asked the Leader of the House (Jack Straw) to give time for a debate – a proper debate – on gang culture, the problems of which have recently been highlighted in Haringey with 60 – 80 youths rampaging down Lordship Lane. Jack Straw agreed – but that doesn’t mean we will get the debate.

In the afternoon I led for the Liberal Democrats in a three hour debate on the sixth report from the International Development Select Committee which is on ‘Conflict and Development: Peacebuilding and Post-conflict Reconstruction‘. The Select Committee was and is chaired by my Liberal Democrat colleague Malcolm Bruce who presented the Committee’s report. It is a substantive piece of work on an area – conflict resolution – that is tough to address.

The key issues I raised were around the abuse and rape of the natural resources which conflict states are often so blessed and therefore cursed with – and trying to ensure that our UK companies are behaving properly. I also raised education in conflict states and the issue of the Department for International Development right hand not knowing what the Department for Trade and Industry left one is doing. Cross-departmental goals might be helpful and selling sophisticated and very expensive radar air control units to countries that don’t need them but to whom we are giving aid is just stupid and counter-productive.