My office isn’t anywhere near the office my staff use in Parliament. Not terribly convenient so, when the person in the office next to my staff moved out, I thought – ah, why don’t I see if I can swap my office with the now empty one?
They’re pretty much the same, except one is next to my staff and the other is some way away.
Simple, sensible, straight-forward? Oh no, this is Parliament. You’d have thought I’d asked for a whole new floor to be added to Portcullis House or something like that.
One year on (yes – one year!) this is still in limbo because, basically, the Conservative and Labour Chief Whips have vetoed the office move. Or rather – they’ve said I can move, but only if all the Liberal Democrats promise to not ask for any other moves or anything else similar between now and the next general election (whenever that may be) for any MP or their staff.
Well, that’s pretty silly – one might even say childish – condition. Why try to attach such a condition anyway – especially as all we’re talking about is effectively moving the empty office from one location to another?
And what if some other similar sensible swap opportunity comes up? They’re basically saying – tough, no matter how sensible or necessary any other changes might be – you can’t have them. Because we’re the Labour and Tory Chief Whips and we say so.
And what if, say, an MP or one of their members of staff, have – please no – a serious accident and therefore mobility problems? Sorry – no chance of then moving office to one more convenient, because Conservative and Labour Chief Whip would have said IT MUST NOT BE DONE.
You may have guessed by now – I’m not impressed! So we’re lost in a world of complicated three way negotiations (hello Henry Kissinger – fancy a negotiation job?).
I cite this as an example of the utter stupidity of some of the practises at the Commons. This is about childish display of power and nothing to do with making the appropriate decision.
The whole allocation of office space in Parliament is a mess – and this one year to sort one empty office makes the eight weeks it took to give me an office at all when first elected seem quite short by comparison!
So come on Patrick McLoughlin (Tory) and Geoff Hoon (Labour) – show some sense!
What a way to run a country..