10p tax rate debated in Parliament

Bravura performance by Jeremy Browne! The Finance Bill Second Reading in the Commons today was mainly of note because of the ruck over Gordon Brown’s abolition of the 10p rate of tax. Much predictable hand-wringing on the Labour benches by MPs who had not even noticed that the least able to afford it were going to be done over by last year’s Budget. But have to say that Jeremy just enjoyed himself rotten – and I would say that despite Labour and Tories being the butt of the majority of his speech. He was so funny and witty that all sides could not help but laugh – even at their own expense. You’ll have to read in Hansard if you’re keen when it’s up tomorrow.

UPDATE: You can read highlights of Jeremy’s speech here.

Presenting on 18 Doughty Street

On Wednesday evening I went to co-present with Iain Dale his Queen’s Speech special on 18 Doughty Street TV.

Having never presented anything and being far more used to being asked my opinion it seemed gamekeeper turned poacher. Keeping quiet and listening to the guests speak without interrupting all the time was a challenge – and I probably was more restrained than necessary. But it was hugely enjoyable and although two hours long (unheard of normally for political TV!), the time flew by. The guests were Labour MP Graham Allen, Lib Dem Jeremy Browne and two Conservatives, Greg Clark and James Duddridge – the two conservatives doing an hour each.

This was my first return to Doughty Street since its inaugural evening – when despite the chaos around Iain calmly (or at least seemingly calmly) delivered a good show. Now he is a master of the art.

There was a great deal of consensus (shock horror) around the near-impossibility in the current climate around Home Affairs and terror to have serious and proper debate. The political knock about has developed to the absurd point when the Home Affairs legislation is virtually trailed as a “get David Cameron for being soft on crime” measure. It was very refreshing to have a discussion where reason and debate held sway instead of political slanging match. If only Parliament was like 18 Doughty Street!

As to being a presenter – it was fun!