The Sky News poll results are in…

Thanks again to the team over at Sky News at this year. – I come in at number two in their Valentine’s Day ‘Most Fanciable MP’ (and they’ve used a photo that is one of my favourites – not always the case!). Despite the methodology used by Sky – possibly the most unscientific in world history – they have made an old, valentineless woman very happy. What I want to know though – is if I’m so fanciable – where are my suitors?

Sky Press release:

Andy Burnham Voted ‘Most Fanciable MP’

Andy Burnham, Labour MP for Leigh in Greater Manchester and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Saturday 14 February) is preparing for his letter box to be inundated with romantic cards and gifts this Valentine’s day – after being voted the ‘Most Fanciable MP’ by Sky News’ Boulton & Co blog,

The poll was compiled by Sky News and first time entrant into the list Burnham, has gone straight to the top of the love chart.

Andy Burnham, 39, told Sky News:

“I am very flattered to receive this accolade but if I can win it clearly shows people are not spoilt for choice and that politics really is show-business for ugly people. However, I have to say I am not looking forward to seeing the size of my mother’s phone bill, I just hope Ofcom won’t be launching a vote rigging enquiry.”

Last year’s winner, Conservative MP for Surrey South West, Jeremy Hunt, has dropped off the Top Ten list altogether. The highest ranking female is Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, who comes in second, up three places from last year. Other female entries include Liberal Democrat MP for Falmouth and Cambourne, Julia Goldsworthy, Labour MP for Don Valley and Minister for Europe Caroline Flint and Labour MP for Redditch, Inkberrow, Feckenham and Cookhill. Home Secretary Jacquie Smith also gets a Valentine’s day treat, as a new entry in the chart at number 10. Nick Clegg is the only party leader to make the top 10, with Gordon Brown and David Cameron both absent from the list. The list was compiled by Sky News political producers and correspondents.

Lynne Featherstone is one of only three MPs to survive last year’s list – Julia Goldsworthy has dropped two places to fifth with Nick Clegg remaining in eighth position. Last year there were no cabinet members on the list, this year all five of the Labour MP’s listed are members of the cabinet.

Here is the final list (last year’s rankings in brackets) for ‘Most Fanciable MP’ 2009, which includes five Labour MPs, three Liberal Democrat MPs and two Conservative MPs.

1. (-) Andy Burnham, 39, Labour, Leigh
2. (5) Lynne Featherstone, 57, Lib Dem, Hornsey & Wood Green
3. (-) Adam Afriyie, 43, Conservative, Windsor
4. (-) Ed Vaizey, 40, Conservative, Wantage
5. (3) Julia Goldsworthy, 30, Lib Dem, Falmouth & Camborne
6. (-) Ed Miliband, 39, Labour, Doncaster North
7. (-) Caroline Flint, 47, Labour, Don Valley
8. (8) Nick Clegg, 42, Lib Dem, Sheffield Hallam
9. (-) David Miliband, 43, Labour, South Shields
10. (-) Jacqui Smith, 46, Labour, Redditch

Why Sky is the Liberal Democrats of TV news

I had decided to ask Gordon Brown a question at PMQs today – on listening to the people and learning (post disastrous election results last week) and suggest that if he had the guts he could prove he was listening by dropping the Post Office closure program. (Bad news for us by the way – none of our Post Offices were saved. We will have to get the info on why only a meagre seven in London were saved using FOI and then make hell let loose.)

Anyway – sadly I had to go to a funeral of an old uncle who died yesterday – so missed PMQs. On the radio coming back from the cemetery to parliament, blow me, I heard David Cameron ask exactly my point. That is scary! (For Nick’s questions, see the write-up on Lib Dem Voice.)

Raced to Sky News lunch with Adam Boulton and crew who were lunching Lib Dems to discuss how their news could extend even further into plurality and impartiality through internet and so on. Gorgeous lunch – and always interesting to hear what the other side thinks. Adam seemed to think that Sky News was the Liberal Democrats of news programs – in as much as they are always having to punch above their weight against the terrestrials of BBC and ITN.

I do think – and so did most of us MPs present – that Sky has the best rolling news and breaking news. And although I didn’t see their election coverage (as the stupid row with Virgin robbed me) I gather it was excellent. So unlike the BBC TV coverage that everyone in blogland has been blasting to high heaven for its low grade and tatty approach.

Very enjoyable – and as Julia Goldsworthy pointed out – half Sky’s top ten fanciable MPs were present. So – we ain’t got the power – but we sure got the looks!

The Sustainable Communities Bill: what's it about?

That’s the topic of my latest article, just uploaded to my website:

Have you ever felt like screaming ‘it isn’t fair’ when – regardless of the whole neighbourhood being up in arms – the Government runs roughshod over local peoples’ wishes and carry out its own wishes regardless?

Well, although it doesn’t have a sexy title, the Sustainable Communities Bill could help bring about a major change in the way we are governed so that in future local people can more often say, “hang on, you don’t have the power to do that.”

You can read the article in full here and also watch my colleague Julia Goldsworthy talking about the subject.

Sustainable Communities Bill

Sustainable Communities Bill in Parliament today. Not a sexy name – but it may go some way to meet that dreadful sense of powerlessness we all get sometimes when the Government runs roughshod over local wishes. It’s about giving local communities much more power over their issues in their own patch. It is a Private Members’ Bill with all party support – and though it is usually quite difficult to get MPs to Parliament on a Friday (those with constituencies outside London are normally travelling back to a long weekend packed full of local meetings and events) – today there were enough to see it through to the next stage. Julia Goldsworthy has been doing much of the running for the Liberal Democrats on the issue – and you can watch her talk about it on her website.

Debate was followed by a very harrowing surgery – and then followed by a weekend off(ish)!