Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Anne Begg's Week

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Week beginning 18th May – Goodbye Mr Speaker.


This week was an historic week obviously dominated by the speculation and then the announcement that the Speaker was to resign. As a result, I found myself doing quite a lot of media such as Radio Scotland’s Newsdrive, Scotland at 10, BBC2’s Holyrood Live and a long interview for the online Women's Parliamentary Radio.


Because the expenses controversy has been so damaging to the reputation of Parliament I decided to post all my claims under the Additional Costs Allowance here on my website. It took a large part of the weekend to get them in a form which wouldn’t reveal anybody’s personal data.  However, to show that I had nothing to hide, on Monday I also gave access to everything the Telegraph has to the Lobby correspondent for the Press and Journal. 


Of course the normal work of Parliament had to continue on as well.  Therefore, on Monday afternoon I also chaired a Statuary Instrument Committee on Climate Change. It lasted the full hour and a half which is quite unusual for these types of committees. 


Tuesday morning was taken up with a meeting of the Speaker’s Conference which had to take place on an informal basis as we were unfortunately not quorate.  However, it seemed that events were overtaking us. I had lunch with Mark Thomson, Director General of the BBC, and inevitably the coverage of the expenses story dominated.  The rest of the day was filled with the Speaker’s statement and other meetings but it was difficult to concentrate with such historic events going on around me.


On Wednesday the Pensions Minister, Rosie Winterton MP, appeared in front of my Select Committee as part of our pensioner poverty inquiry. I was able to ask her about the issue raised with my by a constituent just last week. One of the meetings I had in the afternoon was about setting up an All Party Rare Diseases Group, and then it was into the Chamber for a debate on the BBC licence fee for next year. After catching up with some work, the evening was spent at a reception held by the RNIB to say thank you to all the MPs who had helped in their campaign to secure the higher rate DLA mobility element for blind people. 


Thursday and it was back to Aberdeen for constituent surgeries. I also managed to pop in past the All Energy Conference at the AECC and meet some renewable energy companies from Aberdeen.  It is a conference which has really grown and is much more professional every time I visit.


Friday consisted of more surgeries and meetings about subjects ranging from the future of Aberdeen Airport to the Shopmobility scheme.

I would have some witty and intelligent analysis to share with you but alas I have an exam tomorrow so it'll have to wait. ;)

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