Saturday, May 14, 2005

Life for a new MP

If ever I thought that MPs spent their time drinking champagne, going for long lunches and rising to make the odd speech then this week has completely disabused me of the notion.

From the moment we arrived on Monday morning until leaving after taking the oath on Thursday it was a non stop marathon of induction courses, lectures on how to behave, and one to one chats with various people including the police who gave me an implement for opening mail and graphic description on what might lie therein.

The old timers told us that we are lucky. In their day there was no induction course and members were left to drift aimlessly around finding out for themselves where everything was and what they were supposed to be doing. Sometimes it would take months!

One thing I find very frustrating is the lack of an office - one will be allocated to me in "a few weeks." I have never shirked from criticising the Welsh Assembly but in fairness within minutes of arriving we were given an office with phones and a computer so that we could start dealing with the mail.

Fortunately Nigel Evans MP has taken pity and allowed me the use a corner in his office so replies are starting to go out to those who have written - as many have.

Priority will go to letters from constituents - even the one who believes that Monmouthshire is English and that those of us who live here have been the victims of a wicked conspiracy which has seen us annexed into Wales against our wishes! If he is reading this he might find the following link informative http://www.oakdalevillage.net/history3.html )

13 Comments:

Blogger dubba said...

Well done my friend, though I was particularly interested in yesterday's WoS article describing your lorry driving days. Since when was a "Nissan Cabstar" ever a lorry!

Nevertheless, well done. Superb.

All the best

Gareth (Dupre)
fellow driver from the old days

9:30 AM  
Blogger David Davies AM said...

The cabstar wasn't really a lorry but I had the HGV1 and went out on big ones as well if required.

We used the Nissan for the Lucas Girlings jobs because they wanted everything done in a hurry and there was no need to carry a tacograph.

Anyway its good to hear from you again Dubba. Perhaps I should rename this blog Burrow Heath drivers reunited.

12:49 PM  
Blogger AnthroPax said...

http://www.thesharpener.net/?p=24

Things on PR

12:34 AM  
Blogger AnthroPax said...

I mean propotional representation, as opposed to Public Relations - It seems to be something that needs doing - electoral reform et al.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Hooray for proportional representation. I'd even back Dipstick if she proved me wrong and stood up for something.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Busy times ahead, eh?

How much time did you devote in your first week as MP to National Assembly business, in your role as AM for Monmouthshire? How many trips down the M4 to join the debates in Cardiff Bay??....Though not!

You will no doubt point out that you now only get an "allowance" for being an AM, not the full salary. With this "allowance" being one third of your old salary, plus expenses, will you be devoting one third of your time to Assembly business?

If not, what are we paying you for?
If so, why are you now getting a full MP's salary for only part time work?

What happens when important debates are taking place in the Commons AND National Assembly at the same time? I wonder which will take priority?

3:45 AM  
Blogger Derek of Monmouth said...

Derk of Monmouth.
Well done David on winning the election. not interested in the AM.
to few people voted for it originaly for it to be taken seriously.
But I wish you would now get a grip of these County Councillors, Conservatives, who are thinking of taking the "One Stop Shop" till away. Why? more people use this than any place else. This is not why the people of Monmouth voted Conservative, to make services worse.

11:08 AM  
Blogger David Davies AM said...

To asnwer Mark's question I am spending a great deal of time on Assembly business. Now here is a question for him:

Does he think that MPs and AMs should be entitled to a Ministerial salary on top of their MPs salary? http://www.parliament.uk/faq/pay_faq_page.cfm

And if he still doesn't like the idea of a dual mandate perhaps he should save his vitriol for those who set up the Welsh Assembly in the first place and argued for the right to a dual mandate!

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199798/cmhansrd/vo980722/debtext/80722-39.htm

If I had had my way there would be no Assembly at all, I am playing by the rules set by Labour with the support of the Lib Dems and Plaid.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

David,

To quote Dr Liam Fox, in the article you mention:

"We are debating a matter not of degree but of principle--that there would be a conflict of interest, and one cannot serve two masters. If one is to represent someone in one body, one cannot be bound by collective responsibility in another. Such an arrangement--especially given the nature of the Welsh devolution settlement--would be constitutional nonsense."

The fact that you are spending a great deal of time on Assembly business, by default, means that you cannot be spending ALL of your time as an MP. This cannot be good for the people of Monmouthshire.

My comments are not party political - they would apply to AMs/MPs from any party.

Incidentally, I never voted for an Assembly, and would abolish it tomorrow, given the chance. With ever increasing powers devolved to Cardiff Bay, however, it is more important than ever that our AMs are on the ball !

5:24 AM  
Blogger David Davies AM said...

To quote from your blog your comments "are not party political - they would apply to AMs/MPs from any party."

So you must have contacted every one of the hundred or so government ministers starting with Tony Blair to ask them why they are a getting paid huge sums of money on top of their MPs salary.
(Far far more than I get)


The fact that they are spending a great deal of time on Ministerial business, by default, means that they cannot be spending ALL of their time as an MP. This cannot be good for the people of their constituancies.

I am sure you did contact them because you are making a "non-political" point.

Tell me Mark what did they say to you when you contacted them? - I am really keen to know!

While you were at you must also have contacted all of the Labour and Plaid Cymru MPs who became AMs a few years ago what did they say Mark?

Look forward to hearing the answers.....


On another point I don't really see how you can want to abolish the Assembly and devolve more powers to Cardiff Bay. You either get rid of the Assembly, keep it as it is or turn it into a Parliament.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

David,

You appear to have missed the point.

Ministers(and shadow ministers), by definition, spend their time in the heart of Government - the very place they were elected to. The fact that they have made their way "up the ladder" merely increases their standing and influence in the House of Commons. I would have no problem if you were to be promoted tomorrow !!

To serve in two SEPARATE institutions, however, makes it impossible to spend a fair amount of time in either.

As stated previously, I would apply the same ruling to Labour, Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru or Independent candidates. The issue is logistics, not party politics.

The reason I have written to YOU, and nobody else, is that you represent ME in the constituency of Monmouthshire. I would have written the same thing to Huw Edwards, if he had been in the same position.

On the issue of the Assembly, as previously stated, I would ABOLISH it tomorrow. I am AGAINST any further devolved powers.

While this over inflated talking shop is still in business, however, it is MORE IMPORTANT than ever that the lunatics in charge of the asylum are held to account at every opportunity.

This is a job that YOU, until now, have performed very well. My concern is, with you spending more time in London, you will not be able to do this as effectively.

If another person were to take over as AM, be they Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru or Independent, they would be in a position to devote their full attention to the role.

3:08 AM  
Blogger David Davies AM said...

Mark. With the utmost respect you have not really answered my point about Ministers.

In your blog you said it was not possible for me to spend my time as and AM and an MP. In fact it is far easier for me to do this than for a government Minister to spend time as an MP and a Minister.

A Minister is expected to spend at least four days a week working as entirely as a Minister. That does not leave much time for being an MP.

The Assembly only schedule 7 hours of debate a week (when not in recess.) Most of the job is dealing with constituency casework.

I am glad you feel I have done a good job up until now in representing your interests in the Assembly.

I have only been in situ as the MP for a fortnight. I was one of the first MPs to give a maiden speech, I am dealing with the mail despite having no office or phone, I have just finished a very big surgery in Usk, I think I am still giving a reasonable service.

If you think I am going to let the lunatics get away with things in the Assembly then you don't know me very well.

At least give me a few months before you jump to conclusions.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Grangetown Labour said...

The fact that you already have a full set of office provided for you by the Assembly must be handy in the transition!

Will you continue to claim both sets of office and staff allowances?

4:34 PM  

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