October 2, 2014
Commons debates Islamic State (ISIL)
The House of Commons was recalled last Friday to debate the activities of the Islamic State militants (ISIL) and the possibility of the United Kingdom supporting the Iraqi security efforts to protect their civilians.
As Speaker, I did not contribute to the discussion, but from the chair I tried to ensure that as many Members as possible were able to air their views. The debate was passionate in places, but also respectful; it was clear to me that colleagues were conscious of the seriousness of the situation, and at no point did the proceedings threaten to descend into point scoring.
It was, if anything, a sombre occasion, but one in which Members’ opinions were listened to with respect on all sides. As a result of the success of the Prime Minister’s motion, military action began over the weekend. It is, for me at least, a sharp reminder of the dangerous world in which we live.
The recall of Parliament coincided with a Macmillan Cancer coffee morning in the House of Commons. This, I understand, wasn’t an accident: the charity had been set to host a series of fundraising coffee mornings in a number of constituencies with the idea that the local MP would either host one, or attend it. This plan was, of course, scuppered by the recall of the House which required all Parliamentary colleagues to return to Westminster. As a result, Macmillan set up shop in the Jubilee Room instead, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to pop over for a cup of coffee and a chat during my lunch break (even Speakers are allowed a bit of time away from the chair to stretch the legs!). Macmillan, and all the volunteers throughout the country but particularly – from my perspective at least – are to be commended for their fundraising efforts, and I wish them all the best in their endeavours.
The House is in recess again until the middle of October for the party conferences. As always, however, my office will remain open and I am available to assist Buckingham constituency residents with any concerns they might have.
First published in the Bucks Free Press