Thursday 14 August 2014

Do they work for you?

The Western Mail has provided its readers with what it calls a handy tool to let them find out how active their MP is in Westminster.

There are 40 Welsh MPs, and in the 2010 general election 26 of those constituencies returned a Labour MP. The Tories got 8, with Plaid Cymru and the LibDems on 3 each. The Western Mail names 7 Labour MPs (three active performers and four duds), one Tory and one LibDem. The Tory (Stephen Crabb) and the LibDem (Jenny Willott) are both close to the bottom of the league table.

Martin Caton (Lab.,Gower) and Dai Havard (Lab., Merthyr Tydfil) both vie with Stephen Crabb for the title of least active Welsh MP in the House of Commons, and neither of them has the benefit of the excuse that they have spent most of their time in the whips office. Showing its political colours somewhat, the newspaper makes no mention of MPs such as Jonathan Edwards (Plaid), even though his record on contributions to debate is up there with the most active Labour members.

What gets the Western Mail really excited, however, is that Chris Bryant (Lab., Rhondda) is top of the pops, appearing in more debates and speaking more often than any of his colleagues.

The problem with that of course is the difference between quality and quantity, and Bryant has made some notably disastrous appearances. Here is the Labour supporting New Statesman with a example of Bryant at work.

Tucked away at the end of the WM article is a more telling graph showing the average number of debates MPs have taken part in by party since 2010. Here Labour is in seventh place. Even Tory MPs do better, despite all their business commitments, time spent chasing foxes and other extra-curricular activities.

Simon Hart MP
For every Chris Bryant the law of averages dictates that there are rather more Labour MPs who seldom open their mouths.

When looked at by party, the list is topped by the Green Party, Democratic Unionists, the SDLP, SNP and Plaid Cymru.

With the exception of the Greens (one MP, Caroline Lucas), the most active parties are those representing the devolved nations, which is even more remarkable when you consider that Plaid and SNP MPs only take part in debates which have a bearing on their countries. Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Green Party work together as a group in the House of Commons, by the way.

If you live in the Rhondda, you might wonder why your MP is busy asking questions about Birmingham schools, welfare benefits in Scotland or housing benefit in the North West (of England). The people of Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan, Lab) may also be puzzled as to why, when education is a devolved matter, their MP spends so much time asking about education in Northern Ireland, academies and free schools (none of those in Wales), and schools in Birmingham.

Bearing in mind that agriculture is another devolved matter, the people of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire may be surprised to hear that their MP (Simon Hart, Con.) spends so much of his time talking about English badgers.

Not to mention the irritation that people in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland understandably feel when they see MPs who sit for Welsh constituencies voting and speaking on matters which have nothing to do with them.

(Source: They Work for You)


Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as an English only law, as all laws which have any financial element have a 'consequential' effect on the Barnett formula. They can get as irritated as they want but Welsh MP's should stand their ground until English decisions have no effect in Welsh spending.

Anonymous said...

The online piece has no mention of Jonathan Edwards but the printed newspaper yesterday did.
The reason I know this is because Jonathan Edwards's facebook page has a quote from it.
The Western Mail brands Jonathan Edwards (who is in the top 5) as one the most "prolific" MPs in Wales.

Mrs Angry said...

English badgers, Cneifiwr? How do you know they are not Welsh badgers who have moved the goal posts, and emigrated, to confound the Tories?

Redhead said...

You just watch them all have much more to say as the election gets nearer - and many more "kussing babies" photo ops too.

It is a sad reflection in the modern world that celebrity matters just as much in politics as it does in entertainment. Thoughsome might say politics is entertainment rather than people taking serious decisions about OUR lives.