It was a cheap and obvious political gambit for the opposition parties to deny the Conservatives their desired three day recess for conference.
Naturally, the conference will go ahead anyway. I wonder what have they tabled for discussion in their absence? Here's what the Leader of the House (the oft-recumbent Jacob Rees-Mogg) has put forward:
- Monday: Northern Ireland Executive Formation
- Wednesday: Domestic Abuse Bill
- Thursday: Women's Mental Health
I've been following the progress of the Domestic Abuse Bill in particular (one of the organisations I write for in my day job runs refuges for people who have experienced domestic abuse). An early iteration of this Bill failed for political reasons when Theresa May called an election in 2017.
A second reading of the Bill has been scheduled by the Leader of the House for Wednesday 2nd October. And a good thing, too. But I want to question the motives of this .
Seems likely that, with many Conservative MPs away at their conference, the Executive don’t want MPs taking advantage of the government’s lack of a majority to take control of parliamentary proceedings. By scheduling debates on Domestic Abuse and women’s mental health while they are away schmoozing with their corporate paymasters, the Conservative government are betting that the opposition parties won’t change the agenda back to Brexit for fear of looking like they lack compassion for these issues.
Clever politics perhaps. But also revealing about where their neoliberal priorities lie.
Imagine a House of Commons where these subjects are given the prominence they deserve by people who care about the issues. That's the Commons we could have if the people choosing to attend conference (rather than debate the topics that they themselves have tabled for their absence) were removed.
Elections are coming. Question the motives and priorities of your representatives.