Thursday, November 11, 2004

Sikhs, osteoporosis and "women in parliament"

Oh - and a vote or two on "Family Doctor Services" thrown in for good measure.

In other words a typically schizoid day in the life of an MP.

I have a small but vocal number of Sikhs in my constituency so met up with some of them in Central Lobby for a brief chat. Was pleased to see that our new Sikh MP, Pramjit Gill, was already chatting happily to them when I arrived and that he knew one of my constituents well.

Then had to re-tune brain to talk to a pharma company about their new product for treating osteoporosis (they had noticed that I had tabled a lot of questions on the subject). Refreshingly, they didn't want me to do anything but just wanted me to be aware of their situation (this has to be a first!).

Another quick re-tune and then I met with a student who was undertaking a research project on women in parliament. She mentioned that she had spoken to a number of Labour MPs, I was her first Lib Dem but she had had difficulty in arranging something with a Conservative MP. I think she was just unlucky because it is a question of contacting the right MP who is willing to talk to people. I say this because a young intern I knew (who had to provide an interview tape as part of the selection process for a journalism course) asked William Hague for an interview and was gob smacked when he said yes. Even though this was shortly after the 2001 General Election many would have assumed that he would be too important to "waste" his time on a student. It just goes to show that you never know what will happen unless you ask the question - I would also add that persistence often pays off.

The interview was finishing just as the Division Bell rang and a couple of minutes later it was back to the Attlee Suite to listen to some of the speeches during the Sikh lobby day.
Unfortunately, I couldn't stay until the end as I had to get back to the constituency.