Parliament is back

A week really is a long time in politics. Not long ago, the new Prime Minister seemed to be riding high.  Now there won't be an early election and he's on the ropes.

The Commons returned on Monday, though Gordon probably wishes it hadn't.  He was bound to have a rough ride when he made his statement on Iraq, since he had already spun it to the media the previous week, but Prime Minister's questions went even more disastrously for him.

Meanwhile the Chancellor had an equally difficult time announcing the Comprehensive Spending Review.  Borrowing up, taxes up, growth down and opposition foxes (on inheritance tax) only half shot.  It was desperate stuff.

I spoke on the Criminal Justice Bill, asking why, when there have been 35 such Bills already under this Government, creating 3,000 offences, violent crime has doubled.

Sadly I missed Prime Minister's questions on Wednesday because I was in Northamptonshire addressing the Association of Chief Police Officers on the need for swifter justice, honesty in sentencing and reform of our failing prisons.

I got back to the Commons in time for a tea with Sussex Enterprise, where I met local business leaders.  We discussed the need for better transport links in the South East, especially in view of proposals to downgrade our hospitals.

As I write I am in between back-to-back meetings in the Commons, and then I'm off to Oxford to lead the "no confidence in Her Majesty's Government" debate at the Union.  I won't be short of material.

On Friday I'll be attending the official opening of the new Pulborough Medical Centre before speaking to the South Downs Probus Club.  In the evening I'll be meeting my local Party executive committee in Steyning, and then on Saturday I'll be speaking at the rally for the Princess Royal Hospital at Haywards Heath (meet Clair Park, 9.30 am).

Michelle Taylor