Police Federation Conference
This week I have been in Blackpool for the Police Federation Conference. It's part of my frontbench duties to attend such events, which are important. But, setting aside the fact that I am heartily fed up with hotel rooms, long train journeys, horizontal rain by a grey sea and unhealthy cooked breakfasts, I have also had to miss some interesting debates and votes in the Commons.
I would like to have voted against the Government's costly and unnecessary new Home Information Packs, and for the motion to require Parliamentary approval before the country can go to war.
It would have been good to hear the Health Secretary climb down on the chaotic new application system for junior doctors, and I would certainly have voted against a renewed attempt this Friday to prevent the Freedom of Information Act applying to MPs, which I think is absolutely wrong.
I am anxious to learn whether post office closures will affect West Sussex, and I can't wait to ask Gordon Brown if his new-found commitment to listen to the public will mean that our hospitals will not be downgraded.
I've had letters from constituents about all of these issues, as well as policing. I wouldn't be surprised if local residents raise the issue of crime and antisocial behaviour when I attend a parish council meeting in Eastergate this evening.
Sussex Police are responding. Last week I met with the new Horsham District Commander, and I was impressed with his determination to address the issues of concern which I have raised, for instance antisocial behaviour in Storrington.
I will be back on the road and again discussing policing issues when I visit Harlow in Essex on Friday to meet local police commanders, before speaking at a dinner in the evening. And then, when I return home, I will have a week's work to look forward to!