18 January 2007
I appear to have touched a few nerves over on Iain Dale's Diary (LibDem MP to Stand Down), where I suggested that if Matthew Taylor wanted to spend more time with his new family, he could have moved them to London rather than stepping down as an MP. I can't actually believe that anyone still uses that old chestnut and expects to be taken seriously.
Norfolk Blogger, in particular, said "Danvers, what a terribe [sic] attitude that you expect a constituency MP to move from his constituency." And an anonymous commentator told me to "get a life".
Honestly, I do not understand the objection to the idea that an MP should move his family to live in London so that they can all be together during the working week. If I am being so objectionable, what was the point of the reforms in the late nineties which made the Commons sitting hours more "family friendly"? I can see there is little point in Mrs MP (or Mr, for that matter) and the kiddies being in London if hubby (or wifey) is doing three all-night sittings each week, but if they are knocking off early every night, there is no reason they can't be home in time for bath and a story.
The location of one's home in relation to one's workplace is something that lots of people have to grapple with the whole time. Sure, some people do change jobs so that they can live somewhere pleasant, but probably not so often when they are a the top of their game or about to reach their long standing career goals.
Still, NB's use of the phrase "constituency MP" is the sort of meaningless tosh you might expect from a Libdem blogger (however entertaining and interesting he might be in other respects)... all Westminster MPs are, by definition, "constituency" MPs - since, thankfully we do not have some daft PR system which breaks that all important link. However, their job is to represent the constituency in Westminster and not vice versa. Having cut my political teeth in the West Country I feel an affinity to, and I still think the principals elucidated in 1774 by Edmund Burke in his speech to the electors of Bristol are correct.
Maybe I am bitter. Given I am still stuck in the Virgin Islands, having been waiting here all week to go on in front of the Court of Appeal, I think I would be able to spend more time with my family if I stood down from the legal profession and became an MP.