If you have been watching the news recently you will surely have seen how busy things have been in London.
One of the most notable events in Westminster in the past two weeks was the NUS demonstration against the increase in English top up fees. Those who turned to violence were wrong to do so. As well as causing unnecessary damage to private buildings (not just Tory HQ) they distracted the public from the whole purpose of the well-organised demonstration. On the day I met with tens of students who came from Edinburgh University. Whilst Scottish students will not be directly affected by the increases unless they study in England, the changes will affect the funding to Scottish Universities. On the day I asked Nick Clegg about the increases during PMQs (see http://bit.ly/cnCoUn) and was later interviewed on Sky News.
Also that week I criticised plans to cut housing benefit. I asked why the Government was making blanket cuts to Housing Benefit in places like Edinburgh to solve a problem of very high rents which only applies in London. (see http://bit.ly/9Zcfg9).
Last week I spent a substantial amount of time debating the Fixed Term Parliaments Bill which will set the next UK General Election to be held on 7 May 2015, and every five years after this date. In the House of Commons I mentioned the difficulties that all devolved parties will face as they effectively are fighting two ‘General Elections’ in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Minister later told Parliament that he will be writing to devolved administrations for their input on the process with the possibility of the devolved elections taking place earlier or later than the General Election (see http://bit.ly/c28CcK). This movement in the Government’s position represents a small triumph that the nations are finally being considered, but we will have to await the results of any consultation. The Minister’s concession came at the very end of the debate and there was no time to ask questions about the details.