SDLP attendance record at Westminster…

In Daily Ireland Ciaran Barnes has Eddie McGrady pegged as the lowest attending MP, bar Sinn Fein’s abstaining group. They Work For You have McGrady at 636 out of 645 (just behind George Galloway and Tony Blair) and Gerry Adams (in the fourth safest seat in the UK) at 637. McGrady attended 12% of all debates, has spoken in 5 debates, and received 91 written answers since the General Election. McGrady beat Adams on expenses drawn too, but only just: £118,895 to £109,315.Barnes notes:

SDLP attendance rates come a poor second to those recorded by Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Ulster Unionist MPs. The DUP’s nine MPs took part in an average of 61 per cent of parliamentary votes, while the Ulster Unionist party’s sole Westminster representative, Sylvia Hermon, attended 48 per cent of votes. The SDLP’s average vote attendance figure of 23 per cent is the worst of any party at Westminster which takes its seats.

Jim Wells, the DUP’s defeated candidate in South Down:

“The people of South Down will be disappointed that Mr McGrady shows so little enthusiasm about representing them at Westminster. To be fair to him he is active on the ground at a constituency level, but when you are taking home a total salary of more than £100,000 per year, paid for by the public, you need to contribute more. Mr McGrady’s poor attendance rate is to the detriment of the people of this constituency, including those who elected him.

The SDLP’s line was:

As a united Ireland party our members do not go to Westminster to take part in British business. They go there to further the cause of devolved government in the North and advance the interests of our electorate. Comparisons with the attendance record of other MPs are a nonsense.

  • Pete Baker

    The sdlp’s defence would appear to be dependent on an analysis of the participation in debates.. which is available.. although the Daily Ireland don’t seem to be aware of it, for some reason..

    ANYway.. here’s the actual record

  • Shore Road Resident

    Loved the expression “of any party at Westminster which takes its seats”.

    ALL parties at Westminster take their seats – except Sinn Fein. But of course the Daily Provo could hardly have a poke at the Stoops if they had to qualify it with “of any party at Westminster except Sinn Fein.”

    Tragic. No wonder nobody’s buying it.

  • Gonzo

    Caitriona is a right laugh. No wonder the Shinners in South Down think she was sent in by Donaldson to screw things up for them.

    The rehabilitation of Ruane continues.

  • Dualta

    To look at the actual figures on TheyWorkForYou.com you would tend to think that Eddie is a bit of an old bulldog in parliamentary terms, rather than a miniature poodle.

    The man is even asking questions relating to trade justice, as opposed to trade liberalism in Africa. Fair play til ‘im.

  • Brian Boru

    It’s good to see the SDLP supposedly downgrading its involvement “over there”. If I was a Northerner I would feel deeply uncomfortable having to swear an Oath of loyalty as I am a constitutional republican – and all the more so considering the genocidal crimes Liz’s ancestors inflicted on most of the Irish people.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Is this all part of SF’s softening up process before they announce taking their seats at Westminister?

  • IOU

    I think so, Tochais, bizarre to say the least, SF going after the SDLP for not attending Parliament as if they are doing something wrong!

  • It’s interesting to note the analysis of the subject of Parliamentary Questions asked by Eddie:

    Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Strategy, NI Agenda for Change, NI Free Travel Scheme, NI Restoritive Justice Schemes, EHSSB, plus a range of African anti-poverty related questions.

    These are the issues which matter to the constituents of South Down- not what the price of a loaf of bread is in Finchley, or how the government plans to tackle crime in Toffborough-By-Thames.

    Is Daily Ireland suggesting that the SDLP should play a role in English affairs by attending all their debates? As an Irish party, this is not the SDLP’s intention, hence the fact that rather than waster time at irrelevant debates at Westminster, they focus on working on the ground.

    The SDLP attend Westminster to represent the needs of Irish nationalists, and indeed to get the best deal for all the people of the north. Instead of standing on the outside complaining, maybe SF should do the same. Or maybe the British government already does SF’s work for them in Parliament.

  • bigwhitedove

    It would appear to me that the pro SDLP bloggers on this one do not see the inherent contradiction in their party adopting a semi-abstentionist stance on the basis of their Irish Republican credentials and Tom Kellys’ OBE?MBE?KBE

  • BWD,

    Apart from an amazing display of irrelevant wahataboutery (the debate is about representation at Westminster, not the British honours system), your obsession with “OBE/MBE/KBEs” as you put it, is a little worrying. One would almost think you harbour a desire to be awarded one of your very own. I’m sure it can be arranged- after all, the British government haven’t exactly been behind the door when it comes to doing deals with the provisional movement 😉

    Perhaps it would go well on your mantlepiece alongside that famous picture of Denis Donaldson embracing Bobby Sands, and that framed print of the Weston Park side-deal which saw SF agree to state killers being let off the hook 😉

  • Sir Fat Timmy the walking Sunbed of West Belfast

    So maybe dear old eddie will be the next recipient of an OBE!!!!

    Strange the silence of the sdlp on this subject.

    Nationalist party…..as if!

  • Daugavas

    “These are the issues which matter to the constituents of South Down- not what the price of a loaf of bread is in Finchley, or how the government plans to tackle crime in Toffborough-By-Thames.”

    Maybe but crime and prices in England do have an impact on Northern Ireland as the costs of fighting crime are supported by tax payers in South Down and economic policies can result in more or less funds available for South Down. All of these are interlinked and to imply otherwise is rather naive. Furthermore some 30 odd % of his constituents are not Irish Nationalists and are surely deserving of representation or is the SDLP now going to take a policy of only representing those who voted for them?

  • Daugavas,

    “Maybe but crime and prices in England do have an impact on Northern Ireland as the costs of fighting crime are supported by tax payers in South Down and economic policies can result in more or less funds available for South Down”

    The north is allocating funding, which must be sub-divided to cover the cost of public services here. This not impacted upon by the cost of a loaf of bread in Finchley. As regard taxes, considering that the NI economy is being propped up by the British government (for every £2 generated from NI, £5 is spent) I don’t think it’s the tax payers of South Down who are supporting English constituencies, but vice versa.

    “30 odd % of his constituents are not Irish Nationalists and are surely deserving of representation”

    Eddie has an admirable record of representing, and working for, all his constituents, and gets a high level of cross-voting from Protestant people. The interests of unionists and nationalists alike are not best served by sitting through irrelevant debates in Parliament, but by speaking out at Westminster on issues specifically affecting the north when and by spending the rest of the time working on the ground to assist constituents’ needs.

  • bigwhitedove

    I know El Mat, I am just a thick crypto provie from West Belfast, I am glad you pointed out to me that there is no irony whatsoever in the SDLP using its Irish Republican credentials to justify its semi-abstentionist stance and British Instutions ( who is the head of those institutions?) and the British Honours system.

    “As a united Ireland party our members do not go to Westminster to take part in British business”

    As for opening remarks, I do believe this is first time I mentioned the honours system, so when you refer to “your obsession with “OBE/MBE/KBEs” ” is this not a case of man not ball or are you just lumping me in with everyone else who has the termerity to challnge the intellectual and political arrogance of the SDLP

  • Observer

    I don’t myself see on what basis the contributors above have chosen to attack Daily Ireland or Ruane.

    The paper is merely reporting the facts with appropriate quoting from McGrady’s two main political opponents in South Down — Ruane of Sinn Fein and Wells of the DUP.

    As for Ruane she doesn’t appear to be criticising McGrady for not attending Westminster. She instead points out that his attendance record bolsters Sinn Fein’s argument for not taking seats there.

  • Mick Fealty

    BWD: has a point. Try to stick to the point, and please don’t make assumptions about other posters. Deal with the post instead.

    Adds: Check out this guy: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/mike_wood/batley_and_spen

    On paper, he is way more diligent than Eddie, but he just seems to go through the lobby. He’s never spoken.

  • Tai

    Well, clearly a case of Sinn Fein saying;

    “Well, we might have been infiltrated by the Brits, but you take awards from them!”

    Onw wonders quite how Sinn Fein can justify claiming the expenses – robbing the British treasury, no doubt! 🙂

  • Daugavas

    “The north is allocating funding, which must be sub-divided to cover the cost of public services here. This not impacted upon by the cost of a loaf of bread in Finchley. As regard taxes, considering that the NI economy is being propped up by the British government (for every £2 generated from NI, £5 is spent) I don’t think it’s the tax payers of South Down who are supporting English constituencies, but vice versa.”

    ElMat, you’re totally missing the point. To take your earlier two examples the price of a loaf of bread in Finchley is relevant as higher prices affect the economy and can mean less tax revenues for the government which means less funds for NI. Ditto with crime levels in X-Upon-Thames. What goes on in Great Britain affects the overall tax take of the British Government and therefore impacts directly on the funds available for NI. So I’m sorry but the excuse that his laziness and lousy attendance record is to do with a principled stand for NI just doesn’t wash.

  • Crataegus

    Makes one wonder what is the point in any of them.

    Vote for SF and they don’t attend.

    Others go infrequently.

    Those that go more frequently are of no relevance (unless there is a hung government) as none belong to a potential party of government.

    Political fairy land. Any wonder politics here seems more to do with chanting mantras.