In practical terms, Westminster is by far the most stable job in Northern Irish politics. Councils are still waiting on the horse trading to finish over the RPA and who knows what’s to happen with the Assembly when the incumbents of semi detached polit-bureau (aka OFMdFM) have dealt with all their domestic row over policing and justice. But it is interesting to hear someone from inside the Ulster Unionist unambiguously lay out the absences of Northern Irish MPs from the bigger set pieces at the Palace of Westminster. This from his presser:
Taking the week ending Friday 4 December as an example, the Commons debated the Queens Speech, the Financial Services Bill, Fisheries, the Equality Bill, European Affairs, the Economy, Work and Pensions, Climate Change all of these applied to Northern Ireland. Out of a total of 11 debates that week 8 applied to Northern Ireland. Not one of our MPs was on the relevant bill committee relating to these bills.
This dismal picture of non-involvement by Northern Ireland Double Jobbing MPs is replicated across the select committees of the House of Commons. We have no Northern Ireland MPs on the Treasury Select Committee, the Public Accounts Committee, the Justice Committee, the Home Affairs Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, the European Scrutiny Committee, the Energy Committee, the Defence Committee, the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, the Armed Forces Bill Committee or the Reform of the House of Commons Committee. So none of them is playing any part in any of the key committees which all affect the lives of people in Northern Ireland.
Outside the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, on which only four Northern Ireland MPs sit out of a total membership of thirteen, only two double jobbing MPs serve on any committees Nigel Dodds serves on the Members Allowances Committee and on the Statutory Instruments Committee while Jeffrey Donaldson serves on the Transport Committee.
We have no Northern Ireland double jobbing MPs on the Treasury Select Committee, the Public Accounts Committee, the Justice Committee, the Home Affairs Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, the European Scrutiny Committee, the Energy Committee, the Defence Committee, the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, the Armed Forces Bill Committee, the Reform of the House of Commons Committee, the Reform of the House of Commons Committee. So none of the double jobbers are playing any part in any of these key committees which affect the lives of all our people.
As far as their claim to be able to run two or three jobs at once, I say once again just who do these people think they are kidding? In 2010 Northern Ireland needs new MPs who will do a proper job of work for their constituents and who will do only one job.
PS, has anyone briefed the Minister of Health?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty