All rather depressing, really….

Ahead of the local elections you might have thought that politicians might want to improve the image of their craft. So how did it turn out? Pauline Gaunt OBE, reports in ITT Hub’s unique industry summary

THIS MONTH IN PARLIAMENT – APRIL 2022

Parliament has had a pretty short April.  The Commons broke up for Easter at the end of March and returned on 19 April, managing to squeeze in 7 working days before the Prorogation, marking the end of the current Parliamentary Session.  Their Lordships fared rather better, not rising for Easter until the first week of April. 

But oh what a month!   The worrying situation in Ukraine has clearly been on people’s minds but that aside, the reputation of Parliament has suffered a serious drubbing. 

The motion to refer the Prime Minister to the Committee of Privileges as various politicians and civil servants received Fixed Penalty Notices for contravening the covid rules about “gatherings” was bad enough. 

Then there were media reports concerning Deputy Labour Leader, Angela Rayner and alleged body language in the Chamber. 

And, most recently Conservative MP Neil Parish (pictured) has resigned after a “moment of madness” having admitted to watching porn during a House of Commons debate. 

All of these events are, well, depressing.  More than one political correspondent has described the whole sorry affair of exactly that.  Depressing.

Parliament next meets on 10 May for the State Opening.  Always a fabulous show of pageantry.  I believe that Her Majesty will not be doing the honours this year and who can blame her. 

Apart from the physical effort required, tough enough for anyone let alone someone of 96, she will be aware of recent events and goings on among her Government and MPs and must also feel exasperated with the lot of them!   So I think she is wise to leave the job to Prince Charles, and stay at home with her feet up watching Homes Under the Hammer!

In the Chambers

At Prime Minister’s Questions on 20 April Neil Hudson highlighted the challenges facing people in Penrith and the Border in being able to access public transport, and sought reassurance that rural bus services would benefit from future bus funding schemes: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-04-20/debates/4916A7FC-1100-4E39-8D25-A9325E807669/Engagements

In Westminster Hall on 27 April, Alexander Stafford held a debate to discuss the merits of a public transport authority for South Yorkshire. It was suggested that Transport for South Yorkshire should deliver an integrated, high capacity bus network with affordable fares, and be operated by the Authority as was the case in London.  Greater Manchester was held as a beacon for what could be achieved.  MPs were disappointed that the Government had not supported South Yorkshire’s detailed and ambitious plans. https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-04-27/debates/0E80C8EC-8396-451F-8276-669A4B147054/PublicTransportAuthorityForSouthYorkshire

At the end of business on Thursday 28 April Parliament was Prorogued.  This means that the current Parliamentary Session comes to an end.  It is far less formal than that State Opening, which will take place on 10 May, but a Speech is prepared detailing what Her Majesty’s Government has achieved during the Session.  You can read the speech here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2022-04-28/debates/3D83158B-F9BD-4CB5-AEAD-4B81274170DF/ProrogationHerMajestySSpeech

Committee Corridor

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee held one of its regular sessions with Secretary of State, Grant Shapps, to question him on the work of the Department. During the session he was questioned about continuing funding support for local bus services, zero emission and hydrogen vehicles, and HGV driver shortages.  The full transcript is available here: https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/10158/pdf/

On paper

Among the many dozens of written answers published each day, the following may be of interest:

Dan Jarvis asked about the criteria used to allocate funding under the Zero Emission Bus Regional Area scheme: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2022-03-29/149270

Rachael Maskell asked about progress with AV regulations for buses: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2022-03-30/150221

Dave Doogan asked about the impact of delays to HGV drivers from Scotland carrying perishable goods: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2022-04-14/154394

John Spellar asked about new bus and coach registrations: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2022-04-20/156376

Daisy Cooper asked about facilities for HGV drivers: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2022-04-14/154415

Elsewhere

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