- Category: Weekly Column
It’s been an eventful couple of weeks since Easter. Here’s a flavour of it:
Monday 11/4: Up to London extra early to give a friend some media training before a Newsnight interview on Brexit. He is passionately pro-EU, and needs all the help he can get. Who better to provide it than an arch-Brexiteer like me? Then onto a normal busy day in Parliament.
Tuesday 12/4: APPG for Armed Forces Breakfast with RAF to hear about new jets for our Aircraft Carriers, 2 hours briefing on Russia’s military aims and methods, and a (teetotal) dinner with The Ambassador for Pakistan. Get lost on the way to and from his Residence in Hampstead.
Wednesday 13/4: Discussions on Syria, then a strange PMQ, where Jeremy Corbyn once again misses the goals lying open for him. Tea with an old American friend, then two friends (and constituents) up for their wedding present dinner in the Commons.
Thursday 14/4: Meetings with a constituent on tax matters, and interview with House Magazine, then it’s off to Oxford for the Tory party AwayDay. PM Comments that I am only MP still wearing a tie, so I lose it pretty quickly.
Friday 15/4: Breakfast with Schools Minister Nick Gibb persuades me to change my stance on compulsory Academisation of schools; a brief visit to my publishers to pick up 500 (!) copies of my book about warfare of which they can sell no more. (3500 was not a bad total, though.) Let me know if you (or 500 friends) would like one. Speak at an excellent EU Referendum debate in Seagry Village Hall. 150 people there, and all very well organised and unusually civilised for a Brexit event.
Saturday 16/4: Busy surgeries in Malmesbury and Royal Wootton Bassett.
Monday 18/4: Lunch with Parliamentarians from Nepal, then Defence Questions in the Commons, a meeting about military deaths in training, then chair a huge and very controversial meeting entitled “Is Russia preparing for war in the Arctic?” Causes a bit of a stir amongst the Russian diplomatic community. Dinner with the speakers including High Sheriff David, who is just back from flying a balloon over the North Pole. (The first Brit ever to do so.)
Tuesday 19/4: Tour of Parliament for soldiers from Lyneham, and a meeting with a Bassett school teacher. Lunch with the Icelandic Ambassador, and speak at a seminar at Royal College of Defence Studies.
Wednesday 20/4: Breakfast with Assistant Chief of Naval Staff, then most of the day preparing for and leading a debate on the use of vellum for recording acts of Parliament - a long-running campaign of mine.
Today: We have a debate marking the Queen’s 90th birthday, after which I will sneak off early and get back to Wiltshire to speak on Friday at two local schools, take part in a debate with Chippenham Scouts and attend a dinner at Bowood with an MEP.
Loads of activity. Let’s hope at least some of it brings some influence for the good.