5 June 2010

I’ve looked at the early day motions (EDM) of the present new parliament. Basically, these motions are not for debate in parliament but express MPs’ views on current issues.

Andrew George, Libdem MP for St Ives, has signed eighty seven; the other five MPs for Cornwall constituencies have signed none but it is early days in this parliament so nothing should be read into this absence of signing.

What is very interesting is not the absence of signatures but that among the EDM that George signed in May and June are these:

EDM 4 which calls for the minimum wage to be paid to support workers who provide overnight support to vulnerable adults and who presently can be paid below the minimum wage.

EDM 35 which calls for more money for adaptations to homes for disabled people as the present funds are insufficient for the demand

EDM 37 which calls on the Tory Libdem government to retain the disability attendance allowance and the disability living allowance

EDM 62 and 61 which acknowledge reports on poverty in Britain and call on the Tory Libdem government “to pursue policies to eradicate poverty and promote equality”

EDM 84 which calls for the release of the two homosexuals imprisoned in Malawi and calls for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Malawi.

George is very commendably supporting (small-l) liberal motions which taken together show a pattern of serious concern for practical social justice. I think these motions show that he is socially liberal not conservative; and there are left rather than neoliberal rightwing economics in there.

The other EDM he has signed include forced marriages, butterflies, dragonflies, our armed forces, diabetes, and Gaza and Israel. It is catholic and meritorious range of views which I would largely support with varying enthusiasms (and no enthusiasm at all for EDM 124 on Israel).

I don’t know whether anyone in the government takes serious notice of EDM; I doubt it. The local media do not seem to report them and there is no direct link to them that I can see on the websites of Cornwall MPs (I haven’t looked at any others).

MPs’ websites tend naturally to be about their positive involvement in local issues. They usually lack a link to Commons debates which give a fuller picture. Here is a link to an MP’s part in parliamentary debates. You can ask for an email to be sent to you every time he or she or they speak. It’s a free service.

And here again is the link to early day motions. You can click through to an MP’s name.