TIM LOUGHTON: Find out how Parliament works

Tim Loughton

Tim Loughton

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I write this column at the beginning of the week just as President Trump has come up with his latest extraordinary, unsustainable and counter-productive executive order on refugees, sparking mass demonstrations in Westminster and around the globe.

By the time you read it goodness knows what other policies he will have come up with.

Tim Loughton and Sir Peter Bottomley with Marianne Griffith

Tim Loughton and Sir Peter Bottomley with Marianne Griffith

This week we started the process of debating the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill which will authorise the Government simply to trigger Article 50, starting the process of the UK leaving the EU as required by the Supreme Court.

This is a simple Bill and is nothing to do with the detail of exactly what our post-Brexit relationship with the EU will look like, which will of course require further legislation and plenty more Parliamentary debate.

Despite it having just two clauses the Bill has given rise to scores of amendments by opposition MPs determined to frustrate the referendum result and we face several days of late-night sittings.

I have updated my website with my latest take on Brexit post the Supreme Court decision as I have done with other topical issues.

I also took the opportunity to add a new chapter to the ‘How Parliament Works’ section of my website to explain how MPs tend to respond to the many mass emailings we receive from lobby groups via constituents and which I am afraid have much less impact than personal communications.

Alternatively I have also detailed how the system of petitioning Parliament for a debate on a topical subject works as well as why it is not necessarily the best use of an MPs time to attend every single adjournment debate in the Commons.

The latter came about after a lot of manufactured indignation on social media that Lewes MP Maria Caulfield’s adjournment debate on Southern Rail had not been attended by any other Sussex MPs.

Given that it was an half-hour debate specifically for one backbencher and the Minister to respond, on a Friday when most of us need to spend a full day in our constituencies and this is something we have debated until the cows come home already, there was never any expectation that any of us would be there. But hey ho!

On Friday Sir Peter Bottomley and I were at Worthing Hospital again to meet liver specialists to see at first-hand the costs of cheap alcohol and we also took the opportunity to catch up with the NHS chief executive of the year Marianne Griffith and see her well-deserved trophy.

I will be writing further about the New Monks Farm development proposals in Lancing, where I have serious concerns, and would urge all constituents to attend the exhibitions, ask questions and make their views known.

• If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at loughtont@parliament.uk

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