The tragic news of the sudden death of David Taylor MP for North West
He showed no signs of illness in the meal that I, and half a dozen of his closest friends, had with him on the last day of the parliamentary session a fortnight ago. He was in good spirits and, as always, he had asked sharp questions in the Commons Chamber on Monday and Tuesday afternoons (See below).
In my forthcoming book, I have an item on Parliamentary Icons and Knaves. David was one of the most accomplished parliamentary icons and a great friend.
David described himself as a traditional mushy-peas rather than an avocado Labourite.
A David Taylor vote is the only way of registering an abstention. There are issues where the advantages and disadvantages are evenly balanced. In these situations David voted in both the No and the Aye lobbies. It can be difficult to explain to voters but it makes good sense, until Parliament come up with another way to register an abstention.
He scored highly in the value for money league table of those who MPs work the hardest for the lowest unit cost. He came equal 7th out of 592. He spent 154,277 in 2007/8 (75% of which on staff and office) during which time he had an attendance rate in the House of 87%, spoke in 225 debates and tabled 197 written questions..
David Taylor was tireless, ever present in the chamber with a gift for words and an indefatigable campaigner. He was splendidly independent. He fearlessly flaunted alliteration, 'Will you say what protections, for instance, the Manchester City supporters have against the attentions of the unsavoury Thaksin Shinawatra or is it forever the fate of football fans to be fleeced by flaky foreign financiers?'
David used his impressive accountancy skills to create a practical alternative to the shaming 10p tax cock-up. He was the MPs' MP. In 2007 he won the award of the Backbencher of the Year. He was an undiscovered Commons polymath and a unique parliamentary treasure.
Parliament is bereaved.
David was parliament's most prolific and skilled questioner. The oral questions he asked in what was his final three days of parliament illustrate his command of his craft and his breadth of interests.
David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire) (Lab/Co-op): Last month, a black rock band from Brixton who were playing at The Oak public house in Burntwood, Staffordshire, were wrongfully arrested after their gig-vehicles, dogs and a helicopter were used-because of a false alarm with good intent. The chief constable of Staffordshire rightly withdrew their DNA samples because no offence had been committed. Is the Minister happy with the Association of Chief Police Officers' guidelines, and is he confident that other police officers in other circumstances would be able to respond as rapidly and rightly as the chief constable did in that case?
David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire) (Lab/Co-op): The number of procedures under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 continues to rise, with 4 million sentient beings the target that we see each year. Is the Home Secretary happy with the effectiveness of the legislation? The policy of reduction, refinement and replacement is clearly not working. What alternatives might there be?
David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire) (Lab/Co-op): Earlier this year, the Chancellor was thinking aloud about the potential of an independent macro-prudential early warning system linking the Bank of England to European central banks, and a single micro-prudential rule-making body. Can the Minister say what the state of play is in terms of those developments?
David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire) (Lab/Co-op): Despite the cheaper pound and rising house prices, stalled industrial output is still holding the economy back. Will the Chancellor tell the House what progress has been made on his plan to diversify the economy away from the financial services sector?
David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire) (Lab/Co-op): The counties of Rutland and Leicestershire will be alarmed at the proposed closure of RAF Cottesmore, which is, inter alia, a significant contributor to the local economy. Will the Secretary of State, as a well-regarded trade unionist in a former life, indicate to the House what plans he has to consult the local work force and, indeed, the wider local community about the impact of this suggested closure?
David Taylor: I thank my right hon. Friend, as I shall call him, for giving way. He has been an excellent Chair of the EFRA Committee. Like him, I am standing down at the election and the last few years on his Committee have been very rewarding indeed. Does he recall the visit that the Committee paid to Lyons to look at the integrated approach taken there to flood prevention and management? Is he concerned that one possible flaw in this welcome Bill is that the local authorities that will take on a great deal of the local responsibility for these matters will have inadequate resources, skills or knowledge to be able to do so effectively?
David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire) (Lab/Co-op): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. Many newspapers, having seen the disillusion, distaste and disgust with MPs among the wider electorate, have suggested a substantial trimming in the number of Members. There may be something in that, but it can be done only in parallel with a substantial extension and improvement of services such as citizens advice and community law services, as they will be needed to pick up the casework. Four hundred Members simply could not handle the work load that we are experiencing now. We have to find some way to satisfactorily transfer that work.
David Taylor: While I welcome the new "Safer Ageing" strategy, is it not the case that the recent spate of burglaries and attacks on older people in Northern Ireland has had a devastating impact on the individuals affected, and will it not in turn have created a deeper fear of crime across the older population? What practical measures are there in the new plan to reduce that corrosive level of fear.David Taylor (North West Leicestershire, Labour)I am listening very carefully to what the Minister has to say. Does he agree that the bigger polyclinics that are envisaged-where a patient may go and, in a sense, be allocated at random a doctor from a very large panel-will make it very difficult indeed to build a relationship of the type that has been the foundation of our health service since 1948, which is that between a patient and a family doctor?
David Taylor (conclusion of speech on GP Practices) By 2018, when the NHS reaches its biblical span of three score years and 10, we shall have seen GPs metamorphose from the avuncular community leaders of "Dr. Finlay's Casebook" to profit-generating assets in a Dr. Foster's cost centre. The NHS was not created to serve a minority who shout loud enough to see a doctor whenever they want, wherever they are. This proposal is designed to satisfy the few, not the many. To abolish practice boundaries is to hasten the demise of the family doctor.