Even a road traffic-doubling tube strike failed to stop Welsh MPs making history this morning.
Only one Tory turned up and one hack was frustrated by the strike, but otherwise it was a near 100% turn-out. The first meeting of the Welsh Parliamentary Party for 14 years was a unique occasion. Members did not sit in party groups and dropped the formality of addressing members in the third person.
It was 'Ann' (Clwyd) who was elected Chair, with 'Mark' (Williams), and 'Elfyn' (LLwyd) vice chairs. There was widespread enthusiasm for the WPP's revival. Tory Jonathan Evans offered a thoughtful contribution but delayed accepting office as the third vice-chair.
The WPP will be the authentic voice of elected MPs because it represent all 40 Welsh MPs. The Welsh Affairs Committee is heavily Tory biased and the Welsh Grand can be called only at the whim of the Tory Secretary of State.
The speeches were authoritative, passionate and, at times, inspiring. The mood was constructive and friendly. This is a thoroughly beneficial initiative and the occasion was a quality parliamentary experience. I am delighted to continue as the WPP's secretary after 14 years of idleness.
'Liked what you said about Cameron's cameraman' a voice over my shoulder said, as I walked through the Commons voting Lobby last night at ten o'clock.
It was Ed Miliband. I'm still baffled on how he knew. I made the comments in answer to a call from the Mail at 5.00 oclock. They did not appear on the Mail's web version until after midnight. I have not had many conversations with Ed since since several papers have pointed out that I was the only MP to place him fifth (out of five) in my choice of Labour Leader. It was of no significance-intended or received. While I was reported accurately in the Mail today, I regret that the paper did not highlight wasting £35,000 on a vanity photographer while making 250 of my low paid constituents redundant to save buttons.
An answer to a PQ today confirmed the foolishness of this decision. Only a maximum of £2m a year will be saved by slashing the Newport Passport jobs. Redundancy costs will be £3.5 million , dole and other social security costs will be another £3 million. Spending £6 million to save £2 million is not sensible, especially with the past record of the Passport Service. They sacked workers in Glasgow two years ago, paid them redundancy and later re-employed them when they found their figures were wrong.
The unfair cull of Newport's jobs looks odder by the day.
Failed to get called today in PMQs to ask Cameron;
'Will UK policy be influenced by the election in the USA of representatives who eccentrically believe that the Afghan war can be solved by a military victory? Will you repeat your promise that British Combat forces will all be withdrawn from Afghanistan by 2015"
There is a hellish possibility that the maniacs in the Tea Party will destroy Obama's courageous policy to recognise the impossibility of military victory. Our troops could be dragged into further vain bloodshed with more bodybags arriving at the Wiltshire airport.
Driving down from London today I saw the huge aircraft, that brings the bodies home, flying over the M4.
There is a limit to what public opinion will accept.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Steve McCabe asked the PM: "How does he feel about prisoners voting for police commissioners?"