Text Only Version Last Update: Press Releases (22 May 2023)
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Empty - but not the rhetoric
Graham Dines, East Anglian daily Times, 20 September 2023
SURROUNDED by row upon row of empty green benches, Bury St Edmunds Conservative MP David Ruffley last Thursday gamely battled through a speech in the Commons denouncing planning laws in relations to travellers' sites.
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What a ridiculous image it looked on television. Mr Ruffley, who had been granted an adjournment debate by the Speaker, got to his feet at 5.32pm, when most MPs had cleared off for a long week-end indeed around 650 of the 659 were absent from the chamber to debate what, after all, is a issue of vital concern to many areas of Britain.
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Coming the day after protestors had invaded a sparsely attended session devoted to hunting and coursing which are supposed to be the most pressing issues facing MPs it's easy to see why the public holds Parliament and politicians in such low esteem.
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While not every MP should, or even could, attend every waking hour in the Commons chamber, television pictures of debates taking place in an empty room cause the average citizen to shake their heads in disbelief.
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That aside, Mr Ruffley was pleased with the Government and Labour MPs for taking seriously his constituents' concerns over the sensitive subject of the travellers camp in Elmswell and Woolpit. "There was genuine support for the difficulties being encountered."
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