It is unusual for an MP to “catch the Speaker?s eye? more than once a week. So Peter Lilley may have broken a record by catching his eye eight times in four days.
He has spoken in three major debates – on drugs, pensions and football disorder – and made five other interventions since Friday.
Drugs: He made the major backbench speech on the Government?s drugs policy ? arguing that only if we legalised cannabis could we devote all our resources to tackling the real problem of hard drugs.
Pensions Tax: Peter Lilley asked the Pensions Minister: “What proportion of the ?5 billion a year taken out of pension funds by the worst of all the Government?s stealth taxes is handed back to pensioners in the benefits that the Minister has been claiming are so generous??
State of Emergency: He raised a point of order about the Home Secretary?s failure to announce the introduction of emergency legislation to the House of Commons. Mr. Lilley led MPs in complaining that the details of important new anti-terrorist measures were instead leaked to the press over the weekend.
Labour gags criticism of nurse shortages at Hemel: He asked the Speaker to stop Labour whips suppressing debate on embarrassing issues ? notably nursing shortages like that which has led to the closure of Hemel?s Maternity and children?s units. By stopping docile Labour backbenchers from asking questions on these issues they effectively prevent Conservatives from doing so because the Speaker matches the number of speakers from each party.
Stakeholder Pensions: Peter Lilley expressed disappointment that stakeholder pensions had so far failed to attract their target savers and said the Government would be forced to make them compulsory. He also intervened on both pensions ministers on other issues.
Football disorder: Peter Lilley opposed the Football (Disorder) Bill 2000 because it contains several provisions which offend our long tradition of legal liberties. Peter Lilley said:
“I pointed out to the Home Office Minister that giving authorities the power to deprive British citizens of their right to travel and attend football matches abroad, even though they may not have been convicted of an offence, sets a dangerous precedent. Such measures, however well-intentioned, should not be on the statute book at all.?