Lyn Brown

Member of Parliament for West Ham

Drama Came From Nowhere - June 2011

Sometimes, in Parliament, an eagerly anticipated debate produces drama, seemingly from nowhere.

So it was last week.

On Wednesday, it was Ed Balls versus George Osborne.  The atmosphere was electric.  The Labour benches were packed.

We wanted Ed to hold the Government to account.  He did, battering away the thin, puerile arguments of Government front- and back-benchers, with his deep and unrivalled understanding of the economy.

He attacked Government policies that produce both negligible growth and higher unemployment, arguing instead for a VAT cut to stimulate the economy, boost flagging retail sales and create jobs.  He demanded a much-needed U turn.

It was a traditional Commons tub-thumper, a tour-de-force:  complete mastery of both Chamber and subject.

On Thursday, it was Mark Pritchard, a Conservative MP.  He proposed ending the use of wild animals in circuses.  It’s a cause many of you had asked me to continue supporting.

Mark’s politics and my own are very different, but we get on.  I like him.  We share a sense of humour and working-class origins.

He denounced the PM and his Whips, who tried to bribe and bully him.  Mark said, “I may be a council house lad with a poor background, but that background gives me a backbone.  I will not be bullied…”

The Chamber was thunderstruck.  His speech was passionate, effective and highly personal.

The Government realised it would lose the vote, so conceded.

Two days:  two scintillating debates

Will this arrogant Government do the much-needed U turn to save the economy?

Will it agree to the small, emotive and now totemic issue, banning wild animals in circuses?

Two issues, one problem:  an arrogant, chaotic Government, out of touch with real people and even their own back-benchers.

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