Wednesday. Tube to Golders Green for a 9.00 a.m. talk to talk to Y11 students at King Alfred School on the role of the House of Lords. Back to the Lords in time for the Constitution Committee: we take evidence from a very distinguished academic lawyer, Professor David Feldman, as part of our inquiry into the surveillance society. Quick lunch and then to a reception to mark the creation of the Joint Department known as PICT (Parliamentary Information and Communications Technology): there has been no provision for such a joint department between the two Houses – we had to pass an Act of Parliament to set it up. I attend the weekly meeting of the Association of Conservative Peers and then have a meeting of Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions) of the European Union Committee. We deal with various scrutiny items. I go straight from the committee to a meeting in the Lords Speaker’s room to view some videos being prepared as part of the Lord Speaker’s outreach programme. I go from that to a seminar I chair of my students who are on placement in the House of Commons (as part of a four year degree we run at Hull University): our speakers are two graduates from the programme, Chris Walden of the Association of Colleges and Angela Smith-Hughes of the City of London Corporation. I then have a light dinner in the Bishop’s Bar (one of the restaurants in the Lords) before spending the evening working on a speech for tomorrow. The chamber is considering the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill and during the evening I take part in three votes, the last one at 9.50. The House rises at 10.00 p.m. I work on my speech until 10.30 and then head back to my flat.
Thursday. Into the Lords by 8.20 a.m. Get on with paperwork, have breakfast in the Lords River Restaurant (the food is inexpensive – the cost £2.05) and then have a meeting with someone who works in the Executive Office of the President in the USA: he prepares briefings on legislation for the White House. I meet students who are applying to study politics at Hull. Over lunch, I have unprompted meetings with various colleagues. After lunch, I have a meeting with other students applying to study at Hull. I go into the chamber at 4.40, in time for a debate on a report from the Select Committee on Regulators. (I served on the committee.) I speak in the debate, stressing the need for a permanent parliamentary committee to keep the regulatory state under review. All three front-bench speakers, including the minister (who goes beyond her brief), express support for the proposal. The debate finishes shortly after 6.30 and the House rises for the Easter recess. I shall be catching the 8.27 p.m. train to Hull: an opportunity to get on with almost three hours’ work.