In addition to the usual meetings and sittings this week, I was invited to attend meetings in the Palace of Westminster with and on the following inter alia: Racing and Bloodstock, Working Practices of the House, Reform of the House, the Bahraini Parliamentary delegation, the Leveson Inquiry, the Pancake Race, Universities, Aviation Noise, National Libraries, NHS Primary Care, Crime Figures, Broadband, Marine Pilots, Tamils, the Parliamentary Art Collection, Pro Bono Law, the Netherlands Ambassador, Islamic Finance, Ebacc, Diversity in the Working Place and Sexual Equality. There were invitations to think tank sessions on Britain and Europe, Marriage Week, Muslim Peace, Child Abuse and Legal Services. The one event I particularly regret not being able to attend was an invitation from Cumbrian MPs for Cumbria Day, which promised Cumbrian sausages, cheese, fudge, ales, gingerbread, pies and marmalade from that area. There just isn’t time.
The All Party Parliamentary Groups advertised their meetings for the week, which included sessions on Kosovo, Brazil, Rail in the North, Agroecology, Weight Watchers, Shooting and Conservation, Food and Health, Malaria, Mexico, the Constitution, Drug Policy, Classical Music, Fashion and Textile, Arts and Heritage, and the Commons and Lords Hockey Team, to name but a few. There were international parliamentary exchanges with delgations from and to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Sierra Leone, India, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. There is no shortage of opportunities to be informed.
The three I attended were the launch of Marriage Week, at which I spoke, Legal Services and Peace in the Middle East. One can do quite a lot of catching up on other events via the internet and of course everybody is tweeting from the meetings they go to. A deluge of information, not always reliable, and one needs to pick and choose.