Friday 18 September 2009

A very British farce

"I could’ve been absolutely stark naked and no-one would have said anything, but if you’re not wearing a jacket everything stops,” said Alan Simpson about the bizarre events of the East Midlands Grand Committee.

The Mail on Sunday noted how the MP almost got chucked out of the committee because he wasn’t wearing a jacket.

When he was told to put a jacket on he apparently mouthed to the chair that he didn’t have one, adding that the meeting would have to end if he left.

Under regulations you need at least 15 MPs for the committees to commence and there were only 15 present, including Simpson (pictured without jacket).

“Even if the world was going to come to an end, if it was World War Three, then the only thing that would have been raised at that point was the fact that I wasn’t wearing a jacket. It was a very British farce.”

That aside, the story reveals the utter pointlessness of these ‘Grand’ committees. Every MP in a region, that’s 40 odd in the East Midlands, has the right to sit on them yet they have trouble getting 15 to attend.

They have no powers to call witnesses, to carry out inquiries, write reports or make recommendations.

As Simpson deftly puts it: “If the meeting were cancelled because of the jacket, it would have meant we couldn’t have decided all the things that we had no rights to decide.”

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