Meanwhile, here is this week's House Points column from Liberal Democrat News.
The Queen's Speech
They’ve gone again. Only four weeks after the end of the summer recess, the Commons had a break before this week’s State Opening. Some observers seethed about MPs’ long holidays; cynical old hands reasoned that at least it limits the damage they could do.
But the real problem is that, however long they spend at Westminster, there is little MPs can do to hold the government to account. And few with only a few months left until the election, there is little the government can do either.
Which is why Nick Clegg was right to call for the inevitably electioneering Queen’s Speech to be abandoned (David Cameron forecast it would be “shameless”, which conjoured up an unwelcome vision of Frank Gallagher on the throne) and the remaining time to be devoted to some reform of the Commons itself.
If you doubt that reform is needed, listen to the Labour MP Kevin Barron speaking in a health debate in Westminster Hall last week:
Members of Parliament are sent to the House because our constituents want a representative of the state. That is the whole point of the exercise and why we are sent to Westminster, whether we are in government or opposition ... We are the state's representative in our constituencies.You could say that he was just being a socialist, but MPs of all parties have to be careful not to fall into this trap. They must always remember that they are not at Westminster to speak for the government or their party: they are there to represent the electors who sent them there.
Which is why I have some sympathy for the Norfolk Tories – the very term “Turnip Taliban” is redolent of metropolitan contempt for the provinces – who felt Liz Truss had been wished upon them by Conservative Central Office and that they had been told less than the full truth about her.
Imagine their chagrin when they discovered she had conducted an affair with a married Tory MP and –worse – was a former Liberal Democrat who used to write rude articles about the Royal Family.
And if that identifies me as the East Midlands equivalent of the Turnip Taliban – a Pork Pie Poujadist or a member of the Stilton Stasi – then so be it.