Attending a reception yesterday in the House of Commons to launch the report 'Every Disabled Child Matters' the lobby was full of media correspondents eagerly awaiting the result of the Speaker ballot. Alan Wheatley, the Green Party's National Disability Spokesperson, and I were in the company of various MPs, including the Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson, Norman Lamb and the Conservative Spokesperson on Health, Ann Milton, along with the Minister with responsibility for disabled children.
I was joined by Jeremy Corbyn MP, whom I know from Stop the War Coalition. As we were discussing the interim results of the latest round in the Speaker ballot - and he was predicting that Bercow would win - he suddenly drew my attention to a large mouse running along the floor of the Members Dining Room, right beside Alan's foot. "Very ecological" he commented. I suggested that they should have some parliamentary cats to carry out effective ecological vermin control but also to join the other fat cats languishing on the parliamentary benches. Jeremy agreed and said that MPs had now overtaken bankers in the unpopularity stakes. I can always offer my own feline friend to the parliamentary authorities on a hourly basis, but it would need to be listed in the expenses register.