Friday, 15 May 2009

"Starter for 10" answers

Passing the Life in the UK test

How did you get on with the questions? Could you have passed the test to live permanently in the UK or apply for British Citizenship.
What is a quango? - a non-departmental body.
Why did the Huguenots come to Britain? - to avoid religious persecution.
How many days a year must schools be open? - 190.
In which year did married women get the right to divorce their husband? - 1857.
How many parliamentary constiuencies are there? - 646.
and how many senior MPs make up the cabinet? - 20.

Order! Order!

The Official Report [Hansard] House of Commons publication "Centenary volume 1909-2009:
An anthology of historic and memorable House of Commons speeches to celebrate the first 100 years"
makes an interesting read.
The Rt. Hon. Michael J. Martin (Speaker) says in his foreword that he thinks that it was Tony Benn who described Hansard as the “only uncensored newspaper in Britain”. It starts with a concise history of how Hansard came about and then goes on to famous speeches that have been chosen by various people.
There are a few gems from unfortunate mps that have managed to say the wrong thing, for example:-
“It took the trees some time to recover as they had been chopped down.”
“The number of firearms offences has shot through the roof.”
“I have the misfortune to represent more irradiated sheep than any other hon. Member.” (Chernobyl Nuclear disaster).

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Snouts in the trough, or legitimate expenses?

Extensive media coverage means we're all aware that MPs' "Claims must only be made for expenditure that it was necessary for a Member to incur to ensure that he or she could properly perform his or her parliamentary duties. Allowances are reimbursed only for the purpose of a Member carrying out his or her parliamentary duties".

However, public opinion on this matter means that certain MPs have not carefully considered the following:
"Members must ensure that claims do not give rise to, or give the appearance of giving rise to, an improper personal financial benefit to themselves or anyone else"

And they may have to be reminded that "Members are committed to openness about what expenditure has been incurred and for what purposes".

You can read all about it in The Green Book, or guide to MPs' expenses.