Week 11 April – 17 April 2016
The parliamentary Easter recess has, at long last, come to an end. So in a week where several prominent politicians published their tax returns, Vote Leave was designated the official campaign for leaving the EU, and Jeremy Corbyn made a reluctant pro-EU speech, what did James Heappey do?
Speeches and written questions
James Heappey hasn’t made a speech in Parliament since 8 March. Nor has he submitted any written questions. Nothing to see here, move along.
This week James Heappey voted once on 11 April and four times on 13 April. On 11 April Mr Heappey voted: for a second reading of the Finance Bill. On 13 April he voted: against a motion put forward by John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, that the government, among other things, launch a public inquiry into the Panama Papers and commit more resources to HMRC; for amending an Opposition motion that ‘called on the Government to put on hold its plans’ to expand school accademisation to one that ‘welcomes the commitment to achieve educational excellence everywhere’; and for approving the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2016.
Energy and Climate Change Committee
On 12 April the committee met to hear evidence relating to their inquiry on low carbon network infrastructure. James Heappey asked 18 questions during the session. Among his questions were several to Maxine Frerk, Acting Senior Partner at the Networks department of Ofgem, about the potential for the government to set up an independent system operator – a replacement for the National Grid. Mr Heappey asked “If the Government were to create an independent system operator, would it be best for this to be directly under DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change) control, or would you want to control it, or should it be an entirely separate public entity?” Ms Frerk replied that “if there were an ISO, we would expect it to be a licensed entity that we regulated in the same way as we regulate Grid.” The MP for Wells, unsatisfied with the answer, pushed for clarification on whether an ISO would be a completely stand alone entity. Mr Frerk stated that “if we were in the ISO world, to us that means we would want it to be independent of Government as well”, she added “It would just be separate from Grid rather than part of the Grid organisations.”
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has still yet to publish any expenses data later that November 2015. The IPSA website says that they will publish data for MPs’ expenses for December 2015 and January 2016 at some point in May.