Week 10 October – 16 October
Firstly, welcome to the first edition of Bernard Jenkin weekly, the follow up to James Heappey weekly. Here, every week, I will summarise Bernard Jenkin MP for Harwich and North Essex’s actions in Parliament. This will include contributions and speeches made in debates, written questions submitted, any select committee hearings, and, when possible, expenses data. So, let’s get started.
In a week when Unilever briefly said it wouldn’t be providing Tesco with stock, Republican nominee for President of the United States Donald Trump was accused of sexual assault by several women, and the SNP held their party conference, what did Bernard Jenkin do?
Speeches and written questions
Bernard Jenkin spoke many times in Parliament this week, especially on the debates regarding Britain’s exit from the European Union.
His first contribution of the week came on Monday 10 October when he asked a question to the Brexit Secretary, David Davis. He wanted to make clear to Mr Davis and the rest of the House that leaving the EU meant leaving the single market and that the leave campaign had been clear on that from the start, “May I point out, as a director of Vote Leave, that it was made clear in our campaign that leaving the EU meant leaving the single market.”
Mr Jenkin also expressed his confusion at the way he sees the Remain campaign’s argument about single market membership now, “Is it not ironic that the remain campaign spent a lot of time telling us, “Oh, if you leave the EU you will have to leave the EU internal market.” Now they are all saying that there must be a way of leaving the EU and staying in the single market, even though all the EU leaders say that that is not possible.”
His next contribution in parliament came on Wednesday 12 October when he made an intervention to Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary. He wanted to know how Mr Starmer would vote if their was a vote in the House on invoking article 50, “This is the question that he has to answer: suppose there was a vote in this House; how would he vote? Would he vote against article 50 invocation, or in favour?”
Later in the debate he intervened while Stephen Gethins, an SNP MP, was speaking. The MP for Harwich and North Essex spoke of how Parliament and the Devolved Assemblies need to work together to answer questions about Brexit. He pointed to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which he chairs, and an earlier visit he had made to Scotland.
“I have already visited the Scottish Parliament with my Committee to that end, and am offering to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament on those questions and how we should address them. I hope that the dialogue he wants will be in that spirit of co-operation.”
His final contribution of the week came in the same debate when he made a point to fellow Conservative MP John Redwood about how article 50 was included in the Lisbon treaty to make it less complicated to leave the EU, “Is it not also incumbent on the Government to be mindful that article 50 was not put into the Lisbon treaty to make it less complicated to leave the European Union? If we try to include too many things under article 50 that stray into mixed competences, we will finish up with an agreement that requires unanimity?”
He added that in his view it could be beneficial for withdrawal from the EU to be done in less than the two years stated under article 50, “In fact, it would be an advantage to business if we could complete this in a much shorter period than the two years specified under the article 50 process.”
Bernard Jenkin has not submitted any written questions so far in this Parliamentary session.
Mr Jenkin voted four times this week, including three times on the Wales Bill.
On 12 September he voted on the issues relating to the Wales Bill. He voted: against a proposed amendment that would establish two distinct legal jurisdictions of England and Wales; against a proposed clause that would remove restrictions on certain public sector bodies bidding to operate a rail franchise that is made up of or includes rail services within Wales; and against a proposed clause that would make air passenger duty a devolved tax in Wales.
On 14 September the MP for Harwich and North Essex voted once on a piece of business that came without a debate. He voted: for approving the draft West Midlands Combined Authority (Election of Mayor) Order 2016.
Mr Jenkin way loyal to his party and voted with the majority on all four votes.
Bernard Jenkin sits on three House of Commons Committees. He chairs the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee as well as sitting on both the Liaison Committee and the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission.
None of the committees carried out any oral evidence sessions this week.
Bernard Jenkin’s expenses records going back to 2010 are accessible on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority website. Here I will only present the most recent data published by the IPSA, expenses for April and May of this financial year.
In April, Bernard Jenkin made 25 expenses claims, totaling £3,072.55. The data published says he did not make any expenses claims during May.
His largest claim during April was for £2,671.00 to pay for a PRU (Policy Research Unit) subscription, a scheme only open to Conservative MPs that lets them share researchers and save money as a result.
Most of his other claims were small claims to pay for travel costs within his own car. The lowest of these claims was for £0.32 to pay for a 0.7 mile journey within his own constituency.
All of Mr Jenkin’s claims were paid in full and none have had to be repaid to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.