Let's move the Commons to Birmingham! - Worcester News

I've often said how nice it would be if Parliament moved from London to Birmingham. Well, this week, I've been getting a taste for what it might be like as my Party conference came to Birmingham.
These conferences are a bit of a mystery to people who've never been they only hear about some of the big platform speeches in the main hall, and perhaps one or two of the more controversial meetings on the so-called fringe. The outstanding contribution of the Pershore blacksmith, Steve Cooper, was a real highlight of the first day.

We really value the opportunity to meet colleagues from all around the country who share our political views and talk about the state of the nation and what we think should be done to improve things.

Many businesses and lobby groups come to bend our ears too. I took the opportunity to bend theirs. I talked to the CrossCountry train operator about Worcestershire Parkway (and was encouraged by what they told me) and to Network Rail about the redoubling of the Cotswold Line (which should be confirmed later this month).

On the subject of public transport, the local row over the funding of free bus travel for pensioners shows just how badly Gordon Brown's love of gimmicks can backfire. Wychavon probably got broadly enough to cover the costs, but of course, because many of its villages don't have bus services at all, it also pays the costs of other schemes to help pensioners with taxis and minibuses. The government hopelessly underestimated the cash Worcester City would need, though, just as I always feared, with the most serious consequences.

The week has been overshadowed by the tumultuous events in world financial markets. I sincerely believe that our country would have been better prepared to deal with them if Gordon Brown, as Chancellor, had put in place more effective regulation of the banks, and if he hadn't taxed and spent so freely and if Gordon Brown, as Prime Minister, had moved more decisively to deal with the problems at Northern Rock.

These issues will be at the heart of the next election which I believe needs to come soon for the sake of the country. In Birmingham this week you have seen the battle lines for that election being firmly drawn. And I have realised just how good it would be to be able to live at home in Worcestershire and commute to Parliament every day - let's move the Commons to Birmingham!

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