There are times when the workings of an institution such as the House of Commons must baffle voters and one of those such moments happened at the very beginning of business in 2016.
It centred around the first stage of debate on a Housing and Planning Bill – a part of our law-making process which rarely makes the headlines. What made this unusual these days in our Parliamentary procedures, however, was that the debate continued until three o’clock in the morning.
Now you might say what’s wrong with MPs occasionally working a night shift, and I’d have no problem with that. What myself and my Labour Party colleagues were really concerned about, however, was that crucial elements of the bill, such as ending lifelong tenancies for council houses and clauses allowing developers to choose a private firm and not a council to process their schemes, were seemingly being rushed through, with the government refusing to move the debate to a more reasonable hour.
Equally concerning was that 65 pages of new clauses and amendments were added to what was already a 145-page bill over the Christmas period, with planning organisations and agencies having no time to properly assess these changes.
This is a bill which could change the lives of very many people and the appropriate time ought to have been allowed to properly consider its content and implications.