CHIEF WHIP NEEDS TO GET HIS OWN HOUSE IN ORDER, SAYS LIB DEM OPPONENT

March 21, 2009 12:01 AM

Following reports that Labour Chief Whip Nick Brown is to "crack down" on lazy Labour MP's who have a low attendance rate and low voting rate, his Lib Dem opponent Greg Stone has drawn attention to Nick Brown's own Parliamentary record.

According to They Work For You and Public Whip websites, which track the Parliamentary activity levels of MPs, Nick Brown's own performance level is firmly below average.

In terms of responding within 3 weeks to correspondence from constituents, Mr Brown is deemed to have responded to a low number.

Mr Brown has submitted no parliamentary questions during the last year - well below average - and has spoken just four times in the same period.

His Lib Dem challenger Greg Stone said: "It is no surprise to many of us in the North

East that Labour backbenchers have a low work-rate and are under-performing.

"However, it seems a bit rich that Nick Brown should be urging others to raise their game, as it seems his own performance is somewhat below the curve.

"I accept that his role as Chief Whip means that his opportunity for involvement in debates is lower than other MPs, but even in his capacity as Regional Minister for the North East Nick has not spoken in Parliament since December 2007.

"As far as I can discover he has not spoken on matters concerning his constituency since February 2007 when he spoke on the shortfall of Government funding for concessionary bus fare in Tyne and Wear.

"Newcastle East constituents might be disappointed to learn that he has failed to speak up in the Chamber on their behalf for over two years.

"Certainly he has rarely been seen in much of the constituency in that time.

"As might be expected from the Chief Whip, Nick's record on voting is above average, but I would question whether forcing more Labour backbenchers through the lobbies to rescue the Prime Minister on more controversial votes - such as the vote on student tuition fees, or even the forthcoming vote on the Royal Mail - is a substitute for more meaningful participation by Members of Parliament in the important business of holding the Government of the day to account."