The UK Parliament was prorogued last week, marking the end of this Parliamentary term. As is the way at Westminster, there is a lot of pomp and ceremony attached to the process, but, in short, prorogation allows the Government to reset parliamentary business.
Parliament will recommence on the 10th of May, with the Queen’s Speech marking the beginning of the new legislative session. At this point, we learn the bills the Government intends to pursue over the course of the next session of Parliament.
Readers may recall that Boris Johnson was found to have illegally prorogued Parliament during the Brexit negotiations. He used this process to avoid scrutiny by MPs of his Government’s Brexit deal – which resulted in him having to make a formal apology to the Queen. At the time, it was almost unthinkable that any Prime Minister would act to bring their own Government into disrepute. Now we know it was only the beginning.
Before the end of Parliament, my Energy Pricing (Off Gas Grid Households) Bill was published. If passed, the bill would oblige the UK Government to act to ensure households do not have to pay more for energy because they do not have access to mains gas supply.
The current energy price cap is based on the assumption that households across the nations of the UK consume energy with a split of 80% gas and 20% electricity. However, about one in six homes across the nations of the UK are currently off the gas grid.
The end of the parliamentary session means this bill will fall, along with many others. I will keep on the issue in the new parliamentary session.
Last week, I also presented Highland News Media’s petition on unfair electricity charges to 10 Downing Street. It was great to see so much support across the Highlands to end these unfair charges and rest assured, I will continue to work on this issue on your behalf.
Before I sign off, I want to take this opportunity to wish all the candidates standing for election to the Highland Council well. Whatever separates us in politics, we all want to see the best for our communities.
To everyone else – don’t forget to vote this Thursday to elect your local Councillors. If you have a postal vote and haven’t filled it out yet, there is still time, and it can be returned to the polling station on Thursday.