The Commons voted by a substantial majority in support of allowing gay marriage on 5 February. I am glad that over 130 Conservative colleagues voted for the bill and I understand why some did not, given the outright hostility to the measure among some groups in society who are over represented (statistically speaking) among Conservative Party membership.
The EU is changing in response to the crisis in the Eurozone and this is the right time to seek changes that further the cause of greater competitiveness, accountability and flexibility. Such changes would benefit the EU as a whole and not just Britain; and it is in that spirit that we should proceed.
Usually one has to tune into the Jeremy Kyle Show to hear as plentiful a flow of populist, self-righteous, ill-thought diarrhoea as that which emanated from the government yesterday. Indignation was the mot-de-jour for assorted ministers, wheeled out to express their incredulity at the latest defeat in the Lords.
The issue of access to credit among SMEs is a chicken and egg conundrum. Is it a lack of demand or a lack of supply? The Business, Innovations & Skills select committee in Parliament, of which I am a member, has debated this issue with business leaders, bankers and the Secretary of State himself. Are we any the wiser?
The Public Services Reform White Paper is something I very much welcome. But one lesson we need to learn from Southern Cross is that if private companies are to be encouraged to manage the care of vulnerable people, funded in part by the taxpayer, they should have to satisfy financial viability criteria as well as meeting the normal regulatory requirements around quality of care.