Tomorrow is Friday, certainly not the first or the last that most of us will experience. Every day is a new day, but most workplaces have a certain rhythm to them and Parliament is no exception. Fridays when Parliament is in session are days when many MPs spend time in their constituencies, and for many of us, that is one of the most important things an MP does. However Fridays are also the days when Private Members Bills are debated and voted on. If there are less than 100 MPs present (assuming I have got the details correct), there is no obligation to hold a vote on the matter being discussed and then one of the elements that has an impact on the issue is the time allowed for the debate. If an MP stands up and speaks for long enough, they can ensure that the vote never takes place, if there are insufficient MPs present. This tactic called a filibuster has featured on my blog on many occasions and sadly will probably be mentioned in the future. However tomorrow I hope that enough MPs turn up and debate and then vote on the private members bill that is being tabled by the MP for Banff and Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford. Her bill is on the subject of the Istanbul Convention which will ensure that the Government is committed to funding for Rape Crisis Centres, Shelters, Helplines and for education in our Schools on the subject of violence against women.
It is probable that a number of Conservative MPs will be planning to attend to try to talk this Bill out. One who has a long track record of filibusters is Philip Davies, MP for Shipley who was recently voted onto the Women and Equalities Committee by his colleagues. However this sort of them is exactly the sort of thing that will provoke him to get to his feet and talk the bill out. The only way of stopping him apart from preventing him from getting to the chamber is if sufficient MPs attend to guarantee a vote. Let us hope for the sake of the various underfunded services that will be impacted by the Istanbul Convention that there are sufficient bums on the Green Benches. This is a subject that affects all of society and must not be damaged by a few MPs who have no regard for democracy.