Martin Salter - working hard for Reading West

Martin’s Articles

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  • Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
  • Campaign Lesson from Abroad

  • What a drab, joyless, uninspiring spectacle it turned out to be. Australians are a great people and I can’t help feeling that they deserve better than most of the politics and some of the politicians who were on offer last week.

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  • Thursday, March 25th, 2010
  • Westminster Diary

  • Once again I was surprised to be the only Berkshire MP who bothered to turn up on Saturday to support the excellent Magistrates Court Mock Trial Competition featuring schools from across the county. It’s a shame my colleagues don’t show more interest in this fantastic event which, in a very real practical sense, teaches young people how the courts operate and helps them develop their reasoning and communication skills. The Magistrates give freely of their time and judge the teams, not on the verdicts but on the way they conduct both their defence and their prosecution cases. Obviously I was mainly rooting for Little Heath from Tilehurst (and a bit for Kendrick) but I’m sure Bulmershe School in Woodley and St Crispins in Wokingham would have liked to have seen their local MPs as well.

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  • Thursday, March 11th, 2010
  • Westminster Diary

  • A little bit of history was made in Parliament this week, when when both the Government and the Opposition front benches in the Commons were defeated by a large margin by backbench MPs of all parties determined to wrest control over Commons business from the whips. The House was voting on the recommendations of the Wright Committee on Parliamentary reform, of which I was member. On the day of the big vote my job was to organise MPs to turn up and vote through a full package of reforms which would give MPs the ability to directly elect both the chairs and the members (by party) of the Select Committees of the House of Commons, and establish a Backbench Business Committee to give the Commons control over all non-Government business. All the key reforms went through in spite of the poorly organised opposition from the traditionalists in all parties. A start has been made in handing power back to the Chamber of the House of Commons which can only help to begin to restore trust in our political system.

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  • Monday, March 8th, 2010
  • My Week (for The House Magazine)

  • Nowadays it’s rare for there to be much in the way of whipped business on a Thursday and so I was able to accept with relative confidence a mid-week speaking engagement in Reading with the local Council for Racial Equality. It was a debate on extremism and in what circumstances limits can be reasonably placed on free speech.

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  • Thursday, February 25th, 2010
  • Westminster Diary

  • On Sunday we heard the ’shock horror’ allegations that the Prime Minister occasionally loses his rag with his civil servants prompting the Tory spin doctors to call for yet another inquiry in order to maximise perceived political embarrassment for the Government. It appears that Conservative high command lack any sense of irony as chief spinner for David Cameron is the former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who an industrial tribunal has just found guilty of bullying himself!

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  • Thursday, February 11th, 2010
  • Westminster Diary

  • As the general election draws nearer, there is even more to do than usual as the Government attempts to rush through the final bits of legislation before Parliament is dissolved, and the electoral fun and games begins.

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  • Thursday, January 28th, 2010
  • Westminster Diary

  • It was off to surgeries again this weekend and Friday night’s drop-in session in Whitley threw up a host of issues. I managed to get away in time to have a late dinner with some of the Pakistani community leaders in Reading where we discussed the horrific murder of Asha Muneer. Saturday morning started early with another advice surgery in my constituency office, then it was off to the Mad Stad to see the mighty Reading Royals dump Burnley out of the FA Cup. Why oh why can’t they show this form in the Championship? After the game I went to visit the Muneer family who have been inundated with messages of support from across the community at this horrible time.

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  • Thursday, January 14th, 2010
  • Westminster Diary

  • Members of Parliament chose to celebrate the New Year in a variety of different ways upon their return to Westminster last week. The Conservatives, in their much-vaunted “election launch”, issued a series of posters bearing the image of a slender looking Mr Cameron attempting to look like a serious statesman which, some uncharitable members of the media suggested, had been enhanced by a team of airbrushers. The spindoctors behind it could have done with airbrushing the message rather than the image, especially on the NHS, when it was the same David Cameron who wrote the last Conservative manifesto which would have made hospital patients pay for up to half the cost of their operations unless they were rich enough to go private!

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