SIR PETER BOTTOMLEY: Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly

Sir Peter Bottomley
Sir Peter Bottomley

Were I to try to draft a memoir for my family, it might be titled Listen, Think, Act? Reflecting on another week, I realise how much I gain by being present at a variety of events.

On the day last week’s edition hit the newsstands, I was at Worthing Hospital’s education centre for the gathering that marked the conclusion to Mike Viggers’s chairmanship of our local hospitals.

Marianne Griffiths was just one of those paying tribute among many funny recollections of his time amidst the team of clinicians and the vital support services that make modern hospitals successful as they serve patients intensively and extensively.

It is rare for me to travel between the constituency and Westminster for a single event.

The opportunity to mark the importance of the hospital service is one.

I returned to meet other guests of the Queen at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party, carrying an umbrella because the forecast was for thunder and heavy rain. Not a drop.

We went on to the British Academy to hear the president, the historian Sir David Cannadine, in conversation with Archbishop Justin Welby: he knows when to be serious, when to be funny and how to inspire and to encourage.

On Friday I was briefed on recent developments at Boom, the West Sussex credit union.

If anyone has surplus funds and would like to hear how their involvement can help expand the service to greater numbers of individuals and household, do be in touch with them.

My opportunity is to talk with Treasury ministers to see if their rules and our laws can be adapted so more people can start saving and borrowing without becoming stuck in high interest and never-ending repayments.

Because I would be at a community gathering and at East Preston Festival events on Sunday, we took a Saturday trip across the Solent to watch children and grandchildren sailing and boating.

Parliament returned on Monday. After listening to exchanges on personal independence payments (PIP), I intervened to ask the Work and Pensions minister to be sure that victims of the infected blood tragedy had their work capability assessed in an appropriate way.

It should be possible to flag particular people’s cases and avoid them having to explain for the umpteenth time what happened to them decades ago. Make systems human and humane.

Tim Loughton and I had met the Transport Secretary before his rail statement.

The timetable changes have additionally had a major impact on passengers returning to our coastal stations from London Bridge.

Instead of trains originating there, with seats for most, they now arrive full from Blackfriars with travellers to Croydon: this is a deterioration in comfort for our constituents, if they can even join the packed train.

On Tuesday I was listening to the debate on whether and how to review the 150-year-old criminal law that governs medical abortions.

My contribution was brief and near the end.

We have too many abortions; we have inappropriate law and I am convinced that women should be respected more.

They should be trusted more and that if we all are more sensible, in words and actions, the numbers of terminations can come down, the anxiety for women can be reduced, the criminal law can be removed from early-stage abortion and lives will be better.


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