Diary - concerns from the POA

A full day which started with a run. Routine matters out of the way, I concentrated on constituency cases before attending an Urgent Question posed by Labour on the EU negotiations. It was always going to be a cause of hilarity for the Opposition, as they wanted to make the Government look foolish after an apparent change of heart yesterday when the PM pulled the plug on a controversial idea to leave the N Irish border in EU control. That was never going to wash, especially with the DUP. I managed to get called by the Speaker and reminded the House and the public that we are preparing to leave the EU under WTO rules if no deal can be struck. Then I had a lunch engagement, before heading to a POA gathering in Committee Room 11. I listened for an hour to POA concerns, most of which I agreed with. However, I do not agree with their call to have a right to strike. But I did say that I was genuinely sorry that they wanted this right, as it demonstrated that communication between Government and the POA was fractured at best. Two POA representatives from Portland YOI were there and I chatted to them after the meeting which went on to 1600. Lord Ramsbottom, the former prisons' inspector under the last Labour government was there, and I caught up with him after the meeting. He is such a nice man and, like me, very sympathetic to the plight of prison officers. At 1610 I had to bade my farewells to meet my constituent Bernard White, who is a member of the charity CAFOD. He was attending a stand that the organisation had in the House and explained to me what they did for refugees and migrants. The Catholic-based organisation does an awful lot of good work, teaming up with other NGOs on the ground to bring relief and help to those who have fled their homes and country because of war or another disaster. Bernard is a charming man, who lives in Wool, and it's gentle people like him that do so much good work for causes like this.