Diary - first day back

First day back in the New Year. Having dealt with routine matters, I dropped down to the Chamber for Treasury Questions at 1430. Unusually, nearly all the seats had been taken, the new intake of MPs making their presence felt. I attempted to catch the Speaker's eye on a question about increased productivity. I have been attempting to get the track relaid near Yeovil Junction that would enable Weymouth to be served by the Salisbury line as well as the traditional Bournemouth one. I was not called for that question but did manage to do so on a question about reducing street crime. This gave me the chance to ensure that Dorset would indeed see the extra police officers promised by the Government. I was assured we would. I then remained in the Chamber for the Statement on Iran, which was made by Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary. Mr Wallace have a solid and calm performance, emphasizing the need for all parties to de-scalate the growing tension in the region. That's fine, and I agree with it, but it must be accompanied by a firm resolve to take action with our allies if Iran strikes back. Let's hope they do not, but I do not trust the Iranian regime. Then, later than planned, I headed to one of my private meetings with a group of colleagues. That was followed by a meeting of the ERG at 1800. With the EU Withdrawal Bill going through its committee stage, the Whips told us to expect a long night. However, most Labour MPs failed to attend and it all collapsed at about 2100 with three votes.