Diary - mopping up after storm Ciara

Well, storm Ciara has certainly done its worst across large swathes of the country, although we in the south were not quite as badly affected. Film of a sheep trailer being swept down the hill in Yorkshire certainly brought home the scale and ferocity of this storm. Up to the Commons after a few meetings in the morning and a round-up of constituency matters with my team. I entered the Chamber at the tail end of an Urgent Question about the deportation of about 50 Jamaican criminals, which many Labour MPs attempted to turn into a racist matter. The minister did well to explain that that was not the case, but more of a legal decision based on long-standing government policy that any foreign national offender sentenced to 12 months or more in jail can be deported. Although the minister could not be specific about who committed what crimes, he did say they were very serious and included rape. Having watched the antics of some Labour MPs, I wonder what they would be saying if one of these criminals were released in this country and committed further crimes on one of their constituents. I bet there'd be hell to pay. Next up was a Statement by Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers on the recent flooding. Many MPs on both sides of the House serve constituencies badly affected and they all sought reassurance that Government monies would be available, that flood prevention schemes would be a top priority and that people would be able to claim off their insurance. Having witnessed the damage that flood water can do on a visit to N Yorkshire last year, and heard the plight of one rural community there, where benign gullies have filled with water which has cut away banks and threatened homes, I was keen to ask what help was available in order to protect these homes. The answer was regrettably not very clear. In the evening, I attended one of the regular No Turning Back suppers with a number of colleagues. The event is private and always interesting. We were dropped to a one line whip just after 2100.