Last week my Stolen Valour Private Members’ Bill was effectively killed during its latest hearing in the House of Commons.
The procedure, known as filibustering, is when a debate on a proposed law is extended by at least one member of the House to delay or prevent a vote –pushing it down the list in the hope there will be no time in the future to reopen the debate.
Selection for a Private Members’ Bill is by ballot and it is well-known that only a very small number ever become law.
My Bill, aimed at preventing ‘Walter Mitty’ types from wearing medals they have not been awarded, has been a work in progress since last year, when I was picked fifth out of the ballot from hundreds of MPs.
What is most frustrating is that my Bill had almost universal support from MPs and Government and opposition backing, but because it was disliked by one or two people, it will now most likely never become law.
I know that all politicians will use systems to their advantage, but this is an example of how the system undermines and makes a mockery of democracy in the House of Commons.
It is a crazy system where if you want to change a Bill, you have to give notice, but if you want to kill a Bill you don’t and any MP can simply stand up and talk it out if they don’t like it.
I am disappointed that on this year’s Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day, anyone will be able to parade in medals they are not entitled to wear without any fear of being held to account.
There are protections for veterans and the wearing of medals throughout the world and it’s wrong we don’t have this here so that people have confidence in our medals system.