My favourite Early Day Motions

A few days ago I wrote about Early Day Motions – the petitions that only MPs can start and sign.

Here are a few of my favourites from this parliament, starting with one for MPs not too familiar with the Internet.

EDM 629: That this House deplores the easy access children have to pornography by means of satellite and cable television; and calls on Ofcom, the appropriate regulator, to amend its broadcasting code in order to ensure that access to pornographic material is only available via a secure authentication system.

And who could begrudge Harlow its place in the limelight…

EDM 599: That this House congratulates the people of Harlow on the thriving art and sculpture in the town; notes the latest installation and exhibition of 29 life-size fibreglass sheep throughout the Town Centre, based on Henry Moore’s famous sheep etchings, which will run from 31 July to 30 October 2010; further notes that over 8,000 Harlow school children and young visitors to Harlow town centre will take part in the Harlow Summertime Sheep Trail, which will link almost every art gallery, shopping centre, office, bus station and theatre in the town; wishes the organisers well; and congratulates the Gatehouse Arts centre which will open during the exhibition providing studio space to 16 young Harlow artists.

Call me naive, but is the availability of knives on eBay really here or there when it comes to young people carrying a blade?

EDM 562 from Diane Abbott: That this House notes that last week eBay relaxed restrictions on the type of knives that it sells; furthernotes that this makes certain types of knives previously banned more accessible to young people; considers this to be socially irresponsible considering the prevalence of knife crime in many inner cities; and asks eBay to review its change in policy.

I suspect this one is meant to be sarcastic – any ideas?

EDM 560: That this House congratulates John Humphrys for his forensic questioning of the Foreign Secretary on NATO’s strategy in Afghanistan, which added to the BBC’s unrivalled reputation for fearless independent journalism.

Who could argue with this (no, don’t send in answers)?

EDM 375: That this House congratulates the English cricket team on their convincing victory over Australia in the one-day series; and hopes that they will repeat their success in the Ashes series this winter.

Kevin Barron has cracked the solution to our so-called obesity crisis:

EDM 372: That this House notes with concern that currently over 1,000 people in the UK become obese every day; suggests that one of the single most effective ways in which Government could improve public health is by a consistent message, across all agencies, that people who wish to avoid weight gain should consider low calorie options when choosing sweetened beverages; and observes that such an approach would be consistent with growing consumer preferences for diet drinks, require no legislation, and have no cost to the Exchequer.

EDMs don’t cost a fortune but they aren’t free either: each one costs the taxpayer a couple of hundred pounds.  So perhaps this EDM, number 432, is especially relevant:

That this House regrets the continuing decline in importance of Early Day Motions which have become a campaign tool for external organisations; notes the role of public affairs professionals in drafting Early Day Motions and encouraging members of the organisations they represent to send pro forma emails and postcards to hon. Members; further notes the huge volume of correspondence that this generates and the consequent office and postage costs incurred; believes that the organisations involved derive little benefit from Early Day Motions, which very rarely have any influence on policy; further believes that public affairs professionals are aware of the ineffectiveness of Early Day Motions, but continue to use them to attempt to justify their services; questions the value for money to the taxpayer of Early Day Motions of whatever origin; and calls for the system of Early Day Motions to be reformed or abolished.

23 MPs signed that one.

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