Well the political turbulence shows no sign of calming!! Now returning to the backbenches should mean I have less work to do. But it hasn't quite felt like that! At Education Questions I asked the government to publish its response to the Schoolteachers' Review Body report. It's taken almost as long for them to respond as it did for Sir John Chilcott to finish his report!!! In the end they sneaked their unsatisfactory response out later in the week.
I was granted an Urgent Question by the Speaker to call the Government to account for the teachers' strike - a direct result of their intransigence.
I was in the Chamber when the Prime Minister reported to parliament on the outcomes of Chilcott. An historic occasion. I have to say it didn't seem to tell us much we didn't already know. The reasons for going to war were genuinely believed by those taking the decisions, but those of us who were sceptical at the time have been proved more right than wrong. And the planning for the aftermath of war was woeful. What we don't know, of course, is what would have happened if an alternative path had been followed. We never can know that. We can only speculate; like the Kurds demonstrating even last week in favour of the war were speculating that they would have suffered further genocide if it had not gone ahead.
The Steel All Party Group are working at developing a forward political strategy to support the industry. It's clear from the witnesses we saw this week that Brexit makes this altogether far more challenging. But that means to have a strong strategy is even more important. The news that Tata will sell its speciality steel business based in Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Hartlepool but hang on for the moment to its strip business centred on Port Talbot is a reminder that things are continuing to rapidly change.
I was pleased to meet with the Stroke Association about their campaign to secure a new strategy for stroke and it was good to highlight the value of heart valve technology.
The week ended with me speaking at two quite different conferences. It's unusual for me to speak at conferences (I try to avoid it!) at all - but, like buses, two came along at once! As one of the Vice Chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mindfulness I spoke to a conference of yoga specialists about our work. I then nipped across the road to give the keynote speech at a conference focused on Access to HE courses full of the great practitioners whose work really does transform people's lives. Our local excellent example of this is in the access courses run by North Lindsey College.