Today I attend the memorial service for a former ministerial colleague from the days of Margaret Thatcher. John Biffen, who fell out with the Iron Lady in the end, was described by Brian Walden as ‘the most honest politician’ he had ever interviewed.
Not a bad epitaph from the usually hostile press!
I remember John Biffen personally with great affection. He was my father’s last ministerial boss when he was Leader of the House and my father was Clerk of the Privy Council.
This evening I attend a meeting of the Parliamentary and Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Union, which will have much to discuss – not least regarding the HFE Bill I referred to above. The Catholic Union is a lay-run body that exists to lobby parliament on issues that concern Catholics.
Then there is an evidence session of the Liaison Committee. This is the body in which all the chairmen of the Select Committees have a regular meeting, outside the Commons chamber, with the Prime Minister.
It was introduced under Tony Blair: one of his many slights to the House, this time dressed up as enhanced access to the PM.
Tomorrow I shall comment on the Government’s recent proposal to sell ‘Shari’ah bonds’ to Muslim investors.