After a half-term week of Constituency engagements and Remembrance events, marred only by the sad death of my old friend, my horse, Mr Kipling, it was back to work with a vengeance:
Mon 13/11: Up to London for lunch with Norwegian Ambassador and veterans; the excellent Ruth Davidson addresses the 1922 Committee, briefing from Commons Defence Committee clerk and dinner with my daughter, Olivia.
Tue 14/11: Breakfast with (Wiltshire) General Jones (H Jones’ son), just back from commanding in Iraq; then whole day chairing Committee Stage of Nuclear Safeguarding Bill (part of Brexit - replacing Euratom). Brexit Bill Committee stage stretches through until about 1130 PM. Govt wins all votes by 18 or 20.
Wed 15/11: Appear as expert witness in front of Commons Defence Committee discussing military threats and tensions in Arctic. Rather odd appearing in front of committee I used to chair! Lunch with Lord Mayor at Baltic Exchange, chair meeting of Parliamentary Arctic group Advisory Council; then (intermittently) attend Antarctic meeting in Royal Society (and dinner) in between more Brexit votes through until 11 PM.
Thu 16/11: Up to RAF Northolt to see BFPO parcel up Christmas Boxes for our troops on Operations at Christmas. (I am Patron of the charity). 30 minute grilling on ITV South West to be broadcast tonight; then it’s off to Cambridge to speak at the Union about Scottish Devolution with co-speaker Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Home to London by 1 AM.
Fri 17/11: Train to Wiltshire to wade through paper. Tired, so cancel a couple of small engagements. Dinner with friends in Holt.
Sat 18/11: Surgeries in Calne and Royal Wootton Bassett, look in to a Conservative event in Box, then dinner near Sherston. Another late night.
Sun 19/11: Bit of R and R at home, despite an hour or two at desk clearing back log...
Mon 20/11: Attend first National Security Committee since my appointment by the Prime Minister, and speak at a NATO dinner at think tank IISS.
Tue 21/11: Walking with Wounded Breakfast, Chair debates in Westminster Hall, ask a question about environment at Foreign Office Questions, meeting about Western rail services, meet delegation from Chile.
Wed 22/11: Breakfast with RAF, PMQs then it’s the Budget
Thu 23/1: Skip rest of Budget debate and head back to Wilts for dinner with REME at Lyneham.
It’s a mixed bag of parliamentary, constituency, charitable, family and social events. Keeps me out of trouble.