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Diary of a parliamentary intern
  1. Hannah Jordan

Abstract

Hannah Jordan, parliamentary intern to Lord Trees, describes the State Opening of Parliament and the events that have happened since.

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It is back to business in Westminster at last. On June 4, Her Majesty the Queen came to open Parliament, Black Rod had the Commons' door slammed in his face and a small pageboy fainted. On my way across to the Palace I was complimented on my dress before being asked if I had realised I was wearing UKIP colours. Whoops. There was lots of finery and flummery: one seriously sparkly crown; something that looked conspicuously like the sorting hat (of Harry Potter fame), but I am reliably informed was ‘The Cap of Maintenance’; a sword (also sparkly); a lot of men dressed up as coats of arms and carrying what looked remarkably like wands; and plenty of men bedecked in feathered hats. It was all very exciting.

Since the return to normality, Lord Trees has been appointed to the EU Sub Committee for Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy, and we are hoping that, among other things, we may be able to raise concerns regarding EU diclofenac use and vulture populations (see letters VR, May 31, 2014, vol 174, p 562).

A particularly interesting meeting on antimicrobial resistance at the Foundation for Science and Technology highlighted the scale of the resistance problem and ranked it with climate change as a threat to the human race. As well as improvements in medical and veterinary use of antibiotics, the need for quicker, more effective diagnostics was identified as a priority. Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, urged us all to support development of such diagnostics through the Longitude prize candidates (http://antibiotic-action.com/longitude-prize-2014-please-vote/).

Finally, we have a (short) oral question on June 25 to question the Government about any changes it may have planned to the bovine TB strategy following the pilot culls. We are also in contention for a balloted debate on food security, with particular reference to land use and food production. If we manage to win a slot I will write about it in more depth, but we would be grateful to hear veterinary thoughts and opinions on this subject. In the meantime, I must busy myself skimming through the Infrastructure Bill and the Consumer Rights Bill to see if there is anything we could or should be sticking our nose in to.

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