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Friday, 7 December, 2001, 17:24 GMT
David Heath's week in politics
David Heath
This week David Heath, Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome, reviews the week in politics for BBC News Online.

The very silly answer from Kim Howells, the culture minister, when he decided to express his view that Somerset folk songs were his idea of hell. Since then my phone has hardly stopped ringing from irate West country people - we've had banner headlines in the regional press and obdurate pieces on radio and television.

The whole episode of Elizabeth Filkin. I'm a member of the Standards and Privileges Committee and I think the House of Commons has done itself an enormous amount of harm in the way the whole episode has been handled.

There haven't been very many winners this week. It's not been a particularly good week for politics.

The House of Commons for the reasons I've said but because of the forcing through of David Blunkett's anti-terrorism bill without having the chance to debate it properly. It really belies proper parliamentary discussion and again gives the impression of a government that is not interested in Parliament.

The most memorable was Labour MP Paul Marsden's declaration that he had been physically attacked by the whips. I can only observe that they do things differently in the Labour Party.

As usual, I was there every day - had a few questions, one to the Lord Chancellor about whether we should have a supreme court separate from the Lords, and a question about health service spending on Thursday. A normal week of bobbing up and down, sometimes getting called, sometimes not.

No single issue this week. I have had several people writing to me about delays in operations - that is now becoming the norm. There is a feeling there is very little I can do when waiting times at my local hospital are 18 months for routine operations.

We are going to have fun and games obviously when the terrorism bill returns from the Lords with up to 10 amendments. We will fight tooth and nail to keep those but David Blunkett is going to be doing his best to get rid of them.

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