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Embarrassment as Gloucester MP turns up too late for his own debate in Parliament

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: June 29, 2010

Too late to debate: Richard Graham MP

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GLOUCESTER MP Richard Graham was late for his own backbench debate causing it to be cancelled.
The newly-elected member paid the price for punctual parliamentary protocol and arrived to find it had been called off as he had not been there for the sharp 9.30am start today.
Mr Graham blamed a printer problem for his delayed arrival.
It was the MPs first backbench debate, where he had been due to highlight the issue of apprenticeships, and their importance to Gloucester and county as a whole.
Scheduled to last 90 minutes, it is one of the key daily slots in Westminster Hall – a parliamentary offshoot of the Commons chamber - where most debates are limited to 30 minutes.
His late arrival will be seen as “exceedingly poor form” by the parliamentary authorities and is also unlikely to have impressed his own party’s whips office.
The Labour opposition will also use it to make political capital.
It is understood Mr Graham is writing to the Speaker.
With the Westminster Hall chairman George Howarth in his place, flanked by officials from the parliamentary record Hansard, there were increasingly anxious glances at the clock as the 9.30am start approached, and phone calls on mobiles being made.
With Mr Graham, the mover of the debate, not in his place, the chairman said he had no choice but to adjourn until the next debate at 11am.
A minute later an anxious Mr Graham arrived to be told his debate would not be going ahead.
Mr Howarth said: “The rules are the rules”. The Tory MP will now have to reapply to try and secure the debate again.
Mr Graham said: “There was a problem with the printer and I arrived a minute too late. It’s irritating."
He added: “If I am incredibly lucky we may get the debate back. I will send the speech I was going to give to (Apprentices Minister) John Hayes so he can reply anyway.”
MPs missing debates is rare but not unknown. Former Labour MP for Loughborough Andy Reed in June, 2008, missed a House of Commons debate he had called to discuss Loughborough Railway Station.
The Governments business of the day finished early and Mr Reed was not in the chamber to move the adjournment motion.

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    James, Glos  |  June 30 2010, 10:15AM

    No mention of this or an apology on his website yet. However there are lots of nice photos of what he's been up to - opening fetes, kicking footballs, watching the cricket etc. Oh and there's a nice bit about when he becomes MP it'll be more about action and less about photos...

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    Anthony Andrews, Glos  |  June 30 2010, 8:08AM

    The Quedgeley PO is separate to this. It was Tesco's idea to put up rents, so it's up to the Post Office themselves to find other premises. Morrisons did the same thing. Don't blame RG for the closure, Tesco decided months ago. However, Mr Graham, an apology for Gloucester is the least requirement after your late arrival at the House.

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    Digger, Gloucester  |  June 30 2010, 7:20AM

    Flaming idiot. As for blaming anything other than himself, how totally childish. I wanted an MP who was reliable and honest. Looks like I didn't get that.

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    Voice of the Voyager, Glos  |  June 30 2010, 7:17AM

    I am not surprised at this embarrassing faux pas. Said MP I well remember some years ago running up to the Cathedral for a civic service - Remembrance Day I think - some 5 minutes after it had commenced. As he passed, I commented - 'Late on parade, Mr Graham?', with a weak smile in response. It did not impress me then, even less now. RG likes to 'parade' his credentials at all times. If he had done his time in the proper military and not a Univ Air Sqn, which is a mainly Hooray Henry pi** up club - though some have gone onto better things, i.e. astronaut - he would have known to be there at least 5 minutes early. Plus - his first debate, to be put on the stage - should have been there 0900. He worked in the Smoke before taking the filthy lucre, he knows commuter traffic, I presume has a pied a terre near the Palace of Westminster, and can obtain a nice brekkie there at cheap prices. It is embarrassing for his constituency, his party, and has wasted time in which maybe another MP lost out on hosting their own debate? So what was he doing the previous evening in preparing for said debate, or was it last minute due to being out on the social side? Get your uniform sorted the night before Mr Graham, and remember the P's - Proper Preparation Prevents Pi** Poor Performance. Though I presume one benefit is the fact he may now hopefully not hold office, as deemed too unsuitable and unreliable!

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    jay, glos  |  June 30 2010, 6:38AM

    Dhanda this, Dhanda that, when will you sad, sorry people realise DHANDA LOST HIS SEAT, GET OVER IT AND MOVE ON!!!! Well done Mr Graham, give them something to whine about. Just tell the truth, you didnt give yourself enough time, although scrapping 90mins for being 1min late seems a bit excessive, i hope the remaining 89mins were used constructively, though i doubt it. Katherine, Glos. Not everybody is obsessed with your b@@@@y post office, use another if it shuts, you people get on my nerves, bet you hardly used it until it was threatened with clousure. This is a big area, have you people considered, your problems might not be the most important?? Super Dhanda is not here anymore, try working with the new chap instead of your constant pathetic point scoring, maybe that way things will get done.

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    Antony, Gloucester City Centre  |  June 29 2010, 10:20PM

    ....printer problems? No way this could have been done in advance then? No way the print button could have been hit the day before, maybe, the printer problem been noticed, and another printer used? Technology eh!! Well at least we know it was the printer's fault and in no way Mr Graham's. Reassuring eh?

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    Katherine, Glos  |  June 29 2010, 6:21PM

    Well you can apologise to the Members of the Houses of Parliament what about the hundreds of thousands of members of the public you have let down. I for one am very very glad that I did not vote for you. Can we please have some sort of public announcement as to what you are doing to protect Quedgeley Post Office from Closure and also the Wards at Gloucester Royal Hospital - I suspect not a lot - but would love to be proved wrong

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    Anthony Andrews, Glos  |  June 29 2010, 4:23PM

    Richard, this is downright unprofessional, as well you know from your previous employment. You wouldn't have turned up to give a presentation at the last minute then, so why now? I'm a fan of yours, but I don't like this one bit, and as said here, just take it on the chin, and admit you effed up! I've had printer problems, usually days before I was due to make a presentation to a senior buyer. By doing it way in advance, you have a copy that if the details change, you can print a revised one, or manually alter the back-up copy. Nobody minds if they can see what's gone wrong, but to just turn up late is inexcusable. I can honestly say that in twenty years selling, I was NEVER late to see a buyer. Bit like The House, they would have cancelled it. Also, I think it would have been appropriate for RG to apologise to the people of Gloucester, who maybe had hoped to benefit from this debate. This is, after all, what we elect MP's for, ie to get funding for our area as opposed to the money going elsewhere.

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    Driver, Gloucester  |  June 29 2010, 3:59PM

    I am not going to lose any sleep over it..move on. What else did you expect from an MP?

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    Lil Bacon, Cheltenham  |  June 29 2010, 2:28PM

    Typical politician, always someone/something elses fault. Why couldn't he just say sorry and take it on the chin? I'd respect that so much more, instead I'll now associate the name Richard Graham with bullsh*tter - but hey, what's new with a politician telling porkies?