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.