Monday, 26 November 2007

Private Members Bills - what to choose?

The ballot for Private Members Bills took place last week and now the scramble is on amongst various campaigns and lobby groups to persuade those MPs who were fortunate enough to be drawn high up in the ballot to adopt their particular causes.

I spoke to one MP who told me that within seconds of her name being announced her office phone and fax started going absolutely mad. Every charity, every union, every political cause wants to meet with her.

She's faced with a tough choice - does she pick up one of the Private Members Bills from last session, which didn't become law, and have another go at pushing the same issue - things like the Temporary and Agency Workers Bill, the Disabled Persons (Independent Living) Bill, or the Disabled Children (Family Support) Bill? All worthy issues, but they've had a good airing and it's now up to the Government to take them up. Or does she choose a new issue, which hasn't yet been fully debated in Parliament, or at least not for a while?

She says she's thinking of doing the latter, with a bill which would provide for automatic organ donation, unless a person chooses to opt out. I think this is an excellent idea, given the shortage of organ donors and the number of people who don't carry a donor card but would probably be perfectly comfortable with the idea that they're helping someone else to live by donating their organs after death. I hope she goes for it.

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