"Have you got 'How to be an MP' by Paul Flynn?"


It is, the Speaker of the House of Commons said this morning, "a much-thumbed tome in the Bercow household".

The next edition How to be an MP by Labour MP Paul Flynn will doubtless include that quote on the front cover. Not only is it a favourite of John (and quite possibly Sally) Bercow, it was also the most borrowed book in the House of Commons library last year.

It's understandable that MPs should seek guidance on how to do their job from what the author describes as "a self-improving tract", although he's understood to feel a little surprised at the reluctance of well-paid colleagues to dip into their pockets for a £12.99 book. Signed copies are available in the parliamentary bookshop.

Paul Flynn isn't the only Welsh MP in the top 10 authors. Outside In, the memoirs of former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain saw his memoirs sneak in at number 9.

What is more surprising, perhaps, is how few books are borrowed from the Commons library (although it is more of a reference than a lending library).

Only 11 people borrowed Mr Hain's book (also 12.99 in paperback) and only 19 borrowed Mr Flynn's volume. Neither appears likely to get rich on the public lending right income or to rival E L James in the demand stakes.

I can think of several local authorities whose response to such low borrowing figures would be to either close the library or hand it over to volunteers.

Fortunately the research prowess of the Commons library is likely to spare it that fate.

With MPs about to enjoy a half-term break, they have a week to catch up on their reading. Parliament is back at work - and so am I - on February 25.

David Cornock, Parliamentary correspondent, Wales Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Indy. The FSA is the responsibility of the UK Government. The whole system is in chaos. They issue all these rules and regulations and they haven't got a clue how to Police the system. Look to who causes the chaos in the first place. Then to the Supermarkets who want cheap meat for their profits and mark their produce up wrong illegally.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    19.John Tyler
    Don't know your history Tyler but I suppose if you've been brought up as an Imperialist then how would know any difference. Don't believe everything the London Government put in the History lessons

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Well at least they are brave and honest enough to realise they need to change, to something modern and relevant regardng the people of Wales. All of them. No matter what language they may speak. At least they are prepared to change their ideas. They may lose some though they could gain a lot more supporters. There has always been Nationalism John. British and International Nationalism with Labour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Never knew there was a call for paint by numbers in the halls of Westminster? News worthy, I think not.

    Hain's book: How to look orange and still be fashionable.

    Paul Flynn book: Beards n Bagdad , my top 10 political foofy face megalomaniacs of the middle east.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Better if they read up about how they can't trace where this 'horsemeat' is coming from when we have got the most stringent traceability system going. There are Forests of paper trails. A stratosphere full of electronic filling. And every animal tagged from birth to shop. Mostly being paid for by the Farmers. So what is the point of it all if it doesn't work. Now they are looking for Scapegoats.


Comments 5 of 26



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