There are Iraqi former Employees who owe a considerable debt to Chris Bryant, Labour MP for the Rhondda and PPS to Harriet Harman. He has spoken for their cause in public, at the House of Commons on October 9th; he has, as I well know, pressed Ministers in private, and in detail, and has worked hard and effectively on the Employees’ behalf.
Other MPs have also done a lot in this cause: I will write at length some time about my MP Lynne Featherstone, who reacted brilliantly when a scruffy constituent wandered into her surgery with a long list of demands. David Lidington, the Tory frontbench spokesman for Foreign Affairs, has also been a really outstanding public servant. And there have been several other MPs and Peers who have deeply impressed me, although the detailed thanks should probably wait until at least one employee has actually been flown out of Iraq. The bad MPs may well be lousy, but the good MPs are very good indeed.
I have to say that Chris deserves special praise for one reason: he associated himself with some very vocal critics of Government policy although he himself was a frontbencher. An awful lot of frontbenchers, senior and junior, kept their heads well down on this issue. I know: I asked them to help. I stress that Chris himself is the model of a loyal Labour man. But he worked hard to get the policy changed because he thought that there was a moral case to do so.
And now Chris is running in the London Marathon, the mad fool, to raise money for research into prostate cancer. As Chris points out, this condition kills rather a lot of people in a very painful way, but not enough men get themselves tested for it, and not enough research is conducted into its causes.
You can sponsor him here. And I think you should. If I may ruthlessly deploy a cliche, he put his money where his mouth was to support the Iraqi employees, and continues to do so. I was hoping to wittily turn the cliche around and say that we should put money where his feet are, or something, but it’s late and I’m tired. It’s a good cause and he’s a good guy, so give him some cash.