I did consider starting a separate blog to monitor Cllr John Hemming MP and his new life as a MP for Yardley, but I'd rather keep it in house.
Anyway, John has been a busy boy in the past few days. Not only did he make his exceedingly soporific maiden speech, he's also found time to lay down some written questions to ministers and their departments. Nothing wrong with that - the opposition exists to hold the government to account.
However, given that each question costs an average of £148 to answer, you might have thought that he could find better ones than some of those he has asked so far. [EDIT: I missed that he has so far posed some 24 written questions at a cost of over £3,550. Not bad for the first few days in work.]
A question about the number of university courses for pastry chefs - I'm sure that keeps the good people of Yardley awake at night.
A question about how many people have emigrated from the UK - something that could have been answered by a Google search for rather less than £148. This seems to have led to an attempt to convince us that the increase in emigration is down to people fleeing the terror of Labour government (an argument founded on something someone said to him during the campaign). The only person I know to have left the country because of Labour is Jim Davidson, which I'd regard as a bonus, personally. [EDIT: Bob points out that Phil Collins also left, so that's two down. So far, Andrew Lloyd-Webber has failed to make good on his repeated promises to go.]
There's also a question about Neighbourhood Renewal Fund money - intriguing, as I'm writing a piece about how John's Liberal Democrat colleagues spend this cash in Birmingham.
I'm not alone in seeing a contradiction between John being a member of Greenpeace and driving a Land-Rover Discovery around the jungles of Yardley - a vehicle which he admits is classed by the organisation as a gas-guzzler? Still, at least he now knows when he will have to pay more to fuel the beast.
Incidentally, I can thoroughly recommend the They Work For You website as a way of keeping track of your elected representatives. They even email you when your selected MP squawks or otherwise demonstrates their existence. Parliament uncut and unspun.