Mary Glindon MP: Better late than never that UK has returned to Horizons programme

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Weekly Prime Minister’s Questions are the highlight for many voters and viewers. The first half is reserved for exchanges between the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister.

The session enables people to see the relative positions of the party leaders and judge who gets their points across more effectively.

Sometimes, there are obvious areas to focus on. The Education Secretary’s recent stupid decision to feel sorry for herself on an open mic over crumbling concrete in our schools and hospitals was a huge open goal.

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The second half is for backbench MPs to ask their questions. The Speaker chooses from those who have been selected randomly in a lottery.

Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP.Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP.
Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP.

Last week was my first opportunity in ages and I wanted to make a serious point and push the government on an issue of great concern, not least to cancer research bodies.

This is what is asked. “We have heard far too much lately about ministerial posteriors and little about prosperity for the country. Even in these dying days of a lame-duck Government, will the Prime Minister stop prevaricating and subscribe to the Horizon programme for the sake of vital British science, innovation and cancer research?”

The Prime Minister was a bit chippy in his response. Little did I know that his long prevarication was hours away from ending. The government finally decided to subscribe to the EU’s £81 billion research programme.

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It makes pragmatic sense to subscribe to the biggest global research collaboration programme in which British scientists have traditionally been pioneers and beneficiaries.

Our universities and science boffins are very pleased we have eventually done this. It’s a shame it wasn’t done before but better late than never.

Mary Glindon is Labour MP for North Tyneside